Music in Church (Part 3) - Instruments Not Carried Over From OT; Argument From Silence


V. Why the musical instruments in the OT church are not carried over into the NT church. 1. The law of Moses is abolished A. The law of Moses was only ever given to the nation of Israel and no other nation (Psa 147:19-20; Rom 3:1-2). B. It was only given to them for a limited time until Christ came (Gal 3:19). C. When Christ came, he fulfilled the law of Moses (Mat 5:17). D. Once Christ fulfilled it, He abolished it and put it away (2Co 3:6-7, 11, 13-14; Eph 2:15; Col 2:14-17). E. Gentiles were never under the law of Moses prior to becoming Christians, nor after doing so (Act 15:5, 19-20). F. The OT has been taken away and replaced with the NT (Heb 8:13). G. Christians are under the New Testament (the perfect law of liberty, the law of Christ) and its laws for conduct both in their personal lives and in the public assembly of the church (Jam 1:25; Jam 2:12; 1Co 9:21; Gal 6:2; Mat 28:19-20; 1Co 11:1-2). H. Since the OT is abolished and put away and has been replaced by the NT, the only parts of the OT that are still binding on Christians today are the parts that are repeated in the NT. i. See the series called "The Christian and the Old Testament" for further proof of this: ii. Therefore, music in the New Testament church must only be regulated by the commandments in the NT, not the OT. iii. There are only commandments to sing in church, and there is not one commandment or example to use musical instruments in church; therefore, the musical instruments in the OT have not been carried over into the NT. 2. The argument from silence A. When the Bible gives a positive commandment prescribing what is to be done, it thereby prohibits any action more, less, or different from it. B. God doesn't have to tell a man to not do all other things when He has told him what to do; because contained in the imperative is a prohibition of all things contrary to it. C. When Moses commanded that the priests were to be from the tribe of Levi, that automatically prohibited a man from any other tribe from being a priest (Heb 7:12-14). i. Moses did not have to specify that the other tribes couldn't be priests. ii. His silence concerning the other tribes in conjunction with his positive commandment that the priests would be from the tribe of Levi excluded all other tribes from the priesthood. iii. A man from another tribe could not attempt to be a priest using the following argument: "Sure God said that the priests were to come from the tribe of Levi, but God never said that I couldn't be a priest!". iv. Yet, people try to justify using instruments by saying: "Yes, God only said to sing, but He didn't say that we can't use instruments." v. Yes, He did. He did so by only telling us to sing which automatically excludes any other type of music in church. D. Here are some other Biblical examples of the argument from silence. i. The law of Moses stated that the shewbread was for Aaron and his sons (Lev 24:9). a. From that statement, Jesus concluded that it was not lawful for David and his men to eat the shewbread, but only for the priests (Mat 12:3-4). b. A non-priest in Israel could not make the argument: "Sure, God said it was for the priests, but He didn't say that the rest of us couldn't eat it!" c. If God says it's for the priests, then that unequivocally means that no one else can eat it. d. If God only says to sing in church, then that unequivocally means that no other music is to be used in the church. ii. The law of Moses stated that the Levites, specifically the sons of Kohath, were to carry the ark on their shoulders when it was to be moved (Num 4:15; Num 7:6-9). a. David decided to move the ark on a cart, and Uzza was killed by the LORD as a result when he touched the ark to keep it from falling off of the cart (1Ch 13:7-10). b. David understood the argument from silence after this ordeal when he said "None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God" (1Ch 15:2). c. David couldn't argue with God and say: "But you didn't say that we couldn't move it on a cart!" d. If God says the sons of Kohath are to bear the ark on their shoulders, then no one else by no other means can transport the ark. e. If God says that we are to sing in church, then no other form of music such as instrumental music is to be used. iii. Judaizers had told the Gentile Christians that they needed to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses (Act 15:24). a. The apostles gave them no such commandment (Act 15:24). b. If no such commandment was given, then no such commandment is binding on the church. iv. The same reasoning applies to musical instruments in the NT church. a. The New Testament tells churches to sing (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16). b. In that it tells them to sing, only singing should be done. c. The argument from silence demands that nothing be added to the commandment, such as musical instruments. d. If God wanted musical instruments in church, He would have specified such. e. Furthermore, how would one know which instruments God wants to be used since He didn't specify any? E. Imagine how large the Bible would have to be if the only things that were prohibited were those things specifically listed as such. i. "There is no express condemnation of mechanical instruments in worship. However, the Bible is not a book designed to list everything to which the Lord would object. Can you image what a book the Bible would be if the Lord had to tell us everything not to do? For example, the Lord would have had to say, "Thou shalt not put potatoes, peas, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. on the Lord's supper." If the Lord omitted telling us any item, one could argue, "The Lord did not say, 'Thou shalt not use seaweed in observing the Lord's supper."' The nature of positive, divine authority is that the Lord tells us what to do. By telling us to use unleavened bread and fruit of the vine in observing the Lord's supper, the Lord prohibited the usage of anything else." (Mike Willis, Truth Magazine, Why I Oppose Instrumental Music in Worship (2): The Introduction of Mechanical Instruments in Worship, 10-3-1985) ii. "When God specified the kind of animal to be used in a given sacrifice, that eliminated every other kind of animal. When God specified that Naarnan [sic] dip seven times in the Jordan River to be cleansed of his leprosy, that eliminated every other river. When God specified the items to be used on the Lord's table, that eliminated every other kind of item which might be used. When God specified the kind of music to be used in His worship-singing, that eliminated every other kind of music. Hence, the Lord does not have to say "thou shalt not. . . " in order for mechanical instruments of music in worship to be unauthorized." (Ibid) iii. "Too, there are many other religious practices which many people condemn for which there is no "thou shalt not." Here are a few of them: A separate priesthood A pope Sprinkling or pouring for baptism Religious celebration of Easter, Christmas, etc. Burning incense and candles Use of holy water Ecclesiastical synods, councils, associations, etc. "If the argument which says "The Lord did not say, 'Thou shalt not use instrumental music... proves that one can use mechanical instruments of music in worship, then the same argument will prove that each of the above (and many other things not mentioned above) is also acceptable." (Ibid) 3. The musical instruments in the OT worship service were not commanded by God, but were invented by David and were suffered by God (see Section II, 3) . 4. Quotes from commentators about musical instruments in church. A. John Calvin i. "There is a distinction, however, to be observed here, that we may not indiscriminately consider as applicable to ourselves, everything which was formerly enjoined upon the Jews. I have no doubt that playing upon cymbals, touching the harp and the viol, and all that kind of music, which is so frequently mentioned in the Psalms, was a part of the education; that is to say, the puerile instruction of the law: I speak of the stated service of the temple. For even now, if believers choose to cheer themselves with musical instruments, they should, I think, make it their object not to dissever their cheerfulness from the praises of God. But when they frequent their sacred assemblies, musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The Papists, therefore, have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other things, from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostle is far more pleasing to him." (John Calvin commenting on Psalm 33) B. Matthew Henry i. "Here were the charms of music to allure them into a compliance and the terrors of the fiery furnace to frighten them into a compliance....Note, That way that sense directs the most will go; there is nothing so bad which the careless world will not be drawn to by a concert of music, or driven to by a fiery furnace. And by such methods as these false worship has been set up and maintained" (Matthew Henry commenting on Daniel 3). C. John Wesley (founder of Methodism) i. "The late venerable and most eminent divine, the Revelation John Wesley, who was a lover of music, and an elegant poet, when asked his opinion of instruments of music being introduced into the chapels of the Methodists said, in his terse and powerful manner, “I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither Heard nor Seen.”" (Adam Clark's Commentary on the Bible, commenting on Amos 6:5) D. Adam Clark (Methodist, Bible commentator - 1762-1832) i. "Will our modern performers on instruments of music in churches and chapels, pretend to the prophetic influence? If they do not, and cannot, how dare they quote such passages in vindication of their practice, which can be no better than a dulcet noise without its original meaning, and alien from its primary use? Do they indeed prophesy with harps, and psalteries, and cymbals? or with their play-house aggregate of fiddles and flutes, bass-viols and bassoons, clarionets and kettle-drums? Away with such trumpery and pollution from the worship and Church of Christ!" (Adam Clark's Commentary on the Bible, commenting on Psalm 62) ii. "Query, Did God ever ordain instruments of music to be used in his worship? Can they be used in Christian assemblies according to the spirit of Christianity? Has Jesus Christ, or his apostles, ever commanded or sanctioned the use of them? Were they ever used any where in the apostolic Church? Does the use of them at present, in Christian congregations, ever increase the spirit of devotion? Does it ever appear that bands of musicians, either in their collective or individual capacity, are more spiritual, or as spiritual, as the other parts of the Church of Christ? Is there less pride, self-will, stubbornness, insubordination, lightness, and frivolity, among such persons, than among the other professors of Christianity found in the same religious society? Is it ever remarked or known that musicians in the house of God have attained to any depth of piety, or superior soundness of understanding, in the things of God? Is it ever found that those Churches and Christian societies which have and use instruments of music in Divine worship are more holy, or as holy, as those societies which do not use them? And is it always found that the ministers which affect and recommend them to be used in the worship of Almighty God, are the most spiritual men, and the most spiritual and useful preachers? Can mere sounds, no matter how melodious, where no word nor sentiment is or can be uttered, be considered as giving praise to God? Is it possible that pipes or strings of any kind can give God praise? Can God be pleased with sounds which are emitted by no sentient being, and have in themselves no meaning? If these questions cannot be answered in the affirmative: then, query, Is not the introduction of such instruments into the worship of God antichristian, and calculated to debase and ultimately ruin the spirit and influence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? And should not all who wish well to the spread and establishment of pure and undefiled religion, lift up their hand, their influence, and their voice against them? The argument from their use in the Jewish service is futile in the extreme when applied to Christianity." (Adam Clark's Commentary on the Bible, commenting on 1Ch 16:42) iii. "It was by the hand or commandment of the Lord and his prophets that the Levites should praise the Lord; for so the Hebrew text may be understood: and it was by the order of David that so many instruments of music should be introduced into the Divine service. But were it even evident, which it is not, either from this or any other place in the sacred writings, that instruments of music were prescribed by Divine authority under the law, could this be adduced with any semblance of reason, that they ought to be used in Christian worship? No: the whole spirit, soul, and genius of the Christian religion are against this: and those who know the Church of God best, and what constitutes its genuine spiritual state, know that these things have been introduced as a substitute for the life and power of religion; and that where they prevail most, there is least of the power of Christianity. Away with such portentous baubles from the worship of that infinite Spirit who requires his followers to worship him in spirit and in truth, for to no such worship are those instruments friendly." (Adam Clark's Commentary on the Bible, commenting on 2Ch 29:25) iv. "I am an old man, and an old minister; and I here declare that I never knew them productive of any good in the worship of God; and have had reason to believe that they were productive of much evil. Music, as a science, I esteem and admire: but instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of music; and here I register my protest against all such corruptions in the worship of the Author of Christianity." (Adam Clark's Commentary on the Bible, commenting on Amos 6:5) E. John Girardeau (Presbyterian) i. "It has thus been proved, by an appeal to historical facts, that the church, although lapsing more and more into defection from the truth and into a corruption of apostolic practice, had no instrumental music for twelve hundred years; and that the Calvinistic Reformed Church ejected it from its services as an element of Popery, even the Church of England having come very nigh to its extrusion from her worship. The historical argument, therefore, combines with the Scriptural and the confessional to raise a solemn and powerful protest against its employment by the Presbyterian Church. It is heresy in the sphere of worship." (John Girardeau, Instrumental Music, p. 179).
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