Instrumental music was not replaced, so it must continue


I came across your answer to instrumental music quite by accident and I found it revealing. I wouldn’t call blunt rude, but it was near the line. I hope to be treated in your response less close to the line, but I have a different take on this issue and wish to explore your thoughts.

I would say you have a viable case against instrumental music not being authorized in the New Testament. However, that case is dependent on the idea of Replacement Theology. That is, if God is saying that He abandoned His chosen people and the system of worship they were under, and devised a replacement system, then you have a case. That, however, is not what happened.

Christ said He did not come to do away with the law but fulfill it. This would be why there is no need for a daily temple sacrifice because Christ was that sacrifice once and for all (Hebrews 10).

There is no need for a priesthood class because Christ is now the high priest (Hebrews 4) and we may now communicate with Christ as the mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2). Representing man to God was the role of the priest, and now we may approach Christ directly, representing ourselves, thus the priesthood of all believers with Christ as the high priest.

There is no longer a need for a Temple, for the curtain was torn in two (Matthew 27)

These are all examples of fulfillment, not a replacement, for they were all old prophesies told long ago that would happen, and did so with Christ. This is not a replacement, this is fulfillment.

There is no prophesy about instrumental music. Thus its status as acceptable to use did not change.

What say you?


It makes me wonder how in the first 700 years of church history people could have missed this since instrumental music was not used in worship for centuries. Even the Protestants missed it since they too mostly rejected instrumental music until the 1800s. Then there are the Orthodox churches that have never embraced instrumental music. Yet, you believe you came up with a line of reasoning that everyone missed.

Of course, by your argument, humans singing with the instrument of their hearts replaced the mechanical instruments of the Old Law (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). You just neglected to list this change because it wasn't what you wanted to argue.

There was no prophecy about circumcision ending, but Paul said, "Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace" (Galatians 5:2-4). Thus, a lack of previous discussions is not an indication that it continues.

Paul's point is that the Law of Moses was a package. You cannot extra some of it without grabbing all of it.  The simple fact is that the Old Law ended. "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor" (Galatians 3:24-25). "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:13-14). It was a package, so it ended as a whole. And this was just what was prophesied about it. "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD" (Jeremiah 31:31-32).


I find it telling that you quote the Law of Moses as a package to defend the non-use of instruments. There is no Law of Moses that proclaims instruments should be used.

Circumcision was replaced by baptism as the identifying action.

There are indeed replacement articles for the church, but they always correspond to a Jewish tradition. This is such an example.

Your entire paragraph, the last one that started with, “Paul's point is that the Law of Moses was a package” does not address at all instrumental music. You are conflating worship style with covenant meaning.

As for the 700 years of no instruments, in what way does that make it right or wrong? You didn’t show they did not use instruments for 700 years because they believed it to be wrong to do so. It’s just a commentary on history. During those 700 years the papacy rose to power as well, should I believe that was justified?

Does that show you how poor your arguments are?


"There is no Law of Moses that proclaims instruments should be used."

  • "You shall then sound a ram's horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land" (Leviticus 25:9).
  • "Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals" (Psalms 150:3-5).
  • "The LORD will surely save me; so we will play my songs on stringed instruments all the days of our life at the house of the LORD" (Isaiah 38:20).

You originally stated, "There is no prophesy about instrumental music. Thus its status as acceptable to use did not change." I used circumcision as an example of something else for which there was no prophecy; yet, its status did change.

"You didn’t show they did not use instruments for 700 years because they believed it to be wrong to do so."

  • “We know that instruments performed an important function in the Hebrew temple service and in the ceremonies of the Greeks. At this point, however, a break was made with all previous practice, and although the lyre and flute were sometimes employed by the Greek converts, as a general rule the use of instruments in worship were condemned. Many of the fathers, speaking of religious song, make no mention of instruments; others, like Clement of Alexandria and St. Chrysostom, refer to them only to denounce them.” [Instrumental Music in the Worship, M.C. Kurfees, 1950].
  • "Although Josephus tells of the wonderful effects produced in the Temple by the use of instruments, the first Christians were of too spiritual a fiber to substitute lifeless instruments for or to use them to accompany the human voice. Clement of Alexandria severely condemns the use of instruments even at Christian banquets (P.G., VIII, 440)." [Vol 10, p 648-652, ( htm), Transcribed by Michael C. Tinkle, Volume X, Copyright 1911 by Robed Appleton Company, Online Edition Copyright 2000 by K Knight Nihit Obstat October 1, 1911, Remy Lafort. S.T, D, Censor, Imprimatur + John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.]
  • Clement of Alexander, around 195 A.D. wrote, “The one instrument of peace, the Word alone by whom we honor God, is what we employ. We no longer employ the ancient psaltery, trumpet, timbrel, and flute.”
  • Eusebius, in the fourth century, in Commentary on Psalm 91, wrote, “Of old at the time those of the circumcision were worshiping with symbols and types it was inappropriate to send up hymns to God with the psalterion and kithara and to do this on Sabbath days (breaking he rest and transgressing the law concerning the Sabbath). But we in an inward manner keep the part of the Jew, according to the saying of the apostle ... (Romans 2:28f). We render our hymn with a living psalterion and a living kithara, with spiritual songs. The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable to God than any musical instrument. Accordingly in all the churches of God, united in soul and attitude, with one mind and in agreement of faith and piety, we send up a unison melody in the words of the Psalms.”
  • "Our church does not use musical instruments, as harps and psalteries, to praise God withal, that she may not seem to Judaize." [Thomas Aquinas. Bingham's Antiquities, Vol. 3, page 137.]
  • "Augustine describes the singing at Alexandria under Athanasius as 'more like speaking than singing.' Musical instruments were not used. The pipe, tabret, and harp were associated so intimately with the sensuous heathen cults, as well as with the wild revelries and shameless performances of the degenerate theatre and circus, that it is easy to understand the prejudice against their use in the Christian worship" [Ernest Edwin Ryden, Story of Our Hymns]
  • John Calvin, “Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting 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 Jew. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise: but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostles is far more pleasing to Him.” (Commentary on Psalms 33)
  • John Wesley, “I have no opposition to the organ in our chapel provided it is neither seen nor heard.” (Adam Clark’s Commentary, Volume 4, page 868)
  • Adam Clark, “I am an old man, and an old minister; and I here declare that I never knew them to be 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.” (Adam Clark’s Commentary, Volume 4, page 686)
  • Charles Spurgeon, when asked why, in the twenty years he preached in London, he never used the organ in worship, cited I Corinthians 14:15 and said “I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the understanding also, I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. I would as soon pray to God with machinery as to sing to God with machinery.”
Print Friendly, PDF & Email