10 - BECAUSE OF ITS OPPOSITION TO INNOVATIONS IN WORSHIP
It will be impossible for us to notice all the innovations that have marred the worship of the Lord's church. For that reason, we have selected three items of worship, and shall notice some of the innovations that have destroyed their original beauty. They are: Music in the church, The Lord's Supper, and The Teaching of the Word. In John 4:24 Jesus said the following, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” All acceptable worship must come from a pure heart, whose motives are just and true. And, all acceptable worship must be offered according to the truth of God's Word. A failure to observe either renders the worship vain and ineffective.
MUSIC IN THE CHURCH. A careful survey of the New Testament will reveal that only vocal music was used by early Christians in praising God. Such scriptures as the following bear this out: 1 Cor. 14:15, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.” In Col. 3: 16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Also read Hebrews 2:12; Romans 15:9; Acts 16:25; Mark 14:26; and Matthew 26:30.
WHENCE CAME THE INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC? The answer to that may be found in any good encyclopedia. The Roman Catholics were the first to introduce the use of the organ into the worship of any body of people claiming to be Christian. This was 670 years after Christ. It was introduced by Pope Vitalian I. When it threatened to cause division in the Roman Catholic Church, it was removed to preserve unity. However, some eight hundred years after Christ, the organ was reintroduced into the Roman church. The Greek church, however, rejected it. (American Ency. Vol. XII p. 688)
THE LORD'S SUPPER. The simple primitive account of the Lord's Supper may be found in any of the following scriptures: Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:19-20; and 1 Cor. 11 :23-29. We do not have the space to read all of them here, but will give Matt. 26:26-29, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” This gives the account of the institution of the Supper by Matthew. From this we see:
1. JESUS TOOK BREAD
2. HE BLESSED IT AND BRAKE IT
3. GAVE IT TO THE DISCIPLES AND THEY ATE
4. HE TOOK A CUP
S. GAVE THANKS FOR IT
6. AFTER DRINKING GAVE IT TO THE DISCIPLES; AND
7. THEY ALL DRANK FROM IT
But today we see a change in this pattern. Instead of each member of the congregation drinking from the same cup, individual cups are used. Whence came these? Again we must go to history for our answer. I quote, “Until near the end of the nineteenth century the chalice, or CUP was used in the distribution of the wine at the Lord's Supper. At that time more attention began to be paid to hygiene, and the use of the common cup began to be unpopular with the communicants. Rev. J. G. Thomas, who was both a minister and a physician, was the originator of the idea of Individual cups. From his medical practice he learned the uncleanness and danger of the common cup and felt that the Lord's Supper could be made more attractive and beautiful by the use of Individual cups. ,His first patent was granted in March, 1894. The first Individual cup service was held in a little, Putnam County Church in Ohio.” (Sacrament of The Lord's Supper-By Thomas H. Warner). So there is the authority for individual cups. This is where they originated. In Ohio, not in Jerusalem. By a doctor, not by the Saviour. The use of one cup, as opposed to more than one, is taught in the scriptures by example, command, and necessary inference. The following facts should abundantly prove this.
1. CHRIST TOOK ONE CUP. Mark 14:23
2. HE GAVE THANKS FOR ONE CUP. Matt. 26:27
3. JESUS GAVE ONE CUP TO HIS DISCIPLES. Matt. 26:27
4. THE CONTENTS IN THE ONE CUP WAS FRUIT OF THE VINE. Mark 14:25
5. JESUS CALLED THE CONTENTS OF THE ONE CUP HIS BLOOD. Mark. 14:24
6. JESUS COMMANDED HIS ASSEMBLED DISCIPLES TO DRINK OF ONE CUP. Matt. 26:27
7. THE DISCIPLES OBEYED AND ALL DRANK OF ONE CUP. Mark 14:23
8. THEN WE READ, “THE CUP OF BLESSING WHICH WE BLESS, IS IT NOT THE COMMUNION OF THE BLOOD OF CHRIST?” 1 Cor. 10:16
9. THE COMMUNICANTS OF AN ASSEMBLY ARE ADMONISHED TO DRINK OF ONE CUP. 1 Cor. 11:28
Observe also the one bread in the Lord's Supper. In 1 Cor, 10:16-17, “The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” May God help us to restore the primitive beauty of the Lord's Supper, by avoiding all human innovations.
THE TEACHING OF THE WORD
How did the New Testament church teach the word of God? Was it in an undivided assembly, or in segregated classes? Did men only do the public, teaching, or did both men and women teach in the church? The answer to these questions are basic and important. Because of a misunderstanding of them, innovations have again entered the church.
The pattern of public teaching in the New Testament scriptures is very plain. Always one man speaking at a time to one audience. This was the practice of Jesus while He was in the world. And it later became the practice of the church. The following passages show this: 1 Cor. 11 :20, “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper.” This passage shows that it was the practice of the church to come together into one place. They evidently did not segregate themselves into Bible classes or Sunday School Classes as many do today. Also 1 Cor. 14:23, “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?” Again, we see the contemplated practice of assembling in one place. Suffice it to say, not one case of the church dividing into classes for the purpose of teaching can be cited in the entire New Testament. Can you find one?
WHAT ABOUT WOMEN TEACHERS? Let us go to the Bible for the answer. 1 Cor. 14:34-35, “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” Now someone is ready to say, “but that only applies to the wives of the prophets.” Well suppose it does, why must the wives of the prophets remain silent? Here is the answer, “for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” Any woman, be she wife of a prophet or not. Again, 1 Tim. 2:11-12, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Why? “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”
But we ask, “Whence came these Bible classes or Sunday schools?” The answer: from man, where all innovations originate. Robert Raikes is given credit for being the founder of modern Sunday Schools by many. The date was Nov. 3, 1783, in England. You know, as well as I do, that 1783 is a long time after 30 or 33 A.D., and England is a long way from Jerusalem. Notice the following Chart:
INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC INTRODUCED INTO WORSHIP -- 658-666 A.D.
INDMDUAL CUPS ORIGINATED -- March, 1894
MODERN SUNDAY SCHOOL -1783
I ask you, “Can any of the above three lay any claim to Bible authority, when they originated so recently? Are they not all innovations?” Certainly so. To reject one and accept the others is a mistake. If we are going to oppose innovations, we must oppose them all. There is no middle ground. Will you not resolve today to return to the “old paths” and walk therein. Give up those things borrowed from sectarianism and return to a “Thus saith the Lord”. Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where it is silent. Call Bible things by Bible names and do Bible things in Bible ways.
In Romans 10: 1-3 the apostle Paul wrote that many Jews have a zeal for God, but not according to the knowledge of God's Truth: “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” While it's good that we have religious zeal, yet, let us make sure that we are doing God's righteousness, not our own, as Israel was doing. And let us make sure that we are walking in God's liberty, not our own, as Israel was doing.