Volume. XXV, No. 9
Sunday, 29 August 2010


Worship Part 12


The fifth guideline of biblical worship is probably the most difficult and controversial one. The fifth principle is, “musical instruments were used to praise God.” The scriptural references are not the problem but rather their application to today’s, if not the New Testament’s, worship. It will probably be helpful if I begin with the biblical data.

 
Most worship-music related references are found in 1 and 2 Chronicles and Psalms, which should not surprise us. It is because the Chronicles are the records about the priesthood and temple services, and psalms are praises to God. (1) Music was an important part of worship. 1 Chronicles 23:5 says, “Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.” Even before the Temple was built, David prepared all the building materials for future construction and reorganized the Levites according to their duties. One group was dedicated to Temple music with instruments. It is significant to our discussions today as there are people arguing that music should not be accompanied by musical instruments in worship. In fact, even this statement is too simple to explain the controversies over the use of musical instruments. (2) Music with instruments was used to praise God, and musical instruments were somehow related to prophetic activities. 1 Chronicles 25:1-3 say, “Moreover David and the captains of the host separated to the service of the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals: and the number of the workmen according to their service was: 2 Of the sons of Asaph; Zaccur, and Joseph, and Nethaniah, and Asarelah, the sons of Asaph under the hands of Asaph, which prophesied according to the order of the king. 3 Of Jeduthun: the sons of Jeduthun; Gedaliah, and Zeri, and Jeshaiah, Hashabiah, and Mattithiah, six, under the hands of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied with a harp, to give thanks and to praise the LORD.” At least two kinds of musical instruments were mentioned: harps and cymbals. The word, “psalteries,” in verse 2 is translated as lyre in other translations, and is also like a harp. (3) Music was fully implemented by the Levites. 2 Chronicles 7:6, “And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.” Trumpets here are not the same as shofar in the Old Testament. According to Numbers 10:2, the Lord spoke to Moses to make two trumpets of beaten silver. Then, its number was increased to 120 in Solomon’s Temple according to 2 Chronicles 5:12. According to Nehemiah 12:41, seven priests were designated to play trumpets, which means that during the post-exilic times, there were seven trumpets in the Temple orchestra. It is also true that there were seven trumpeters for worship during David’s time according to 1 Chronicles 15:24. According to Josephus, the trumpet was nearly a yard long (about 90cm), and it was a little wider than a flute with a slight expansion near the mouthpiece to catch the breath, and terminated in a bell. Though the trumpet was not initially a musical instrument like the shofar, its chief use became religious in later times. We may read two portions from the Bible. One, Numbers 10:10 says, “Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.” Two, 2 Chronicles 29:26-28 say, “And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. 27 And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. 28 And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.” Thus, we find that trumpets were used on the New Moon and at daily offerings. It was also blown on solemn days.
 
(4) To sing with instruments seemed to be a norm. 2 Chronicles 23:13, “And she looked, and, behold, the king stood at his pillar at the entering in, and the princes and the trumpets by the king: and all the people of the land rejoiced, and sounded with trumpets, also the singers with instruments of musick, and such as taught to sing praise. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and said, Treason, Treason.” 2 Chronicles 30:21, “And the children of Israel that were present at Jerusalem kept the feast of unleavened bread seven days with great gladness: and the Levites and the priests praised the LORD day by day, singing with loud instruments unto the LORD.” Psalm 33:2, “Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings” (cf. Psalm 71:22; 144:9). I found 1 Chronicles 6:31 very interesting: “And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest.” Psalm 150:5, “Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.” Then, lastly, (5) dance is mentioned in a few verses in relation to praises. Read the following examples: Psalm 149:3, “Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.” Psalm 150:3, “Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.” Psalm 150:4, “Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.” I understand that there are some congregations practicing so called “worship dance.” I’ll deal with this matter a bit later in more detail.
 
Having seen all these biblical verses and examples about worship, praise, music, and musical instruments, why is music controversial? If the Bible supports the use of music, we must follow it, mustn’t we? I wonder if you will be surprised if you know that there are many Christian groups not using music or musical instruments for their worship today. They not only do not use music or instruments of music, but also denounce anybody who uses them. A few examples of the groups worshipping without musical accompaniment are some Presbyterian churches, Old Regular Baptists, Primitive Baptists, Plymouth Brethren, Churches of Christ, Amish and Mennonite. They may sing a cappella. You may know that there have been people well known to our church history who have refused to use musical instruments for worship. It makes a vast contrast between their practices and contemporary worship groups using all kinds of things for their music. Let me give you a few examples from the opponents of musical instruments for worship. Thomas Aquinas said in Bingham\'s Antiquities, “Our church does not use musical instruments, as harps and psalteries, to praise God withal, that she may not seem to Judaize" (Vol. 3, page 137). A famous reformer, John Calvin, said, “Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The Papists therefore, have foolishly borrowed, this, as well as many other things, from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostles is far more pleasing to him. Paul allows us to bless God in the public assembly of the saints, only in a known tongue (1 Corinthians 14:16) What shall we then say of chanting, which fills the ears with nothing but an empty sound?” (Commentary on Psalm 33). John Wesley, the founder of Methodism said, “I have no objection to instruments of music in our worship, provided they are neither seen nor heard” (quoted in Adam Clarke\'s Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 685). Eusebius said, “Of old at the time those of the circumcision were worshipping with symbols and types it was not inappropriate to send up hymns to God with the psalterion and cithara and to do this on Sabbath days... We render our hymn with a living psalterion and a living cithara with spiritual songs. The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable to God than any musical instrument” (Commentary on Psalm 91:2-3). The Bible talks about musical instruments, while these men oppose them. Why did they oppose? What is our justification to use them? Well, wait until next article.
 
Lovingly,
Your Senior Pastor
Pastor Ki
 

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements
*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Sis Suzanne Lim. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Bro Cong Pham.
*Deepest sympathy to Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam, Bros Joseph & Christopher Selvanayagam & their families on the homegoing of Bro Winston Selvanayagam on Wed, 25 Aug.
*Funeral for the late Bro Winston Selvanayagam will be held tomorrow, 30 Aug, at 1:30 pm, at Heysen Chapel, Centennial Park, Pasadena.
*Warm welcome: Pastor & Sis Myung Ki.
*6th Session Installation today: Rev Okman Ki, Ps David Weng, & Elder Michael D Lee; Deacons Edwin D’Mello, Tony Law, Yaw Chiew Tan & David Yeo; Bros Chris Budiman, Colin Gan & Wai Kin Wong; Sisters Joyce Gong & Purdee Yeo.
*Fellowship Lunch after The Lord’s Day Worship Service is $5 per person. Free for children under 5 years old.
*Bookshop Sale - 50% off all items until next Lord’s Day.
*Tentative dates for Missions to Batam & Bintan: 20-23 Jan 2011. If interested, please see Dn David Yeo.
 
Looking Ahead
*Gospel Sunday, 12 Sept, at 7.30pm.
 
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Ps & Sis Myung Ki (Adl); Sisters Grace Chung (Adl), Lai Kheng (KL) & Vanessa Tan (Adl); Bro Nathaniel & Sis Eileen Lim & family (NY); Bro Peter Ting (S.Africa); & others who have travelled.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. Daily mercies, protection & guidance.
4. Much needed rain in the past few days.
 
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Dr SH Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Jonathan Liao (Melb), Len & Richard Pearson, & Fred Volvricht; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Lydia Fan, Myung Ki (UK), Choon Fong Lee (KL); Lehia Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & ministry, Life University (Sihanoukville); Pr Zhang & ministry (Sihanoukville).
3. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & his ministry.
4. IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman & Board.
5. Ps & Sis Ki & ministry in New Life BPC (Lond) & Hope BPC.
6. Ps & Sis Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
7. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
8. Journey mercies: Ps David & Susan Weng & family (S’pore/Bintan/Taiwan); Bros Paul Chung (Korea) & Peter Ting (S.Africa); Sis Marion Chan (Myazaki), & all others who are travelling.
9. God’s comfort & strength: Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam & families.
10. Job - Sisters Judy Li & Corinne Teng.
11. Good health in pregnancy - Sisters Myra Hornung & Demelza Ting. 
12. Interpreters translating English Sermons to Mandarin.
13. Year 12 Students: Sisters Gillian Chia & Shilsha Ninian.
14. Work placement in Myazaki, Japan, from Sept 2010: Sis Marion Chan.
15. Victims of floods in Pakistan, & mudslides in China. Those who lost their loved ones.
 

 

 

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