Odd Doctrine

Phil Sanders believes preaching about instrumental music is preaching doctrine. Do you agree? I don’t.

The most basic meaning of doctrine is “something that is taught”. In that strict definition it is doctrine. However, it is not Bible doctrine. Bible doctrine is something the Bible teaches. Instrumental music is not something the Bible addresses.

A few years ago some men came to the elders of a church of Christ to complain about the quality of the preaching. Their charge was that the preacher was not preaching the “full counsel of God” (doctrine). What they wanted was not Bible doctrine but speeches about the superiority of the church of Christ and other topics that define the most legalistic congregations.

There is glaring lack of Bible doctrine being preached from our pulpits. The great themes of the Bible such as redemption, justification, sanctification, prayer, the Holy Spirit, the church…and the list goes on.

A cappella singing vs. singing accompanied by musical instruments is related to Bible doctrine in the same way Al Gore is related to science, questionable at best.


8 comments on “Odd Doctrine

  1. When I was in college, a man spoke at the ACU Lectureship arguing that expository preaching was ruining the church. Specifically, he said that topics like instrumental music were falling through the cracks because they can’t be taught through that style of preaching.

    Fortunately, everyone I spoke too immediately saw the fallacy in that logic. “If we just teach what the Bible teaches about, we won’t talk about some of the really important topics.” Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll stick with teaching what the Bible TEACHES, not the things we can string together with baling wire and duct tape.

    Grace and peace,

  2. I’m with you.

    I ran into that some in my Church of Christ experience. The request to preach about these pet ideas.

    I couldn’t and thankfully I don’t have that pressure today.

    God bless you Royce as you fight the good fight.

  3. Royce, a few of my thoughts about IM, I don’t see anywhere in scripture that would suggest no instruments is a biblical doctrine.
    But that said I can see where it could do harm. We go to church in my opinion to worship , and learn with like minded people. I believe singing hymns is group praise of our God. It could only be group worship because we are all led to sing the same words, written by another who is not present. OK now that I have explained what I believe church singing is, let me explain why I believe mechanical instruments can do harm. If we allow ourselves to become entangled in listening to the music, instead of joining in the praises, is that not denying God the worship he deserves? I allow that a single piano, played to keep the singers in sync is less liable to distract from the objective at hand, To praise God. But I also believe that a single instrument can lead to a full band on a stage, it already has. If this is so then aren’t the many just listing to a few praise God? And I must say some of the many are sitting in judgment of some of the few, who are not so well schooled in playing their instrument.
    Am I going to say OK we are allowed “ONE” instrument, no that would be wrong, how do I know how many instruments it will take to disrupt our spiritual thought.? Well I favor the no instruments in church worship, save the bands for religious concerts.
    Like I said I don’t see where we are banned from having instruments in worship, but I don’t see where we are banned from having pony rides across the stage to draw the younger couples with small children either, but I do believe it would be a distraction. I vote for no instruments and no pony.

    Laymond, You make some good points and I agree with what you say, believe it or not 🙂 Our congregation is firmly a cappella, not on Biblical ground, but because of some of the exact reasons you mentioned.

    I have experienced some wonderful worship in the past where instruments were used, the best in my memory when as you suggested, only one piano was used. The mistake usually made is that the instruments are too loud and drown out the singing. If instruments are used at all they should “accompany”, or “enhance” the singing.

    My wife and I enjoy the Gaither singings and have been to a few of their concerts. Most of them are done well but some of them are difficult to listen to when the instruments are too loud. The same is true of the Grand Old Opry or any other music venue.

    You agreed with the point I was making that the IM issue for churches is not “Biblical doctrine”. A well thought out presentation along the lines of logic you presented is fine but to insist that by its silence the Bible condemns those to hell who use a piano in worship is just ignorant and silly.

    God bless you brother,

  4. Royce, a buddy told me some years ago that he announced he was going to preach through the life of Jesus for a year. After several weeks, a sister grumbled to him that she wished he’d get back to preaching the gospel!

    Sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry.

    I love you. Thanks for your continued challenges.

    One of our elders went to a east Texas church a few years ago to preach what I assume was a “gospel meeting” for a week. After the 2nd or 3rd night, the elders approached him after the service and told him they were tired of hearing about Jesus every night and that they wanted to hear something else.

    I asked him what he did and he said he preached Christ every night. Oh my, people and their priorities!

    I love you too brother,

  5. On the other hand, if the pony helped me illustrate the lowly kingship of Jesus entering Jerusalem, for instance, in a unique way that my church really needed to see and hear, I’d rent the pony.

    Of course, I’d have to clean up after the pony and then ride him to the unemployment office afterward ….

  6. I appreciate the balance here. Instrumental music is going to be an issue because, unfortunately, it’s been an issue. But to to deal with that question is not to deal with Bible doctrine.

  7. For what’s it’s worth, the first time I read this post of yours, I followed the link to Phil Sanders’ blog. I wanted to read what he had said.

    After posting a comment here, I went back to Phil’s blog and left a comment to the effect that all preaching is doctrinal; which raises the question of what doctrine’s should be central in a ministry of the Word. I believe that God–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–in God’s majesty, power and redeeming love should be the focus of what we preach. That was two days ago; apparently, my comment there hasn’t been approved. . . .

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