In Bible class last week, Jim brought up a question that really could not be dealt with adequately in the time remaining in class. Thus, I put it off until a more appropriate occasion. Well, this article is not the most appropriate, but I will introduce the question and attempt to give us some thoughts to stimulate thinking.
In class, the question by brother Jim dealt with the mechanical instrument of music, God’s authority, and the silence of Scripture. If God prohibits by silence, then where is our authority for some of the others things that we do in our regular church service?
Does God prohibit by silence? If God is silent on a topic, then, by the very nature of that silence, God said nothing on the topic. Saying nothing on an issue neither affirms nor prohibits. However, there is a prohibition (if you will) quality to the silence that we need to give some attention to. In other words, if the Lord did not expressly tell us He wants a particular thing done, or engaged in, then we have to presume that the particular thing we do is acceptable to the Lord.
A simple illustration will help to give clarity. The Lord did not expressly prohibit women from serving as elders (bishops, pastors) in the local congregation. Yet, it is certainly the case that if a woman serves in the capacity of an elder, then she has violated the express will of God that did say a male, married, with children, and faithful to the Lord is to serve. For a woman to serve, because she has a talent, is to presume the Lord will accept that which she offers.
The Lord expressly said that the saints are to sing praises to the Lord, edifying one another (Ephesians 5:19). He did not say one was prohibited from making use of a mechanical instrument in singing. One has to presume it is acceptable, however. Why does the Highway Church of Christ not use the mechanical instrument of music in worship? Because it presumes on the Lord’s authority – and that is not a path the leadership wants to travel.