Instrumental Music in Churches of Christ

December 4, 2006

There is an interesting post and discussion at Preacher Mike’s blog about recent developments regarding instrumental music in churches of Christ. Check it out!


  1. I asked this over on Mike’s blog, but figured an answer might be more meaningful coming for a fellow ICOCer:This issue raises some questions about autonomy and identity that are now being asked by many of us in erstwhile or might be International Churches of Christ as we try to figure out where we’re going. Several of your points about a capella music have to do with “identity.” One of the things many of my ICOC friends claim to hear from other Restoration Movement folks is along the lines of, “Don’t lose your identity.” I’ve heard it several times now, only second hand, and it always makes me ask, “Why not?” To me, our “identity” seems almost synonymous with our sectarianism.I see things like this and realize that many of us grew tired of being known for not using instruments. Many ICOCs have recently ratified a document (many call it the “Unity Proposal”) akin to the Christian Affirmation that has similarly peripheral points, one of which (just as an example) is that we agree that single members should not date non-Christians. As grand as that may be, I find myself thinking that I don’t want to be known for not dating non-Christians. These things become Core Beliefs and neither (a capella music or who we date or marry) seemed worthy of being elevated to Core Belief status.Wouldn’t it be better to be identified as “those people who really love Jesus” or something similar?Bottom line: why is it so important to have an “identity?”FWIW, I cannot post from Firefox – the captcha text does not show up at all for me, either under Windows or Linux.

  2. Hi Mark,I strongly agree on the subject of preserving the identity of a faction in the church. We need to purge, destroy, annihilate those identities! Burn them!That sums up my basic problem with the “Unity Proposal”. BTW I am posting from Linux, Firefox 1.508 (have not upgraded this machine to 2.0), and the captcha text seems to be working fine. Maybe it is a Firefox version thing… I wish I knew what to do to fix it for you.

  3. Hi Alan,My view, how sad. The article refers to the condition of the heart. I agree; the good heart asks “do I have authority for my convictions and practice?” This is not a tradition, this is a conviction. I am still looking for the verse that gives authority for instrumental music in worship when the alternative is clearly specified? If you don’t ask this question for all our activites, then anything goes….As to the test of fellowship issue, what does that mean? The question should be are we doing what God wants us to do. To consider the question in any other way (like I’m OK your OK) is rebellion. If he means by a test of fellowship, worshipping together, then in this case, there is a practical problem. He is asking for people to give up on their convictions and be in the presence of something I consider sinful.Ever seen a map of the US from a Texans view point? There is Texas, and everybody else. I think their view of the importance of Richland Hills and some other high profile congregations is over played. A little too much pride being expressed in my opinion.Brett

  4. My thought is WHY? If I wanted change like that I’d go to a Christian church. When I heard what Jenks in Jenks BTW, not Tulsa, had done I thought just change your name to Jenks Christian Church. I chose a CoC for a reason. I love what we have, I see no reason to change this. I think the focus is in the wrong place. CoC s need to focus on the bad PR we have on who we think is going to Heaven.

  5. Alan I really appreciate your series on Smith’s book. I think he has many worth while things to say in his book. You are doing good. Keep it up.Shalom,Bobby Valentine

  6. Hi Brett,I would never advocate going into an a cappella congregation trying to sell the idea of introducing instruments. If that is what happened at RH then I agree, how sad. OTOH I still maintain that the test of fellowship is whether they have been biblically converted, NOT whether they have arrived at every inference from scripture that I have, and have implemented every such inference in the same way that I have. If I could persuade the entire Restoration Movement of one thing, it would be that principle. Everyone adopted by God as a son (Gal 3:26-27) is my brother, and I must treat him accordingly. No strings attached.Milly,As I said above I agree that this sort of thing should not be done without the unanimous consent of the membership. Romans 14 applies…Bobby,Thanks for your kindness. BTW congratulations and best wishes in your new minisry.

  7. Instrumental music? Necessary? Beneficial? To please God or to please man? Have we become like Israel?1 Sam 8:4-5 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”Must we always have what “all the other nations have?”

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