WHAT FAMOUS THEOLOGIANS HAD TO SAY ABOUT

 

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

 

 

About 450 - AUGUSTINE - PRE-CATHOLIC:  "Nor must we keep back the mystical meaning of the 'timbrel and psaltery.'  On the timbrel leather is stretched, on the psaltery gut is stretched; on either instrument the flesh is crucified.  How well did he 'sing a psalm on timbrel and psaltery' who said, 'the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world'?  This psaltery or timbrel He wishes thee to take up, who loveth a new song, who teacheth thee saying to thee, 'Whosoever willeth to be My disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'  Let him not set down his psaltery, let him not set down his timbrel, let him stretch himself out on the wood, and be dried from the lust of the flesh.  the more the strings are stretched, the more sharply do they sound."  (Expositions on the Psalms, Psalm CXLIX)

 

 

About 1270 - THOMAS AQUINAS - CATHOLIC:  "Our church does not use musical instruments as harps and psaltries, to praise God withal, that she may not seem to Judaize"   "It is pernicious to make use of the ceremonies of the Old Law."  (Bingham's Ant., Vol. 3, pg. 137;  Summa Theologica, Secunda Secundae Partis).

 

 

About 1525 - ULRICH ZWINGLY, REFORMED CHURCHES:  Influenced the following events:  "On Sunday the 19th of January [1528], the day on which the doctrine of the Mass was attacked....some men, excited by the passion of the moment, fell upon his beloved organ, an accomplice in their eyes of so many superstitious rites, and violently broke it to pieces.  No more mass, no more organ, no more anthems!"  (History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, J. H. Merle D'Augigne, 1835, Translated by H. White B.A. of Canterbury, M.A. and Ph.D. of Heidelberg, 1844, Vol. XIII, pg. 606).

 

 

 

 

About 1540, MARTIN LUTHER - LUTHERAN:  "...organs are ensigns of Baal" (Eckhard, proponent of instruments, in argument with John Calvin.)

 

 

 

 

About 1550 - JOHN CALVIN - REFORMED CHURCHES:  "Music instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lightning of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law.  The Papists therefore have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other things, from the Jews.  Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostles is far more pleasing to Him....In Popery there was a ridiculous and unsuitable imitation [of the Jews].  while they adorned their temples and valued themselves as having made the worship of God more splendid and inviting, they employed organs and many other such ludicrous things, by which the Word and worship of God are exceedingly profaned, the people being much more attached to those rites than to the understanding of the divine Word....Musical instruments were among the legal ceremonies which Christ at his coming abolished; and, therefore we, under the Gospel, must maintain a greater simplicity" (Commentary on Psalm xxxiii, Commentary on 1 Samuel 18:1-9 and Four Last Books of Moses I:263).

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT 1550 - JOHN KNOX - PRESBYTERIAN:  "This principle not only purified the church of human inventions and popish corruptions, but restored plain singing of psalms, unaccompanied by instrumental music."

 

 

 

 

About 1775 - JOHN WESLEY, METHODIST: "I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels provided they are neither seen nor heard."

 

 

About 1800 - ADAM CLARK - METHODIST:  "I have never known instrumental music to be productive of any good in the worship of God and I have reason to believe that it has been productive of much evil.  Music as a science I esteem and admire, but instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor.  This is the abuse of music and I here register my protest against all such corruption in the worship of that Infinite Spirit who requires his followers to worship him in spirit and in truth" (Commentary on Amos 6:5).

 

 

1861, 1870, 1881, CHARLES SPURGEON - BAPTIST:  "In many of our dissenting congregations, some five or six who are the choir, sing to the praise and glory of themselves, and the people sit still and listen, not daring to spoil music so magnificent....In many other places it is thought most seemly to delegate the work of human hearts and tongues and lips to some instrument which shall praise the Lord.  May that never be the case here....If you and your choir wish to show off your excellent voices, you can meet at home...but the...church of God must not be desecrated to so poor an end....The institution of singers as a separate order is an evil, a growing evil, and ought to be abated and abolished....We should like to see all the pipes of the organs in our nonconformist places of worship either ripped open or compactly filled with concrete.� The human voice is so transcendently superior to all that wind or strings can accomplish that it is a shame to degrade its harmonies by association with blowing and scraping"  (Sermons in the Metropolitan Pulpit, London, 1861 pg. 218, 1870 pg. 353, 1881 pg. 474).

 

 

1888, JOHN GIRARDEAU - PRESBYTERIAN:  "The Church of Scotland....for centuries knew nothing of instrumental music in her public services....But...some who clamored for a more artistic 'celebration' of worship....The floodgates are up, and the result is by no means uncertain: the experience of the American Presbyterian Church will be that of the Scottish."