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Continued from Singing in Worship

The testimony of others

Friends and brethren, it is because of the commands of Scripture and the history of specialized
singing groups that the men of the Restoration Movement have opposed choirs, choruses,
quartets, etc., in the worship of the church.  Here are some of their comments:

Philip S. Fall, a veteran pioneer preacher and teacher in commenting on Colossians 3:16, said:
"Here, then, we are taught congregational singing"
(Gospel Advocate; December 29, 1886; p.

W.K. Pendleton, the distinquished educator and one-time president of Bethany College and
gospel preacher, in speaking of instrumental music touches on the scripturality of
congregational singing:  "I am satisfied that the tendency of instrumental music is to silence
congregational singing; -- to usurp the place of the melody of the heart, which we are
commanded 'to make,' -- to prevent the 'edification of pslams, hymns and spiritual songs,'
which is one of the social duties and privileges of the congregation, and to deliver over this part
of worship of the disciples into the artistic and often godless hands of mere amateur or hireling
performers." (
Gospel Advocate, 1889, p. 67; and Millennial Harbinger, 1868, pp. 555,556)

John F. Rowe, the long time editor of
The Christian Leader, said: "Some weakminded people,
vain and thoughtless, might be excused on the ground of ignorance; but what a terrible burden
of responsibility must rest upon editors and pastors and preachers, who, knowing that the use
of the organ and select choirs in the public worship is wholly unscriptural , and an invention
borrowed from the carnal world, nevertheless encourage these innovations by their silent
approbation, and never lift as much as a finger of rebuke" (
History of Reformatory Movements,
p. 322).

Isaac Errett, later the editor of
The Christian Standard (which championed the instrument of
music and the missionary society), wrote in 1861 in
The Millennial Harbinger: "That the genius
of the reformatory movement, like that of previous reformations, is not favorable to choir singing
and instrumental music.  Its sympathies are with the bewildered and sin-oppressed masses,
and it wants 'music for the millions.'  Its original power will be largely lost when the stirring
melodies of its early days shall have been supplanted by artistic performances.

"As the church of Christ is the common home of all his people -- 'Barbarian, Scythian, bond and
free,' who are 'All one in Christ Jesus' -- and as singing is the only part of worship in which the
great mass of Christians can personally participate, no choir singing or instrumental music
should ever be allowed to interfere for a moment with this privilege and right of the saints."

Charles Louis Loos, professor emeritus of Greek at Transylvania University, Lexington,
Kentucky,in an article entitled
"Art-History in Churches; or, Church Aesthetics in Music,"  says
after quoting a sectarian article,
"Church Choirs in Commotion":  "The introduction of pure and
high art into church worship by means of artificial machinery and its usual artistic
accompaniment of operatic choirs, &c, &c, is advocated and justified on the grounds of
expediency.  Very well! -- but remember, ye friend of polity and expediency, that antecedent
reasoning, (though we fell able to meet the case even there) is not sufficient to settle such
questions with us... -- But before God and man, in its real good and final effects, better by far the
humbler music of praise swelling up from the warm, earnest hearts consecrated to God, than
the bewildering, heartless, aesthetic art-performances of organ and choir.  God hears and
accepts the one, as he hears and accepts the humblest prayer; -- but he rejects the other, for it
is a carnal offering to men's ears, and not to god.  Think of it! -- change the
worship of God to an
attraction for men's ears!
-- 'pray to be heard of men' and sing to be heard of men!  Sing, then,
and perform sweet music for men, and give up the false pretense of making God the object.  
Tell men honestly that these musical church performances are like the music on the balconies
of the museums, shows and theaters, to attract men, to invite patrons, and men will understand
you and appreciate the performance accordingly" (
Millennial Harbinger, 1868, pp. 280-285).

Elisha G. Sewell, former editor of
The Gospel Advocate, said: "The members of the church
themselves and for themselves are the ones that are required to sing, and they cannot hand
this duty over to a choir, whether with the organ or without the organ."

G.C. Brewer, the well known evangelist, debater and author, wrote: "We have contended
strongly against the song service being made void or being unscriptural by the introduction of
instruments, and against choirs -- hired choirs and others -- usurping the privilege of the
congregation by doing the singing and causing the audience -- those who should be
worshipping and praising God -- to sit in silence and be entertained; but it seems that we have
not yet been able sufficiently to impress the majority of Christians with the importance of this
part of worship to get them to take any serious or sincere part in it." (
The Model Church, p 138,

Andie T. Richie, Jr, professor of Bible at Harding College, in his book,
Thou Shalt Worship the
Lord Thy God
, writes: "Singing is for all.  It is not confined to a group of any kind within the
church" (p. 113).

W.D. Jeffcoat, preacher, song-writer, and director of the Middle Tennessee Christian School
Chorus, in the 1973 Free-Hardeman Lectures,
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, says: "It is
interesting to note that secular history supports the idea of congregational singing by the early
church.  Frank G. Allen in his
The Church -- Its Worship quotes from Ancient Christianity
by Lyman Coleman as follows: 'The prevailing mode of singing during the first
three centuries was congregational.  The whole congregation united their voices in the sacred
song of praise in strains suited to their ability... The most ancient and the most common mode
of singing was confessedly for the whole assembly, men, women and children, to blend their
voices in their songs of praise in the great congregation.' [
The Pioneers in Worship, The Old
Paths Book Club, 1947, p. 43].  Allen also quotes Hilary, Augustine and Chrysostrom as saying:
'Formerly all came together and united in their song, as is still our custom.  Men and women,
the aged and the young, were distinquished only by their skill in singing, for the spirit which led
the voice of each one, blended all in one harmonious melody.' [Ibid., p. 43].  Relative to such
innovations Allen quotes Coleman as stating, 'The devotional tendency of sacred music was
lost in the artistic style of its profane and secular airs.' [Ibid., p. 43]  That which corrupted the
worship in years past must not be ignored by Christians today.  We must not alter or modify that
which God dignified by divine sanction as an act of Christian worship." (p. 233,234).

Wayne Jackson, editor of
Christian Courier, author, evangelist and debater, writes, in an article
Does the New Testament Authorize Choir Singing as Worship?, commenting on the
"interchange of action" in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16:  "This is accomplished when
the church is engaged in congregational singing.  When one group (a choir) sings
for another
group (the listeners), no such interchange of action is involved.  Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16
therefore, authorize congregational singing.  The NT nowhere authorizes 'performance
worship!" (
Biblical Viewpoints, Vol. II, No. 3, p. 4).


Friends and brethren, it is the responsibility of those who would use special singers (choirs,
choruses, quartets, etc.) to show Biblical authority for their practice.  Biblical authority has been
shown for congregational singing.  Book, chapter and verse has been given.  Now, where is the
book, chapter and verse for special singers?

Unless book, chapter and verse can be produced for special singers (choir, choruses, quartets,
etc.), those who allow specialized singers to replace a worship service or to perform during one
are guilty of transgressing the doctrine of Christ.  Special singers have no part in the worship of
God in "regular" services, gospel meetings or singings.

Let us search for what God would have us to do (sing as a congregation); and, let us be content
with that.