Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Keeping In Tune”

Is it right or wrong to use musical instruments during church services?

Musically Minded

Dear Musically Minded,

Before we go into the specifics of this issue, it is important to note that how we feel about a topic is not the same as the truth on a topic.  We may feel that a certain activity is pleasing to God, but that doesn’t mean it is.  God tells us that His ways are not our ways (Isa 55:8) and that every man’s ways are right in his own eyes (Pr 21:2).  The issue isn’t whether or not you feel that you are pleasing God when using instruments to worship – the question we have to ask is: “What do the Scriptures say about instruments in worship?”

The fact is that God has given us instruments to use for worshipping Him – our hearts (Eph 5:19).  In the New Testament, God tells us to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to Him.  He wants the only melody He hears to come from our hearts.  Instrumental music wasn’t introduced into the church until over three hundred years after Christ.  In fact, ‘a cappella’ singing (singing without instruments) literally means ‘as the church’.  There are no examples of the church using instruments to worship God in the New Testament.  If we start using them, we are adding something to God’s Word (Rev 22:18-19).  All we are ever told to do is “sing and make melody in our hearts”… pluck your heartstrings as you sing to God, and you will make God happy.  If a congregation begins to use instruments in worship, they must do so without any New Testament Scripture to back up the practice.

The problem with instrumental music in worship is that it isn’t a part of the Bible pattern, and the moment we start doing things outside the Bible, we have gone beyond what God intended (1 Cor 4:6).  Instrumental music may sound appealing to us, but it is just one more manmade additive that adds to the division and confusion found in the religious world.