Why don’t we use instruments or choirs?
My mother-in-law surprised me awhile ago. I was mentioning how I control the radio in the car with my husband because he doesn’t really pay attention to the music. I do. So, since the music choice matters more to me than to him, I pick the music.
My MIL looked at me in surprise, not because of our arrangement, because she thought I was against music of all kinds.
I asked her why she would think that. The answer confused me. She thought I objected to all music because my congregation does not have a choir or instruments. They do not have a place in our worship services.
However, this has nothing to do with my enjoyment of music in any other situation, which is what I told her.
She was confused about the distinction so I tried to explain it.
I could have gone to various scriptures but, in this case since she is not a Christian, I didn’t think it would be effective. The discussion of commands, examples, etc. would not really have meant much to her.
So, I decided to go with what I understand to be the ‘why’.
Worship services are for us to learn and to focus on giving praise to God. When we sing the hymns, we sing them to remind us of why we have gathered, to help us focus on God. The hymns themselves are lessons and proclamations. We need to think about what we sing because we better believe in what we are saying, that it is true and right in attitude. In fact, there is one hymn I never sing because I disagree with what the words seem to be proclaiming. However, I know this is my perception and don’t object to others singing it since it’s all about my perception of the words.
When you add a choir or musical instrument, you are adding an unnecessary temptation. Humans love beautiful music and singing voices. So, if there is beautiful music playing, we like to focus on it. If we do this in services then we are slighting God because we are not focusing on Him during the time we basically promised to devote to His worship.
Now, I freely admit that there are people out there who could listen to instruments and not lose focus.
However, should our personal spiritual strength be used as an excuse to expose a weaker brother or sister to unnecessary temptation? Of course not. Instruments are not necessary to worship and are a danger to weaker brethren, therefore, I believe we need to leave them out of worship.
As for choirs, I’ve heard some beautiful choirs. One of my favorite records growing up was a choir album with beautiful hymns. I liked to listen to it and sing along with it. I like to listen to Christian music, acapella and with instruments. However, in worship services, I don’t see a place for a choir.
Again, it has to do with focus. Worship is an activity. We are not spectators in worship even when we are listening to a sermon. We are supposed to be studying what the preacher is saying, testing it, making sure it is true and right and finding places to apply those words in our life.
As I stated above. When we sing, we need to be aware of what we are saying – the words, the lessons. It is a way for us to praise God and focus on Him. When a choir sings, it’s easy to become a spectator rather than a participant. It’s too easy to become an audience at a show. Again, there are many Christians with the strength to remain focused and worshipful even with a choir. But, again, we need to focus on the needs of our younger brethren.
So, is there anything wrong with instruments and choirs? Of course not!
However, in worship services, I believe they are an unnecessary danger and temptation to distraction. Therefore, I object to their presence during worship services.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I believe that, when it comes to spiritual matters, much better safe than wrong.