Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Spiritual Sword

The April 2006 issue of the Spiritual Sword is entitled, "A Century of Controversy: 1906-2006." I encourage you to get a copy and read it. I think this is one of the finest and most important issues of this periodical. Alan Highers, editor, has done a marvelous job in laying out a periodical that shows the underlying controversy and why many of us will not relinquish our desire to hold to Biblical authority for popular religion. You can subscribe to the Spiritual Sword at 901-743-0464. The cost is a mere $6.00 per year. I urge you to do so.

Christianity holds that Christ is Lord (Acts 2:36). As Lord, He is the one and only head of His church. Only He can make the laws or rules of the church. Some folks don't like laws or rules, but we wonder how the Lord can rule in our lives if there are no rules. Of course, that is the point. They want Jesus as their Savior and Lord, but they do not want the Bible making rules in their lives.

The all-sufficient New Testament is final and authoritative. Since it lacks any instruction for the use of the instrument, we have no authority for its use. Apparently the early church understood this well. They did not use it and were vehemently opposed to its use because it was worldly.

I have heard a number of psallo and psalmos arguments in recent years that supposedly support the use of instruments in Christian worship. They all break down, however, when you consider that if psallo or psalmos enjoined the instrument, the early church would have known it and practiced it. They knew Greek. The simple fact is that this argument fails. It was first hatched up by George P. Slade in 1878 in order to justify the use of the instrument. First they said it had to be used. When they were corrected, they then argued it could be used. But if it could be used, why didn't anyone in the early church for hundreds of years use it? Instruments were available. Instruments were used in all the pagan religions. They didn't use them, because God gave no consent for them.

If Christianity belongs to God, then shouldn't we do God's will rather than relinquish our "freedom" to the imitation of worldly sects? One fellow demands his Christian "freedom" to do what God never enjoined, authorized, or instructed. He is finding his freedom by imitating those outside of the Lord's church, not inside. Our freedom in Christ is not a warrant to imitate those who practice things outside the authority of Christ, like instruments of music. Ought we not to find our freedom by imitating the Lord's teaching rather than abberations of it? Paul spoke of those who left the freedom of Christ by embracing the thinking of the Judaizers (Galatians 5). Real freedom is found in "abiding in my words" (Jn 8:31-32) not by embracing that which is outside of Christ.

I hope you'll read this issue of Spiritual Sword. It speaks clearly and truthfully.


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