The first time I heard a congregation sing a capella I loved it. Now, having been a member of a church of Christ for over eight years I still love the absolute beauty, the primitive feel, to good a capella singing. Wednesday nights at our church we meet in what was years ago the main auditorium and the acoustics compliment singing. It is wonderful to hear!
I will never forget when I was first given a “proof text” for a capella only singing in church. When the man read Colossians 3:16 my reply was “That’s it?”. I am amazed that this issue is still a hot issue in coC circles. Only the role of baptism is mentioned perhaps as much.
In only a few days after Peter’s first gospel sermon there were in Jerusalem several thousand new Christians. And, we know that they met together and worshiped. Interestingly, it would be at least twenty to twenty five years before the Apostle Paul would write what is now purported to be “authorization” for a capella only singing in worship gatherings. I am not suggesting that these earliest believers did not sing a capella, what I am saying is that they had no scriptural mandate to do so. And, the few who likely had some part of the Old Testament, or heard it read, did not find any such “authorization” in it. In fact they would have learned the opposite from the OT. When Ephesians and Colossians were finally written the context of neither “proof text” even hints that Paul’s intention was to prohibit the use of musical instruments in worship.
I was recently reminded that many coC people consider this issue to be a “salvation issue“! This could be used in the seminary class room as a case study on poor Bible scholorship and interupitation of Scripture.
A capella singing by Christians is a beautiful experience. It is a rich tradition and is worth continuing and passing to generations to come. However, it is foolish to tell anyone the Bible demands it. And I thnk even sinful to consider someone lost who does not agree.