Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

SINGING

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Keeping In Tune

Thursday, June 14, 2018
Is it right or wrong to use musical instruments during church services?

Sincerely,
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.

 

Hooked On A Feeling

Monday, December 18, 2017
When I am playing the piano in our worship, I hardly ever feel the presence of God.  But when I have the Sunday off, and I am worshipping, I feel God's presence.  Why is this?

Sincerely,
Not Feeling It

Dear Not Feeling It,

There are two parts to your question that must be dealt with.  Before we answer your concerns about how and when you feel close to God, we recommend you read the post “Music to HIS Ears”.  After reading that, it may make the second part of this question obsolete because it explains how using instruments as a part of worship isn’t a biblical practice.

The second half of your question deals with emotion.  The Bible never talks about us feeling the presence of God.  In fact, mankind hasn’t been allowed in the presence of God since Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden (Gen 3:8).  The angels are in God’s presence (Lk 1:19), but mankind won’t be until the Day of Judgment.  God is certainly close to us and affects our lives (Acts 17:27-28), but we don’t have direct contact with Him.  So when we talk about “feeling the presence of God”, what we are really discussing is when we feel emotionally close to God.  Emotions are fickle.  There will be times when you will feel like God is far from you… but you are wrong because He is still watching over you (Ps 9:10), and there are folks that believe that they are close to God, but they are separated from Him because they are living wickedly (Matt 7:21-23).  Simply put, we can’t trust our emotions to be accurate.  The only way to confidently know that God is near you is to live faithfully by hearing and acting upon His instructions (Rom 1:16).

Struggle For Life

Friday, November 17, 2017
What if someone who is struggling with a sin and continues to fall but tries so hard… dies?

Sincerely,
I Try So Hard

Dear I Try So Hard,

When we die, we will be brought before the judgment seat of God (Heb 9:27).  Those who go to heaven will do so because they were faithful (Eph 2:8).  Being faithful doesn’t mean you have to be perfect – everyone has sinned (Rom 3:23).  However, a faithful life tries to remove sin and conquer it (Jas 4:8).  We couldn’t tell you what God would say to someone who struggled but continued to fail at defeating a sin because that isn’t our place to judge.  What we can tell you is that sometimes we fail to remove sin because we don’t really work hard enough to remove it.  Other times, sincerely faithful people struggle with the same sins their entire life.  The only safe thing to do is to keep trying and do whatever you can at whatever cost to exercise self-control and bring your life into subjection to God (1 Cor 9:25-27).

Fa La La La La La La La La

Monday, October 02, 2017
I love Christmas, and I don't celebrate it as a religious holiday, but a cultural one (because it's not in the Bible).  However, I love Christmas music, but when the hymns which are associated with Christmas come on with instruments, I want to make sure I'm not sinning by hearing/singing the songs.  I know I'm not listening to them with the intent to praise God, so my question is... is it okay to listen to Christmas hymn music? Or when the hymns come on, should I change it?

Sincerely,
In The Christmas Spirit

Dear In The Christmas Spirit,

This is an issue that good brethren disagree on and certainly falls within the category of being an individual conscience issue.  Some brethren believe that it is impossible to listen and sing along with religious Christmas music without it being a form of worship; others feel that there is a distinction between listening and singing for your own personal enjoyment and actively worshipping.  There are good points to be made on both sides of the argument.  There are several things to consider before you decide to listen or to refrain:

  1. Rom 14:5 says that in cases such as these it is important that “each man be fully assured in his own mind”.  Whatever you decide to do, make sure that it is a conscious decision, not just a reaction to peer pressure or the feelings of the moment.  Honestly look at yourself and ask the question, “Do I believe I can do this without feeling like I am sinning?”  It is not always easy to discern the line between singing along as a form of entertainment and singing along as worship. You must decide for yourself if your behavior crosses the line between personal enjoyment and active participation in a form of worship God doesn’t desire.
  2. Can you do this with a clear conscience? If you cannot feel completely convinced in your mind that what you are doing is acceptable before God, you have to refrain. Whatever cannot be done in faith is sin (Rom 14:23). Even if you rationally believe that you can do something, if your conscience is still bothered – it is best to avoid the activity.  God wants all of us to listen and obey our conscience (1 Tim 1:5).
  3. Is your behavior hurting others’ conscience?  There may be times where you cannot listen to certain music for the sake of others.  If something you are doing is offensive or a stumbling block to other brethren, it is always best to refrain from doing it while they are there (1 Cor 8:11-12).  We must always consider how our choices are perceived by others… as well as how we personally feel.

If you factor in all three of those categories, you will be able to make a sound decision as to how you personally should proceed.

Music To HIS Ears

Thursday, September 28, 2017
I've been reading over some of the responses to questions involving music, and I keep hearing Ephesians 5:19 being thrown around a lot.  To a musician, anything that comes from us is from the heart… be it banging trashcan lids together or the serenade of a choir spanning all octaves.

As a musician, everything I play, I play for the Lord because I want to deliver a beautiful gift for Him and for all to hear.  There is beauty in Metallica, there is beauty in Psalms, and there is beauty in prayer, but the people answering questions on here have a strong tendency to not like instruments (or more specifically in church).  With every instrument I touch, I can feel ideas exploding from my heart for God, but you seem to rebuke others who want to join along in song with me using other instruments if they don't carry the same praise that I do for the Lord.

The standard response to my question is "you’re looking too deeply at the Scripture" + "Scripture is perfect" = Only sing, but I want the long answer.

So could you please expand on the "...and make music from the heart" part of Ephesian 5:19 for me?

Thanks and God Bless.

Sincerely,
Musician

Dear Musician,

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.

Displaying 1 - 5 of 33

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