Index by Subject


One of the most edifying acts of worship authorized by the Lord for Christians is “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19).

There is something about poetry set to a pleasant melody which uplifts men.  This fact was recognized by James when he wrote, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms” (James 5:13).  We are indeed blessed that God instructs us to edify and uplift one another as we praise Him in song.

It may be noted that the text mentioned above, (Ephesians 5:19), establishes some parameters which must be followed as we sing in worship.  For example, we see that the songs we are to sing are to be “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” In Christian worship, our singing must be limited to songs which fit into these categories.  Fortunately, there are many songs that conform to God’s standards.

Continue reading » Singing

Contending for the Faith: Instrument VS Non-Instrument

(The article below with the title above was sent to me with the request that I review it. I have done so in segments, interspersing my remarks with his. Mr. Mattingly’s comments appear in italics.)

Gary Mattingly – Christian Church preacher

    First and foremost, we must see that there is a fundamental difference in the hermeneutics (This is the interpretation of Scripture) between the two groups. The non-instrumental brethren see the ‘silence of the Scripture’ to be a prohibition. If the scriptures do not have a "thus saith the Lord" on a subject, then, to this group, we must not do it. They feel that the New Testament says nothing about instruments, therefore, they should be refused in worship.

    We, within the Christian Church/Church of Christ, use a hermeneutic that says for the most part, if there is silence in Scripture, we can use liberty on the subject. If the Scripture does not say ‘thou shalt use an instrument in worship’, we find this a liberty. We can use it or not use it. This is the underlying cause for our differences today in the instrumental issue. You must see this clearly before you can talk about this further. This is a must to see!

Silence Of The Scriptures A Prohibition?

First, before we begin, let it be noted that Gary Mattingly has admitted that he can find no scriptural authority for mechanical instruments of music in worship. If he had such authority, he could not argue has he has done in this treatise. If the premises of his reasoning in this essay are true, instrumental music cannot be justified by any reference to Scripture. Forevermore, he has cut himself off from every appeal to the Bible to justify their use. He cannot cite the Old Testament. He cannot reason that the scriptural terms, "sing," "psalms," or "make melody," include the instrument in their meaning. No, he can never make such arguments, for he here contends that the use of such instruments is without a "’thus saith the Lord’."

Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Instrument VS Non-Instrument

Walking Worthy: Worshipping with an Instrument

God knows how to describe the use of mechanical instruments in musical worship. A cursory review of the Old Testament will show David’s devotion to various instruments, including the trumpet, harp, flute and cymbals (Psalm 150). Indeed, God knows how to talk about instrumental music in such explicit terms that no one could miss the point.

The question then must be raised, why has he failed to permit or command us to use instrumental music in worship of the New Testament economy? For whatever reason, God knows, he has chosen to remain silent on the subject of using such instruments, but has been more than explicit about the use of one’s heart and voice to sing his praises.

Continue reading » Walking Worthy: Worshipping with an Instrument

A Free-Form Exchange on Instrumental Music and the Holy Spirit

( Editor’s Note: The following correspondence was initiated with brother Hafley by a man who sought to defend the use of instruments of music in Christian worship. We will limit our identification of the man to his first name, Don. Don’s grammar and punctuation, as well as his sentence construction, lacks formality. We thought it best, however, to retain the form rather than seeking to edit the posts of one with which we disagree. The correspondence is reprinted here for your study on this important subject.)

Don (Post 1):

we better stop praying “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”there are musical instruments in heavenThank You Lord Jesus for filling this brothers heart with Your version of Your word.The Lord won’t agree with my version of “nothin.”Message text written by don

Larry Ray Hafley (Post 1)

Don,Where did you learn that there are “musical instruments in heaven”?Please cite the source of your information.Thanx. Larry Continue reading » A Free-Form Exchange on Instrumental Music and the Holy Spirit

Contending for the Faith: Correspondence with a Charismatic

Editor’s Note: The following is an email discussion between Larry Hafley and a man by the name of Donald M. Haas. In order to preserve the exact discussion, the exchange is published as received by brother Hafley, with no attempt made to correct spelling, grammar or punctuation errors.


we better stop praying “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

there are musical instruments in heaven

Thank You Lord Jesus for filling this brothers heart with Your version of Your word.

The Lord won’t agree with my version of “nothin.”

Message text written by donald m haas



Where did you learn that there are “musical instruments in heaven”?

Please cite the source of your information.

Thanx. Larry Continue reading » Contending for the Faith: Correspondence with a Charismatic

Queries and Explications: Are Musical Instruments Sanctioned by God?

Editor’s Note: This article is the final article brother Larry Hafley will write under the heading “Queries and Explications.” Question and Answer columns are common in magazines, and Q&A formats are common on the internet as well. However, we have found that utilizing the column format on the internet in this way to be rather unworkable. Too often the questions sent in were not conducive to answering in this format. Some thought that the feature was a research tool, and used it to request information we could not supply. One visitor who obviously had not read any of our articles asked for a list of denominations with predominately black memberships in the Philadelphia area! Others were simply asking for advice from Larry. Many expected that every query would receive a response, something that is obviously not possible due to Larry’s time constraints. The intention was to supply a list of questions that could be answered from month to month in this forum. So, though this noble experiment is coming to an end, we are by no means saying goodbye to Larry. He will continue to write a monthly column which will come out under another name beginning with the March issue. Too, we will depend on his prodigious pen to complement our magazine with other materials from time to time. This will free Larry from the constraints of a Q&A column, and allow him to write on those issues he feels are greatest in importance.

“The advocators of musical instruments (in the Philippines) are using Old Testament verses. They say, “Musical instruments are sanctioned by God because they are found in the Old Testament.” How do you answer them? Continue reading » Queries and Explications: Are Musical Instruments Sanctioned by God?

The Simple Gospel: A Capella

You can ask almost anyone what the definition of “a capella” is and they will say something like, “Oh, that just means to sing without using instrumental assistance.” And while that is correct, very few people know that “a capella” is a Latin phrase which actually uses different words than we think when translated. Literally translated, “a capella” means “as in church.” It is a term that comes down through history and into our language from the Catholic Church. The term was used to differentiate the kind of proper music that was used in Catholic worship for many centuries from all other types of music which had little to do with worship and mostly to do with entertainment. So we see that “a capella” was the use of the voice as the only appropriate music for worship in early Catholic history.

Did you know that although there are some references to the introduction of organs or harps, etc. as early as the 7th Century in Catholic historical documents here and there, it was rare and was so innovative as to be considered as heretical for nearly a thousand years after this? One fairly early, highly quoted and well known Catholic writer, Thomas Aquinas wrote in the 13th Century, “Our church does not use musical instruments, as harps and psalteries, to praise God withal, that she may not seem to Judaize” (Bingham’s Antiquities, Vol. 3, page 137). Continue reading » The Simple Gospel: A Capella

Voices from the Past: Origin of Instrumental Music in Christian Worship (M.C. Kurfees)

Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, 1898

The demand for this tract seems as great today as it was when the first edition appeared, more than three years ago; and the fifth edition, which is pubblished by the Gospel Advocate Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, is herewith given to the public. The widespread and increasing demand for a publication which is in direct opposition to the popular use of instrumental music in the worship of God is one of the significant and encouraging signs of the times and with special reference to the logical merits of the argument presented in the following pages, a prominent Episcopalian bishop writes: “If the premises you lay down are true, your conclusion is irresistible.” My confidence in the correctness of the premises laid down not only remains unshaken, but is strengthened by a more extended survey of the field of evidence, and thus far no one has made a formal attempt to meet the argument submitted. If those who know the truth on the issue involved will not become discouraged, but continue to “cry aloud and spare not” against all presumptuous interference with the divinely appointed worship many churches of the present age will yet be saved from this high-handed sin; they will be made to feel the force of the solemn apostolic admonition “not to go beyond the things which are written.”


M.C. Kurfees Louisville, Ky., March, 1898 Continue reading » Voices from the Past: Origin of Instrumental Music in Christian Worship (M.C. Kurfees)