The use of instrumental music in worship has become a staple in much of modern religious life. Not offering it is an automatic turn-off for many when choosing their church affiliation. In fact, instrumental music in worship is arguably the top one or two worship components that most worship leaders would argue attract the younger generations and elicit the “emotional experience” many seek for spiritual fulfillment.
John Piper wrote a short article in 2009 entitled, “Is It Okay to Use Musical Instruments In Worship?” He presents a fair representation of the two sides of this argument. “There’s a view of church life that says we should only do what the Bible commands us to do in worship: the regulative principle. Another view says we are free to do whatever the Bible doesn’t forbid us to do.” However, and quite unfortunately, his conclusion is founded on “I think” and ZERO scripture. That’s not how we roll….let’s see what God says….
HowScriptureanswers "Is instrumental music in worship authorized?"
The New Testament authorizes making music and melody with the heart3,4,5, but never is instrumental music in worship authorized. Here’s why the popular arguments for allowing instrumental music in worship are flawed:
God has never been compromising on how He chooses to be worshipped7, and we know that God doesn’t change. It is His choice, is it not?
The old covenant is dead/passed2 and the new covenant brings a completely new way to worship1 (the entire point of Hebrews5). Trying to pull any worship practice from the old covenant (e.g. David playing instruments) into the new is not appropriate.
With all due respect to John Piper, taking liberty with God’s silence is adding to God’s word6. What hasn’t been authorized, is by definition, unauthorized7. To be clear, God isn’t being “silent” about what He has authorized (singing and making melody with our heart3,4 and lips5). Therefore, attempting to shoehorn instrumental music in worship under God’s permissive will (by using comparisons like the fact that God doesn’t tell us what shirt to wear or whether to stand in the front or back when one preaches) is only injecting man’s will into how we want to worship, not conforming to God’s instruction on how He commands to be worshipped.
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