As members of the body of Christ, we believe firmly in the authority of Christ as head, as that authority is expressed within the pages of the New Testament. Everything we do “in word or deed” must be done “in the name” – by the authority – of the Lord. (Colossians 3:17.) To move beyond this authority is to move beyond fellowship with God. (2 John 9.)
And yet the New Testament scriptures do not in any way authorize the use of mechanical instruments of music in our worship to God. We are enjoined, both by example and command, to sing. (Mark 14:16; Acts 16:25; Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 15:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12; James 5:13.)
The Christians of the first few centuries after the church’s establishment must have understood the import of these passages as prohibiting the innovation of the instrument in worship, for history reveals it was not introduced by any church – anywhere – until centuries later.
Yes, we realize the early saints had no song books, no microphones, and no padded pews either, and that these conveniences are nowhere mentioned specifically in the New Testaments. But these things, unlike the instrument, are scripturally authorized. They are but expedients used to carry out the very instructions God has given us. When a preacher uses a microphone to preach, he preaches – nothing more, nothing less. When we use song books to sing, we sing- nothing more, nothing less. When we sit in worship upon pews, padded or otherwise, we worship – nothing more, nothing less.
But when one uses the instrument in worship, he adds another element of music to God’s command to sing. Had the scriptures commanded us to “make music,” and left it at that, we would be at liberty to play, sing, hum, or blow a horn as expressions of worship. But the New Testament specifically and simply instructs us to “sing,” and leaves it at that.
As should we.