A cappella singing is a fine tradition - perhaps even a long one - but it is not a scriptural command. Singing is indeed something that God wants us to do - but He does not specify a cappella in scripture. What one wishes - whether Baptist or member of a
This is certainly not a new position to me. I have been hearing it for years. The suggestion is that if we can turn singing (without accompaniment) into a human tradition (though fine and long), we make it no different than playing the instrument in worship. Just call something a "tradition" and that makes it all right. Or does it?
Following and binding a human tradition is not okay; it is sinful. A tradition always smacks of authority, whether human or divine.
The problem with this poster is that what he is trying to say is a human tradition is not human at all; it is a divine tradition. The word tradition comes from the Greek term "paradosis" and refers to a teaching or practice that has been "handed down." The Lord's Supper was a practice handed down to us (1 Cor. 11:23-26). The gospel is a "handed-down" message (1 Cor. 15:1-3). Paul praised the Corinthians for holding firmly to the traditions, just as he delivered them (1 Cor. 11:2). Paul urged the Thessalonians to "stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us" (2 Thess. 2:15). He further says that we are to "keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us" (3:6). There is such a thing as Divine tradition.
Now as to specifics in our music. I can read in Scripture words such as speak, teach, admonish, give thanks, confess--all of these are activities of the lips, which is our means of sacrifice (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16: Heb. 13:5). Not once in the New Testament is there any suggestion that the church ever worshiped musically except by verbal means--singing. That is the inspired, apostolic, and divine tradition of the church; and it arises from the New Testament. That is what God desires.
The human tradition is the use of instruments, which came centuries later than the apostles. When one reads the Bible to justify what he desires, exegesis rolls off like water on a duck's back.
What is human is to add to God's word that which God never authorized; and all such additions are condemned. Every plant which my Father has not planted shall be rooted up (Matt. 15:13). Such additions are disgraceful and underhanded tampering with the word of God. God does not want such things. If He had he would have told us.
As for salvation matters, the sin of adding the instrument is in tampering with God's word, of speaking when God is silent. One does not have a specific prohibition for it, since the Bible everywhere condemns men for innovations. This principle of condemning innovation applies every time some human dreams up some new thing (Jer. 23:16-40).
The responsibility for this issue does not fall on those who hold fast to what they know is right--singing; it falls on the innovator to show there is some apostolic justification for the practice of adding to the singing that which has no roots in the New Testament. More than a hundred years has passed, and the innovators have yet to find one shred of evidence. They cannot find what is not there. They just dreamed up what they desire and want everyone else to say it's all right. Well, it is not all right. The principle of condemning innovation stands.