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Instrumental Music at the Richland Hills Church of Christ

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You can't open the word of God and show me where God forbids it. ... I do not believe that what is acceptable in a car or at a wedding is unacceptable in worship. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Instrumental Music at the Richland Hills Church of Christ


1
Instrumental Musicat the Richland Hills Church
of Christ
  • A Biblical Response

2
Background
  • Richland Hills Church of Christ is located
    between Dallas and Fort Worth, TX., reporting a
    membership of over 6,000.
  • Richland Hills now uses instrumental music and
    Rick Atchley, their preacher, recently gave a
    defense of it in a series of sermons titled, The
    Both / And Church (December 3,10,17, 2006).
  • Their Acappella Worship service is on Sunday
    (800 am, 1045 am) and their Instrumental
    Worship service (including the Lords Supper) is
    on Saturday (500 pm).

3
Background
  • Atchley describes this issue as anti-instrument
    (the Richland Hills church was anti-instrument
    one month before Atchley presented his lessons).
  • Listening to the lessons will give you insight
    into how far away from the scriptures some
    preachers and members of the church have gone
    (the three lessons can be downloaded at
    www.rhchurch.org).

4
Background
  • There is a need for another service.
  • A three-year process of reaching this conclusion.
  • This change will allow us to reach unbelievers.
  • What principles guide our future? What fears of
    I.M. do we have? Is it Biblically appropriate for
    us to have I.M.? Is it an effective strategy to
    have worship options?

5
Background
  • First Question Why a Saturday evening (5
    pm) worship service with I.M.?
  • According to the New York Times, this is the best
    time to invite the unchurched.
  • Nothing will change on Sunday morning.
  • This will give us more flexibility.

6
Background
  • Second Question May we meet on Saturday instead
    of Sunday?
  • N.T. Christians worshipped everyday.
  • There is no N.T. command to meet on Sunday only.
  • Jews reckoned time differently than we do their
    evening starts the new day.

7
Background
  • There is no indication that this was an issue
    with early Christians (Rom. 145).
  • Choose the day that fits your worship preference
    and conviction.

8
Background
  • Third Question May Christians take the L.S. on
    Saturday instead of Sunday?
  • Early Christians took daily communion (Acts
    242,46).
  • Early Church leaders said that Christians took
    the L.S. daily no evidence that this was made a
    test of fellowship.

9
Background
  • Does what one church did at one time settle what
    all churches should do for all time? Luke is
    recording Roman time in Acts 207-12. Paul
    preached until midnight and took the L.S. early
    Monday morning.
  • Paul said whenever (as often as you) meaning an
    indefinite time (1 Cor. 1126).
  • Jesus made the event important, man has made the
    time important.

10
Background
  • No preacher has a problem with taking up a
    collection on Saturday night Jesus instituted
    the L.S. on Thursday.
  • Many Christians look for a plan (pattern), not a
    man (Jesus).
  • Follow your heart and conscience and worship
    where and when you choose and do not judge
    another.

11
Rich Atchleys Four PrinciplesFrom Acts 15
  • Atchley opens will a quote from Coach John Wooden
    who wrote that there is no progress without
    change.
  • Instead of being either / or, we should be
    both / and.
  • Can you worship with I.M. acceptably, or is
    acappella music only acceptable? Both are
    acceptable.

12
Rich Atchleys Four PrinciplesFrom Acts 15
  • The early Christians were Jews and circumcision
    was a mark of identity.
  • Do Gentile Christians have to be circumcised to
    be saved?
  • The early church concluded that circumcision was
    not an either / or issue, but a both / and
    issue.

13
Rich Atchleys Four PrinciplesFrom Acts 15
  • Answer Jewish Christians lived under two
    covenants (the O.T. had passed away the N.T. was
    still in force) thus, circumcision was a matter
    of judgment (Gal. 56 615).
  • Christians today are under one covenant that is
    still in force, the N.T., and I.M. has never been
    a part of the N.T. worship.

14
Rich Atchleys Four PrinciplesFrom Acts 15
  • Principle 1 There was clear and respectful
    communication. No name calling.
  • Answer Actually, Paul debated the matter with
    those who demanded circumcision and labeled them
    (verse 2 Gal. 512 Phil. 31ff etc.).

15
Rich Atchleys Four PrinciplesFrom Acts 15
  • Principle 2 The believers listened with an
    open mind.
  • Answer Paul, Peter and James spoke with the
    inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We listen to
    Gods word today, not mans word (Rick Atchley,
    the Richland Hills elders, etc.).

16
Rich Atchleys Four PrinciplesFrom Acts 15
  • Principle 3 They turned to the word of God for
    confirmation.
  • Answer What New Testament text do we to turn to
    authorize I.M.?

17
Rich Atchleys Four PrinciplesFrom Acts 15
  • Principle 4 They were more committed to their
    mission than to their tradition. Many churches do
    not view I.M. as a salvation issue.
  • Answer The O.T. had passed away. They were now
    under the Law of Christ. They had to change on
    circumcision because the covenant had changed.

18
Rich Atchleys Seven Fears
  • Fear 1 The loss of four-part harmony acappella
    tradition.
  • Answer Acappella music is not a man-made
    tradition, but an apostolic tradition (2 Thess.
    215).

19
Rich Atchleys Seven Fears
  • Fear 2 I.M. will discourage congregational
    singing.
  • Answer The issue is N.T. Bible authority.

20
Rich Atchleys Seven Fears
  • Fear 3 I.M. will encourage performance
    worship. Abuse is never a sound reason to keep a
    Biblical practice from happening.
  • Answer I.M. is not a N.T. practice for the
    church.

21
Rich Atchleys Seven Fears
  • Fear 4 Family conflict.
  • Answer We need to be concerned about conflict
    with Jesus, not family (Mt. 1034-39).

22
Rich Atchleys Seven Fears
  • Fear 5 Loss of Richland Hills members to other
    churches (accepting divorced people, praise teams
    choirs, the kingdom of God is larger than
    Churches of Christ). We have lost too many over
    an unimportant question.
  • Answer Some faithful brethren will stand for
    truth and authority and leave error (Col. 317).
    I.M. is not unimportant.

23
Rich Atchleys Seven Fears
  • Fear 6 Loss of influence among Churches of
    Christ. Many encouraged us and praised us for
    what we are doing.
  • Answer No, there will be a loss of Bible
    authority (2 Tim. 113) a loss of true, N.T.
    worship. Our encouragement should come from the
    N.T., not people.

24
Rich Atchleys Seven Fears
  • Fear 7 Loss of brotherhood identity.
  • Answer No, there will be a loss of Bible
    authority (2 Tim. 113) a loss of true, N.T.
    worship.

25
Rick Atchleys Old Testament Arguments
  • Argument 1 God did not just allow instrumental
    music in the Old Testament he commanded it
    (1 Chron. 28 2 Chron. 513 76 2925-26
    Psa. 331-3 811-3 921-3 1501-6)
  • Answer Instrumental music was commanded as a
    part of the Old Testament Jewish worship service
    which has now been done away (Col. 214). Where
    is it command as a part of the New Testament
    Christian worship?
  • See also Rom. 74 Gal. 324-25 54 Eph.
    214-15 and Heb. 86-7,13 109.

26
Rick Atchleys Old Testament Arguments
  • Argument 2 God blessed instrumental music and
    was pleased with it (2 Chron. 513-14)
  • Answer God also blessed the animal sacrifices
    (2 Chron. 56). Are we to have these also?
    Where does God bless I.M. in the New Testament?

27
Rick Atchleys Old Testament Arguments
  • Argument 3 Messianic prophecy anticipated
    instrumental music would continue in the coming
    kingdom (Psa. 456-7 Heb. 18-9) verse 8 of
    Psa. 45 includes instrumental music
  • Answer
  • A part of a prophecy may apply to Jesus, but not
    all of it verse 8 is not quoted in the N.T.
    (2 Sam. 712-14 Heb. 15)
  • Psalm 45 is a celebration of a King and Queen

28
Rick Atchleys Old Testament Arguments
  • Argument 3 (cont.) Messianic prophecy
    anticipated instrumental music would continue in
    the coming kingdom (Psa. 1849 579 Rom. 159)
    the word sing praise comes from the Hebrew
    word zamar which includes instruments
  • Answer
  • The context will determine if I.M. is included
  • The translators used the word sing (psallo) in
    Rom. 159, not play or use instruments
  • Where is the N.T. fulfillment of this Psalm
    involving instruments?

29
Rick Atchleys New Testament Arguments
  • Rick says, if Gods attitude toward I.M. changed
    in the New Testament you would expect one of the
    following three things
  • 1. A clear passage condemning its use
  • 2. A clear passage commanding acappella praise
    only
  • 3. A prophecy announcing the end of I.M.

30
Rick Atchleys New Testament Arguments
  • These are Ricks rules, not Gods rules
  • These rules applied consistently would allow many
    denominational practices
  • What is needed is one clear passage that
    authorizes I.M. use in the worship of NT
    Christians

31
Rick Atchleys New Testament Arguments
  • Arguments 1 Jesus never deals with the issue.
  • (Jesus did not have a problem with I.M. He spoke
    of music, sumphonia, when talking about the
    prodigal son in Lk. 1525. Jesus taught in the
    temple and cast out the moneychangers, not the
    musicians.)
  • Answer Jesus did not deal with abortion,
    gambling, polygamy, sprinkling for baptism, or
    marijuana, does that mean that these things (and
    many other things) are right? What about the
    party and the dancing in Luke 1525?

32
Rick Atchleys New Testament Arguments
  • Argument 2 I.M. is a non-issue in the book of
    Acts. Christians worshipped in the temple in the
    presence of I.M. Nowhere in the N.T. is
    congregational singing authorized.
  • Answer I.M. was a non-issue in the book of
    Acts because I.M. was absent from the N.T.
    church. N.T. Christians met in the temple for
    worship, but did not engage in OT worship
    practices (Acts 311). Both Ephesians 519 and
    Colossians 316 authorized congregational singing.

33
Rick Atchleys New Testament Arguments
  • Argument 3 N.T. commands to sing neither
    prescribe or prohibit I.M. (Eph. 519 Col. 316
    Jas. 513 speak to the individual, not the
    assembly 1 Cor. 14 is the only reference to
    music that deals with the assembly and it speaks
    of solos). To say that sing means sing only
    is a human commandment. Sing today means to
    sing and play an instrument.
  • Answer The words one another in Eph. 519 and
    Col. 316 speak to congregational activity
    (yourselves is plural reciprocally mutually).

34
Rick Atchleys New Testament Arguments
  • Argument 4 The N.T. refers to instrumental
    music in heaven (Rev. 58 152-3). Whether these
    passages contain literal or figurative items is
    irrelevant.
  • Answer These passages contain other items like
    incense. Will these items also be introduced into
    churches of Christ? Where is the N.T. passage
    that authorizes I.M. in the worship of the N.T.
    church on earth? I.M. is in the O.T. and it is in
    heaven, but where is it in the N.T. church?

35
Rick Atchleys New Testament Arguments
  • Argument 5 The NT idea of giftedness supports
    the practice of instrumental praise (Psa. 1503
    2 Chron. 3021). We have acting and
    painting! Why not gifted musicians? You cant
    open the word of God and show me where God
    forbids it.
  • Answer Bible authority, not a personal gift or
    skill, determines practice. May we have belly
    dancers in worship? Were Cain, Nadab and Abihu
    gifted (Gen. 41-5 Lev. 101-2)? Where does God
    forbid smoking marijuana, etc.?

36
Rick Atchley Attempts to AnswerTwo Points
Against I.M.
  • Point 1 The word psallo (Eph. 519) does not
    mean sing only it means to play an instrument
    (Wine only in 1 Tim. 523? Elders only in Jas.
    514?)
  • Answer The word psallo (to pluck or twain) is
    qualified by the immediate context when an
    instrument is included it is either named or
    implied in Eph. 519 it is make melody lit.
    psalming in your heart. If psallo means play
    an instrument, then all Christians would have to
    play an instrument because all are told to
    psallo in Eph. 519

37
Rick Atchley Attempts to AnswerTwo Points
Against I.M.
  • Point 2 The silence of the scriptures argument
    is not valid. Anti-instrument brethren do a lot
    of things that the Bible is silent upon (Bible
    school, one cup, church building, located
    preachers, orphan homes). Silence in the N.T. on
    I.M. is not intentional but incidental. Jesus
    went to synagogues. Jesus went to the Feast of
    Lights. Jesus used wine at the Passover. Jesus
    did not allow his worship of God to be restricted
    to the law of silence.

38
Rick Atchley Attempts to AnswerTwo Points
  • Point 2 (cont.) Silence in the New Testament
    on instrumental music is not intentional, its
    incidental.
  • Answer to Point 2 Rick finally admits that the
    N.T. is silent on I.M.! Specific authority is not
    required for all that we do, but authority is
    (Col. 317). Leviticus 101-2 and Hebrews 714
    show that silence is prohibitive.

39
Rick Atchleys Real Concerns
  • Real Concern 1 What this issue says about the
    Bible. No one, not already indoctrinated, would
    arrive at such a conclusion. They have been
    taught to read the Bible as anti-instrument.
    Thousands have studied their Bible and no longer
    hold the anti-instrument position. I do not open
    my Bible to defend the anti-instrument position.
  • Answer The Baptist would say the same thing
    about baptism for the remission of sins. What
    thousands have done does not prove anything!

40
Rick Atchleys Real Concerns
  • Answer Many, including denominationalists
    (Calvin, Wesley, Clark, Spurgeon, etc.), have
    rejected instrumental music by reading the Bible
    only (Campbell, McGarvey, Lard, etc.). Actually,
    just reading the N.T. by itself one would not
    conclude that I.M. was a part of N.T. worship.

41
Rick Atchleys Real Concerns
  • Real Concern 2 What this issue says about God.
    God does not vacillate, liking instrumental music
    in one dispensation and disliking it in another.
    I do not believe that what is acceptable in a car
    or at a wedding is unacceptable in worship. God
    is not going to hand you harp in heaven after
    condemning someone to hell who used it on earth.
    Would God who loves me so much send me to hell
    because of what he was silent about? That is not
    the God of the Bible.

42
Rick Atchleys Real Concerns
  • Answer How God will act toward us in the future
    is the way he has acted in the past not how we
    think he will act (Lev. 101-2 Rom. 1122).

43
Will I.M. Help Our Mission?
  • (Before going into this part of his lesson
    Atchley admitted upfront that this material was
    subjective and invited others to disagree with
    him if they want.)
  • We must become like those around us in order to
    win them find common ground (1 Cor. 920-23).
    The gospel does not change but the packaging of
    it does.
  • Answer Paul did not step outside of Christs law
    while trying to win others to Christ (verse 21).

44
Four Reasons For the Absence of I.M
  • Reason 1 It may be that they had to gather in
    secret to avoid persecution, and the use of
    mechanical instrumentals would call attention to
    themselves.
  • Answer The early church worshipped openly in the
    temple (Acts 2-5). They did not forgo certain
    acts of worship to keep from being persecuted.

45
Four Reasons For the Absence of I.M
  • Reason 2 It may be that I.M. was associated
    with pagan worship and debauchery.
  • Answer Atchley said earlier that I.M. was
    associated with O.T. Jewish worship.

46
Four Reasons For the Absence of I.M
  • Reason 3 Christian worship was modeled after
    the synagogue and I.M. was not used there.
  • Answer Christian worship was patterned after the
    words of the Apostles (Mt. 2820 Acts 242 1
    Cor. 417 1434 161-2)

47
Four Reasons For the Absence of I.M
  • Reason 3 Christian worship was modeled after
    the synagogue and I.M. was not used there.
  • Answer Christian worship was patterned after the
    words of the Apostles (Mt. 2820 Acts 242
    1 Cor. 417 1434 161-2)

48
Four Reasons For the Absence of I.M
  • Reason 4 In Psalm 137, the Jews were saddened
    after their temple was destroyed and could not
    play and sing the songs of Zion. The temple was
    destroyed in A.D. 70 and the Jews forbade music.
  • Answer What about Christians worshipping before
    A.D. 70?

49
Rick Atchleys Remarks on Culture
  • Our task is not to duplicated N.T. church
  • Reason 1 We must make cultural concessions to
    reach our neighbors (length of services, dress,
    Bible translations, technology) this is not
    compromise. One expert says that music makes or
    breaks the sermon.
  • Answer Gods truth and pattern are not changed
    by culture (2 Thess. 215 2 Tim. 113)

50
Rick Atchleys Remarks on Culture
  • People today get their truth from experience
    (music), not propositionally (Bible)
  • Answer Truth comes from Gods word (Jn. 1717
    Rom. 1017), not experience (Prov. 2826)

51
Rick Atchleys Remarks on Culture
  • Reason 2 Acappella singing hinders evangelism
    our churches are getting smaller. I want our
    church to grow. Independent Christian Churches
    are the fastest growing followed by Mormons. I
    dont see how God is honored by dying churches.
    I.M. is Biblical, missional, and doable.
  • Answer When you change the truth you will
    convert people to a man-made gospel. God is
    honored by keeping his word not by changing it
    (Lk. 646).
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