The Church Music Wars: Anything Not Banned is Permissible?

Posted by on Jul 29, 2011 in Church History | No Comments

The Bible speaks to orderly worship as it was acted out in the early church, but not in quite enough specifics to end the debate entirely.

So, the question remains, what is permissible? As language, culture, communication, rhetoric, tradition and music evolve, do we evolve with it?

This is the question at the heart of the Church Music Wars today. And the question that brought about similar contention between historical church leaders Martin Luther and John Calvin. Luther argued that “anything that is not banned is permissible.” Since the New Testament doesn’t negatively address unison singing, specific instrumentation or writing entirely new songs, they should be permitted. Calvin presented the opposing opinion, arguing that “anything the Bible does not expressly promote is banned.”

At first blush, Calvin’s argument seems theologically safer. What do you think?