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A Future and a Hope by John Myer Discussions regarding this groundbreaking, bellwether work in progress

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Old 11-10-2009, 08:04 AM   #1
aron
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Default Songs of praise and thanksgiving

Hi everyone,

I read the chapter 13 of this book, helpfully posted here. Thanks for putting it online for us to read. I have not met with the LCs for some time but being in "christianity" I have had some exposure to the "music issue" and realize it is a point of contention.

My own take on the topic is this. I read the verse in Nehemia 12, where they came back from Babylon, and they found the children of the singers of old, who remembered the music, and they found the "instruments of David", and they got them out and said, "Sing".

It is abundantly clear to me that God loves it when we sing to Him. It is through the Word of God, both OT and NT. "I will sing praise to you in the midst of the congregation" (Heb 2:12; cf Psa 22:22).

Okay, now, what about the details? What about all the stuff Myers references? Well, I like what Nehemiah 12:46 says: to sing the songs of David and Asaph, songs of praise and thanksgiving. Songs of praise and thanksgiving. Praise and thanksgiving.

"From the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same, the LORD's name is to be praised." (Psa 113:3)

Arguing about the particulars is a waste of time. (with all due respect to Mr. Myers & those with whom he is sharing this fellowship).

Sorry if I sound too blithe, but I just want to sing songs of praise and thanksgiving. The rest I have no appetite for, whether someone is holding some instrument or not.

Thank you for allowing me to share my portion.
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Songs of praise and thanksgiving

Quote:
Aron:
I have not met with the LCs for some time but being in "christianity" I have had some exposure to the "music issue" and realize it is a point of contention.
I attend where they only sing a cappella (no instruments at all) because they find no evidence in the NT that instruments were used in the NT churches. They say there's no evidence anywhere that instruments were used until the 4th or 5th centuries and were therefore part of the leaven brought into Christianity by the RCC.

My contention is that the reason instruments aren't mentioned in the NT is because they were a non-issue, and that, of course they used instruments, as instruments had been use for thousands of years.

But I can't prove my point. I can prove that they were used in the OT, and that God has a warehouse of harps in the Revelation heaven, but not that they were used by the early church.

John Myer's book doesn't prove it either.

I think the whole issue is ridiculous. Especially when the issue is used to condemn others to eternal hell. But in truth instruments or no instruments makes little difference to me.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: Songs of praise and thanksgiving

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Originally Posted by awareness View Post
My contention is that the reason instruments aren't mentioned in the NT is because they were a non-issue, ...
Correct. Non-issue.


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Originally Posted by awareness View Post
I think the whole issue is ridiculous... in truth instruments or no instruments makes little difference to me.
...or which instruments, or whether they are amplified, etc, etc, etc...

I of course have strong opinions, but I keep them to myself because they are just that -- opinions. I have my preferences but beyond the tip of my nose they are non-issues.

So why did I post my remarks? First, I loved that verse from Nehemiah 12. "Songs of praise and thanksgiving"... I was inspired and enlightened. You can't imagine how much force that put into my lungs when I opened my mouth. What joy it put into my heart! I was tremendously inspired by that verse (indeed, the whole story in Nehemiah 12, and by extension, the original arrangement of "musical worship" set up by David) and wanted to share it. Myers jumps into the discussion in the "early church" part and I wanted to give a little OT background, which had helped me enormously.

Second, I wanted to repeat something I've written before, but as it's dear to my heart I shall belabor the point. Nobody has any right to tell others what to do. On issues of sin, we need to be watchful. On issues of loving one another, of believing into and following the Lord, we encourage one another and try to be good examples for each other. But "lording it over one another" on issues such as music and whatnot is VERBOTEN.

Again, thanks for allowing me a virtual soapbox.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:34 PM   #4
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Default Re: Songs of praise and thanksgiving

Quote:
Aron:
Myers jumps into the discussion in the "early church" part
Myer's book is wonderful, and I don't wish to diminish it, but as far as music in the early Christian churches goes it's poorly documented. But that is clearly not the main thrust of his book.

What I'm ambitious to find evidence of, from any source that is reliable, is that instruments were used by the early Christians.

In fact, soon I'm headed to the nearby university library to do some research on it.
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Old 11-11-2009, 05:50 PM   #5
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Default 120 horns

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Originally Posted by awareness View Post
What I'm ambitious to find evidence of, from any source that is reliable, is that instruments were used by the early Christians.
Well, I can't help you much on the early christian psalmody. But if you look at 2 Chronicles chapter 5, vv. 11-14, David instituted musical worship in Jerusalem with 120 trumpets to go along with the singing. And nowhere do I see a biblical injunction to cease with the horn & harps & lyres & cymals.

So when Paul enjoins us to "...sing psalms unto God", in Ephesians chapter 5, I take it we need some serious horn playing, too. Right? Isn't this a logical step worthy of serious consideration?

Now, stay with me here: David instituted horns with the "worship service"; Paul refers us to David's psalms as a singing worship; and nowhere does the instrumentation requirement receive a written modification. So perhaps we should be 'biblical' here and call for at least 120 horn players with every worship service. 140 to 160 would be even better, but 120 is probably the minimum requirement to "take the ground".

Nehemiah 12:43 says "so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off. " Well, I guess 120 horns might cause a small ruckus.

Of course, I am being facetious. Jesus said that even 2 or 3 meeting in His name would bring his presence, and He didn't mention how many horns, if any.

Still, it must have been quite a party.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: 120 horns

Great post Aron, with some laughs buried in it too. And I agree with you, that it makes no sense that instruments were used in the OT period and discontinued in the NT period, until the RCC "brought" them in.

The fact is, there's no mention of instruments in the New Testament except for Revelation, which everyone believes hasn't happened yet, is not speaking of the early church concerning instruments, but happens, in context, in the future, when God has "harps of God." (Rev 15:2)

But my silly brethren, the hard-liners in the Church of Christ, say : "The New Testament does not speak of instruments in the churches so there were none." Then they go a step further and say, "No instruments in the churches is the divine pattern, the law of Christ, and if they are used it's a sin worthy of eternal hell."

Personally I think instruments weren't mentioned in the NT for the same reason that toiletry practices aren't mentioned in the NT ; because they were so common they weren't worthy of mention.

But I have no proof of that. And may never, unless more ancient books are discovered from that period that happen to mention instruments. Which seems less and less likely as time goes on, but, I suppose is not impossible. With God all things are possible.

But that doesn't keep me from trying to find evidence that instruments were used in the early churches. Sure wish you could help me Aron, but you seem to fall as short as I. But thanks for your thoughts on the matter. You do seem to be as logical and balanced as I concerning this matter of musical instruments in worship service. And I like your idea of 120 horns, plus cymbals, and stringed instruments, in worship service. That would make a sensation for Jesus, don't you think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aron View Post
Well, I can't help you much on the early christian psalmody. But if you look at 2 Chronicles chapter 5, vv. 11-14, David instituted musical worship in Jerusalem with 120 trumpets to go along with the singing. And nowhere do I see a biblical injunction to cease with the horn & harps & lyres & cymals.

So when Paul enjoins us to "...sing psalms unto God", in Ephesians chapter 5, I take it we need some serious horn playing, too. Right? Isn't this a logical step worthy of serious consideration?

Now, stay with me here: David instituted horns with the "worship service"; Paul refers us to David's psalms as a singing worship; and nowhere does the instrumentation requirement receive a written modification. So perhaps we should be 'biblical' here and call for at least 120 horn players with every worship service. 140 to 160 would be even better, but 120 is probably the minimum requirement to "take the ground".

Nehemiah 12:43 says "so that the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off. " Well, I guess 120 horns might cause a small ruckus.

Of course, I am being facetious. Jesus said that even 2 or 3 meeting in His name would bring his presence, and He didn't mention how many horns, if any.

Still, it must have been quite a party.
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:59 PM   #7
aron
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Default Re: 120 horns

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Originally Posted by awareness View Post
... there's no mention of instruments in the New Testament except for Revelation, which everyone believes hasn't happened yet, is not speaking of the early church concerning instruments, but happens, in context, in the future, when God has "harps of God." (Rev 15:2)
Also, don't forget the angels who trumpet (Revelations chapters 8 - 11). The blast of a trumpet really breaks through the clutter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
... But my silly brethren, the hard-liners in the Church of Christ, say : "The New Testament does not speak of instruments in the churches so there were none." Then they go a step further and say, "No instruments in the churches is the divine pattern, the law of Christ, and if they are used it's a sin worthy of eternal hell."

Personally I think instruments weren't mentioned in the NT for the same reason that toiletry practices aren't mentioned in the NT ; because they were so common they weren't worthy of mention.
I agree: they are not mentioned because they are not important. But what is mentioned, which we so quickly lose sight of as we wrangle over whether to use hollow-body guitars or solid-body guitars, is this:
1. Believe in God. Believe in Me. (John 14:1)
2. Love one another. (John 13:34)
3. Forgive one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
4. And so forth: "go, and do not sin again" (John 8:11), sing praises to God (Psalm 47), etc, etc.

The rest of it, what to wear, what to eat, what car to drive, what tv shows to watch, all should come under the Spirit's leading. How many meetings per week, with whom, what version of the Bible to read, what songs to sing, praying while kneeling or seated, raising "holy hands", saying "amen, brother" or "yep"... all that are the issue of one's walk with the Lord.

Quote:
Originally Posted by awareness View Post
... But I have no proof of that. And may never, unless more ancient books are discovered from that period that happen to mention instruments. Which seems less and less likely as time goes on, but, I suppose is not impossible. With God all things are possible.

But that doesn't keep me from trying to find evidence that instruments were used in the early churches. Sure wish you could help me Aron, but you seem to fall as short as I. But thanks for your thoughts on the matter...
I'm not much of a scholar. I occasionally find out things that are useful, and interesting, but it's by happenstance, not by any diligent systematic inquiry on my behalf. I just stumble onto some "neat" things every now and then. This subject (music) I've never really paid attention to, except the OT references, which I am quite enamored of, and Paul's explicit reference to singing the Psalms in Ephesians 5. But they did quote the Psalms quite a bit, didn't they? If the Psalms were as "shallow" as some NT-centric folks seem to say they were, why does Jesus quote them so much? Hmm...

The great irony of this whole subject, for me, is that I came into the local churches largely because of the "freedom of the Spirit" that I felt so tangibly. If you wanted to get a brass band going in a meeting, you got the sense everybody would stamp their feet and clap their hands and cheer. It was a great feeling, to be free to make noise in front of God's throne. No letters from headquarters telling us how to behave. It looks like I got out just in time.

Speaking of which, I gotta make like Amelia Earhart and fly into the Pacific sunset.

As one of our American poets said, "And if I don't meet you no more in this world/Then I'll, I'll meet you in the next one and don't be late, don't be late"

Peace & grace to all.
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