Why Do the Churches of Christ Not Use Musical Instruments?

Originally posted on Seeing God's Breath:

May God bless us all to seriously consider the music in worship that is the true worship in spirit and truth that God desires. May God bless us all with an honest mind to reconsider our worship in the light of His Word.

The simple answer to “Why do churches of Christ not use musical instruments in worship?” is because Christ defines what is worship and He commanded only singing in worship. Christ never commanded by His Spirit that musical instruments be used in worshiping God. Jesus was clear that worship was no longer in JerusalemTrue Worship where David brought and enhanced worship from Moses’ law (John 4:21). True worshipers worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). is with the right spirit and by the Truth of God’s Word.

The Church of Christ will no more change the music that Christ commanded than change the elements of the Lord’s Supper. The…

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About Scott Shifferd Jr.

Minister, Dean Road church of Christ in Jacksonville, FL. Husband and father of four. Email: ScottJon82[at]yahoo.com
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54 Responses to Why Do the Churches of Christ Not Use Musical Instruments?

  1. Anita says:

    I did not know that musical instruments should not be allowed in worship. The songs are more beautiful when you have an organ or a piano playing with you. It keeps you on key. Is this a sin????

    • Yes, I find that it is according to Christ’s words. The Catholic church worshiped without instruments until the 14th c. The early church writers spoke against the instruments from the 2nd c. unto the 6th c. These writers are accepted by the Catholic church as their own although I would disagree. The Orthodox churches still do not use musical instruments to worship God unto this day as well was many reformed Baptists and Presbyterians.

      • Anita says:

        Don’t the angels sing and have musical instruments in heaven, praising the Lord? I would think this music, praising Jesus is pleasing to God. It brings me joy. Someone said singing is praying twice. You know I’m Catholic, are you a Jehovah Witness?

        • Good questions. Thank you.

          No. I am not a Jehovah’s Witness. I am just a Christian among the many churches of Christ that have been throughout the world since the 1st century.

          I think you should consider the sources before that are recognized by the Catholic church. They will admit that the instrument was opposed for centuries by all Christians until they introduced them.

          There are no references to angels playing harps or any instruments in the Scriptures. There is a reference to Christians in Heaven having harps for which they never play, but rather sing (Rev. 15:2-3). These harps are clearly symbolic (Rev. 5:8-9). Their singing is described to sound like many waters, thundering, and many harps (Rev. 14:2-3).

          In the 1st letter to the Corinthians, musical instruments are called “soulless” and are compared the foreign languages that not to be used in the Assembly for worship and edification.

          If God wanted musical instruments like David’s instruments, would He not have spoken through Christ or Christ’s Apostles and prophets? Yet, all we have are a number of commands to sing words with one voice together (Rom. 15:6-9, 1 Cor. 14:15, Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16, Heb. 13:15).

          • Anita says:

            Maybe we should sing with our voices and our heart should the instrument? Do you think it displeases God more when people do not sing at all? If this is wrong, should we stop going to church?

          • More good questions. You are right. Sing and let the heart be the instrument.

            We can’t quit the church and still be true worshipers. I would seek out a church that sings without instruments for my conscience.

            This is only my opinion, but not singing appears to me to be worse.

        • Anita,

          Catholic too (a convert from Scott’s sect).

          No, it is not a sin to use instruments. Scott’s “Rule of Faith” is sola Scriptura, which is the theory that the Bible provides all that is necessary for salvation and holiness. As a Catholic, your Rule of Faith should be that the Church that Jesus created PLUS her Holy Book (the Bible) together, not separately, provide all that is needed for salvation and holiness–the Bible itself reflects this truth.

          The Bible was never intended to be used in the manner that Scott uses it. Think about it, if the NT didn’t even exist in the manner that Scott would even recognize it until 393/397 AD, then how can he pretend to be “like the early Church”? The early Church minded the oral teachings of the Church (the apostles and their successors, the bishops); it did not believe in the Protestant Rule of Faith (which didn’t exist until the 16th century, and Scott’s “church” didn’t exist until the 19th century.). The Bible itself never teaches sola Scriptura; it consistently teaches the Catholic model.

          So when one approaches the Scriptures with a false premise (as Scott is doing), then he will end up with the wrong conclusion. But when one approaches the Bible IN THE MANNER that it was intended to be approached (within the Catholic Liturgy, read within the analogy of Faith, within the living Tradition of the Church), then you will not be torn into thousands of competing [Protestant] directions.

          So I urge you to approach the Bible as a Catholic (with a biblical Rule of Faith), and not as a Protestant (with an anti-biblical Rule of Faith).

          As for the topic: MUSIC. As a Catholic, you should understand the book of Revelation as Mass — that is how the Church has always understood it. Revelation is not “only” about heaven; it is about heaven on earth, a Sunday morning! You could literally read Revelation as you participate in the Mass and you would consistently see the parallels. And guess what? There is music. Also, the Catholic Church, which is the rightful interpreter of HER OWN book (like an autobiographer is the rightful interpreter of her own book) does not think music during worship is a sin. So you have two choices: 1) mind the Church that matter-of-factly was given the “Spirit of truth” that would be “guided into all truth”, or 2) follow any one of the gazillion Protestant “experts” who took the Catholic Church’s Bible, waved it overhead, and expects everyone to mind their own self-interpretation.

          If you have questions about this subject you can contact me on my link (unless Scott disables it)–I’ve helped hundreds of CofC Christians come into the fullness of Christianity, and have helped many Catholics who have been targeted by the CofC.

          Remember, you will not be tested by God on your theology; you will be judged by your faithfulness! So, if you are having difficulty with the Church, or if you are wanting to get more “plugged in” online with other faithful Catholics and have wrongly stumbled onto this flog/blog, then I can help you with that as well!

          Pax

          • There is no need to be contentious, Patrick. No one is debating the Apostolic church, who follow Christ’s words preserved in Apostolic scripture.

            Patrick (“Pax”) has previously admitted that the Christian Scriptures were written by the Apostles and prophets of Christ in the 1st century. These Scriptures were accepted as Scripture in the 1st c. as the Catholic Encyclopedia agrees. The Apostles put the New Testament scriptures together and not any church councils, who also confess that the Apostles delivered the Scriptures. No council can decide what is scripture. The Apostles have already done this. I have an article posted here quoting the Catholic Encyclopedia about the acceptance of Christian Scripture in the 1st century. This is not a debated subject or a matter to argue over. Patrick is a part of some disjointed thought among catholic churches.

            Listen. We all have to go back to Christ and not councils. Christ gave His words to His Apostles and prophets and then more by His Spirit (John 15:20, 16:13, 17:8). I am sola scriptura as much as Christ’s words and those of His Apostles and prophets are infallible and complete. I believe that Christ and His Spirit are infallible, and their words are perfectly complete. Is that not simple enough? The early church writers throughout the 2nd century include the succeeding bishops (elders), who also confess that Jesus is infallible. See, there are no Apostolic traditions that are not in the Apostolic writings (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

            Patrick, you’re disputing a moot point. He knows that the Catholic church brought in musical instruments in all churches in the 14th century, and before that, I know of only two, who allowed the instruments into mass after the 7th c. He would have to explain how Revelation did not resemble Catholic Mass before the 14th c. and until the Catholic church conformed to the worship of David and Moses centuries after the Church began.

            Why argue? Who are we going to trust about the Catholic church? Which church interpretation should we listen to – Patrick’s interpretation or the 2nd c. writings? Even more so, let us turn first to the Apostolic Scriptures and be a part of the Church of Christ. The Scriptures were written to be understood (Eph. 3:3-5). Jesus said that we can be His disciples and understand the truth of His Word (John 8:31-32). Why dispute over this? Let us just be Christians. Let us worship in spirit and truth.

          • Scott,

            Calling people contentious when they clearly are not is something you do quite a bit, and it hurts your credibility.

            BTW, “Pax” means “peace”, and most people, even non-Catholics, who study Christianity and history know that (the fact that you don’t speaks volumes).

            You’re really confused. Of course, I (and the Church) know that the Catholic apostles wrote most of the NT, but that is nothing close to saying that the Catholic apostles decided which books are inspired, which books are not, that they compiled it, and joined it with the full OT to create the Bible; you’re conflating two different subjects. I encourage you to study your argument and stop embarrassing your sect by repeating such nonsense. This is not a debate.

            Why is it only you (and modern sects like you) that keeps insisting that the Bible existed before the 4th century councils? Even the Reformation sects know better; your position has no leg to stand on, Scott. This is one reason why the CofC is viewed as an uneducated cult by so many people – it refuse to acknowledge facts of history.

            The rest of your comment is so horribly written I don’t really know what you’re trying to say (double negatives, non-sequiturs, etc.). What is clear, however, is that you have never, never, never justified your Rule of Faith (sola Scriptrua), yet you bind others to it. You brought up 2 Tim 3:16, but that verse teaches ANYTHING BUT sola Scriptura, and in fact teaches that the role of the priest (the “man of God” / Tradition) acts in concert with Scripture (the Old Testament in this case) in order to save souls (which is exactly the Catholic Church’s Rule of Faith). And that’s your best shot at justifying sola Scriptura, isn’t it?

            As for the “moot point” (I’m trying to understand your writing), you seem to have a problem with development (not change) of doctrine. I’ve read histories that indicate early use of music, and I’ve read histories that indicate a later use of music. So what! We aren’t ashamed of such a non-issue. Guess what, we often dress differently than we did 2,000 years ago as well. There is no prohibition to musical use either in Scripture (nor in Tradition). Worship does not “change” as you assume it does when we use instruments, just as it does not change when we moved to using other “strange fire” such as buildings, pews, and a gazillion other elements that have developed over the centuries. In other words (assume for a moment that your sect actually existed in the 1st century), your sect is “sinning” because it uses buildings, multiple cups, kitchens, classes, etc. (by your argument).

            You’ve also thrown out verses that suggest that we (the rank and file Christian) can so easily understand the Scriptures, but is that not self-evidently wrong?! If you were right, then why do Protestants who hold to sola Scriptura fight and divide like bacteria? Why do you not acknowledge that the eunuch in Acts 8 could not understand the Scriptures without the Catholic Church’s (Philip’s) help? Why not admit, as the first pope, St. Peter, had, that the Scriptures can be hard to understand (2 Pet 3:16)? In other words, answer for once the question that I’ve asked you half a dozen times ever since you introduced yourself to me: How do you know you are the rightful, and infallible interpreter of the Bible?

            Clearly, you don’t want to be reasonable about any of this, and you’re quite dishonest as well; because you know that I am not presenting “Pat’s interpretation”, but that I am presenting the interpretation/Faith that represents the historical Christian perspective for over 2,000 years, and is still held by most Christian today. It is your self-interpretation (I’m wondering where the Bible supports Scott’s “infallibility”) that is new, that is ahistorical, that is contrary to the Church’s teachings and her rightful interpretation of her own Book.

            QUICK LESSON FOR SCOTT (and others):

            Scott forces the Scriptures to mean that he was given the Spirit of truth that would guide him into all truth (which you’ve just read). That is not the case; the Catholic Church is the body that Jesus promised the Counselor.

            •Jesus was given all authority by the Father.
            •Jesus gave his authority to the apostles.
            •Jesus promised that the apostles would be given the Spirit of truth.
            •And that they would be guided into all truth.
            •The apostles, with their Christ-given authority, assigned successors to lead the Church.
            •Ergo, a conduit designed by Christ that guides His Church.
            •That Church wrote the NT.
            •That Church interprets the NT.
            •Any interpretation of her book that is conflicts with her interpretation is wrong, no matter how much a Fundamentalist waves it over his head.

            So, either you are within Jesus’ intent (as Catholics are), or you are a rebel outside (in a sense) of His Church (as Scott is). Has Scott ever shown how, or communicated any biblical reason why he thinks he’s a rightful interpreter of the Catholic Church’s book? No. So why would anyone, ever, consider his interpretation as correct? And, of course, why would anyone trust Scott’s opinion about musical instruments over the teachings of the Church that Christ created?

          • Anita says:

            Thank you Patrick, for clearing things up in my mind and heart.
            When I go to church, I sing from a loving heart to please God, to give Him praise which He deserves, for giving us all the graces we receive daily. When I go to Mass, musical instruments never entered my mind, that it is forbidden. We as Christians must love God first, our neighbor second and follow the Ten Commandments. It is pretty simple. We use musical instruments to please God, to enhance our singing. The one practice all of us have in common IS to PRAY. Lets PRAY for each other. God sees the love in our hearts, HE knows everything! Pray, pray, pray.
            Anita

          • Anita,
            Yes!!! You got it! Music is not forbidden. It is a prayer language, its apex was with Gregory the Great (Gregorian chant), and is a language that transcends all peoples.

          • Anita says:

            PRAISE THE LORD, for He is good!

          • The Catholic church teaches about the New Testament scriptures that, “They are sacred and canonical ‘because, having been written by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that have God for their author, and as such have been handed down to the Church’. The inerrancy of the Bible follows as a consequence of this Divine authorship. Wherever the sacred writer makes a statement as his own, that statement is the word of God and infallibly true, whatever be the subject-matter of the statement’ It will be seen, therefore, that though the inspiration of any writer and the sacred character of his work be antecedent to its recognition by the Church yet we are dependent upon the Church for our knowledge of the existence of this inspiration. She is the appointed witness and guardian of revelation. From her alone we know what books belong to the Bible” (Gigot, F. (1907). The Bible. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved February 15, 2012 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02543a.htm).

            What Does the Catholic Church Say about the New Testament’s Origin?

          • Ummm… nothing you wrote hurts the Catholic position, and is, in fact, what I’ve taught for years. Thanks for your support.

            But I’m guessing you don’t understand what you just wrote, and somehow think that it is some sort of big “gatcha” or something. If so, then let me know.

          • I hope you reconsider. No”gotcha” here. I just wanted you to read what the Catholic church teaches. As Peter said, the Scriptures truly can be hard to understand for which many twist to their own destruction, hence the Protestant sects. We are not of them as you know.

          • What’s to reconsider? You’re not making sense. Should I abandon logic and history and join a sect that, at best, must borrow an opposing Faith’s holy book, rip it up, and then pretend that it belongs to them? Why would I or any other reasonable person do that?

            Scott, let’s just be real. You are not Catholic, you are born of the Protestant sects, adopted the Protestant canon, adopted the Protestant Rule of Faith (sola Scriptura), and adopted much of the Protestant vocabulary. The CofC has nothing “ancient” in its characteristics because it is not ancient (pretty simple, really).

            I understand that you won’t call yourself “Protestant” but that is just a game — in all reality, the CofC is Protestant (adjective), but more accurately, I guess you are post-Protestant (which is even worse). So any Comparative Religious work between the CofC and the CC should recognize that fact. Nobody on earth, other than your own members, have bought into the line that you are the ancient Church, that you are not Protestant, or that you have always had some invisible remnant roaming around.

            And thank you for noting 2 Peter 3:16 (which I brought up). Could you please explain how it is that you think you are not the one who misunderstands the Scriptures, and how those you disagree with (like me) have misunderstood them? And please, don’t rely on your own commentary, rely on your supposed Rule of Faith (the Bible only).

          • I am growing in my understanding of Christ constantly through scripture. I know that becoming a disciple of Christ by being baptized, then by the teaching of the apostles, I can observe all that Christ commanded (Matt. 28.19-20). I see this in the establishment of the Church (Acts 2.38-42).

            Consider the origin of the Orthodox Church and the Vaudois, then you will get some answers in understanding the Catholic church. That is a reality check.

          • Scott, God knows I’ve tried to reason with you, but you refuse to learn, acknowledge facts, and you keep trying to change subjects to other subjects that you are equally ignorant of. Best of luck.

            Just a quick note on this latest red herring of yours (the verses you mentioned that, somehow, I guess, are supposed to establish your credentials??): The institutional Church was established in Mt 16, the mystical Church was established (conceived) at the Annunciation, Acts 2 was the apostles’ confirmation (a Sacrament that provides grace/understanding) and a broadening of the Church (Gentile inclusion), Mt 28 does not limit all that Christ commanded to the “Bible only” (which didn’t even exist), but to the apostles teachings, which of course, included apostolic succession with no indication that it should ever stop. Ergo, the Catholic Church (not your sect) was conceived in Mary, built by Jesus on Peter, shared at Pentecost, expanded by the apostles, perpetuated by their successors, and has never died or needed men from Kentucky to raise her from the dead in the the 19th century.

            Anita, seriously, I’m available if you would like to learn more about the historical faith. Scott is not able to discuss it, and has just proved that he is unable to provide any reason why you should listen to his interpretation of our holy book, our holy Tradition, anything Christian, and in this case, if the use of musical instruments during the Mass (which he doesn’t even participate in!) is sin.

  2. Anita,

    I just reviewed our conversation, and I need to clarify what I wrote, because I think I had two things going in my mind when I was talking about Gregory the Great. The Church, just like Scott’s tradition, is perfectly OK with non-instrumental music, and the Church reached that apex under Gregory the Great; non-instrumental worship is not a sin, just as it is not a sin to use instruments. So from the Catholic perspective, this is a non-issue. From Scott’s perspective, it is a grave issue, akin to our changing something very important, like using milk instead of wine during the Eucharist or something like that.

    My point was: Both tradition have different Rules of Faith.
    Catholic: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition (which is, BTW, what the Bible teaches).
    Protestant: Sacred Scripture only (yet interpreted by their own tradition/academia, yet it is not acknowledged that their tradition is “sacred” to them, in that it is their infallible measure of what the Scriptures mean).

    So, in this sense, Scott’s religion and ours is similar in that we both accept Sacred Scripture and we both accept a Sacred Tradition of some sort; it is just a matter of “who”, specifically, the legitimate Tradition that interprets the Scriptures might be. Catholic’s = successors of the apostles; Scott’s = Scott himself.

    Therefore, the Church’s interpretation of the Scriptures concludes that musical use is not sin, and Scott’s interpretation concludes that it is sin. The question, then, is: Which Tradition (apostles’s successors or Scott’s own wisdom) is guided into all truth, infallible, and biblically authorized.

    Pax (peace)

    • Pax,

      As far as instrumental worship, you have rightly presented my position in simplicity while disregarding why we believe what we believe. The problem is that you overlook the long list of early church writers unto the 6th c., who reject instrumental music as sinful. The Roman Catholic Church claim these as your successors. So, why did the early church find that musical instruments were sinful as do the Greek Orthodox do today?

      The churches of Christ look upon the early church writers has excellent commentators and examples, and we see the early presbyters in succession to the Apostles as affirming Christ’s Church.

      You fail to note that churches of Christ believe that tradition and scripture agree completely. This is unlike the Roman Catholic position, who believe the words of Christ with His Apostles and prophets are not complete, and thus must be supplemented by the Roman Church. Correct me if I am wrong.

      • Scott,

        Bishops may or may not believe something is a sin, but a bishop’s opinion does not simply become dogma, and quote-mining people who might agree with you (or might disagree with you when the quote is analyzed, as I’ve shown in the past), does not indicate the position of the Church. Similarly, I do not regard your opinions to be the official position of the CofC; I try to find a consensus among most of your members (but even then, there is no official teaching).

        •The Orthodox has nothing to do with the CC’s position. You keep bringing the Orthodox up; but they have no say, whatsoever, in anything about the Latin Rite, which has always remained, and is intrinsically defined, with and by, the Bishop of Rome. The Orthodox is our closest brother, yes, but they have no more input on dogma than your group.

        Second, again, not all Catholics up until, as you say, the 6th century, thought that the use of musical worship is a sin (it’s been 10 years since I’ve looked at this issue–I can’t name names for or against off hand). So what we have is precisely what I’ve been explaining: both forms (with or without) are accepted.

        I think you expect the Catholic Church’s Sacred Tradition to work in a way that it does not work; I think you think you can find a bishop who believes XYZ, and therefore, it becomes law, binding, and unchagable. But that’s not the case. The Catholic Church has not declared in law nor dogma that the use of musical worship is sinful. Sure, you could cherry-pick bishops who thought it was, just as you could cherry-pick bishops who though it was not; it does not become a law or dogma unless it is declared as so. In other words, “Tradition” (the teachings of the Church) is not when bishops speak on their own, but when the Church speaks “Catholic-ly”, that is, together, all the bishops, and in communion with the Bishop of Rome (the pope). There is a difference between local or cultural “t”radition and dogmatic “T”radition.

        Also, Catholics DO believe that the words of Christ and the apostles are “complete” — make sure you understand that. I could accuse your group of the same thing when you expound on the Scriptures, or add your opinions, or when you preach a sermon. Nothing the CC teaches contradicts the Scriptures, and the Scriptures themselves teach (reflect, rather) that it is the Church that teaches (the fact that it explains the Scriptures, or puts the Scriptures into the proper context–the Catholic Church–does not degrade the Scriptures, but rather, it respects them for what they are).

        “Changes” over the centuries do not indicate a changed law or changed dogma; it is the same Faith and the same worship. Changing attitudes about music are no different than changing attitudes about what kind of carpet is on the floor (I’ve never understood the CofC’s opinion that the use of music is an indicator of sin when so many other CofC worship elements are equally absent in NT Scripture).

        Not all things Christ taught the apostles is recorded in Scripture, and Scripture even makes that point clear — THAT is Sacred Tradition! The existence of the reality of Divine Tradition does not trump the reality of Divine Scripture, nor does the reality of Divine Scripture trump the reality of Divine Tradition.

        Catholics enter into the Scriptures with this very real understanding, and we know that the CC and the Scriptures are the SAME word of God (I’m happy to expound on that if you need; it would take a couple pages). Conversely, your model has divorced half the word of God from the other half (Sacred Scripture from Sacred Tradition), and so you are not capable of rightly interpreting the Scriptures; and when you recognize a difference between your interpretation and the CC’s, you assume that the CC “added” to the word of God and that we don’t believe the Bible is “complete”. In other words, the fullness of the Bible presupposes, and is wedded to, the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church; we’ve added nothing, and we’ve deleted nothing. We do not “supplement” the words of Christ and the apostles, we understand that the words of Christ intended for the apostles and their successors to explain the doctrines of Christ for all people in all generation. So when you think we are “supplementing” His words, what is actually happening is you (and all Protestants) are removing essential elements form the doctrines of Christ.

        Thanks for allowing this.

        • Patrick,

          See, what you are touching on here is at the core of the disagreements. These things you should expand on while asking for us to “reconsider” being “mistaken” and “misinformed”.

          First, I will keep bringing to the front the Orthodox church and even the Vaudois until you can show their historical origin. If you cannot explain the origins of these believers in contrast to the Catholic church, then you will have a hard time convincing others that the Catholic church was the first.

          Likewise, the Bishop of Rome is seen the 4th century while there are presbyters in the 2nd centuries without a bishop over the presbyters. I very much value like the scholars in the churches of Christ that the early church writers from Clement to Irenaeus are excellent interpreters and commentators. I have yet to find a contradiction in their understanding and that of the churches of Christ. Although I do not find them infallible as representing the Church, I first use the Scriptures to understand the Scriptures, and then if I misunderstand, I use the early writers to examine myself.

          The Gospels supplement each other. For that, you should not be ashamed. Yet, you claim traditions that are not written in the words of Christ or His Apostolic Scriptures. Those traditions are supplementing the Scriptures. What are traditions? As far as the Scriptures being complete, you claim that Jesus and His Apostles have other teachings and traditions that are not found in the Scriptures. In this sense, you present that Christ’s words and those of His Apostles and prophets are not complete in the Scriptures, because these are without the church traditions.

          Do Augustine, Chrysostom, and Clement of Alexandria misrepresent the Catholic church in the 4th c. for not using musical instruments and perceived it to be sinful? What about Thomas Aquinas did he misrepresent the practice of the Catholic church by writing that the Catholic church did not use instruments and considered such Judaizing in the 13th c.?

          These are sincere questions that I find the Catholic church should have an answer.

          • I don’t understand why I need to “expand” on any of it. I think, perhaps, you simply want to fabricate confusion as a way of inserting what you want to believe. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but you don’t seem interested at all in learning anything — you get distracted, bring up red herrings, change subjects, refer to un-cited Catholic proof-texts (shall I use A. Campbell’s writings to prove the Catholic Church right? It can be done with just as much honesty!).

            As for the Orthodox, you can keep bringing them up all you want, but I think most people see through your tactic — I certainly do. I’ve told you many, many times that they are Apostolic. Now does that mean that they are or have been in communion with the Bishop of Rome? Of course not! In other words, you don’t even understand (nor care to understand) your own question. I’m curious, what canon of Scripture did the Vaudois use? I”m asking because the Protestant canon was not “invented” yet — every canon was still Catholic. So if you are a “Voudois” (as you’ve suggested in the past), then why have you adopted the abridged Protestant canon — why have you removed Scriptures that your group must have once believed to be ispired? And by what authority has your group removed those precious writings? (I’m asking, because sola Scriptura is your Rule of Faith.)

            You wrote, “I have yet to find a contradiction in their understanding and that of the churches of Christ. Although I do not find them infallible as representing the Church…” (all Catholics). Wow!!! I’ve showed you in the past how you proof-text Catholic writers to justify your own beliefs, and that is the only way you could write what you just wrote. Look, I’ve been in your schools too, and I know they don’t teach the Fathers; what they teach are the juicy fragments that can be twisted in a pro-CofC way, and you’ve fallen for it. If you’d like I can suggest many sources for you to read yourself and learn how the Fathers were Catholic through and through (they believed in the primacy of St. Peter’s chair, baptism for infants, real presence, etc.). In other words, if you think the Fathers were Protestant, then you have not read them. Period.

            Scott, we both know you haven’t read Augustine, Chrsostome, and Clement (I’m pretty sure I’ve already proved how you haven’t read Clement a year or so ago); I have no reason to think you’re just not proof-texting them as you have other Catholic writers in the past, but it doesn’t matter because Catholics can believe either way on this most unimportant issue (music). Of course they don’t contradict Catholicism, as I’ve told you already — does rain contradict rain? If you read my earlier comment, you will have your answer, so here it is real quick: Catholic dogma is not settled by a single bishop like Augustine. Got it? Your argument would be like me saying that Scott settles “true Christian doctrine” for the Stone-Campbell groups (but then, you probably think that’s true…)

            Your confusion (other than thinking you need to bring up your favorite red herring: the Orthodox) is rooted in your flawed Rule of Faith, an then you carry that flaw into an expectation for Catholics to read every word from our Fathers with the same Fundamentalist literalism. Scott, your model is new, our model is old; and we don’t proof-text the Bible, and we don’t proof-text the other Catholic documents. God knows I’ve tried to help you, but all you do is try to change subjects and add confusion.

            As for “why do the Trads believe…” I don’t get Trads; many are almost Protestant in that they often think they have more authority over spiritual matters than the pope (there aren’t very many of them). Throughout history the Church (beginning in Acts 15) has held councils. Trads accept the authority of the councils (as did Protestants for most of history — even the CofC minds them to an extent), but Trads, out of nostalgia (I suspect) yearn for “the good ol’ days” before Vatican II. In other words, they are like Protestants because they have arbitrarily chosen a council as a point of when things no longer seemed “Christian enought” (in their self-popery way). Of course, there are degrees of Trads, just as there are degrees of Protestantism. Trads remain Catholic, fortunately, because they haven’t denounced the authority of the pope, started their own groups and called them “churches”, accept their one baptisms, etc.

            You ended by writing, “These are sincere questions that I find the Catholic church should have an answer.” I don’t find much sincerity in them, sorry if I’m wrong. For a future post, might I suggest a sincere subject that I’ve asked of you many times, and one that you’ve never addressed? Could you please explain where the Bible teaches your Rule of Faith, where it teaches sola Scriptura, when sola Scriptura became “true”, how the Bible is actually the word of God in your group’s practice when it is always (and can only be) filtered through your preachers’ own minds? You see, once you have established your Rule of Faith, you can then proceed to try disestablish other Faiths; because until then, the CofC and it’s beliefs are not and cannot be taken seriously by any reasonable person. Can you not understand that? It’s not an insult, it’s reality. So please, for once, establish how “the Bible” teaches “Bible-only” Christianity.

          • One more thing…

            You think I should “establish the origins of the O and the V…”.

            Scott, you should try to establish the origins of the CofC as well.

          • I know where the churches of Christ come from America, and I know the origin of churches of Christ in England and Germany. The origin of the churches of Christ in Europe connected each other and to the Lollards and Vaudois. See my history above for the churches of Christ.

    • Anita says:

      Patrick,
      The Ten Commandments is the law we Christians should follow. Using musical instruments to praise God might be a personal choice. This past Sunday our organist did not play, and the singing was beautiful that way too. Did you hear about some churches are having a drive through Ash Wednesday, or they give it outside of Starbucks etc.?
      Anita

      • ??? It is a sacramental, and is with the Mass, so I don’t think it’s true (but some liberal priests never cease to amaze/repulse me). There are some parody sites (like The Onion or Eye of the Tiber) that make jokes like that all the time and some people believe their stories. If it is true, I think their bishop will stop it.

        • Anita says:

          It is not a Catholic Church, I copied this from google.

          They are all ready for lent at the Bethesda United Methodist Church. The cross is draped in a purple Easter vestment and the new church bell is all shined up. While the church is beautiful inside, they’re going to trying something new on the outside on Ash Wednesday this year.

          “We’re doing this as a service to the community, so people with a busy schedule will stop here and get the ashes and begin lent,” said George W. Murphy, a parishioner. “People will stop by, we’ll have a small prayer, we’ll consecrate them with the ashes and they can go on and begin lent.”

          The church has been advertising the drive-through Ash Wednesday service on the church sign, and while the church doesn’t have a huge number of members, they’re hoping this drive-up idea will help commuters who can’t make it in to church for Ash Wednesday service.

          “You give people a chance to participate in Ash Wednesday service that might not otherwise be able to,” said Ronald Shriver, a parishioner.

          The service starts at 7 a.m. and lasts until 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.

          Read more: http://www.wbaltv.com/news/drivethrough-service-to-offer-ash-wednesday-service/24800082#ixzz2v30DCuMI

  3. Scott,
    You’ve been gracious allowing me to speak directly to Anita. If I were going back and forth with a CofC Christian on my website and you wanted to clarify the CofC position I’d absolutely allow to participate as well, thanks.

  4. “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name” (Heb. 13:16).

    “Even soulless things, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played?” (1 Cor. 14:7)

    “[B]e filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” (Eph. 5:18b-19).

  5. Anita says:

    Scott,
    We sing praises without music too.
    Anita

  6. Your blog template won’t let me reply where I want to reply, but this is in response to your comment, “I know where the churches of Christ come from America, and I know the origin of churches of Christ in England and Germany. The origin of the churches of Christ in Europe connected each other and to the Lollards and Vaudois. See my history above for the churches of Christ.”

    Yes, I know… the Vaudois used the Catholic NT, read themselves into it, etc. What I encourage you to do is not simply HOPE that those traditions were established at Pentecost, which is all you’ve done. You have not established that fact, you just say it’s true and hope people believe you. The Catholic Church is different; it actually was established at Pentecost (also in Mt 16, also at the annunciation). I don’t need to simply “hope” that I’m right because scripture, history, and logic support it.

    If you are right, then you should be able to quote your early Fathers instead of Catholic Fathers. If you’re right, then some fragments (at least) of ancient NT writings would be in your vaults. If you’re right, then you would find ancient support/protests of Catholic theologies that you would associate yourself with. In other words, you (the CofC) has never been able to establish its origins at Pentecost; all it has done is read the Catholic Church’s Bible and insist that Catholics were writing about some future sect. At least that’s how the world understands you. Maybe you could this up by writing a post that shows how St. Peter’s Pentecost sermon or the outpouring of the HS established a sect that would deny St. Peter’s position, and deny the Spirit of truth that would guide St. Peter and the apostles into all truth. In other words, the CofC is no more “the Church of Pentecost” as any other Protestant group that “hopes” as much. I’m beating a dead horse, I know, and I know you probably won’t address any of this.

  7. I’ll make this my last comment, but I think it brings most of what you’ve said (that is not about music) come together.

    I’ve asked you to explain why the CofC’s rule of faith is sola Scriptura.
    Instead, you’ve said that the CofC is the “Church of Pentecost”.
    The Church of Pentecost did not believe in sola Scriptura.
    Therefore, the CofC is not the Church of Pentecost.

    Can you understand that?

  8. As you have admitted and the Roman church, the New Testament Scriptures are apostolic and were written in the 1st century being accepted by the Apostles as Scripture in the 1st century (1 John 1:1-4, 2 Pet. 1:16-21, 3:16, 1 Tim. 5:18, Luke 1:1-3).

    All that we can seek to as Christians is the Church that Christ built and bought with His blood. Therefore, we seek and find the churches of Christ.

    • Scott,
      Can you not understand that all you did is use an ALREADY ESTABLISHED Sacred Table of Contents to establish your Sacred Table of Contents? In other words, you did not address sola Scriptura (your Rule of Faith).

      Earlier, you said that St. Augustine [of Hippo] has never written anything that doesn’t support the Protestant CofC (I’m guessing you are relying on Ferguson’s cherry picked portions while ignoring the 99% of the early Christian’s testimony?). Consider St. Augustine: “I would not believe in the Gospels were it not for the authority of the Catholic Church: (Against the Letter of Mani Called “The Foundation” 5:6).

      But you deny that authority, and install your own authority; and then you bind your readers to it (in regards to music, drinking, etc.). Put differently, you would bind your fellow man to your own tradition, but not to the Tradition that Christ established, which is the SAME Tradition that established the canon of Scripture.

      If you would like to read more about what the early Christians believed I am happy to give you a reading list/links. That way, you don’t need to use CofC sources that, apparently, manipulate its followers into thinking that the early Christians were anything but Catholic.

      • Augustine was required reading in philosophy, church history, and literature at Freed-Hardeman, Faulkner, & … I got my fill of reading Augustine. Although, I think I will read him again soon..

        No. I did not say Augustine is of the Church of Christ although his catholic church is not you Roman church. Yet, Augustine among others taught against instrumental worship. I think you may have confused my references to Irenaeus. If we consider Polycarp, Clement, Justin, Irenaeus, and another three, then we will seek out an Apostolic church led by the Apostles’ doctrine.

        • Perhaps I did misread you; I was pretty sure you mentioned Augustine (perhaps a different article of yours). I’m curious… if Bishop Saint Augustine was not Catholic then what was he? Surely, with all of your reading, you saw how “Catholic” he was, no?

          • Although Augustine is catholic, the Roman bishop would not be Augustine’s Pontiff. Christ is the High Priest.

          • We Catholics believe that Christ is the High Priest too! You must be confused about who the pope is because Catholics don’t believe the pope is the High Priest; the pope is the prime minister. And Augustine, who was Catholic, received his authority through the pope from Christ Jesus (the Catholic Church is apostolic).
            I hope you study this topic a little bit. This post will help you a little: http://thechurchofchristiscatholic.com/2014/03/08/the-church-of-christ-is-hierarchical/ . The Davidic Kingdom before Jesus was hierarchical, had a “prime minister”, and had a “father” (pope) figure. So too, His kingdom, the Church, is a Davidic kingdom! (Isaiah 22 is a very helpful chapter that I have never in my life known of a CofC Christian to give any attention to.) I hope you read it and learn that Catholics do not conflate the pope with Jesus, but rather, we recognize that the pope’s position is Jesus’ intent. In other words, to accept the pope is to accept Jesus.
            Good night!

          • What is the Latin translation of pontifex? Is not high priest the meaning of pontiff?

            I will read the source.

          • It means that, and other things too.

            It does not mean High Priest (capital H capital P) as in Jesus the Hight Priest. It means what we mean it to mean. You cannot trash a word if you force your own nuance to it and ignore the nuance that it is intended to communicate.

            These kinds of nuances are throughout the Bible as well (remember, from our perspective the Bible is part of Catholic history and shares our way of speaking). For example: there is a Teacher and there are teachers. There is a Master and many masters. There is a Father and many fathers. There is a Rock and there is a rock. See?

          • NOTE: I didn’t spam you; that link was my own writing. If you prefer, I can write it all here.

          • You’re good. Links are held for review.

          • I am not trashing the word as you know that hold Christ to be my Pontiff, Doctor, and Lord.

            Why do Catholic bishops bear such titles? Why does the Pope have have a preeminent name and stand in contrast by clothing to all other cardinals and bishops? I cannot read of such things in the NT scriptures or the early church writers.

            “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”, (Phil. 2.8-11)

          • Well, thank God your interpretation isn’t authoritative! I think your comment reveals how you elevate your interpretation of the NT over the interpretation of the Church that A) Christ intended to interpret the Scriptures, and B) the Church that in fact created the NT.

            In essence, you are telling an autobiographer that she does not understand her own autobiography.

            I think you’re also confused because you’ve accepted the illogical premise that the Church must adhere to every title just as she wrote it in the NT (you’ve never provided me any argument for such a premise). So, unless you can somehow show, from Scripture, that it is not Christian to use respectful titles for His clergy then your argument, should, to you, be mute. In other words, the fact that you believe that you are a “preacher of the Gospel”, yet have never entered into Holy Orders, have assigned to yourself a promotion that far exceeds any rightful and respectful title that the children of God might give to Christ’s rightful clergy.

            As for your Phil 2 quote… from the Catholic perspective, it is the CofC that does not understand humility, because the CofC does not respect or mind the authority that Christ established, but has, instead, installed its own tradition as the authoritative interpreter of our Holy Book. Can you not understand that?

        • Scott, if Polycarp, Clement, Justin, Irenaeus are “worthy” sources for you to use, then would you consider their writings that show how Catholic they were? In other words, if they believed in apostolic succession, the primacy of St. Peter’s chair, Baptism for infants, the Real Presence, etc., then would you give as much weight to their words?

          • I see their words as the highest commentary and interpreter besides the Scriptures interpreting themselves. Their words have a great influence upon me in constant meditation. Irenaeus referred to the apostolic succession of churches including references to Polycarp and Clement. Rome was central being established by Peter and Paul. He also presented a line of bishops among the presbyters.

  9. Emmanuel says:

    I just have a question for patrick , if pope is the representative of christ here on earth which means according to the scripture must be a man, then pls explain to me why in the book of history the catholic have tried to remove the once woman pope which of course discredit the very existence of catholic doctrine concerning the nature of pope .

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