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

Monday, July 26, 2010

An Argumentative Appeal to a Conservative CoCer (Part 3)

i've been trying to make the case that if a conservative CoCer were consistent with the principles on which he rejects the use of instrumental music in worship, those same principles ought also to force him to embrace pacifism.  Why make the case?  Well, i find that conservative CoCers are largely non- and even anti- pacifistic.  Conservative CoC's fitting generally into the vein of conservative evangelical churches harbor a lot of patriotism, America-is-a-Christian-nation-ism, and political conservatism.  Further, a lot of conservative CoC's are havens for generally conservative culture.  CoC's are plentiful in the South, conservative ones especially, where a certain conservative culture thrives (a "God, guns, and guts" sort of tradition).  [This trend is quite surprising when considering that 100+ years ago, a great many CoCers were members of the Socialist Party.  See here.] 

i do consider myself a pacifist, but definitely not on the grounds conservative CoCers use to reject the use of instrumental music in worship.  My only point in this triad of posts is to engage a conservative CoCer, identify that these two positions (rejection of IM and non-pacifism) are inconsistent, and point out, that if anyone's ideology leads to pacifism, it's the conservative CoCer's. 

Now, so far i've defended the claim that if a conservative CoCer doesn't think the New Testament authorizes instrumental music in worship, then by the same criteria, neither is there any authority given in the New Testament for the use of violence.  

But i'm not pretending as though this is claim is unanswerable.  i think some conservative CoCers might respond by going to Romans 13.  So suppose a conservative CoCer objected to my claim this way: "Romans 13 gives me authority for violence because Paul says i have to submit to my governing authorities, and sometimes they command people to act violently--in war or as a police officer, etc."  

But suppose the government commanded churches to use instrumental music in worship?  Would that, thus, make it okay?  Would that constitute proper, divine authorization for the use of instrumental music in worship?

You might think that's a crazy idea.  "The government would never command such a thing."  Maybe not here and now.  But plenty of countries have or have had state-churches where how church was conducted was a matter of state-decree.   Suppose you knew someone in another country where all but the state-church was illegal, and the state ordered the state-church to use instrumental music in their worship.  Suppose that person wrote to a conservative CoCer for help about what to do.  How is the CoCer likely to respond?  "Since Romans 13 says submit to governing authorities, that means it's now okay for you to use instrumental music in worship"?  i highly doubt it.

If a conservative CoCer wouldn't accept that Romans 13 could potentially authorize the use of instrumental music in worship, then why think it authorizes the use of violence?  

Thus, i maintain my claim, that if someone thinks he ought to reject the use of instrumental music in worship because there's no New Testament authority for it, then he ought also to reject all use of violence on the same basis.


Tim Archer said...

It's interesting to note that a large number of non-institutional churches have historically been pacifistic. See http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/peace/pubstate.html for example.

Grace and peace,
Tim Archer

reborn1995 said...

i noticed that when i read the article on the history of pacifism in the CoC that i posted a week or so ago. Why do you think the anti's remained a haven for pacifism, but it was nearly eradicated from the mainstream?

Steve said...

Fascinating, I knew of the pacifist strain in the movement prior to WWII. Didn't know a thread of it continued with our NI siblings.

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