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What's Wrong With Instruments & Even Dancing In Worship?
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 05, 2009
Posted by: Reformation Church | more..
5,050+ views | 90+ clicks

From a recent e-mail:

After going to your web site www.WorldUnderChrist.com I certainly agree with your statement,

Sadly, most churches today are less and less Biblically faithful in their doctrine and more and more liberal in their worship. The two go hand-in-hand. Even the more conservative evangelical and Reformed churches, which try to be faithful to the Bible in their doctrine, often do not appear to apply God's Word to their worship.”

That is in fact where we are in our church. The people leading our “worship” are so entrenched in the man-centered part of the worship that they are calling what we used to call the pulpit a stage and the people who take part in music are being called performers and they have been doing this so long that they do not see that this is man-focused.

Many in today’s church are doing different types of music to please everyone. And they call this diversity and don’t realize that “diversity” is the same word that the homosexual community is using on Christians...But we do not apply passages such as Deuteronomy 12:32 to music and worship. When we do, we get the response of dancing was done in the Old Testament for example in 2 Samuel 6:12-14 (KJV)
14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod; and in 1 Chronicles 15:29 (KJV)

I am not sure how to handle that objection. Can you clarify this for me?

Dear ----,

It sounds like your church is going down the drain fast. You need to immerse yourself (with your wife, if you are married) in prayer about this.

The irony is that we do hear expository preaching in our church and teach the doctrines of grace.

If he believes what he preaches, which I certainly hope and presume he does, why isn't your pastor kicking some butt over this?

Here's a sermon that you may find of interest:
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1140793656


If I couldn't find a better church than you have described to me, I would start a home church. If you like the preaching, then play the recorded sermons. As I said before, I would be glad to help you get started. It may grow, as ours did, out of the home and into a larger public facility. There are obstacles to leaving a church, not the least of which is the loss of the fellowship. But fellowship is not as important as Biblical worship. If we stay in a church we know has serious problems in the worship in part because we have friends there, we are putting man above God. I'm not a fan of home churches, but extraordinary times require extraordinary measures.

we get the response of dancing was done in the Old Testament for example in 2 Samuel 6:12-14 (KJV)

Well, let's help them out with Ex. 15:20:

And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
Which "proves" not only that instrumental music is authorized in worship, but so is dancing. More than that, it "proves" that women can lead in worship, or at least in worship dancing (and I always thought it was the man that was supposed to lead in dancing).

The problem with this "proof" is that this passage and the Deut. 12 passage (and I Sam 21:11, 29:5; Jer. 31:4, etc.) have nothing to do with corporate worship. Read them carefully. They are clearly in the context of national rejoicing.

But let's hypothesize for a moment and say that dancing was part of OT worship. Do those advocates of dance in worship really understand how they have boxed themselves in when they use OT verses on worship as the model for NT worship? For example, what worship model are we to follow? The tabernacle? The temple? The synagogue?

If we want dancing as part of our worship (for that is what is behind the argument -- it is man-centered -- those who want dancing, musical instruments, man-composed songs, etc., dig up verses regardless of their context to give specious Scriptural support to what they want, what they will, in worship; they try to force their own ideas on Scripture -- "Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship..." - Col 2:23a) then we cannot pick and choose. We have to take all of the elements of the OT worship model we have chosen. In our public worship, if we are to be consistent, we must follow Ps. 150 and other scriptures. We then have to have trumpets, tambourines, harps, stringed instruments, rams horns, in fact, all the instruments of the Old Testament service, and we are in sin if we do not have all of them. What Scriptural basis is there that permits us to choose one or two elements of OT worship -- the ones we want --and not all? None whatsoever.

And we cannot stop there. We must sacrifice animals. Does your church have a line item in its budget for the purchase of lambs without blemishes?

But we do not do everything that is commanded in Scripture. Why? Because some of the commandments are not meant for us. We apply the rules of hermeneutics to understand what commandments looked forward to the coming of Christ and are therefore fulfilled. We search the Scriptures. The dietary laws are among the commandments that are fulfilled.

When we search the Scriptures we find that the use of instruments in worship are among those commandments that looked forward to His Incarnation and are therefore not to be used in worship.

We find that Christ Himself did not participate in a worship service that had musical instruments, or dancing, or even puppet shows.

We find that He sang the Psalms without instruments in worship.

Did you know that instruments (and certainly not dancing) were not used in most of the Old Testament worship?

The argument for dancing in worship is based on a few verses that are not in the context of corporate worship at all.

Frankly, those who try to use a few OT verses to justify their own passions for dancing or instrumental music in worship (or whatever it might be) are no different than the Judaizers:
http://snipurl.com/og3d6

Of course, if we are to have dancing, it is assumed there will be instrumental music, so the argument falls back on the question of instrumental music (I've never heard anyone argue for dancing to a capella Psalm singing!).

"The use of instrumental accompaniment in the corporate worship of God's people was recognized
unanimously by historic Reformed writers as a return to the Judaizing ceremonies of the Roman Catholic and Episcopal (i.e. Prelatic) Churches. This was also the opinion of the ancient church, and even Aquinas is cited as excluding their use for this reason. Thus, Dabney comments (in his review of John Girardeau's book on the subject), "Christ and His apostles ordained the musical worship of the New Dispensation without any sort of musical instrument, enjoining only the singing with the voice of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
Hence such instruments are excluded from Christian worship. Such has been the creed of all churches, and in all ages, except for the Popish communion after it had reached the nadir of its corruption at the end of the thirteenth century, and of its prelatic imitators [my emphases]." -- Larry Birger.

I recommend his "A Brotherly Testimony Against the Use of Instrumental Accompaniment In Public
Worship," at http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/instrlb.htm

"To sing the praises of God upon the harp and psaltery," says Calvin, "unquestionably formed a part of the training of the law and of the service of God under that dispensation of shadows and figures; but they are not now to be used in public thanksgiving." Calvin continues: "With respect to the tabret, harp, and psaltery, we have formerly observed, and will find it necessary afterwards to repeat the same remark, that the Levites, under the law, were justified in making use of instrumental music in the worship of God; it having been his will to train his people, while they were yet tender and like children, by such rudiments until the coming of Christ. But now, when the clear light of the gospel has dissipated the shadows of the law and taught us that God is to be served in a simpler form, it would be to act a foolish and mis-taken part to imitate that which the prophet enjoined only upon those of his own time."

He further observes: "We are to remember that the worship of God was never understood to consist in such outward services, which were only necessary to help forward a people as yet weak and rude in knowledge in the spiritual worship of God. A difference is to be observed in this respect between his people under the Old and under the New Testament; for now that Christ has appeared, and the church has reached full age, it were only to bury the light of the gospel should we introduce the shadows of a departed dispensation. From this it appears that the Papists, as I shall have occasion to show elsewhere, in employing instrumental music cannot be said so much to imitate the practice of God's ancient people as to ape it in a sense-less and absurd manner, exhibiting a silly delight in that worship of the Old Testament which was figurative and terminated with the gospel."

If you want an in-depth Scriptural look at the matter of instruments in public worship, I recommend Rev. John Girardeau's "Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church" at
http://www.covenanter.org/Girardeau/Instrumental/instrumentalmusic.htm

I also recommend: http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/reformation-rpw-gp.htm

Finally, I have attached one of my favorite books on worship, Dr. James Begg's "Anarchy in Worship." It is also available at http://www.archive.org/details/AnarchyInWorship

Blessings in Christ,

W. J. Mencarow
Pastor, Reformation Church
http://reformation.sermonaudio.com
www.WorldUnderChrist.com
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