Ask Your Preacher
I have a question: is it wrong for churches to sing Christian songs like ‘Hosanna’ (i.e. Christian rock)? Some churches are singing these types of songs, but some people say it’s wrong.
Dear Rock On,
The Scriptures give a few qualifications for the songs that we sing. First of all, they must always be reverent (Heb 12:28). Songs that treat God flippantly or treat worship more as entertainment than reverence to God are wrong. Many churches are more interested in fascinating the people with trendy music than they are with bringing gravity to the minds of young souls that need to be reminded that their Maker is to be treated with fear and awe (Pr 1:7).
Secondly, the songs must be psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs (Col 3:16). The songs must have Bible-based language and doctrinally sound lyrics. They must agree with the teachings of the Bible, and they must be focused on spiritual things. Once again, worship is about God, not us.
Thirdly, they should be songs that are sung from our hearts and by all the members (Eph 5:19). The Bible never authorizes rock bands, choirs, pianos, etc. Instrumental music in worship is an invention that has no biblical foundation to it. The New Testament example is everyone singing from the heart – no more, no less (Rev 22:18-19). If you would like to read more on the subject of instrumental music in worship, we suggest you read “A Cappella”.
Should we worship only with our voices like we are commanded to, or is the use of instruments also acceptable?
Not To Harp On The Issue
Dear Not To Harp On The Issue,
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.
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.
A loudspeaker system produces "mechanical" music when sound is output through speakers (technically, sound waves generated by mechanical means, not vocal chords). If a church accepts this form of mechanical music by synthesizing its singing through audio speakers, could it accept words produced and synthesized by a sound board? What would the difference be? Ultimately, the sound produced is mechanical, sound waves from an amplifier and not from the voice box.
A loudspeaker system has nothing to do with the music being made – it simply amplifies it. When a speaker system is used, it doesn’t make any sort of music; the saints still have to sing and make melody in their hearts (Col 3:16). If the Christians weren’t singing, the speakers would simply produce silence.
A speaker system is no different then cupping your hands in front of your mouth to amplify the noise. The singing is still the same, just amplified by modern technology. However, if a piece of audio equipment is being used like an instrument to produce music on its own, that would be no different than using a piano or guitar.
Where is the authority to entertain oneself with musical instruments? If God doesn't like something, why should I?
Dear Radio Silence,
The Bible never says that God doesn’t like musical instruments; it just teaches that when it comes to worshipping God, we should use our voices as our instruments (read “Instrumental To Worship” for more details on a cappella worship). God also doesn’t want us going to the zoo as a part of worship, but that doesn’t mean He doesn’t like animals! Just because something isn’t part of worship, doesn’t mean that it is inherently wrong the rest of the time.
I am happy to write to you. I am wanting to know how you conduct your worship on Sundays.
God bless you.
Looking For Order
Dear Looking For Order,
The Bible gives us examples and commands for five different elements to the public worship.
- Teaching/Preaching (1 Cor 4:17)
- Singing (Eph 5:19)
- Prayer (Acts 12:5)
- Taking A Collection – Sunday only (1 Cor 16:1-2)
- Lord’s Supper – Sunday only (Acts 20:7)
Of these five elements, two of them are specifically allowed only on Sundays. The others can be done any time the brethren get together. The congregation here in Monroe, WA is a simple New Testament congregation, and our worship is just what you find in the Bible.