This thread is being presented here solely for the purpose of providing information so that another congregation may learn a valuable lesson from this congregations own experience, and thus avoid pitfalls of discord and the eventual exodus of a considerable number of its own members.
This thread is not intended to suggest or imply that the Madison congregations problems that resulted in similar ways were associated with instrumental music. However, it is significant to illustrate the point that whenever unnecessary and divisive changes are incorporated into the churchs set of beliefs and practices against the will of many of its members, discord among the brethren will be inevitable. This has been proven time and again.
Notice what a member of the Quail Springs church has written to us about the impending crisis (June, 2007):
- <font color=black size=3 face=times new roman>Hello, my name is [______]. I am a member of Quail Springs Church of Christ in Oklahoma City. I have been reading through the extensive information provided on your website and find it very interesting. In particular, the changes that are occurring at our church in light of our minister and eldership announcing that we would be adding an instrumental worship service earlier this year. Since that time, we have significant discord in our church. Things that are happening here seem to mirror what happened at Richland Hills. I was wondering what the final result what at Richland Hills because, frankly, I am concerned about the future of our church. Thanks in advance Member.</font>
- <font color=black size=3 face=times new roman>Dear Readers:
Today's lesson is a called for action. I hope after reading this the redeemed of the Lord will say so (Ps. 107:2). Please pass this lesson on to every Christian of your acquaintance. Lift up continual prayers for the Lord's church.
- <font size=4>QUAIL SPRINGS CHURCH ADOPTS INSTRUMENTS FOR WORSHIP</font>
<font size=3 face=times new roman>The headline reads, "Quail Springs Church of Christ will add service with musical instruments." This congregation is located in Oklahoma City. In an interview with reporter, Carla Hinton (01/27/08), Quail Springs minister, Mark Henderson, answered questions and explained why he and his elders decided to introduce instrumental music into the worship for their congregation. The full article is posted at http://newsok.com/article/3197304/?print=1. Reading the interview, several interesting facts emerge to help us understand why the preacher and elders of a Church of Christ would want to introduce instrumental music into their worship.
I note that Bro. Henderson is the preaching minister of the congregation. It is reasonable to conclude that one reason for this major decision is the preaching and teaching he has done on the subject. That his elders went along with his desire to have instruments, reflects badly on them. They are supposed to be the older, wiser shepherds of the flock who hold to the faithful word which is according to the teaching and able to exhort in the sound doctrine (Tit. 1:9).
Bro. Henderson's defense of their decision is pathetic for a man who has been preaching some 20 years. He explains that our brethren's reason for rejecting the use of instruments is because they are without divine authorization. He acknowledges that they are not found in the New Testament of Christ. He concedes that Churches of Christ have universally considered the use of man-made instruments of music in worship to be sinful and out of step with God and refused to fellowship those who use them.
He tells us that he and his elders made the decision to use instruments after a lengthy period of discussion, prayer and study. One must wonder if they used the New Testament of Christ as a reference point in their studies? Did they weigh Christ's command that we "observe all things whatsoever he commanded" (Matt. 28:20)? I have observed in at least two other statements by preachers and elders announcing their embrace of instrumental music that they used these identical words. I wonder who recommended the terminology to them?
We learn that this event is the result of a carefully executed incremental process. Note the progression:
- "We, for a number of years, have treated this as a nonissue."
- They first indicated to their members a year before that they were looking in that direction.
- In the past they had on Saturday night an activity that they "called Worship Night...so we already had kind of a band."
- "We've tended toward more contemporary Christian worship music."
- From the church's website we can see that have been using a praise
team in their worship.
- "We were just developing what we have done before."
- Their preacher prepared the members by his sermons beforehand.
Bro. Henderson speaks much about their freedom to use instruments if they wish to do so. Historically, false prophets have often promised their deluded disciples freedom from the boundaries and restrictions of God's law. Peter depicts them as "uttering great swelling words of vanity...promising them liberty, while they themselves are bond-servants of corruption..." (II Pet. 2:19).
The interview closed with these revealing words from Bro. Henderson, "We don't make any judgments about any other congregations about what they should or shouldn't do." This reveals the postmodern basis for their actions. This new secular philosophy refuses to pass judgment on the beliefs or practices of others. Of course, our Master taught us to judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). I suspect by depicting the Quail Springs leaders as non-judgmental about others, they hope it will silence those who view their decision as a departure from God's truth and disloyalty to Christ.
When the decision to add instruments to their worship was made, Henderson reveals that a full third of their congregation felt obliged to leave and worship elsewhere. So in their desire to be relevant and appealing to sinners, they drove away 350 of God's children. Such is the story in virtually every church where change agents have gained control and imposed their unscriptural agenda. The change agents' call for unity rings hollow when we see them sowing discord and causing division on every hand. We remind them that God hates him that soweth discord among brethren (Prov. 6:16-19).
Bro. Henderson assured Ms. Hinton that his congregation has "received very little direct feedback" or mail from other congregations concerning their decision. Perhaps you would like to let them know how their decision affects you. The address is Quail Springs Church of Christ, 14401 N. May Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73134. Email at [url=mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]email@example.com[/url]
Now that the preacher and elders have changed their worship, perhaps they should also change their name to Quail Springs Christian Church. They would surely be welcomed among those whose faith they share.
Bro. Gary Bruce is the minister of worship at the Quail Springs church. He teaches music at Oklahoma Christian University.
Truly, this is a time to mourn (Eccle. 3:4)</font>
John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now
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