Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 25, 1960
NUMBER 41, PAGE 4-5b

"Instrumental Music Can Be Justified

Donald P. Ames, Tampa, Florida

Since the recent publication of my tract, Church Music Till 800 A. D., I have received a pamphlet from Mr. Haddow, along with a few tracts. The reader is urged to read Mr. Haddow's article before this one, and then compare throughout the course of discussion herein. I do not answer for Bro. Cogdill, as I'm convinced he can do such very well for himself. However, since Mr. Haddow's sent this material to me, I feel some sort of response is required on my part to some of the false positions taken therein.

Meaning Of "Psalms, Hymns, And Spiritual Songs"

If the writer here is trying to review Bro. Cogdill, he is indeed fighting a straw man. Bro. Cogdill never introduced the terms, and did not deal with them. However, Mr. Haddow has completely missed the boat. We're not concerned with these words, but rather the word: psallo. He makes a play on one set of words, and then shifts to another to draw his own conclusion. Mr. Haddow, if you're going to deal with the English word, "sing," then why don't you give your readers the benefit of the correct word? Furthermore, in building up your smokescreen, you've completely misapplied Thayer himself. You have presented the passage on page 637 as "his position." Yet, Thayer himself recognizes the quoted material as having come from Lightfoot. So there's no definite indication that it was or was not his position, but rather that he was introducing additional material from Lightfoot that Grimm never presented.

But, back to the word psallo, which is the correct word we are dealing with in this discussion. On page 675, in defining this word, Thayer's lexicon says, "in the N. T. to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song, James v. 13, in honor of God, Eph. v. 19." It is very interesting to note Thayer places no footnote on this word. Does that mean it has approval? As for psalmos, the noun form of psallo, this word too would bear the same thought as psallo, as it varies with the changes in the languages. Thayer (or Grimm, if you wish) freely admits it had the instrument included in the O. T., but shows that time brings out changes in the word, and that in the N. T., it carried the idea of just singing. The thing is pointed out in W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary Of New Testament Words, Vol. 3, p. 58, and in Abbott-Smith's Greek Lexicon, p. 487. Mr. Haddow has not met the issue here.

He goes next to Arndt and Gingrich's translation of Bauer's lexicon (originally in German by Bauer) and quotes Bro. J. W. Robert's praise for said book. Mr. Haddow, I believe you are honest, but evidently you have quit taking both the Firm Foundation and The Preceptor. Bro. George P. Estes, in reviewing one of your pamphlets, answered this charge entirely. In case you haven't seen it, I quote the following:

Mr. Haddow refers next to the new lexicon by Arndt and Gingrich which is based upon Bauer's German Lexicon. I was personally acquainted with the late Dr. Arndt. He made frequent trips to Chicago to confer with Gingrich. Since the Lexicon made use of the papyri and so-called church Fathers, I was invited by him to help check the material and work with them. I declined this task due to the heavy schedule at that time. Dr. Arndt told me personally that the work in many ways fell short of Bauer's lexicon. With that I agree. In Bauer's work are the following words about psallo: "Iobsing end preisen lobsingen." (to extol by singing praises, to sing praises. (The Preceptor, July 1958, p. 5)

Likewise, J. W. Roberts himself, in the Firm Foundation, Oct. 13, 1959, quoted a letter to Bro. James D. Bales from Dr. Gingrich stating such was their own addition. Bro. Roberts concludes this article of explanation, "The definition is the opinion or judgment of the translators alone and ought to be quoted as such." Mr. Haddow, if you take these publications, and your material implies you do, you must have known it to be opinion, and not a correct translation, before sending me your pamphlet, yet never bothered to correct it. WHY???

As for Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, once again you have misapplied his words completely. Even he himself adds, "BUT in the N. T. as in Jas. 5:13, sing an hymn." Why haven't you added this to your definition? While at it, you might also add the fact that Vincent's Word Studies also points out the O. T. included the instrument, but the word lost that inclusive meaning in the N. T. (see on Jas. 5:13, I Cor. 14:15, Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16).

If the word "sing" (psallo) doesn't include the instrument, and the above Greek authorities all agree it doesn't, then you've utterly failed to prove your case by them.

Making Melody

Mr. Haddow seems to find it hard to accept that three of the five versions insert the preposition "en" and seems unable to understand that this does not include the instrument. Actually, the correct idea in this verse is that the sentiment of our heart, its joy and glory to God, is to go forth in our voice, accompanying our singing. Compare this with John 4:24, I Cor. 14:15, and Col. 3:16. It isn't so hard to see, unless one has a position he just does not want to surrender.

Likewise, Mr. Haddow, would you please explain to me, since you seem to enjoin both equally, what lesson is the instrument going to "speak" in the process of its "teaching and admonishing"?

At Home

Many feel that is a major point to prove their point. Does one error justify any other? Personally, I would not use it to worship God either in the home or congregation. Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 are both individual in their nature, and I'm convinced they're not limited to the assembly. Mr. Haddow, do you use one error to justify another?

Authorized Or Condemned?

In his concluding argument of this pamphlet, Mr. Haddow presents the "pitch fork argument." To begin with, I don't use a pitch fork, and even if I did, there is no parallel. As one writer once put it, "At least the pitch pipe has sense enough to shut up before the singing begins." You have no aid for your argument there, as you're attempting to defend an addition, something in addition to just vocal music.

If your contention is true, and since you've sought to use both "singing" and "making music" (which you assume means playing upon an instrument) as both being essential to fulfilling Eph. 5:19, are you ready to accept the position most of your followers deny? If both are essential, then EVERY ONE MUST have his own instrument to "psallo" upon, and this must mean (?) an instrument other than the heart and voice. Are you ready for it? I doubt it.

The Bible teaches the bread and fruit of the vine in the Lord's Supper, and singing in music. I have as much authority to add to in one case as in the other, or to substitute one type music for another as I do to substitute sprinkling for immersion (2 John 9, I Cor. 4:6, Gal. 1:6-8).

Mr. Haddow, it's been about eight years since I left the conservative branch of the Christian Church, because I saw that these things couldn't be defended. My prayer to God is that you'll likewise be as honest with yourself in facing these facts.