Some Bible loving, Devil hating, independent, premillennial, local church, KJV only Baptists think moderation is a cuss word. Not so!
Philippians 4:5 --- 5 “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (Read twice.)
By the way, I am a Bible loving, Devil hating, independent , premillennial, local church, KJV only Baptist, but I am not mad about it. Some, I fear, are mad about it, or at least they give that impression. These brethren shed more heat than light and are largely ineffective. I have said for many years, “If you are mad about anything you believe, there is something wrong with what you believe or something wrong with you, or both!” I have heard people speak the truth in such an angry, hateful, spiteful way that it almost turned me against it. Imagine a lost person or a poorly informed, immature Christian hearing such a diatribe. No one has ever been hated or bludgeoned with the truth to salvation or holy living. Conversely no one has ever been brought to true repentance and faith with vague, feel good platitudes. Sin must be condemned and repentance urged. No one has ever been brought to consecrated, holy living and effective service to God without clear instruction on what to avoid and what to do. (Those pesky do’s and don’ts.)
Moderation does not imply compromise nor lack of convictions. Maybe we should study the word used in the NT for moderation and the other uses of the identical Greek word. The Greek word in Phil. 4:5 for moderation is epieikes (ep-ee-i-kace’) and is translated 3 times as gentle, once as patient, and once as moderation.
Moderation does not imply cowardice or lack of boldness. The same inspired writer, Paul the Apostle, who urges moderation, in Ephesians 6:18-20 says: --- 18 "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 “And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 “For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.”
Paul was interested in shedding light, not primarily heat (although he did get a little hot when necessary). If you lose your hearers with your attitude, you have wasted your time and their time and blown your opportunity. Since the same inspired writer advocates moderation and boldness, they must be compatible and complimentary, not contradictory. The same word, parrhesia (par-rhay-see’-ah) translated boldness is also translated confidence, openly, and plainly. Boldness does not mean hateful and “in your face”.
Paul tells us in Eph. 4:15-16 --- 15 “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ:
16 “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
No one is edified if they are turned off by your attitude and tune you out! Speaking the truth in love is a vitally important concept in witnessing, preaching the gospel, and teaching God’s Holy Word. As I said earlier, I have heard preachers preaching or teaching something that I believe but in such a hateful, prideful, obnoxious, belligerent, manner that it almost turned me against the teaching. (Notice I said almost!) Haven’t you had this experience?
I believe in “hell fire and brimstone preaching”, don’t you? However, I have heard men preach, “All you sorry, rotten sinners are going to hell!” and you could almost hear an unspoken echo or implication, “and I’m glad!” Any time that we preach that God hates sin, we should also preach that God loves sinners. Any time we preach hell hot and horrible, we should preach "there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus”. Remember, moderation includes gentleness and patience and is not compromise or pussy-footing. Truth not preached from a heart of love is not effective. Truth preached from a heart of love is convicting, edifying, strengthening, light giving, and life giving!
Now, after that “brief” introduction I want to give some examples where I believe we as unaffiliated Baptists have frequently and seriously shown cowardice and neglect instead of moderation. I think we have spent too much time scratching “itching ears” and trying to entertain (especially our young people) instead of clear, specific preaching and teaching on Godly living and service. I know this is dangerous for a missionary but I have been deeply burdened for several years about this and have spent many, many hours prayerfully preparing and revising and re-revising this message, I firmly believe, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It would be easier to just be generic. I am preaching this from a heart of love and concern, not seeking occasion against any brother or any church.
There has always been a tension (not a contradiction) between law and grace, liberty and license. Even the great Apostle Paul had this conflict. I think most churches have gone too far toward license which is carnal man’s natural tendency anyway. One of the favorite verses of libertines is Matt. 7:1 --- 1 “Judge not that ye be not judged.”
They usually omit verse two which says: 2 “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
They ignore the context which is hypocritical nit-picking when we have greater problems in our own lives. Verses 3-5 mention the mote in our neighbor’s eye and the beam in our own eye and hypocrisy. The sense to me is: “Do not use any standard of judgment that you do not apply to your own life.” It is not a command not to judge since we rightfully make judgements every day.
Luke 12:47 --- “Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?”
“Oh, but Romans 2:1 says that those who judge are inexcusable!” Does it?
Romans 2:1 --- "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”
Again it is hypocrisy that is condemned, not pointing out and condemning sin, i.e. judging.
John 7:24 --- “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
This is not condemning judging but is commanding it. However, it is condemning legalism, that is, judging and condemning without a righteous basis.
BTW the Greek word for judge in all these verses is krino (kree’-no) which is translated judge, determine, and condemn.
It is frequently pointed out, and is true, that Godly, separated living should be a product of inward change (i.e. the new birth) and not outward do’s and don’ts. However, this truth does not eliminate the do’s and don’ts of the Bible, nor our obligation as preachers to preach these rules and as churches to judge and discipline based on them.
It is not sufficient to preach generically about sin. We must teach what the Bible says about love, purity, modesty, honesty, work, giving and the other sins of omission and commission. Especially in our modern culture, many Christians (especially new converts but also older Christians who have never been taught) do not know the do’s and don’ts of Christian living. (Yes, there are do’s and don’ts, rules if you will, that must be taught and should be observed, not in order to be saved but because we are saved and desire to please our Master.) How can we expect Christians to mature and live Godly lives without Biblical instruction as to what this involves?
I think we have too many pastors and churches that teach and practice what I call a “Barney Religion”. I’m all right; you’re all right; we’re just one big happy family. It is not just the Joel Osteens that do this. It is becoming very common among unaffiliated Baptists.
While pastors and missionaries may preach a sound gospel, there are three obligations that are all too often neglected: reprove rebuke, and exhort. These are commands just as much as preaching the gospel is a command. If we are to have sound, separated churches (and only a separated church is spiritually powerful) we must instruct and correct.
2 Tim. 4:2 --- “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
This same obligation is inherent in the third part of the great commission as given in Matthew 28: “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:”
The three words reprove, rebuke, and exhort have overlapping and complementary meanings. Reprove bears a connotation of bringing conviction and shame for improper behavior. Rebuke bears the sense of taxing with a fault with admonition and instruction on how to correct it. Exhort is the Greek word parakaleo, to call to one’s side for entreaty, instruction, and comfort. It is somewhat like when a parent after scolding a child and perhaps punishing them, hugs the child and instructs him or her in proper behavior and urges them to it. Longsuffering and doctrine simply indicate patience and teaching.
We rarely hear any preaching on modesty in dress and decency in comportment. Is that why I have seen some women in our churches dressed in the same style as harlots? Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Tim. 3:15 that he was writing to him (2 epistles, remember) so that he would know how to behave himself in the church of the living God. I think the strong implication is here that he, Timothy, should teach others also how to behave in the church. In his second epistle to Timothy is where Paul commands to reprove, rebuke, and exhort.
The Bible does not say a great deal about modesty and dress but it does mention them several times which means they are important.
1 Tim. 2:9-10 --- 9 “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls or costly array;
10 “But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”
Modest is translated from the Greek word kosmios (kos’-mee-os) which is also translated “of good behavior” as a qualification for a pastor in 1 Tim. 3:2. Apparel is an interesting Greek word, katastole, which in Strong’s Lexicon is given 2 meanings (1) a lowering, letting down (2) a garment let down, dress, attire. Maybe the miniskirt is not as modern as we thought. Ladies, in general, give more thought to dressing up than men and the primary instruction about attire is addressed to women. The comment about broided hair, gold, pearls, etc. is generally considered to be a description of the attire of a prostitute in Paul’s day. Peter gives similar instructions to Christian ladies in 1 Pet. 3:3 and observes that the most attractive thing about a Christian lady is the inner person, reflecting meekness and a Christian attitude and spirit. Paul mentions in v. 10 that the best adorning of a Christian lady is Godly works.
I believe immodesty in dress has promoted the decline of sexual purity and morality. That form of dress which stirs immoral and sensual thoughts in Christian men and women is, IMO immodest.
One instruction about appropriate dress for both men and women is to be found in Deut. 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
I believe the teaching here is that cross dressing in either direction promotes homosexuality. It is interesting that the word abomination is used for cross dressing and homosexuality. Enough said.
In the matter of discipline in the churches, I believe most churches have been lax. Laxness and neglect are not moderation. However, there are pastors and churches that seem to be constantly on a “witch hunt” to see if they can find some mote to cast out of a brother’s eye. This also is not moderation. The purpose of all church discipline is to preserve the purity, unity and reputation of the body while correcting and restoring the erring member. In a matter that brought serious reproach upon the church (such as incestuous fornication in 1 Cor. 5) Paul is clear that action should be swift and severe but always with the object of restoration, not revenge. The 3 step process outlined in Matthew 18 is only for personal offenses. “If thy brother
Gal. 6:1 --- “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
The word restore here, katartizo (kat-ar-tid’-zo), is very interesting. It includes the sense of mending that which is broken, to repair, to complete, to fit out, or equip. If restoration is not high on our list of priorities in church discipline we are not practicing Biblical church discipline.
Maybe if more truth had been preached with more clarity and specificity, more light, and less heat, the error would have been avoided. Consistent, loving reproving, rebuking, and exhorting can “nip it in the bud” as that great theologian Barney Fife said.
I don’t know anyone who is perfect except myself and . . . . . and I occasionally worry about him.
It has been said that we unaffiliated Baptists frequently shoot our wounded. There is certainly some truth to this. The commonest causes of a falling out between brethren or churches are personalities, minor practices or traditions, believing false rumors, etc., not fundamental Bible truths. James, Solomon, Paul, and Isaiah give helpful instruction on this.
James 1:19-20 --- 19 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20 “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
Most of us are perhaps too swift to speak. At least, I know I am. Some of us get our exercise jumping at conclusions. I am not bragging; I am confessing faults on which I am still working.
Proverbs 12:29 --- “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”
1 Cor. 13:4-7 --- 4 “Charity suffereth long and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things”
If there are two or more possible and reasonable explanations for something, do we always take the worst one? Are we easily provoked? Are we quick to think evil?
Isaiah 50:4 --- “The Lord hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”
Do we speak an encouraging word to those that are weary? Several years ago, I resolved to pray more for the brethren, help them when I could, and encourage them by mail, email, and telephone. I have received some very gratifying responses.
Do we show moderation (remember, gentleness, patience) when we point out what we consider to be a problem? Do we have an attitude of love, consideration, and humility?
Do we first consider:
(1) Am I wrong about this matter?
(2) If I am right, is it important and necessary?
(3) Is it based on Bible principles or my personal preferences, traditions, or sentiments?
(4) Is my attitude right?
(5) Is bringing it up likely to produce good results?
Answering these five questions in the affirmative before we try to correct a brother will avoid much heartbreak and harm to the cause of Christ.
There is a classic illustration that was particularly vivid a few decades back when most laundry was dried on a line outside. Two neighboring housewives were having a cup of coffee when the lady of the house looked out the window and commented about a third neighbor’s laundry on the line: “Boy, I would be ashamed to put laundry that dirty on the line!” Her visiting neighbor said: “Uh, Mary, the dirt is on your windows!” Let’s keep our windows clean.
Paul writes a lot about liberty, license and legalism as well as customs and traditions but to consider this would take a series of sermons. Pharisees attempting to impose Jewish dietary law and traditions were a problem in NT times. We still have legalistic Pharisees today. If we impose our customs, traditions and preferences that are not clear Biblical principles, we are not “letting our moderation be known unto all men”.
If we criticize and condemn others for customs and traditions that do not violate Biblical principles, we are not “letting our moderation be known unto all men”. Classic illustrations of this are Christmas and Easter. I know Christ was born of a virgin in Bethlehem. Whether it was in December or April is not of earth shaking importance. What is of earth shaking importance is that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. I do not worship a pagan goddess, Esther, but I do worship the One of Whom it was truly said, “He is not here. He is risen.” I do celebrate His resurrection every Sunday, including Easter.
Now we come to a tricky aspect of moderation. I am a KJV only preacher in English. However, that said, I do not believe God commissioned us to spend half of our preaching or teaching time defending the KJV. This is not balance nor moderation. The KJV has ably defended itself and shown its power among English speaking people for four centuries. Some preachers’ hateful and angry attitudes about the KJV have driven people away from the truth. Remember, “speaking the truth in love”! Light not heat! Certainly it is appropriate from time to time to teach our people why we use the KJV only, but present it with clarity in love. Such ridiculous statements as: “If you were not saved under the preaching of the KJV, you are not saved” or; “Anyone who uses anything besides the KJV is a heretic and on the road to hell” or; “Every missionary should use the KJV only and if he doesn’t, we will not support him” only hurt the cause of Christ and reveal a hateful attitude and profound ignorance.
Let us analyze these absurd statements. I believe as a physician for over 52 years that we should use the best medicine available and in proper, full dose to treat illness. This does not mean that illness has not been cured with less than the ideal medicine and less than the ideal strength and dose. Millions of people have been saved through preaching from versions other than the KJV. (What about non-English speakers?) No, I do not, have not, and will not use anything but the KJV in preaching or teaching to English speaking people. I do not recommend any other version for ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLE!
I know of many Godly men who have truly won many to the Lord who use versions other than the KJV for English speaking people. I believe it is a poor choice and that they are using an inferior version but they are not heretics or on the road to hell. It is not the KJV Bible that saves but the message in it of salvation by grace upon repentance and faith. Yes, I believe the message is clearest and strongest in the KJV.
Those who say they would not support a missionary to non-English speaking people if he does not use exclusively the KJV have shown an abysmal ignorance. The KJV only exists in English. Yes, in preaching and teaching in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Kikongo, Kiyaka, and Swahili I have always sought to use the available version that most accurately conveyed the message in the Masoretic Text and the Textus Receptus but there is NO KJV in any language except English. To attempt to
translate the Bible into another language from the KJV and not the Masoretic Text and Textus Receptus is a big mistake. Please do not leave here saying Roy Dearmore is wishy washy on the KJV. I believe such foolish statements as those above hurt the cause of Christ. If you quote me, please do so accurately. I do not believe that the position of KJV only for English speaking people hurts the cause of Christ. KJV only for English speaking people is my position, always has been, and I believe strengthens the cause of Christ. However, absurd and untrue statements hurt the cause of Christ.
Do not consider me a follower of Ruckman, Riplinger, or Gipp.
Ruckman is a heretic who is living with his fourth wife (he divorced 3) while pastoring and has 7 different plans of salvation. He makes absurd statements about the KJV such as: “You can correct the Hebrew and Greek texts by the KJV.” He is a detriment to confidence in the KJV.
Riplinger is living with her third husband (she divorced 2) and lied about this for many years. She teaches men Biblical subjects in clear violation of the KJV. She repeatedly lies in her books and uses out of context or absurdly shortened quotes. She attacks the character of all who disagree with her. She is a detriment to the cause of the KJV.
Gipp made the absurd statement that a Russian desiring the pure inspired Word of God would have to learn English because God only has one pure, inspired Word of God at a time and that is now the KJV. I do not associate myself with these people and their unbiblical, absurd and foolish positions.
Now let me tell you why I am KJV only for English speaking people.
1. There are no complete, English translations except the KJV that were entirely from the Masoretic Text and Textus Receptus, with 2 POSSIBLE exceptions, the Geneva Bible and the Bishops Bible.
a. Wycliffe (1380) was the first to translate all of the Bible into English. It was not from the original languages but from the Catholic Latin Vulgate.
b. Tyndale (1525) translated the NT from Erasmus’ Textus Receptus and 14 books of the old Testament. The Geneva Bible and the KJV retained 80% of Tyndale word for word.
c. Coverdale (1535) used Tyndale’s translation of the NT and Pentateuch and translated the rest from Latin and German.
d. Matthew’s Bible (John Rogers, 1537) same as Coverdale’s except he added 8 more OT books translated by Tyndale from the Hebrew.
e. The Great Bible (1539) was Coverdale’s revision of Matthew’s Bible (essentially Tyndale’s translation) with the same part of the OT still from Latin and German.
f. Geneva Bible (1557) translated from original languages (unclear what texts) by a small group of hypercalvinists with extensive marginal notes falsely buttressing hyper-Calvinism.
g. The Bishops Bible (1567) translated by a small group of high Anglican officials from the original languages. Unclear as to Greek and Hebrew Texts used. It is universally condemned by liberals and conservatives alike as being extremely poor scholarship.
2. IMO the 47 scholars (55 were chosen but only 47 participated) who translated the KJV were far superior to the Hebrew and Greek scholars of today and did not have axes to grind. Beyond question, they were 400 years closer to the original languages than today.
3. The MT and TR were edited from the vast preponderance of preserved copies of the originals. (There are no originals today and have not been for probably 1500+ years.) Almost all of the newer translations are from the Westcott and Hort Greek text which is based on less than 5% of the manuscript copies available and from corrupted minority texts such as the Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.
4. It (KJV)has been in use for 400 years with outstanding power and results.
5. All the translations that I have (about forty) display a bias in some or many important teachings.
6. Most new translations eliminate the clear distinction of singular and plural in the second person 'you' to be found in the KJV 'thee' and 'ye'.
1. The beauty, majesty, force, flow and readability of the KJV far exceeds any other version.
2. Why create confusion among God’s people and use a less accurate Bible?
I believe it is incorrect to say that the KJV is just another translation. There is overwhelming proof that the Masoretic Text in Hebrew and the Textus Receptus in Greek are the best texts available for translation into any language. They are based on and in agreement with the vast majority of the 5300+ manuscript portions and text copies available. The KJV is the only version in English translated entirely from these two texts unless it be Geneva and Bishops’ Bible which are rightfully rejected for other valid reasons.
I do not believe in dual inspiration. I believe in divine preservation of God’s word and God’s providence in making accurate copies available. Just a brief parenthetical statement about preservation: God promised in Matt. 24:35: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” I can hold up a Bible in any language, accurately translated entirely from the Masoretic and Textus Receptus by competent and Godly men and say I hold in my hand the inspired word of God for this language group.
That there have been deliberate perversions and inadvertent errors in the newer English translations caused by use of inferior manuscripts, minority readings and personal bias is beyond any question.
I will not even consider the NIV, RV, RSV, ASV, NASB, Living Bible, etc. because their corruptions are so blatant that few conservative Christians use them.
Time will only permit a few examples of serious errors in the NKJV, ESV, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible. The HCSB is promoted by the SBC.
NKJV --- In the preface to the NKJV we find the following:
“The Hebrew Text used for the Old Testament is the 1967/1977 Stuttgart Edition of the Biblia Hebraica, with frequent comparisons to the Bomberg edition of 1524-1525. Ancient versions and the Dead Sea Scrolls were consulted but the Hebrew is followed wherever possible.” In other words the NKJV translators used a heavily edited Masoretic Hebrew Text with the Masorete’s footnotes eliminated or radically revised, arbitrarily. Also, why would it ever not be possible to follow the Hebrew?
Gen. 2:18-20 --- 18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.
19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.”
There is zero justification in the Hebrew for this feminist bias. The KJV says “. . . an help meet for him” in both verses. Even the frequently corrupt NIV says “a helper suitable for him.”
Acts 17:29 --- Divine Nature substituted for Godhead as in the KJV.
Matt. 28:20 --- “end of the age” instead of world.
The translators of the NKJV are deceptive when they pretend that the NKJV is a KJV with“only obsolete words changed”. The OT was translated from a modified and inferior Hebrew Text and hundreds of significant changes from the KJV are to be found in both the OT and NT.
ESV --- I quote from the back of the title page: “The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved.” Of course the RSV NT was translated from Westcott and Hort’s minority and inferior Greek Text.
ESV --- Phillip. 2:6 "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped," KJV “thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” In other words Jesus was equal with God and it was not robbery or a false claim to say so. This sense is lost in the ESV.
Acts 17:29 --- Godhead is changed to “divine being” (lower case d and b).
Rom. 1:20 Godhead is changed to “divine nature” (lower case d and n).
Col. 2:9 --- Godhead is changed to deity (lower case d).
John 3:15 omits “should not perish”.
John 3:16 omits "begotten" and says “only Son”.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
Quoting verbatim from their own introduction:
“The textual base for the New Testament [NT] is the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th edition, and the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, 4th corrected edition. The text for the Old Testament [OT] is the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th edition.
All three texts cited are corrupted texts although the Hebrew only moderately. Nestle-Aland is a derivative of Westcott and Hort, as is the United Bible Society Greek text.
Gen. 2: vv18 & 20 changes “an help meet for him” to “a helper like him.”
John 3:15 omits “should not perish”.
John 3:16 omits “only begotten” and says “one and only Son”. (monogenes -mon-og-en-ace’)
In Acts 17:29 and Rom. 1:20 changes Godhead to “divine nature”.
Col. 2:9 changes Godhead to “God’s nature”.
At Mark 16 it states other MSS omit vv. 9-20.
I could cite 100's of other faults in all three versions, many of them very serious.
Let’s consider music in worship. Some say if you use drums and guitars in your church, you are a total heretic. I believe this is an area where personal preferences have been advanced as Biblical principles. I personally enjoy the old time hymns. However, I have heard recently written hymns and choruses that were purely Biblical (frequently quotations from scripture) and exalted the Lord and truth. I have seen (and heard) 100 year old hymns in hymnals in unaffiliated Baptist churches that were universal church, taught works for salvation, baptismal regeneration, falling from grace, etc.
My point is that we cannot pontificate about the appropriateness of songs or choruses based on:
(1) when they were written; (2)who wrote them; (3) the testimony of who has sung them; (4) the instruments used to play them; (5) repetitiousness.
Let me elaborate and illustrate.
1. Age - I have heard hymns sung in Baptist churches that were quite old that were heretical or without a message.
2. Who wrote them - I have sung hymns in Baptist churches that were written by Martin Luther that were scriptural and magnified the Lord. However, Martin Luther was a heretic and antinomian who taught baptismal regeneration and liberty as license. Besides that he was a foul-mouthed drunk. I have heard and sung songs in Baptist churches written by supposedly saved people (some Baptists) that were pure fluff with no serious message and sometimes heretical.
3. The testimony of those who have sung them --- Just because a person with a poor testimony has sung them (or wrote them-e.g. Martin Luther as I mentioned) does not mean they are not appropriate to use in church. Many immoral rascals have sung “Amazing Grace” but that does not make it any less a wonderful, God-honoring hymn! “When the Saints Go Marching In” used to be popular in honky-tonks but good churches still use it. The Bible compares Christian work to an athletic competition and a military battle. One day we saints will go marching in to the New Jerusalem.
4. The instruments used to play them --- The instruments used to play them have nothing to do with suitableness for church use. The Bible specifically mentions a harp, instrument of ten strings, psaltery, timbrel, tabret, cymbal, trumpet, sackbut, rams horn, dulcimer and “invent to themselves instruments of music”. This includes wind instruments, stringed instruments, percussion instruments (e.g. timbrel, tabret, and cymbal), and vocal music. All of these except the sackbut and dulcimer (which are triangular stringed instruments similar to a lyre) are specifically mentioned as being used in praising God. The Hebrew nebel (neh’-bel) usually translated psaltery is defined by Strong as including the harp, lute, guitar, and musical instrument. The Aramaic word cumpown@yah (soom-po-neh-yaw’), usually translated dulcimer is defined by Strong as including musical instrument, wind instrument, bagpipe, double pipe, and panpipes.
5. Repetitiousness - Repetitiousness has been used as an objection to choruses. Some call them 7-11 songs - 7 words repeated 11 times or 24-7 songs - 24 words repeated 7 times. The Psalms, the most scriptural hymns we have, are very repetitious. The 136th Psalm repeats the phrase “His mercy endureth forever” in each of its 26 verses.
I do not agree with those who say only the lyrics matter because the music is neutral. Not so! Some music appeals to the baser instincts and will cause small children without inhibitions to twist and dance to the music.
I believe valid Biblical standards for church music should include the following:
1. It glorifies God.
2. The lyrics are doctrinally and morally straight.
3. The music does not appeal to the baser instincts. This is hard to define but if small children without inhibitions are “doing the hoochie-koochie” it is no good.
4. It does not seriously offend faithful members of the church of any age. (I’m talking about offending, not just not being their favorite.)
5. It is not done to demonstrate musical skills and prowess but to glorify God.
By the way, clapping of the hands for joy and raising holy hands is Biblically sanctioned. Psalm 47:1, 1 Tim. 2:8. If you do not want drums, guitars, etc. in your church, that is up to you and your people. Ditto clapping and raising hands. For the record, I am not a clapper or hand raiser but I cannot condemn these practices on a Biblical basis nor drums, guitars, etc.
In Closing let me read two verses that will solve a multitude of doubts and questions.
1 Cor. 14:40 --- “let all things be done decently and in order.”
1 Cor 10:31 --- “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
Let us stop condemning brethren and churches without scriptural basis. Let us do all things decently and in order to the glory of God and let our moderation be known unto all men. Remember, the Devil is our enemy, not brethren who do things a little differently than we do them. Let us love one another and spread more truth and light to all the world and less heat and groundless contention but don’t compromise truth nor neglect reproof, rebuke and exhortation!