The use of mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship is authorized by the Bible
neither believe, teach, nor practice it. Hence the issue between us. It is evident that both of us cannot be right. If he is right, I am wrong; if I am right, he is wrong. Since somebody is wrong it is fitting and proper that we should come together and endeavor to find out who it is.
The standard of Authority in this debate is, as the proposition states, the Bible.
The burden of proof rests squarely on the shoulders of my opponent. It is his responsibility to prove beyond any shadow of doubt that the Bible authorizes,sanctions, justifies, and legally warrants the use of such mechanical instrument in Christian worship. He must show by scriptural proof, clear reasoning, and logical deduction that the word of God undeniably substantiates the proposition which he affirms. The only responsibility devolving upon me is the refutation of the arguments which he makes by showing they do not prove the point under discussion. They might prove something else; they might be beautiful and interesting dissertations, but if they do not prove this one thing, viz., that the Bible teaches Christians to use instrumental music in the worship of God, they go for naught and the proposition falls.
Of course if I should offer counter arguments, which I shall, the burden of proof
shifts to my shoulders. But should I completely fail to establish the proof ofsuch counter
arguments, my failure would not lessen the work cut out for him. He still would be
obligated to prove beyond any possibility of a shadow of a doubt that the Bible
authorizes the use of mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship.
Each round my opponent may ask up to 2 questions and i will try my best to answer it. The same goes for me, I will ask up to 2 questions and my opponent will try to answer it clearly and biblically. First round is acceptance and in this round my opponent will post his first affirmative
Good luck to both of us.
Now, the one thing that my opponent failed to do is provide a definition of the term 'mechanical instrument', so I shall suggest one myself. I suggest that we use the exact same definition that was used in the link that he provided, which reads as follows:
"Any material man-made contrivance from which music is produced, as an organ, harp, violin, piano or flute."
Bearing this definition in mind, my argument is very simple.
Psalm 150 reads as follows:
"Praise the Lord! Praise God in his temple; praise him in his mighty heaven.
Praise him for his strength; praise him for his greatness.
Praise him with trumpet blasts; praise him with harps and lyres.
Praise him with tambourines and dancing; praise him with stringed instruments and flutes.
Praise him with with loud cymbals; praise him with crashing cymbals.
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!"
As we are agreeing to accept the Bible as the sole standard of authority in this debate, I think that the above passage settles the matter rather unambiguously.
I thank my opponent for accepting this open debate.
My opponent said that i have failed to provide a definition of a term when he is the one who should be defining it(because he is the Pro). He has also failed to define the other terms in this debate. Now onto the debate.
Does psalm 150 prove Instrumental music in christian worship?
the Old Testament truly did authorize playing instruments as musical praise to God. But this tells us nothing about what God wants today. Today we(christians) follow the New Testament.
Hebrews 7:12 - The law was changed.
Hebrews 7:18 - The law was annulled.
Hebrews 10:9,10 - The first covenant was taken away by Jesus, so He could establish the second covenant.
Galatians 3:24,25 - The law was a tutor to bring us to Christ. We are no longer under that tutor.
Galatians 4:21; 5:1-4 - Those who desire to be under the law are entangled in a yoke of bondage, Christ profits them nothing, they are severed from Christ and fallen from grace.
Galatians 5:18 - We are not under the law.
Galatians 2:4,5 - Those who believe we should follow the law are false brethren to whom we should not submit even for an hour.
Romans 7:1-7 - We are dead to the law (v4), and discharged from the law (v6). To follow it today would be like a woman whose husband dies, then she remarries; but she still obeys the will of her dead husband instead of her living husband!
Colossians 2:14,16 - Christ blotted out the handwriting of ordinances which were against us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. No man should judge us on the basis of its commands.
To follow the law is to contradict Christ, who died to remove it!
If we seek to follow part of the law, then we are bound to keep the whole thing. Either all of it is binding, or none of it is binding.
Consider some examples of Old Testament practices. On what Scriptural basis may we practice some. but leave off the others?
1) Seventh-day sabbath (including the death penalty)
If you reject any of these practices for today, how can you accept instruments? If you accept instruments, how can you reject any of the others? If you accept any of it, you are bound to accept the rest, and then you are fallen from grace, etc.
Note the items marked with an asterisk (*). No New Testament passage expressly says that any of these are not included today. Hence, if we can have instruments because they are nowhere specifically forbidden today, then we may also practice all these other items for the same reason.
But no matter. My opponent has not disputed my suggested definition of 'mechanical instruments' and I think that all the other terms in the resolution are sufficiently obvious not to require explicit definition.
Now, my opponent starts by acknowledging that while playing instruments was authorised in the Old Testament, this tells us nothing about what God wants today. This is an interesting use of logic, especially given 1 Samuel 15:29, which says, "The Lord is the Eternal One of Israel. He does not lie or change his mind. He is not a human being, so he does change his mind."
If, according to the Bible, God does not change his mind, or lie, and if musical instruments were acceptable to him in the past, then they must still be acceptable to him now.
But that is a relatively minor point. My opponent's central argument seems to be as follows:
1. God's law initially authorised the use of musical instruments.
2. The law was abolished as a result of Christ's death. (To use his exact words, 'to follow the law is to contradict Christ, who died to remove it.')
3. We have no reason therefore to believe that the use of instruments is authorised now.
Now this argument is incredibly weak. For a start, I do not accept 2, and I might articulate why I believe this to be false in future rounds. But notice that I don't have to, since 3 does not follow from 1 and 2 anyway.
If it is the case that musical instruments are not authorised, then it therefore follows that they are against God's law. This follows by definition of what it means for something to be authorised. But if there is no law - if it is abolished and we no longer need to follow it, as my opponent claims, then it cannot not be permissible for Christians not to worship God with musical instruments.
In short, claiming that musical instruments are not authorised necessarily implies a law which is explicitly not authorising the instruments. Since my opponent thinks that no law now exists, we therefore cannot accept the possibility that musical instruments are not authorised.
I therefore claim that we have solid grounds to believe that musical instruments are authorised by the Bible. I showed this to be the case in my first argument, and my opponent has so far failed to produce a convincing argument to counter it.
I would like to thank my for his response. I would also like to say sorry for my long response. now onto the debate.
My opponent said:
"Now, my opponent starts by acknowledging that while playing instruments was authorised in the Old Testament, this tells us nothing about what God wants today. This is an interesting use of logic, especially given 1 Samuel 15:29, which says, "The Lord is the Eternal One of Israel. He does not lie or change his mind. He is not a human being, so he does change his mind."
If, according to the Bible, God does not change his mind, or lie, and if musical instruments were acceptable to him in the past, then they must still be acceptable to him now."
-First of all, I am unsure of the translation that he is using,but here it is in the KJV:
"And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent."
My opponent made a faulty argument in this passage.In the context of this passage, the first phrase that states that
My opponent said:
"the Old Testament truly did authorize playing instruments as musical praise to God. But this tells us nothing about what God wants today. Today we(christians) follow the New Testament."
I know my my opponent knows that the law I am talking about is the Old Testament Law. He has twisted my arguments. Since my opponent's assertion was based on this. His argument crumbles.
Secondly, according to him he does not need to prove premise 1 and 2 since it does not follow premise three. but nowhere do i see any explanation why is this.
Lastly, I therefore conclude that musical instruments are not authorised in the Bible and that my opponent has not produced any convincing arguments that will defend the proposition nor defended his so-called claims clearly and biblically.
So let's examine this argument. Does the Bible teach that the old law of the Old Testament is abolished, and that we are now called to follow a new law established by Christ. Most emphatically not. Jesus himself is emphatically clear on the matter, saying in Matthew 5:17-20 (NIV):
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."
Jesus' words could not be more unambiguous. He is not abolishing the law. Every single letter of the law stays until heaven and earth themselves disappear, and anyone who teaches otherwise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven.
This point is further reinforced by Jesus' teaching in Matthew 7:12, where he says:
"Do to others what you want them to do you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets."
Notice that this teaching - what is now called the 'golden rule' - is clearly described as a summary, and not a replacement, of Old Testament law. No I would certainly agree with my opponent that, according to the Bible, Jesus clearly changed the rules of the game, in that by dying for humankind, he opened up a path of forgiveness and grace. He removed the consequences that used to follow by disobeying God's law, but he did not change the law itself. The writer Paul makes this point very clearly in Romans 6:14-15, stating in verse 14 (NIV) that "sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace" but going on to balance that in verse 15 (NIV) with "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means!"
So Paul is very clear. Jesus' actions do not mean that people should sin. But what is sin? By definition, sin is breaking the law of God. But what is the law of God? The law that was given in the Old Testament, the law that Jesus explicitly endorses in Matthew, the law that was never replaced. And so Paul writes later on in Chapter 7 verse 4 that people are free from the law - not because the law now no longer exists (if that were the case, there would be nothing to be free from) but because we are free from the consequences that used to come from breaking the law. By opponent quotes this verse (and others) out of context to try to prove his twisted point that the law itself no longer exists, but a proper reading of the passage in context clearly renders this interpretation absurd.
Given that the law itself remains today what it always was, we therefore have no choice but to conclude that the playing of musical instruments is acceptable to God now, as it always was. The practice was clearly permitted in the Old Testament, I have established that the law has not changed, and notice that my opponent is not able to provide one single verse from the New Testament to suggest that God now considers musical instruments unacceptable. No, the best he can do is produce isolated verses out of context to suggest (wrongly) that the law of God has changed, but he cannot produce any evidence whatsoever that God's specific stance on musical instruments has changed.
Of course, if the Bible never mentioned musical instruments at all, then my opponent might be entitled to argue that no evidence exists to suggest that they are acceptable to him, and rely on the fact that the burden of proof is on me to prove the resolution. But given that the Bible does mention musical instruments and does clearly authorise them, as I pointed out in my first argument, I claim that the burden of proof is met, unless and until my opponent can produce reasonable evidence to suggest that musical instruments are unacceptable to God. So far, he has not done so.
My opponent assumes that the verses Matt. 5:17-20; Matt. 7:12; Rom 6:14-15 prove that the Old testament is still in force today thus proving that instrumental music is authorized in Christian worship. Well, what about we examine these verses carefully if it does so.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.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…”
My opponent is saying Jesus came to continue the Old Testament Law or that he came to add some laws to the old one. No it’s not so! Jesus, in Matt. 5:18 said God’s word cannot be changed or altered till the earth and heavens pass unless God himself fulfills His word. To fulfill never means to add or continue. Webster defines fulfill as to carry out a promise, to a duty, to satisfy a condition, to bring to an end, to complete. Jesus fulfilled the law (genesis –Deuteronomy) when the promises and the prophecies written therein came true in Him-even His death, Burial, Resurrection and Ascension.
It is said in Luke 24:44-45 that after Christ had risen from the dead, He appeared to His disciples in a room and said to them that all things which were written concerning Him in the Law of Moses, prophets and Psalms must come true. Let us study the Law, the prophets, and psalms to see whether Christ had fulfilled those things concerning Him. I would like to give you two examples on each for time and space sake.
Now concerning the Law: God promised Abraham, “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou has obeyed my voice.”(Gen 22:18). So, let’s go straight to a verse which says Jesus is the seed of Gen 22:18. If we see it, then, Jesus has fulfilled the Law (Moses, five books).
Gal. 3:16: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”
Deut. 18:15 says, “Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;” It is the New testament which teaches the fulfillment of this prophecy in Acts 3:19-26 that Christ is the prophecy who Moses spoke of.
Now concerning the Psalms: (1) Pls. read Psalms 22:18 and read how it was fulfilled in John 19:23-24
(2) David spoke of Jesus in Psalms 16:10. We can know the fulfillment from Mark 16:6-7.
Read also Acts 2:22-28; Eph. 4:8; I Cor. 15:4. Did he come to destroy the Psalms? No.
Now concerning the Prophets. The messianic Prophet Isaiah prophesied concerning Jesus the Messiah in Isa. 53:6-8.
Christ Jesus our lord fulfilled this prophecy when he was before Pontius Pilate in Mark 15:3,5. Read also Acts 8:29-35.
The prophet Micah also prophesied concerning the Messiah in Micah 5:2. Matthew recorded the fulfillment in Matt. 2:5-6.
There are so many prophecies in the Law (Genesis-Deuteronomy), Psalms and the Prophets fulfilled in Christ. Have you now understood what Jesus meant when he said, “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill”?
My opponent has misinterpreted this verse as what he have done to the others. This verse merely denotes the sum or substance of the Old Testament. And it’s thought does not say the old testament is still in force.
This merely says that we should not abuse our high and holy calling because we are not under that law which makes no provision for pardon, but are under that Gospel which has opened the fountain to wash away all sin and defilement. And my opponent made a false claim that “ he did not change the law itself” which is a direct contradiction to Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Heb. 10:9 etc.
My opponent is very confident in his contention in the psalms. If that is so, then he must also concede to the fact that we must also have burnt sacrifices, kill false teachers, incense Psalms 69:24,28;Psalms 66:13,15; Psalms 141:2 . See the fatal consequences when we follow my opponent’s doctrine.
Because of lack of time i will further elaborate my arguments in the next round
Now my opponent says:
"Jesus, in Matt. 5:18 said God's word cannot be changed or altered till the earth and heavens pass unless God himself fulfills His word"
But this is simply not correct. There is absolutely nothing in the passage to suggest that that God's word can be changed if God himself 'fulfills His word'. I quote the relevant part of the passage again from the NIV:
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."
The text is crystal clear that the law remains unchanged until heaven and earth disappear, not until God 'fulfill's' anything. Now, the version of the Bible that my opponent quotes from is also perfectly clear on this point, but given that the language, as I have noted, is rather archaic, this fact is a little more difficult to see. The text is as follows:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.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…"
It's not too difficult to see how "till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" is equivalent to "until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished".
Now earth itself is clearly still here, so my opponent must accept that according to the Bible, the law stands unchanged.
Now my opponent spends a great deal of time attempting to show that Jesus fulfills the Old Testament. I have already shown this argument to be completely irrelevant, but I would also say that I agree with him, that according to the Bible, Jesus fulfills the Old Testament. I agree that according to the Bible, Jesus is the fulfillment of many prophecies and writings in the Old Testament. What my opponent and I disagree on is the nature of that fulfillment. My opponent seems to be clinging to the idea that Jesus abolished the law - a bizarre notion that is clearly not supported by the text. I however say, as I explained in previous rounds, that Jesus fulfilled the law by removing the consequences that come from breaking the law - by taking those consequences himself when he died on the cross.
To reinforce this point, can my opponent explain why, if Jesus did abolish the law as he claims, he then went on to die on the cross? If the law had been abolished, then the consequences and penalties for breaking the law would have been abolished also, meaning that there would have been no need for Jesus to die at all. You can't take the consequences for a law that doesn't exist! This point is highlighted clearly in John 3:36, which says:
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."
God's wrath remains, because that is the wrath that comes from breaking the law; a law that was never abolished, and will never be abolished until heaven and earth disappear.
With that out of the way, there is very little left for me to refute. My opponent clearly has no real answer to Matthew 7:12 - can he explain why Jesus would be summing up a law that no longer exists and telling people to live that way?
Explaining away Romans 6:14-15, my opponent is forced to resort to poetic language, "but are under that Gospel which has opened the fountain to wash away all sin and defilement" to mask the fact that he doesn't have an argument. What he says simply reinforces what I have been consistently saying. Jesus' actions removed the consequences for breaking the law, not the law itself. Had he done the latter, there would be no sin and defilement to wash away! The Hebrews passage read in context clearly reinforces this principle, and in Jeremiah 31:33 we find "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts." How my opponent can use this passage to argue that the law no longer exists I'm not quite sure - that passage alone makes it clear that the law is not going away, but that God will, as the passage puts it, write it on people's hearts.
As for my opponent's final point, he seems to have missed an important distinction between being allowed to do something and being commanded to do something. The Bible clearly allows us to worship God with musical instruments, but it does not require us to. We can worship God with or without them. Similarly, Psalm 141.2 allows us to use incense, but we do not have to - and indeed, Catholic Churches still do use incense in their services. As for Psalm 66 13:15, given that the purpose of sacrifice was to atone for sins, and Jesus has already done that, it would be silly to continue doing it, and I see nothing in Psalm 69 to support the killing of false prophets.
So once again, we see that there is absolutely no basis to my opponent's argument that the law has changed, and once again I notice that he is unable to produce any passage from the Bible to actually suggest that God's attitude towards musical instruments has changed.
DAN123 forfeited this round.
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