Church of Christ
PO Box 571
Patterson, California 95363
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Hello...My family has recently moved near my dad and step-mother who both
attend Church of Christ. I was reared in the Missionary Baptist Church,
however, we agreed to attend church with them for a while since we did not
have a local church here yet. I do have some questions, since I am not
familiar with the Church of Christs' beliefs. I am wondering why during our
singing, there is no music...no organ or piano is in the church.
It is true that we don’t want musical instruments in our worship assembly.
The reasons for this would comprise an entire Bible study, but I will try to
give you a summary that makes some sense. First we need to find references in
the New Testament that pertain to singing. The reason for looking in the New
Testament is because that is the covenant we are under today. I looked up the
words; sing, sang, song, singing, and sung. I found many references and a variety
of Greek words, but before I get into the meaning of the Greek words we must not
forget to read the words in the context that they are in. Here are the verses that
my search came up with.
Matthew 26:30 “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”
Mark 14:26 “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”
Acts 16:25 “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God:
and the prisoners heard them.”
Romans 15:9 “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for mercy; as it is
written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing
unto thy name.”
I Corinthians 14:15 “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and
I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and
I will sing with the understanding also.”
Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual
songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;”
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;
teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”
Hebrews 2:12 “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst
of the church will I sing praise unto thee.”
James 5:13 “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him
Revelation 5:9 “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the
book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed
us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;”
Revelation 14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before
the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred
forty four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
Revelation 15:3 “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song
of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and
true thy ways, thou King of saints.”
As you can see by reading the verses, none even remotely infer a musical instrument.
It is our goal to worship God as he wants us to, and since the Bible is God’s word,
it follows that we should look there for direction.
Some of the Greek words in the New Testament such as “Psallo” can be confusing.
“Psallo” has the following definition:
Probably strengthened from (to rub or touch the surface; compare G5597);
to twitch or twang, that is, to play on a stringed instrument (celebrate the divine
worship with music and accompanying odes): - make melody, sing (psalms).
As you can see the word can mean to pluck an instrument, but it also means to make
melody, or sing, and the context of the sentence that it is found in makes the
meaning clear. Other words such as “Psallmos” which is related to “Psallo” and
refers to a sacred ode or a set piece of music are also clarified by the text.
“Humnos” refers to a religious ode or hymn. “ode” is just what it looks like
it is an ode. Strongs defines it as “a general term for any words sung”. “ado”
is a verb meaning to sing.
These are the Greek words that I found in the New Testament that refer to singing.
Even though some could be defined as allowing musical instruments, all allow for
singing without musical instruments. Once one takes into account the context in
which they are found it becomes clear that musical instruments were not used for
worship in the first century Church. Because of this, we think it is prudent to
worship without them.
My step-mother says that they do not celebrate Christmas....I am aware that
Dec. 25th is not Jesus' actual birthday, however, I have always thought that
Dec. 25th was just a day picked to celebrate his birth.
My family and I acknowledge Christmas, the elders in our Church do also.
I know that the Jehovah's Witnesses don't, and recently I have found out
that some members of the Church of Christ don't also.
Their reasons for this may be similar to your
Father and step-mothers. In ancient times the date we now call Christmas
was celebrated as a pagan winter holiday to worship the sun. Christians
appropriated the date mostly for convenience since a holiday was already
being celebrated. Using this holiday for their purposes made conversions
easier. Some of the pagan practices were adopted also. If you have ever seen
a Christmas tree, this is one of them. Some people today believe that it is a
sin to acknowledge Christmas since it started out as a pagan sun worshiping feast.
Jeremiah 10: 2-5 further complicates this issue.
In these verses Jeremiah warns of the danger of adopting the customs of the Gentiles.
If you consider the audience that this verse was written to it makes sense. The Jewish people
of the time were supposed to separate them selves from the Gentiles and have nothing to do with them.
We are, by contrast, supposed to go out into the world and preach the truth.
We give gifts to one another and help our fellow man by giving to charity
as an acknoledgment of the ultimate gift Jesus gave to us, His life to pay for our sins.
Even though I personally don't think acknowledging Christmas is a sin, If your Dad
and step-Mother do, I would respect their beliefs and not pressure them to be part
your holiday plans. There is no point in making them feel uncomfortable.
I have a friend that told me his in-laws are Church of Christ and told him
that he was going to hell because he and his girlfriend concieved a child
before their marriage. I agree that this is not the chronological order in
which God intends for people to start a family, but to condemn a person to
hell for a child being born seems a bit extreme. After all, Jesus said he
knows what is in a person's heart, correct? Please give me you insight on
these issues as I am confused on feelings.
The only way anyone can go to hell is if they remain in unbelief until
death. There isn't a verse in the Bible that condemns having a baby. There
are verses that talk about sex outside of marriage (fornication) however. A good
example is (1 Cor 6:18), and there are many others, but that sin absolutely
can be forgiven! If the person who told your friend
otherwise can find scripture and verse that says this sin cannot be forgiven
please forward it to me, I seem to have missed it.(sorry for the sarcasm).
The 5 steps to salvation are:
Romans 10:17 "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have
Acts 3:19 " Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be
blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come form the presence of the
Romans 10:10 "For with the heart one believes unto righteousness,
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Acts 22:16 "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized,
and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord."
Acts 2:38 "Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be
baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you
shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
If your friend did these, he is saved.
I heard a sermon this last Lord's Day, and it was stated that the guards
placed at the tomb were not Roman soldiers, but Jewish palace guards. Is
there anyone who direct me to an area of research for this question.
the only book in the bible referring to the guards at the tomb of Christ is
the book of Matthew. I gave your question some serious thought, and my
conclusion is that they were Roman guards. It is an interesting speculation
however. Here are the verses in question, and my reasoning follows.
62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests
and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63saying, "Sir, we remember,
while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, "After three days I will
rise.' 64Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day,
lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the
people, "He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse
than the first."
65Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as
you know how." 66So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone
and setting the guard.
I think some of the confusion is the wording in the New King James version
of the bible." 65Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make
it as secure as you know how." The NIV version says this:
62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the
Pharisees went to Pilate.
63 "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that
deceiver said, `After three days I will rise again.'
64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day.
Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people
that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse
than the first."
65 "Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know
66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and
posting the guard.
I think the guards were Roman for the following reasons.
1. The priests and Pharisees went to Pilate, if they would have placed a
palace guard, there would have been no reason to do this.
2. Jesus crucifixion and resurrection took place during the period just
preceding and during not only the Sabbath, but also the Passover
celebration. For Jews to work on the Sabbath was against the 4th
commandment, and the Pharisees were sticklers for keeping the law. But the
Passover was also a special day for them. To assign Jewish guards during
this time I think was unlikely.
8"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days you shall labor and
do all your work, 10but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God.
In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your
male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger
who is within your gates. 11For in six days the LORD made the heavens and
the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.
Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
3. it was also in Pilot's interest to assign a guard, he liked stability,
and a claim of Christ's resurrection would have been disruptive.
Some accounts say that Jesus was pierced in the hands, when being nailed
to the cross. How does this account for the normal procedure was to pierce
in the wrist, as the hands would not have been able to sustain the weight.
Thank You for any help anyone can give.
In answer to your second question my answer is I don't know. I have looked
up everything I can find on this question, and it is all speculation, anyway
the speculation is that the wrist was considered part of the hand in those
days, this seems plausible to me as they were not concerned with anatomy in
Jesus time. Not much literature has survived from the time of Jesus to give
us guidance on this question, so I will take it on faith that the above
speculation is correct as it makes sense to me.
Are you familiar with the term Tartarus as
in a part of the Hadean world? All I can find is that it was a part of Greek
mythology. Do you have any idea how it got incorporated into the Christian
I must confess, I had not heard the term Tattarus until your e-mail. I went on a
search of it though and here are my thoughts. First the term tartarus is found
only once in the Bible. It can be found in II Peter 2:4, I looked up the Greek
meaning of the word "hell" there and Tartaroo came up, the definition says this
is from the root word tartaros. I included the Strongs Greek definition below.
What I could find in Greek mythology about it was that it started as a place for
gods who misbehaved and were cast into there, and only later became a place for
lost souls. I think this is why Peter used the term, because in II Peter he is
referring to angels not humans, and the Greeks would have understood this term.
The word Hades is used in Luke 16:23, and this is referring to where departed human
souls go when they are not free of sin. I think that both Luke and Peter are writing
of the same place and use the different words for illustration. I think that the
Strongs definitions below bear this out. Wow what a question! It was a pleasure
looking this one up.
II Peter 2:4
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell,
and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
5020 tartaroo tar-tar-o'-o
from Tartaros (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal
torment:--cast down to hell.
23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off,
and Lazarus in his bosom.
86 haides hah'-dace
from 1 (as negative particle) and 1492; properly, unseen, i.e. "Hades"
or the place (state) of departed souls:--grave, hell.
see GREEK for 1
see GREEK for 1492
Thank you for your questions, they really got me thinking.