A gracEmail subscriber asks: “Why do some churches not use instrumental music in public worship?”
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God expressly commands instruments in the Old Testament but the New Testament does not specifically command them for Christian use. Some Christians therefore think it obvious that God still wants accompanied praise today, since he didn’t say that he has changed his mind. Others think it obvious that God has changed his mind, since he didn’t repeat the command in the New Testament. On that particular point, of course, both are reasoning from silence.
Less explicitly, the New Testament commands us to sing Psalms (which include commands to use instruments). It portrays instruments in heavenly worship (Revelation). And the earliest Jewish believers in Christ continued to frequent the Temple where instruments were used. Opponents of instruments, on the other hand, have at various times argued that instrumental music was Jewish, pagan, Catholic or “denominational” and should therefore be shunned.
I am confident that God loves vocal music also, and many non-instrument churches have excelled at offering that sacrifice of praise. At my own Church of Christ, for example, visitors from other denominations often find our unaccompanied singing to be a highlight of the occasion. “Your whole church sings like a choir,” they say. Of course, these same Christian visitors would think us lacking both biblical and logical support — and rightly so — if they heard us condemning instrumental music, or denouncing other Christians who use it. We do not all have to be alike. If you don’t believe that God loves variety, just go visit the nearest zoo.