Brother John, It is my opinion that instrumental praise is not sinful. I pray that more and more people of the Church of Christ will come to what has been an enlightened understanding for me. I was brought up in the Church of Christ denomination ( yes, TODAY the "Church of Christ" is a denomination), and I have served as a deacon (3 years) and an elder (9 years), so I know the scriptures that are used to support the position against the use of instrumental praise.
I now consider those arguments a case of faulty reasoning and misapplied scripture. It is also my opinion that a staunch stand against instrumental praise is divisive to the body of Christ and detrimental to the salvation of the lost. The unsaved, the broken, those searching for meaning in their life are not concerned about whether a praise service is a cappella or instrumental; nor should we be. By the way, add Creekside Church of Christ to the list of C o C congregations integrating instrumental praise into their schedule of congregated praise. Creekside is a 400 to 500 member congregation in Midlothian, Texas. Creekside's Sunday evening praise is referred to as Turning Point. It is a contemporary instrumental praise service.
Sir, you might be surprised if you knew how many "closet instrumentalist" that exist in the Church of Christ. The congregation that I served had three elders. We all agreed with our preacher, that instrumental praise is just as pleasing to God as non-instrumental praise. It was not implemented at New Life Church of Christ because of fear of change. I suspect that there are other congregational leaders that are of the same opinion but are fearful of change.
Finally sir, if you are still reading and haven't already deleted my correspondence, let me inform you of Creekside's Sunday morning praise. Singing is a cappella and is conducted by a praise team that includes women. One of the ladies is an exceptional soloist. Someday I hope to walk into a Church of Christ praise and worship service and witness a talented woman leading instrumental praise and hear a thought provoking lesson brought by some spiritually inspired young lady.
My brother, though I'm sure that our interpretation of various scripture differ, I still respect your understanding of scripture and your sincerity. Please afford me and others the same courtesy. May the Lord bless your effort to bring the lost to Christ.
Addressed in Love,
[color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]Dear Bro. Hightower:
Thank you for writing and sharing with me your new found faith and your hopes for the future of the Lord's church. That which you view as a new and wonderful transformation of your congregation, I view as a sad and shameful situation. It is sad because one of the Lord's congregations has departed from the narrow way that leads to life and shameful because her leaders should know better.[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]You say that is it your "opinion" and that of your fellow elders that instrumental music in worship is not sinful. It is impressive that you offer not a single scripture to justify your conclusion. I remind you that God's ways are not man's ways, nor his thoughts our thoughts (Is. 55:8-9). From Scripture we read that we are to sing an make melody with our hearts (Eph. 5:19). From Scripture we learn nothing about musical instruments in Christian worship. Historically we know that early Christians offered vocal praise without instrumental accompaniment. The use of instruments in Christian worship originated within the corrupt Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages.[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]You say the lost are not concerned about the use of instruments in worship. The lost know little or nothing of the will of Christ for his church. But my brother have served as an elder, you above all, should know what the Lord's expressed will is and be strong in following it. It is your duty as the mature leader who should be holding to the faithful word (Tit. 1:9) to teach those who come to salvation the Savior's will in this and all other matters.[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]You confidently say that "Church of Christ is a denomination." I do not question that your Creekside Church is indeed a denomination. But the church of which I am a member is certainly not a denominational body. We are a band of baptized believers who worship and serve Christ the head of the church in spirit and in truth. We are an autonomous body under the exclusive authority of Christ and His Word. We have no part in any denominatonal governing body. WE have no creed or written standard of faith save our confession of Jesus as God's Son and his New Testament as our guiding and governing document. Individually, we identify ourselves as Christains (I Pet. 4:16). Since Christ purchased the church with his blood (Acts 20:28); founded the church (Matt. 16:18) and is head and savior of the church (Eph. 1:22; 5:23) we like Paul speak of our congregation as a church of Christ (Rom. 16:16).[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]I find it remarkable that you have served as a deacon and elder of the Lord's church for more than ten years and yet you do not find it important to worship as He has directed. Only men who hold fast (to) the faithful word are qualified to fill the sacred office of elder (Tit. 1:9). You fail to recognize the sole authority of Christ to prescribe the faith, worship and practice of His church. That you wish to put women in the public leadership of the church is a clear example of your rejection of Christ's will that they not teach nor usurp authority over the men (I Tim. 2:11-12). Such rebellion against his authority God does not wink at. "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..." (I Sam. 15:23).[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]If your heart craves to worship with instruments of music and with women leading the assembly, I recommend that you seek out the nearest Christian Church or Disciples of Christ church. There you will find people of like mind with you. Their fathers, a century ago traveled the same road you are pursuing today. You will be right at home with them.[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]It is strange that you and others wish to change the faith and practice of our people, who for the last 200 years (here in American ) have followed the ancient faith and practice of the first Christians. But you charge us with causing division because we do not yield to your efforts to introduce changes based not on Scripture, but on your opinions. Can you not see that you are driving the wedge into our brotherhood?[/color]
- [color=#0000FF" size="3" face="times]In true worship, autonomous man gladly submits his will to that of Jesus (Heb. 5:9). In "will worship" (Col. 2:23), autonomous man does what he wants to do; what feels right and good to him, regardless of what the Scripture says. I neither cannot nor will not seek to force you to worship according to the revealed will of God. I do however plead with you to consider your ways (Hag. 1:7), to remember your first love (Rev. 2:4-5), to repent and return to the simple faith and worship you learned and practiced when first you tasted the good word of God and the glorious salvation of Christ (Heb. 6:4-5).[/color]