Lawful Worship Music?

Is there any lawful music for worship: instrumental, harmonized, non-inspired?

Lyle wrote:

For a number of months now I have been all over this site. What I see is what "Lawful Worship Music" is not. Is there an indication as to what it really is? It must be non-accompanied by instruments, non-harmonized, and (if one were really Biblical) non-non-inspired. Does this leave us with the Psalms alone, and, if so, what inspired or "Lawful" music would be allowed?

Manlike is it to fall into sin;
Friendlike is it to dwell therein;
Saintlike is it for sin to grieve;
Christlike is it all sin to leave.

Morning, Lyle.

I am not in the business of allowing or disallowing. There is no doubt either in the New Testament or most of church history that what we call singing for excitement or out of some superstitious belief that God loves it did not exist. Rather, the clear command was to "speak or preach," the purpose was not praise but "teaching and admonishing," the resource was the Word of Christ which He defined and Paul agreed was "spirit," and the internal result was "singing and melody in the heart." The resulting worship would bein the mind and directed to God. Even today there are many, many groups which do not use instruments and are in part or totally Psalmody-Only. One of the earliest "sowing of discord" was using self-composed hymns when Paul clearly commanded the inspired text.

History is also clear that non-inspired songs to replace the Biblical text was and is the influence of publishers and not literate theologians.

This is the only way to "speak where the Bible speaks" and "sing where the Bible sings." To go beyond it is to ask: "How much can I get by with to make the Christ-bought assembly work to my satisfaction and accounting system?"

I am a retired (and tired) engineer who got tired of the rain drops falling on my head from within and without my fellowship (church of Christ). That "post nasal drip' is that:

God commanded, nay, demanded, that we worship with instruments.

To NOT use instruments is to impose our "traditions" on our members who love instruments.

To NOT openly fellowship instrumental churches makes us pharisaical, judgmental, legalistic, racist and about ten other names collected from Rubel Shelly etal.

To TEACH against instruments makes us fratricidal (brother killers) with, and I quote from an older book, "An ignorant, southern, red-necked mentality."

Probably most have fallen victim to the neo-pagan and quite-blasphemous sentimental poems of the female persuasion. This of course has the desired result of emasculating the male population to keep them silent. Karen Armstrong, a lady writer, agrees that the study of the Word is the masculine view of Christianity.

Therefore, my goal is to disabuse those who are ignorant of the issue of music in the Bible and in history. For my own emotional health and most of the congregation, I would be happy if there was no modern, purely secular singing peddled as spiritual only by swiping the name of Christ to attach to it.

At some level: subconscious, unconscious or deliberately distorting the Bible and history, including Jude's reference to the book of Enoch, may be an effort to subvert the Word as it has been taught.

However, the historical pre-biblical universal fact is that music was used to ascend and descend the towers of Babel (even in Central and South America) hoping to meet a "god" on the way. Of course the god's agent, the priest, was at the top to collect for the gods or cut out your heart and roll you down the steps (Aztecs) if you were not a "brother." You can always recognize Nimrod in his second incarnation because he drags along female musicians. Then and now they were give no true liberty but used for the greater good of the temple-state and the pleasure of the preasthood.

The Old Testiment has instruments at ever juncture on Israel's way to ultimate destruction. This according to the meaning of the Hebrew words and all of the early non-biblical stories began in the garden of Eden. Instrumental attempts to worship God is also universally attributed to Satan and according to liberal theologians "there is no other tradition" in history.

Music is associated, many times, with refusal to hear the Word of God (even at the Temple).

Jesus speaks eloquently against it (to those with ears).

The Word Music or Musick

Of Israel's religious festivals which were "feasts of and with the dead," Amos pronounced woes against those:

That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; Amos 6:4

That chant (somewhat like tongues in Corinth) to the sound of the viol, and invent (improvize upon) to themselves instruments of musick, like David; Amos 6:5

Shiyr (h7892) sheer; from 7891; a song; abstr. singing: - musical (-ick), * sing (-er, -ing), son

Shiyr (h7891) sheer; or (the orig. form) 7788 (1 Sam. 18:6), shoor; a prim. root [rather ident. with 7788 through the idea of strolling minstrelsy]; to sing: - behold [by mistake for 7788], sing (-er, - ing man, -ing woman).

Shuwr (h7788) shoor; a prim. root; prop. to turn, i. e. travel about (as a harlot or a merchant): - go, sing. See also 7891.

The operative idea is "instruments of singing." In other words, the instruments did their singing. In the church fathers the particular problem for Christians was that pagans added their voice to the sound of a machine. Everyone knew that chanting was one thing and intended to communicate. Music was not intended to communicate but made the singing less understandable.

Musick appears only once in the KJV New Testament and that in a secular sense:

Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. Luke 15:25

Sumphonia (g4858) soom-fo-nee'-ah; from 4859; unison of sound ("symphony"), i.e. a concert of instruments (harmonious note): - music.

Dancing is:

Choros (g5525) khor-os'; of uncert. der.; a ring, i.e. round dance ("choir"): - dancing.

Choregeo (g5524) khor-ayg-eh'-o; from a comp. of 5525 and 71; to be a dance-leader, i.e. (gen.) to furnish: - give, minister.

They tried to get Jesus into this kind of dance with music:

And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. Matt 11:17

Orcheomai (g3738) or-kheh'-om-ahee; mid. from orchos, (a row or ring); to dance (from the ranklike or regular motion): - dance

When the Jews attempted to force Jesus into this it was mocking Him playing a concert of instruments and trying to get him to lament for Bacchus and dance.

"Not to be overlooked here is the accompaniment of music and dancing which, with the character of the ensuing phenomena, makes the diagnosis (of idolatry) certain." (Schaff-Herzog, Ecstasy, p. 71).

"The Hithpa'el of nb', in the ancient texts, refers to ecstasy and delirium rather than to the emmission of a 'prophecy'." (de Vaux, p. 243).

"Music with the Greeks, therefore, included, besides

vocal and instrumental music,
choral dancing,
rhythmic motions,
and various modes of harmony expressed in action,

perhaps most particularly that part of education which we should now classify as a striving for harmony (Kosmos unity) in life

combined with aesthetic (art and human creativity),

in contrast with intellectual and physical branches of study and development.

It was culture of the essential person, the ego or soul,

whereas the other two divisions care for and supply the needs of the mind and of the body.

Arnobius wrote:

32. But let there be, as you wish, honour in wine and in incense , let the anger and displeasure of the deities be appeased by the immolation and slaughter of victims:

are the gods moved by garlands also, wreaths and flowers, by the jingling of brass also, and the shaking of cymbals , by timbrels also, and also by symphonious pipes?

[Symphoniae. Evidently musical instruments ; but while Isidore speaks of them as a kind of drum , other writers call them trumpets and pipes.]

What effect has the clattering of castanets , that when the deities have heard them,

they think that honour has been shown to them, and lay aside their fiery spirit of resentment in forgetfulness?

Or, as little boys are frightened into giving over their silly wailings by hearing the sound of rattles , are the almighty deities also soothed in the same way by the whistling of pipes?

and do they become mild, is their indignation softened, at the musical sound of cymbals?

The singing they tried to force upon Jesus such music:

They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. Lu.7:32

Mourned is:

Threneo (g254) thray-neh'-o; from 2355; to bewail: - lament, mourn.

Threnos (g2355) thray'-nos; from the base of 2360; wailing: - lamentation.

More remarkable still, is the understanding of the origin of Dithyrambos and dithyramb, the song sung in his honor.

This song is sung for Dithyrambos, because the Greeks always regarded this epithet as "indicating and describing the manner of the birth of the god." Dithyrambos, as the god of the song of birth is born at the resurrection of earth in the spring-time. Interestingly, the songs (dithyramb) that the three maidens, the Thriae, sing was the source of Hermes prophetic gift. Their inspiration derived from drunkenness, not of wine, but of honey. They are Melissae, "Bee-Prophetesses," inspired by a honey intoxicant. The Priestesses of Artemis at Ephesis were also bees, as well as those of Demeter, and still more significant, the Delphic priestess herself was a Bee. The Thriambos, was the song of the Thriae, or honey-priestesses, a song about beginnings.

Again poetry means "creation of the world." "The business of the Muses at the temple was to sing the creation song with the morning stars. Naturally, because they were dramatizing the story of the creation too, the hymn was sung to music. The singing was performed in a sacred circle or chorus, so that poetry, music, and dance go together." In Egypt Kronos was named Keb, the "Great Orb," and this everlasting Keb is evidently the root of Kebla, meaning a stone circle. In Septum the Latin term for stone circle is again occurrent the idea is ep tum the light of the Eye or Orb, Tum, or Time, the resplendent Sun. All temples, or Temples may be indeed described as originally Time Fathers, Time Tellers, Time Keepers, or Time Bells.26 Resource

Triumph over in Greek from which lamentation is derived is:

Thriambeuo (g2358) three-am-byoo'-o; from a prol. comp. of the base of 2360 and a der. of 680 (mean. a noisy iambus, sung in honor of Bacchus); to make an acclamatory procession, i.e. (fig.) to conquer or (by Hebr.) to give victory: - cause to triumph over.

The "triumph over" forbidden for the gathering of people and that which Judas and the clergy would attempt upon Jesus was:

Ruwa (h7321) roo-ah'; a prim. root; to mar (espec. by breaking); fig. to split the ears (with sound), i. e. shout (for alarm or joy): - blow an alarm, cry (alarm, aloud, out), destroy, make a joyful noise, smart, shout (for joy), sound an alarm, triumph.

By this I know that thou favourest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. Ps.41:11

In the Dead Sea Scroll view of this Psalm, the triumph over was with musical instruments.

One of the uses of the two silver trumpets was to panic the enemy into cowardice but it was not to be used on the assembled congregation (Numbers 10:7). The image from which this "singing sad or sentimental" songs is expressed by the Greek:

Throeo (g2360) thro-eh'-o; (to wail); to clamor, i.e. (by impl.) to frighten: - trouble

The burden Jesus came to remove was "spiritual anxiety created by religious ritual" and instruments were the most effective manipulators of anxiety.

The dance was:

Orcheomai (g3738) or-kheh'-om-ahee; (a row or ring); to dance (from the ranklike or regular motion): - dance

Of the Greek Chorus: Anon shall the whole land be dancing, when Bromius leads his revellers to the hills, to the hills away! where wait him groups of maidens from loom and shuttle roused in frantic haste by Dionysus. O hidden cave of the Curetes! O hallowed haunts in Crete, that saw Zeus born,

where Corybantes with crested helms devised for me in their grotto the rounded timbrel of ox-hide (lifeless instrument),

mingling Bacchic minstrelsy with the shrill sweet accents of the Phrygian flute, a gift bestowed by them on mother Rhea, to add its crash of music to the Bacchantes' shouts of joy;

but frantic satyrs won it from the mother-goddess for their own, and added it to their dances in festivals, which gladden the heart of Dionysus, each third recurrent year. Oh! happy that votary, when from the hurrying revel-rout he sinks to earth, in his holy robe of fawnskin, chasing the goat to drink its blood, a banquet sweet of flesh uncooked, as he hastes to Phrygia's or to Libya's hills; while in the van the Bromian god exults with cries of Evoe (Eve or Sophia-Zoe).

With milk and wine and streams of luscious honey flows the earth, and Syrian incense smokes.

I appologize (very insincerely) for the picture but this is what they tried to force Jesus into with music. They thought that John wore "soft" clothing which would identify him as a Catamite: a male prostitute. This is Bacchus or dionysus with a Bacchae or Maenad. He is the god of wine and the symbol of the new wineskin in the Classical world. The long thing is the thyrus which has pine cones on the end. If your worship was not up to par just think about getting whacked with it.

"O holiness, queen amongst the gods, sweeping on golden pinion o'er the earth! dost hear the words of Pentheus, dost hear his proud blaspheming Bromius, the son of Semele;

first of all the blessed gods at every merry festival?
His it is to rouse the revellers to dance, to laugh away dull care,
........... and wake the flute,

whene'er at banquets of the gods the luscious grape appears,
........... or when the winecup in the feast sheds sleep
........... on men who wear the ivy-spray.

Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath (spirit) at all in the midst of it.

Woe to those who command their lifeless wooden idols to arise and save them, who call out to the speechless stone to tell them what to do. Can images speak for God? They are overlaid with gold and silver, but there is no breath at all inside! Hab 2:19

The Psalmist having lost the presence of God cried out:

Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. Psa 57:8

Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever. Psa 44:23

Psalm 108:2 Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.

"We even have a mention at a later date of a similar custom in connection with the cult in Jerusalem, where certain Levites, called me'oreim, 'arousers,' sang (every morning?) this verse from Ps 44:23: "Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever."

The Talmud tells us that John Hyrcanus suppressed the practice because it recalled too readily a pagan custom." (de Vaux, p. 247).

"A similar practice is attested in connection with the cult of Herakles-Melkart. According to Menander, as he is quoted by Josephus, the king Hiram, who was a contemporary of Solomon, rebuilt the temples of Tyre and, 'he was the first to celebrate the awakening of Heracles in the month of Peritius.'" (de Vaux, p. 247)

At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king's life. But at the end of these seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: Is.23:15

"Take up a harp, walk through the city, O prostitute forgotten; play the harp well, sing many a song, so that you will be remembered." Is.23:16

At the end of seventy years, the LORD will deal with Tyre. She will return to her hire as a prostitute and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth. Is.23:17

"In an inscription from Cyprus, in one from Rhodes and in several from around the district of Carthage, there are references to important personages who bear the title Mqm'lm which we can translate as 'arouser of the god.'" (de Vaux, Roland, The Bible and the Ancient Near East, Doubleday, p. 247).

And Paul warned the Corinthians:

If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will any one know what is played? 1Co.14:7

This is Pentheus:

Musicians or the concert of instruments again appears in the end-time Babylonian whore worship:

And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; Rev 18:22

This concert of instruments was clearly a secular practice, was attempted to pollute or mock or prostitute Jesus, is never related to Christian worship and will be at the end-time exactly what it was for the king of Babylon and king of Tyre as the male-but-prostitute agents of Lucifer (who is female or bi-sexual).

It is condemned.

In the New Testament Singing is not the primary command.

Again, Paul never commended music or singing. The primary command was to "speak or teach or preach," the resource was inspired Biblical text, and the melody was internal because external melody means to strike or grind something or someone into bits or powder. The word "sop" is connected to melody and Psalm 41 connects wind instruments to the attempt to triumph-over Jesus. Music is used to make the people feel good but this is the result of a feeling of panic rapidly relieved by a shot of endorphins (morphine-like) to relieve the anxiety with enough lefto over to make you "feel the presence of God."

The early churches recognized this and spoke or chanted the Psalms to, as Paul insisted, teach and admonish one another. There was no pagan-like belief that one could seduce God or change the "audience" with superstitious practices.

According to the early history it is clear that jazzed-up forms of singing and instruments was an expression of the most ancient superstition that the gods can be called to attention or charmed (enchanted) with sound.

The Church is Not Praise Center but Education Center

The word mistranslated as "church" is the same as the Hebrew word for "synagogue. The early Christians patterned their meetings after the synagogue, not after the temple; so Christians would not have used musical instruments, since nothing is recorded about the Jews using instrumental music in their ancient synagogues.

"In his book Purity of Worship, the Presbyterian M. C. Ramsay writes: "Those who maintain that Jewish worship had associated with it instruments of music fail to appreciate the facts; and some of the facts are as follows:

"The ordinary worship of the Jew was that of the synagogue, and it was always unembellished.

"The men of Israel were commanded to attend the temple worship only thrice annually.

Throughout the remainder of the year, Sabbath by Sabbath, they met for worship in their synagogues.

Their wives and children attended regularly the synagogue where the services were marked by simplicity....

"Where there was congregational singing, there was no musical instrument. ... It is both interesting and informative to notice that the instruments of music were first used in synagogues at the beginning of the nineteenth century, that is,

about the same time as they began to be introduced into Protestant [i.e., Presbyterian] churches."

There was no 'praise service' in the synagogue and certainly no instruments.

This was because synagogue (meaning assembly like church) was more school than worship center.

Mowed (h4150) mo-ade'; or (fem.) (2 Chron. 8:13), mo-aw-daw'; from 3259; prop. an appointment, i. e. a fixed time or season; spec. a festival; conventionally a year; by implication, an assembly (as convened for a definite purpose); technically the congregation; by extension, the place of meeting; also a signal (as appointed beforehand): - appointed (sign, time), (place of, solemn) assembly, congregation, (set, solemn) feast, (appointed, due) season, solemn (-ity), synagogue, (set) time (appointed

Yaad (h3259) yaw-ad'; a prim. root; to fix upon (by agreement or appointment); by impl. to meet (at a stated time), to summon (to trial), to direct (in a certain quarter or position), to engage (for marriage): - agree, (make an) appoint (-ment, a time), assemble (selves), betroth, gather (selves, together), meet (together), set (a time).

The "church" is exactly the same in meaning:

Ekklesia (g1577) ek-klay-see'-ah; from a comp. of 1537 and a der. of 2564; a calling out, i.e. (concr.) a popular meeting, espec. a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Chr. community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): - assembly, church.

The Greek word ekklesia, which came to mean church, was originally applied in the Classical period to an official assembly of [adult males] citizens. In the Septuagint (Greek) translation of the Old Testament (3rd-2nd century BC),

"the term ekklesia is used for the general assembly of the Jewish people,

"especially when gathered for a religious purpose such as hearing the Law (e.g., Deuteronomy 9:10, 18:16).

"In the New Testament it is used of the entire body of believing Christians throughout the world (e.g., Matthew 16:18), of the believers in a particular area (e.g., Acts 5:11), and also of the congregation meeting in a particular house--the "house-church" (e.g., Romans 16:5).

Because of this fact, it would be as silly to have a musical praise team or sing self-composed and at times blasphemous songs during the time the school board or physics class is meeting.

The synagogue always existed in the various communities where someone taught the Word of God. During the Intertestament period it developed in opposition to the temple. Jesus endorsed this as a place to read the word, sit down, and dialog or explain it. There was no "preaching" in the sense of trying to change or revive the spirit with self-composed lectures or book reviews, and the Rabbis outlawed using the Scripture as allegorical or "fit your needs" lectures.

At the same time Jesus warned against performance prayers, directed alms to from my hand to the hand of the poor and Paul defended this by making the "lay by" mean "lay by yourself" until the opportunity to take it to the poor. He placed prayers in the "closet" or private place and God would hear from heaven without using His agents. This is exactly what happened when the Temple was dedicated: when the music began the temple was filled with darkness so that the priests (agents) could not minister, the people outside the gate or camp prayed their own prayers directly to God, and God heard from heaven without having to go through the human mediators. Another can pray their own prayer but they cannot lead me into prayer.

To be picky, there was nothing like what we call singing for perhaps hundreds of years. In about 150 Justin still has the Psalms being chanted because there was nothing like our singing and our form of harmony would not fully develop until about the time instruments gave the composers (secular) ten fingers to play ten notes at the same time. The Psalms were not a "praise service" but a way to memorize the Psalms so that they would be written "on the heart" like commercial tunes we hum rather than Psalms. Rather, praise was speaking about God or prayer.

When you get about 65 and your serotonin goes whacky as it does in most older people you will find that all of that "Harmony" (Harmony is not melody) is, like the musicologists admit, abrading or grinding just like the external melody of the Greek. Scholars note that "singing" in this limited sense was always secular while "chanting" or speaking was a religious practice. By the time the preacher gets up to have his say (without instruments) the minds of most have been momentarily altered so that they cannot truly engage in a learning process.

So, I don't see it as lawful or unlawful but just destructive to spiritual health. Music is now known to generate endorphins (morphine-like) which soothes the damage created by the music with enough left over for the "high" which is just a drug high. Exactly like a runner's high.

By Sunday night the high has worn off and the "audience is disguised as empty pews" and we can do time for twenty years and be Biblically illiterate. I have just posted some material which says that adrenalin degenerates to something like mescalin. This means that any excitement artificially created is the "burden laded" upon the congregation used like pack animals. Burden means "spiritual anxiety created by religious ceremonial." Jesus died to remove both the burden and the burden laders.

To restore it is to try to undo the work of Jesus.

Jesus said that He would be in the midst of two or three gathered in HIS name to give "rest" which is the image of "beside still waters."

So, bottom line: Paul did not speak of external singing or melody as we understand the term. And harmony works because the abrading "dog barks" or "water drips" -- which always happen when you step from one note to another -- is masked by the overtones of complex harmony. Nevertheless, the abrasion is still there or we would not get "high" and believe that we have been "moved into the presence of God." Harmony is not melody and it, like the instruments, was added for us and to attract the crowds and not for God.

There is no such word as "church" in the Bible. The term is "assembly." The synagogue and the Greek ekklesia met for instruction and to conduct community business. To that God added the Lord' Supper as a non-appetite-filling memorial and as a teaching or 'showing forth' of our faith in Him. There was no "legal act of giving" because only the prosperous were asked to give and then only to the truly poor. The poor widow on wellfare would never have been asked to tithe. If she wished to give her widow's mite it would only be to shame the wealthy and not an "approved pattern."

In the same way, the "teaching or preaching with the sense stimulation of music" was not the message of Paul nor the practice of Jesus nor the early church until it had largely deviated from the simple New Testament friendly assembly and "speaking one to another" or dialog.

So, there is no Biblical "law" which authorized music in any sense although singing paraphrased psalms with harmony would at least fulfill the Old Testament practice and the practice commanded by Paul as a "teaching" method and not a legalistic paying of praise to God expecting some magic to happen. The Jews rejected all but about a third of the Psalms as suitable for teaching and these are a "poetic" version of the prose history. Therefore, the psalms or other Biblical practice would give everyone a total grasp of the Bible and honor God rather than the human composer almost always distorting the facts to make the poetry work. As polytheism, the girl's tunes even have us worshiping the "names" of three gods.

God condemned a false Sabbath as doing your own thing and "speaking your own words." (Isaiah 58:13)

Music is not evil but it is the usual replacement for Christ's Word while He is trying to speak. So, in a religious sense we have to ask whether ignoring His Words when He promises to be with us is "lawful."

All of the ancient and modern science knows that music is mind altering. So while we are claiming to honor God, is it lawful to create a synthetic feeling with music, mescaline or peyote?

The "musical worship teams" actually claim to be the mediators to "lead you into the presence of God." Is it lawful to replace Jesus as the one and only mediator?

I suppose the question is: "How much can I get by with?" It seems to me that the more we turn to "praise tunes" or performance teams or instruments the more the church shrinks and we have been blinded and cannot find the answer. Amos 5, 6 and 8 along with Isaiah 5 shows that music and "hungering and thirsting for the Word of God" are the method and goal of Satan. Improvizing or "making up your own songs" was a certain sin unless one was inspired. In Corinth, anyone who claimed to speak or sing something inspired must be judged by another inspired person. Unless we are inspired then composing our own sings is exactly equivalent to "composing our own Bible."

God will come with ten thousand saints to get those who are more the agents of Lucifer than God.

Let me know if you have any pro or con feedback.

Lyle responds:

Thank you for your kind reply, but I'm not sure what the upshot of it is. Did you really type all that for me?

I am still not sure what is being said. Does it mean that "singing" is not really "singing"? So, bottom line: Paul did not speak of external singing or melody as we understand the term. Is the "singing" merely "internal" if not "external"? Believe me, I am not trying to be cantankerous, I'm just not sure what the definition of "is" is. I see a lot of what it is "not", but what "is" "lawful" music in corporate worship? It matters not what is allowable to you or me, but what constitutes the sweet-smelling savor to God. The Bible is a Law Book, not matter how antinomian we may wish to be. Even "Pray without ceasing" is a law.

But, I don't see that as a law. A law means that if you don't do it someone punishes you. "If anyone is rich let him mourn" is not a law for a legal "act" of worship. If someone is sad, in other words, don't try to prevent mourning.

Without ceasing makes my point: if someone attempts to occupy every microsecond of the "worship service" then it isn't possible for me to worship. If you sing to set the mood during Lord's Supper then I cannot, as in the Passover, examine my own heart and "search for leaven in absolute silence." Prayer is one "leg" of the two-legged worship "in spirit and in truth." I pray to God and He speaks to me through His Word:

Proseuchomai (g4366) pros-yoo'-khom-ahee; from 4314 and 2172; to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship: - pray (* earnestly, for), make prayer.

Without ceasing means that I never give up praying. We have noted that I just simply have to cease while someone else is doing my praying for me: you cannot do two things at the same time.

Adialeiptos (g89) ad-ee-al-ipe'-toce; adv. from 88; uninterruptedly, i.e. without omission (on an appropriate occasion): - without ceasing.

If you have watched a loved one die you know that they are never out of your heart. And when your children are going through tough times you have a brick in your heart continually. Paul explained this:

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Ro.1:9

That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. Ro.9:2

Unwittingly or half-wittingly placing the focus upon performed worship for the congregation relieves them of the practice of the presence of God. If God is going to meet the rest of us at the building then I may give up on having him with me as I rouse myself from a serious medical problem

If harmony is not melody, and only melody is proscribed, then harmony is "unlawful". See what I'm getting at? If singing is not done vocally, how is accomplished, and what does it sound like?

Paul was not prescribing a law of singing. The common practice was to drink wine and sing and play instruments. This always led to disputes and disharmony. Rather than going to the tavern, Paul spoke of a "one another" replacement: have your conversation filled with the Mind of Christ which is the Spirit. Then you can dialog about the meaning of the Exodus. The result will be rejoicing or singing in the heart or mind. There is no greater sense of worship than dialoging with a literate Bible student.

A law means, according to what my father was told, that singing is the law, if you don't sing you violate the law, if you violate the law you will go to hell. Yes, you are under the law to sing or you are violating the law and not worshiping. I never heard him carry a "tune" in his life but he "sang in the heart." Hannah prayed to God, her lips moved but it was a silent prayer. You cannot pray without ceasing if your lips have to flap.

I am former Church of Christ, and am an accomplished musician, both vocally and instrumentally. A capella singing in corporate worship is no problem to me, but I get the distinct feeling from your writings that what should be done is a rather fuzzy concept. What I need is clear direction in execution. It would seem that what is happening in the various Church of Christ congregations in respect to music is outside of what you indicate, since their is so much harmony.

I am an accomplished scientist-engineer-inventor but I was never able to connect twelve symbols to my fingers and then to the keyboard. If God needed my talent then I can use ultrasound to knock a pigeon off a 120 foot Seattle wheat silo. Or I can create the same "panic" feeling in a lab and have people want to kill me. I can eat popcorn and do a great "couch potato act" but this has been called "the idolatry of talent." I envy you but there are many venues for using your talent.

Whatever one decides to do in life the first principle is to love the truth. So what was the truth about music in the New Testament. I fully know that after the "stream have been muddied" we believe that whatever we drink is pure from the Mind of God but it may not be.

What I am saying is not really fuzzy: first, I showed you from the Bible that "music" in the concert or symphony sense was a purely secular activity. Modern harmony is the closest one can get to a symphony of sound and still claim to to fulfill Paul's command which is not truly related to "music."

Second, I showed you that the primary external command is not to sing but to speak. That same word is translated "preach." Now, ask your pastor if you can perform while he is preaching.

The resource was the inspired Word of God. Scholarship and practice agreed with this for hundreds of years when there was as much division over introducing a self-composed song book as the introduction of instruments. This would be like replacing the Bible with a self-composed latter-day book.

The result was teaching and admonishing one another. Scripture clearly warns against the ancient and modern effort to "ascend into the presence of God" with music because, as Paul told the Athenians, He is here and He is not lost. This "speaking" in Paul's mind was equivalent to the use of Biblical poetry in the synagogue.

The internal effect would be "singing in the heart" because scholars note that "singing externally" was a secular activity in the Greek while chanting or speaking or preaching or dialoging was a religious activity.

The melody was also internal such as "breaking the heart" as opposed to external melody of the "get drunk on wine" crowd which carries the meaning of grinding one into power: the idea conveyed by the SOP Jesus hand-fed Judas.

The modern meaning of melody would limit us to a sequence of single tones or what we call "unison singing" or as Paul told the Romans "singing with one voice."

Harmony in the modern sense developed along with the organ and has no more authority than a pipe organ. This form of singing is called "organum" meaning "after the organ" or in imitation of the pipe organ. This does not mean that either is evil but both "take away the key to knowledge." There is technically no difference between a mechanical organ and an organic organ singing "A Organum" but certainly not "A Capella."

Now, I told you that I don't make laws. However, I can collect you an encyclopedia of information to prove that this was the almost universal understanding of the earlier scholars including the Catholic Encyclopedia. Here is Chrysostom on Colossians 3:16-17

What modern people add to that may not be sinful but the evidence is clear from science, musicologists and known even among the ancients that music works because it creates drugs in the mind much like morphine.

Replacing the Words of Christ (Spirit) with silly, sentimental praise songs may not be sinful but it probably answers to Jesus' definition of vain worship.

The evil of it all is that the teaching task is deliberately violated and many love to have it so.

Help me out on this, please. Do you have any "wav" files that demonstrate your point(s)?

Nope! But here is a midi of the first recorded music I ever heard. Lived in a slave cabin and listened on a Victrola since recovered:

Little David, Play on Yo Harp --- Or the Jubilee Singers

Silent Singing Has a Biblical and Historical Basis

Gramatically it seemed to the ancient scholars that Paul was not commanding external singing but preaching the Word by the use of the inspired poetic sections which were metrical and could be chanted in order to memorize them so that they would be "written on the heart." Little Jewish and Muslim kids still do that rather than learning little through cut outs and paste ups.

This was so certain that many groups spoke the words and then engaged in "silent singing" or mental recitation. If you watch the old movies, David chants or recites his poem and simply strums across the strings. Therefore, the tern "selah" is thought to mark the time to "now think about what has been recited."

"Selah. this is probably a direction for the conductor that now a signal of the cymbals shoud interrupt the even flow of chant... Most expressive is... Ps 9:16, indicating the end of the main thought by a soft whispering of strings, followed by a clash of cymbals." (Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, p. 460, Abingdon).

"The oft-repeated, exclusively Old Testament word 'Selah' is supposed to indicate a pause in the singing, when the singers would meditate upon the august truths they were singing about." `(Lockyear, Trades, p. 152)

Alfred Edersheim notes

Then, when the drink-offering was poured out, the Levites sung the psalm of the day in three sections.

After each section there was a pause (probably marked by the term Selah), when the priests blew three blasts,

and the people worshipped. ez

Basil A.D. 360

"But considerable prominence was given to the hymns by the Gnostic, Bardesans, who composed a psalter of 150 psalms. However, the 59th canon of the Synod of Laodicea, 360 A. D., enjoined that 'No psalm composed by private individuals nor any uncanonical books may be read in the Church, but only... the Canonical Books of the OT and NT." Int Std Ency., p. 2494

"In competition with pagan musical art, congregational singing began to wane. Basil states that he had 'the Psalms rendered by skillful presentors after the manner of the triumphal Odes of Pindar,

the congregation joining at the closing verse, with the accompaniment of lyres." Int Std Bible Ency., p. 2494A

This might agree with the word "Selah" in the Psalms which was probably a signal for the singers to cease and give time for the contemplation of the message. The response and strum of the lyre would mark ther terminus of the song rather than an accompaniment.

Philo says what Paul said: He not only eleminates instrumental music as worship and even audible singing is imperfect worship. The true worship, as Jesus said, is in spirit (silence) and in truth (pure intentions) which leaves no reason for "ritual" music. Paul demanded that we fill up with the Spirit (Ephesians 5) which is the Word (Colossians 3) and then make the melody in the heart because external melody is destructive to the mind and soul.

Philo disparages instrumental in comparison to vocal singing:

All the melodious sounds produced by wind and stringed instruments fall as short of the music that comes from nightingales and swans, as a copy and imitation falls short of an original, or a perishable species of an imperishable genus. For we cannot compare the music produced by the human voice with that produced in any other way, since it has no pre-eminent gift of articulation, for which it is prized.


"And indeed though the worshippers bring nothing else, in bringing themselves they offer the best of sacrifices, the full and truly perfect oblation of noble living, as they honor with hymns and thanksgivings their Benefactor and Savior, God, sometimes with the organs of speech, sometimes without tongue or lips,

when within the soul alone their minds recite the tale or utter the cry of praise. These one ear only can apprehend, the ear of God." (Everett Ferguson, A Capella Music, p. 40f)

"Philodemos considered it paradoxical that music should be regarded as veneration of the gods while musicians were paid for performing this so-called veneration. Again, Philodemus held as self-deceptive the view that music mediated religious ecstasy. He saw the entire condition induced by the noise of cymbals and tambourines as a disturbance of the spirit. (Paul called it mad or insane)

He found it significant that, on the whole, only women and effeminate men fell into this folly."

"According to Philo, the gods of the pagans exploit this weakness of men. For the sake of a better effect, and with the intention of more easily cheating their devotes, that they have set their lies to melodies, rhythms and meters.." (Quasten, p. 52)

"Philodemus takes offense at the fact that, in cultic music, the inner sentiment is lacking while this so-called worship is offered to the gods only for payment.

"Philo, too, stressed the necessity of religious inwardness in preference to the cult of sacrifice:

"God has no joy in sacrifices, my dear sir, even if one should offer him hecatombs, for everything belongs to him.

"Since he possesses everything, he has need of nothing. He takes pleasure only in a pious disposition in men who lead pious lives. He accepts the sacrificial cakes, the barley and the most modest gifts from them as if they were the most valuable offerings. He prefers them to costlier thing.

"If they bring nothing more other than themselves in the fullness of moral goodness, they present the most acceptable offering, as they worship God their benefactor and savior in songs and thankful homage.

Sometimes they do so with their tongue, but sometimes without it, whey they speak only in their soul and in their thoughts the confession and invocations which the ear of God alone hears; for men cannot perceive such things with their ears." Philo, De specialibus legibus (I. 271 (v 56)

Philo never mentioned instruments in worship and supports Paul's statement about the melody being in the heart and directed to God:

O Lord and Master, how can one hymn thee? What mouth, what tongue, what else of the instruments of speech, what mind, soul's dominant part, is equal to the task?.

Johannes Quasten, Music and Worship in Pagan andd Christian Antiquity, notes of Philo:

"One cannot truly offer thanks to God as the vast majority of men do, with external effects, consecrated gifts and sacrifices..., but rather with songs of praise and hymns--

not so much as the audible voice sings, but such as are raised and re-echoed by the invisible mind."

Philo saw that the high priest had to lay aside his long flowing robe, set with little bells and colorfully adorned, when he went into the holy of holies. This was an indication that one must not worship God with music and colorful array; owe should rather pour out to him one's soul's blood and offer him one's whole spirit as incense.

For if the soul has opened itself totally in word and deed and is filled with God then the voices of the senses and all other burdensome and hateful noises cease..

"According to what has been said, it can be seen that the doctrine of the 'spiritual sacrifice' not only repudiated bloody sacrifices but also rejected music, particularly instrumental music, as a means of worshipping God. Although the 'spiritual sacrifice'

was originally explained in terms of hymns of praise to God's goodness and majesty,

its logical development eventually considered singing unsuitalbe for divine worship." p. 54-55

The Theologial Dictionary of the New Testament notes that:

"In the NT there is still no precise differentiation between ode, psalmos, and humnos. e.g., in Col.3:16 or Eph.5:19, in contrast to a later time, when ode (canticum) came to be used only for biblical songs (apart from the Psalms) used in liturgy. From the NT passages we may gather the following elements in the concept or the Christian ode as also confirmed from other sources.

(Our note: Sing in Ephesians 5:19 is Ode (g5603) o-day'; from 103; a chant or "ode" the gen. term for any words sung)

"a. Odai are the cultic songs of the community. They are not sung by the individual, out by the community gathered for worship...

Of a piece with this is the anonymity or the early authors, as also the attachment to OT tradition. Only in the 2nd century are the authors sometimes mentioned. In the Didascalia, 2, p..5.29, we can still read: 'It thou desirest hymns, thou hast the Psalms of David."'

"b. The ode is inspired. This is shown by the epithet pneumatikos, though it does indicate more generally its religious character. . . . With the inspiration or hymns is linked their improvisation, e.g., in I C. 14:26 (cr. Acts 4:24); Tert. adv. Marc., 5,b; Apolog. 39,18." (Note: and condemned, we might add).

In Acts 1:20 psalmos is the book of Psalms and in Rom. 15: sing is psallo.

"Psallo is best translated by chant,
not sing.
The Greeks sharply distinguish chanting (psalmodia)
from singing (tragoudi).
The first is a sacred activity;
the second, a secular one.

"In English, unfortunately, the distinction is not sharp, and the word singing is frequently employed to refer to the sacred activity of chanting.

A Greek would never, never say tragoudo (I sing), instead of psallo; the two terms have connotations and associations which are worlds apart -

the first is related to the earthly realm,
the second to the heavenly." Constantine Cavarnos

The best that I can show you is the evidence that what we call "the law of singing" is as widely separated from the Biblical and historical fact as the use of instrumental music. Too bad, but you are right. The simple "square" music of Psalm-singing Presbyterians even with the organ is less offensive than the churches confiscation of a very young "purely American religious music" defined by musicologists as a product of the "awakenings" which were strongly influenced by hillbilly or mountain music with a strong dose of black jazz-gospel which is fairly pure Voodoo. Click for more voodoo.

More Lyle:

A manufacturer of bicycle tires was the speaker at a businessmen's luncheon. In response to a toast, he said,

"I have no desire or intention to inflict upon you a long speech,

for it is well known in our trade that the longer the spoke
the bigger the tire."

Tis a fact, Lyle.

But, however long the spoke, sometimes it still doesn't connect to the hub.

Perhaps the tire would be smaller if you connect the spoke to the hub first.

Know what I mean?


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