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There are some who believe that the New Testament teaches us not to use instruments in our music; only “a cappella” is allowed. Here is their line of reasoning, as I have heard. One principle of Bible interpretation, that they espouse, is that only the New Testament abides as our source of doctrine. So, any doctrine that is not established in the New Testament, is no longer valid for the church today. Using instruments in music is encouraged, even commanded at times, in the Old Testament, but not mentioned in the New Testament. Thus, they conclude, we are to do away with this practice. There are two fallacies in this interpretation that we will point out.

The first error is that this is not a valid distinction between the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible, as a principle of Bible interpretation. Jesus explains that this is improper.

Matthew 5:17-18
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and Earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

There are multiple principles of Bible interpretation to help us decide which Old Testament statutes are still binding on us in the New Testament, and we will not be expounding on those. The main point of this article is to explain that this one false principle is to be omitted. Yes, we are in a new dispensation, i.e., God has now revealed additional information to us in the New Testament. That does not mean that we are to completely start over. God does not change, yet He had reason to change His covenant with us. For example, the sacrifices were fulfilled in the suffering and death of Christ.

There are some abominable evils, that I could mention as examples. These sins are clearly condemned by God in the Old Testament, and no biblicist would argue that they should be considered righteous behaviour in the New Testament, yet they are not mentioned in the New Testament. This shows us where such a method would lead us, if consistently applied.

The second error is revealed by the fact that musical instruments are used in Heaven, as ordained by God. This supersedes any silence, on the Church practice, in the New Testament. This is not to imply that anything and everything that is allowed in Heaven is also allowed in the Body of Christ. Yet it does establish that there is no general ban on the use of musical instruments, as far as God is concerned. This heavenly precedent would be foundational to any dispensation or covenant.

Though this is controversial, some claim the authority of the tradition of the early church fathers to confirm this shunning of musical instruments. Even if this were true, the Word of God is the sole authority for our faith and practice. Going beyond the boundaries of this authority, Jesus condemns as, “teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” And He considers this “vain worship.”

Matthew 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.

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