This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pacifism 8: An Argumental Appeal to a Conservative CoCer

Most "conservative" Churches of Christ (CoC) reject the use of instrumental music (IM) on the basis that there is no biblical authority for such a practice, and we may only engage in practices for which we're given biblical authority.  Yet even many conservatives CoCer's would reject pacifism.  

i'm not claiming that i am a proponent of the no-authority-for-IM argument.  Whether or not that is a valid argument is not the point of this post.  Whether IM in worship is acceptable to God is not the point of this post.  The point of this post is that there are quite a great many in the CoC who reject the use of IM in worship as unacceptable to God, and who do so on the basis of this particular argument, yet who also reject pacifism.  In this post i want to offer the argument that if a CoCer rejects IM on the basis of the no-authority argument, then they ought to be pacifists for the same reason.

The no-authority argument for rejecting the use of IM in worship usually points out that there are no commands, nor examples, nor necessary inferences in the New Testament for the use of IM in worship.  In other words, if there were a command given to Christians to use IM, or an example of Christians acceptably using IM, or some statement made in the NT which could only imply that it is permissible for Christians to IM in worship, then we would have authority for IM in worship and could use IM in worship acceptably.  But since there are no explicit commands, no recorded examples, and no statements which force such an inference, then it is not the case that Christians can use IM acceptably in worship to God.

To my knowledge, there are no commands or instructions given to Christians which say that it is permissible for a Christian ever to behave violently.  To my knowledge, there are no examples in the New Testament of Christians ever acceptably behaving violently. To my knowledge, there is no scripture from which we must necessarily infer that it is permissible for a Christian ever to behave violently.  If, for a conservative, meeting this criteria is all it takes to conclude that IM in worship is unacceptable, then why is it not the same with violence?

Where does the New Testament authorize the use of violence on the part of Christians for any purpose?  And if some passage of scripture is proposed, is the proposed authorization sufficient in such a way that would still leave IM in worship unauthorized?


Ryan and Katie said...

interesting point. I think I ever only hear people quoting the OT when referring to violence. Of course many people would say certain things are not violent, it's self defense, but it does seem to me in that regard Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek.

reborn1995 said...

Heya Katie!

Kara said last night she hopes we have a "chill" baby like Olivia. =o)

Derek and i were just talking at lunch yesterday about back when he taught a class about the sermon on the mount (back in the day when you were herding kids all night long on Wednesdays, i believe). All we did was read out loud the passages where Jesus said to turn the other cheek and love your enemies, and instantly people raised their hands saying stuff like, "He can't possibly mean that" and "yeah, but you can't do what He says and just let people walk all over you" etc. etc. i was shocked that people just wanted to dismiss out of hand or tone-down-as-quickly-as-possible.

Of course, i don't really consider many people at Mayfair to be the "conservative CoCer's" that i'm addressing in this post, but i've seen the same sort of reactions happen in conservative congregations too.

Would Jesus allow *some* level of force to be used in self-defense? i don't know. i'm still thinking through a lot of this.


Ryan and Katie said...

Sorry I can't help you out on your zoo questions. It's never been crowded when we've gone and I've gone on all sorts of days and times of days so I dunno. I've never heard about $1 Wednesdays either!

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