5. PREACHING is being de-emphasized and those using biblically
based sermons are castigated as being "out of touch" with the real
"needs" of people.
a. This is the outgrowth of the "felt needs" philosophy
warmly embraced by many. Since most do not
"feel" lost, or a need for doctrine, many have decided that preaching should
not address those topics. Sermons are thus designed to make listeners "feel
good," to emphasize generic religious themes, and to avoid austere and
restrictive subjects. The emphasis is to say anything that will make you
look just like any other religious group. Sin and other "conservative"
issues are not to be preached. There is basic appeal to the old liberal
b. The emphasis upon social issues in many pulpits
understandable in light of the "felt needs" philosophy.
Whenever one does not want to preach the distinctiveness of the New Testament
gospel, there is still a sense of purpose which must be addressed. "Why
are we here? For what does the Church exist?" These questions are answered
by the "social gospel" -- we are here to help the homeless and correct
the social wrongs of our day (prejudice against gender being the main emphasis;
political correctness being stressed). Thus, many have abandoned the New
Testament message of atonement and sanctification through Christ's Church.
They instead preach a generic "love" and "grace" that has no sacrifice
or distinctiveness. Such soothes the inner-longing for one's purpose!
c. The compromise in distinctive preaching is evident
to all who
investigate the matter. Transparency 7/8 “Preaching Compromised”
1) Very Little Scripture is cited in sermons.
Mostly stories; entertaining lines.
2) Very Little demands of repentance are made.
Such im- poses upon the "ME Generation's" self-centeredness!
Society's pluralism has invaded the pulpits!
3) Very Little encouragement to obey the Gospel
is given. The "invitation" is regarded as a "traditional
4) Very Little respect for Scripture is evident.
Congre- gations seek preachers with winsome personalities and
charisma rather than those who soundly exegete Scrip- ture!
Instead of direct references read from Scripture (when
it is cited) there is a paltry summary of phrases!
5) Very Little study is given the preparation
of sermons. Preachers are often expected to do so many
other things that he simply does not have time, or is
not self-disciplined to spend the time necessary to prepare
6. "SPECIAL MUSIC" presentations are becoming quite common
in worship assemblies where cultural influences have strongly
urged modifications of God’s commands for worship.
a. The term "special music" refers to special singing
presen- tations by groups (choirs, quartets, solos, or choruses).
b. There is a growing number who deny that congregational
singing is the ONLY format authorized in the Bible.
1) Lynn Anderson, "Music That Makes Sense," Wineskins,
ridicules those who "control" the singing so as to limit
it to only congregational singing of "classical music." Read his comments
throughout the article that sarcastically snubs congregational singing
(Wineskins, Jan/Feb 1993, Vol. 1, No. 9).
2) Rubel Shelly (July 19, 1989) in Woodmont Hills
bulletin -- "The New Testament precedent is actually
clearer for solo or small group singing than for congregational
3) Calvin Warpula, "The New Testament Encourages
Special Music In Worship," Wineskins, p. 26ff argues
that there is Scriptural authority for special music
presentations and we have rejected the original pattern
of worship music used by our first century brethren.
4) “Advocacy for special music in worship assemblies”
Trans- parency 7/9 Those advocating the use of "special
music" presentations basically support their position
with these arguments.
a) The Bible offers support for special
music (cf 1 Co 14:26; Ep 5:19; Col 3:16; Ac 16:25;
Hb 2:12; Jas 5:13). From these texts the following
are concluded: the congregation listened to those
who sang and sometimes sang all together; the "speaking
to one another" does not mean all spoke at the
same time (simultaneously) because the "teaching
one another" (Col 3:16) would be pande- monium.
b) The Bible does not say that congregational
singing is the only format. Those who insist
that it is are making a "creedial law beyond Scriptural
authority." (They thus seek to practice a "permissive"
silence of Scriptures).
c) Our "freedom" in Christ allows us to
let people use the musical format they like without
judging them. We do not judge over song books or
styles of songs so why should we judge whether
one has a solo or choral group? We should be free
to choose where God has not legislated.
d) Opposition to special music is because
we "inherited this tradition from religious ancestors."
According to some the first century Christians
actually had solos but these were later repressed.
e) To ban special music presentations is
to "force a pattern from our traditions where God
has not given one." We are thus guilty of making
an unscriptural law in referring to "regular" or
"official" worship assemblies. This incon- sistency is
further seen in our allowing singing groups to
perform before or after worship assemblies.
f) To some these cultural arguments seem
incredible. Yet here is perhaps the clearest point
illustrating how Cul- tural Advocates are ready to jettison
Scriptural authority if it enables them to accommodate
"felt needs" approaches!
1) Subjectiveness reigns
2) Pragmaticism directs all choices
3) Pluralism compromises and distorts
long held Truths
4) Here is the emotionally charged,
Scripturally irres- ponsible argument -- “Where
does Scripture ‘command’ singing groups and
multiple song leaders? The same place it
‘commands’ congregational singing and one
song leader! One song leader and congre- gational
singing is not the only biblical way to wor- ship;
it is simply one cultural way” (Lynn Anderson,
"Music That Makes Sense," Wineskins, p. 29). Upon what
basis is this determined? If special music leads to
growth and revitalized spirituality, why don't we see
such in the denominations who have used it for
c. The Cultural Advocates claim we are wrong and
are guilty of
driving people away by insisting that congregational
singing is the ONLY format allowed in worship. Let's examine the major
points and test them to see how accurate they are. We will use the form
of analysis that has been suggested previously. “The Process For Studying
Accounts Of Action” Transparency 7/10
d. Does Scripture offer support for special
1) Cultural Advocates claim it does. According
to their argu-
ment these texts support it - 1 Co 14:26 sanctions solos;
Ac 16:25 duets; Hb 2:12 solos; Ep 5:19 singing groups; Jas 5:13 solos.
These texts are explained in such a way that gullible minds accept all
statements without any questions. There are some serious points, not discussed,
which destroy the Cultural Advocates position. Notice the following.
2) Transparency 7/11 “Analyzing Ep. 5:19"
Ep 5:18-19; Col
3:16. Here are two key texts regarding New Testament
worship in song. Historically these have been the texts guarding against
innovations in worship music. Any "change" in worship music must deal with
these texts! Such is the case with special music advocates -- they have
to explain these texts so that their musical formats are allowed.
a) An analysis of Ep 5:19 is a simple task.
1) The Subject - "You" is understood;
2) The Verb - "Be filled" (PLEROUSTHE)
is plural and ad- monishes all to be filled.
3) Two Plural Participles modifying
the verb - Speaking, Singing, Making Melody,
Giving Thanks, Submitting Yourselves.
4) Our focus is upon "speaking to
Thayer's lexicon (p. 163) says this is a "reflexive pronoun
of the third person." And it means "reciprocally, mutually, one another."
Thus the term indicates simultaneous action of one to another ("the agent
and the persons acted on are the same," p. 163). Hence the ones doing the
"speaking" are also the ones being spoken to at the same time.
5) How were these to "speak"? By singing.
In singing they would be "filled with the
spirit" as they spoke to one another.
6) Who? The whole Church - the understood
("you") shows those singing were not a part but
the whole! All are to sing. All are commanded to sing -- not listen! (Where
is Scripture that commands us to listen to singing in worship?) All are
commanded to be active participants in "speaking to one another" as indicated
by the active participles.
7) Note: A most significant fact!
We find here a recipro-
cal action required of a group (the Ephesian Church)
and not individuals! This is significant because it shows that small
groups are not commanded! All are to be involved -- each is to sing and
in doing so is to teach, admonish others while s/he is taught and admonished
at the same time by others singing! The "one another" term indicates that
a solo is excluded. It is NOT a song sung to one another BUT a song sung
with one another! Each believer is singing along with every other believer!
8) Transparency 7/12 “Significant
Greek Terms That Must Be Considered!” Here
is a most interesting point.
Cultural Advocates for “special music” in worship assemblies
say that "speaking to one another" is done as the special music groups
sing for they are "speaking to others." However the Greek word used will
not allow such interpretation. HEAUTON is used but they need ALLELON to
satisfy their argument.
a) ALLELON refers to communication
It is mutual and reciprocal (Thayer, p. 28). However
it describes communication where one speaks and the other listens. It stresses
individual action that is mutually reciprocal (cf Lk 2:15; 6:11; 7:32;
24:14). There is a lapse of time between one speaking and the other speaking.
Each eventually teaches/admonishes but not at the same time.
b) Ep 5:19; Col 3:16 DO NOT
use ALLELON but HEAUTON!
And that term indicates simultaneous action of a group.
Lk 23:28 -- all wept together; it was not one weeping now and another
later! (See Guy N. Woods, "Is Congregational Singing Required In The Worship
Of God In The New Testament Church?" Gospel Advocate. May 16, 1985, p.
c) "The reflexive HEAUTON differs
from the reciprocal ALLELON in emphasizing
the idea of corporate wor- ship" (Lightfoot,
St. Paul's Epistles To The Colossians,
d) IF small group musical performances
ized in Ep 5:19 and Col 3:16 a totally different word
would be used! While our English language may be vague and its meanings
change as we define "to one another," the dead Koine Greek language does
not change! Inspiration's wisdom in using this dead language preserves
God's exact command regarding worship singing -- it is to be simultaneous
where each saint is involved! We are not commanded to listen but to sing!
Note: This is a devastating point for those seeking to find Scriptural
authority for special music in worship assemblies. "To find choral or solo
singing in the passage, we would have to assume that individuals singly
or a few at a time are 'filled with the Spirit' at a given time in our
worship. These would sing while the majority of the congregation (lacking
the devotion that seeks expression in glorifying God) simply listen. This
is patently absurd. By what stretch of the imagination could one singing
a solo justify his action by appealing to Ep 5:19, 'I am speaking to ourselves
(yourselves), in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs'? Nor it is any better
to reason, 'I am fulfilling my part in speaking to ourselves (yourselves),
which will be completed when everyone else does the same thing in due time.
Yet this is precisely the argument that those who would justify solos and
choirs make. Their ploy only works by twisting the text and either
being ignorant of the Greek terms or by deliberate refusal to admit the
impact of the Greek -- either is a damnable predicament! Honest scholarship
must be pursued and Scriptural wresting must be exposed (2 Pt 3:15-17)!
9) An analysis of Col 3:16 is also
a simple task. Trans- parency 7/13 “Analyzing Col.
a) "One another" is HEAUTON.
b) "Teaching" "admonishing"
are present participles.
c) The subject is the whole
d) It discusses how Christ's
supremacy will impact indi- vidual lives
and the collective Church.
e) Cultural advocates suggest
that "one another" refers only to teaching.
They thus argue -- "Do you really mean
that we should teach one another sim-
ultaneously? Such would be absurd! Therefore the speaking
to one another in Ephesians 5 cannot refer to only simultaneous singing,
it must also include speaking to one another while others listen. Thus
the authorization for special music." This argument is based upon the reading
of Colossians 3:16 in the NIV which separates "teaching" from “singing.”
However such a separation IS NOT found in the Greek. Such is simply the
bias of the translators and is now being used to lend authority to special
music groups in worship!
10) Transparency 7/13b Summary of
Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16
a) The Worship - singing to
b) The Act - teaching/admonishing
c) The Focus - psalms, hymns,
d) The Place - when assembled
"What is pictured is congregational singing, as practiced
by churches of Christ today. The authority is specific: when brethren sing
in worship, this is the order. Whenever the congregation worships God in
song, this is the pattern to be observed. Choirs and solos violate the
11) Note: Cultural Advocates say they
do not want to "bind" special music but they
desire the "freedom" to use it without condemnation.
Such places them in a dilemma. Note ...
a) To find Scriptural authority
they go to Ep 5 and Col 3.
b) But the imperative mode is
used - "be filled" "let the Word
dwell." This mode does not allow option
but states an urgent requirement. Thus, whatever
"speaking to yourselves" is, it is not optional.
c) If choirs and solos are intended,
they MUST be used; they are required!
d) If special music is intended
in Ep 5/Col 3, we are sin- ning IF we do
not use them! But the Cultural
Advocates tell us that it is a matter of little con-
sequence -- an optional issue!
e. Transparency 7/14 The Problems With Using 1 Co
14:26 As A
“Proof-Text” For Solos” 1 Co 14:26 is the favorite "proof
text" of those insisting that special music is Scriptural. They suggest
that if God revealed a "psalm" to one then that person was to sing the
psalm to the Church. Here, they assert, is a Scriptural precedent for solos.
1) There are a number of problems with this argument.
2) It describes a unique assembly -- totally unlike
Note: An indefinite verb ("when") introduces the assembly
(cf v. 23). This is used regarding indefinite times -- the time of this
assembly was not known (i.e. "If this takes place, then ..."). "The assembly
of 1 Co 14 is an IF assembly, not a normal, definite assembly."
3) It requires absurdities for modern worship
-- the regula-
tions have no bearing at all upon assemblies except those
where the miraculous gifts were displayed. For example: only 2-3 men could
teach (including Communion, prayer, song, etc.); those desiring to comment
in a foreign language are limited to 3 but only if there is an interpreter;
women must keep totally silent (cannot even sing thus contradicting Ep
5:19); women have to ask husbands only about spiritual matters (even if
husband is a reprobate).
4) It is used inconsistently -- people pick and
choose what they want to apply. Anti-Classes, Anti-Woman
teachers for children and women's classes argue their
pet hobbies from this passage, but do not consistently
bind all regulations. Today the special music advocates
look here to find support. But one must hold to all or
none! "Regulations of spiritual gifts are not transferable
to non-gifted men."
5) It was written to correct, not command. Paul
is rebuking those who abused the assembly. There was
something amiss in those addressed and it needed correction.
6) It reads too much into the text. Where
do you find the
word "solo"? The "psalm" could have been read. Why "add"
singing a solo? Nothing indicates a psalm revealed to man would have to
be sung solo to the congregation. "If the expression, 'every one of you
hath a psalm,' means the man to whom the psalm was revealed had to sing
solo, would it not then follow that in order for a quartet to sing, every
person in the quartet would have to have the same psalm revealed to him?
And the only way there could be congregational singing would be when every
member of the congregation received the revelation of the same psalm at
the same time."
f. Transparency 7/15. SUMMARY 1 Corinthians 14:26
Summary of 1 Corinthians 14. In order for advocates of special
music to establish their point, they must prove --
1) That all assemblies in the first century were
like the assemblies of 1 Co 14, and explain how or why
all assem- blies were indefinite ("ify").
2) That instructions to specified persons may
be transferred to others not under consideration. Having
done this, they must be consistent and acknowledge that
they intend to:
a) Limit teachers to only 3 in any assembly.
b) Appoint "judges" in every assembly.
c) See that all women have their heads covered
in all assemblies.
d) Direct all women to learn from their
husbands at home, whatever his spiritual maturity
e) Confine the singing to not over three
solos at a given assembly, and then only by men
(HEKASTOS, "every one," is masculine). In addition,
they must prove that the "psalms" given by the
Spirit (vs. 26) were sung in solo, and were not
songs revealed to be sung by the con- gregation (or recited).
Also, they must prove that the singing of vs. 15
was solo and not singing in a foreign language.
Without proving these things, the special music
advocate has no certainty to his position. Assump- tions
are a meager basis for accepting special music in
our worship assemblies.
g. Transparency 7/16 “Last Resort Texts” There are
some minor texts that are used to advocate special music presentations.
Each of these fails to provide a necessary basis for the practice.
1) Jas 5:13 -- not in a public worship assembly.
We can do many things in private that we cannot do in
the public worship assembly.
2) Hb 2:12 -- See Guy N. Woods, p. 296, Gospel
3) Ac 16:25 -- Is this a basis for duets? This
was not a worship assembly! (cf Don DeWelt, Gospel Advocate,
5/16/85, p. 293).
h. Transparency 7/17 “Congregational Singing Is
Does the Bible say that congregational singing is the
only format? We have seen that Ep 5:19/Col 3:16 command singing that is
simultaneous. This is the only format commanded. Should we try to justify
special music by appealing to the "permissive silence" (what is not specifically
commanded/condemned is allowed) we will open the door to false doctrines
(i.e. the rosary; instrumental music; etc.). The Scriptures command ONLY
congregational singing. It thus eliminates all other "formats" for the
worship assemblies. Even if a preacher should get up and SING Psalm 23
instead of READING it, it is wrong!
i. Do we have the "freedom" to use special music
The real question is -- Do we have the "freedom" to change
what God has legislated? Many "Change Advocates" are crying for "freedom"
yet they are bringing bondage! (2 Pt 2:19). We do not have the freedom
to loose where God has bound! (Mt 18:18).
j. Are special music presentations opposed today
is "inherited" from our religious ancestors? Is Warpula's
contention true that we oppose choruses only because Calvin/Zwingli did?
No. This same rationale can be applied to opposition to the Pope or respect
for the authority of Scriptures. There are positions which the Reformers
held that were right. Our agreement is upon what is RIGHT instead of what
is "inherited." We oppose special music because the practice is without
Scriptural support. Congregational singing was practice in the first Century.
“Advocates of choirs-solos claim to find comfort in the practice of early
Christians during the developing ‘apostasy’ (2 Ths 2:3,7). It is claimed
that choirs and solos constituted the practice of the churches from the
apostolic age through the early centuries. The claim is not so. Choirs-solos
were introduced and became popular as the apostasy developed” (Frost, p.
8). Historians unite in stating that congregational singing was the
norm for worship.
1) Chrysostom (4th Century A.D.) -- “In the apostolic
music was entirely vocal and congregational ... It was
the ancient custom, as it still is with us, for all to come together and
unitedly join in singing. ... all join in one song ... the whole congregation
forms one general chorus” (Dr. H. Christopher, Lard’s Quarterly, Oct. 1867,
2) Ignatius (c. 35-107 A.D.) -- “To a man you
make up a chorus,
so that joined together in harmony and having received
the godly strain (chroma Theou) in unison, you might sing in one voice
through Jesus Christ to the Father” (James McKinnon, Music In Early Christian
Literature, p. 18).
3) “The singing was congregational for the first
ies. The charm of their music was not in the harmony
of sweet sounds, but in the melody of the heart ... The singing was gradually
drawn from the congregation and confined to a choir ... the style of music
was changed, so that the congregation was compelled to remit this part
of the worship, and leave it in the hands of trained singers. Church music
thus became a refined art of difficult attainment, and limited to a few
professional singers” (From Coleman’s Ancient Christianity Exemplified,
quoted by Dr. H. Christopher in Lard’s Quarterly, October 1867, p. 362).
k. In opposing special music in the worship, are
we guilty of "forcing a pattern where God has not given one"?
No. The pattern is found in Ep 5:19/Col 3:16 and it mandates
congre- gational singing.
l. Are we unscripturally legislating "regular" or
"official" worship assemblies? No. The New Testament
Church had regular assemblies each Lord's Day. They came together
at a set time to join together in worship activities (cf Ac
20:7; 1 Co 16:1,2; 11:18; etc.). In these regular assemblies
they sang, took Communion, studied Scripture, exhorted by God's
Word, and prayed. Their example indicates that the Lord's Day
assem- blies were special times and regularly planned. They worship-
ed God during set periods just as the Scriptures command us
m. Are we inconsistent to allow special music groups
to per- form before/after regular worship assemblies? No. Such
often provides a convenient time and its close proximity does
not make it worship. If it does then we could not have two
different activities scheduled immediately following each other
for they would be one activity, not two. What if two
families decide they will eat together immediately following
the assembly. Is their meal a part of worship? Certainly not.
Such an absurd conclusion indicates the error. "Worship" activities
are defined by Scripture as being one of the "five acts" of
worship (see Jividen's book about calling these "acts" of worship).
Special musical performances would be wrong if they were enmeshed
with these five acts but not wrong if they are apart from them.
n. The Cultural Advocates are calling for tolerance
use of special music. Such is suppose to build the Church
in membership and spirit. However that is error! The Bible commands congregational
singing only and therefore condemns any special music during worship. This
innovation is wrong because ... Transparency 7/5
1) It DISTORTS the biblical command.
2) It COMPROMISES the absoluteness of God's commands
and the New Testament pattern of congregational singing.
3) It WEAKENS believers so they are willing to
accept more innovations that will "enhance" the worship.
4) It RESULTS in disastrous consequences.
5) It LESSENS the uniqueness of God's design for
holy wor- ship.
6) It VIOLATES the principle of holiness which
is to govern God's people.
Copyright 1999 by John
L. Kachelman Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost