I was also speaking with her regarding instruments in worship. She claimed that since it is only the first-day assembly, which is that worship done together in one place, then to go to a place where they have instrumental music on a Wednesday night is not sinful. She went on to talk about how on times throughout the week she and her mother used to spend time singing worship songs at home with the piano and asked how that could at all be sinful. She further stated that to condemn such an action would be sinful as that would be judging them. She then went on to discuss that as long as one who is playing a piano or instrument is focused on making melody in their heart (or, letís say for sake of argument that theyíre singing too while playing that piano) then they are not breaking any commands and thus it is okay to have instruments in worship. I mentioned the principle of exclusion (though at next meeting I intend to bring up more scriptures regarding it) and she rebutted that there are many things which we in the Church teach which are not authorized, to which she gave two examples:
- There are Scriptures which indicate the Lordís Supper without reference to a specific day in addition to Acts 20:7 which does reference a specific day. There are verses which indicate worship without reference to a specific day in addition to other verses which do speak of the first day of the week. Yet, we say that the Lordís Supper is only authorized for the first day but then turn around and recognize that worship (i.e. singing) can occur on any day of the week.
- (This is like the first.) We say that we must have authorization for our pattern of worship, but when regarding the place of worship we choose to worship in a building of the church when such is not mentioned in the Scriptures, and thus ignore the first-century authorization of the church worshiping in peopleís homes (or, again, for sake of argument letís say that we ignore all the different examples of varying places Christians worshipped).
Iíve been searching through many of the articles on this site and I think Iíve got a good idea of how to address most of this, but I could really use a thread to tie it all together. As always, I appreciate any help you might be able to offer and look forward to your reply. Godís grace be with you.
There are so many flaws in her reasoning that it is hard to decide where to start.
- She makes an artificial narrowing of the definition of worship. She claims that the worship assembly on the first day of the week is the only one which requires singing without instrumental music. Are the prayers offered on Wednesday nights or in the home not worship? Can the prayers on days other than Sunday include asking for things for our own pleasure since it isn't the first day of the week assembly? (See James 4:3). As she later contradicts herself, she recognizes that singing is worship, whenever it takes place and that Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 do not restrict the requirements to only the Sunday worship assembles. It is God who defines how He desires to be worshiped. Man has no right to tell God what He ought to find acceptable.
- She claims that to decide she is wrong is judging her and what she likes to do. My response is "Very good! It is just as much a judgment as your judgment that I shouldn't rebuke you." Since she allows herself to make a judgment about you and I, she then acknowledges that we can make judgments about her. "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you" (Matthew 7:1-2). Applying God's standards to man's actions is required. Consider these statements: "I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say" (I Corinthians 10:15). "Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?" (I Corinthians 11:13). God expects men to use their heads.
- Her argument that as long as she is singing in her heart, she is fulfilling the command, even if an instrument is being played, is false. Notice that this line of reasoning is what is being used to justify instrumental music at all times, even during worship. The flaw is that the playing of the instrument is not authorized. Thus, she is adding something unauthorized to what was authorized. "Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar" (Proverbs 30:6). She is not staying within the bounds of God's word. "... that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written ..." (I Corinthians 4:6).
- Her other arguments, flawed in themselves, are based on a false premise. She is arguing that because people break God's laws in one area, she is then justified to break the law in other areas. We have a saying for that, "two wrongs don't make a right." Paul addressed this erroneous thinking when he said, "And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"? --as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just" (Romans 3:8).
- Acts 20:7 does restrict which day of the week the Lord's Supper may be taken. See: "Does worship have to be on Sunday?"
- The Bible does not state that worship only took place in people's homes. See: "How do you justify using Acts 20:7 as binding the day but not the place?"
I wish you the best in trying to convict her of the truth. May I suggest that lessons regarding authority be presented soon in the congregation, else this rebellion against God will likely spread.