Acappella Music

Stained_glass_church
In case you haven’t seen it…here’s a well-written editorial from the Christian Chronicle…regardless of where you are on the instrumental/acappella issue:

Events throughout the church in the last year have raised the issue of music
once again to a high pitch. It is a much-discussed topic that has produced a
great deal of anxiety and reaction.

Churches of Christ have a long and
deeply rooted commitment to a cappella worship music. Music and singing in
particular touch a deep and personal note in our hearts as few experiences can.
Singing, like prayer, binds us together both as we sing and as we offer our
inner beings to God. It inspires us and strengthens us. It makes us happy and
expresses our sorrow. It reminds us of God’s love and important times of faith
in our lives. It is personal and integral to our very faith in God.

One
church writer observed: “The theological reason for the practice (of a cappella
singing) is that the human voice being created by God is the most worthy
instrument for use in praising God.”

A cappella congregational singing
makes every worshiper equal before God, not because of any ability to perform
but because of the desire to sing and express worship to the Lord from our
hearts. It is a “first fruit” offering from within ourselves to the one who
created us, saves us and gives us hope for eternity. It is giving from within
the very being that he gave us. It is personal. It is
precious.

Singing is indicative of a simple and
fundamental understanding of God’s word to “sing and make melody in your heart.”
The convictions of our hearts and minds are affirmed in song with our own
voices.

We have long thought that we should do much more in developing
the beauty and confessional power of congregational singing. Scripture speaks of
“singing to one another,” and we should find ways to sing to each other and
inspire each other in all walks of life as well as in worship.

The next
generation of Christians should learn from our example. We should endeavor to
show each generation the richness, diversity and beauty of a cappella
worship.

The fact is that singing alone was the only form of music
practiced in the New Testament church and for the first 500 years of the
Christian faith. We know that singing from the heart is always acceptable to the
Lord.

Several early Christian writers such as Hippolytus, Clement of
Alexandria, Eusebius, Tertullian and Ignatius affirmed a cappella singing as did
general practice throughout the empire, and their testimony provides a record of
the early Christian practice.

We urge believers to refocus on a serious
study of how to make our teaching about music part of a fully developed theology
and our practice of congregational singing the richest, deepest and most
inspiring experience. That means dethroning our pet peeves and personal
preferences about music. It also means emphasizing the importance of each
person’s heart before God as we sing and praise him.

We must make our
singing all that it can possibly be, both musically and spiritually. Let us be
known for musical worship that is part of a fabric of love and not a culture of
divisiveness. As editor emeritus Bailey McBride shows in his Insight column this month, this is possible when we put Christ
first and love the church with all our hearts. Let us be known for truly
inspirational spiritual singing.

The vast majority of Churches of Christ
practice a cappella singing, based on the conviction that it is the offering God
seeks from his people.

It is our fervent prayer that discussions of
church music will not derail the church’s urgent need to tell the gospel story
of Jesus to our world or promote divisions among us.

Let us with firm
conviction and kindness affirm our faith and understanding of what God calls us
to do.

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on ChurchLeaders.com, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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