INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN WORSHIP IS VAIN WORSHIP
By Nana Yaw Aidoo
In Matthew 27:5, it's said of Judas that "he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself". And in Luke 10:37, Jesus Christ said; "Go and do likewise". Would anyone so much as argue that since these can be found in the bible, then we need to go and do as Judas did in Matthew 27:5? That no one would take such a position shows the necessity of handling God's word aright. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy; "Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth" (2 Tim.3:15 A.S.V). The "word of truth" needs "handling aright" and the one who handles it aright would realize that the old testament is a dead covenant. Books like Galatians and Hebrews make that clear enough and the seeker of truth would do well to study these books diligently. Nonetheless we propose to quote some texts that prove this assertion. "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second" (Heb.8:6-7). It was the will of God that Jesus Christ "takes away the first that He may establish the second" (Heb.10:9). Of the first covenant, it is written that Jesus has "taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Col.2:14). Therefore, those of us this side of the cross are "ministers of the new covenant" (2 Cor.3:6). People like David and the "thief on the cross" lived under the first/old covenant. If we who are under the new covenant are amenable to David's words in Psalms 150, then why aren't we amenable to his words in Psalms 66:13-15?
With this having been made clear, the question then becomes, "what kind of music does the New Testament authorize in Christian worship?". A careful study reveals that vocal music is the only authorized form of music to be used in Christian worship. I submit the following texts for your verification; Matthew 26:30; Acts 16:25; Romans 15:9; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 2:12; Hebrews 13:15; James 5:13. In all of these texts, you'd see words like "sung", "sing" and "singing". The Hebrews writer settles the issue by positing that our "sacrifice of praise to God", ought to be done with "the fruit of our lips". Not with the "fruit of our hands", neither with the "fruit of the instrument" but with the "fruit of our lips". There should be no controversy but for the fact that men are never content to dwell within the confines of God's word.
Where does God say we can't play the instrument in Christian worship you say? Does anyone after sending his child to go and buy chicken, turn around and state all the meats he doesn't like? Do we say, "My child, go and buy chicken but don't buy goat, pork etc?" Is that how we speak? What if after specifying chicken, your child brings you goat and says "Daddy/Mummy, even though you specified chicken, you didn't say I cannot buy goat and so this is goat"? Would you call such a child an obedient child? Or what if you went to a drugstore for antacid, only for the Pharmacist to give you Paracetamol and say; "you specified antacid but you didn't say I cannot give you Paracetamol so here is paracetamol"? Would you not at that instant, question the sanity of the Pharmacist? Even we humans don't speak that way and yet we expect the Almighty to speak in such an illogical way to us. Those who make such an argument are in effect saying, "God, even though You specified singing in Christian worship, You did not say I cannot worship you with instruments and so I'd worship you with instrumental music". God in return will reply; "Why do you call Me 'Lord Lord' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). "...depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matt.7:23).
The evidence is clear. God has authorized singing and only singing in Christian worship. To do otherwise is to worship God according to the precepts of men. That my friends, is vain worship (Mark 7:7).