What Did Early Christians Believe About Using Instrumental Music In Worship?
As a King James bible believing Christian it is imperative that all practices, especially those with a spiritual connotation to them, are 100% based in scripture and not the traditions of men. In the area of musical instruments for worship, it is very clear to me from the study of scripture, that professing Christians have steered very far from the teachings for New Testament believers.
It is evident that we live in a culture that is entertainment crazed and people have an ungodly desire to be emotionally moved by music. Having spent 26 years attending a Church Of God, Pentecostal entertainment center, and 6 years in an Independent Fundamental Baptist pagan temple, I have first hand experience on how music is used to manipulate people’s emotions and get them to do things they would otherwise not do if the music was not playing. Instrumental music has a great power over people’s emotions as fallen man is a fleshly being and most often follows that flesh vs God’s holy word. There is no doubt that it has the power to control your feelings, emotions and even your body in ways few other things can. It is clear that Satan and his Vatican Jesuit masterminds are using music all over the corrupt culture and church buildings to seduce, control, and deceive the masses via emotions.
It is clear that all over the world, man made Sunday church is using music to fill the pews and to make people think they are worshiping God, but it is all fake. Satan is the master counterfeiter, and he has masterfully created a counterfiet worship to deceive the professing Christian masses into thinking they are worshiping the true Jesus of the bible. The reality is, they are worshiping a false Jesus who is essentially Satan himself. It has gotten so absurd in the last 70 plus years that the blatantly obvious Satanic styles of music i.e. rap, pop, rock, jazz, blues, etc have been “Christianized” with so called “godly lyrics” and false professing Christians all over the world are deceived into worshiping their false Jesus to this music. Sadly these false professing Christians that attend church buildings don’t have enough discernment to conclude that you can’t worship the true Jesus of the bible with wordly means. God hates all false ways and commands true Christians to come out from the world and be holy and separate.
(James 1:27) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself UNSPOTTED from the world.
(James 4:4) Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:20) But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
(1 Corinthians 10:21) Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18) Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
(1 John 2:15) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
(1 John 2:16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
So in order to have a pure religion (faith in God), the King James bible gives us an example of true biblical worship and praise from his people. What we will see in the New Testament is Christian saints using ONLY their voices to sing to the Lord. Consider four points that completely negate the use of instruments, practiced choirs, worship teams, and emotional mood setting music.
- God was specific in his details on worship in the Old Testament.
- There is no bible COMMAND to use man made musical instruments in the New Testament.
- There is no bible EXAMPLE to use man made musical instruments in the New Testament.
- Historical quotes from early Christians before 300 AD prove that they never used and actually emphatically condemned the use of instrumental music for worship.
When you read the Old Testament it is clear that God was very specific in how he wanted things done and how he was to be worshiped and what items to do it with.
(2 Chronicles 29:25) And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets. (Here we see how the Lord gave very specific instructions on the activities in the temple regarding worship)
The main point here is that God gives very detailed commands on how to do things regarding his people, obedience, and worship of Him. But what commands or examples do we see in the New Testament that God instructed and the disciples lived out in their lives as worship?
New Testament Christians are instructed in scripture to follow the example of the apostle Paul as he followed Jesus:
(1 Corinthians 4:16) Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
(1 Corinthians 11:1) Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 1:6) And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
(Philippians 3:17) Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
The Apostle Paul tells us how we are to approach God in praise and worship:
(Ephesians 5:18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
(Ephesians 5:19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
(Colossians 3:16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
What they sang was biblical and used to teach themselves the truth of God’s word, unlike what is sung and played today that is often very empty, unbiblical and void of any truth at all. By the above verses we see a pure and simple form of singing from the heart only. Ephesians 5 tells us that the HEART is now the instrument we are to use:
(Ephesians 5:19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
In Matthew 26 we see Jesus starting the practice of the Lord’s Supper then after they were done they rocked out with some emotional Hillsong type worship song right? Not at all, they sang a simple hymn:
(Matthew 26:27) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
(Matthew 26:28) For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
(Matthew 26:29) But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
(Matthew 26:30) And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
What is clear to see is that singing from the heart is biblical worship, but watching a show, going along with some worship leader, being moved by instruments and a practiced band is NOT the pattern for biblical worship the bible teaches, is it?
True biblical worship is your entire life as a holy living sacrifice unto God (see Romans 12:1) so the idea of set worship services and events run by man to satisfy your worship to God is quite unbiblical and false. Many believe they are doing all they need to do by these false emotional events that often led to so many false conversions and very poor theology. They must be exposed for God’s glory. (See Ephesians 5:11) Why would you allow yourself and your religious places to go your own way? Will you say to the Lord; “we can improve on your ways God” ?
It is no small point that these simple songs from the heart were used as doctrinal biblical teaching and not to draw out emotional responses from the saints. We cannot tell you how many denominational places have the phrase “we are here to help you have a encounter with God” or “our music is designed to usher you into a worship experience with God”. This is found NOWHERE in the Holy word and it proves the desire to move people emotionally. It must be rejected and the truth be told lest people are being swept away by it and many will perish thinking emotional salvation is true salvation when it is not at all. So much effort is put into the musical show, but the gospel, holiness and obedience to His word are left behind. Only the gospel can save a soul.
Many are caught up in the false idea that the quality of the singing is what matters to God, but nowhere is that taught. God requires obedience in all things and in His people that claim Him.
If you do some research into the history of the early church you will find that there was no instrumental music in worship for 1000 years! All singing was done acapella from the heart. It was the false Roman Catholic religion that started using instruments about 600 to 900 years after Jesus was walking the earth and from there things grew into what you see today; a mess of anything that man likes and wants, as so called worship of the Holy God. Just about anything man invents, they now bring into the so called holy worship experience of God yet his word and the early church gives us the only true example we should follow for truth in worship. The following are some historical quotes that prove early Christians absolutely rejected the notion of using instruments in worship:
CONYBEARE “Throughout the whole passage there is a contrast implied between the Heathen and the Christian practice… When you meet, let your enjoyment consist not in fullness of wine, but fullness of the spirit; let your songs be, not the drinking songs of heathen feasts, but psalms and hymns; and their accompaniment, not the music of the lyre, but the melody of the heart; while you sing them to the praise, not of Bacchus or Venus, but of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Conybeare and Howson, Life and Times of the Apostle Paul, comment on Eph. 5:19).
DICKINSON “While the Greek and Roman songs were metrical, the Christian psalms were anitphons, prayers, responses, etc., were unmetrical; and while the pagan melodies were always sung to an instrumental accompaniment, the church chant was exclusively vocal” (Edward Dickinson, History of Music, p. 54)
KILLEN “It is not, therefore, strange that instrumental music was not, heard in their congregational services….. In the early church the whole congregation joined in the singing, but instrumental music did not accompany the praise” (W. D. Killen, The Ancient Church, pp. 193, 423).
PRATT “The, First Christian Songs. – Singing in public and private worship was a matter of course for the early Christians. For Jewish converts this was a continuance of synagogue customs, but since the Church grew mostly among non-Jews, the technical forms employed were more Greek than Hebrew. The use of instruments was long resisted, because of their association with pagan sensuality.” (Waldo Selden Pratt, The History of Music, 1935, p. 64)
RYDEN “The singing of the early Christians was simple and artless. Augustine describes the singing at Alexandria under Athanasius as “more like speaking than singing.” Musical instruments were not used. The pipe, tabret, and harp were associated so intimately with the sensuous heathen cults, as well as with the wild revelries and shameless performances of the degenerate theatre and circus, that it is easy to understand the prejudice against their use in the Christian worship.” (The Story of Our Hymns, Ernest Edwin Ryden, 1930 AD)
CAMPBELL “[Instrumental music in worship] was well adapted to churches founded on the Jewish pattern of things and practicing infant sprinkling. That all persons singing who have no spiritual discernment, taste or relish for spiritual meditation, consolations and sympathies of renewed hearts should call for such an aid is but natural. So to those who have no real devotion and spirituality in them, and whose animal nature flags under the opposition or the oppression of church service I think that instrumental music would… be an essential prerequisite to fire up their souls to even animal devotion. But I presume, that to all spiritually-minded Christians, such aid would be as a cow bell in a concert.” (Alexander Campbell, recorded in Robert Richardson’s biography, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Vol. 2., p366)
FINNEY “The early Christians refused to have anything to do with the instrumental music which they might have inherited from the ancient world.” (Theodore Finney, A History of Music, 1947, p. 43)
FESSENDEN “This species. which is the most natural, is to be considered to have existed before any other… Instrumental music is also of very ancient date, its invention being ascribed to Tubal, the sixth descendant from Cain. The instrumental music was not practiced by the primitive Christians, but was an aid to devotion of later times, is evident from church history. (Fessenden’s Encyclopedia of Art and Music, p. 852)
FULLER “The history of the church during the first three centuries affords many instances of primitive Christians engaging in singing, but no mention, (that I recollect) is made of instruments. (If my memory does not deceive me) it originated in the dark ages of popery, when almost every other superstition was introduced. At present, it is most used and where the least regard is paid to primitive simplicity.” (Andrew Fuller, Baptist, Complete works of Andre Fuller, Vol 3, P. 520, 1843)
LORENZ “Yet there was little temptation to undue elaboration of hymnody or music. The very spirituality of the new faith made ritual or liturgy superfluous and music almost unnecessary. Singing (there was no instrumental accompaniment) was little more than a means of expressing in a practicable, social way, the common faith and experience. . . . The music was purely vocal. There was no instrumental accompaniment of any kind. . . . It fell under the ban of the Christian church, as did all other instruments, because of its pagan association” (E. S. Lorenz, Church Music, pp. 217, 250, 404)
NAUMAN “There can be no doubt that originally the music of the divine service was every where entirely of a vocal nature.” (Emil Nauman, The History of Music. Vol. I, p. 177)
FRANKLIN “If any one had told us, 40 years ago, that we would live to see the day where those professing to be Christians who claim the Holy Scriptures as their only rule of faith and practice, those under the command, and who profess to appreciate the meaning of the command to ‘observe whatsoever I have commanded you’ would bring instruments of music into a worshipping assembly and use it there in worship, we should have repelled the idea as an idle dream. But this only shows how little we knew of what men would do; or how little we saw of the power of the adversary to subvert the purest principles, to deceive the hearts of the simple, to undermine the very foundation of all piety, and turn the very worship of God itself into an attraction for the people of the world and entertainment, or amusement.” (Benjamin Franklin, Gospel Preacher, Vol 2, p. 411, 419-429)
FRANKLIN “Instrumental music is permissible for a church under the following conditions: 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. 5. If a church has given up all idea of trying to convert the world.” (Ben Franklin, editor of American Christian Review, 1860.)
LIPSCOMB “Neither he [Paul] nor any other apostle, nor the Lord Jesus, nor any of the disciples for five hundred years, used instruments. This too, in the face of the fact that the Jews had used instruments in the days of their prosperity and that the Greeks and heathen nations all used them in their worship. They were dropped out with such emphasis that they were not taken up till the middle of the Dark Ages, and came in as part of the order of the Roman Catholic Church. It seems there cannot be doubt but that the use of instrumental music in connection with the worship of God, whether used as a part of the worship or as an attraction accompaniment, is unauthorized by God and violates the oft-repeated prohibition to add nothing to, take nothing from, the commandments of the Lord. It destroys the difference between the clean and the unclean, the holy and unholy, counts the blood of the Son of God unclean, and tramples under foot the authority of the Son of God. They have not been authorized by God or sanctified with the blood of his Son.” (David Lipscomb, Queries and Answers by David Lipscomb p. 226-227, and Gospel Advocate, 1899, p. 376-377)
MCGARVEY “And if any man who is a preacher believes that the apostle teaches the use of instrumental music in the church by enjoining the singing of psalms, he is one of those smatters in Greek who can believe anything that he wishes to believe. When the wish is father to the thought, correct exegesis is like water on a duck’s back” (J. W. McGarvey, Biblical Criticism, p. 116).
MCGARVEY “We cannot, therefore, by any possibility, know that a certain element of worship is acceptable to God in the Christian dispensation, when the Scriptures which speak of that dispensation are silent in reference to it. To introduce any such element is unscriptural and presumptuous. It is will worship, if any such thing as will worship can exist. On this ground we condemn the burning of incense, the lighting of candles, the wearing of priestly robes, and the reading of printed prayers. On the same ground we condemn instrumental music.” (J.W. McGarvey, The Millennial Harbinger, 1864, pp. 511-513.)
Think about it, did the apostle Paul lie when he said he gave us the entire counsel of God’s word? (Act 20:27) For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Did he leave out how we are to use man made worship tactics as it is BETTER to use man’s carnal ways in the worship of God? Or did he give us a simple and pure way to come to God in praise and worship using our entire lives and songs from our hearts, not from man’s ever changing musical inventions?
The fact is, the King James version of scripture gives us a pure and true way to worship (singing from the heart and living in full obedience to God’s word) that most all reject today as they choose what pleases carnal man, fills up pews, and soothes their itchy ears. God’s word says this will happen in the last days.
(2 Timothy 4:3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
(2 Timothy 4:4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
(2 Timothy 4:5) But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
A very important spiritual concept is to realize that the Old Testament was the “outside to the inside” as there was no Holy spirit to work in God’s people. They used instruments to make music and worship from their outsides for their worship. Once Christ came and the Holy Spirit was now “inside” believers as God’s Temple. He required that we make music and worship from the “inside to the outside”. This can be applied to many other areas as well like circumcision (once the flesh now the heart) animals sacrifices (once killing them for a sacrifice and now being a living sacrifice ) etc…
True bible believing Christians (after studying what God’s Holy Word says and seeing the examples of Christ and the saints) reject what is happening in religious buildings all over America as false worship teaching leading many astray. If you really desire to worship God and to be in His truth and His ways, you MUST reject whatever is taught there. His people must not model the corruption that man has brought but cling to what God has written to us as His holy bride that He will return for soon. If you ignore such spiritual truths as unimportant there is a good chance you are one of the false converts (I once was), who don’t desire full truth. I beg of you to get into the King James bible, reject man made traditions, repent and turn to the living and true God, Jesus Christ for salvation.