Musical Instruments in Worship
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Musical Instruments in Worship

A Critique of the Non-Instrumentalist Position

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.

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.

Pastor Kayser has spoken at over 50 conferences in the last 10+ years, such as the National Council of Family Integrated Churches conference and the Generations Shepherds Conference. He also helps churches and church plants with problem solving.

Most of his sermons are online, along with many other booklets, blog posts, and other valuable resources at

Table of Contents

  • 1. God’s Delight In Instrumental Music
  • 2. To mandate a cappella 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 booth/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

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