John Price, Old Light on New Worship (Avinger, Texas: Simpson Publishing Co., 2005). ca $15.99.
Jeff Jenkins of Lewisburg, Texas, recommended this book; and I have been delighted to read it. There is much to commend within its pages. Price is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Rochester, NY and a graduate of Trinity Ministerial Academy. He has done a thorough job of presenting the Reformed view on music and describing the Regulative Principle (what we would call prohibitive silence). He is well-acquainted with John Girardeau's work (found in Foy E. Wallace's book and online). He has done a good job of looking into history.
I have only had a chance to glance at the book since I arrived home from Ghana and went to the office yesterday (Mon., 03/26). I ordered the book before I left. I am glad I did.
Price notes that Luther regarded IM as an indifferent matter, but his colleagues Carlstadt and Melanchthon certainly did oppose it as sinful. I had always heard Luther called IM an "ensign of Baal." The other leaders of the Reformation belileved that the truth of the gospel could only be upheld within the context of a "biblically ordered worship." (They could not see IM in Christian worship either.) The other reformation leaders believed the central issue was the restoration of pure and spiritual worship according to the New Testament." (94. See the footnote: Carlos M. N. Eire, War Against Idols [Cambride University Press, 1986], 2, 195-233).
Sounds like us. Zwingli based his arguments on Scriptural principles and said that "only what Christ has explicitly commanded in His word should be part of the worship of the church" (94). Zwingli specifically applied this to the use of musical instruments. "Everything which is added to the true institutions of Christ is an abuse." Amen and amen.
Of course, Zwingli went to far and also forbade vocal music. Fortunately his edict to Zurich did not become the norm, which was unaccompanied congregational singing.
The book has much to commend it. Since I have not read it all, I cannot give it an unqualified recommendation. Reader beware: eat the fish and throw the bones away. But by all means, eat the fish.
I am considering writing a book on the music God desires in Christian worship. Should I?