Musical Instruments in Worship
Musical Instruments in Worship
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Musical Instruments in Worship

Last updated on 2018-09-21

About the Book

Is it okay to have instruments in church?

Arguments against instrumentation in worship usually include these points:

  • Instrumental music was purely Levitical, ceremonial, and tied to the temple 
  • Instrumental music cannot be found in the New Testament 
  • Instrumental music was not used by the early church, and the early church interpreted the Bible to teach a cessationist perspective on instruments 

This booklet investigates what the Bible says about music, and looks at each of these three arguments in turn.

Table of Contents

  • 1. God’s Delight In Instrumental Music
  • 2. To mandate a capella worship is to violate the Regulative Principle of Worship
  • 3. Dealing with a cappella’s first pillar
    • A summary of the argument: the claim that instrumental music was purely Levitical, ceremonial, and tied to the temple
    • Problem one – Non Levites were clearly authorized to play musical instruments in worship
    • Problem two: David’s tabernacle (a form of synagogue worship that foreshadowed New Covenant worship) had instrumental music without sacrifices or ceremonial law.
    • Problem three: the only musical instruments that were distinctively Levitical were the two silver trumpets.
    • Problem four: While some Levitical functions ceased with the death of Christ, it is simply not true that all Levitical functions do.
    • Problem five – Where does the Bible describe musical instruments as a ceremonial type?
  • 4. Dealing with a cappella’s second pillar
    • A summary of the argument: the claim that instrumental music cannot be found in the New Testament
    • Ephesians 5:19: Does it command the use of instruments or forbid the use of instruments?
    • Other New Testament evidence
  • 5. Dealing with a cappella’s third pillar
    • A summary of the argument: the claim that instrumental music was not used by the early church and that the early church interpreted the Bible to teach a cessationist perspective on instruments
    • Preliminary contradiction of the a cappella thesis
    • Church fathers who either played musical instruments themselves or who (while opposing instruments in their own local churches) admitted that the true church used instruments in worship (AD 70-680)
    • The real reason that opposition to musical instruments arose in the late third century and following – the Greek philosophy of asceticism
    • Some of the non-instrumentation citations prove too much
    • What about the Reformers?
    • What about the synagogues – Were they instrument free? And does it matter if we hold to RPW?
  • 6. Conclusion
  • 7. About the author
  • Notes

About the Author

Phillip Kayser
Phillip Kayser

Phillip Kayser has degrees in education, theology, and philosophy. Ordained in 1987, he currently serves as Senior Pastor of Dominion Covenant Church, a Presbyterian (CPC) church in Omaha, Nebraska. He also serves as Professor of Ethics at Whitefield Theological Seminary and President of the Providential History Festival.

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