Historical Timeline Of
The Quail Springs Church of Christ

Oklahoma City
2008 January 27

With prior announcement by means of a newspaper interview with Mark Henderson published on Saturday, Quail Springs conducted its first Sunday service with instrumental music on January 27, 2008. This explanation was given in the newspaper account of the interview: “Henderson said the decision came through lengthy prayer and study. Even so, about 300 people left the church, 14401 N May, in opposition of the change.”

Most of these had left during a period of turmoil that led up to the change. About five got up and left on the Sunday instruments were first used. In a statement read to the congregation that morning and posted on the congregationís website, Henderson described the move as “Spirit-led”.

Why did three hundred Christians leave?

Churches of Christ view the New Covenant as normative. They believe true unity is possible only among those who limit their religious activities to things that are authorized by the New Covenant of Christ. To accomplish this they “speak as the oracles of God” (1 Peter 4:11), learn not to go beyond what is written (1 Corinthians 4:6), do not preach a different gospel (Galatians 1:6-9) and abide in the doctrine of Christ (2 John 9). This enables them to be churches of Christ rather than a denomination. Denominations do not limit themselves to what is prescribed by the New Covenant.

This principle was stated well in the Articles of Incorporation of Quail Springs. Churches of Christ, “in all their work, worship, and teaching, use and employ only that which is authorized and required in the New Testament.”

A congregation that uses instrumental music violates this principle because - different from the Old Testament - the New Testament does not prescribe instrumental worship.

Singing is the only authorized music under the New Covenant. This cannot be denied and explains why instrumental music was not used for six hundred years after Christ! Instrumental music is not “a cappella” music, it is not the music of the church!

Christians are commanded to sing, teach, admonish and speak to one another in “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Singing is understandable melodious speech. It communicates meaning, it teaches, it admonishes. Mechanical instruments do not. That is why Paul says, “I will also sing with the understanding” (1 Corinthians 14:15).

The assemblies at Corinth were disorderly. People were speaking in languages no one understood, and several people spoke at the same time. In dealing with this problem, Paul emphasizes an important principle: Public worship must be understandable and edifying!

“Unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will be speaking into the air” (1 Corinthians 14:9). “In the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19).

He says the same about singing: “I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding” (1 Corinthians 14:15). Paul wanted to speak with understanding so others could be taught. Thus, to sing with understanding means to sing in such a way that people understand the words and are edified. “Let all things be done for edification” (1 Corinthians 14:26). Sounds without meaning do not edify. Edification is a building up, an increase in insight resulting from instruction.

Through this Scripture, God excludes meaningless sounds from the Christian assembly. Sounds without meaningful content do not edify. This explains why God omitted music instruments from Christian worship. Music instruments are neither spiritual nor intelligible, they do not give instruction.

Paul compares someone without love to music instruments: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). Sounding brass and clanging cymbals were used in the Old Testament (2 Chronicles 29:25, 26), but lifeless instruments are not suitable for worship in spirit and truth under the New Covenant.

God's requirement: “Let all things be done for edification” (1 Corinthians 14:26), and the related condemnation of meaningless sounds, also preclude hand-clapping and the imitation of instruments with the voice. Such body and throat noises are not spiritual and do not have meaningful content.

Christians use the voices God has given them to sing with the spirit and with the understanding. They do not pollute their worship with sounds devoid of meaning.
Roy Davison