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The beauty of a cappella music


Singing is indicative of a simple and fundamental understanding of God’s word to “sing and make melody in your heart.” The convictions of our hearts and minds are affirmed in song with our own voices.
We have long thought that we should do much more in developing the beauty and confessional power of congregational singing. Scripture speaks of “singing to one another,” and we should find ways to sing to each other and inspire each other in all walks of life as well as in worship.
The next generation of Christians should learn from our example. We should endeavor to show each generation the richness, diversity and beauty of a cappella worship.
The fact is that singing alone was the only form of music practiced in the New Testament church and for the first 500 years of the Christian faith. We know that singing from the heart is always acceptable to the Lord.
Several early Christian writers such as Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria, Eusebius, Tertullian and Ignatius affirmed a cappella singing as did general practice throughout the empire, and their testimony provides a record of the early Christian practice.
We urge believers to refocus on a serious study of how to make our teaching about music part of a fully developed theology and our practice of congregational singing the richest, deepest and most inspiring experience. That means dethroning our pet peeves and personal preferences about music. It also means emphasizing the importance of each person’s heart before God as we sing and praise him.
We must make our singing all that it can possibly be, both musically and spiritually. Let us be known for musical worship that is part of a fabric of love and not a culture of divisiveness. As editor emeritus Bailey McBride shows in his Insight column this month, this is possible when we put Christ first and love the church with all our hearts. Let us be known for truly inspirational spiritual singing.
The vast majority of Churches of Christ practice a cappella singing, based on the conviction that it is the offering God seeks from his people.
It is our fervent prayer that discussions of church music will not derail the church’s urgent need to tell the gospel story of Jesus to our world or promote divisions among us.
Let us with firm conviction and kindness affirm our faith and understanding of what God calls us to do.

Filed under: Editorial Staff Reports

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