An Bible Alone error to consider


No Musical instruments in church worship.

The early church was Jewish and as such had musical instruments used in worship. But, if one goes Bible Alone, they point out that the NT does not command the use of musical instruments in worship. As such, some Bible Alone sects, called church of christ does not have musical instruments in worship.

When the church was under the fires of perscution by the roman goverment, the use of musical instruments fell out of use.

1 Corinthians 14:7
Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes?

Revelation 14:2
And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.


There are no musical instruments in the Meeting I attend…I don’t understand the point of the post. Are you seeking to contrast the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church?


If I am correct, the Church of Christ that you are speaking of believes that the covenant in the NT completely replaced the covenants and laws in the OT (with the exception of the 10 commandments). I was listening to the Journey Home the other night and this same thing was brought up. I live in a town with a Church of Christ college so I have lots of CoC aquaintances and they’ve told me this same thing.


Do you worship at your meeting, or is it a kind of study session?

Do you sing? If so, do you sing in parts, or like the Amish, is your song strictly in unison?

I ask merely because I LOVE a capella singing – as well as the full panoply of classical instrumental accompaniment (no tambourines, guitars & bongo drums, please).

Certain Eastern Orthodox Churches do not use musical instruments in their worship – not because of any New Testament neglect of the subject but because they believe the human voice is the instrument made by God himself and is therefore most perfectly suited to his praise – and MAN! Do they make beautiful music!


We do have a time of singing…if one comes early…but there is no music or singing during worship unless the Light moves someone to a vocal ministry through singing…during worship we…worship. We don’t have a “study session” during Meeting for worship either…we have First Day School for those who wish to meet for scripture study.


Oops. Just saw your profile. Sorry. The user name “Publisher” made me think you were JW, but your “no music” thing made me think you were C of C. Anyway, thanks for the answer. Learn something every day.


The first group of Friends were called the “Valiant Sixty” or “Publishers of Truth”…when I chose my screen name, I didn’t think of the JW’s. Are they called “Publishers”?


Yes, they are. Because that’s what they DO! The central office of their organization is the Watchtower publications center!

Again: I learned something from you today.

Some of the finest schools & colleges in the country are Quaker in origin. I have great respect for the tradition.


My point is in a nutshell. Some Bible Alone CoC, claim that the NT church did not use musical instruments in worship because the NT does not say anything about them. But, we know that they used these because they were Jewish. And, archeology of early churches dug up musical instruments. So, based on their personal interpretations of scripture, they deny that the early church had musical instruments, and make a point of not having such today.

Now, if we took their system of interpretation too far, then all male christians would be sinning by wearing pants.

Luke 15:22
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet

Luke 12:35
Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

Ephesians 6:14
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Jesus comands us christians to tie up our robe around our loins when we prepare for battle.

The NT does not command us to wear pants in worship. But, we know from Rev 6, that we will be given white robes in heaven to wear, thus our example and command is to wear robes, not pants.

So, why do CoC men wear pants?


We get your point the CoC are hypocrites. Picking and choosing from scripture what they want to follow and what they do not. Heck, they approve of contraception, wheres that at in the NT?Can we move on?:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :smiley:


Please do not call our CoC brethren “hypocrites.”

GK Chesterton once said that he would have become a Catholic a lot sooner if it hadn’t been for the Catholics.


No I am not calling people names. I am dealing with their application, principle of bible alone interpretation. I’ll let one of them state their bible alone principle of interpretation I am dealing with,

In the New Testament, which is our guide today, the apostle, Paul, says that faith comes by hearing the word of God and that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. **This is another way of saying that if you cannot find command or example for an act of worship in the will of Christ (the New Testament), you should not do that act. **(Study Romans 10:17 and 14:23)

If we apply their principle of bible alone, then we have examples of christians worshipping in white robes. There are no examples of people wearing dresses, nor pants in worship in the NT because frankly Levis had not invented pants yet. But, there are examples of people wearing robes in worship, therefore based on their bible alone principle of interpretation stated in the quote above, they are forbidden to wear pants, dresses, etc in worship. They are only allowed based on their principle of interpretation which is the HEART of Bible Alone doctrine to wear robes, perferrly white robes.

Revelation 6:11
Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.

Revelation 7:9
The Great Multitude in White Robes ] After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

Revelation 7:13
Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

Revelation 7:15
And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, "they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.

Jerome writes,

  1. Others may praise you if they will, and celebrate your victories over the devil. They may eulogize you for the smiling face with which you bore the loss of your daughters, or for the resolution with which, forty days after they fell asleep, you exchanged your mourning for **a white robe to attend the dedication **of a martyr’s bones; unconcerned for a bereavement which was the concern of the whole city, and anxious only to share in a martyr’s triumph.

I am sure if one searches they can find many examples of one wearing robes in early church worship in church history or the fathers.

In short, based on their “bible alone” they should only wear robes in worship, no dresses, no underwear, no pants because there is no example of people wearing dresses, pants, nor underwear in worship in the NT.


I am dealing with their application, principle of bible alone interpretation.

Let’s just make sure we are clarifying CoC with all these statements. I’ve never been exposed to a Protestant body that did not use instruments. The debate is usually, which to use? Younger generations want bass, drums, and electric guitar while the older tend to want piano with a little violin and classical guitar, or organ only.

I’m as baffled as all of you on the CoC teachings.


I visited a CoC back in the mid-70s with a friend. They had music, but a capella. They made quite a big point of telling me that they don’t believe in any musical instruments, finding this in Scripture. In those days I was also attending a Pentecostal church in which musical instruments of every type were banged, clanged, and blown in a cacophony of racket between every song.

Being that I was a professional musician in those days, it didn’t seem likely to me that a specific rejection of musical instruments made any Scriptural sense, especially in view of the fact that the human voice is a type of musical instrument, one of the very earliest.


Hi JesseW, first a little history. The reformers, calvin, luther, etc., recognised some of the ecumenical church councils as being authoritive, they also recongised early creeds, like Nicea on the trinity for example, apostles creed etc., They even employed church history and the church fathers.

Now, in American history there was a movement called the Christian Connection which was an Arain group of boston unitarians. They purposed a priniclple called “Bible Alone” which states basically, if it is not in the Bible then it is not authoritive for christians to follow. This movement influnced various American movements like the adventist movements, restoration movements and so on.

The Restoration Movement which Church of Christ is part of says, “no creed execpt the Bible” meaning if it is not in the Bible it is not true. Church of Christ tends to be congregational in nature with no church hiearchy above them.

  • Some, CoC noticed that there is no reference to musical instruments in worship in the NT. So, they formed a rule that musical instruments are forbidden in worship. * in forming that rule they were acting on their definition, understanding of what Bible Alone means.

The purpose of this thread is using the musical instrument along with my example of no pants, no dresses and no underwear allowed in worship, only robes to address the heart of the Bible Alone theology.

The Heart of the Bible Alone is simply stated, if it is not in the Bible then it is not authoritive for Christians.

If you think about modern life vs life in the times of Christ, one can generate a long list of things not in scripture. Cars for example, early christians walked to church, therefore driving to church is forbidden, after all it is not in the bible. Church Buildings, early christians met in homes ( 2 John ) — therefore worship in a church building is forbidden.

Anti-Catholics follow the definition of Bible Alone given in this post. So, I think it is good to generate a list of things that would be forbidden to modern christians based on their principle of interpretation — that is “if it is not in the bible, then it is forbidden.”

Mark 14:51-52
A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.

Based on Mark 14, followers of Jesus are NOT to wear underwear.


List things that we have today, electricity, fans, electric lamps, pews, church buildings, underwear, dresses, pants, cars, shoes vs sandals, paper money vs coins, ---- basically, things they did not have in NT times. None of these things are in the Bible.

So, if Bible Alone is taken to mean “if it is not in the bible, then it is forbidden”, then all those modern things are forbidden right?

here I googled “if it is not in the bible”, and here is the principle at work,

“If it is not in the Bible, I will not believe it.”

“if it is not in the Bible, you must be silent on the matter. …”

“if it is not in the Bible, we don’t do it!”

“Just say that everything is false,if it is not in the bible.”

“Basically if it is not in the Bible, don’t do it.”

“The belief was that the Church had built a huge edifice upon false truths, so if it is not in the Bible, we need not believe it. …”

So, in short, those CoC are applying their principle of bible alone. So, lets take their principle of Bible Alone and apply it to all kinds of things like forbidding christians to wear underwear.


Thanks! I feel a little ignorant. I wasn’t aware of that movement. I was confusing it with Scripture Only v. Scripture + Tradition- that’s why the discussion wasn’t making much sense to me. I kept shaking my head and thinking, “wow, they think we’re a bunch of wackos!”


Hi Publisher -

I see here an opportunity for us to learn.

Many here have not attended a Friends Meeting, myself included. I saw on another thread your posting…

I am not, I am quite happy and secure where I am…I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling than experiencing the Real Presence in our midst each First Day as we gather for worship.

I have walked my own Eamaus Road…and found the One who shared Living Bread and Drink with me.

Could you describe for us a typical Friends Meeting?

Would you know if it follows the same structure as the original meetings of the 1600’s? If not, how has it changed? (The Catholic Mass follows pretty closely the original services, but as been shortened and uses the vernacular)

Noticing the post I quoted above, could you explain how the Real Presence comes into the meeting’s midst.

As you may have seen here, for a Catholic, the Real Presence is in the Eucharist after consecration. I am only looking for a comparison.



I don’t think that there is an account of anyone going to the bathroom in the Bible.

Does this mean that we shouldn’t go potty? :hmmm:



Obviously some non-Catholic Christians take biblical guidance much further than just faith and morals. I wonder if many “bible-alone” Christians look to Scripture for guidance only on matters of faith and morals the way Catholics look to Church teaching? I thought I’d ask because, oddly enough, I don’t know many non-Catholic Christians.


A little of topic here, but generally there were not musical instruments in synagouges (with the exception of the Rams horn, which was not used to accompany singing). As I understand Jewish history, and I could be wrong here, musical instruments were used only in the temple, and especially after the destruction of the temple, musical instruments were not used in synagogues…some Reform, Conservative and small branches of Judaism use musical instruments now, but most do not…though there is singing and chanting.

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