Monday, May 9, 2011

The Instrument of Division - Part III


One of the strangest and most bizarre “arguments” set forth by the instrument of division is what we will call (the faction has no formal name for it) “the anti-discrimination” argument. On one hand this argument is downright silly, yet, on the other hand, it clearly illustrates just how far that evolutionary and circular thinking has permeated those among us who want any kind of change at any kind of price so we can have “progress.” Rick Atchley articulates this foolish notion:
Please do not say that you can only praise God from the heart with the voice and not the instrument. This is an unkind and an untrue insult to all believing musicians. Playing an instrument to the glory of God is not just an aid to worship, it is an act of worship… Now many a-cappella churches allow people with gifts in acting or in painting to bless the body. Why would we deny that same sweet privilege to our gifted musicians? (1)
This is a very old and very Catholic argument. It is pure “Thomism” (the imagination is truth theory of Thomas Aquinas). As we have observed, Aquinas believed that, like Aristotle, men come to “truth” primarily through their senses, one of which – according to Aquinas – is imagination. If one can “imagine truth,” it becomes truth to that person. Aquinas “imagined” all kinds of biblical personages, including Jesus Christ, speaking to him on a regular basis in person and in real time! More importantly, he also taught that truth is better communicated visually than orally. That is why popery adopted all kinds of visual stimulations into their “worship.” When one experiences art, sculpture, drama, stained glass, pomp and circumstance…one is experiencing pure Thomism.

It is to this Thomistic theory that Atchley goes to assert that it is “discrimination” to disallow the “gifted musicians” among us from “giving glory to God” with an instrument for other such “gifts” are allowed in worship in some congregations. Sadly, THOSE practices are also additions that presumptively corrupt the pattern of revealed New Testament Christianity. “Performances” of any kind in worship are not to be found in the pages of the New Testament revelation! Paul did not paint pictures and Peter did not put on plays during worship… and neither should we!

Not only that, the argument would open a “Pandora’s box” of insane “worship” experiences. For example “IF” we should – to use Atchley’s word – “insult” gifted musicians by denying them the ability to use their gift in worship…what then will we then say to the “gifted” plumber, electrician, bricklayer and sales person? Will they too be invited to “share” their gift in public worship?

Most importantly, the Holy Spirit NEVER intended to use sensual stimulation to communicate the gospel! Paul clearly articulates God’s will in this manner in Romans 10:17 – “For faith comes by HEARING, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” Jesus, from Matthew to Revelation, continually pleads for us to “have ears to hear what the Spirit says!” Thomas Aquinas and Rick Atchley are VERY wrong in their assertions. The performing arts have no part in biblical New Testament worship for they glorify only man!

(1) Rick Atchley, December, 2006, Richland Hills church of Christ – “Both / And” sermon

To Be Continued…

The Instrument of Division - Part II

By adopting the subjective and evolutionary so-called “allegorical method,” the instrument of division is able (so it thinks) to put forth “arguments” in support of it’s demonic purpose – the deconstruction and destruction of the Lord’s Body as described in the New Testament. To the faithful and Berean Christian these assertions are specious, shallow and superficial. Unfortunately, to those who have “itching ears,” they are appealing, innovative and pragmatic. There are many such “arguments.” Generally speaking, however, there are five main assertions – the new revelation argument, the anti discrimination argument, the less narrow door argument, the silence of the scriptures argument and specific passage arguments.


Since Satan tempted Eve in the garden, people have injected heresy into God’s will by claiming new and special revelation from God himself. When rebellious and self serving humans want change and cannot find support for such in the Bible, claims of “special revelation” are made. Until 2006 we never experienced such apostate thinking in the church of Christ. However, all that changed in December of that year when our erring brother Rick Atchley preached three sermons to the Richland Hills church of Christ in Ft. Worth, Texas. In true existential form, he entitled these lessons “Both / And.” The existentialist sees “truth” and “progress” in contradiction and chaos. Among other “arguments” for the instrument of division he attempts to assert that God’s will embraces both vocal and “instrumental” praise though our God is “not a God of confusion but of peace.” Atchley’s centerpiece salvo was the “new revelation argument.” Here is the exact quote:
Right there in that spot about 1994 in the middle of my sermon, the Holy Spirit said to me; “and that’s what you and all the preachers like you are doing who haven’t for years believed that the worship to God with instruments is wrong but you continue by your silence to let people think it’s wrong to all the body to be disrupted and you do so under the plea, “Well, we’re maintaining peace, but that’s not peace, that’s cowardice." I knew then the day would come I’d have to teach this lesson.(1)
We should shudder at the thought of adding to God’s revelation! The wise man of Proverbs tells us clearly in 30:5 -6 that adding to God’s Word will find us to be liars by God Himself! The Scripture plainly states that “God IS (present tense meaning “now and forevermore”) “no respecter of persons,” (Acts 10:34) that “The faith was once deliver-ED (past tense) to the saints (Jude 3) and that “His divine power has giv-EN (past tense) to us ALL things pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him that has call-ED (past tense) to us glory and virtue.” (II Peter 1:3)
“IF” Rick Atchley is right, “IF” the Holy Spirit really spoke to him and “IF” what Atchley “says” the Holy Spirit said was really spoken by Him, then:
• God now allows man to add to divine revelation
• God now IS a respecter of persons – in fact Rick Atchley now possesses “greater truth” than ALL the inspired New Testament writers who somehow “missed” the will of the Holy Spirit in regards to the instrument!
• The faith actually was NOT completely delivered to the saints in the long ago.
• God has actually NOT delivered to us “all things pertaining to life and godliness.
Words mean things. “IF” we are to take Atchley at his word then we MUST embrace his assertion that he (Atchley) is a modern day prophet with more insight, revelation and inspiration than Peter and Jude!

(1) Rick Atchley, “Both / And” #2, approx. 5 minutes 30 seconds into the sermon as transcribed by the author.

To Be Continued: