Why are you using the argument from silence differently between the topics of masturbation and instrumental music?



I hope all is well! I just wanted to say that I felt your advice, backed up by Scripture, has been helpful. I'm a 23-year-old male and struggled with masturbation (without fantasizing or porn), wondering if it is a sin or not. This is an on-again/off-again matter and I believe it has contributed much anxiety to me to the point where I'm breaking out on my neck and elsewhere, finding it hard to sleep, having shortness of breath when I sleep, etc. I've been to the doctor several times, and they found nothing at all and said I was healthy.

Getting into my questions: In your response to a question, you said, "Why add to what God said?" regarding where the Bible says nothing about the matter of masturbation. On the other hand, (I'm not a part of the churches of Christ), I came across your argument against using musical instruments with worship because it's not mentioned in the New Testament. You stated "God never says, "Thou shalt not use mechanical instruments of music in worship." However, to assume that such silence is permissive is presumptuous. To establish what God desires in our worship today, we must begin with what God has commanded, not what He has not forbidden. The failure to do so is digressive, and is greeted with God's wrath, not His approval."

With this same logic/thoughts, wouldn't this apply to masturbation as well since the Bible is silent on that matter and "to assume such silence is presumptuous"?

I would really like to hear your perspective. Do you think the musical Instruments in worship matter is really binding on if it's a sin and will send you to hell for doing, even though you are just singing along to the music worshiping God along with the lyrics?

Also, I want to know because you and gotquestions.org have totally different perspectives on masturbation and worship using instruments. Both say something like a "lack of direct scriptural “authorization” of a certain practice is not an automatic prohibition." (gotquestions.org on using musical instruments in worship and you on masturbation). You guys also say things like "However, to assume that such silence is permissive is presumptuous." (Gotquestions.org said something like this addressing masturbation and you said this addressing using musical instruments in worship)

I'm just a little confused. I understand that it's a denominational thing which I understand is not bad, but do you think worshipping with any type of instrument with God-honoring lyrics will automatically cause you to be sent to hell?

I also struggle with a tad bit OCD that sometimes has me asking questions to ensure my salvation when really I should just focus on the finished work of Jesus on the Cross and have faith that because of that and I believe in Him and confessed that His Lord, I am Saved.

Thank you so much for all your help!


I believe you are referring to It is clear that masturbation is sinful. Why are you saying it is not? The writer asserted that masturbation was a sin because he lumped it in with sex (porneia). But he didn't prove his point, he only asserted it. Actually, I can prove the opposite, that masturbation is not included in the category of sex.

Typically people claim that masturbation is not mentioned in the Bible, and it is true that there is no direct mention of it. But it was covered by the Old Testament laws. To see this, go to Leviticus 15:19-23. This is a law declaring that when a woman has her monthly blood flow, she is unclean for one week. This does not mean she sinned. She had to separate herself for the week. Only if she broke the laws of uncleanness would she have sinned. However, the fact that she is having a blood flow did not mean she was in sin. Just before this passage, in Leviticus 15:18, is another law that said that anytime a man and woman have sex and the man ejaculates, the couple is unclean for a day. While the couple could be involved in sins, such as fornication or adultery, this law also covers married couples. They were expected to have sex; yet, the result was that they were unclean for a day. Once again, we see that being unclean is sinful. Now, look at Leviticus 15:16-17. Here we learn that any time a man ejaculates, he is unclean for a day. However, it is not talking about sex -- that is in Leviticus 15:18. In fact, in Leviticus 15:16-17, the ejaculation is mentioned without any other person being involved. This law would cover both wet dreams and masturbation. But like the woman with a blood flow or the married couple having sex, this does not mean he had sinned. The one common point is that the man has ejaculated semen, which also explains why ejaculating during sex also makes the couple unclean.

Therefore, there were laws that covered masturbation, but there are no laws that say that masturbation is a sin — only that it made a man unclean for a day under the Law of Moses. Since masturbation was not ignored, and it was not labeled a sin, it is wrong to declare it a sin on your own initiative. This doesn't mean a man can't sin while masturbating. Too many men watch pornography or imagine themselves committing fornication while masturbating. It is these lustful things that are wrong (I Thessalonians 5:3-7).

Instrumental music is different. God did specify what kind of music He wanted in Christian worship.

"Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19).

"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God" (Colossians 3:16).

To change what God specified becomes wrong and adding instruments would be changing what God said to do.

Notice that in both cases, I started with what God said. Masturbation was unclean under the Law of Moses and no more was stated. Vocal music was specified for worship in the New Testament and no other kind of music was stated. Consistency requires that in both cases we cannot assume more (masturbation is a sin or instruments are acceptable in worship) without adding to God's teachings.

GotQuestions.org is written by people associated with the Baptist Church, so it isn't surprising that they seek to justify the use of instrumental music in worship, even though prior to the 1800s the Baptist churches opposed the use of instrumental music. See The Amazing History of Instrumental Music in Christian Worship.

The churches of Christ are not a denomination. We don't have a document defining how we are different from the various denominations. We don't have a central headquarters or a ruling body that determines what we believe. We are Christians who worship together because we have a common desire to follow the Scriptures, which is our sole guide. See We Are Simply Christians Without Being Members of Any Denomination. You Can Be Too!

In regards to salvation, see What Must I Do to Be Saved?

In regards to your anxiety, see Worry, Worry, Worry.

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