I guess it’s no secret that the topic of music is a highly-charged one in our brotherhood. I don’t plan to get into that argument per se; you can look at the discussion going on over at Jay Guin’s blog if you don’t know what I’m talking about (I would send you directly to Wineskins.org, but there is a brother there who insists on completely dominating the discussion. If you can’t be coherent, be loud).
Something that concerns me about the historical view held within our brotherhood are the multiplicity of arguments used to support, many which actually contradict the others. I can’t help but wonder if, when pressed on the matter, if these brothers would insist that others hold exactly to their view or is belief in the same practice enough?
The typical assertion about baptism is that the act isn’t enough, that you need to hold to the proper understanding. Does the same hold true about music? If one believes that all use of instruments in the Bible was sinful while another holds that the Old Testament allowed instruments but the New Testament doesn’t, do they believe the same thing? If one believes that the Greek word “psallo” excludes the use of instruments while another believes it refers to instruments, but that our instrument is the heart, do they believe the same thing? I could go on and on.
My fear is that we are starting from a conclusion, then working backwards to support it. If not, why the wide variety of opinions to support our practice? Many of these beliefs, might I add, are virtually unique to the person holding them.
I’m an a cappella guy. My roots are in the a cappella church, and unless I can see something of real substance to be gained by bringing in instruments, I’m not interested. But I’ve read the arguments that try to make this a critical issue, from the bizarro world of Piney to well-reasoned arguments by men like Everett Ferguson and Jack Boyd. I’m just not convinced.
It’s not worth the fight. Not worth the fight to make people use instruments, not worth the fight to make them stop. God is quite capable of expressing himself clearly on important issues. And he chose not to on this issue. Because it’s not worth the fight.