Devil in the Drums
The Reformists of the SDARM generally BELIEVE and TEACH:
- So-called ‘modern’ forms of worship, such as drums and guitars, as well as dancing or clapping, are supposedly inappropriate or evil.
- Ellen White supposedly warned about worship with ‘shouting, with drums, music and dancing.’
The Reformists are WRONG because:
- Psalms 149 and 150 explicitly mention the use of various music instruments (lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets), together with dancing, singing and shouting, as valid forms of worship.
- Such forms of worship are not ‘modern’ but actually ancient, long practiced by the children of Israel, and still practiced by Jews today.
- No instrument is in itself evil; rather, it is whether the instrument is used to glorify God or for evil. Similarly, dancing has long practiced by Jews; however, Jews usually danced communally or segregated by gender, to safeguard against misuse as eroticism.
- Ellen White was not making a broad statement against these forms of worship generally but was addressing specifically the Pentecostal ‘Holy Flesh Movement’ in Indiana, which involved: all of these various forms of worship simultaneously and chaotically (as opposed to individually and orderly); and which ironically embraced a theology of perfectionism.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
2 Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
4 For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with victory.
5 Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their couches.
6 Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands,
7 to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters
and their nobles with chains of iron,
9 to execute on them the judgment decreed.
This is glory for all his faithful ones.
Praise the Lord! (emphasis added)
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord! (emphasis added)
- Psalms 149 relates to military battle;
- Psalms 150 supposedly is the same song as Psalms 149, where the chapters are artificial, so it too supposedly also relates to military battle;
- Both Psalms relate to worship outside – not inside the Sanctuary building;
- Both Psalms relate to ‘secular’ worship – presumably suggesting worship outside of a usual Church-assembly service; and
- We can’t take these worship activities literally, so we cannot spiritualise these activities and apply them today to the spiritual battles of Christians against Satanic forces not made of flesh or blood,
- There is nothing to suggest Psalms 150 is merely a continuation of Psalms 149. Scholastic techniques such as form criticism help identify the form, genre and setting of biblical passages. Psalms 149 and 150 are types of Hymns (other types of Psalms include Enthronement Scenes, Laments, Thanksgiving, Royal Psalms and Wisdom Psalms to name a few). For Hymns, the phrase ‘Praise the Lord!’ is often found at the beginning and ending of each separate song – see Psalms 146, 147 and 148. This is why Bibles (including the KJV) place the chapter divisions where they are – it is quite obvious where one Psalm finishes and another begins. Moreover, Psalms 149:1 even explicitly says it is a ‘new song.’ Thus, there is no basis to conclude Psalms 149 and 150 part of the same song.
- Whilst Psalm 149 may be relate to military victory, there is no indication that Psalm 150 does. Psalm 150 has nothing to do with war. Thus, the key argument of the Reformists is misplaced. Psalms 150 is not a military song like Psalms 149 – it is a generic song. It is no doubt for this reason that the book of Psalms finishes with this song, which provides a generic instruction about how to worship God. The generic Psalm 150 makes clear that these types of worship are acceptable to God.
- There is nothing to suggest the Psalms only relates to ‘secular’ worship – and such a notion is an oxymoron anyway. Even if Psalms 149 relates to a military victory celebration, verse 1 says this celebration occurs ‘in the assembly of the faithful.’ The assembly is associated with the Sanctuary – see Duet 23:1. The notion of the ‘assembly’ is also where we obtain the notion of the Church congregation, where the Greek word ‘ecclesia’ means ‘assembly’. Thus, the Psalms clearly involve congregational worship – like the modern Christian Sabbath service.
- At the time of David’s Psalms, there was no Temple Building – only a tent, which was at times moved. The assembled people did not worship God inside the Lord’s Tent (comprising the Holy Place and Most Holy Place), which was only accessible to the Jewish Priesthood; thus, arguably all such assembly worship was in fact outside. Thus, the whole Reformist distinctin between outside-inside worship is a nonsense.
- Christians don’t consider modern churches as types of the OT Sanctuary. The OT Sanctuary was merely an archetype fulfilled in Jesus, whose body (and ours) is the true Sanctuary. Instead, where two or three believers come together there is a modern Sanctuary, and where a synagogue (the proto-type for the church) is nothing more than a prayer hall – there is nothing particular holy in the bricks and mortar. Jesus similarly made clear in John 4:20-21 to the Samaritan woman at the well that for Christians, the place of worship is irrelevant – either on mount Gerizim or on mount Zion. Thus, the obsession with distinguishing Sanctuary vs non-Sanctuary worship activities of worship is largely irrelevant – and arguably unChristian.
- Contrary to Reformist assertions, the Bible makes clear that these various instruments, including harps, lyres, cymbals and trumpets, were permitted in relation to Sanctuary worship. 1 Chron 16:4-6: 4 He appointed certain of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel. 5 Asaph was the chief, and second to him Zechariah, Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-edom, and Jeiel, with harps and lyres; Asaph was to sound the cymbals, 6 and the priests Benaiah and Jahaziel were to blow trumpets regularly, before the ark of the covenant of God. (emphasis added)
- Even assuming both Psalms relate to war (which is denied above concerning Psalm 150), there is no basis whatsoever to suggest we can’t apply these literal Jewish battle songs to Christian spiritual warfare against Satan. The Reformists themselves continually make parallels to the most obscure things found in the Jewish Law, such as their argument for closed communion (which they say is paralleled to the original Exodus Passover meal).