Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 6, 1954


Cecil B. Douthitt, P. O. Box 67, Brownwood, Texas

Baccalaureate Exercises And Denominational Worship

Dear Brother Douthitt:

Our young people's class at the ______________Church of Christ under the direction of Brother _________has discussed these questions:

1. Can a Christian rightfully participate in a high school baccalaureate service?

2. What should a Christian boy or girl do when the baccalaureate service is held on Sunday evening?

3. Should a Christian take communion at a denominational church?

4. Should we sing in their worship?

If you would answer these questions in the Gospel Guardian, we are sure our class will be profited. Thank you very much.


This letter is from a Christian girl in an Ohio city, and the teacher of her Bible class is one of our very best young preachers. My judgment is that he will guide these young people in the right course in all problems and issues confronting them, and if all in the class are as sincere as this girl seems to be, they will follow his leadership and avoid many dangers and pitfalls that wound and cripple the unsuspecting.

1. Baccalaureate services, wedding ceremonies, civic meetings, social gatherings, recreational and entertainment programs are not exercises of spiritual worship; I know of no reason why Christians cannot participate in such, if nothing inherently sinful is done. Of course, evil persons might introduce sinful activities into any of these meetings, and if that is done, Christians should not participate in the exercises.

If these performances were services of worship, we could not wear caps and gowns as a part of the ceremonies; we could not sing such songs as "I Love You Truly" and "Here Comes the Bride"; we could not salute the flag or sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"; we could not pick a ukulele, whistle, hum, yodel, or light candles as a part of the performance. These things are not sinful within themselves, and therefore are not forbidden in exercises of a social, educational, civic or pastime nature; they are excluded only from the worship of God. The Lord has legislated as to how we are to worship him. None of these things has been authorized by him for spiritual worship; therefore to introduce them is to make the worship vain and sinful. (Matt. 15:1-9)

2. Christians should never let baccalaureate services, weddings and such like interfere with their duty to God. The kingdom of God and His righteousness must come first always and in everything. (Matt. 6:33) If baccalaureate exercises on Sunday evening do not hinder the Lord's day worship or any other duty or service to God, I know of no reason why Christians should not attend them at that time, if they desire to do so.

3. The Lord has placed his table in his kingdom. (Luke 22:29,30) His kingdom is the church. (Matt. 16:18, 19) A denomination is not the kingdom of heaven, nor any part of it. Christ did not set his table in any denomination, and no power on earth can transplant it from the church to a denomination. If the communion of the body and the blood of the Lord can be taken from the church and planted in any other institution, then salvation and the blood of Christ can be transplanted from the church to some other institution. A Christian not only should not, but he cannot eat the Lord's Supper at a "denominational church," for the simple reason that the Lord's Supper is not there; Christ did not put it there, and man cannot. Some denominational groups sometimes eat unleavened bread and drink a little wine and call it "the communion," but it is not a communion of the blood and of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 10:116); it is not the Lord's Supper.

4. The only kind of melody or music divinely appointed for true worshippers is set forth in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. "Speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord." "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God." All other kinds of music are forbidden by God's law of exclusion.

Music or melody can be made by whistling, humming, yodeling, and by mechanical instruments. But there is no "speaking," no "teaching" and no "admonishing" in any of these kinds of music; therefore they do not meet the requirements of God's will. Christians should have no part whatever in any of these methods of making melody as worship. Denominations usually employ one or more of these unscriptural methods in their worship. Christians should not sing in any worship where mechanical instruments of music, humming, whistling or yodeling has been added.