BY WHAT AUTHORITY -- DO WE SING? by Dave Brown
Almost all religious groups have some form of singing,
and possibly other music, as part of their worship. Our goal
in this article will be to establish the music which is authorized
by God's word.
Two verses stand out in this regard: please read Ephesians
5: 19 and Colossians 3: 16. Both clearly specify "singing."
In addition, "speaking one to another" and "teaching
and admonishing" can only be done by singing.
While these are sufficient to make our singing an act
of faith, there are many other references to singing in the New
Testament (e,g., Mt. 26:30, Acts 16:25, Rom. 15: 9, 1 Cor. 14:15,
Heb. 2:12, James 5:13). However, search though we might, we cannot
find any authorization for any other type of music or instrumental
I know of no one who believes that it is wrong to sing
in worship to God without instruments. Why not just do what we
know is right? However, since most denominations use some
form of instrumental music, the question arises: "is it acceptable
to do this without the same authority that we have for singing?"
(See 2 Jn. 9.)
Let us answer this question by looking to a man of faith
in the Old Testament (Heb. 11:7). When God told Noah to build
an ark (Gen. 6:14), he could was free to build it of any materials
that he chose with any tools that he chose, and still be obedient
to God. However, when God said to use gopher wood, this removed
all other types of wood from being authorized. So, while he could
still use any available tools, he was not at liberty to use any
other wood (even a little bit of it), since this would no longer
have been "of faith." It would have been Noah's judgement
God has specified singing. While many see no reasons
that instruments were not authorized, the fact that God specified
singing and not instruments should be enough. While there are
many things (like Noah's tools) that we can do to assist our singing,
we cannot augment the worship of God with a type of music which
He has not authorized (even a little bit of it).
The issue of instrumental music is not a matter of personal
preference or church tradition. Those who insist upon scriptural
authority for EVERYTHING that they do will not worship
God in any way that He has not authorized, for to do so is not
"in truth" (Jn. 4:24). If we can take this step without
God's authority, then what rationale prevents us from taking any