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It is written:
Amos 6:5-Who sing idly to the sound of stringed instruments, And invent for yourselves musical instruments like David;
Many religious scholars through the years have pointed out that this passage seems to suggest that David did not have Divine authority to introduce musical instruments into the worship of God. Several other passages suggest that instrumental music indeed had its’ ‘origin in worship-not with Divine authority-but with David himself.
1 Chronicles 23:5-four thousand were gatekeepers, and four thousand praised the LORD with musical instruments, “which I made,” said David, “for giving praise.”
2 Chronicles 7:6-And the priests attended to their services; the Levites also with instruments of the music of the LORD, which King David had made to praise the LORD, saying, “For His mercy endures forever,” whenever David offered praise by their ministry. The priests sounded trumpets opposite them, while all Israel stood.
Ezra 3:10-When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with cymbals, to praise the LORD, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel.
Nehemiah 12:24-And the heads of the Levites were Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers across from them, to praise and give thanks, group alternating with group, according to the command of David the man of God.
Nehemiah 12:36-and his brethren, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God. And Ezra the scribe went before them.
The famous Bible commentator, Adam Clarke, wrote these fascinating words in his commentary on Amos 6:5:
“I believe that David was not authorized by the Lord to introduce that multitude of musical instruments into the Divine worship of which we read, and I am satisfied that his conduct in this respect is most solemnly reprehended by this prophet; and I farther believe that the use of such instruments of music, in the Christian Church, is without the sanction and against the will of God; that they are subversive of the spirit of true devotion, and that they are sinful. If there was a woe to them who invented instruments of music, as did David under the law, is there no woe, no curse to them who invent them, and introduce them into the worship of God in the Christian Church? I am an old man, and an old minister; and I here declare that I never knew them productive of any good in the worship of God; and have had reason to believe that they were productive of much evil. Music, as a science, I esteem and admire: but instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of music; and here I register my protest against all such corruptions in the worship of the Author of Christianity. The late venerable and most eminent divine, the Revelation John Wesley, who was a lover of music, and an elegant poet, when asked his opinion of instruments of music being introduced into the chapels of the Methodists said, in his terse and powerful manner, “I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither Heard nor Seen.” I say the same, though I think the expense of purchase had better be spared.” (Adam Clarke, Commentary, E-Sword Edition)
Another author provides this fascinating history of the subject:
“It is helpful to trace the history of instrumental music in so-called Christian worship century by century. No one affirms that instrumental music was used by the apostles or Christians in the New Testament. Passing into secular history, instruments weren’t used in the second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth centuries….The Greek church disapproved the use of organs. The Latin church introduced it pretty generally, but not without the protest of eminent men, so that even in the Council of Trent a motion was made, though not carried, to prohibit the organ at least in the mass….Secular history is silent as to the instrument’s use through the thirteenth century, except that in 1250 A.D., Thomas Aquinas objected to its use by Catholics, lest they “seem to Judaize,” i.e., seem like the Jews: Our church does not use musical instruments as harps and psalteries, to praise God withal, that she may not seem to Judaize. (Joseph Bingham, The Antiquities of the Christian Church, II [London: Reeves & Turner, 1878], p. 483.)…Long after Thomas Aquinas, a sixteenth century Catholic scholar named Erasmus, said: We have brought into our churches certain operatic and theatrical music; such a confused, disorderly chattering of some words as I hardly think was ever in any of the Grecian or Roman theatres. The church rings with the noise of trumpets, pipes, and dulcimers; and human voices strive to bear their part with them. Men run to church as to a theatre, to have their ears tickled. And for this end organ makers are hired with great salaries, and a company of boys, who waste all their time learning these whining tones. (John L. Girardeau, Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church [Richmond, VA: Whittet & Shepperson, Printers, 1888], p. 166.)…John Girardeau, Professor at Columbia Theological Seminary (Presbyterian), said It has thus been proved, by an appeal to historical facts, that the church, although lapsing more and more into defection from the truth and into a corruption of apostolic practice, had no instrumental music for twelve hundred years; and that the Calvinistic Reformed Church ejected it from its services as an element of Popery, even the Church of England having come very nigh to its extrusion from her worship. The historical argument, therefore, combines with the Scriptural and the confessional to raise a solemn and powerful protest against its employment by the Presbyterian Church. It is heresy in the sphere of worship. (Ibid, p. 179.) James Pierce, a Presbyterian scholar of the eighteenth century, said: I come now to say somewhat of the antiquity of musical instruments. But that these were not used in the Christian Church in the primitive times is attested by all the ancient writers with one consent. Hence, they figuratively explain all the places of the Old Testament which speak of musical instruments, as I might easily show by a thousand testimonies out of Clement of Alexandria, Basil, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, Chrysostom, and many others… From what has been said, it appears no musical instruments were used in the pure time of the church. (Ibid., pp. 157-158.) John Calvin, a founder of Presbyterianism, wrote: Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The papists, therefore, have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other things, from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostle is far more pleasing to him. (John Calvin, Commentary on Ps. 33 and on I Sam. 18.1-9, cited by M. C. Kurfees, Instrumental Music in the Worship [Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Co., 1969], p. 191.) David Benedict, the Baptist historian, said: In my earliest intercourse among this people, congregational singing generally prevailed among them… The Introduction of the Organ among the Baptists… This instrument, which from time immemorial has been associated with cathedral pomp and prelatical power, and has always been the peculiar favorite of the great national churches, at length found its way into Baptist sanctuaries, and the first one ever employed by the denomination in this country, and probably in any other, might have been standing in the singing gallery of the Old Baptist meeting house in Pawtucket, about forty years ago, when I then officiated as pastor (1840)… Staunch old Baptists in former times would as soon tolerated the Pope of Rome in their pulpits as an organ in their galleries, and yet the instrument has gradually found its way among them… How far this modern organ fever will extend among our people, and whether it will on the whole work a de-formation or re-formation in their singing service, time will more fully develop. (David Benedict, Fifty Years Among the Baptists [Glen Rose, TX: Newman & Collins, 1913], pp. 204-207.) John Wesley, founder of Methodism, was quoted to say: I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither heard nor seen. (John Wesley, cited by Adam Clarke, Commentary, IV [Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, n.d.], p. 686.) Adam Clarke, a famous Methodist commentator, said of musical instruments: I am an old man, and an old minister; and I here declare that I never knew them productive of any good in the worship of God; and have had reason to believe that they were productive of much evil. Music, as a science, I esteem and admire: but instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor. This is the abuse of music; and here I register my protest against all such corruptions in the worship of the Author of Christianity. (Adam Clarke, Commentary, IV [Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, n.d.], p. 686.).” (Samuel G. Dawson, Denominational Doctrines: Explained, Examined, Exposed, 6432-6500 (Kindle Edition); Bowie, TX; SGD Press)
It is clear that the New Testament Scriptures authorizes vocal music in the worship of God in the church:
Matthew 26:30-And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Mark 14:26-And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Acts 16:25-But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
Romans 15:9-and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: “FOR THIS REASON I WILL CONFESS TO YOU AMONG THE GENTILES, AND SING TO YOUR NAME.”
1 Corinthians 14:15-What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
Ephesians 5:19-speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
Colossians 3:16-Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Hebrews 2:12-saying: “I WILL DECLARE YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN; IN THE MIDST OF THE ASSEMBLY I WILL SING PRAISE TO YOU.”
Hebrews 13:15-Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
James 5:13-Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.