How do we see instruments in worship?

I don’t find virtue in maintaining positions and opinions. 

In and of itself, not changing is neutral.  Honest examination is necessary if one is to assess things rightly.  If I simply hold an opinion and refuse to think new thoughts or allow other thoughts their potential influence, I am to be pitied.  I say this before (re-)sharing an opinion—not in order to justify myself or to say I’m about to change.  I think this preface is probably present in order to tell myself I must remain open to changing in the future, despite not having changed recently in this area.

This particular opinion, on instruments in worship assemblies, hasn’t changed much for me in at least a decade. It still describes my general thoughts on instruments in Christian worship assemblies.

I hold that instruments can be fine tools to use in worship, but I am not drawn to a large cadre of instruments because of what I often experience as

  • sonic overload
  • glitz and hype
  • (most important) detracting from congregational engagement and involvement

– from “A weird boomerang (3 of 3),” posted 10/22/14, the last in a short series that amounted to a sort of travelogue of my thoughts on instruments in worship assemblies

I would add that even a single keyboard instrument (certainly an organ, and also a piano in a small, when found in a very resonant space with lots of hard surfaces) can be as sonicly overloading as a six-piece rock band.

This can blare!
This can also lead to hearing loss, and it can silence congregational participation.

The congregational music ideal, as a rule and for general practice, has always been engagement, involvement, and participation.

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