Most denominations that profess Christianity have used and continue to use musical instruments in their worship. Today, more and more churches of Christ are joining them in that practice. Many don’t think it matters to God and others think it’s what God wants. So, here are a couple of thoughts that I have found in the Scriptures for us to consider.
First, I could just leave the rest of this page blank because God doesn’t say anything about the church worshipping God with musical instruments. They were used to worship God in the Old Testament, especially after King David introduced them into the worship at the Temple. The Revelation compares the worship of God in heaven to the beautiful sound of musical instruments. But there is no mention of musical instruments ever being used in the church of Christ you read about in the Bible, even though they were taught to observe all things Christ commanded (Mat. 28:19).
Some argue that Paul’s command concerning “psalms” and “making melody” in Ephesians 5:19, includes the use of musical instruments in our worship to God. If so, then would we not all be required to play an instrument just as we are all required to sing? But how did Paul command us to use psalms? He did not say to play them on an instrument but “speak to one another”, “singing”. And how did Paul command us to make melody? He did not say to use the harp or some other musical instrument but “the heart”. It is the heart that Paul commanded to accompany our worship in song.
Second, we do not respect God’s holiness, nor do we glorify Him when we act presumptuously; that is, on our own without authority from Him. This is the lesson of Leviticus 10:1-3, in the event of Nadab and Abihu. They approached God with “profane fire…which He had not commanded them”. As a result, they were killed by fire from God. If God was not pleased with Nadab and Abihu, how must He feel when we offer profane music which He has not commanded us?
God seeks true worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). May we be those worshippers.
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
6059 Azle Avenue
Fort Worth, TX 76135