Dear Brother G.
In regard to music, may I call attention to a practice in which many evangelical circles engage, especially in radio studios when religious services are being broadcast. I refer to the practice of playing soft organ or piano music while the speaker is reading the Holy Scriptures or while he is engaging audibly in prayer. If there is a time for quietness and reverence, it is at such a moment. Those who, perhaps unconsciously, indulge in this practice would be the first to denounce irreverence, but is not this practice irreverent?
Supposing one were on special business, and were permitted an audience with the Queen, could anyone imagine the soft playing of an instrument during the conversation? Why then, this distracting innovation when men are speaking to a Holy God?
One would like to see this objectionable, irreverent, distracting, and useless practice discontinued. One would ask that God our Father be addressed, His Sacred Word read, and His message be proclaimed without the interruption of music.
While this background of music has not come into our assemblies to any extent, the thin edge of the wedge is visible. Occasionally, in some assemblies, immediately the number of a hymn is announced the piano or the organ is played very softly and continues during the reading of a verse or two. Consequently, the reading of the verses is not heard plainly, and this is especially true in those cases that are dull of hearing. The confusion of two different things going on at the same time is, to say the least, distracting for neither the one nor the other is enjoyed.
Sometimes announcements are made, and solos are rendered, and congregational singing exercised while the offering is being taken. What unnecessary distraction, diverting the mind from that act of true worship! “To do good and to communicate forget not: for with which such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Heb. 13:6).
In some meetings the piano or organ is played with gusto before and after a solemn Gospel service with the result, the impact of the message is repelled. We might well ask ourselves, why all this hurry, noise, and distraction?
Let us beware of what these things might lead to, and firmly, but in grace and love, “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40).
Let us, even in the matter of singing and playing of the instrument, do all things reverently and to the glory of God.
Sincerely in Christ,
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“Gospel Hymnody has been a plough digging up the hardened surfaces of pavemented minds. Its very obviousness has been its strength. Where delicacy or dignity can make no impress, Gospel hymnody stands up triumphing.”