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Instrumental Worship

Posted: Sat May 05, 2012 9:19 am
by email
Inquiry in Reference To: [url= ... ments.html] ... ments.html[/url]
In your article answering argum,ents for instrumental worship you appear to have confused the words "psallo" and "psalmos". Your argument is built around the meanings of the former buthave not addressed the context of the latter. Surely where psalmos is used it means psalms, not to plucking / striking etc (ie psallo used later in the verse as "making melody". If psalmos means psalms (as the translators and commentators appear to confirm)then one has to consider the likelihood that Paul was actually referring to the psalms in the OT. Of course this leads to quite a different conclusion ie that trunpets, psalteries, harps, stringed instruments, loud and resounding cymbals and dancing are all to be encouraged within worship.

It seems that in doing away with the OT 'law' most Christians wrongly throw out the whole of the OT canon which, of course, is referred to in the NT as "God-breathed" and still useful for all manner guidance for the Christian life.

Instrumental Worship

Posted: Sun May 06, 2012 10:44 pm
by m273p15c
I have not focused on the significance of the noun form, psalmos, and that was an oversight on my part. Thank you for bringing it my attention and raising a good question.

If I said to you, "Tonight, during the worship service, Tommy read Psalm 19", would you understand that Tommy sang, played a lyre, and danced? ... Simply, even if the noun form, psalmos, inherently included musical instruments, then the peculiar usage of the psalm is limited and defined by the verb in this context, in this case, psallo. The other verbs, such as laleo, meaning to speak, also fail to authorize musical instruments. Generally, verbs define the subject's relation to the noun, not the relation of other subjects to the noun. Even if the Jews sang and danced to the Psalms, that does not mean that everyone, including NT saints, utilized the Psalms in the same way. What does the verse say? How did they use the Psalms? How are we authorized to use the Psalms? Where are we authorized to "play" or "perform" the Psalms?

You are correct that the OT is still invaluable and inspired Scripture (II Timothy 3:15-17; Romans 15:4; 4:23-24; I Corinthians 10:11). However, it is no longer binding as law (Matthew 17:1-5). It no longer authorizes. It teaches us about the nature of God, the result of faith, the dangers of sin, the need for salvation, and so much more, but it no longer authorizes or commands NT saints, who liver under a different covenant. Remember, any law or covenant given by God is a "seamless garment". No part of it can fail, unless it is entirely fulfilled (Galatians 3:15-17; Matthew 5:17-19; Hebrews 7:11-19). Therefore, are you willing to reinstitute animal sacrifices, polygamy, stoning, and other commands given to the Jews? How can you consistently cling to one and not the other?

We have more discussion on the distinction between the Testaments and usefulness of the OT here:
I look forward to hearing soon your thoughts from Scripture. :)

May God help us to have a sincere love of truth (II Thessalonians 2:9-12),


Re: Instrumental Worship

Posted: Mon May 07, 2012 3:59 am
by email
Thanks for your reply. I don't think you have quite caught on to the point I was attempting to make. If I use a variation of your example "Tonight, during the worship service, Tommy read Psalm 150". I would then hear Tommy reading instructions for us to praise Him with trumpets, psaltery, harp, timbrel, dance, stringed instruments, organ and cymbals. I don't believe we can interpret this in any other way than both authorizing and encouraging worship with instruments. While I wouldn't expect to hear Tommy sing Ps150 accompanied by a band I could reasonably expect the congregation to sing accompanied by instruments afterwards.

I am also baffled that you seem to consider the whole of the OT as "law". The law makes up only a small proportion of the OT. In fact, by instructing the NT saints to read Psalms to one another, Paul would appear to back this up.

Instrumental Worship

Posted: Mon May 07, 2012 8:18 am
by m273p15c
Thanks for the good follow-up question. Yes, someone could read Psalm 150, but would that be authoritative? What if they read this?
"Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark -- you, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives with you." (Genesis 6:14-18 NKJV)
To the others He said in my hearing, "Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were before the temple. Then He said to them, "Defile the temple, and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!" And they went out and killed in the city. (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NKJV)
Not everything in the OT is directly applicable to us. We have to consider who was instructing and who was receiving the instruction. Are we under the same covenant as Noah? Are we the punitive forces of Babylon, sent to kill all unrighteous in Jerusalem? Neither of these are part of the Law of Moses? Yet, are they authoritative to us? Are they not recorded by God in the OT? And, yet can we not still learn from these Scriptures and be edified by them?

Likewise, we can read those passages, and we are commanded to read the Scriptures (I Timothy 4:13), but we must consider the context and inherent authority of each passage. Similarly, I don't even follow every command recorded in the NT, even some ordered by Jesus (for example, Luke 13:31-32; Matthew 10:1-6)! Therefore, we must examine the context of each passage and consider its applicability to us. In the case of the Psalms and the Prophets, they were specifically written for worship according to the Old Law. Although they were not part of the Law of Moses, they were founded on the Law, always bringing people back to the Law, commanding them to worship and live according to the Law (for example, Ezra 1:1-4; 3:1-13; 7:1-10; 9:1-10:44; Nehemiah 1:5-9; 8:1-9:3; Malachi 1:6-2:17), so when the Law was fulfilled in Jesus and annulled (Hebrews 7:11-18; Romans 7:1-4), the authoritative nature of the Psalms and Prophets also was annulled.

Furthermore, do not the Psalms also tell us to, "Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar" (Psalm 118:27 NKJV)? If Psalm 150 authorizes instrumental music, does Psalm 118 not also authorize animal sacrifices?

Finally, please recall that musical instruments were commanded to be used by the Lord and were associated with temple worship (or the act of prophecy in a few cases):
And he stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with stringed instruments, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, of Gad the king's seer, and of Nathan the prophet; for thus was the commandment of the LORD by His prophets. The Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. Then Hezekiah commanded them to offer the burnt offering on the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD also began, with the trumpets and with the instruments of David king of Israel. So all the assembly worshiped, the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded; all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. (II Chronicles 29:25-28 NKJV)

By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea, we wept When we remembered Zion. We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it. For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song, And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" How shall we sing the LORD'S song In a foreign land? (Psalm 137:1-4 NKJV)
Can you think of any other passages in the OT that exemplified or commanded instrumental music as part of the Lord's worship? Sure, there are dozens and dozens of such references. ... Now, contrast that with the NT. If musical instruments were so common in the first century, then where is the NT command, example, or inference? Can you find instruction on prayer? Giving to the Lord? Public worship? Teaching, preaching, and studying God's Word? Yes, we can easily accumulate verses for all of those acts of worship. In fact, we can find verses that authorize singing to the Lord! But, where is the NT passage for instrumental music? If God has authorized vocal music, who are we to add instrumental music?

Oh, and, yes, Paul essentially told the NT saints to read, speak, and sing the Psalms, but again, I ask, where is the command to play, perform, or obey them? Commanding someone to read something is not the same as commanding them to obey every contained instruction regardless of time, covenant, speaker, and audience. Is it?

Thanks again for the kind and good Biblical discussion. I look forward to hearing soon from you again.

May God help us to have a sincere love of truth,