5. PREACHING is being de-emphasized and those using biblically  based sermons are castigated as being "out of touch" with the  real "needs" of people.

 a. This is the outgrowth of the "felt needs" philosophy that is
warmly  embraced by many.  Since most do not "feel" lost, or a need for doctrine, many have decided that preaching should not address those topics. Sermons are thus designed to make listeners "feel good," to emphasize generic religious themes, and to avoid austere and restrictive subjects. The emphasis is to say anything that will make you look just like any other religious group. Sin and other "conservative" issues are not to be preached.  There is basic appeal to the old liberal "social gospel."

 b. The emphasis upon social issues in many pulpits today is
understandable in light of the "felt needs" philosophy. Whenever one does not want to preach the distinctiveness of the New Testament gospel, there is still a sense of purpose which must be addressed. "Why are we here? For what does the Church exist?" These questions are answered by the "social gospel" -- we are here to help the homeless and correct the social wrongs of our day (prejudice against gender being the main emphasis; political correctness being stressed). Thus, many have abandoned the New Testament message of atonement and sanctification through Christ's Church. They instead preach a generic "love" and "grace" that has no sacrifice or distinctiveness.  Such soothes the inner-longing for one's purpose! 

 c. The compromise in distinctive preaching is evident to all who
investigate the matter. Transparency 7/8 “Preaching Compromised”
  1) Very Little Scripture is cited in sermons. Mostly stories;    entertaining lines.
  2) Very Little demands of repentance are made.  Such im-   poses upon the "ME Generation's" self-centeredness!     Society's pluralism has invaded the pulpits!
  3) Very Little encouragement to obey the Gospel is given.    The "invitation" is regarded as a "traditional heritage."
  4) Very Little respect for Scripture is evident. Congre-   gations seek preachers with winsome personalities and    charisma rather than those who soundly exegete Scrip-   ture! Instead of direct references read from Scripture    (when it is cited) there is a paltry summary of phrases!
  5) Very Little study is given the preparation of sermons.    Preachers are often expected to do so many other things    that he simply does not have time, or is not self-disciplined    to spend the time necessary to prepare sound sermons!

6. "SPECIAL MUSIC" presentations are becoming quite common in  worship assemblies where cultural influences have strongly  urged modifications of God’s commands for worship. 

 a. The term "special music" refers to special singing presen-  tations by groups (choirs, quartets, solos, or choruses).

 b. There is a growing number who deny that congregational   singing is the ONLY format authorized in the Bible.
  1) Lynn Anderson, "Music That Makes Sense," Wineskins, p. 26ff
ridicules those who "control" the singing so as to limit it to only congregational singing of "classical music." Read his comments throughout the article that sarcastically snubs congregational singing (Wineskins, Jan/Feb 1993, Vol. 1, No. 9).
  2) Rubel Shelly (July 19, 1989) in Woodmont Hills bulletin -- "The    New Testament precedent is actually clearer for solo or    small group singing than for congregational singing."
  3) Calvin Warpula, "The New Testament Encourages Special    Music In Worship,"  Wineskins, p. 26ff argues that there is    Scriptural authority for special music presentations and we    have rejected the original pattern of worship music used    by our first century brethren.
  4) “Advocacy for special music in worship assemblies”  Trans-   parency 7/9  Those advocating the use of "special music"    presentations basically support their position with these    arguments.
   a) The Bible offers support for special music (cf 1 Co 14:26;     Ep 5:19; Col 3:16; Ac 16:25; Hb 2:12; Jas 5:13). From these     texts the following are concluded: the congregation     listened to those who sang and sometimes sang all     together; the "speaking to one another" does not mean     all spoke at the same time (simultaneously) because the     "teaching one another" (Col 3:16) would be pande-    monium. 
   b) The Bible does not say that congregational singing is the     only format.  Those who insist that it is are making a     "creedial law beyond Scriptural authority." (They thus     seek to practice a "permissive" silence of Scriptures).
   c) Our "freedom" in Christ allows us to let people use the     musical format they like without judging them. We do     not judge over song books or styles of songs so why     should we judge whether one has a solo or choral     group? We should be free to choose where God has not     legislated.
   d) Opposition to special music is because we "inherited this     tradition from religious ancestors." According to some     the first century Christians actually had solos but these     were later repressed.
   e) To ban special music presentations is to "force a pattern     from our traditions where God has not given one." We     are thus guilty of making an unscriptural law in referring     to "regular" or "official" worship assemblies. This incon-    sistency is further seen in our allowing singing groups     to perform before or after worship assemblies.
   f) To some these cultural arguments seem incredible. Yet     here is perhaps the clearest point illustrating how Cul-    tural Advocates are ready to jettison Scriptural authority     if it enables them to accommodate "felt needs"     approaches! 
    1) Subjectiveness reigns 
    2) Pragmaticism directs all choices
    3) Pluralism compromises and distorts long held Truths
    4) Here is the emotionally charged, Scripturally irres-     ponsible argument -- “Where does Scripture      ‘command’ singing groups and multiple song leaders?      The same place it ‘commands’ congregational singing      and one song leader! One song leader and congre-     gational singing is not the only biblical way to wor-     ship; it is simply one cultural way” (Lynn  Anderson,      "Music That Makes Sense," Wineskins, p. 29). Upon what      basis is this determined? If special music leads to      growth and revitalized spirituality, why don't we see      such in the denominations who have used it for      years? 

 c. The Cultural Advocates claim we are wrong and are guilty of
driving people away by insisting that congregational singing is the ONLY format allowed in worship. Let's examine the major points and test them to see how accurate they are. We will use the form of analysis that has been suggested previously. “The Process For Studying Accounts Of Action”  Transparency 7/10

 d. Does Scripture offer  support for special music?
  1) Cultural Advocates claim it does. According to their argu-
ment these texts support it - 1 Co 14:26 sanctions solos; Ac 16:25 duets; Hb 2:12 solos; Ep 5:19 singing groups; Jas 5:13 solos. These texts are explained in such a way that gullible minds accept all statements without any questions. There are some serious points, not discussed, which destroy the Cultural Advocates position. Notice the following. 

  2) Transparency 7/11 “Analyzing Ep. 5:19"  Ep 5:18-19; Col
3:16. Here are two key texts regarding New Testament worship in song. Historically these have been the texts guarding against innovations in worship music. Any "change" in worship music must deal with these texts! Such is the case with special music advocates -- they have to explain these texts so that their musical formats are allowed. 
   a) An analysis of Ep 5:19 is a simple task.
    1) The Subject - "You" is understood; the Ephesians 
    2) The Verb - "Be filled" (PLEROUSTHE) is plural and ad-     monishes all to be filled. 
    3) Two Plural Participles modifying the verb - Speaking,      Singing, Making Melody, Giving Thanks, Submitting      Yourselves. 
    4) Our focus is upon "speaking to yourselves" (HEAUTON).
Thayer's lexicon (p. 163) says this is a "reflexive pronoun of the third person." And it means "reciprocally, mutually, one another." Thus the term indicates simultaneous action of one to another ("the agent and the persons acted on are the same," p. 163). Hence the ones doing the "speaking" are also the ones being spoken to at the same time. 
    5) How were these to "speak"? By singing. In singing they      would be "filled with the spirit" as they spoke to one      another.
    6) Who? The whole Church - the understood subject
 ("you") shows those singing were not a part but the whole! All are to sing. All are commanded to sing -- not listen! (Where is Scripture that commands us to listen to singing in worship?) All are commanded to be active participants in "speaking to one another" as indicated by the active participles. 
    7) Note: A most significant fact! We find here a recipro-
cal action required of a group (the Ephesian Church) and not individuals!  This is significant because it shows that small groups are not commanded! All are to be involved -- each is to sing and in doing so is to teach, admonish others while s/he is taught and admonished at the same time by others singing! The "one another" term indicates that a solo is excluded. It is NOT a song sung to one another BUT a song sung with one another! Each believer is singing along with every other believer! 
    8) Transparency 7/12 “Significant Greek Terms That      Must Be Considered!” Here is a most interesting point.
Cultural Advocates for “special music” in worship assemblies say that "speaking to one another" is done as the special music groups sing for they are "speaking to others." However the Greek word used will not allow such interpretation. HEAUTON is used but they need ALLELON to satisfy their argument.
     a) ALLELON refers to communication between people.
It is mutual and reciprocal (Thayer, p. 28). However it describes communication where one speaks and the other listens. It stresses individual action that is mutually reciprocal (cf Lk 2:15; 6:11; 7:32; 24:14). There is a lapse of time between one speaking and the other speaking. Each eventually teaches/admonishes but not at the same time. 
     b) Ep 5:19; Col 3:16 DO NOT use ALLELON but HEAUTON! 
And that term indicates simultaneous action of a group. Lk 23:28  -- all wept together; it was not one weeping now and another later! (See Guy N. Woods, "Is Congregational Singing Required In The Worship Of God In The New Testament Church?" Gospel Advocate. May 16, 1985, p. 290). 
     c) "The reflexive HEAUTON differs from the reciprocal       ALLELON in emphasizing the idea of corporate wor-      ship" (Lightfoot, St. Paul's Epistles To The Colossians,       p. 221). 
     d) IF small group musical performances were author-
ized in Ep 5:19 and Col 3:16 a totally different word would be used! While our English language may be vague and its meanings change as we define "to one another," the dead Koine Greek language does not change! Inspiration's wisdom in using this dead language preserves God's exact command regarding worship singing -- it is to be simultaneous where each saint is involved! We are not commanded to listen but to sing! Note: This is a devastating point for those seeking to find Scriptural authority for special music in worship assemblies. "To find choral or solo singing in the passage, we would have to assume that individuals singly or a few at a time are 'filled with the Spirit' at a given time in our worship. These would sing while the majority of the congregation (lacking the devotion that seeks expression in glorifying God) simply listen. This is patently absurd. By what stretch of the imagination could one singing a solo justify his action by appealing to Ep 5:19, 'I am speaking to ourselves (yourselves), in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs'? Nor it is any better to reason, 'I am fulfilling my part in speaking to ourselves (yourselves), which will be completed when everyone else does the same thing in due time. Yet this is precisely the argument that those who would justify solos and choirs make.  Their ploy only works by twisting the text and either being ignorant of the Greek terms or by deliberate refusal to admit the impact of the Greek -- either is a damnable predicament! Honest scholarship must be pursued and Scriptural wresting must be exposed (2 Pt 3:15-17)!

    9) An analysis of Col 3:16 is also a simple task. Trans-     parency 7/13 “Analyzing Col. 3:16"
     a) "One another" is HEAUTON.
     b) "Teaching" "admonishing" are present participles. 
     c) The subject is the whole Colossian Church.
     d) It discusses how Christ's supremacy will impact indi-      vidual lives and the collective Church. 
     e) Cultural advocates suggest that "one another"       refers only to teaching. They thus argue -- "Do you       really mean that we should teach one another sim-
ultaneously? Such would be absurd! Therefore the speaking to one another in Ephesians 5 cannot refer to only simultaneous singing, it must also include speaking to one another while others listen. Thus the authorization for special music." This argument is based upon the reading of Colossians 3:16 in the NIV which separates "teaching" from “singing.” However such a separation IS NOT found in the Greek. Such is simply the bias of the translators and is now being used to lend authority to special music groups in worship!
    10) Transparency 7/13b Summary of Ephesians 5:19 and       Colossians 3:16
     a) The Worship - singing to the Lord.
     b) The Act - teaching/admonishing in song.
     c) The Focus - psalms, hymns, spiritual songs
     d) The Place - when assembled together
"What is pictured is congregational singing, as practiced by churches of Christ today. The authority is specific: when brethren sing in worship, this is the order. Whenever the congregation worships God in song, this is the pattern to be observed. Choirs and solos violate the divine pattern."
    11) Note: Cultural Advocates say they do not want to      "bind" special music but they desire the "freedom" to      use it without condemnation. Such places them in a      dilemma. Note ... 
     a) To find Scriptural authority they go to Ep 5 and Col       3.
     b) But the imperative mode is used - "be filled"  "let       the Word dwell." This mode does not allow option       but states an urgent requirement. Thus, whatever       "speaking to yourselves" is, it is not optional. 
     c) If choirs and solos are intended, they MUST be used;       they are required!
     d) If special music is intended in Ep 5/Col 3, we are sin-      ning IF we do not use them!  But the Cultural       Advocates tell us that it is a matter of little con-      sequence -- an optional issue!

 e. Transparency 7/14 The Problems With Using 1 Co 14:26 As A
“Proof-Text” For Solos” 1 Co 14:26 is the favorite "proof text" of those insisting that special music is Scriptural. They suggest that if God revealed a "psalm" to one then that person was to sing the psalm to the Church. Here, they assert, is a Scriptural precedent for solos. 
  1) There are a number of problems with this argument. 
  2) It describes a unique assembly -- totally unlike any today!
Note: An indefinite verb ("when") introduces the assembly (cf v. 23). This is used regarding indefinite times -- the time of this assembly was not known (i.e. "If this takes place, then ..."). "The assembly of 1 Co 14 is an IF assembly, not a normal, definite assembly."
  3) It requires absurdities for modern worship -- the regula-
tions have no bearing at all upon assemblies except those where the miraculous gifts were displayed. For example: only 2-3 men could teach (including Communion, prayer, song, etc.); those desiring to comment in a foreign language are limited to 3 but only if there is an interpreter; women must keep totally silent (cannot even sing thus contradicting Ep 5:19); women have to ask husbands only about spiritual matters (even if husband is a reprobate). 
  4) It is used inconsistently -- people pick and choose what    they want to apply. Anti-Classes, Anti-Woman teachers for    children and women's classes argue their pet hobbies from    this passage, but do not consistently bind all regulations.    Today the special music advocates look here to find    support. But one must hold to all or none! "Regulations of    spiritual gifts are not transferable to non-gifted men."
  5) It was written to correct, not command. Paul is rebuking    those who abused the assembly. There was something    amiss in those addressed and it needed correction. 
  6) It reads too much into the text.  Where do you find the
word "solo"? The "psalm" could have been read. Why "add" singing a solo? Nothing indicates a psalm revealed to man would have to be sung solo to the congregation. "If the expression, 'every one of you hath a psalm,' means the man to whom the psalm was revealed had to sing solo, would it not then follow that in order for a quartet to sing, every person in the quartet would have to have the same psalm revealed to him? And the only way there could be congregational singing would be when every member of the congregation received the revelation of the same psalm at the same time."

 f. Transparency 7/15. SUMMARY 1 Corinthians 14:26  Summary   of 1 Corinthians 14. In order for advocates of special music to   establish their point, they must prove -- 
  1) That all assemblies in the first century were like the    assemblies of 1 Co 14, and explain how or why all assem-   blies were indefinite ("ify"). 
  2) That instructions to specified persons may be transferred    to others not under consideration. Having done this, they    must be consistent and acknowledge that they intend to:
   a) Limit teachers to only 3 in any assembly. 
   b) Appoint "judges" in every assembly. 
   c) See that all women have their heads covered in all     assemblies. 
   d) Direct all women to learn from their husbands at home,     whatever his spiritual maturity may be. 
   e) Confine the singing to not over three solos at a given     assembly, and then only by men (HEKASTOS, "every     one," is masculine). In addition, they must prove that the     "psalms" given by the Spirit (vs. 26) were sung in solo,     and were not songs revealed to be sung by the con-    gregation (or recited). Also, they must prove that the     singing of vs. 15 was solo and not singing in a foreign     language. Without proving these things, the special     music advocate has no certainty to his position. Assump-    tions are a meager basis for accepting special music in     our worship assemblies. 

 g. Transparency 7/16 “Last Resort Texts” There are some minor   texts that are used to advocate special music presentations.   Each of these fails to provide a necessary basis for the   practice. 
  1) Jas 5:13 -- not in a public worship assembly. We can do    many things in private that we cannot do in the public    worship assembly. 
  2) Hb 2:12 -- See Guy N. Woods, p. 296, Gospel Advocate,    5/16/85. 
  3) Ac 16:25 -- Is this a basis for duets? This was not a worship    assembly! (cf Don DeWelt, Gospel Advocate, 5/16/85, p. 293). 

 h. Transparency 7/17 “Congregational Singing Is Commanded!” 
Does the Bible say that congregational singing is the only format? We have seen that Ep 5:19/Col 3:16 command singing that is simultaneous. This is the only format commanded. Should we try to justify special music by appealing to the "permissive silence" (what is not specifically commanded/condemned is allowed) we will open the door to false doctrines (i.e. the rosary; instrumental music; etc.). The Scriptures command ONLY congregational singing. It thus eliminates all other "formats" for the worship assemblies. Even if a preacher should get up and SING Psalm 23 instead of READING it, it is wrong! 

 i. Do we have the "freedom" to use special music in worship?
The real question is -- Do we have the "freedom" to change what God has legislated? Many "Change Advocates" are crying for "freedom" yet they are bringing bondage! (2 Pt 2:19). We do not have the freedom to loose where God has bound! (Mt 18:18).

 j. Are special music presentations opposed today because such
is "inherited" from our religious ancestors? Is Warpula's contention true that we oppose choruses only because Calvin/Zwingli did? No. This same rationale can be applied to opposition to the Pope or respect for the authority of Scriptures. There are positions which the Reformers held that were right. Our agreement is upon what is RIGHT instead of what is "inherited." We oppose special music because the practice is without Scriptural support. Congregational singing was practice in the first Century. “Advocates of choirs-solos claim to find comfort in the practice of early Christians during the developing ‘apostasy’ (2 Ths 2:3,7). It is claimed that choirs and solos constituted the practice of the churches from the apostolic age through the early centuries. The claim is not so. Choirs-solos were introduced and became popular as the apostasy developed” (Frost, p. 8).  Historians unite in stating that congregational singing was the norm for worship.
  1) Chrysostom (4th Century A.D.) -- “In the apostolic age the
music was entirely vocal and congregational ... It was the ancient custom, as it still is with us, for all to come together and unitedly join in singing. ... all join in one song ... the whole congregation forms one general chorus” (Dr. H. Christopher, Lard’s Quarterly, Oct. 1867, p. 360).
  2) Ignatius (c. 35-107 A.D.) -- “To a man you make up a chorus,
so that joined together in harmony and having received the godly strain (chroma Theou) in unison, you might sing in one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father” (James McKinnon, Music In Early Christian Literature, p. 18).
  3) “The singing was congregational for the first three centur-
ies. The charm of their music was not in the harmony of sweet sounds, but in the melody of the heart ... The singing was gradually drawn from the congregation and confined to a choir ... the style of music was changed, so that the congregation was compelled to remit this part of the worship, and leave it in the hands of trained singers. Church music thus became a refined art of difficult attainment, and limited to a few professional singers” (From Coleman’s Ancient Christianity Exemplified, quoted by Dr. H. Christopher in Lard’s Quarterly, October 1867, p. 362).

 k. In opposing special music in the worship, are we guilty of   "forcing a pattern where God has not given one"? No. The   pattern is found in Ep 5:19/Col 3:16 and it mandates congre-  gational singing. 

 l. Are we unscripturally legislating "regular" or "official" worship   assemblies?  No. The New Testament Church had regular   assemblies each Lord's Day. They came together at a set time   to join together in worship activities (cf Ac 20:7; 1 Co 16:1,2;   11:18; etc.). In these regular assemblies they sang, took   Communion, studied Scripture, exhorted by God's Word, and   prayed. Their example indicates that the Lord's Day assem-  blies were special times and regularly planned. They worship-  ed God during set periods just as the Scriptures command us   to do. 

 m. Are we inconsistent to allow special music groups to per-  form before/after regular worship assemblies? No. Such   often provides a convenient time and its close proximity   does not make it worship. If it does then we could not have   two different activities scheduled immediately following   each other for they would  be one activity, not two. What if   two families decide they will eat together immediately   following the assembly. Is their meal a part of worship?   Certainly not. Such an absurd conclusion indicates the error.   "Worship" activities are defined by Scripture as being one of   the "five acts" of worship (see Jividen's book about calling   these "acts" of worship).  Special musical performances would   be wrong if they were enmeshed with these five acts but not   wrong if they are apart from them. 

 n. The Cultural Advocates are calling for tolerance regarding the
use of special music. Such is suppose to build the Church in membership and spirit. However that is error! The Bible commands congregational singing only and therefore condemns any special music during worship. This innovation is wrong because ...  Transparency 7/5

  1) It DISTORTS the biblical command.
  2) It COMPROMISES the absoluteness of God's commands and    the New Testament pattern of congregational singing.
  3) It WEAKENS believers so they are willing to accept more    innovations that will "enhance" the worship.
  4) It RESULTS in disastrous consequences. 
  5) It LESSENS the uniqueness of God's design for holy wor-   ship. 
  6) It VIOLATES the principle of holiness which is to govern    God's people.


Copyright 1999 by John L. Kachelman Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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