I have in front of me an article titled Local Church of Christ adds instrument to worship. It was published last week, April 16, 2015, from The Daily News Journal out of Rutherford County, Tennessee. The article reports that “the Stones River church of Christ made a radical move – at least by denominational standards – to allow instrumental worship to take place on Sunday morning.”
There are several things that concern me about this article. I am concerned that this congregation would decide to introduce instruments into worship, thereby departing from the New Testament pattern for true worship (as we discussed yesterday). However, perhaps the addition of the instrument is a symptom of a much larger problem – that is, a problem of misunderstanding the uniqueness of the one, true church of the Bible.
This article follows in the footsteps of one published by USA Today last month. The national newspaper ran an article on March 6, 2015 with this headine: Church of Christ opens door to musical instruments. The article chronicled the journey of the Otter Creek church in Brentwood, TN as they, too, decided to add the instrument into some of their worship services.
In the Otter Creek piece, Heidi Hall writes, “Church of Christ commitment to a cappella dates to the faith’s emergence in the 1800s Restoration Movement.” Hall goes on to say, “Scriptural citations backing the a cappella tradition include a passage in Ephesians about singing hymns and making music in the heart. But Otter Creek’s preaching and teaching minister, Josh Graves, said church history is a stronger influence.”
Have some members of the Lord’s church forgotten the distinctiveness, the purity, the separation from worldliness (including worldly religions) of the one, true church of the Bible?
With all of the love in my heart, I must say that the Bible only speaks of one church. It’s the Lord’s house that Isaiah said would begin in Jerusalem (Isa. 2:2-3). It’s the kingdom that Daniel said the Lord would set up which would never be destroyed (Dan. 2:44). It is the church that Christ Himself promised to build (Mat. 16:18-19). It is that kingdom that Christ said is not of this world (John 18:36), that would come even before some of Jesus’ apostles and first-century disciples died (Mark 9:1).
This is the one church to which the believers were added upon their baptism in Acts 2:47. It is that church that spread like wildfire throughout the New Testament world (Acts 8:1-4), that walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:31). That is the kingdom of which the Christians in Colossae were a part (Col. 1:13).
Jesus is the Head of that church (Eph. 1:22-23). He is the Chief Shepherd of it (1 Pet. 5:1-4). It is that one church that He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28). He gave Himself for the church (Eph. 5:25).
It is that church, referred to as Christ’s body in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians, and elsewhere, that the New Testament clearly teaches that there is only one (Eph. 4:4).
Let’s wrap it up: I return to this article that I have before me which states that the Church of Christ is a denomination that came out of the Restoration Movement in the 1800’s. That’s just not true.
I don’t want to be a member of a denomination. I want to be a member of the church that Jesus promised to build, the one that was established in His name in Acts 2. This is real history! These are the facts. That’s the church that I want to be a part of. Don’t you?
So why are articles about instrumental music, women serving as preachers, and a host of other topics popping up in newspapers all across the country? It seems that at least one reason is because some people have forgotten that the Lord’s church is not a denomination. It’s precious. It’s Christ’s bride (Eph. 5). It’s unique.