The April 1, 2006 edition of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer included an article about recent efforts of some in the churches of Christ and the Independent Christian Church to reconcile with each other after 100 years of separation. The two religious groups were first recognized as being separated by the U.S. religious census in 1906. One of the major reasons for the split was over the use of instruments in worship. The Independent Christian Church embraced the use of the instrument in worship; whereas, churches of Christ did not regard their use as being authorized in the New Testament.
The question on the minds of many is, “Does it really make any difference whether or not an instrument is used in worship to God? Should religious people be divided over something as insignificant as instruments?” Undoubtedly, unity is a biblical and noble quest. Jesus prayed for it (John 17:20-21). The apostle Paul commended it (1 Corinthians 1:10). But, at what price should it be attained?
The issue of instruments being used in worship is far greater than the instrument itself. It really has to do with the issue of authority. In religious matters, the only two choices available to us is divine authority or human authority. There is no other. Either the use of instruments in worship is from man or it is from God. If from God, then to oppose their use or to divide over it is ungodly and unspiritual. If from man, then their use amounts to spiritual haughtiness and rebellion.
Divine authority for any action settles the matter whether we accept it or not. The proper question to ask is, “Where does God authorize the use of instruments of music in worship in the New Testament?” Such authorization is nowhere to be found. That settles it and makes all the difference in the world!