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Frank Jamerson

   John Price (preacher for Grace Baptist Church in Rochester N.Y.) wrote a book “Old Light on New Worship,” in which he showed that Biblically and historically there is no evidence for instrumental music in worship.

   Here are some concluding arguments that he made that are true and worth our consideration. He said that instrumental music tends “to choke congregational singing, and thus to rob the body of God’s people of their God-given right to praise him in his sanctuary” (p. 209). He continued: “To whatever extent musical instruments are used in public worship, the atmosphere of human performance will also enter with them. The one cannot be separated from the other. Once the atmosphere of human performance enters, the full communion of the soul must be lost to some degree. This is especially true of the instrumentalists. It is psychologically impossible for the instrumentalists to play their instruments and to be fully engaged in worship at the same time.”  

   Commenting on the exalted place of singing, he said: “It is in singing that our worship on earth comes closest to that of heaven. We enter into the work of angels...Singing is the only ordinance of the church that shall continue for eternity in heaven. When we see Him face to face, preaching, prayer, and the sacraments (his reference to the Lord’s supper) shall all be done away with. But singing is an eternal ordinance and shall continue forever. Our singing is just the tuning of our hearts and the beginning of our singing the everlasting songs of heaven” (p. 225).

   He pointed out that “Singing involves both the inward realities of our hearts and the outward use of our voices in singing.” In discussing the importance of the heart, he quoted Ephesians 5:18,19 and concluded, “It is remarkable that just after commanding us to be ‘filled with the Spirit,’ the very first thing the apostle mentions is singing…’speaking one to another...and making melody in  your hearts to the Lord.’        There is an immediate connection between the two. It is as if the first effect of the Spirit’s work in our hearts is singing. True spiritual singing begins with a ‘melody in the heart’ that rises to Christ...Singing involves, in the second place, the outward use of the voice (Heb. 13:15). We have in our voices the most wonderful God– given instrument on earth, and yet most of us are unfamiliar with even the basic principles of its use. Singing is almost a lost art in our generation. In many modern evangelical churches, great attention is paid to the skillful use of musical instruments, while the art of singing is completely neglected...Those who have never learned the fundamentals of proper singing should seriously consider making such an effort. We learn how to use our physical bodies to perform almost every other task. We learn how to use our feet to walk and our hand to write and our eyes to read. We learn various sports and other skills that require physical dexterity, and we are often willing to do so at great pains. But far too often we fail to make any serious effort in learning how to perform one of the highest purposes for which we were created and  saved, to sing God’s praise”  (pgs. 227,228).

   He concluded, “Some believe that without musical instruments worship will be ‘dreary, dry, and joyless.’ Rather than being a justification for the use of instruments, such statements expose the deficiencies of our singing. Take away musical instruments, and the deadness and dreariness of the singing will be seen for what it truly is. And if our singing is dead and dreary, is the use of musical instruments really the way to resolve this problem? Should we not deal with the problem at its root, which is our lack of spiritual zeal and ability to sing?

   Let us labor that in His church Christ may have the singing of human voices that He desires, both inwardly and outwardly. Let us take whatever pains necessary to insure that singing truly is the exalted ordinance Christ intends. May He be pleased to fill us with the Spirit and be present in our worship to sing the praise of the Father through us” (p. 228).

   It is amazing that a Baptist preacher in New York, and a Presbyterian preacher in Belfast, Northern Ireland (who wrote the Foreword of this book—commending it and stating that for a lifetime, he “has sung unaccompanied praise to God”), would oppose instruments in worship while at the same time, some of our brethren are turning from God’s pattern of worship and are introducing instruments into their worship.


                       Copyright Midway Church of Christ 2014    This page last modified July 03, 2014