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“Why Don’t You Use Music?”

May 4th, 2008

“…singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart…”

(Ephesians 5:19)

Notes from a presentation by Robert M. Housby, April 20, 2008 during the P.M. assembly, Cape Girardeau, Missouri church of Christ. This message was delivered from within the context of the Letter to the Hebrews

Introduction: Frequently, someone from one of the denominations asks, “Why don’t you use music?” What they mean is, why doesn’t your church use a piano, organ, or some other form of mechanical music in worship? The following is a scriptural response for those who seriously desire to know.

I. Christ qualifies us to worship; it is a privilege (Hebrews 9:11-14)

A. only in covenant relationship (Hebrews 9:15)
B. and, only according to the covenant (define: covenant and authorization)

1. Hebrews 12:28 – acceptable worship
2. Hebrews 13:21 – that is, according to “his will”
a. pleasing him (Heb. 11:6)
b. not necessarily pleasing us (though certainly possibly; Heb. 10:7)
3. Hebrews 13:15 – singing is endorsed worship (see also 2:12!)

II. If God orders worship (and he does, Heb. 9:1) then, not everything that is offered to God as worship is acceptable worship (Hebrews 12:28= principle; 11:4 = example). Either all worship is acceptable; No worship is acceptable; or, Some worship is acceptable. The latter is most certainly preferred.

III. The Hebrew writer is concerned about reverting back to the Old Testament as religious authority, and earthly forms of worship (Heb. 8:8,9,10; 10:28-39; 10:9!)

Conclusion:   Since mechanical music as worship is first traceable, at large, to the period of Pope Vitelian (about 650 A.D.; see Schaff’s Church History, Vol. 4, p. 439), and singing is authorized Christian worship, let us proceed in faith by pleasing God according to his will (see Hebrews 13:20-21; 15-16; 2:12).

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