"THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PETER" Pilgrims Of The Dispersion (1:1) by Mark Copeland


Pilgrims Of The Dispersion (1:1)


1. Throughout the New Testament, various phrases are used to describe
   those people of God who make up the Lord's church
   a. Individually, they are referred to as disciples, saints,
      believers, priests, Christians, etc.
   b. Collectively, they are called the church, the church of God,
      churches of Christ, the body of Christ, the temple of God, the
      family of God, etc.
   -- Each of these terms describe various relationships maintained by
      those who are Christians

2. An interesting phrase not commonly used in reference to the people of
   God is found in 1Pe 1:1, where Peter addresses "the pilgrims of
   the Dispersion"

3. A proper understanding of this phrase can be very beneficial, and 
   give us insight into:
   a. What the Christian life is
   b. An important responsibility expected of Christians
   c. Our true home, and goal in this life

[Let's start by...]


      1. Transliterated from Grk., it is parepidemos {par-ep-id'-ay-mos}
         which is a combination of three words:
         a. para - "alongside of"
         b. epi - "upon"
         c. demos - "used in Biblical Greek of the people of a heathen
            city" (Wuest)
      2. Here, then, is how Thayer defines the word...
         a. "one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to
            reside there by the side of the natives"
         b. "a stranger"
         c. "sojourning in a strange place, a foreigner"
         d. "in the NT metaph. in reference to heaven as the native 
            country, one who sojourns on earth:  so of Christians (1 Pe
            1:1)...of the patriarchs (He 11:13)."
      3. Another definition:  "One who stays in a place as a stranger or
         visitor; to describe Christians whose final citizenship is in
         heaven and who are regarded as temporary dwellers on earth."
         (Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia Of The Bible)

      1. The Greek word is diaspora {dee-as-por-ah'}
         a. It is noun form of the verb diaspeiro
         b. Which means "to sow, to scatter seed"
      2. The term is found in Jn 7:35, and there it refers to the Jews
         who were scattered among the Greeks
         a. As a result of the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities
         b. This has caused some to conclude that Peter was writing to
            Jewish Christians
         c. Who were living in the regions of Asia Minor (modern day 
            Turkey) - cf. 1Pe 1:1
      3. But there is good reason to believe that Peter was writing to 
         ALL the Christians, both Jewish and Gentile, who were scattered
         throughout Asia Minor
         a. Comments are made in this epistle that cannot be understood
            in reference to the original recipients being Jews - cf. 
            1Pe 1:14,18,20-21
         b. More likely, Peter employs terms once limited to the Jews, 
            but now applicable to all who are in Christ
            1) For example, terms like "elect" (1:2), "holy nation"
               (2:9), "people of God" (2:10)
            2) Even as Paul did:  "circumcision" (Php 3:3), "Israel of 
               God" (Ga 6:16)
      4. If this be so, then Peter implies by using the term "pilgrims 
         of the dispersion" that all Christians are:
         a. Pilgrims living in a world not their own
         b. Like scattered seed, spread out among those in the world

[With this understanding of the phrase, "pilgrims of the dispersion," we
can now draw insights that are implied by it...]


      1. It is but a JOURNEY, begun when we first became Christians, 
         ending only when we reach our true destination
         a. This ought to affect our entire perspective on life
            1) It is not an end in itself
            2) Only a temporary trip toward our final destination
            3) Our homes, our jobs, take on a different meaning when 
               viewed in this light
         b. This ought to affect our perspective on death
            1) Not the end of life, but the end of our journey!
            2) Not the end of life, but the beginning of eternity in our
               true home!
      2. Embarked on this JOURNEY, we become like our spiritual father,
         a. Notice He 11:8-10, 13-16
         b. If this be our attitude towards this life...
            1) Then God is not ashamed to be called our God
            2) And we can honestly sing songs like "This World Is Not My

      1. Our responsibility as "pilgrims" is to be SEPARATE - cf. 1 Pe
         a. We may be "in the world," but we are not to be "of the 
            world" - Jn 17:15-16; 2Co 6:14-7:1
         b. Remaining separate may cause some in the world to think we
            are strange - cf. 1Pe 4:3-4
         c. But Jesus said this would happen, even as it did to Him - 
            Jn 15:18-19
      2. Figuratively speaking, we should be like those foreign refugees
         now in our country:
         a. Who resist giving up their heritage, their language
         b. Who resist attempts to "Americanize" them and destroy their
            cultural traditions
      3. Can it be said of us who are Christians, that we are keeping 
         ourselves SEPARATE from the world?
         a. Are we allowing the world to influence our...
            1) Speech?
            2) Dress?
            3) Conduct?
         b. If we so, then we are no longer "pilgrims," but "naturalized
            citizens" of this world!
         c. Remember John's warning in 1Jn 2:15-17

      1. Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await our 
         Savior - Php 3:20-21
      2. We are to be looking for "a new heavens and a new earth" - 
         2Pe 3:13-14
      3. That is where we will find our true home, the CITY...
         a. "which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." 
            - He 11:10,16
         b. That is "the one to come" - He 13:14
         c. That "comes down out of heaven from God" - Re 21:1-22:5
         -- That is where we, who are now simply strangers and 
            foreigners scattered like seed in this world, will one day 
            be gathered together!
      4. Those who are truly "pilgrims" will think often of their true 
         a. When my family lived in Taiwan, we thought often of our home
            in the states
         b. And so we will think often of our heavenly home, if we are
            truly "pilgrims of the Dispersion"!


1. Are we "pilgrims of the Dispersion"?  We are, if as Christians we...
   a. View our life here on earth as a journey in a foreign land!
   b. Keep ourselves separate from things in the world that would lead
      us away from God!
   c. View as our true home, the heavenly city God has prepared from
      those who confess they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth!

2. But you are NOT a "pilgrim of the Dispersion" if...
   a. You have not yet begun your spiritual sojourn by obeying the 
      gospel of Christ!
   b. Having done so, you allow the attractions of the world to 
      discontinue your journey and "settle down" in things which would 
      separate you from God!

Are YOU a "pilgrim of the Dispersion"?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist—Really? by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist—Really?

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

As I travel around the country delivering seminars on God’s existence, I am frequently engaged in conversations with people who understand that atheism is founded on many disproven assumptions. In the course of the discussion, the person will often say, “Atheism is founded on so many unproven assumptions. It takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to be a Christian. I just don’t have enough faith to be an atheist.” This sentiment was explicitly expressed by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek in the title of their book I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist (2004). While I understand and appreciate the motivation behind such a statement, I would like to suggest that it is ill-advised, and would urge Christians to reconsider framing the discussion in such terms. Here is why.
It is unfortunate for Christianity that numerous people misunderstand the basic concept of faith. For many in Christendom, faith is a warm feeling in their hearts when they have failed to find adequate evidence to justify their beliefs. Dictionaries have done much to ingrain this false definition of faith into modern Christianity. For instance, Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary states that faith is “a firm belief in something for which there is no proof” (1988). The American Heritage Dictionary gives as a primary definition of faith: “belief that does not rest on logical or material evidence” (2000, p. 636). The idea that faith is a fuzzy, emotional feeling that is divorced from logical thinking and “material evidence” does not coincide with what the Bible actually says about faith (cf. Sztanyo, 1996). As Sztanyo correctly noted: “There is not a single item in Christianity, upon which our souls’ salvation depends, that is only ‘probably’ true. In each case, the evidence supplied is sufficient to establish conclusive proof regarding the truth of the Christian faith” (1996, p. 7).
The false view that faith is “a leap in the dark” without adequate evidence is the concept that Christians have in mind when they say that it takes more faith to be an atheist than to be a Christian. According to a proper definition of biblical faith, however, it is only because of the rational justification and logical evidence available that true Christians hold to their beliefs (see Miller, 2003). What it takes to be an atheist is not biblical faith. To be an atheist, a person must choose to completely deny the concept of biblical faith and adopt an irrational allegiance to that which has been repeatedly disproven.
When Richard Dawkins states, “Christianity, just as much as Islam, teaches children that unquestioned faith is a virtue. You don’t have to make the case for what you believe” (p. 306), he manifests his lack of knowledge of what biblical faith is. Biblical faith is based on truth and reason, as the apostle Paul succinctly stated in Acts 26:25. The prophet Isaiah underscored this fundamental fact about biblical faith when He recorded God’s invitation to the Israelites: “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord” (1:18). Luke, in his introduction to the book of Acts, pressed the point that Jesus’ resurrection was attested by “many infallible proofs.” For one to believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the resurrection requires faith—based on infallible proofs.
Throughout the Bible those who had great faith were commended (Luke 7:9), and those who had little or no faith were sharply rebuked (Matthew 8:26; Mark 16:14). In fact, the Hebrews writer clearly stated that “without faith it is impossible to please Him [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (11:6). Faith is a desirable characteristic by which a person assesses the available evidence and comes to a valid conclusion based on that evidence. By allowing the greater religious world and the skeptical community to redefine faith as something negative, we have done a serious disservice to the biblical concept of faith.
If atheists truly have faith, they should be commended for it; but they do not have faith. Instead, atheism is a failure to assess the evidence correctly and come to the proper conclusion. It is the exact opposite of true faith. Romans 1:20 shows the contrast between biblical faith and atheism. That verse says: “For since the creation of the world His [God’s] invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” In this passage, faith means coming to the proper, rational conclusion that there is a God based on the evidence of His creation. Irrational belief in spite of the evidence leads one to conclude that there is no God. To arrive at this atheistic conclusion is to kick evidence, reason, and faith to the curb and adopt a baseless form of improper reasoning supported only by subjective human whim—an approach that, sadly, will leave atheists “without excuse” on the Day of Judgment.
 The philosophy of atheism is fraught with logical inconsistency and error. It cannot account for the beginning of the Universe (Miller, 2011); it cannot give an adequate explanation for the obvious design in our world (Fausz, 2007); atheism completely fails to offer a satisfactory explanation of human morality (Lyons, 2011); and human freewill defies an atheistic explanation (Butt, 2010). To cling to atheism in the face of such overwhelming evidence takes an irrational belief that is motivated by something other than a sincere quest for truth and knowledge—it certainly is not true faith. So, in order to help the greater religious world and the skeptical community to understand what true faith is, let’s not misuse the word or attribute to atheism something it cannot rightly claim to have.


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
Butt, Kyle (2010), “Biologist Uses His Free Will To Reject Free Will,” /APContent.aspx?category=12&article=2855.
Dawkins, Richard (2006), The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin).
Fausz, Jerry (2007), “Design Rules,” /apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=591.
Geisler, Norman and Frank Turek (2004), I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books).
Lyons, Eric (2011), “The Moral Argument for God’s Existence,” /APContent.aspx?category=12&article=4101&topic=95.
Miller, Jeff (2011), “God and the Laws of Science: The Law of Causality,” /APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3716.
Sztanyo, Dick (1996), Faith and Reason (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), http://apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/far.pdf.
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1988), (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster).

Human Suffering by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Human Suffering

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

All one has to do is walk through the halls of the nearest hospital or mental institution to see people of all ages suffering from various diseases and illnesses. Suffering is everywhere, and thus such questions as the following inevitably arise. “If there is a God, why am I afflicted with this illness?” “If there is a God, why was my son not allowed to see his sixteenth birthday?” “If there is a God, why are my parents afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease?” These and hundreds of similar questions have echoed from the human heart for millennia. They are as old as the first tear and as recent as the latest newscast.
For many people, the existence of pain and suffering serves as a great obstacle to belief in God. Skeptics and infidels, both past and present, have held that the existence of evil is an embarrassment for those who believe in God. One philosopher, J.L. Mackie, in an article titled “Evil and Omnipotence,” set out to show “not that religious beliefs lack rational support, but that they are positively irrational,” and “that the several parts of the essential theological doctrine are inconsistent with one another.”
How do theists reconcile the presence of suffering with the existence of an omnipotent and all-loving God? Some have argued that illness and other kinds of suffering are illusionary and spring from a false belief. Others have maintained that no explanation is necessary, because mere mortals should not have to justify the ways of God to men. But most Christians acknowledge that suffering is real and that it is a problem that deserves careful attention. Even though man cannot explain in specific detail all of the reasons for human suffering, the Bible gives enough answers to allow man to come to grips with the problem in general. Contrary to what many in this world believe, there are a number of logical reasons why people experience mental and physical pain. One of the main reasons is rooted in the fact that God is love (1 John 4:8), and that love allows freedom of choice.
Adam and Eve were presented with a choice in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:16-17). Israel was given the choice of serving the Lord or foreign gods (Joshua 24:15). Even today, man is a free moral agent with the ability to make his own choices (Revelation 22:17). God did not create man as a scientist creates a robot that automatically follows his master’s instructions without the choice of doing otherwise. Would God be loving if He created intelligent beings and then programmed them to slavishly serve Him? God granted mankind free will as an expression of His love. Sadly, man frequently brings suffering upon himself because of the wrong decisions he makes. The apostle Peter wrote: “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters” (1 Peter 4:15, emp. added). When people suffer the consequences of their own wrong choices, they have no one to blame but themselves.
Man also suffers because of the personal wrong choices of others. If God allows one person freedom of choice, He must allow everyone that freedom to be consistent in His love for the world (God is no respecter of persons—Acts 10:34). Uriah the Hittite suffered because of David’s sins (2 Samuel 11), and ultimately was killed because of David’s attempt to hide the wrong decisions he had made. All of Egypt suffered because Pharaoh decided to keep the Israelites in Egypt when Moses told him to let them go (Exodus 7-12). Today, families may suffer because a father is thrown in jail for drunk driving. In such a case, he is the cause of the family’s suffering. If a man smokes all of his life and then eventually dies at an early age because of lung cancer, both he and his family suffer because of his decision to smoke. God is not to blame for man’s personal wrong choices, nor is He to blame for the wrong decisions that others have made.
We today also suffer on occasion because of the personal wrong choices of former generations. If man is able to reap benefits from the work of former generations (medical discoveries, technological advances, etc.), then it is only logical that he be able to suffer the consequences of the sins of former generations. [Although man does not inherit the sin of Adam, he does suffer because of the choice Adam made to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.] Who is partly to blame for millions starving in third-world countries today? Answer: Some of their ancestors. Years ago, because people accepted the false doctrine of reincarnation, they began teaching that it was wrong to eat cows because they might be eating a long-dead-but-now-reincarnated relative. The doctrine of reincarnation has deprived millions of people throughout the world of good health. Is God to blame when people will not eat the meat that could give them nourishment?
When one experiences suffering in his life, it often is because he has chosen to sin. He might be suffering the consequences of his own wrong decisions, the wrong decisions of others, or the wrong decisions of former generations. But regardless of the reason for the suffering he endures, God is not to blame.

Human Knowledge of Ice, Still Frozen by Kyle Butt, M.Div.


Human Knowledge of Ice, Still Frozen

by Kyle Butt, M.Div.

Many modern scientists who have jettisoned belief in a divine Creator like to pretend that “science” has it all figured out. We are told that modern scientific methods are able to tell us how the Universe spontaneously popped out of nothing and what happened 10-43 seconds after the initial Big Bang. Furthermore, we are informed that modern science adequately and eloquently has documented the transition of a single-celled life form into the complex organism known as man. In addition, we are told that there is no need for a belief in God, because humans have figured out everything important or are on their way to solving the last of the Universe’s unsolved mysteries.

Anyone familiar with true science knows, however, that such grandiose claims ring as hollow as a drum. Not only have atheistic, evolutionary scientists failed to offer reasonable ideas concerning the origin of the Universe and biological life, but human knowledge of some of the most basic structures remains extremely limited, to say the least.

Take ice formation, for instance. Humans have been interacting with ice and snow for thousands of years. Yet, for all the time humans have been studying the stuff, we know precious little about its formation. Science writer Margaret Wertheim admitted: “In an age when we have discovered the origin of the universe and observed the warping of space and time, it is shocking to hear that scientists do not understand something as seemingly paltry as the format of ice crystals. But that is indeed the case” (2006, p. 177). While Weytheim is wrong about science discovering the origin of the Universe (people for millennia have known the true origin of the Cosmos to be God), she is right that human ignorance glares at us through the simple structure of an ice crystal.

How can humans claim to know so much, and claim to be at the pinnacle of all knowledge, intellect, and wisdom, and yet not be able to explain how something as seemingly simple as ice forms? As God told the prophet Jeremiah, “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?” (12:5).

When Job questioned God’s care, God condescended to speak with the suffering patriarch. Yet God’s answers were nothing Job expected to hear. God did not begin by offering a reasoned defense of why He was allowing Satan to torment Job. Instead, God asked Job questions that exhibited Job’s ignorance and pathetic frailty. He asked Job where Job was when God “laid the foundations of the earth” (38:4). God further queried if Job could bind the constellations together, or control rain and weather (38: 31-35). In the middle of God’s inquisition, He asked Job: “From whose womb comes the ice? And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth? The waters harden like stone, and the surface of the deep is frozen” (38:29-30). God was asking Job if he understood ice and its formation. Job’s answer to God’s interrogation shows his honest heart. He said to God: “Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (42:3).

Would to God that our modern, “enlightened” generation of thinkers would recognize that, just as Job, we still cannot explain even some of the most “paltry” physical reactions as the formation of ice crystals. That being the case, the only correct inference from such is to conclude that the Intelligence that created ice and initiated the laws of its formation is vastly superior in every way to human intelligence. Margaret Wertheim is an evolutionist, but she was forced to concede: “Though they melt on your tongue, each tiny crystal of ice encapsulates a universe whose basic rules we have barely begun to discern.” All rules and laws demand the presence of a lawgiver, and the humble snowflake manifests the fact that our Universe’s Lawgiver has thoughts that are supremely higher than human thoughts, and ways that are higher than man’s ways (Isaiah 55:9).


Wertheim, Margaret (2006), What We Believe But Cannot Prove: Today’s Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty, ed. John Brockman (New York: Harper).

Jonah (Part 3) by Ben Fronczek


Jonah (Part 3)

Jonah (Part 3)
For the past 2 weeks I have been teaching from the book of Jonah. Basically Jonah was a good man, a servant of our Lord, a prophet and preacher of God’s word, primarily serving in Israel. This book is not a record of his life’s work but rather it is more of a snapshot of a particular episode in his life. God assigned him the task of preaching repentance to the Assyrian empire capitol city of Nineveh.
They people there in Nineveh were a violent, evil, blood thirsty, power hungry people who were considered the enemy of the Jews and I believe that Jonah would rather have seen them all burn like Sodom and Gomorrah than repent and experience God’s mercy. So in rebellion to God’s command to go to Nineveh, Jonah boarded a ship and headed in the opposite direction trying to flee from God and his responsibility to Him.
Last week we saw that he did not get too far before a violent storm and wild seas interrupted his journey. He admitted to the captain and crew he alone was responsible for their pending doom and suggested that if they wanted to save themselves they should just throw him overboard. After unsuccessfully trying to row back to shore, and then pleading with God not to hold them accountable for killing Jonah’s, they eventually threw him overboard. And as he went down, so too did the waves until the sea was almost perfectly calm.
I believe in Jonah’s mind he would rather have died than preach to the Ninevites or see those innocent sailor lose their life because of him. So down he went.
But then in the last verse of chapter 1 we see an amazing thing happen; it says, 17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
Before we go any farther here I want you to understand what I believe this book is all about. More than anything else I believe that this book is about God’s desire to change hearts. Last week we saw how the sailor hearts on that ship changed. In the story we left those men praying to God, fearing and honoring Him, offering up sacrifices to Him and even making vows to Him.
In this story we also see that our main character Jonah also needed a change of heart. Even though he was a man of God and probably someone who had faithfully served Him well, we see part of his heart was very hard and needed to be softened or changed before he could really serve God properly.
God also wanted to change the hearts of those Ninevites I believe not wanting to destroy every man, woman and child if could be helped.
We need to remember that God is not in the business of being just plain mean to us because we sin, rather he wants to bring us back from sin and He does that by changing our heart.   Unfortunately it usually takes a crisis, disaster, or pending doom before we wake up and turn back to Him. And some of us like Jonah are more stubborn and hard hearted than others.
Verse 17 said, “Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”
Now some of you may doubt that this could ever actually happen. Maybe you wonder if it is an allegory or parable. I believe he was actually swallowed by something. The Hebrew and Greek word that is used here merely mean “a great aquatic animal.” Some species of whales and some species of sharks are quite capable of swallowing a man whole. Among these are the sperm whale, the white shark, and the whale shark, all of which have been found with whole animals as large, or larger than a man in their stomachs.
I found this Newspaper article from July 30, 2013 from the Rock City Times, it goes as follows: “Chicago, IL – An Arkansas man is alive after being swallowed by a whale on Saturday while visiting the Shedd Aquarium.      Jonah Anderson, 24, is being treated for mild dehydration at Chicago’s Mercy Medical Center after being regurgitated early this morning.
The incident happened while viewing the Beluga Whale exhibit. Witnesses say the whale, Puiji, came out of the pool, grabbed Anderson, and proceeded to swallow him whole. Anderson remained unharmed inside the whale until this morning when he was spit back onto the viewing platform.
“This is the first time any of our whales have exhibited aggressive behavior,” Shedd’s vice president of communications Andrea Smalec tells us. “We frequently allow special guest to interact with the whales, our staff even occasionally swim with the whales. This is completely unexpected.”               Animal trainers tried unsuccessfully to extract Anderson from the whale during the three days. Anderson was able to communicate with outsiders through text message during the stay. Friends and family tell us that Anderson remained positive and relaxed during the time.
“He seemed really upbeat,” Jonah’s girlfriend Mary, who was with him on the trip, tells us. “Of course this is not the first time something like this has happened. We were on a boat tour outside San Francisco last year when a whale snatched him from the side. That one scared him a bit, this time it all seemed routine. Not sure why this keeps happening.”
So the literal possibility of Jonah being swallowed is not that farfetched. But I am sure it would not be a very pleasant experience. I read that the temperature would have been between 108 and 115 degrees inside the whale. A person would have had very limited movement. It is possible that you would have contact with the fishes gastric intestinal juices, possible bleaching your skin. And I’m sure what air you had to breath would smell horrendous.
Now what amazes me is the fact that it actually took 3 days and 3 nights for Jonah to have a change of heart before he would actually humble himself before the Lord and talk to Him.
In Chapter 2 we have what took place next. Read Chapter 2.  ” From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord,  and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
So God actually saved Jonah’s life by using a fish rather than providing a piece of wood that he could cling to. I believe that fish also helped save him on a spiritual level as well humbling him rather than killing him. We’ll also see that God used that great fish as a mode of transportation, moving Jonah closer to Nineveh instead of farther away.
God’s method of deliverance here therefore reveals both His great power and His gracious heart. Campbell Morgan once said, “Men have been looking so hard at the great fish that they have failed to see the great God.”
Dr. Constable writes this in his commentary “The three-day time was also significant because Jonah’s deliverance became a precursor of an even greater salvation that took three days and nights to accomplish (Matt. 12:40). God restored Jonah to life so he would be God’s instrument in providing salvation to a large Gentile (and indirectly Jewish) population under God’s judgment for their sins. He raised Jesus to life so He would be God’s instrument in providing salvation for an even larger population of Gentiles and Jews under God’s judgment for their sins.”
This is the first mention of Jonah praying. Until now Jonah had been fleeing and hiding from God. Now in his great distress he finally sought the Lord. Being willing to die quick by drowning was one thing, but death by gradual digestion was something Jonah had not anticipated.
The prayer is mainly thanksgiving for deliverance from drowning. It is not thanksgiving for deliverance from the fish or a prayer of confession as one might expect. Jonah prayed it while he was in the fish. Evidently he concluded after some time in the fish’s stomach that he would not die from drowning.
Drowning was a particularly distasteful form of death for an ancient Near Easterner who regarded the sea as a great enemy. Jonah’s ability to thank God in the midst of his black torture chamber, which must have pitched him uncontrollably in every direction, shows that he had experienced a change in attitude.
Jonah could have composed the core of this psalm, which contains his prayer, while he was inside the great fish. He may have composed or polished the whole psalm sometime after he was safely back on dry land. It bears many similarities to other psalms. Clearly Jonah knew the psalms well, and he could have spent much time reflecting on them during his three days in the fish.
So the prophet repented and returned to the Lord in his heart. Having experienced the precious gift of God’s salvation in his own life, Jonah was now more willing to preach salvation to the Ninevites. Maybe he came to appreciate the Ninevites condition and how they too were drowning in sin.
The Hebrew word for salvation is yeshua, used here in its intensive form. The Hebrew name Joshua means “Yahweh is salvation.” The Greek name “Jesus” is the translation of Hebrew name, Joshua. Thus we can see a close connection between what Jonah declared (“salvation is of the Lord”) and what all Scripture declares, namely, that “salvation is through Jesus Christ.”
Here in the midst of praying for deliverance we come to verse 8 where he talks about idolatry. Was he talking about heathens who worship idols or is he referring to himself in some way? Interestingly, some scholars feel that Jonah is talking about himself, since after all, he is the one praying for deliverance.
There is something really important I want you to see here. Many believe that Jonah applied the sin of idolatry to all people, even himself; idolatry being the source of his own sin. He chose to disobey God and hold on to things that he thought were right or more important to him (his racial hatred, his prejudice towards the Ninevites, his own life and identity as a Jew). Those things were more important to Him than honoring God and doing what he commanded.   In other words he saw his own selfish desire as a form of idolatry.
Think about this: Is it possible that all sin ultimately begins or has its root in a form of idolatry? No we may not have an image carved out of stone, gold or silver to worship, but an idol is something one values, or pay more homage to than God Himself. Is there something you focus on or depend on more than God; maybe a job, your bank account, your things, maybe your own knowledge and wisdom, selfish wants, or a particular habit? Those things can become an idol if we are not careful… because of how we idolize them.
Jonah realized that he was an idol or ideal worshipper and it was a sin that he realized he had to repent of; and it took being swallowed by a fish to wake him up to that fact.
And it is at that point Jonah knew and believed that even though he was in the digestive tract of a big fish in the depths of the sea, the Lord had saved him.
He hadn’t been returned to the shore yet, but salvation is more than physical deliverance, it’s more of a change of heart. That what God wants to accomplish that in each of us. If we are not obeying Him He wants to change our heart for our own good and to benefit others.
It amazes me what people can live through when they know that they are right with the Lord; physical pain, sickness, imprisonment, torture, martyrdom, even living inside the belly of a whale.
When we know we are right with the Lord we find that peace that passes all understanding which the Bible writers talk about.
Jonah experienced that spiritual salvation first, then the Lord delivered him from the belly of the fish and the sea itself to walk again on dry land and breath fresh air.
A closing question I have for you today is this. Is there an attitude, a feeling, or some thing, or even someone you are putting before God? Maybe like Jonah, you’ve turn your back on God just a bit so you don’t have to face Him and do what He really wants you to do., or give up what He wants you to give up. Maybe you may have to go through a storm, and you may find He will allow you sink real low. He’ll allow that to happen to you, not because He’s mean, rather He may be trying to save you,
Like the Hebrew writer wrote in Heb. 12, “The Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son….. God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Be careful not to let what you want, think or feel, or even a attitude or practice become an idol for you. Always put God and His will first in your life and you to will find salvation and peace.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566
All comments can be emailed to: bfronzek@gmail.com





The fuller reading of the title of this article would be, “Is Instrumental Music an Aid or an Addition to the Singing prescribed by the New Testament in Christian Worship?” By this I mean, does it somehow assist the singing itself or the singers in the worshiping of God and His Son? Should we grant that it does in some way aid the singing and/or the singers, we would still need to ask further if it is merely an aid.
Beyond this we must also ask, “Whether or not an aid, is it not an addition to the worship of God?” These questions were thoroughly discussed as an outgrowth of the introduction of the instrument into the worship of the churches of Christ in the middle part of the nineteenth century. They have continued to be discussed to some degree from that time to this as this and related issues continue to trouble the Lord’s people. To properly appreciate the question of our title some historical perspective is necessary.


Historical Notes on the Introduction of Mechanical Instruments of Music into the Church Of Christ

About the beginning of the nineteenth century various devout men in our young nation became weary of the multitude of Protestant religious creeds and the strife and division produced by them. Independent of and unknown to one another at first, they began to raise the cry for a return to the Bible and a restoration of primitive Christianity. The spirit of the plea was perhaps best and most fully captured in the words with which Thomas Campbell closed his address in the farm house of Abraham Altars near Washington, Pennsylvania, in 1809: “Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent , we are silent.” He had only two years before sailed from his Ireland as an ordained preacher in the Old Light Anti-Burgher, Seceder wing of the Scottish Presbyterian Church. His credentials were recognized by the Presbyterian authorities in his new nation soon after his arrival, but as he preached the Bible more and the Confession of Faith less, he was appreciated the less by his synod. He was first warned, then stripped of his credentials. On September 13, 1808 he was ushered out of the Presbyterian clergy, even as he was studying himself out of Presbyterian dogma.
Ere long his family joined him from the Old Country, and he and his son, Alexander, rejoiced to learn that they had, though separated by the Atlantic, and without knowing the other had done so, arrived at a shared distaste for denominational creeds and divisions and a desire to follow the Bible alone. They began preaching religious unity solely on the basis of the Bible. Six years before Campbell’s break with Presbyterianism, Barton W. Stone, a preacher on the Kentucky frontier, had withdrawn himself from the Presbyterian Synod of Kentucky because of the conflicts he saw between the Scriptures and the Confession of Faith. He was appealing to men to simply take the New Testament and become and be Christians. Through the efforts of the Campbells, Stone, and others who rallied to this unimpeachable plea, tens of thousands broke their sectarian bonds and escaped into the glorious freedom of New Testament Christianity in only a few decades. A marvelous unity and harmony characterized those hardy souls in the Lord’s church through the first half of that century and a bit beyond. A general unanimity of doctrine and practice prevailed and a wonderful spirit of love reigned among brethren. Many sacrificed almost every material comfort and convenience in their zeal to sound forth the primitive Gospel so that souls could be snatched from the fire and the cause advanced. In many a case not only sectarian preachers gave up their error, but many of those in their respective congregations also came with them—sometimes entire congregations. The church of the Lord appeared to be in position to literally sweep the nation and to gain an advantage in this new land that it had perhaps never before known in a single nation since Pentecost.
But the devil never sleeps. He may have had reason to fear he was about to be driven from these fair shores. It was time to mount an offensive against the Lord’s host, but how would he do it? Outward and open opposition to the forces of Heaven had experienced defeat in every pitched battle. The Lord’s valiant soldiers had met champions among the infidels, Catholics, Protestants all and had left them bruised and bleeding from accurate and deadly thrusts of the Sword of the Spirit. No, this would not work. He must find another way to attack this foe which was so rapidly growing in influence and number. There was but one other way—he must bore and attack from within. He must do something to get them at one another’s throats; he must find some way to drive a wedge that would divert them from their evangelistic fervor, while he worked to divide their forces. He must find someone or ones who would open their hearts to his master plan and some item that would become the divisive wedge. Indeed he must—and he did. But it did not happen overnight (the devil has always been shrewdly willing to take short steps when necessary, as long as he eventually captures the desired ground).
Even as early as 1839 tell-tale signs of a denominational drift could be observed among the saints. When that year Alexander Campbell called for brethren to adopt the name, “Disciples of Christ,” As Earl West observed, “This was the beginning of a denominational nomenclature that would only mark the beginning of a denominational structure.”1 By 1844, Walter Scott, the fiery evangelist, in Pittsburg at the time, was announcing his conception of the church as a denomination and began urging brethren to join ecumenically with the denominations. Through the 1840s and into the ’50s the idea of denominational status of the church became more widespread, pastor and reverend began to be applied to Gospel preachers, and some of these modern “pastors” and “reverends” began to boast of their pulpit swaps with their sectarian counterparts. A landmark event that would fasten a denominational structure upon the church occurred in 1849 when the American Christian Missionary Society was born in Cincinnati.
In 1860 Robert Richardson wrote James Wallis, editor of The British Millennial Harbinger, expressing his sadness and concern over the sectarian shift he could so plainly see among the saints. After listing such symptoms as those earlier mentioned, he said: “But what surprises me more than all of this is to…see how easily churches can slide back again into the error from which they have been so recently delivered.”2 As it turned out, such developments and drifts as these would prove to be merely the groundbreakers for the introduction of the devil’s most devastating device.
At least as early as 1851 the inclination to incorporate instruments into the worship by some brethren is evident. In February of that year a man identified only as “W” wrote to J. B. Henshall, associate editor of The Ecclesiastical Reformer, suggesting that instruments be used and asking him to reply in the paper. He did so in opposition to the practice, chiefly on the ground that they belonged to an inferior age of types and shadows and were not appropriate for the enlightened Gospel age.3 While preaching in Millersburg, Kentucky, Aylette Raines entered the following note in his diary on April 27: “Bro. S[aunders] wishes to introduce the melodeon into the church.”4 Raines opposed it and kept it out. In October of that same year, in response to a request from John Rogers in Carlisle, Kentucky, to write something on the instrument in The Millennial Harbinger, Campbell penned his famous statement that “…to all spiritually-minded Christians such aids would be as a cow bell in a concert.”5 (Rogers’ request implies that some brethren already foresaw the introduction of the instrument and perceived such as a potential danger). L.L. Pinkerton is generally credited as the first to introduce an instrument into the worship of the Lord’s people by beginning to use a small melodeon in the church in Midway, Kentucky, in 1859. However, Earl West documents an earlier use of it by a congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1855.6 Furthermore, it is likely that the aforementioned flare-up of discussion on the subject in 1851 was precipitated by the introduction of instruments somewhere, although not documented.
While the missionary society apparatus would produce a large measure of grievous division between and digression among brethren, and eventually brethren would come to see that the society and the instrument must stand or fall together, more than any other item or innovation, the introduction of the instrument into the worship assemblies has proved to be both the most destructive and enduring issue. The adversary had found his agents (though they were likely unconsciously so in the beginning) and he had his devastating device. Now it was just a matter of time.
The earliest responses to the introduction of the instrument were all but unanimously opposed to it and continued to be for some years. We have already noted Campbell’s statement in 1851. The subject seems to have lain rather dormant until 1860. In his January 31 edition of The American Christian Review (the foremost brotherhood journal at the time), editor Ben Franklin admitted to being “pressed from several quarters” to state his views on the employment of instruments in worship. The fact that Franklin was being thus pressed evinces the increasing anxiety among brethren over this question. He responded to the requests by writing a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek, but unmistakable in its import, note. He conceded that a church might be permitted to use an instrument under certain conditions, namely:
[1] When a church never had or has lost the Spirit of Christ; [2] If a church has a preacher who never had or has lost the Spirit of Christ, who has become a dry, prosing and lifeless preacher; [3] If a church only intends being a fashionable society, a mere place of amusements and secular entertainment and abandoning the idea of religion and worship; [4] If a church has within it a large number of dishonest and corrupt men…; [and] [5] If a church has given up all idea of trying to convert the world.7
History buffs will note how nearly the earliest introductions of instruments into our worship assemblies coincided with the outbreak of our great Civil War (1860). While the war was a distraction and at times halted the distribution of periodicals through the mails, the subject continued to be discussed during the conflict (1860–65). In 1864 several men of great influence wrote articles on the subject. W.K. Pendleton, who had succeeded Campbell as editor of The Millennial Harbinger, answered a querist about instrumental music in worship by writing a lengthy essay in the paper in which he concluded that instruments were “questions of mere expediency,” classifying them with a meeting house.8 Also that year, Moses E. Lard began to lift his powerful voice on the subject as editor of Lard’s Quarterly in a lengthy article titled “Instrumental Music in Churches.” His method is neither subtle nor oblique, but explicit and direct. He began by reminding brethren that the restoration of the New Testament church was rooted entirely in having New Testament authority for all that we do. After reviewing how such authority is ascertained, he then came out with “both guns blazing.”
He who ignores or repudiates these principles, whether he be preacher or layman, has by the act become an apostate from our ranks; and the sooner he lifts his hand high, avows the fact, and goes out from amongst us the better, yes, verily, the better for us. Now in the light of the foregoing principles what defense can be urged for the introduction into some of our congregations of instrumental music? The answer which thunders in my ears from every page of the New Testament is, none…. Soberly and candidly we are pained at those symptoms of degeneracy in a few of our churches. The day on which a church sets up an organ in its house, is the day on which it reaches the first station on the road to apostasy…. Indeed, when a church has once introduced an organ,…they will suffer its Bible to be torn to shreds before they will part from their pet…. These organ-grinding churches will in the lapse of time be broken down, or wholly apostatize, and the sooner they are in fragments the better for the cause of Christ. I have no sympathy with them, no fellowship for them, and so help me God never intend knowingly to put my foot into one of them.9
J.W. McGarvey was another leading voice who became involved in the discussion that year and proved to be one of its most stalwart opponents until his death in 1912.
When the war ended, the industrialized northern states reaped a great harvest of wealth and prosperity, and individual brethren and congregations fell heir to these bounties. Large and prosperous churches built and/or bought grandiose buildings and gradually more and more of them thought it only apt to use an organ in such marvelous edifices.10 The devil had been “softening up the trenches” by the aforementioned perceptible denominational leanings in the 1840s and ’50s in preparation for his great assault upon the elect. Many brethren had been left defenseless by their adoption of a sectarian vocabulary, a sectarian view of the church, and a sectarian concept of “success.” It was but another small step to such brethren to move in an organ on Saturday and fire it up for worship on the Lord’s day.
In 1868, Ben Franklin estimated that while there were ten thousand congregations of the Lord’s church, only fifty had brought the instrument into the worship.11 However, more congregations were doing so all the time, and as they did so the issue began to receive an increasing amount of attention in the brotherhood journals. Correspondingly, the controversy became more intense. Influential men who had not spoken out before now entered the conflict. During the war years The Gospel Advocate ceased publication, but David Lipscomb, as sole editor, resumed its publication in 1866. Although he was ever opposed to both the instrument and societies, believing them to stand equally condemned as unauthorized innovations, he did not enter the fray editorially until 1871. He did not write at length against the instrument until 1878.12
As resistance to the instrument increased, those who had introduced it began to feel the heat. They had only three options: (1) They could ignore the opposition, which was ever harder to do because the pressure on them was growing more intense. (2) They could give up their instruments and return to the original practice. They could, but they would not—if any ever did I am not aware of them. Lard was right: once adopted, “...they will suffer [the] Bible to be torn into shreds before they will part from their pet.” (3) They could seek some ground or grounds upon which to justify introducing and keeping the instrument, which is what most of them did.
Isaac Errett assumed a leadership role among those who were drifting ever deeper into denominationalism and liberalism after the war. While he was influential as an ardent advocate of and officer in the missionary society and promoted it through his preaching, his chief arm of influence was as editor of Christian Standard, begun in April 1866. At least in part Christian Standard was begun to try to offset what certain liberal-minded, irenic, and ecumenical brethren considered to be the harsh, dogmatic, and unbending influence of Ben Franklin through his popular and influential American Christian Review.
While Errett counseled against the instrument for the sake of peace, he and The Standard became champions of the view that it was a mere expedient or aid, thus optional, a mere matter of opinion. As the line of fellowship between the instrument advocates and their opponents became ever clearer, The Christian Standard became the mouthpiece of the loud defenders of the instrument and continues to be such to the present day under the control of the apostate Independent Christian Church. Errett and others of his ilk gave yet others who wanted the instrument an excuse to adopt it, thereby encouraging its proliferation. So the liberal attitude toward Scriptural authority that rationalized and justified adding the instrument to the worship of the saints attracted more and more. The discussion through the papers was frequent and sometimes vigorous, especially in the last quarter of the century. Numerous oral debates were conducted on the practice, but most of them in the twentieth century. One of the earliest was in 1903 in Henderson, Tennessee, between Joe Warlick and J. Carroll Stark which some credit with preserving West Tennessee from widespread digression.
In spite of the best efforts of the best men of their time, digressive and denominational thought patterns had so captured the hearts of many brethren that they would not be dissuaded by either Scripture or love of the cause. It became the rule rather than the exception in countless congregations between 1875 and 1906 that liberal brethren, although often in the minority, would become powerful enough to bring in the instrument. When conscientious brethren objected, regardless of how lovingly and patiently they did so, they were treated as old guard, obstructionist trouble-makers and shown the door, and often quite rudely. In thousands of congregations, from country communities to the hamlets, towns, and cities, the same sad drama was played out. Brethren who stood on the solid ground of both Scripture and history had to start all over again.
Although the instrumentalists still make a futile attempt to blame the resultant division upon those who resisted the introduction of the instrument, truth and history are not on their side. A peaceful and harmonious brotherhood had the instrument driven like a stake into its heart. The original practice of brethren who studied themselves out of sectarianism rightly rejected the instrument as lacking in Scriptural authority. Peace and harmony generally prevailed among brethren until its forced insertion. Division followed its insertion. Surely, fair and objective observers will agree that those who wielded the wicked weapon of Satan were to blame for the disaster that ensued, rather than those who resisted the foreign and fractious element. In the 1903 debate between Joe Warlick and J. Carroll Stark, in the first speech of the debate, Stark blamed the division in the church on those who resisted it. He probably regretted doing so after Warlick finished his response:
If we inquire as to what or who is responsible for the present sad state of affairs, well may we ask: “Lord, is it I?” But the wonder is why Brother Stark, or any one else, should seem to fail to find the easy answer. Every one knows that those who have introduced and brought in the divisive things, including instrumental music, into the worship of the saints are alone and altogether responsible for the division…and any effort upon the part of any man to place the responsibility upon those of God’s saints who still worship as we all did before instrumental music was introduced, which was and is to worship just as the new Testament directs, is really amusing to all sensible people, and even disgusting to many…. Everybody knows in advance that there is not one word of truth in such a claim, but that the charge is perfectly absurd.13
In 1937, in a plea for unity directed at the instrument advocates, G.H.P. Showalter, editor of The Firm Foundation, observed: “The wedge that split the log were the religious societies and the introduction of instrumental music in the church. When these things were driven in, they divided the church. They are the wedge that split the log.”14 Earl West said it well: “Fiction rather than fact thrusts the blame for the division that followed the introduction of the instrument at the feet of those who opposed it.”15
By 1906 the division was so widespread and undeniable that even the U.S. Census for that year recognized it by making separate counts of the two religious bodies, the Church of Christ and the Christian Church (the latter of which would split again in 1926, producing the Disciples of Christ and the Independent Christian Church, respectively). Although the division was a reality and those in the Christian Church were commonly called the “digressives” by their alienated brethren, the issue of the instrument did not die. During the first third of this century numerous debates occurred with stalwarts of the faith such as Joe S. Warlick, W.W. Otey, S.H. Hall, N.B. Hardeman, A.O. Colley, F.B. Srygley, H. Leo Boles, Foy E. Wallace, Sr., and Foy E. Wallace, Jr. defending the Truth. Many hundreds, perhaps even a few thousand, were reclaimed from the Christian churches between 1920 and 1940, principally through the debates. The debates also continued through succeeding decades. Men such as Roger Inman and G.K. Wallace engaged advocates of the instrument more than once in the 1940s and 1950s. Before his tragic apostasy into liberalism, Rubel Shelly ably defended the Truth on this subject in an oral debate with Dwaine Dunning in 1976. The latest major debate on the instrument was conducted in Neosho, Missouri in 1988. Alan E. Highers severely embarrassed Given O. Blakely and his instrumentalist brethren with his solid and effective affirmation and defense of the Truth.16
Various attempts at unity have been made through this century, but only two of them are noteworthy. From 1937 to 1939 such an effort was spearheaded by Claude F. Witty (church of Christ) and James DeForest Murch (Independent Christian Church), and it produced considerable interest. These were brought to an end almost single-handedly by H. Leo Boles, then editor of The Gospel Advocate, when he delivered a “block-buster” sermon in May 1939 at one of the “National Unity Meetings,” reminding the Christian Church folk that they introduced the instrument which produced the division. He drove home the point that the churches of Christ were still where they were in Scriptural doctrine and practice before the division and if the Christian Church wanted unity all they had to do was to return to where we yet remain and they once were.17
A new round of “unity forums” began with a misnamed “Restoration Summit” in Joplin, Missouri in August 1984. These have continued in various locations to the present. While a few doctrinally strong brethren attended the first few of these discussion sessions with those from the Independent Christian Church, our brethren who have attended the last several of them have been almost altogether liberal compromisers who view the instrument as a mere matter of personal conscience that should not be made an issue of fellowship. In fact, some of these brethren apparently have far more tolerance, forbearance, and respect for those in the Christian Church than they do for those of their own brethren who are steadfastly opposed to the instrument on Scriptural grounds. As for the Independent Christian Church fellows, they remain adamant on the instrument. Their defiant cry continues to be: “We’re not about to give it up!”

Is the Instrument Merely an “Aid”?

The Fundamental Implication of the Instrument Issue
The explanation of why this issue is so enduring lies not only in the issue itself, but in the implications of it. The use or refusal of man-made musical instruments in the worship of God in the Christian era takes us directly to the subject of authority in the Christian religion. What is our authority, and are we content to respect and abide within that authority? There is no authority for the use of the instrument in the worship of the New Testament church, either by precept, apostolic course of action, or implication. The New Testament is utterly silent concerning the use of any mechanical instrument with the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that are to be offered in praise to God. The only sort of music that is authorized is singing and, when it pertains to worship in the assemblies of God’s people, it is congregational singing whereby we speak to and teach and admonish one another (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). The plea that we and our spiritual forebears have made for the past two centuries is that we restore, and once restored, maintain the primitive doctrine and practice of the apostolic church. “Restore” implies bringing back the original condition that had been lost. Admittedly, worship with instruments cannot be found in the practice of the primitive church (although some have desperately tried to do so). It is appropriate to ask relentlessly how the instrument can be a part of restoring the New Testament church, since it was never there to begin with. This issue, more than any other, has served as a sort of spiritual “litmus test” of whether or not we are going to be content to do only that which the Lord authorizes in His Word.
The instrument advocates not only insist on worshiping with instruments, but we are driven to the conclusion that they practically worship the instrument itself (“instrumentolaters”?). (When the controversy waxed warm in the last quarter of the past century, brethren who opposed the instrument often depicted it as an idol in the hearts of its advocates. The same inclination is yet evident in them.) What else would drive them to sacrifice fellowship, destroy unity and peace in the church of God, show contempt for Scriptural authority, and defraud their faithful brethren of countless churches which they had helped establish and nurture, and of properties which they had helped to procure, and all of this over something they almost universally agreed (at least in the beginning of the contest) was unnecessary to the worship of God?18 Anything dear enough to generate such blind zeal and extremely destructive behavior deserves only one description—A god.
Since the instrument was not in the primitive church (nor even in the apostate church until several centuries past the apostles), the burden of proof to justify its introduction and use is entirely upon its advocates. Instrument defenders and practitioners have used numerous and varied arguments during the almost one and one-half centuries of this controversy in modern times.19 (I say “modern times” because church history reveals the all but universal adamant abhorrence of even the suggestion of this practice through several centuries after the apostolic age. When some became so bold as to introduce Instruments in the apostate church it occasioned a considerable and heated controversy even from most of those who had apostatized in various other practices.) The desperation of their cause may be measured by these varied and often contradictory defenses and arguments.

The Motivation Behind the Clamor for the Instrument
It is important for us to understand that those who were determined to thrust the instrument upon the church did not do so because they discovered compelling evidence that it was necessary for the church to have instruments in order to please God. They did not first cite either Scriptural, historical, or philological evidence to justify, much less necessitate the employment of instruments in Christian worship and thereupon lay the case before a united brotherhood. Quite the contrary. History clearly shows that they thrust the instrument upon the church out of entirely personal and carnal motives and that all of their arguments of justification were contrived “after the fact.” The aforementioned letter from “W” to J.B. Henshall in 1851 is a representative statement of this motivation:
Should not the Christian Church have organs or Bass Viols that the great object of Psalmody might be consummated? Would not such instruments add greatly to the solemnity of worship, and cause the hearts of the saints to be raised to a higher state of devotion while the deep toned organ would swell its notes of “awful sound”? I think it is high time that we awaken to the importance of this subject. We are far in the rear of Protestants on the subject of church music.20
When we analyze this statement we see at least two motives revealed, both of them utterly selfish and carnal: (1) the desire to please the ears with the sound of instruments; (2) the desire to keep pace with the denominations. Again, only when faithful brethren resisted them upon Scriptural grounds did these “progressive” brethren begin casting about for various ploys to justify their practice. The evidence is irrefutable: The desire of the “instrumentolaters” dictated their doctrine and they sought justification for their idol ex post factoJack P. Lewis makes this point well:
Defense of the use of instrumental music in worship has moved through three arguments and their variations…. None is the reason why instrumental music was introduced; each is an afterthought to justify what was being done when the instrument was challenged…. The merit of his [i.e., one who denies that congregational singing is authorized in the New Testament] position is that it finally puts at the center of focus the argument that should have been there all along—the unexpressed position: “We want it and will have it without scriptural authorization.”21
Earl West, the foremost authoritative historian of restoration history, makes the same observation:
No one ever sat down to devote hours of Biblical study to the issue only to come away with the conviction that God wanted His people to use the instrument, and unless they did they could not please Him. No one ever accepted the instrument because driven by  a Divine compulsion to do so. It was adopted because it fitted comfortably  into  a religious society structured around denominational styles and patterns of thought.22

The “Aid /Expedient” Argument Stated
The aid argument is the earliest argument I have been able to find which brethren used in an effort to defend their introduction and employment of mechanical instruments in worship. They have been justified both as innocent “aids” to the worship and to the worshiper, and sometimes to both. This argument may also be identified as the “expedient” argument because an expedient is that which expedites (helps, aids, benefits, provides an advantage for) a given action or the one acting.23
I remind the reader of the aforementioned letter from “W” to Henshall. At least four years before we have any historical record of the actual use of an instrument in any congregation (1851), “W” was urging such use as an aid to both the worship and the worshiper. Remember, he asked, “Would not such instruments add greatly to the solemnity of worship and cause the hearts of the saints to be raised to a higher state of devotion while the deep toned organ would swell its notes of ‘awful sound’?”24
The introduction of the instrument into the worship of the church at Midway, Kentucky was done in an attempt to aid the singing that was so awful that L.L. Pinkerton said it would “scare even the rats from worship.”25 W.K. Pendleton accepted editorial duties of The Millennial Harbinger from an enfeebled Alexander Campbell in 1864. In that same year he responded to a request for enlightenment on the Scripturalness of using instruments in worship from one signing his name, “Ancient Order.” Pendleton argued that they were not in the primitive church nor in the apostate church for several centuries. Nonetheless, while he admitted that his conscience was not offended by their use, he would gladly forbear them rather than have them interfere with congregational singing. He drew his lengthy response to a close by arguing that instruments are an expedient or an aid:
But this does not settle the question after all—for there are many things established and right, in the practical affairs of the church in this 19th century, that were not introduced in the days nor by the authority of the apostles—questions of mere expediency, that involve neither moral nor spiritual principle or teaching…we have no evidence that in the apostolic days, the disciples owned houses, such as we would now call churches, at all….26
Isaac Errett, who carried the banner of the instrument/missionary society faction for some twenty crucial years (cir. 1866–1886) as editor of The Christian Standard, stated his view and the policy of the paper toward the instrument as follows: “The Standard regards it [i.e., instrumental music] as an expedient, proposed to aid the church to perform, in an edifying way, the duty of singing….”27 When Lipscomb wrote some comments in 1873 concerning why the use of the instrument was wrong he mentioned the common excuse for it at the time: “It is used as an assister of the worship.”28
Near the turn of the century, the indefatigable evangelist and debater, Joe S. Warlick, debated Carl Braden in Dallas, Texas, on the following proposition: “Do the New Testament Scriptures authorize, or permit, the use of instrumental music as an aid to the singing that is part of the worship of God?” Braden thus affirmed the instrument to be a Scripturally-authorized aid.29 In 1908 W.W. Otey and J.B. Briney engaged in a notable five-day debate on both the society and the instrument question in Louisville, Kentucky. In earlier years Briney had been a forceful opponent of the instrument, but had sometime before the debate become its defender. He stated his defense of the instrument as follows:
Now a thing may be authorized in various ways…. Well, the doing of that thing authorizes me to use whatever assists me in doing it, unless I propose something that contravenes expressly the Word of God. I claim the use of an instrument is authorized from that view. It aids me in the matter of singing.30
N. B. Hardeman met Ira M. Boswell in a dramatic five-night debate on the instrument issue in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1923. Ryman Auditorium was filled with six to seven thousand people each night. Boswell used the aid/expediency argument briefly, but only briefly, because Hardeman thoroughly exposed it.31
While most instrument advocates have adopted other defenses for the instrument over the years, some still defend it as an aid. In his debate in 1951 with G.K. Wallace, Julian O. Hunt argued that the instrument is an aid: “We are trying to find out what the piano does. It simply aids us.”32 As quoted by James D. Bales, when Wallace debated Burton W. Barber in 1952, he also argued that it was an aid to worship.33 Curiously, some of these fellows (e.g., Boswell, Hunt, Barber, et al.) have not been able to see the contradiction between affirming that instruments are both optional aids/expedients and that they are inherent in the Greek word psallo, translated “sing” in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, thus mandated.

The “Aid/Expedient“ Argument Illustrated
Numerous comparisons have been proffered by instrument advocates over the years in an attempt to illustrate their claim that an instrument is merely an aid. As early as 1864, W.K. Pendleton, as quoted above, compared the instrument to a church building—not specifically authorized, but allowed as an expedient. M.C. Kurfees is best known for his monumental book, Instrumental Music in the Worship, published in 1911, but in 1894 he had published a 30-page booklet, titled Walking by Faith, which was widely circulated and was reprinted numerous times. In it he mentioned that instrument defenders then argued that instruments, tuning forks, notebooks, and hymnbooks stand or fall together.34 Stark, in his 1903 debate with Warlick, listed such things as standing to sing, kneeling to pray, using a pulpit, singing from a note book, using multiple cups and a plate for communion, and using a basket or bag for the contribution as comparable to using the instrument.35 In 1908, Briney, in his debate with Otey, argued that the instrument was parallel with the tuning fork by which a song leader obtained the correct pitch for the beginning note of a song.36
In his 1923 debate with Hardeman, Boswell argued that the instrument is an innocent aid to singing in worship as a walking stick is to walking in executing the great commission.37 When Hunt debated Wallace in 1951 he classed communion sets, collection baskets, and song books with musical instruments as innocent aids and expedients. He also asserted that tuning forks, radio stations, and recording machines, along with musical instruments in worship, were all mere aids, and asked why it was permissible to use the former “mechanical instruments,” but not the latter.38 Doubtless others have suggested additional things which they parallel with the instrument, but the ones cited should be sufficient to give the flavor of them all.

The “Aid/Expedient” Argument Answered
There are many things which can be and are employed to aid and expedite the execution of various Scriptural obligations (e.g., church buildings, tuning forks, baptisteries, song books, public address systems, et al.). Although these aids or expediencies are not explicitly named in Scripture, yet by implication brethren have all but universally conceded that there is implied authority to use them. But upon what grounds? Is a musical instrument such an aid? How do we determine with consistency what constitutes an authorized aid or expedient? Such questions constituted the early battleground when the instrument began to be introduced and its advocates began casting about for some defense of it. In response to the assertion that mechanical instruments in worship are merely innocent aids in carrying out a Scriptural obligation we give the following answers:
1.          Although the “instrumentolaters” at first seemed to “muddy the water” of the discussion for some brethren by depicting instruments as mere aids, it did not take opponents of the instrument very long to determine the correct hermeneutical principle involved. It was then and still must be applied with force to all innovations, including the use of the instrument. One of the earliest clear statements of the principle came from the pen of Robert Richardson, a strong and able opponent of the instrument, in 1868: “This [the instrument] can never be a question of expediency, for the simple reason that there is no law prescribing or authorizing it.”39 The next year he wrote on the subject again: “No question of expediency can rightfully arise until it is first proved that the things themselves are lawful and proper to be done….”40 The Presbyterian scholar, John L. Girardeau, employed this principle in his attempt to keep instrumental music out of the Presbyterian Church in the nineteenth century: “It is sufficient to say, that that cannot be a true help [aid, DM] to worship which the Being to be worshipped does not himself approve.”41 Joe Warlick gave a classic statement of the principle in his debate with Stark:
Paul says: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient.” From this language it is clear that the expedient things must come within those things that are lawful. It must first be shown that a thing is lawful; and then if it is not inexpedient, we may use it…. Let the advocates of the organ first show that it is lawful to use it, and then by its results we may determine whether it be expedient to employ its use in the worship of God.42
Foy E. Wallace, Jr., commented on the meaning of 1 Corinthians 6:12–13 and 10:23 as follows:
The apostle simply declares that not all things lawful are expedient. But expedient things must come within things lawful. Then it may be expedient, but even if lawful it may not be expedient—thus to be expedient it must first be proved lawful, and having been shown to be lawful it must edify…. The innovators of instrumental music in the worship are in reverse, attempting to prove that a thing is lawful by trying to prove that it is expedient, which is an inversion of the New Testament principle. Nothing is expedient that is not lawful.43
In his debate with Julian Hunt, G.K. Wallace argued: “Let him find the command for mechanical music and then we will talk about what is expedient under it.”44 Thus, these brethren correctly saw and argued that for anything to be an aid or expedient, there must first be Scriptural obligation or authority, arrived at either explicitly or implicitly, for its use. If the New Testament authorized the use of instruments in worship, then we could apply the principle of using aids or expedients in their use.
Assuming that we were allowed, but not obligated, to use instruments in worship, we would then be at liberty to determine such matters as what kind of instruments, how many instruments, when the instruments would be played in the assembly, what songs would be played on them, and such like. However, the instrument must first be authorized before any idea of an aid or an expedient can apply to it.
No authority (either permissive or obligatory) for the employment of instruments in the worship of the church of Christ exists in the New Testament and thus they cannot be expedients because they are unlawful (1 Cor. 10:23). Therefore, the principle of aids and expedients does not apply to musical instruments in worship.
2.      Things which are actual Scriptural aids or expedients are implied in the authorized command or act and are thereby themselves authorized. Tim Nichols illustrated this principle very well:
God’s command that we assemble implies a place of assembly suitable for the number assembled. In order to assemble we must have an assembly place, whether built, borrowed, rented, or bought. Human judgment would be involved in selecting the meeting place, but this does not alter the acts of worship performed in it.45
The command to “Go…preach the gospel…” (Mark 16:16) authorizes and obligates us to go. It implies some means of going, but does not specify, thus does not limit, the means. Since the New Testament preachers went by foot, by ship, by chariot, and perhaps by other means (obviously, every means available to them), it follows that any honorable means that aids or expedites the going (that does not conflict with some other principle of Scripture) is authorized to carry out the command. It is thus permissible to ride an airplane to go, but it would not be permissible to steal a plane ticket in order to do so, although this might aid one in the going.
In the same manner, any method of proclaiming the Gospel that does not infringe upon some other Gospel Truth is permissible, since no specific way or ways of preaching are specified. Thus public address systems, tape recorders, video cameras, radio and television stations and receivers, computers, printing presses, and such like are legitimate aids which expedite the command to preach. Just so, the command to baptize implies sufficient water to carry out the command. A river, a pond, an ocean, or a specially constructed baptistery all constitute mere aids or expedient arrangements to execute the command and are therefore authorized in the command itself.
The instrument fails this test utterly because it is not implied in the command to sing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). In fact, just the opposite is true. It is manifest to all that singing and playing are two distinct acts. Singing is not a way of playing and playing is not a way of singing. If the New Testament had merely commanded us to “make music” as we worship God, then any way of making music (singing or playing) that does not conflict with some other principle of Scripture would be permissible. In this case an instrument could appropriately be called an aid. However, God has specified that we are to sing, not merely “make music.” The command to sing implies the need for songs, which in turn, implies a consecutive sequence of notes to compose the song, along with their pitch, and rhythm, and a song leader or starter. If a song book is employed in the singing we still have only singing. Likewise, if a tuning fork or a pitch pipe is used to correctly pitch the song, we still have only singing, since the pitch instrument is used preceding the singing. These are both merely aids relating to the command to sing.
3.      Things which are actual Scriptural aids or expedients do not add to nor alter the authorized command or obligation they aid; they introduce no additional element.
N.B. Hardeman argued as follows in his debate with Ira Boswell:
Just as the old Levite, if he had gone and offered a lamb, and then in connection with that, as an aid to his lamb, had sacrificed a horse or mule, it would have been adding to God’s word, and heaven’s declaration and warning is not to do that.46
Foy E. Wallace, Jr. explained the difference between an aid and an addition in the following statement: “When is a thing an addition to the worship? The answer is: When another element is added.”47 James Bales noted the distinction between an aid and an addition by defining an aid: “What is an aid?… It is a means of carrying out a command when the means have not been specified…. The aid expedites an act which is commanded, but does not authorize something which is unauthorized.”48 Tim Nichols noted this feature of Scriptural aids in the quotation above.
Let us go to Mark 16:16 again to illustrate this principle. The several ways we may use for going neither add to nor alter the going. Whether one rides, walks, sails, swims, or flies he is still only going, executing the command to go. When public address systems, recording machines, printing presses, radio and television, and such like are used, they neither add to nor alter in any way the fact that preaching is all that is being done—they are merely aids to accomplish the generic obligation and are implied in the obligation. However, that which is to be preached—the Gospel—is specified. We are not at liberty to alter or add to the message on the excuse that we are aiding or expediting the Gospel. If I should decide I could attract more people to Christ by omitting the subjects of Divine wrath, the Judgment, and eternal torment, or by promising that God would give everyone who obeys the Gospel a new car, I would not merely be introducing aids, but alterations, to that which the Lord specified. I would clearly be adding elements foreign to and different from the Gospel, which alone, just as the Lord gave it, we are authorized and obligated to preach.
Mechanical instruments of music are in the very same class as a perverted Gospel because they constitute an addition to, an alteration of, and a foreign element apart from what the New Testament authorizes in worship. God was specific and explicit when He ordained singing as the kind of music He desires in the church. This no more allows for a different kind of music than baptism allows for sprinkling or pouring, manifest alterations and additions to the one action of baptism (immersion).
Instrumental music in worship is comparable to adding doughnuts alongside the unleavened bread and coffee alongside the fruit of the vine in the Lord’s supper. Some might argue that doughnuts and coffee would be aids since some people do not like unleavened bread and grape juice, but they would be wrong. The table, the trays, and the cups are aids, implied by the command to eat and drink, and when these are used nothing is added and no alteration to the command to eat the bread and drink the fruit of the vine occurs. The congregation still only eats and drinks the prescribed bread and cup. However, doughnuts and coffee are definitely foreign, additional elements that are not authorized and that alter that which is authorized. Just so the instrument is an addition, a foreign element which alters the command to sing.
4.      The grammatical rule of coordinates and subordinates proves that musical instruments in the worship of the church are not mere aids, but unauthorized additions. We may state the principle simply as follows: Only items that are subordinate to that which is commanded can serve as aids in fulfilling the command. To put it another way, when God specifies a certain thing to be done, anything coordinate with it (i.e., in the same genus, species, or class) is an addition rather than an aid. In the case of the Lord’s supper, the table, the plates, the trays, and the cups are all subordinate to the supper itself and, as already indicated, do not alter the supper at all. However, if one placed doughnuts and coffee in the Lord’s supper or put peanut butter on the bread, he would be adding things which are coordinate with the specified unleavened bread and fruit of the vine. These are elements of the same class (i.e., food and drink) and thus constitute additions, rather than aids.
N. B. Hardeman emphasized this to Ira Boswell in their debate:
Brother Boswell said that to walk, for instance, does not forbid the use of a stick as a support or as an aid. Now, his argument is this: that the stick bears the same relation to walking that the instrument does to singing. I go, or I walk. “Now, then, said Brother Boswell, “if I take a cane to supplement or to aid me in the walking, I have not violated God’s word.” The argument is not fair or parallel; it does not illustrate. Why? Because, ladies and gentlemen, the terms “walk” and “stick” are not coordinate terms, tracing back and growing out of the same species—namely, methods of going…. Let us get the application. There is music. How many kinds? Just two. Are they subordinate one to another, as a cane is to walk? O, no! They are coordinate terms. Out of these two coordinate expressions, God picked out one and said “sing.” Therefore, the instrument, which is the coordinate term, cannot by any process of logic be made as a supplement unto another equal, coordinate.49
Foy E. Wallace, Jr. defined and illustrated the principle as follows:
Things that are incoordinate cannot be paralleled with things that are coordinate. Instrumental music and singing coordinate, being kinds of music, the former being the kind not prescribed, and the latter being the kind which the Lord commanded. The songbook is not coordinate with sing and does not sustain the same relation to it that instrumental music does. This is where the illustrations about walking canes, eye glasses, seats, lights, and other things incoordinate with the thing commanded, fail to illustrate. They are not parallel.50
G.K. Wallace lectured Julian Hunt on this principle in their debate:
Vocal and instrumental music are coordinate terms. By coordinate, I mean they are of equal rank and import. He said that instrumental music is an aid, that it aids the singing on the same principle that a walking cane aids a man when he walks. Or like eye glasses aid one in seeing. The simple rule of grammar on the coordination of words will show the sophistry of comparing instrumental music to such aids…. Instrumental music and singing are two kinds of music. Two kinds, one can exist without the other…. Take the command to ”go.” You may ride or walk. Could you walk to aid riding? Could you ride to aid walking? That is the way he makes it up. The song book is not coordinate with singing. The walking cane is not coordinate with walking. The song book, therefore, sustains the same relationship to singing that the walking cane does to walking.51
James D. Bales offers some helpful words on the principle of coordinates:
Instrumental music is a coordinate, not a subordinate, to singing. As a noun, coordinate means one who, or that which, is in the same order, rank or power. As an adjective, it is something of the same order, rank, equal degree or similar relation. It is not subordinate. Under the generic term music we have two specific kinds, that is, singing and playing. Both are music and are of equal rank…. Instrumental music and vocal music are coordinates, and coordinates are not subordinates. Instrumental music, being another kind of music, cannot be just an aid which is a subordinate that assists one to obey the command to sing. God has been specific as to the kind of music.52
Since mechanical instruments of music by definition are coordinate with the very thing which God has specified—singing—they can never be correctly perceived as aids to worshiping God in song.
The consequences of using the aid/expediency argument to justify instruments of music in worship are dire indeed. Could Noah have pleased (obeyed) God had he used some pine or fir to “aid” the specified gopher wood in building the ark? Was not David using the oxcart to “aid” him in moving the ark to Jerusalem and was not Uzza trying to “aid” its safe transport by touching the ark to keep it from falling? Would it not have “aided” the tribe of Levi to have some from other tribes assisting them with their tabernacle/temple duties? It might be an “aid” in the mind of some to spread strawberry jam on the bland unleavened bread at the Lord’s table. The Pentecostals count hand clapping, testifying, dancing, and shouting as “aids” to their worship assemblies and their spirituality. The Roman Catholics count their rosary beads an “aid” to prayer and their images and icons as “aids” to worship.
On what grounds and by what logic could an “instrumentolater” who argues that the instrument is an “aid” to his worship object to any of the above practices? There is not an explicit “Thou shalt not” in Scripture concerning a single one of them. By the very logic that he would object to any of them he must condemn his own justification of instrumental music in worship. I have long thought it would be most interesting to hear two advocates of the instrument from the Independent Christian Church debate the subject of putting doughnuts and coffee on the Lord’s table. However, it is increasingly evident that those in the Independent Christian Church are so wedded to their instruments that they are willing to accept corruption of the Lord’s supper, sprinkling as an “aid” to baptism, and even prayer beads in order to be consistent in their erroneous justification of their instruments!53
Bales is correct:
The instrumentalist’s effort to define out, rather than to take out, the instrument and his classification of it as an aid, opens the floodgate to many other additions under the label “aid.” He cannot close the floodgate to these additions without closing it to instrumental music. There is no logical stopping place. Each has the right to his own subjective standard as to what aids him.54
Any one of the five arguments set forth above is sufficient for the earnest and honest student to conclude that instruments are not merely an aid to or in worship, but the cumulative force of all of them is strong indeed. Instruments of music are an unauthorized, thus sinful, addition to the worship of God.


There are many other arguments set forth by defenders of instrumental music besides the “aid/expediency” argument we have briefly discussed. Upon whatever basis or bases one seeks to justify instrumental music in the worship of the church of God, there is one thing common to all such attempts. Every one of the arguments that favor it thumbs its nose at the authority of the New Testament, and therefore, of the Son of God (John 12:48). This is an issue of authority in religion, pure and simple. Those in the Independent Christian Church, whose religious predecessors were once one with us, have replaced the authority of the Christ with their own subjective desires. We repeat the accusation: They have allowed desire to become the daddy of their doctrine and practice, whereas faithful saints allow the doctrine of Christ to determine their doctrine and practice. We charge that this is precisely what has produced the hundreds of religious bodies comprising sectarian Protestantism (of which they are an integral part) with their conflicting names, doctrines, and practices, yet all hypocritically professing to follow the one Christ and be in the one church.
We also charge that this is what has produced the adamant attitude among those in the Independent Christian Church that defends instruments at whatever sacrifice of principle and truth necessary. In spite of years of ”unity” meetings since 1984 between some of them and some of us, their battle cry remains, “We are not about to give them up”! It is nothing short of hollow hypocrisy for this religious sect to continue to profess an interest in restoring the New Testament church.
It is unspeakably sad, but nonetheless true, to admit that the number of preachers, editors, and educators among us is legion who no longer raise a protest against the instrument in worship. Their only protest is against those of us who still protest and resist the practice. For this reason we must not cease to teach and preach on this subject, to young and old alike. Literally everything that pertains to restoring and maintaining the church which Christ purchased with His pure blood hinges upon the respect for the authority of Scripture involved in resisting instruments of music in worship.

1.        Earl Irvin West, “Profile of a Malignancy,” in The Instrumental Music Issue, ed. Bill Flatt (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Co., 1987), p. 63.
2.        Ibid., p. 66.
3.        Earl Irvin West, The Search for the Ancient Order (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Co., 1949), 1:308–09.
4.        Roy C. Deaver, The Problem of Instrumental Music (Hurst, TX: Brown Trail School of Preaching, n.d.), p. 3.
5.        West, p. 61. Note that Campbell refers to the instrument as an “aid.” Whether he inadvertently did so in this early discussion of the subject, not realizing the implications of calling it such, or he actually considered it only an aidrather than an addition to the worship, I do not know. My guess is that the former is true.
6.        West, p. 61.
7.        Ibid., pp. 61–62.
8.        W.K. Pendleton, “Pew-Renting and Organ Music,” in The Millennial Harbinger , v. 7, no. 3 (March 1864), pp. 122–30.
9.        Moses E. Lard, 1864 (Wallace, pp. 77–78).
10.     Some liberal brethren propound the sophism that the reason the southern churches did not adopt instruments in worship on anything like the scale northern churches did is because of the poverty that gripped the South after the war—they simply were too poor to buy them! While there was indeed a wide economic chasm between the respective regions for several post-war years, this simplistic hypothesis reveals more liberal bias than historical fact. One would do well to remember that the denominational propensities of the 1840s and ’50s, well before the war, were emanating principally from northern or at least border states (e.g., OH, PA, KY).
11.     Earl Irvin West, The Search for the Ancient Order (Indianapolis, IN: Religious Book Service, 1950), 2:80–81.
12.     West, Search, 2:236. Note: West says that Lipscomb’s article in the Sept. 5, 1878, Advocate was his “first thrust against the use of the instrument.” However, he must mean his first major thrust, for he elsewhere quotes Lipscomb on the instrument in 1871 (2:235) and 1873 (2:241).
13.     J. Carroll Stark and Joe S. Warlick, A Debate (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Co., 1904), pp. 20– 21.
14.     G.H.P. Showalter, “A Plea for Unity Among the Churches of Christ,” The Firm Foundation (Sep. 21, 1937): 4.
15.     West, p. 69.
16.     Alan E. Highers and Given O. Blakely, The Highers–Blakely Debate on Instrumental Music (Denton, TX: Valid Pub., Inc., 1988).
17.     For a fuller history and treatment of the unity meetings with “instrumentolaters” and some of the implications and results of these meetings, see my booklet, The Current “Unity Movement” (Denton, TX: Valid Pub., Inc., 1990, second edition).
18.     To their credit, those who at first indicated they could worship with the instrument without violation of conscience because they perceived no violation of Scripture involved (e.g., W.K. Pendleton, Isaac Errett), nonetheless were quick to caution against introducing the instrument lest it destroy the peace and harmony among brethren or interfere with congregational singing. However, those afterward who desired the instrument proved themselves to be not so charitable. Between 1875 and 1906 in hundreds (yea thousands) of congregations the “instrumentolaters,” though often in the minority, forced the instrument in and in effect told those who resisted they could either learn to live with it or leave. Congregations and their properties were thus stolen from brethren who were determined to be loyal to Scripture. Most of the colleges were also taken over by the liberal and digressive elements and were thereby prostituted to tear down the very principles of Truth their founders established them to build up. Families were sundered never to be reunited as the dividing sword of the Prince of Peace did its predicted work (Mat. 10:34–37; Luke 12:51–53). I would be remiss if I did not alert the reader to the fact that our liberal brethren are re-enacting the very same thing today among the Lord’s people, both in congregations and on campuses.
19.     For an excellent summary of eight major defenses and a brief response to each, see Mike Vestal, “The Diversity of Arguments for Instrumental Music,” in The Restorer, v. 5, no. 10 (Oct. 1985), 6–10. Jack P. Lewis categorizes the arguments under three major ones with variations: “New Testament Authority for Music in Worship” in The Instrumental Music Issue , ed. Bill Flatt (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Co., 1987), p. 48.
20.     West, Search, 1:309.
21.     Lewis, pp. 48–49.
22.     West, Instrumental Music Issue , pp. 68–69.
23.     The reader should also be aware of the fact that the instrument is sometimes referred to as an “expedient” in the sense of its being optional, although this is an acquired connotation of the word.
24.     West, Search , 1:309. 25. Ibid., 1:311.
25.     Ibid., 1:311.
26.     West, Search, 1:312–13.
27.     Quoted by Frank Van Dyke, Is Instrumental Music Scriptural? (Murfreesboro, TN: DeHoff Pub., 1949), p. 45.
28.     West, Search , 2:241.
29.     Referred to by Warlick in Stark–Warlick, p. 153. Note: I could find no documentation for the exact date of the Warlick–Braden debate, but it was obviously conducted prior to the Stark–Warlick debate in 1903.
30.     W.W. Otey and J.B. Briney, Otey-Briney Debate (Cincinnati, OH: F.L. Rowe, 1908), p. 39.
31.     Ira M. Boswell and N. B. Hardeman, Boswell–Hardeman Discussion on Instrumental Music in the Worship (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Co., 1924), p. 193.
32.     G.K. Wallace and Julian O. Hunt, Wallace–Hunt Debate (High Springs, FL: Mary Lois Forrester, 1985 reprint), p. 29.
33.     James D. Bales, Instrumental Music and New Testament Worship (Searcy, AR: Resource Pub., 1985 reprint), p. 256.
34.     M.C. Kurfees, Walking by Faith: Origin of Instrumental Music in Christian Worship (Louisville, KY: Haldeman Ave. Church of Christ, 1939 reprint), p. 21.
35.     Stark–Warlick, pp. 144, 146.
36.     Otey–Briney , p. 39.
37.     Boswell–Hardeman , p. 193.
38.     Wallace–Hunt, pp. 22–23, 25, 29–30.
39.     Robert Richardson, “Expediency,” in The Christian Standard , 1868, 3:409, as cited by West, Search, 2:91.
40.     Ibid.
41.     John L. Girardeau, Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church (Richmond, VA: Whittet & Sheppersen, 1888), p. 191. Note: This classic work is reproduced in full as an appendix in Foy E. Wallace, Jr., The Instrumental Music Question (Fort Worth, TX: Foy E. Wallace, Jr. Pub., 1980), beginning at p. 345.
42.     Stark–Warlick, p. 162.
43.     Foy E. Wallace, Jr., pp. 138–39.
44.     Wallace-Hunt, p. 46.
45.     Tim Nichols, In Spirit & in Truth: A Review of Francis Winder’s Music of the Saints , (Burlington, WV: Enduring Word Pub., 1992), p. 58.
46.     Boswell-Hardeman, pp. 190, 202–03.
47.     Foy E. Wallace, Jr., pp. 91–92. 48.
48.     Bales, pp. 257–258.
49.     Boswell-Hardeman , p. 203.
50.     Foy E. Wallace, Jr., p. 92.
51.     Wallace-Hunt , pp. 102–03,
52.     Bales, p. 278.
53.     Highers-Blakely , pp. 95–97.
54.     Bales, p. 268.

[NOTE: I wrote this MS for the 14th Annual Southwest Lectures, April 9–12, 1995, hosted by Southwest Church of Christ, Austin, TX. The MS appeared as one of the chapters in the book of lectures, Music in New Testament Worship and I delivered a digest of it orally.]

Published in The Old Paths Archive