It is a matter of verbal conjecture on the part of many that God’s silence on a subject of human preference makes such allowable. Such is advocated by those who presume to use mechanical instruments in New Testament worship. It is assumed that since there is no declared prohibition against it such is then allowed. It seems the battles of the past fought in this same arena must again occur. The same questions need to be asked again. The same simple lessons must be learned again.
WASN’T GOD SILENT ABOUT ALL OTHER WOOD EXCEPT GOPHER IN BUILDING THE ARK?
Such seems to be a foolish question to those who read Genesis 6:14. In fact, as you read this verse, and others related to the ark, you would affirm the silence of God on all other kinds of wood to be used in the ark. This would be a good place to show His silence.
Would you at the same time argue that His silence would give sanction to the use of any other kind of wood? Would you even care to assume that His silence gave sanction to the use of such? In fact, wouldn’t you oppose the use of any other kind of wood? If you did, on what basis would you oppose it?
Would you argue that His silence does not sanction it and that you would have to have His Word to authorize the use of any other kinds of wood? Shouldn’t it follow then that the silence of the New Testament does not authorize the use of mechanical instruments in New Testament worship?
WASN’T GOD SILENT ABOUT THE KIND OFFIRE USED BY NADAB AND ABIHU?
“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon and offered strange fire before the Lord which he commanded them not” (Leviticus 10:1).
What did they do? They did something God had not commanded. They used a kind of fire about which God was silent. Did His silence give sanction to what they did? If such were sanctioned, why were they punished for such?
Would God by His silence sanction a practice, and then punish those for doing what He sanctioned? You and I know better. We wouldn’t dare argue that His silence gave sanction to what they did, but we do have to admit that God was indeed silent about the kind of fire they did use.
WASN’T GOD SILENT ABOUT THE NEED OF GENTILES TO BE CIRCUMCISED TO BE SAVED UNDER THE GOSPEL?
Do you remember those who went from Jerusalem to Antioch saying such was the case (Acts 15:1-2)? Do you recall that the apostles and elders met in Jerusalem about this question? Do you remember that they sent an epistle back to Antioch and other places saying, “We gave no such commandment” (Acts 15:24)?
They were silent concerning the necessity for Gentiles to be circumcised. To add such to God’s requirement for salvation was equal to the invasion of God’s silence. This would constitute an addition and perversion. For men to add the mechanical instrument to New Testament worship is no less an invasion of God’s silence.
WASN’T GOD SILENT ABOUT WASHING HANDS BEFORE EATING?
Some would add such and seek to have the Lord endorse it, bid to no avail (Matthew 15:1-9). Jesus showed such to be nothing more than a human tradition. It has its origin with men and not with God. God was silent concerning such, and Jesus did not accept that as authorization to bind such on His disciples.
WASN’T GOD SILENT CONCERNING ONE SERVING AS A PRIEST UNDER THE LAW FROM THE TRIBE OF JUDAH?
One has but to read the following, “For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribeMoses spake nothing concerning priesthood” (Hebrews 7:13-14). The Hebrews writer used this as an argument to show that Jesus was of a higher order of priest.
Wouldn’t you think the overall priesthood would be better by having one perfect priest such as Jesus? Surely we would, but such wouldn’t authorize invading God’s silence and making Jesus a priest from the wrong tribe. The unanswerable argument is that since nothing was said concerning one from the tribe of Judah serving as priest, then one from Judah was not authorized to serve as a priest. Then what would it take for one to be authorized? Certainly not silence, but rather a statement to that effect.
What would it take for the authorization of the mechanical instrument in New Testament worship? Wouldn’t it take a supporting statement like we have in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 for singing? You certainly don’t have any authorization based on silence. If so, there is absolutely no limit to the additions one can make. No, silence doesn’t give sanction and God doesn’t need to be treated as an idol that cannot speak. He has told us how to worship and in doing this we have His sanction based on His Word.
J. Winfred Clark