Kenneth Sublett, Apostle for A Cappella in the churches of Christ


I don’t remember how I first became aware of Kenneth Sublett. It was likely through an internet search, or more likely a comment on someone’s blog. There is little doubt that no living person is more dedicated to keeping musical instruments out of churches of Christ than this man. After reading something he wrote a few years ago I sent an email to which he quickly responded. In that email I asked this question, “Is there any Bible topic or any theological subject that is more important to you than instrumental music in churches of Christ?” His answer was stunning. “No” was the answer. He went on to tell me how two of his churches had been stolen by the instrumentalist, so no, nothing was more important to him than fighting against this evil.

Early in 2010 I was asked to write an article for New Wineskins online magazine. The article I wrote was entitled: Patternism in Churches of Christ – A Template for Sin. I also published the same article on this blog. You can read it here. Mr. Sublett took issue what I had written and attempted to leave 9 different comments. His comments were very difficult to understand for the most part and so I chose to approve only one of them. A few days ago Mr. Sublett left a comment on another post I had written here and again I chose not to approve it. And, in fairness to him I sent an email saying that his comment did not address the subject at hand and invited him to comment again if his comment addressed the subject at hand. Well, our back and forth emails continued for a while. Finally I asked for, and was given permission to post here on GraceDigest the whole, unedited transcript. The reason I chose to do this is because Mr. Sublett feels he is not treated fairly by most progressive bloggers who routinely ignore his comments. So I thought I would give his ideas perhaps a different audience than is usual.

Mr. Kenneth Sublett, if my memory serves me well, is well into his 80’s and there is no denying that he is a busy fellow. He continues to regularly dress down those he believes to be false prophets (including yours truly..). His website is http://Piney.com. Not only is Kenneth Sublett one of the most vocal voices against instrumental music in Churches of Christ, he is by far the most unusual. If I understand what he actually believes, not only is he opposed to instruments in worship, but is against singing and preaching as well, except for preaching about the Lord’s Supper. One of the problems I have is following his writing. I once commented to him that it’s like trying to break a secret code to try to understand him. I don’t know if he appreciated the humor or not.

So, to keep a promise, and to give his views an airing that he feels others will not allow, here is the text of our online conversation by email.

Ken, 

Your comment added nothing to the subject of the post. I read it more than once and still had no idea what you were talking about. 

You have a one track mind, Instrumental Music. 

As long as you continue on that path I will not approve your comments on my blog. Having said that, if you want to comment on the subject of a particular post with a comment that relates to that post I welcome your comments. 

By the way, I prefer a cappella. I worship every Lord’s day with an a cappella congregation and they will likely be a cappella long after I’m dead. The New Testament does not address the issue so in my view to each his own on a matter with so little importance. I say let every person follow his own conscience on matters that are not clearly approved or forbidden in the Bible. I, nor any other man, has the right under God to impose my personal preferences on another of God’s children. 

Respectfully,
Royce 

Ken answered:

Thought you would be interested in the censored and censured comments. My response to Jay which is still hiding from the group: I thought you might be interested in the rest of the story. I have proven that church is synagogue and Christ outlawed all of the performing arts when GOD’S word is to be taught: the godly people were quarantined from the antics of the King and Commanders of the Army whom God turned over to worship the starry host: why do you think all of the musical invaders can’t read that.

I posted it to you on the link I saw: you don’t have to let people know but I thought you would be interested.
Here is what probably will not get moderated.

Synagogue was not an institution but a set-time-place.
The Holy Convocation was held on the first and sixth days during festivals.
This holy convocation defined as Reading and Rehearsing the Word of God came to be every REST day. Numbers 10 defines the difference between the Alarm (vocal or instrumental rejoicing or elevated speech) from the quiet assembly for instruction only. That is how Jesus exampled it and commanded it with the “ekklesia” word for reading, discussing and summarizing something from a HIGHER authority.

Every seven years, that is in the year of release, during the feast of Tabernacles, the Law was to be read before all the people according to the command found in Deut., xxxi, 10. But this enactment was probably soon found to be impracticable; and thus the Jewish authorities arranged to read on every sabbath, commencing with the sabbath after the feast of Tabernacles in one year of release and ending with the feast of Tabernacles in the next year of release, a portion of the Law so calculated that the whole Pentateuch would be read through in seven years. This would in some way the commandment be fulfilled. Some time later, the Jews of Palestine lengthened the sections for each sabbath in such a manner that he entire Law could be read in three years (Talm. Babyl. Megillah, 29b)

Isaiah was the ASSIGNED text already opened when Jesus stood up to read and then decently sat down. No preaching, no singing in the synagogue.

It is easy to miss “synagogue” as Church beginning the wilderness because people look up the word synagogue. Jesus “came together” or synagogued with the disciples two first days in a row.

When Paul uses “come together, assemble or gather” he always uses forms of the “synagogue” word. James also uses “translate.”

The godly people never did “worship IN the Temple.” John Calvin defined the synagogue in Numbers 10 Latin Con-gr?go Congrego Academia

“The church #1577 ekklesia – assembly, called out ones, set apart ones, congregation; in Hebrew this word is #6951 qahal (kahal) – a “synagogue” (E. W. Bullinger, Commentary on Revelation, p. 165-166), an assemblage, congregation, company from the root #6950 qahal meaning specifically a coming together, an assembling, a convocation, congregation; this word is used mostly for religious purposes (see William Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, p. 92)

“The LXX uses the word ekklesia to translate the Hebrew qahal. Qahal means to call, to assemble, and the noun form means a congregation or assembly. Solomon is called koheleth the Preacher, translated by the LXX ekklesiastes. The earliest known occurrence of the word is found in Job 30:28, ‘I cried in the congregation’. In the books of the law, qahal is rendered by the Greek word sunagoge, showing that the synagogue is the beginning of the New Testament church. Stephen in his speech which ended in his martyrdom referred to the history of Israel, and dwells for considerable length upon the one great leader Moses, saying in Acts 7:38:
Church.
‘This is he, that was in the CHURCH in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai’.

The people of Israel, looked upon as ‘a called-out assembly’ were ‘the Church’ of that period. By Charles H. Welch

Christ ordained that in the wilderness: the Lord’s Supper as the only addition is to preach the death of Jesus.

Christ outlawed “vocal or instrumental rejoicing which includes elevated forms of speech:”  We don’t do that when Jesus comes to be our ONLY teacher.

Ken

My reply:

Thanks Ken, I have read your material carefully. I missed the place in Scripture where Jesus outlawed singing or instruments in the NT church. Maybe you are right, I just need to see it in the Bible. 

You are correct, the people of God did not worship inside the temple. And I also agree that what happened in synagogue was the reading of the law (word of God). And I further agree that believing Jews were the “church” (called out ones) in the wilderness, God has always had a people, though few at times, there has always been a faithful remnant. 

The law, the sacrificial system, the temple with all its elaborate furnishings, and even the priesthood, were all shadows or types until the real thing came into being, His name is Jesus. Consider these facts.

1. God’s word. Once only a written code first written in stone, then with quill and ink, and repeated orally from generation to generation. And God promised the word would be written on the hearts of his people and it is. 

Jesus is the Word of God living in flesh. The English word “A P P L E” when heard or read by any English speaking person will cause a person think at once of the fruit that grows on a tree. In that sense, Jesus is the express image of the Father, the fullness of the Godhead bodily, If you have seen him you have seen the Father. John in both the gospel of John and in 1st John makes this very clear in the opening verses of each book. And in Hebrews 1 and other places as well. 

2. The temple was in the OT, a place. In the NT, it is a people. God has chosen to make his dwelling in his people. We are warned to not defile the temple and told “you” (plural) are the temple…” Jesus died, was raised, was glorified, and ascended to the Father. And as promised the Holy Spirit came to speak about Jesus, to comfort believers, to teach them God’s word and will, and to empower them for service in kingdom work, especially the preaching of the gospel. 

3. The priesthood. Jesus, as high priest went one time for all time, one time for all people and sprinkled his own blood on the mercy seat and by that one offering made pure forever those who are being sanctified (those who are in truth Christians). And, in a very real way each believer is also a priest in that he himself can have a hearing in the presence of the God we serve about matters that concern him, and we can come to God on behalf of others. Peter called us a Kingdom of priests. 

4 The Lord’s Supper. You mentioned this as what should be preached, and correctly that it shows the death of Jesus. I would add that it shows the death of Jesus and that He is coming again. And, baptism, is the other gospel symbol, that Christians participate in themselves and then those to whom they teach the gospel, Baptism, like the Lord’s Supper, shows the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I close this epistle (LOL) with this thought. Not one place I can think of in the New Testament even hints that Christians are allowed to do some things outside of a church building that they can’t do inside one. (obviously I am talking about teaching, praying, singing, etc.) I can’t see that God has any interest in a specific location, or building, on earth for Christ’s followers. 

If I understand you correctly, you are saying the local church of Christ building is equal, or the same, as a synagogue. I completely disagree if that is what you think. A mortar, wood, and steel building where people meet two or three times a week is no more holy than the house you live in 7 days a week. And, even between 10 o’clock and 12 o’clock on Sunday it isn’t holy either. The very idea that the room where the preaching is done is more holy than the other rooms in the building, or adjoining building, is completely foreign to the Bible.

Ken, I am not angry with you, I love you. It may well be that you and I will just not agree. I hope that does not stop us from loving each other which we are specifically commanded to do. Even if you were my enemy (you are not), I would still love you. All the power of hell can’t stop me from loving the people God says I must love. I don’t have to approve of them but I will love them. 

Respectfully,

Royce

Kenneth’s reply. 

“Thanks Ken, I have read your material carefully. I missed the place in Scripture where Jesus outlawed singing or instruments in the NT church. Maybe you are right, I just need to see it in the Bible.”

He outlawed it for the Church of Christ in the Wilderness and never changed His mind. He consigned the pipers, singers (lamenters) and dancers to the marketplace where all of the things and bodies were sold. He cast out the musical ministers using a word meaning “more or less violently like dung.” That may be because in Athens and probably elsewhere the man who regulated the flute-girls also regulated the dung heap.

http://www.piney.com/Synagogue1.html

John Calvin on Numbers 10

Christ speaks only through the Prophets and those made more certain by Jesus of Nazareth. The church is built or educated on those two sources. The pattern for commanding and imposing instruments is the goat burnt offering in 2 Chronicles 29. Christ defined the future REST (Pauo) both inclusively and exclusively. He spoke in the wilderness outlawing noise when the Word of God is taught (the only role for the synagogue)

Christ in Isaiah 50 about the Smiting and Plucking to come

Jesus didn’t say “Thou shalt Not smite me.”

Jesus didn’t outlaw Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites either. However, he called them both by quoting the words of Christ in Isaiah and Ezekiel 33 where the entertaining preachers, singers and instruments are named. A hypocrite can only mean in a literal sense a singer, player, dancer, actor or other theatrical performers.

“You are correct, the people of God did not worship inside the temple. And I also agree that what happened in synagogue was the reading of the law (word of God). And I further agree that believing Jews were the “church” (called out ones) in the wilderness, God has always had a people, though few at times, there has always been a faithful remnant.”

I believe that ALL of the people pushing music knowing they will sow discord claim that the Jews engaged in congregational singing and instruments IN the temple. The role of the Levite “praise singers” was to execute you if you went NEAR any holy thing.

The law, the sacrificial system, the temple with all its elaborate furnishings, and even the priesthood, were all shadows or types until the real thing came into being, His name is Jesus. Consider these facts”. 

I don’t believe that the temple was commanded by God. The Tabernacle was the pattern of witness given to Moses. This was to testify that God cannot be put into a box or house: there was never any instrumental noise around the Tabernacle nor in the Law of Moses in any sense. The Temple was a ziggurat because the people had been abandoned to be sent back to Babylon. Jay wouldn’t let me post the evidence acknowledged by the Jews.

Stephen agrees with all of early history I am aware of: God promised David a TENT for an additionsal altar reather than letting him be killed. That was on Mt Zion. However, Solomon built a HOUSE for God on mount Moriah along with the other shrines for his wives pagan Gods. God did not COMMAND king, kingdom, temple, animal slaughter or the noise used to “make the lambs dumb before the slaughter.” That was an evil prototypical picture of the actual musical mocking of Jesus.

Jeremiah 11:19 But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered

The Jews had A Covenant with Death. The law was not a true reflection but was anthetical to the Covenant made with Abraham which proves of burnt offerings on Moriah that “God has ALREADY provided.”

Skia

2. reflection, image (in a bowl of oil), Sch.Il.17.755.

3. shade of one dead, phantom, Od.10.495, A.Th.992,

of worthless things, that phantom at Delphi, of the Amphictyonic council, D.5.25; hai tou dikaiou s. mere shadows of .

4. evil spirit, Hippiatr.130, PMasp.188.5

also, of one worn to a shadow, A.Eu.302;

Christ says that God DID NOT command sacrifices or burnt offerings: to slaughter a bull was like killing a man in the eyes of God.

Isaiah 66:3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.

Christ in the prophets warns about the “Lying Pen of the Scribes” when they write about the temple.

“1. God’s word. Once only a written code first written in stone, then with quill and ink, and repeated orally from generation to generation. And God promised the word would be written on the hearts of his people and it is.

Jesus is the Word of God living in flesh. The English word “A P P L E” when heard or read by any English speaking person will cause a person think at once of the fruit that grows on a tree. In that sense, Jesus is the express image of the Father, the fullness of the Godhead bodily, If you have seen him you have seen the Father. John in both the gospel of John and in 1st John makes this very clear in the opening verses of each book. And in Hebrews 1 and other places as well.”

So true: that is why the Godhead is not a Jay Guin, John Mark Hicks, LU etal THREE PERSONS EACH WITH THEIR OWN CENTER OF CONSCIENCE.

Not even Jesus invented new words he did not hear from the Father who breathed (spirit) without measure (meter). Jesus commanded that we teach what HE commanded to be taught. Christ in the prophets always connect instruments to Satan: Lucifer the singing and harp-playing prostitute who came into the garden of Eden. The future REST would outlaw “seeking your own pleasure” or even “speaking your own words.”

“2. The temple was in the OT, a place. In the NT, it is a people. God has chosen to make his dwelling in his people. We are warned to not defile the temple and told “you” (plural) are the temple…” Jesus died, was raised, was glorified, and ascended to the Father. And as promised the Holy Spirit came to speak about Jesus, to comfort believers, to teach them God’s word and will, and to empower them for service in kingdom work, especially the preaching of the gospel.”

I believe that God MADE Jesus of Nazareth TO BE both Lord and Christ

Jesus died, was resurrected, was changed and ascended back to God Who sends all spirits.

Jesus received the promise of The Holy Spirit: That is, he received His CHANGED state

He returned at Pentecost (as promised) and HE poured out what ye see and hear.

When the Spirit Lord wanted to equip Paul He appeared to and spoke to Paul in His new Spiritual state: He identified Himself as Jesus of Nazareth.

The another Comforter [paraclete] in John 14 is identified by Jesus as “I will come to you.”

John gives us the Name (singulare) of that paraclete:

1John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin,

we have an advocate [paraclete] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous

No classical trinitarian nor the Campbells believed that the godhead was three people.

“3. The priesthood. Jesus, as high priest went one time for all time, one time for all people and sprinkled his own blood on the mercy seat and by that one offering made pure forever those who are being sanctified (those who are in truth Christians). And, in a very real way each believer is also a priest in that he himself can have a hearing in the presence of the God we serve about matters that concern him, and we can come to God on behalf of others.

Peter called us a Kingdom of priests.”

That is a fact: Jesus was not an ego-maniac: He and everyone else preached the “Gospel of the Kingdom.” Christ still rules.

Jesus commaned us to teach what HE COMMANDED to be taught: a Disciple is a student. Students do not do rituals: they go to Bible Class.

“4 The Lord’s Supper. You mentioned this as what should be preached, and correctly that it shows the death of Jesus. I would add that it shows the death of Jesus and that He is coming again. And, baptism, is the other gospel symbol, that Christians participate in themselves and then those to whom they teach the gospel, Baptism, like the Lord’s Supper, shows the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

“I close this epistle (LOL) with this thought. Not one place I can think of in the New Testament even hints that Christians are allowed to do some things outside of a church building that they can’t do inside one. (obviously I am talking about teaching, praying, singing, etc.) I can’t see that God has any interest in a specific location, or building, on earth for Christ’s followers.”

IN THE SCHOOL OF CHRIST

That is because I am not aware of anyone who has written on the subject from either wing including all of the scholars who seem to have the ability to grasp that the ekklesia or synagogue was a set-time place to hold SCHOOL OF THE WORD. In Romans 14 Paul excluded ALL doubtful disputations. He lists some areas because in the cities most people went to the agora or marketplace to take a bath or to eat at one of the public kitchens. Doubtful disputations are personal opinions whoch do not edify: in this context edify means EDUCATE.

In Romans 15 self pleasure (Greek Areskos or Latin Placeo) specificially identifies all of the performing arts which in Romans 14 would be the marketplace (Dionysiacs and Orphics both of whom were identified by their musical performance and identifiedby their DIET). Then the direct command which was the same holy convocation (reading and rehearsing the Word), practiced by the godly none-Levites (Jacob said DON’T attend their assemblies) as ordained by Christ in the wilderness

“Use one mind and one mouth to teach that which is written for our learning (defined as Scripture)” That is the same as the SPEAKING commands in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3. Several writers including Luther identify that as UNISON SINGING but not tunefully.

Martin Luther Romans 15

OUTSIDE OF THAT ONE HOUR WE CLAIM TO SACRIFICE TO CHRIST the common reverence does not apply because your banjo picking does not PREVENT the Word of Christ from being taught.

Could you not tarry with me for one hour? Apparently not.

That restriction has nothing to do with your singing or playing but Christ made the Law to regulate those who will not be quiet while He is teaching: the elders are commanded to teach that which has been taught.

If I understand you correctly, you are saying the local church of Christ building is equal, or the same, as a

synagogue. I completely disagree if that is what you think.

No, didn’t say that: The ekklesia is defined as both a called out body and a place of assembly or house.

Paul uses synagogue words to mean what it always meant: a set-time-place where he uses “come together, assembly or gather.”

The “houses” in the Old Testament were called synagogues but the “assembly” was not located in a building. At the time of Jesus “they” say there were thousands of synagogues in or around Jerusalem. That could be formed by ten families which was probably in houses.

Psalms 74:8 They said in their hearts, Let us destroy them together:

they have burned up all the synagogues of God in the land.

Jesus died to remove the laded burden and burden laders: a burden in both Hebrew and Greek is a repeating type of song which afflicts or “creates spiritual anxiety through religious rituals.” Probably half of the population cannot endure the loud singing, clapping and playing instruments in a “worship service” which induces “decibel poisoning” and OSHA could shut down if they hadt the nerve.

http://www.piney.com/MuBurden.html

-Phortos A. load, freight, cargo, Od.8.163, 14.296, Hes.Op. 631, Hdt.1.1, S.Tr.537, and later Prose, as PEnteux.2.11 (iii B. C.), Plu.Marc.14, Luc.VH1.34; epoiēsanto me ph., expld. as pepragmateumai, prodedomai, phortos gegenēmai, Call.Fr.4.10P.; ph. erōtos, of Europa on the bull, Batr.78, cf. Nonn.D.4.118.

2. metaph., heavy load or burden, ph. khreias, kakōn, E.Supp.20, IT1306; cf. phortion.

II. Att., vulgar stuff, rubbish, balderdash, Ar.Pax748 (anap.) Pl.796.

III. mass of detail, ‘stuff’, in semi-colloquial sense, Aret.CD1.4

Epōd-os , on, (epadō) A. singing to or over, using songs or charms to heal wounds

b. Subst., enchanter, “e. kai goēs” E.Hipp. 1038 (but “goēs e.” Ba.234): c. gen., a charm for or against, “ethusen hautou paida epōdon Thrēkiōn aēmatōn” A.Ag.1418 ; e. tōn toioutōn one to charm away such fears, Pl.Phd.78a.

2. Epōdos, ho, verse or passage returning at intervals, in Alcaics and Sapphics, D.H.Comp.19 ; chorus, burden, refrain, Ph. 1.312 : metaph., ho koinos hapasēs adoleskhias e. the ‘old story’, Plu.2.507e.

BURDEN IS: Epoiēsanto A. make, produce, first of something material, as manufactures, works of art,

Explained as pepragmateumai, prodedomai, phortos gegenēmai,

A. Pragmateuomai work at at thing, labour to bring it about, take in hand, treat laboriously, be engaged in. Work at writing religious poetry for use around the shrine or Hieros the temple of Athena for the hierodoulo

Hierodoulos Nethinim 1 Esdras 1:2 especially of the temple courtesans at Corinth and elsewhere also male prostitutes. Str.8.6.20, 6.2.6; Neokoros

In Romans 15 Paul forbids:

Aeirō , II. raise up, exalt, “apo smikrou d’ an areias megan” A.Ch.262, cf. 791

esp. of pride and passion, exalt, excite, hupsou ai. thumon grow excited, S.OT914

Soph. OT 914 Iocasta

Princes of the land, I am planning to visit the shrines of the gods, with this wreathed branch and these gifts of incense in my hands. For Oedipus excites his soul excessively with all sorts of grief, [915] as he does not judge the new things from the old, like a man of sense, but is under the control of the speaker, if he speaks of frightful things. Since, then, I can do no good by counsel, to you, Lycean Apollo—for you are nearest— [920] I have come as a suppliant with these symbols of prayer, that you may find us some escape from uncleanliness. For now we are all afraid, like those who see fear in the helmsman of their ship.

2. raise by words, hence, praise, extol, E.Heracl.322, etc.; ai. logō to exaggerate, D.21.71.

That applies during the ASSEMBLY because the only commanded purpose is to Read and Study the Word of God.

“A mortar, wood, and steel building where people meet two or three times a week is no more holy than the house you live in 7 days a week. And, even between 10 o’clock and 12 o’clock on Sunday it isn’t holy either. The very idea that the room where the preaching is done is more holy than the other rooms in the building, or adjoining building, is completely foreign to the Bible.

Ken, I am not angry with you, I love you. It may well be that you and I will just not agree. I hope that does not stop us from loving each other which we are specifically commanded to do. Even if you were my enemy (you are not), I would still love you. All the power of hell can’t stop me from loving the people God says I must love. I don’t have to approve of them but I will love them.”

I’M not pouting: My mission is to GO and teach MY side which is quite oppoosite of anything I have herd from prachers or “scholars.” If, as chared that I am a maniac it certaily feels good! I have just spent the last 32 years of my retirement studying the MUSIC issue which people have and continue to impose on people by using the curse of the SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM as the PATTERN for saying that God commanded instrumental praise. (bold type here is my emphasis)  That is still the highly vocal approach of the Christian Churches which did not begin to exist before 1927 and were still united with the Disciples of Christ until the 1968 restructure.

I wonder about people who twist all recorded history and refuse to hear the facts. You probably noted the quite brutal attack for my definig “words”? You must define words and read the commanded Prophets and Apostle which is Christ’s side of the story. I don’t believe the universities equip people to do that especially if you use the Levites as the pattern for praise singers.

You don’t need to reply.

Ken

But I did reply here:

May I have your permission to post this whole back and forth on my blog? I will simply cut and paste word for word. Since you have again and again racked me over the coals on your website will you allow me to post this conversation “word for word” and let the folks decide? 

With respect,

Royce

Mr. Sublett’s final reply:

You hve my permission.  I picked on you because you seem to affirm Jay.  Jay on the other hand seems purpose driven to attack the churches of Christ because they won’t either conform or confirm to give affirmation to the Christian churches.

I believe that he does not grasp that there was a prophesied fork in the road by Jacob warning us not to be joined to the Levi thred.  He points to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah as the pattern. That pattern was articulated as the ekklesia or church in the wilderness.

On the other hand the tribe of levi was abandoned to worship the starry host and God warned that the kings would destroy them..  The Abrahamic Covenant was restated and then violated at Mount Sinai and Moses declared the Israelite as blind and deaf (Paul affirms in 2 Chron). Moses leap-frogged the Monarchy and promised another Prophet.  I have no reason to think that any on the preacher or professor level grasps that.  On the other hand, all historical scholars the facts: Even the Kabbalah writers came to grasp that the Temple-State was misunderstood.

Jay leveled some pretty heavy stuff and made assertions about the ekklesia/synagogue as not being the CHRIST thread but then does not let my answers appear. That paints me as in error and a “maniac” as charged.

If it is afact that the Ekklesia first established by Christ was to be solely devoted to teaching the Word then all wiings of the Restoration bird cannot be Christian. Jesus attended and affirmed the role of the synagogue.

Thanks for your kindness and openess.

Ken

Well, there you have it. I really have no animosity against this man and I only wish for him the very best. I sincerely believe he is very confused but I’ll give him this, he is very persistent and consistent. Here are two places on his website where he gave an opinion of me. In one he tries to answer my objections to legalistic righteousness (you must scroll down near the end of the page to find where he starts..). And in another he tries to refute my article on Patternism. I hope you have better success in understanding him than I have.

This sort of post is not in keeping with what I have done for many years. I did it more as a favor to Kenneth Sublett than for any other motive. I hope he is pleased that I have been fair to him and true to my promise.

Royce

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25 comments on “Kenneth Sublett, Apostle for A Cappella in the churches of Christ

  1. I know of no better example of the depth of depravity that legalism can lead. Mr. Sublett is surely a fine man and devoted follower of Jesus, but his incoherent ramblings are so lost in the minutiae of legalism, patternism, foreshadowing, and subliminal meaning that he and he alone is able to understand his writings. It is sad when one’s passion becomes an obsession that leads to the level of distorted extremism that he has entered into. He is a man in need of our prayers….

  2. Psychological conclusions are dangerous: I didn’t know the meaning of church until I was about 65 when I saw all of the musical people trying to infiltrate and divert: I lost two of my “investments with the Lord.” Since NO ONE sang and discorded before the year 373 I leave it to others to explain why people lusting to sow discord seek out the SING words and ignore the absolute command to SPEAK that which is written: I can still understand that a DISCIPLE commanded to learn what Jesus commanded to be taught does NOT go to a worship service unless you can preach, sing, clap, play and fleece the workers while still flat on your face. Singing and clapping ought to end after nursery school.

    They MISSED point is that Church is a School (only) of the Word of Christ (Only) in the prophets and apostles. If your preacher doesn’t follow the command to PREACH the Word by READING the Word and letting you discuss it then you might want to flee Babyon or cut off his food supply.

    A musical instrument is defined as “a machine for doing hard work mostly making war and deranging people in paganism.” I would think that even a “young” person would be bright enough to know that learning, rehearsing, make up, performing and wiping sweat is about as legalistic and works-related as you can get. Royce thinks people are legalistic for NOT beginning to do what they NEVER did in church history.

    Please don’t listen to the put down: Church does not authorize preaching, singers or keeping you busy all week to justify the “ministerS.” And if they claim the right to “eat up the Widow’s living” Jesus provided NO FUNDING for anything you did in the institute today. There is no LAW (legalism) of tithing and there is no LAW of “laying by in the collection plate.” Jesus quoting Isaiah and Ezekiel called the speakers, singers and instrument players HYPOCRITES.

    They would LOVE to make you think that anyone who opposes them MUST be maniacs (Jay’s tribe) or Senile (Royce).

    Royce forgot to note that the “rest” of the story is on Jay’s page where he ASSERTS and then shuts you off. Jay’s Thesis which is requred to make sense was:

    Jay Guin: The synagogue was not invented by the Prophets, but is an invention of man. There was no singing or instruments until long after the First Century, but nowhere in the Bible is the Christian assembly said to be built on the synagogue. Indeed, the best evidence is that the assembly is built on the Passover tradition, if anything, which included … singing. And probably dancing (it certainly did at a later date). But neither singing nor dancing is commanded in the Torah..

    If this is NOT the truth then Christ in Jeremiah 23 calls these people blasphemers.

    It is a fact that the qahal, synagogue or Church of Christ was defined in the wilderness AFTER primarily the Jacob-cursed Levi tribe rose up in musical idolatry. They had to execute 3,000 of the musical “brethren” and God abandoned Israel to worship the starry host. Jay pretty much called me a liar on that so I quoted him some Acts 7. The synagogue which quarantined the godly people from the Sacrificial system–which God did NOT command–was defined:

    INCLUSIVELY Rest (from religion), Reading and Rehearsing the Word.
    EXCLUSIVE of “vocal or instrumental rejoicing.” We disciples don’t make fools of ourselves when Jesus comes to teach when the elders teach that which has been taught or in Rom 15 (defining synagogue) we use one mind and one mouth to speak that which is written for our learning. Disciples go to A School of Christ (the Cambpells agreeing with all of the Bible).

    On the other hand the PATTERNISM of the Passover is something that
    1. Happens just once a year.
    2. They “killed’ and “roasted” the lamb and did not drink 5 cups of intoxicating wine.
    3. Jesus gave Judas the SOP (same root as PSALLO) which caused the Devil to enter into him.
    4. They did not SING (sang, clang) several hymns nor did they dance.
    5. Jewish authority claim that if you repeat those songs over and over it is proof that you don’t believe that praying to God once is good enough: maybe he is over 80.

    You nor the “Levitical” musicians can write a hymn:

    Hymnus , i, m., = humnos, I. a song of praise, a hymn “divinorum scriptor hymnorum,” Lact. 4, 8, 14; Vulg. Psa. 60 tit.; id. Matt. 26, 30

    NO ONE sang tunefully before John Calvin let the Psalms (only) be rewritten. Hymns (hallels) were sung JUST THIS ONE TIME after Passover and Unleavened bread.

    Dīco, to say, tell, mention, relate, affirm, declare, state; to mean, intend (for syn. cf.: for, loquor stands for the Gr. eipein pros tina,
    ……. OPPOSITE Epos 1. song or lay accompanied by music, 8.91,17.519.
    ……. b. generally, poetry, even lyrics
    …….5. celebrate, of poets, “Aiantos bian

    We adults understand that God and the audience can understand and does not need to be appeased by insecure disciples. I told you that the Levite Pattern of all of the musical sects were not called ‘Musical Worship Teams.” Prophesying with instruments (all identified with bad women) is called SOOTHSAYING with instruments. In Revelation 18 John calls it SORCERY with instrumental accompaniment. Says they will be cast alive into the lake of fire.

    That is because SPEAK is the OPPOSITE of poetry or music or personal experience which treats songs and sermons as supperior to obeying the direct command to PREACH the Word by READING the Word.

    Just checking you out Royce!

    • Kenneth,

      I’ll only add one observation. By your definition of “preaching”, neither Jesus, nor Peter, nor Paul were preachers.

      Is there another person on the planet who agrees with you about singing not being allowed, or preaching that is more than just reading the Word of God? It must be a lonely way to live.

      I’m sorry you are angry. I’ve done everything I can think of to be nice to you, except agree with you, and I can’t do that.

      I do wish you will.

      Royce

    • I was reading k. sublet’s teachings and I could not make sense of them. I find music useless in the church. It gets in the way and takes up time. But he is taken away by this. I can’t relate Christian music to anything in the bible about Christ. It is usually (modern stuff) badly done and corny or just emotional or music so long to set the mood or counterfeit the real spirit of God. I do know that this kind of banter (Ken’s) is off and takes you away from Christ. Then I saw his confusing talk on baptism. His stuff is painful to read and must be painful to him. The churches are confusing and dangerous places. Religion is just religion. Finding Christ is something different..

  3. I will give Ken points on being passionate … and on at least one occasion, gracious. He left a comment of appreciation for the editors of New Wineskins being willing to discuss this issue last year.

    • Thanks Keith: I certainly appreciate people who are willing to discuss the issues. Paul’s often use of “synagogue” to define the gathering demands that the word be read, discussed or debated and try to reach a conclusion. I don’t ever remember a personal attack.

      Synagogue was the set-time-place to test syllogisms.

      • Kenneth,

        I’m not splitting hairs. I am only making the point that there is usually more to preaching than reading the Bible and discussing it. I said earlier, that by that artificial standard, Jesus, Peter, and Paul were not preaching. Every good sermon is an exegesis of Scripture. Sometimes it involves discussion and sometimes it doesn’t. Sermons in the Bible are full of quotes from the OT but not all sermons are all Scripture. It is a preacher’s job to help the listeners understand the message of God.

        Those early Christians had no church buildings with names on signs. When they came together, they ate together, they shared in the bread and the cup of the Lord’s Supper, they quoted or read Psalms, the Law and the Prophets, and they sang. It would be quite odd for those Christians who had been saved just a short time to not sing together. Do you remember that Jesus and his followers, immediately after he instituted what we call The Lord’s Supper, He and the disciples sung a hymn and then went out? If it was OK for Jesus and the disciples to sing why on earth would God not want other followers of Jesus to sing when they are together? 1st Corinthians 14 makes it abundantly clear that NT Christians sang when the met together.

  4. No offence, but the title is misleading. Kenneth no more wants to preserve a cappella singing than he does instrumental singing, and is in no way representative of an average member in the a cappella churches of Christ. He’s pretty much anti-music of any kind in a gathering of God’s people. That’s no mainstream a cappella church of Christ view, as I know you must be aware. It’s hardly just progressive blogs he has in his crosshairs.

    I’ve years of past experience moderating a forum (which had members of all CofC spectrums and beyond) in which he participated, and I won’t give my impressions here, but I will say that the more you dialogue, the more you feed a serious problem that simply can’t be solved via the internet, but is certainly exacerbated by it. This is not an ad hominem to lessen his points or to discourage this conversation or to hurt Ken in any way, but a voice of experience and observation.

  5. Dear Royce,
    Ken Sublett is by no means a teacher. Having analyzed his writings on his website and elsewhere, I know for certain that his only interest is in winning arguments. He resorts to rhetorical tricks such as equivocation (using the same word in two or more different senses), hypothesis contrary to fact (i.e., distorting the opposing viewpoint) and straw-man arguments. Worse, when he is clearly shown to be wrong, he will resort to ad hominum.
    At best, I can say he is a sad case that needs prayer.

    • I don’t disagree Brian. My approach has been to directly engage Mr. Sublett and even to allow him to express his views on Gracedigest along with my comments.

      While I disagree with him in no uncertain terms, I also have tried to treat him kindly as much as possible. Sometimes, in private correspondence, he has even been nice to me.

      Thanks for reading,
      Royce

    • Brian Ken has been caught by something. Yes he needs prayer but I don’t how to pray for him. I hope you can. That having to win an argument thing has taken over. It’s everywhere. I don’t know what spirit is behind it is dangerous and sad.

  6. As the member of an instrumental restoration church located east of cincinnati, historically one of the first beginning in 1826, I see Mr. Sublett being in violation of the very fundamentals that began the Restoration Movement. Unity among christians and truth in scripture. His views and words are certainly set against the original idea of unity espoused by B.W. Stone and he is lacking almost any scriptural truth which was the focus of the Campbell movement. When I read his words I see a bitter man who has no understanding of Jesus’ words in Matthew 20:20-28. His views and beliefs make him almost a cult unto himself, and while I believe these things to be true I would have no issue coming together in fellowship with him, however I do not believe he would be so inclined. That being said, can he even claim to be part of the original restoration movement? His method of evangelism does damage and divides the body of Christ.

  7. I agree with the initial choice of discarding the comments. While it may be hard to pull one’s eyes from a train wreck, we probably should try to protect the vulnerable on both sides of such discourse.

    I think for the sake of protecting Kenneth Sublett from himself, we should respectfully decline to do him harm by posting his words in public.

    His discourse speaks for itself.

    Thank God for our Savior, who loves and gives grace freely to each and every one of us, planks, splinters, and all.

  8. mr. Sublett recently tiraded upon and was banned from a Christian forum that i regularly visit. i won’t give him any more respect than he is due, and as the scriptures themselves teach, that is less than bidding godspeed.
    he’s an apostate who refuses even to address the many direct contradictions of scripture that he fervently preaches. when one does get a coherent response from him to a scripture that is in complete disagreement with his views, he falls back to pagan literature with no bearing whatsoever on the Bible itself, following a chain of logical fallacies as far as he feels necessary to take it until some obscure reference to debauchery is somehow linked to a setting where music was present. for a man who insists on the Word of God, he uses it very little, and understands it even less.
    he is the perfect example of what Paul in 1 Timothy 4 said the Spirit testifies would come in the last days: a man following after teachings of demons, forbidding believers from doing good things blessed by God.

    we ought not have anything to do with such men, but give him over to his own destruction, so on the day of the Lord perhaps by the confession of his conscience his soul may be saved. i am convinced after months of discourse that trying to reason with with him may lead you to discover many wonderful things in the Word, but none of these things are found in his replies; instead when one commits oneself to the scripture, searching out the truth for yourself. for that work in my life i am thankful, not to Ken, but to God, in whom all Truth is found.

    • Ken Sublett’s messages fixate almost entirely on “musical idolatry,” “musikators,” pagan mythology, and the starry host, coupled with the bizarre notion that hymns should be spoken, not sung. Having tried unsuccessfully to glean anything that makes sense from his messages, I no longer read them.

  9. God bless Ken for his diligence, but he seems to be the first person since Ulrich Zwingli of the reformation to want the “Lord’s day assembly” to be the ministry of the word only. Absolutely fascinating, and I can see the trail. The restoration movement is highly influenced by his views on a couple issues. Sorry for the late comment. I saw Ken’s website, scratched my head, and searched on google for him name and found this article. Thanks Royce.

  10. I became aware of Mr. Sublett about 7 years ago, at an online Theology forum. I suppose the one thing I would add here is that Ken’s greatest weaknesses are also his greatest strengths.

    For instance, I reckon there are few people in the world with better knowledge of the manners, customs, language and religious practice in the Biblical world than Ken Sublett. For anyone willing to work at understanding what he says, he has some remarkable and uncommon insights into the Bible and (especially) the world of Biblical times.

    It is a shame that this learning seems to have tainted his ability to communicate clearly in a single language. His posts have become a hodgepodge of English, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. He makes references to pagan deities, ancient places, and archaic customs offhand, as if the reader ought to be intimately familiar with them, and mostly without explanation of why or how they are relevant to the topic offhand.

    Likewise, Ken is an absolutely meticulous researcher, who documents and keeps everything that he finds, at his website (piney.com).

    It’s too bad that this leads to his re-quoting large chunks of research without citing himself or introducing the material as a quotation by any means better than changing the colors of the fonts he uses.

    And Ken is nothing if not zealous in his convictions. I wish that this did not lead to white-rabbit-scale digressions from the point in conversations.

    But on the whole, I have found that when I have put in the time to understand what he says, Ken Sublett is absolutely fascinating in his theology, and his grasp of ancient documents and what they evoked to New Testament era readers.

    • I agree with much of what you say Jarrod. He is fascinating! But, his theology is terrible. I once asked him point blank, “Is there anything more important to you than defending a capella singing?” His answer was shocking but not unexpected. His firm answer was “NO!”. It is sad for a man of his years, and with his ability to waste his life on some triviality instead of treasuring Christ and proclaiming him.

  11. If you need more of Ken’s proof of insanity, you can go to concernedmembers.com. He and Donnie Cruz set this site up years ago because Donnie and other members of the Madison church of Christ were upset because the elders decided to make changes. The contempt of it all is that though Donnie has kept to his sinful deriding of the Lord’s church in Madison, Ken just like everyone here has witnessed to, just rambles about pretty much anything and everything. One huge point I want to point about ken though….if you (and I have) point out to him and prove that he is wrong, then all of a sudden his middle English non-sensible tirade suddenly becomes a bit clearer. He doesn’t like being shown that he is wrong, and he will let you know that you are going to hell because you have corrected him, and as I said before, this communication all of a sudden is understandable. It is right that Ken does not believe in ANY type of music, including singing, so don’t bash the churches of Christ on his behalf. He, nor Donnie, have a leg to stand on when it comes to knowing what God would have us to do in His house of worship. Yes, gents, I am a church of Christ member, and to say the least…..I LOVE MY CHURCH.

    • Other seemingly heretical “doctrines” espoused by Sublett and Cruz at ConcernedMembers.com are:

      Jesus is not eternal.

      Jesus is not identical with the Word (Logos) Who was with God and was God in the beginning.

      Jesus is not God (Jesus cannot be the Son of God and God at the same time).

      Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not the Trinity, which is Catholic dogma. Therefore, the Trinity as such is a figment of Catholic imagination.

      The Logos, not Jesus, became flesh. Therefore, Jesus did not exist at all prior to His human birth (which reflects back to their “belief” that Jesus is not eternal).

  12. I agree with your assessment that his line of “reasoning” is hard to follow. I ran across his blog because someone had mentioned his comparison of some columns at a church building to an Asherah pole and was curious as to the thought process involved. After attempting to read through the thought process I’m still confused, but now realize I am not alone in my confusion, and am probably wasting my time in further pursuits in this area. Your article, however, cleared up a few things. Thank you.

  13. All in all though, Ken knows more Scripture and history thereof, than most of us will only dream of. He is just a tad shy on some of his interpretations. Yes, Ken, they are still only YOUR interpretations.

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