Biblical Authority for Acapella Singing

Frank wrote about Cutting the Roast off:

“Your article about opposition to instrumental music in church worship merely being “traditional” is simply wrong and superficially written. I have found that those who get emotionally “burned out” in a conservative approach to Bible authority start such diatribes. In fact, the arguments for acappella (in the style of the church) is scripturally conservative. God tells us how He wants to be worshipped and served (Jn 4:23-24, 8:31-32, Phil 3:3, Col. 3:17). He tells us to sing (Col 3:16, Heb 13:15). The instrument specified is the heart (Eph 5:19). There is no similar clarity in requiring worshipping with mechanical instruments, so there is no clear authority directing us that God wants such in His worship. It’s surprising you could have preached for 12 years and not know this.”

Hi Frank,

Yes, I am familiar with all of those verses. And your note reveals the problem in Church of Christ theology: that one can plonk a verse down and that proves everything. The only problem is that the verses don’t make sense when viewed in their context. None of the verses you mentioned is in the context of the congregational worship service. Churches of Christ assume, systematically, that any verse that mentions the five forms of Church of Christ worship: preach, pray, give money, Lord’s Supper and sing–are automatically talking about the congregational worship service. (Any passages that mention individual worship: fasting, praying alone, giving to the poor, forgiving people we are angry at, etc. are not mentioned even 10% as much as the passages the Church of Christ assumes are about the congregational worship.)

Let’s take the verses Frank uses to prove acapella (no piano, no guitar) worship in congregational singing:

1. Eph. 5: 19–The apostle Paul says instead of getting drunk, be filled with the Spirit, sing to one another, making melody in the heart to the Lord. The next verse goes on to describe how to treat one’s spouse, how to treat one’s children, one’s parents, employees, boss, etc. There is no indication in the letter to the Ephesians that the Apostle Paul was writing about the congregational worship service. There is no reference to the Ephesians even meeting together.

2. Col. 3:16–This passage is very similar to the Ephesians passage. Paul instructs the Christians in Colossae to put away evil, to put away racism, to put on God’s virtues, to teach and admonish one another in wisdom, to sing with thankful hearts to God, and to do it all in the name of Jesus. Wives and husbands are instructed how to treat each other, etc. Again, no reference to the congregational worship service in the entire letter, except that the letter be read in the church.

3. Heb. 13:15–“let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name.”  I fail to see singing in this passage of scripture, I see confessing that Christ is the Savior here, but even if one could prove singing, one still could not prove the writer is referring to the congregational worship service.

The reason I make this distinction: singing at home or singing in the congregation, is that the Church of Christ usually makes such a distinction. 90% of people in the hard line Church of Christ say one cannot use a piano at church, but one can use a piano when singing hymns at home alone; the rule only applies to the worship service.

But the biggest problems with Frank’s argument are:

1. that it assumes we are to find a blueprint for congregational worship today in the letters written to the first century churches. And the assumption is that the worship prescriptions are so precise that if it even one time says: “make melody in your heart to God” that becomes the only authorized place one can make melody: the heart. Not on a piano, not on a guitar, in the heart.

2. This method of interpreting Paul’s writings would confuse the early Jewish Christians who sang the Psalms which often had references to praising God with cymbals and harps and lutes.

3.  that it assumes the format of the congregational worship service is incredibly important, such that it has special methods of inferring biblical authority (command, example and necessary inference). We don’t need to use those same methods of interpretation for individual piety and obedience at home, only for congregational worship on Sunday.

4. that it assumes all the first century churches had a strict worship format on Sunday mornings. None of them differed. God did not leave it up to each church to worship and praise the way their culture would naturally praise and worship. What Jesus, the apostles and the New Testament writers taught about was personal piety and how to conduct one’s day to day life. There is very little about how to conduct a worship assembly, or how to organize a congregation. It is assumed by the writers the congregation and worship will be almost exactly like a synagogue of the first century. But there is no indication in any of the teachings that this format is important to God. What is important to God is clearly taught. There is no need to search for it in odd ways that make no sense to people outside of the Church of Christ.

5. that it assumes there are no cultural, social or historical factors that went into the format of the early worship services.

6. that it assumes God is a devious God that hides his commandments in obscure verses about singing and making melody in one’s heart. And that only the vigilant can figure out that the format in the Psalms of singing with cymbals, harp and lute have changed to a New Testament format with no cymbals, harp and lute, even though the Psalms, which are commanded for us to sing in the same passage, specify instrumental music.

Composer and musicologist Kim Cunio and curator Anna Epstein with instruments that form part of an exhibition at the Jewish Museum.
Picture:Michael Rayner


About Mark

I was raised in the conservative non-institutional churches of Christ and attended Florida College in Tampa, Florida. I served as a minister for 8 years in the non-institutional churches of Christ, and 4 years at a mainline church of Christ in Vermont.
This entry was posted in Command, Example and Necessary Inference, Instrumental Music and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

102 Responses to Biblical Authority for Acapella Singing

  1. frank says:

    Hi exchurchofchrister,

    Thanks very much for replying. It is incorrect to say that Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 has nothing to do with the assembly in context, because both say “speaking to one another,” which includes the assembly. In fact, letters were initially read in the assembly (Col 4:16, cf. Rev 2-3).

    Also, Bible authority in “patternism” (2 Tim 1:13) simply means that God’s pattern on any topic is simply all God said on that subject, which forms the parameters of God’s will on that subject. So, in musical worship for Christians, all the NT teaches is sing. This applies in the home as well. Applications of principles and directives within what is thus revealed, although no specifically stated, would thus follow.

    The Jewish Christians most certainly would have been confused by singing Psalms acappella (in the style of the church) because instruments were not even used in the synagogue. Jesus and the apostles “sang a hymn” which was most likely Psalm 118, the last of the hallal psalms of the passover.

    The verses about singing, or baptism is immersion for the forgiveness of sins or what the NT teaches about the role of the father in the home or the NT teaching on divorce, etc., are all scattered throughout the NT. God clearly teaches that disciples must be students of Scripture (Ja 1:25, Jn 8:31-32).

    Applications and methods may vary, however the elements of NT faith and practice God has revealed are definite and set.

    In brotherly love,

    • You are absolutely right, Frank. Keep up the good words with the kind spirit. I consider Jesus’ words to be perfect and complete regarding music consisting of only singing. First Corinthians 14 is very clear that singing is to be in understandable words, and music without words is excluded (1 Cor. 14:9-15). If making music with foreign tongues is taught against, then how can we include musical instruments? Who would we be serving in bringing them in, God or man? What if we added lamb to “the fruit of the grapevine” in the Lord’s Supper as many add instruments to “the fruit of the lips”? They clearly do not understand that worship in singing consists of words. What believer with an understanding heart would want to change the worship that Christ established? I wish they would change their minds and hearts. We cannot praise God by whistling, playing drums, or any other nonverbal music. Worship is now on a higher plain than the Old Testament. We worship in a spiritual temple, the Church, as spiritual priests, Christians, by offering spiritual offerings like our praise, good deeds, and fellowship (1 Pet. 2:5, Heb. 13:15). Therefore, we worship with spiritual music rather than physical music? Instrumental music is simply against the heart of spiritual Christian worship.

      God bless you for your conviction.

  2. Bill Sherman says:

    The problem comes when we try to force a template on the Scriptures, rather than going with the natural interpretation (paying special attention historical context, literary prose, etc.). The imposition of chapter and verse on the Bible was one of the worst things that could have happened, in my opinion. Now we have a Scripture-and-Verse dogma for everything. That’s certainly not how the first Christians encountered the New Testament scriptures (in fact, most didn’t have a complete New Testament “book,” so their experience with Christianity was very different than ours).

    What has always struck me as a no-brainer about this instrumental music argument is that it overlooks the obvious: we are encouraged to sing. Whether there is an instrument present or not, I’m still singing, am I not? Also, how does one make melody in the heart? Since the heart is spiritual, it cannot be seen or known unless it expresses itself through the actions of the physical man–which, it could be argued, can certainly include many outlets of expression.

    Bottom line: there simply is not enough evidence to take such a draconian stance against instruments of music in worship. Having said that, I enjoy singing acapella and would never push my congregation to change. The most important thing is that this not be an issue of contention between brethren. We’ve got to stop using this as a wedge to cut us off from other Christians, especially as the numbers of traditional acapella fellowships in America continue to dwindle and die away.

    • Hi Bill,
      Yes, I believe you are right, early Christians had a very different relationship to the “New Testament” books, or the Greek Bible, as we refer to them now, than we do currently. The early Christians never referred to the Bible as a whole, ever. They never named a book and said, “Judges says…” They would refer to the writer, and quote the words of the writer. Every passage about studying the Scriptures refers to the 39 books of what we now call the Old Testament, or, if we are being less competitive, the Hebrew Bible. It was only after 300 AD that the Bible was collected into one big book.

      Yes, I believe you are right that the people of Israel, what we can read of them, never applied the Silence of the Scriptures the way non-instrumentalists do today. It is truly an odd argument that only sounds logical to people who have grown up with it.

  3. Exer,

    I don’t know who among us offended you, but I plead with you not to apply such offense to all of us. Can you do that? Is that not fair? Yet, you should be ashamed at the general disrespect and prejudice you demonstrate here. Why do you judge your brother whether he stands or falls on what you consider opinion (Rom. 14:4, 10)? Eph. 5:19 was written to the Church in Ephesus instructing them to sing to “one another”, which is actually plural in Greek as all Greek scholars recognize that the singing can be more accurately translated as singing “among yourselves”. Whether in the Assembly or any gathering, this is still worship. The same is true of Col. 3:16.

    You just really miss the heart of worship in the Assembly and you presume contrary to scripture that churches were taught and, or permitted different ways to worship in the Assembly. Yet, Paul said in 1 Cor. 4:17 and 7:17 that he taught the same things among all the churches, and in 1 Corinthians, he defined and specified the Assembly consisting of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 10:16, 21, 11:17-34), teaching (1 Cor. 14:6ff), singing (1 Cor. 14:15), praying (1 Cor. 14:15), and the collection on the 1st day of the week (1 Cor 16:1-3). Before noting the 1st day of the week in 1 Cor. 16 and after instruction of the Assembly in 1 Cor. 14, Paul noted the resurrection and faith in it in 1 Cor. 15.

    On top of all of this, I must ask. Do you believe the Catholic church or history books claiming Catholics to be the first church? I think not. Then why do you believe the Catholic church and the history books asserting that the Catholic church put the New Testament together in the 4th c.? You have a major false teaching and error here to claim that the New Testament does not quote and refer to itself as “scripture”. First Timothy 5:18 quotes “scripture” citing Luke 10:7 check you margin and your Greek text. Did Paul forget this when he wrote 2 Tim. 3:14-17? Certainly not. He was clearly referring to both OT and NT as in 1 Tim. 5:18. Did Peter forget in 2 Peter 1:20-21 that Paul’s epistles were “scripture” as he noted later in 2 Peter 3:15-16 or did he not figure that out until the end of the letter? Peter did not forget. What if we keep 2 Peter 1:20-21 in context, then Peter is specifically talking about the scriptures and prophetic word from John and himself according to verses 16-19 and not just the OT. That is amazing! Then, Peter said that “all” of Paul’s writings were to places that he never specifically addressed like Bithynia, Pontus, and Cappadocia (2 Pet. 3:2, cf. 1 Pet. 1:1). Did Paul forget to consult you when he addressed 1 Corinthians to all saints everywhere also (1 Cor. 1:2), and maybe he should not have addressed Achaia in 2 Corinthians either (1:1)? Add to this that John mentioned the scriptures of the other Apostles (more than one) being written (1 John 1:1-4). There is more. Luke referred to well-known narratives written ministering eyewitnesses, a description of only the Apostles (1 John 1:1-4), and Luke sought to do the same as these writers (Luke 1:1-3). What gospels would that include? I think you know. Clearly, the Apostles oversaw the collection of the New Testament in the 1st century. There are only 28 Christian writings that came out of the 1st c. The additional one is Clement of Rome’s letter to Corinth in which he quotes New Testament scripture like 2 Peter before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD (Clement 41:2). Yet, he never claimed to be writing scripture. The Apostolic scriptures were collected and distributed under the oversight of the Apostles and prophets in the 1st c.

    You should know these things. You should be ashamed considering James 3:1. I plead with you in the name of Christ to repent and harden not your heart to what truths the churches of Christ can show you in the scriptures and I will certainly consider your words given in respect and kindness.

    • Hi Scott,
      Too many disagreements to address all of them. One issue is that you used I Cor. 4:17 to prove that Paul wrote and taught the same things in every church so that their worship services would all be the same: “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”
      Anyone not of Church of Christ persuasion would never see that in that verse. In fact, because preachers in the Church of Christ cannot find any verse that says everyone worshipped with the same format in all the churches, nor can they find a specific format prescribed for most of the worship in the worship services, they resort to vague verses about unity. Yes, Paul taught the same thing in all the churches, and since we cannot find Paul requiring churches to worship in any specific format, we can be confident that he did not require uniformity of the worship service. What did Paul teach in every church? He taught the supremacy of Christ, his death and resurrection, his forgiveness and grace.

      The second passage you used for your proof was I Corinthians 14. And you insinuated that Churches of Christ today in the Bible belt have similar or exact worship services to those in Corinth as prescribed by I Cor. 14. That is hard to believe considering that they had solo singing, and speaking in tongues and revelations: “When ye come together, each one hath a psalm, hath a teaching, hath a revelation, hath a tongue, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” (v.26) Yes, there is one principle in this verse that applies to all worship assemblies: Edification (building up). Things done in pride and competition were not building people up, whereas things done for the benefit of everyone built each other up.

      Third item is that Paul wrote to Timothy about the inspired Scriptures that he had known from his youth, that had been taught him by his mother and grandmother: The Hebrew Bible, not the Greek New Testament: 2 Timothy 3:”15 And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.”

      So please stop using scripture incorrectly just to bolster up doctrines that have no biblical proofs.

  4. Your difference between the Churches of Christ and yourself is how you view scripture. You don’t see the Scriptures as the inerrant revelation from the Spirit. You overlook the Apostles of Christ of whom Christ said that if they followed me then they will follow you (John 15:20), and thus Christ gave the Apostles His Word via the Spirit (John 17:8, 16:12-13). These words are in the NT scriptures (Eph. 3:3-5, cf. 6:17), which we collected under the oversight of the Apostles in the 1st c. (2 Pet. 1:16-21, 3:1-2, 15-16).

    As long as you reject this, you never be united with Christ or His Church.

    • frankwalton says:

      Good point, Scott. If we have a loving attitude toward God, we will submit to His authority, as Jesus did and not presume beyond God’s revealed, as Jesus did (Jn. 14:49-50) and the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13-14). We must have a humble, open attitude to stay within the parameters of God’s revealed truth, which is abiding in (not beyond) Christ’s Word (Jn 8:31-32). Homer Hailey’s book, ATTITUDES AND CONSEQUENCES, well shows the differences of attitude toward the authority of Scripture leads to different, divergent directions. Peace, Frank

      • Hi Frank,
        I have seldom met anyone in the hard line Churches of Christ who had a humble attitude and who wanted to obey God. They prided themselves in their pugnaciousness. They bragged about how rude they were to people in “error”. I have heard Homer Hailey preach several times, and I have read his book that you mentioned. He was heavily invested in defending a tradition. And if I started listing the doctrines that Homer Hailey believed I’m fairly certain we would come across one or two that you strongly disagree with. Does that mean you have the non-humble heart or is it Homer Hailey’s heart that had the problem? The hard line Churches of Christ inherited a house of cards from their forebears and they have worked hard to bury their heads in the sand in order not to see what the Scriptures so clearly teach.

    • Hi Scott, One of my issues with the Churches of Christ is that they don’t follow the Scriptures.

  5. What would be wrong with using a MAN MADE INSTRUMENT, IN A MAN MADE PUBLIC WORSHIP SERVICE?

  6. Phil says:

    exchurchofchrist, thanks for expressing my thoughts perfectly.

    Even though the Bible may be the inerrant words of truth, that in itself does not guarantee that those words will be interpreted correctly. Scott assumes that the mind reading and interpreting the words of truth is also inerrant and objective. The NT is a spiritual covenant in which spiritual principles cannot be intellectually processed toward correct understanding. 1 Corinthians 2:14
    14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

  7. Phil says:

    BTW, Scott Shifferd has a blog of his own in which some of my comments to him were blocked and it thoroughly altered the tone of the blog to make him look good and me a fool. Yet he comes here to do exactly what I did in his blog and thinks it’s OK.

    This is the mindset that caused me to leave the coC in the first place. Their arrogance is beyond tolerable. Rules of common ethics apparently apply to everyone but those like Scott.

    • frankwalton says:

      I am sorry if Scott has been unfair about you expressing yourself. We should do so fairly, as we wish to be treated.
      God bless in the truth of Jesus,

  8. To use the use of instrumental music in worship as a Salvation litmus test is Pharisaical in nature, and betrays a spiritually prideful mindset that is filled with exclusivism. Sadly, this is the mindset that is prevalent in the hardline c.o.C..

  9. Aaron Jackson says:

    Clearly the Bible teaches God will judge the living and the dead. Why people want to test boundaries with God I’m not quite sure. The comment about the early new testament church being confused about scripture on singing psalms, and some of the psalms used instruments, wouldn’t be confusing to those that love the lord. Sing psalms doesn’t mean sing and play the instrument. It would be like telling your kid for the last whatever timeframe they could stop and get ice cream on the way home from school. Then today you tell them come straight home from school. Would you expect them to stop and get ice cream or come straight home? We can understand that easily with a simple example like that that the kid is forbidden to get ice cream this time, but not when scripture says to sing the psalms. We read the old testament scriptures that has a lot of things we don’t do like sacrifices. I seem to remember some of the Jews trying to bind circumcision on christians. Pulling things from the old law to the new which people try and do with the instrument. Let me ask one question for those willing to use the instrument, what do you get from it? And then ask yourself what does God get from it? Last time I checked whether we worship in assembly or individually it is to be done for God’s glory not for our enjoyment or personal feelings. And only way you can glorify God, or him accept your worship, is how he has prescribed, and with the right heart.

    • Mark says:

      Hi Aaron,

      So it sounds to me like you believe that God asked for instruments of music all through the psalms: timbrels, cymbals, harps and lyres, but suddenly did not want them anymore, but he neglected to tell anyone that he did not want them, he just had Paul say sing the psalms and make melody in the heart. So people in the early church sang:

      Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

      3Praise Him with trumpet sound;
      Praise Him with harp and lyre.

      4Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
      Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.

      5Praise Him with loud cymbals;
      Praise Him with resounding cymbals.

      6Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
      Praise the LORD!

      But they made sure that they sang those words with no instruments of music at all, because that would have offended God. Is that what you believe? Because if that is what you believe, then it doesn’t make sense to me.

    • BH says:

      I want to know something.

      Why is it wrong to go to the old testament to get a musical instrument to use in worship today, supposedly because we aren’t governed by the old testament anymore, but when debating with the non-Sunday school brethren, many class preachers ran to the old testament to find examples of bible class or sunday school. For example, Moses divided the people into groups of ten, fifty, etc to learn and enforce the law. Yes, it was used to justify sunday school. I have a lot of material and debates on this issue and it seems to have happened a fair bit.

      And if we are not supposed to go to the old testament for the practices of the church today, why did Paul do so to justify paying preachers? “Do not muzzle the ox while it treads out the grain”. He simply could have simply commanded it be so, but didn’t. He quoted the old testament for authority and proof for his claim. I do not have a bible in front of me but I want think the priest eating from the meat back in old testament times was also used to justify compensating a preacher or elder too, but I could be wrong and if I am I am sorry. Father is fighting stomach cancer and I am tired and out of it right now.

  10. BH says:

    I also want to know why most Church of Christ people will not fellowship a Church of Christ that uses an instrument or a Christian Church that uses instruments because “it is adding to the worship”, but are more than willing to fellowship a one cup church, that is not making the cup a test of fellowship, when the one cuppers add their cup (which to them represents the new covenant) to the worship, and something the multi cup groups among the CoC deny. The one cuppers by making the cup represent the new covenant in their assemblies, are adding to the worship just like a musical instrument man is doing in the multi cup mainstream and non-institutional but otherwise mainstream person’s eyes.

    • Hi BH,
      When I asked a prominent non-institutional preacher your question he replied that he could fellowship the one-cupper, but the one-cupper could not fellowship him. The preacher, Ron Halbrook, had just written a book, “The Doctrine of Christ and Unity of the Saints“, in which he taught that one cannot have fellowship with someone who teaches error about something that we do not have freedom in, example: piano, but we can have fellowship with someone who restricts something that is just a matter of opinion, example: one cup. This makes nonsense of the apostle Paul’s encouragement in Romans 14, where he says both the person who thinks that one day is holier than another, must have fellowship with the person who believes all days are the same, and vice versa. This is an example of how twisted and picayune the arguments become in a theology that tries to find rules in the New Testament as opposed to principles.

      • BH says:

        I understand, but there is the fine detail that the one cuppers believe the container represents the new covenant. Most mainline and noninstitutional churches interpret the ver in Luke “this cup…is the new covenant” as refering to the grape juice—the grape juice or wine represents both the blood and the new covenant. The one cuppers think the grape juice or wine represents the blood, the container the new covenant, and the bread the body. Even if the one cupper were willing to fellowship the cups brethren (and a few are willing) the cups brethren, to be consistent in the their stand against instruments, would have to reject the offer of fellowship by the one cuppers because the one cuppers add to the worship (in this case add the cup as the new covenant) just like the Christian Church adds to the worship by adding a piano.

  11. Larry Cheek says:

    Scott truly has a false concept of how and when the writings, Old and New Testaments were placed into the context that he uses today. In the original text there were no books, chapters, and verses. There were scrolls and letters. The construction of the chapter and verses are documented in history after 1000 A.D. anyone can reference that fact with google searches. The writers of the text prove that in not identifying any of the references to text to which they quote.

  12. Larry Cheek says:

    I intended to ask a very important question of you. That would be how and where you could document the following statements that you made from scripture? You have told us of your desire to rely only on the context of scripture for instructions for a Christian to follow. These are the statements that I see needing to be verified.
    1. The Apostolic scriptures were collected and distributed under the oversight of the Apostles and prophets in the 1st c.
    2. Clearly, the Apostles oversaw the collection of the New Testament in the 1st century.
    3. There are only 28 Christian writings that came out of the 1st c.
    4. These words are in the NT scriptures (Eph. 3:3-5, cf. 6:17), which we collected under the oversight of the Apostles in the 1st c. (2 Pet. 1:16-21, 3:1-2, 15-16).

    Scott, if you cannot identify where the scriptures make these exact statements then we will see clearly how closely you quote scripture.

  13. Greg Flanary says:

    I found this site just surfing “why I left the Church of Christ”. It was a long process but my wife and I finally made our escape. Things sure look different from the outside. I’m a Sunset School of Preaching graduate 1976. Preached for 10 years. God will lead you if you just keep your eyes on Him. When you are not paid to come up with the correct answers it changes the game completely. If you are presently paid by a Church of Christ church then you will never be free to go outside the verbal creed without censure. If you go where the truth leads then you will end up leaving the CofC
    I thank God that he found favor in me by showing me the way out.

  14. Gary Cummings says:

    I do not think counting cups is what the New Covenant is about. The New Covenant is based on salvation by Faith from first to last (Romans 1:16-17). The New Covenant is written on our hearts with the shed blood of Jesus. Jesus taught that counting the cost and following Him in life and death is what matters, not insipid New Testament blueprints devised by sectarian s
    the 1800’s.

  15. Brent Bacon says:

    We have no authority to use instruments in worship. It is clear that they came together on the first day of the week to worship and take the Lords Supper. No authority had been given for instruments in the worship. We are to sing, pray, preach and allowed to take a collection. We are only to take the Lords Supper on the first day of the week, so that is why we truly gather on sunday. We can have services any day, but the Lords Supper was only to be on the first day of the week.

    Authority is everything, especially in worship. Just like old testament sacrifices- you had better do them right or it is not pleasing to God. If you are adding to what we have been authorized to do- not a good thing to do if you know the Old Testament.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      We have full authority to use instruments. There was no NT for at least 100 years, so there is not ban (even if they had it). Also Paul does use the word PSALLO, which indicates singing accompanied by instruments of some sort. The early church was primarily Jewish until the ministry of Paul and his Gentile Mission, they worshipped still in the synagogue manner in small house church, and even on the steps of the Temple (until the Roman-Jewish War). The original outlook of the early church was Jewish, they quoted from the OT, which was their Bible. They knew what psallo meant and Paul knew it. He had no aversion to instrumental music. It sure beats the creepy insipid acapella singing of the COC cult. By the way, I still love good acapella singing. I go to a Mennonite Church from time to time, and I hear excellent acapella singing there. Some of then still use Shaped Notes. The SIng Off acapella show is on TV, and they have excellent acapella.
      I would like to see that kind of acapella sung in a church.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      There is authority for the agape meal and footwashing in worship, as well as speaking in tongues, prophecy, and you ignore that authority. You are not worshipping right, so you must be displeasing to God.

  16. Gary Cummings says:

    Everything you said is right and wrong at the same time.
    It is not wrong to do anything of these things, but it is not right to bind these opinions on people.
    None of these things are salvation issues.
    What you present is a case of cherry picking Scripture to get your predetermined and desired results. Where is the footwashing Jesus commanded? Where is the Agape meal practiced by the early church in Acts and commented upon by Paul? Where is the wine that Jesus and the apostles drank? Holy kiss? Where is the communal living and Christian socialism of the Book of Acts?
    It seems like you have left out a lot of things, which CENI interpretation would demand. All I can say is that regurgitating meaningless legalism is bad exegesis.

  17. Gary Cummings says:

    No authority is needed for instruments in worship. I do not see authority for church buildings, pa systems, professional clergy , or 501-c3 tax exemptions, yet the COC has plenty of these.

  18. Brent Bacon says:

    Gary- actually there is for buildings- the apostles met in all different places- unless we have a house large enough to fit everyone in then a building is authorized. We do not have a pa system- getting paid for preaching- paul covers that. tax forms- a church must register with government-it is the law and we are to obide to the local government- bible covers that also. Like I said every church of christ is different- some completely. we live what we preach, if it is not authorized we do not do it.

    Jesus did not command us to wash each others feet- he commanded us to serve one another in love.

    The Agape meal is the Lords Supper- bread and fruit of the vine.

    The wine Jesus drank would of been grape juice- fresh squeezed grapes- study on that and you will find that out. Go to the Greek and you will also learn this.

    Holy Kiss- Christian salutation is a wishing all temporal, spiritual, and eternal happiness, to one another; and which, as it should be mutual.

    Communial living is not needed today due to the prosperity of our country. Socialism starts at the church. We help our needed brothers out with money and food when need just as the saints did in jerusalem.

    My friend I did not leave anything out- study reveals the truth- you must study when, where and shy the letters were written and you must understand the Greek language. It is not easy but if you take these letters and just read them without digging in you will not get the full meaning.

    One thing you learn from the Old Testament is the if you are going to worship you better have authorization to do what you are doing.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      The authority in the NT for places of worship is generally the house church and the Jewish Temple. The Temple is gone, and that just leaves house churches. You are defying God by not worshiping in a house church.

  19. garycummings says:

    You left a lot out and just begged my questions without solid answers from the Word of God. “Communal living is not needed.” Why? “Because of the prosperity of our country”, that is not a Biblical answer. There is a solid example of communal living in the book of Acts, and there are some Christian groups who follow this.
    Jesus and the apostles and early church drank wine as part of their communion, and the communion was the eucharist, a part of the Agape Meal, which you find in the Book of Acts and various letters. I have worshipped in a church where they practice footwashing after an agape meal and the communion of bread and wine. It is very moving and certainly has a direct command from Jesus, and examples and necessary inferences in several NT letters. This is just something the DOC/COC never saw and practiced, therefore it is not part of the NT Pattern. There is plenty of authorization here, which the COC ignores.
    The Scripture clearly says “holy kiss”, not a handshake. That is an apostolic command, again ignored by the COC.
    Greek, why sure. I took my Greek under a NT scholar at Brite Divinity School. I have spent over 40 years studying the history of the Bible, and its formation and transmission. One thing I learned is that the formation of the NT is very complex. The apostles and others did not just sit down and write it in a couple of weeks. It was a process of about 50 years +/-. No church in the first century had a complete New Testament as part of their Bible. The main Scriptures they had was the Old Testament, and probably the Septuagint in the Greek speaking portions of the Church. The Palestinian Church probably had that, as well as some Hebrews Scrolls, and Aramaic Targums.
    The OT was their Scripture. Over a period of time, Gospels and letters were written, and some churches had some, while some churches had others. There was not a complete NT anywhere for at least a 100 years after Pentecost. It would be impossible for the early church to quote the NT for justification of their worship as we attempt to do now.
    “There must be authority”. Wow , what a dead horse to beat! Of course the COC “is the one true Church” which gets to cherry pick what that authority is. I have given you several examples of NT practices, which the COC ignores. There is plenty of authority for footwashing, wine, holy kisses, communal living, agape meals and much more like speaking in tongues and healing and prophecy. There is authority for all of this, but again the COC never saw it, so it can’t be true.
    So again the COC has missed the mark (HAMARTIA).
    No thanks,

  20. brent bacon says:

    Gary, you sound like a very angry person at the church of Christ. Maybe your church dissed you or you disagreed with what they were doing and had a falling out. That is you and your past. One thing you must be clear on – not every church of Christ is the same- I urge you to stop putting all of them under the same umbrella. Your wording is one of conflict and argument and not of brotherly love, so I must depart from this conversation.

    About the early church- my friend, the church learned the authority from worship by the apostles and their helpers preaching the word. Spreading the news from Jesus–Apostles including Paul and all that learned under them. No one would have had a complete set of the NT, but that doesn’t mean they did not know what it said. Most people back then couldn’t even read- that is why one person read a copy of the letters aloud to the congregation- and there was only one copy for the congregation usually.

    Plus Christ never commanded us to wash the feet- he commanded us to observe the last supper of bread and fruit of the vine as they did in the upper room. Christ never commanded us to wash feet- if he did please post his words here that he commanded this of us. If you are correct, jesus washed their feet only to get them clean. He did not do this as a symbol for each of them to serve one another and to make sure that all of them understand that no one of them is more important than the other. He did this for two people really- Peter and Judas. He showed Peter that even he served man, and that Peter needed to serve even the Gentiles. And to prove a bigger point he even served the one that is betraying him. Jesus saying we must do the same for each other means serve and love- not wash the feet. If you are going to bind yourself with washing of the feet- you had better wash the feet of the people that come to your house for a meal- they did this too- but I guess you don’t practice that.

    You need to put what was written in the time, place, and manner it was written- you may have done this for 40 years- but there is much doubt in the way you write.

    I haven’t been doing it that long and I am still learning- and our church is learning together- you, my friend, should heed the example of Christ and serve and love and not attack.

    • Greg Flanary says:

      Brent, Greg Flanary here.
      I stumbled on this website last week surfing under why I left the Church of Christ. So I beg your indulgence if maybe I am not in the correct forum. But I want to run something by you and then you can let me know if I am indeed in the right place. A mental exercise to see if my thought processes are even logical.
      In Ephesians 5:19 adontes kai psalmontes te kardia hymon to Kyrio…I am trying to decide if this means in English…”singing, and, psalming in your heart, to the Lord”. Or…”singing and psalming, in your heart, to the Lord”.
      If this question makes no sense at all, then I need to go back to Sudoku and do my mental exercises there.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      The Church of Christ is a cult.They cherry pick what Scriptures they want to prove what they were traditionally taught. Save your psycho-babble to yourself. I left your cult 42 years ago.When a cult damages so many people over the years, promoted racism, Jim Crow laws and war and claims to be only true church, that leaves all of the teaching of the COC hollow. If you think I am angry, think about standing before the Holy God of the universe, with blood from American wars on COC hands, thousands (probably tens of thousands) of spiritually abused people from your hands, claiming to be the only true church. Your defense will be Acts 2:38,Romans 16:16, the five step plan of salvation, and five acts of worship in your favor, while the COC brutalized women with Scripture and drove many people to atheism. The only thing the Lord will say is : ” To Hell with you!”

    • Gary Cummings says:

      What I am pointing out are the fallacies of CENI. The COC picked what they wanted to bind and ignored many commands and examples. If footwashing is not binding, then neither is the Lord’s Supper. Footwashing was both practical and symbolic. The action symbolizes something more than clean feet. It is an acted parable. The Lord’s Supper was part of a real meal which was real and symbolic. Both footwashing and the AGAPE meal were practiced by the first century, but ignored by the COC Cult which claims to be the NT Church restored. This is sad, sick and stupid for the COC to make such sweeping claims.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      The Church of the first century never had a complete set of NT writings to read aloud. Probably just a letter addressed to their church and maybe a Gospel. That is all. It is a supposition, which is unprovable, that every church knew all of the teaching of all of the NT writers. They never quoted Scripture as we do now, as they had no chapters or verses as our modern Bibles do. That was later invention. The Kerygma ,the preaching of the life,death, and resurrection was the main preaching. Combined with this may have lists of Jesus’ sayings and OT quotes. If they were lucky, they may have had a copy of the Septuagint Greek OT. The OT was their main Bible,as the NT Writings had not been gathered. It would be alien for them to have letters from other churches addressing church problems not theirs, and applying answers to specific problems not theirs.
      It would be odd for them to think about doing CENI interpretation or pattern theology from the NT writings, as there was no NT to study as we have now.

  21. Gary Cummings says:

    There were no commas in the Greek.

  22. Gary Cummings says:

    The oldest manuscripts were Greek Uncials, all written Caps, with little or no word spacing. There were no Chapter or verse numbering.

    • Mark says:

      So it looked like they were shouting all the time.

      • Gary Cummings says:

        That is how it was written. If you were a literate native Greek speaker, it would make sense. The cursive Greek came into play later, and it what we are used to in our Greek New Testaments and Interlinears.

  23. brent bacon says:

    Gary, I again urge you to stop say Church of Christ is a cult- they are bad. Assuming all COC’s the same will make you look as foolish as you sound. All I hear is hatred- no love. Until yoou get over what the COC did to you, you will have that anger in you and will not be useful for discussion. God Bless.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      I urge you to stop teaching the errors of the COC. It is a cult which has damaged many people over generations. My opinion is based on my experience, theological and Biblical education, as well as interacting with many who have left the COC. The basic tenets of the COC are the same and they are flawed from the start.
      If you do not like my teaching, I really don’t care. Just get over it and address many of the issues of Canon and history I have discussed.

  24. Gary Cummings says:

    As far as a command for footwashing goes: “Now that I,your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet; you also should wash one another’s feet.” John 13:14, (2011 NIV). This comes across as a command.
    “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you must wash each other’s feet.” (God’s Word Translation)
    “If I then, your Lord and Teacher,have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s
    feet.” (ESV).
    “Should,must, and ought” sure read like commands. I have been in Footwashing services several times,and they are quite moving. It is an acted parable, done at the end of a love feast and the Bread and Wine. Footwashing is mentioned other times in the NT, as something not out of the ordinary.

  25. brent bacon says:

    It wasn’t out of the ordinary back then- it was an act of serving them to clean their feet- because their feet were filthy from manure and dirt. Serve your fellow man- that is what the foot washing was all about. They ate raw fish at the meals too- do you eat raw fish at your meal. The wine that they drank at the meals were kept in sheep stomachs- do you do that? They sat on the floor for their meals- do you do that?

    Washing of feet means serve you fellow man- even the highest should serve the lowest.

  26. Gary Cummings says:

    Yep an ordinary meal became the love feast.
    Footwashing for a practical purpose became an acted parable for us to follow.
    Equality in Christ became the destroyer of race and gender distinctions.
    Do you know what the hermeneutic principle of “Sensus plenior” means? Check it out.

  27. brent bacon says:

    Deeper meaning- that is what Christ was doing washing the feet- conveying a deeper meaning. Serving was the deeper meaning and that is what he commanded us to do= serve.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      Fuller meaning, Like Galatians 3:28 “no male or female in Christ” means all can serve in any kind of ministry from being an elder to preaching.
      The sensus plenior does not abolish the Scripture quoted but expands it to a fuller meaning. The is a fuller meaning to footwashing than the mere physical act of cleaning feet, something you both affirm and deny at the same time. You say it was only to clean feet, and then you say it was to teach servanthood. Even though we do not physically need our feet cleaned now, we do need the acted out parable of footwashing to convey the deeper meaning. If you say we can throw away the physical act of footwashing and keep the deeper meaning of service, then the same thing can be said about water baptism. In your theory, we can throw out water baptism as it was just a physical. What we keep is the deeper meaning of being buried and raised with Christ. I think it takes both the physical act of baptism and the spiritual meaning of it to show we have been saved by Christ. Baptism does not save us, rather it is the Lord who saves us by faith. It is the same with footwashing. We need both the physical act and the deeper meaning to act out the teaching of servanthood.

  28. Gary Cummings says:

    He commanded both, the symbol and the meaning. If what you say as true, then celebrating the Lord’s Supper is not a command.
    I have read the Bible a long time,been where you are, and learned the positions you hold are not Biblical. The COC is a cult based on rationalism, the Enlightenment and legalism.

  29. brent bacon says:

    So you are telling me if you miss a Lords Supper you are sinning, is that correct???

  30. Gary Cummings says:

    Read what I said.

  31. brent bacon says:

    In your way of thinking if someone missing the Lords Supper they are sinning, and that is completely wrong.

  32. Gary Cummings says:

    I neverr said that. However to refuse to practice the agape meal and footwashing along with the eucharist
    indicates a lot of cherry picking of Scripture, such as the COC has historically done in it’s years of CENI hermeneutics. The logic of CENI applies to what the COC has chosen for themselves, and they feel free to ignore other early church practices mentioned in the NT.
    My own opinion and ideal practice of the Lord’s Supper includes it in the context of a love feast and footwashing. The times my wife and I have done this with the Mennonite Church have been very meaningful to us. Actually, they do this about once a year around Easter, and I much prefer it to the quick snack of a little bitty cracker and a thimble full of Welch’ s grape juice of the COC. With the Mennonites, there is a depth of meaning and with the COC, just something to check off to prove they are the True Church. Jesus did say to eat the meal of the Love Feast and Eucharist and to wash feet as part of that worship. He also said:”As often as you do this.” indicating it was not to be a weekly practice, but probably more like the yearly practice of Passover.

  33. Brent Bacon says:

    As often as you do this.” that refers to the breaking of the bread and the cup- the rememberance of him- not the feast.

    They always ate meals together- as family. Jesus commands us to do that in hospitality. The thing he commands us to do is remember his death- and serve one another as he served us. The meal was part of passover- something Christians were not supposed to bind themselves to because that is from the old law, and as soon as Christ died- the law was finished.

    Passover was still in effect at the last supper because Jesus had not fullfilled the old law yet, but as soon as he died- passover was to be no more for the Christian, but communion was. If we bind ourselves to the passover meal- which was the love feast, we must follow the rest of the old law too.

    Galatians 5
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    Walk by the Spirit

    5 [a]It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

    What has he set us free from- the old law- the sacrifices, the rituals, the feasts, everything.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      That is your opinion, not the teaching of Jesus. The Lord’s Supper was always in the context of the Love Feast. Jesus did say to wash feet as a symbol of service. “As often as you do this ” refers to a three fold practice: AGAPE meal, Eucharist, and foot washing. Some churches actually do this, and they honor and maintain the original communion in its original powerful context. Also, actual wine and real bread would be a better symbol of the sacrifice of Jesus than a tiny cracker and a thimble of grape juice.

  34. Brent Bacon says:

    Even Pauls back me up:

    1 Corinthians 11:23-30
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    The Lord’s Supper

    23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.

    27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number [a]sleep.

    Notice what he told us to do:Break the bread and drink the cup- not eat the meal.

    He had to correct people doing exactly what you are doing:

    Right before the above passage-
    20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, 21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.

  35. Gary Cummings says:

    The Lord’s Supper was always in the context of a meal. The bread and the cup refer to a specific part of the three fold practice of AGAPE meal, communion, and footwashing.
    Paul criticizes the misuse of the AGAPE meal. Some of the wealthier folks treated
    It like a buffet and stuffed themselves and got drunk. It was this abuse he was criticizing, not the practice of the AGAPE meal. Again , you string pearls and excise a portion of a verse to prove your points. “Stringing pearls” is the worst way to do a sermon or exegete the Bible.

  36. Brent Bacon says:

    I believe you are putting pearls where there need not be any. Christ clearly told us to break the bread and drink the cup in rememberance to him. Also to serve one another as he did. If you cannot see that- that is fine. I see what jesus said and Paul said and it is clear what to do.

    Eating a meal together should be part of what we do all the time- not on Sunday- eating is for your home. The communion and worship is for the church.

  37. Gary Cummings says:

    Brent, you are just importing the twenty first century into the first century, and definitely not vice versa. This proves you are just a cherry-picking sort. There is just as much Bibical authority for foot-washing and the AGAPE meal as there is for communion. If footwashing and the AGAPE meal are not valid for today, then neither is communion. First century followers of Christ did “church” in home, therefore foot washing and the AGAPE meal are valid for “church”.. I have been in churches who do this and it is very meaningful. Just because your cult does not practice it make these acts of worship wrong. Baptism was originally Jewish proselytize baptism or mikva immersion. That was an Old Testament practice adopted by John, Jesus, and the Early Church and reinterpreted .
    This is the same with the Passover meal being reinterpreted as the Lord’s Supper.
    There is nothing Scripturally consistent or relevant about COC teaching.

  38. Brent Bacon says:

    Jesus commanded us to do this in remembrance of me- communion. nothing else. Serving others is part of the love your neighbor command. I like how you think you must eat a meal that was part of the jewish rituals, and call me a cherry picker. You bring up the Agape Meal- that is the meals we are to partake with our brothers and sisters in our own homes- do you not have a home to eat meals in??

    Do you drink wine or grape juice at communion??

    • Gary Cummings says:

      I drink real wine and eat real bread in communion. The agape meal and foot washing were not Old Testament practices. Baptism was adopted from Jewish proselyte baptism.
      No cherry picking here. I leave that for the COC cult.

  39. Gary Cummings says:

    Jesus commanded foot washing just as He did communion as part of the agape meal. This is how the early church understood His teaching. Read all of the NT, and not just the COC approved verses.

  40. Brent Bacon says:

    Real wine- do you think Jesus drank real wine, or would of that broken his Fathers commandments for him? Do you think he made the water into wine- wouldnt of that encouraged people getting drunk? See if you believe he drank wine at the communion- then he was himself going against what his Father teaches.

    If you think that he did do this then you think our Lord served alcohol to people- then my friend we are too far apart to even be talking.

    I challenge you- go to Deuteronomy 11:14. tell me what they are gathering- as see if you think it is wine or not??

  41. Gary Cummings says:

    Jesus drank real wine (with alcohol). Jesus turned the water into real wine (with alcohol).Jesus drank real wine (with alcohol) at communion. The Lord Jesus drank, made and served real wine, and this did not violate God’s will or teaching, since Jesus is God.
    The only reason we are far apart is that you do not read or obey Scripture rightly. Jesus and the early church were not a “teetotaling” movement. They all drank real wine. It was and is no sin.
    The sin here, you one you are committing is making something a sin when in reality there is no sin.
    Read your Bible without the COC cult glasses and get a life. Repent, and change the way you think and act and follow Jesus Christ. Take up your cross and follow Jesus.

  42. Brent Bacon says:

    You are incorrect sir. Jesus did not promote drunkenness. Wine impairs your mind- from glass one. Clear and sober mind was a mainstay of the NT. You should know that. And one glass of wine impairs that clear and sober mind- and you are no longer clear and sober minded. You my friend need to put a little common sense into your thinking. God will not promote sinful behavior.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      A blessed Christmas to you. My Lord Jesus had no sin, and he drank wine. Therefore it is no sin. The disciples drank wine, the apostles drank wine, and churches in the NT days drank wine. Drunkenness is forbidden in the NT, but moderation is not.
      Tonight, after a Christmas Eve worship at the Methodist Church, I will have a glass of wine at home and relax and think about the appearance of Jesus in the world to save us from sin.
      I will even say: “Here’s to you Jesus” and have a sip of wine.
      Abstinence of alcohol is not taught in the Hebrew Bible or the NT. That is an errant reading into Scripture something that is not there. Anyway, God bless you. One of these days you will come to the truth of the New Covenant written upon our hearts and leave the COC.
      Peace and blessings, Gary\

  43. Brent Bacon says:

    You are calling me these things and you go to the UMC. Enough said.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      The COC is a cult and the Methodist Church is not. There are Biblical Methodists who genuinely are converted to Jesus Christ. The finest sermon I ever heard in my life was by Dr. Gaston Foote at the First Methodist Church of Ft. Worth, It was a sermon on Christmas Day and was about forgiveness and reconciliation. That was in Dec. 1966. This was when I was a member of the COC. We went there with a couple, who were childhood friends of mine. I was with my old COC girlfriend Judy. This plan was that we agreed to go to church with them, and they agreed to visit the COC she attended. Then they would hear a great Bible sermon and be saved. It did not go quite like like: Dr. Foote’ s sermon was a powerful message from the Bible about forgiveness and reconciliation. This was the message of Christmas. Then the next Sunday,there was supposed to be a powerful COC preacher. He did not show, so the local minister preached and it was awful.I hung my head and thought it was just about the worst sermon I ever heard, that the church should be ashamed to have him to represent the Gospel. Judy and I grinned and our Methodist friends were courteous about their bad experience. Judy and I said to each other, “At least they got to go to a true church!”.
      The best sermons I have ever heard were from Gaston Foote (UMC), Lloyd Ogilvie (Presbyterian), Bishop Sheen (Roman Catholic), Michael Green (Anglican). I only remember one decent sermon in the COC, and it was from John Allen Chalk, at Highland COC. Shortly after that he was fired for being a liberal. Then he went to Law School, and then had the freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus, hoping to convert the COC to Jesus.

  44. Brent Bacon says:

    Same-sex clergy couple marries in Seattle
    December 16, 2013 by United Methodist News Service
    By Heather Hahn*
    “I won’t live my life without her no matter what happens,” said the Rev. Joanne Carlson Brown of her partner, the Rev. Christie Newbill.
    JCT celtic banner 800 290×386 Same sex clergy couple marries in Seattle
    The Rev. Joanne Carlson Brown (left), Thistle the Wonder Westie and the Rev. Christie Lagergren Brown. Photo courtesy of the Browns.
    The two United Methodist pastors made that promise before God and each other in a wedding Dec. 7 that drew more than 300 people to Tibbetts United Methodist Church in Seattle. The district superintendent for the two pastors, the Rev. Patricia Simpson, officiated.

    • Gary Cummings says:

      Not all Methodist churches are pro-gay. Some are, some aren’t. There is big splt in the UMC over this, and a renewal movement over this issue,as well as as abortion, the Bible and Jesus Christ. We have been attending here as once July and have been spiritually encouraged, and Christ is lifted up as Lord and Savior here.
      Last night, we went to an 11pm worship, communion and candle lighting. The pastor and his assistant Sarah led the worship, both prayed, and both served communion. The method was intinction where the piece of real bread from a loaf was broken off and given to each person. We were then told, this is the Body of Christ. Then we dipped the bread in the wine,and were told , this is the Blood of Christ. We then ate the bread with the wine together. It was very moving and spiritual. We all sat down, then my wife sang “I wonder as I wander” and played her autoharp as she sang. Jesus Christ was praised and the faithful were encouraged. That is the purpose of worship.

    • garycummings says:

      There is a gay Church of Christ group based out of Houston, Texas. Apparently, there are more than a few COC gays scattered around the US. So this phenomenon is not restricted to more liberal churches.

  45. Brent Bacon says:

    But all COC’s are the same!!!

    • Gary Cummings says:

      COC’ s are part of the COC cult. Their theology is generally the same, as well as their worship and Bible Teaching. Congregation autonomy is a joke, as COC’ s who drop the bad teaching of the COC, to join with the universal Body of Christ are marked or disfellowshipped. I have see this happen many times with Richland Hills Church , the Belmont Church, and a few others who took their spiritual freedom from the COC.

  46. Gary Cummings says:

    Okay, is this comment of mine immoderate or true? Whatever it is, these are my beliefs about the cult which calls itself “the Churches of Christ”. That is my opinion and I am sticking to it.
    Thanks, Gary

  47. Friend of Bill W. says:

    If I’m reading all this right, women are not to sing in worship because “they are not to speak at all” and singing in worship is “speaking to one another.”

    Also, if we follow the CENI hermeneutic, women are not allowed to take the LS because we have no example of women taking it. Also, since we have not one but TWO examples of the LS being taken in an upper room, then all ground floor partaking is therefore WRONG.

    If ANY of what we do is wrong, we go to hell.


    • Mark says:

      That’s the principle of the silence of the scriptures.

    • garycummings says:

      Dear Friend of Bill W.,
      If CENI interpretation is right, then what you say is correct: women can’t sing, or take the Lord’s Supper. The “principle of silence” was cooked up by Huldrich Zwingli in the 1500’s in Seitzerland.
      There was a “going out” Church of Christ somewhere. A man went to preach at a church.
      They sang a hymn and went out. He sat there by himself, and then the people filed back in for the rest of the service. He asked why they did that. The answer was a Scripture: “They sang a hymn and went out.”
      That goes beyond the “principle” of silence to just dumb interpretation.
      The Scriptures are silent about hymnboards and contribution boards, where the service’s hymns are listed and how much contribution was given.
      There is a multitude of thing the COC does which do not meet the test of complying with the silence of the Scriptures That just shows how foolish that approach is.

      • Steven says:

        The foolishness is to think God’s Word is silent. God’s Word is plainly stated. He is not the author of confusion. What you are saying is the same as the supposed ” grey area’s” of the Bible. They don’t exist, unless you want the Bible to read your way. God’s Word is designed to prick the heart and to prepare Christians to give an answer for their faith. If the Bible can be taken in so many different ways how can it prick my heart or prepare me? How would I be able to answer any questions if there are multiple answers?

  48. Pingback: Appointing Elders, A Puritan Tradition | Ex-Church of Christ Blog

  49. Daniel Parker says:

    Excellent response to a tradition, that makes the word of God, vain. ( non-instrumental music in congregationl worship

  50. From Earth to Eternity says:

    If we are singing to one another as Scripture tells us to, we will do so in the manner prescribed whether we are gathered together for first day of the week worship or in someone’s home. The fact that some are inconsistent reflects on their judgment – not the church.

    • Mark says:

      If you read the article, you would also see that the Churches of Christ think that we are to sing the Psalms without the musical accompaniment that the Psalms prescribe. Odd.
      Are you aware that all the different stripes of Christianity sing and make melody in the hearts to the Lord?

      • From Earth to Eternity says:

        Those singing Psalms under the Old Law were not members of the Lord’s body (church) we read about in the New Testament. What does the New Testament tell us?

      • Mark says:

        From earth to eternity,
        There was little difference in those Jews who believed that Jesus was the messiah and those who didn’t in the early days of the “church.” They would have kept all the feasts and the sabbath too.

  51. Mark says:

    Paul told the church at Ephesus to sing the Psalms. The Psalms include instructions to sing with musical instruments. What should we do when we come to those Psalms? Sing them, or not sing them? If we don’t sing them, are we violating the instructions from the apostle Paul?

    • garycummings says:

      There is plenty of authority for instrumental music in the Old Testament, and even in the NT. Psallo means to sing accompanied by an instrument. The NT as we have it now did not exist until well after the end of the first century. The Bible of the early church was the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible/ Septuagint.

  52. Mark says:

    The cofC didn’t sing or even read the Psalms even the ones of lament or confession.

  53. Steven says:

    Ok. So I let the Bible speak for itself. People have no problem with “love your enemies” but will argue with Col. 3:16 or Eph. 5:19. You’re nitpicking. Why can’t we just do what God’s Word says without picking it apart. Take it as it is. What is my belief; no musical instruments in our worship to our God. Now let’s define worship. Is worship only in a building? No. My life is a worship to God. When I sing in the car, in the shower, while cooking dinner or in a worship assembly no musical instruments allowed. Here’s the deal, you can’t prove that the apostle Paul is not talking about the worship assembly, you only assume. The C.o.C. don’t try to pick it apart to make it say what we WANT it to say, we just do what it says. Does every C.o.C. do it this way? No. They’re conforming to this world which is exactly what Paul instructed the Church not to do, Rom. 12:2. By the way, we don’t gloat in the fact that we THROW scripture at someone who is trying to derail us, we’re trying to teach them.

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