Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 3, 1964

Bible Answers

Gene Frost, 1900 Jenny Lind, Fort Smith, Arkansas

QUESTION: Is it wrong for young persons, some of whom are Christians, to sing religious songs at school accompanied by instrumental music (as at Easter and Christmas parties)? What if they are punished if they refuse? May a Christian accompany one who sings at a denominational social event?

ANSWER: The Lord's will governs His people alike, young and old. There is no double standard to allow one while young to do things that would be wrong when older. And whereas children who are not members of the church are not subject to the discipline of the church, they are to be trained by their parents in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4) This denotes training, discipline, that regulates character according to God's will. Hence our children need to be taught principles of right conduct that regulates one as a child of God, and have instilled in them conviction which overcomes temptations to surrender or compromise these principles.

Therefore our question practically concerns what is God's will relative to singing spiritual songs.

In singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, we are to do so to the Lord. (Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19) That is, such is in worship to Him. We show honor and respect in singing words of praise and in admonishing godly living and obedience in respect of His will. Either we use His name and word in respect or in disrespect. As we understand and express the sentiments of the words we sing from our heart, we honor Him; if we sing frivolously, then we take His name in vain and make light of His sacred will, and thereby show disrespect. As we show respect, in worship of Him, we sing; no mechanical instrument is authorized.

In singing spiritual songs, it is either in worship or not. If not, then they best not be sung at all. The question of place is immaterial — what characterizes worship is to be observed in all places and at all times. Sacred items of worship observed reverently in assemblies of the saints may not be profaned without. It would be improper to pray frivolously out of the assembly — proper respect must be maintained at all times. Accordingly, it is no more appropriate to sing religious songs profanely or in entertainment than to pray for the same reasons.

A second consideration is influence. A religious conviction against the use of instrumental music in public worship is compromised when employed in private worship. We thereby embolden those who are untaught to transgress God's will through the use of the instrument in worship. (Rom. 14:16-19, 1 Cor. 10:32-33: even in matters which in themselves are lawful, if they encourage the unlawful are to be avoided where there is liberty.)

Participation in Christmas and Easter programs is in itself wrong for the reason that they are unauthorized religious observances. To engage in that which is unauthorized is wrong. (Matt. 7:21-23, 2 John 9) The apostle Paul rebuked the churches in Galatia when they observed "days, and months, and times, and years." (Gal 4:9-11) To participate in a sectarian program is to condone the same and be a partaker of error. (Rom. 1:32, 2 John 10, Eph. 4:4, Matt. 15:13, etc.)

Christians must encourage their children to act upon principle and not to compromise. (Often a kind word of explanation of one's conviction will satisfy those in authority in school so that no punitive response will result. If not, then parents have recourse to those in administrative positions.) Life is not always easy, and our children must so learn from their youth. (Eccl. 12:1) This develops character.