Can instrumental music be used during weddings held in a church building?




I have searched your website and didn't find any information on this so I am submitting this question: Is it scriptural to have recorded music (not vocal) in a wedding ceremony that is held in the church building?  There is a young Christian couple that have asked to have recorded music played only as they march in. It has never been permitted where I attend; members have only wanted vocal music. How is the best way to explain scripturally the answer to not permitting instrumental music (recorded) in a wedding ceremony. Thank you so much for taking this question.  I await your answer

This is a case where a tradition is being followed with little concept of what is behind the tradition. A similar one is "we don't eat in the building." It is meant to indicate that we don't use the Lord's funds for social purposes, but the tradition is not accurate as given. What about those who rent a hall that happens to include a kitchen, what about the work days at the building where food is brought in for the laborers? What about the preacher or elder working through his lunch hour because he is pressed for time? See: "Using a Kitchen in a Rented Hall" for additional details relevant to this question.

Now let's examine the issue. First, a wedding ceremony is not an act of worship. Acts of worship may take place during the ceremony, such as prayers or singing, but the ceremony itself is not an act of worship. God has indicated that He desires to be worshiped with vocal (a cappella) music (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Thus songs offered up in worship to God need to be done in the way God has authorized. If someone wished to play a tune while praising God, I would have an objection to it whether it was in the building or not. But if it is "Here Comes the Bride," then it doesn't violate what God has stated.

Second, the building was purchased with the Lord's money and so it should be used for the Lord's work. Some object to weddings being conducted in the building because it is not a work of the church. Others see weddings as something approved by God and have no objection to the building being used for additional purposes that God approves. We must be careful, however, not to fall into the mind set that the building is holy. A church is composed of the people, not the building. It is the people who are to be holy, not the building. When the wedding takes place, it is not when the church has been called out to assemble. A wedding does not take place in church, that is in the church's worship service. If we are to say instrumental music is wrong in a wedding ceremony, we must defend the position based on the ceremony, not based on the location of the ceremony.

Third, a few approach the problem by arguing that the reputation of the church must be considered when the building owned by the church is being used. Instrumental music in the past creep in little-by-little, such as only being used for practice, and then eventually ending up with "well, while it is here, we might as well use it." There is some credence to this argument. Though instrumental music is not wrong in a wedding, those who use it will have to face the inevitable question of "but you used it then, why not now?" I can understand that some would rather avoid the issue than debate it.

Finally, even though I can state that instrumental music is not wrong in a wedding, I must recognize that others haven't reached that particular understanding. Romans 14, I Corinthians 8, and I Corinthians 10 all tell us that we should avoid offending a weaker (less knowledgeable) brother. Since a wedding can take place without instrumental music and doing so will avoid offending those who believe its use is wrong in a church building, then the best route is either to not use instrumental music in the building or find another building to use for the wedding. It is the kindest way to handle the sensibilities of people who might not clearly understand what God has taught on the matter.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Music