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?