Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What I want is beside the point

There has been endless debate on the subject of using instruments of music to worship and praise to God. There's probably nothing that hasn't been said. But I feel compelled to put in my 2 cents' worth.
One of the most popular arguments in favor of instruments, is that the Bible "doesn't say not to".
There are many ways in which God goes about letting us know what He wants, and what He doesn't want. Sometimes He tells us to do what He wants us to do. Sometimes He tells us not to do what He does not want us to do. In some cases, He will not tell us to do what he does not want us to do. God tells us to do what he said and "turn neither to the right or the left".
I strongly believe that if God wanted us to incorporate instruments in our praise to Him, He would have said so. We would not have known He wanted it unless He told us. But He didn't. So it must not have been important to Him.
So, if God did not ask us to use instruments, what is the only reason left for using them? It has to be because we want to use them. We ignore the fact that God did not command it, and place our own wants ahead of our consideration of what He does or does not want. It's amazing that so few people can see how dangerous that is. Many people who advocate instruments think it's a way of improving the praise we give to God; a better offering. But if it's better, it's only better to us. How arrogant to think that we can improve on what God has commanded. If it is being done God's way, then it is being done the best way it can be done.
Anyone who knows me, knows I love music of many kinds. Instrumental music has its place in entertainment, but not in worship. I'll admit that I might enjoy some spiritual songs with instruments added. But what sounds good to me is still unacceptable to God, and must be set aside.
The tragic thing is not so much that people try to find ways of improving the form of worship. It is that they will push so hard for what "I Want", that it will get to the point of violating something that is commanded in the Bible: the command for unity. "Let there be no divisions among you". Proponents of instrumental music have been so determined to get their way, that they are willing to discontinue fellowship with their brothers and sisters. "If you won't do things my way, I'll just go start my own church".
I believe that things like this are why the church has suffered such a decline in our effectiveness for growth in America. We can't reach out to those who are lost, because too much of our time and attention is devoted to debating things among ourselves that are not important, and dividing ourselves.
I so wish that churches would put these differences aside, unite, and concentrate our energy on what we are commanded to do. That is all that counts.