by Phillip Vanwinkle
JULY 10, 2015

The Positive Case for A Cappella Music #2

A Kidnapping Victim!

A few years ago someone came to my house and kidnapped my child. My beautiful child was innocent, pure, and lovely. Our family was happy as we strove to live from day to day. Unfortunately for us, the kidnapping was before the days of “Amber Alerts.” So the best that we could do was seek out help to try to get her back.

We were unsuccessful at getting her back for a long while.

Days went by, then weeks. My family was distraught. Our hearts broke as one so close and dear to us, was wrongfully stripped from our lives, and all we could do was hope and pray to get her back. The pain was made worse because of the eventual news about who the kidnapper ended up being. 

Days turned into months, and months turned into years.

Finally, we received word of the whereabouts of our beloved daughter. For the past few years she had been living with a different family, my brother’s family in another state.

Our little family was so incredibly happy that finally, we could get our child back. It was confirmed by the authorities that she was our child. And we were thrilled that we now had the opportunity to bring her back to us, as she had been years before. We did what any parent would do in this situation. We tried desperately to get her back.

Here was the problem.

The more we tried to explain to the media, and to some of the other people in our family, - that she was our daughter, and that this other family had kidnapped her from us.  Some, many even, refused to see the problem.

Some people thought we were the evil parents, because after all… another family had already laid claim to our daughter.

They wrote newspaper articles explaining that we were evil because we were destroying the happy home of this “new” family. They said “Why would you want to divide a family over something silly like this?”

They turned the tables on us. We were the ones who were minding our business, going through life the way any family would. THEY were the kidnappers, THEY were the ones who broke the law.

How could any person on the face of the Earth take the kidnapper’s side on this issue? Yet, here we sit, we are the ones being accused of destroying the ‘unity’ of a ‘family and home.’

Do we have the right to get our daughter back? Are we the ones who are causing the destruction of unity?

Is it not my brother’s family who destroyed the unity of our family? Is it not the kidnappers who have done evil? By our wanting our daughter back, are we not justified in our actions to bring her back?

My brother’s family actually asked us, “What right do you have to take our daughter, and disrupt our family?” One of the family members cried out “you are evil, disrupting the lives of our family by taking her from us!” “You are destroying the family unity!” my cousin screamed.

But… any right thinking person understands the truth. Any right thinking person would understand, that it is not us, it is not our family that destroyed the unity of a home, it is their family, it was my brother’s family. All we are doing is trying to set things how they originally were, as she was our child, in our family and we all lived happily together.

 The point:

The Lord’s church had worshipped for hundreds of years by singing songs of praise to God. We were all united. We all loved one another, and we enjoyed the blessing of fellowship. We were all one happy family.

But, some of our brothers became unhappy. They wanted to take the action of praising God in song, kidnap her, put her with instruments of music, start a ‘new family,’ and leave us.

Here we are today, the family of God, saddened that they have kidnapped and destroyed the unity of our home.

But, when we try to get things back to the way that they are supposed to be, the way that the family originally was… amazingly - it is us who are accused of causing disunity. It is us who are supposed to feel ‘ashamed’ because we simply want to be unified, and for our praise to be the way it was for thousands of years, before these kidnappers took it from us, and destroyed the unity of our home.

Make no mistake, whether or not you like this analogy. Whether or not you feel like they are justified in ripping apart the family of God by taking part of her worship for themselves, know this! God still knows who his family is. And the God of all this world will do that which is right. (Gen. 18:25)

The fact of the matter is, the New Testament Family of Christians only sang hymns to praise God, and all authority must come from the New Testament.

All must be proven from the New Testament!

Many times in discussing things with the forced instrument brethren, they will go all over the place looking for their authority. They will go to the Old Testament, though they gladly admit we are not bound by it today. They will go to the Psalms, though they realize that the Psalms hold no authority either.

Then, that failing, they must go to the “Heaven” argument, trying to prove that those figurative, apocalyptic scenes given to John on Patmos of Heaven, somehow prove that we must use the instrument today.

That failing, few will turn to History, and draw about 3 to 4 historians, in spurious writings, that they assert establish authority, then they will turn around, and claim that historians are not our authority. And that is correct.

Finally, they will attempt to figure out how to make an archaic word mean something that it simply did not mean during the New Testament.

After they go on and on and on… ad-nauseam “proving” that all these “examples” help provide authority… in the end, they must admit, that they DO NOT authorize at all. For they must admit that all authority for people living today comes specifically and only from the New Testament.

So, why do they appeal to these tactics? Because it is all that they have! They cannot now, nor have they ever been successful at proving that the New Testament authorizes the use of instrumental music today in the worship to the Lord.

What does the New Testament say?

Let us lay out each verse in the New Testament which has to do with praising God and with our worshipping God in song.

  1. Matt.26:30 - And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. (Realize this is not officially under the New Covenant)
  2. Acts 16:25 - And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
  3. Rom 15:9 - And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
  4. 1 Cor 14:15 - What is it then? 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.
  5. Eph 5:19 - Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
  6. Col 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.
  7. Heb 13:15 - By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
  8. James 5:13 - Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.

The verses are clear.  When one is to praise: offer lip service to God, the Bible simply says he is to sing.  The positive argument is therefore complete. It is proven, that in worshiping our Lord, we are authorized to sing praises to him. There they are, 172 words under the New Covenant concerning our praise when it comes to song. 172 words that prove God is pleased when we obey Him, by singing praises, lifting our voices. No mechanical instrument is found.

Again, we don’t have to appeal to the Old Testament for Authority. There is no need to talk about what souls in Heaven may or may not be doing. There is no reason to have to try to bring some archaic word, and twist facts, in order to hopefully, possibly…somehow… make a case.

A simple reading of the New Testament is clear, it makes its own case. When we worship God in praise with songs, it is confirmed that singing is what pleases God.

God still says through Paul: 

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1 Thies 5:21)

Thus it is proven! Singing praises to God is authorized in the New Testament. 

So, I ask Our Lord:  “Jesus what will you have us to do when it comes to praising God with music?” “Sing” is his reply!

 It really is that simple!