The subtitle of this book is “A Plea to Reconsider”. Perhaps you have not heard that Richland Hills, which as over 6,400 members, has decided to utilize mechanical instruments in their worship to God.
One topic we often discuss is how to build up area churches without violating their autonomy. Some argue that things would be easier if the church’s organization was more humanly centralized and hierarchical. However, one of the pitfalls of a human hierarchical arrangement is that if a hierarchy digresses, so often do the majority of churches under it. A decentralized autonomous organization is less impacted by digression by local congregations. To say that churches are autonomous does not mean they are without government. All churches of Chris are centralized under one head—Jesus Christ, have appointed leadership—elders, and are under one constitution—the New Testament.
Apologetics Press and Sain Publications have attempted to prevent the spread of the digression into instrumental music. Dr. Dave Miller, Executive Director of Apologetics Press, has written a 150-page response to the adoption of the instrument by Richland Hills. The plan is to distribute these books to as many churches as they possibly can. They are seeking financial support to postage and the printing of additional volumes as needed. Perhaps this is an opportunity for the leadership of your congregation to send materials to area churches in an effort to shore up their teaching on this subject as well? A website has been set up for this book at http://richlandhillsandinstrumentalmusic.com/. Copies of the book may be ordered at the site, or an electronic PDF copy of the book can be downloaded for free.
One of the items I sometimes see by those advocating digression is an assertion that they have already studied/know/answered all the arguments of a given issue. For example, Richland Hills’ preacher stated he spent three days at Abilene Christian University studying all the debates and materials printed by those opposed to the instruments over the past 100 years. On the surface that may seem impressive, but Dave Miller lists a few books (the list is not exhaustive) totaling easily over 3,000 pages not including journals, tracts, and other materials. That is a lot of reading for three days! This type of assertion is meant to impress those who are willing to put their trust in a man rather than investigating themselves. Christians need to heed the words of John—“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
Please resist the temptation of thinking this is not an issue where you worship. A couple of years ago I was disappointed to hear a young person who was born and reared attending the congregation where I attend state “I don’t know what the big deal is about instrumental music. The Bible does not say you cannot use the instrument.” I pointed out that the question of authority is two-fold. The issue is both what the Bible says you cannot do, but also what it says you can do. Indeed the proverb is true—“an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If your congregation has not studied this matter in some time, then I highly recommend Dave Miller’s book as greater than an ounce of prevention.
Originally printed in West Virginia Christian, Vol. 15, No. 8, August 2008, p. 8. Reprinted by permission.