For Christ's Crown and Covenant

Musical Instruments in the Public Worship of God

Introduction

God, who is infinite and eternal, who created the heavens and the earth, can only be approached on His own terms. This is true of salvation as well as worship. God has redeemed a people out of fallen humanity to serve, worship and glorify Himself. God has taken the initiative and saved a people dead in trespasses and sins through the sacrificial death and sinless life of Jesus Christ. Professing Christians acknowledge that the only way to be saved is by Jesus Christ.1 They reject the notion that there are many paths that lead to God. But when it comes to worshiping God, most professing Christians believe that man can do almost anything he pleases as long as it is not blatantly sinful. The purpose of this book is to prove from Scripture that God has set forth a principle regarding worship that completely eliminates human autonomy from worship. God has not left worship to the caprice of man. God, who is the object of worship, tells His people how to worship. Once the regulative principle of worship has been established from Scripture, we will turn our attention to the use of musical instruments in public worship.


The Regulative Principle of Worship

Before we examine the chaos of current worship practices and God’s regulative principle of worship2, we must first define worship. “Religious worship is that whereby we address ourselves to God, as a God of infinite perfection; profess an entire subjection and devotedness to him as our God; put our trust in him for a supply of all our wants; and ascribe to him that praise and glory which is his due, as our chief good, most bountiful benefactor, and only portion and happiness.”3 God is to be worshiped because of who He is: a God of infinite perfections and holiness, etc. and for what God has done for His people through Jesus Christ. True worship can only be directed to the true God through Jesus Christ the Mediator, in and by God the Holy Spirit. True worship must be done with a sincere heart “in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Christians are to sing the Holy Spirit’s divinely inspired songs to God through Christ. “Worship is the highest activity of man, for it is the response of the human soul to God. True and, therefore, acceptable worship is not something which man naturally renders. It owes its origin to God Himself, who gives to men the desire and the power to worship Him.”4 Worship in the broader sense involves all worship ordinances established by God in His word. This includes singing praises, prayer, reading the word of God, the sacraments, the preaching of the word, the tithe, etc.

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