Instrumental music and the New Testament
1) For about the first 600 years after the church was established, numerous writers condemned instrumental music in worship.
2) Writers from about 38 AD all the way to 458 AD are on record as opposing instrumental music.
3) Finally it was introduced, likely in 670 A.D. by a Catholic Pope.
a) Beginning about 1320, men saw the need to “reform” things about Christian worship.
b) From about 1300 to 1800 we find renewed efforts to teach people inst. music is not part of NT worship.
c) It is only within the last 200 years that men and various denominations have again tried to bring in instrumental music for NT worship.
John Price, a Baptist, has an insightful book on how many have never been told instrumental music in worship is not part of God’s plan for Christian worship. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Old-Light-New-Worship-Psychological/dp/1881095010
d) Let’s see what the Bible says in Matthew-Revelation about instrumental music.
e) In Mt. 9:23 (prior to the institution of the new covenant), we read about some “flutes.”
f) Lk. 15:25.
g) Mt. 6:2 is where Jesus told people to not “sound a trumpet” before helping people who need aid.
h) In Mt. 11:16-17 Jesus contrasted His work and approach to reaching people to that of John the Baptist.
i) The word “piped” in Mt. 11:17 and Lk. 7:32 is used to describe Jesus’ evangelistic approach.
4) 1 Cor. 13:1 – “sounding brass” or a “clanging symbol” (musical instruments).
5) 1 Cor. 14:7-8.
6) Four other NT verses about instrumental music – Mt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:52; Heb. 12:19; 1 Thess. 4:16.
a) Mt. 24:31 uses the word “trumpet” to describe heaven’s destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
b) 1 Cor. 15:52 refers to Jesus’ next and final coming; Paul compared Jesus’ return to the sound of a trumpet.
c) Heb. 12:19 refers back to Israel and the mountain around which they camped.
d) In describing Jesus’ next and final coming we read about the “trump of God” (1 Thess. 4:16).
I BELIEVE YOU HAVE JUST HEARD OR READ EVERY PASSAGE IN MATTHEW-JUDE THAT MENTIONS INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC.
IN CONTRAST TO THE OLD TESTAMENT WHICH DESCRIBES ALMOST 20 INSTRUMENTS AND OFTEN ASSOCIATES INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC WITH WORSHIP (2 CHRON. 29:25; PS. 150), HOW MANY NEW TESTAMENT VERSES ASSOCIATE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC WITH NEW TESTAMENT WORSHIP?
a) Not one verse in Matthew-Jude associates instrumental music with Christian worship.
b) We have Jesus talking about instrumental music, but NOT in conjunction with praising God.
c) We have Paul speaking about instrumental music, but NOT in conjunction with NT worship.
2) In Matthew-Jude, we cannot find even one verse that is like 2 Chron. 29:25 and Ps. 150 in the Old Testament. Why is this case? We now live under a New Testament and God has changed some things. Instead of Saturday being a special day, it is now Sunday. Instead of select people being priests, all are priests (1 Pet. 2:5, 9). Instead of tithing, the New Testament teaches giving as we have been prospered (1 Cor. 16:1-2). Instead of praising God with instruments, the saved are to sing as will be demonstrated shortly.
3) “Well, just look at the book of Revelation. We read about instrumental music there.”
4) First, the only instrument we read about in the book of Revelation regarding the saved is a harp.
5) There are just four verses that refer to harps or harpers.
6) The first of these is found in Rev. 5:8 – READ
7) John said the “golden bowls of incense” are a symbol – they represent the prayers of the saints.
8) If the golden bowls of incense represent something, might not the harp also represent something?
a) All were playing harps but today other instruments are okay and not everyone needs to play today.
b) This type of interpretation is an example of twisting or wresting the Scriptures, something God condemns.
c) Rev. 14:2 – READ Notice the comparison word “as.” This comparison also seen in Rev. 15:2.
d) In Rev. 18:22, John described multiple instruments associated with Babylon (false religion).
9) The New Testament speaks of music, but it does not speak about instrumental music in worship.
a) Several times in the New Testament we find the word “sing” or “singing.”
b) Acts 16:25; Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Heb. 2:12; Jas. 5:13; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16
10) If someone wants to justify instrumental music for NT worship, they must go to the Old Testament (a system which has been removed by Jesus–Rom. 7:1-4; 10:4).
11) The “best defense” for instrumental music in New Testament worship is this: It is not specifically forbidden (prohibited).
12) If this line of argument is valid, it also authorize popes, Mary worship, Noah using cedar for the ark, etc.
13) God requires man to worship in “spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24).
14) The New Testament says “sing” and “make melody with the heart” instead of “make music” (Eph. 5:19). Will we add instrumental music to our worship (2 Jn. 9; Rev. 22:18-19)?
(15) Are we worshiping in accordance with what Jesus said?