78 Question. Were unscriptural innovations in worship introduced into the old Free Church?
Answer. Yes; at first divine worship was conducted without instrumental music, and the Psalms only were sung in praise, but hymns were introduced in 1872 and instrumental music was first allowed in the Free Church in 1883.
79 Q. Did these innovations meet with much opposition?
A. Yes, the innovations of hymns and instrumental music met with a great deal of opposition; most of the godly people in the Free Church opposed them.
80 Q. Is there any authority for instrumental music in the services of the New Testament worship?
A. No, there is no authority for the use of musical instruments in worship, neither from God’s Word nor from the practice of the Early Church.
81 Q. What was the attitude of the Scottish Reformers and the Westminster Divines to instrumental music?
A. The Scottish Reformers and the Westminster Divines were opposed to musical accompaniment in worship and gave no sanction to it in any of their writings or documents.
82 Q. Is it not true that instrumental music was used in the temple service by God’s command?
A. Yes, but the worship of the temple was temporary and gave place to a more spiritual dispensation. The sacrifices, priesthood, and furniture of the temple were all done away with, as was instrumental music since the instruments were part of the temple furniture.
83 Q. But it is said that instrumental music improves the singing.
A. This is highly questionable, but even if it did improve the singing, we have no right to make use of musical accompaniment if we do not have the authority of God’s Word, which we do not have, for its use in New Testament worship.
84 Q. May that which is not condemned be allowed in worship?
A. No; the Reformed principle is that what is not commanded is not allowed in divine worship (Deut. 12:32 and Matt. 28:20).
85 Q. Would the services not be brighter and the praise improved by the use of an organ?
A. The aim of true worshippers is to please God and not themselves, and so only what he expressly requires should be offered to him in praise (Matt. 15:8, 9).
86 Q. What is to be sung in the praise of God in worship?
A. The divine, inspired manual of praise in worship is the Book of Psalms.
87 Q. May hymns of human composition be permitted in God’s worship?
A. No, hymns of human composition may not be used in God’s worship because they are not commanded to be used.
88 Q. Did not Christ and his disciples sing a hymn?
A. Yes, Christ sang a hymn, but it is generally agreed that this was the Great Hallel (Pss. 113-118) or part of it.
89 Q. Does not the Apostle refer to psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs as all to be used in singing praise to God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)?
A. Yes, but the threefold division mentioned by Paul in Ephesians and Colossians is exactly what is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) as titles to the Psalms in the Book of Psalms; for example the title of Psalm 76 has all three.
90 Q. Are there not many hymns of fine Christian experience and sound teaching?
A. Yes, many of John Newton’s and William Cowper’s hymns, for example, have sound teaching.
91 Q. Should the fact that such hymns are rich in Christian experience and sound in doctrine move God’s people to use them in divine worship?
A. No; God’s people should have no desire to displace any of God’s Word by the work of a human author, however excellent.
92 Q. What posture should be adopted in singing?
A. In the Free Presbyterian Church the recognised posture for singing is sitting, but standing is also scriptural.
93 Q. Is the posture in prayer immaterial?
A. No; the scriptural posture for prayer is either standing or kneeling. The Free Presbyterian Church, following the custom of the Reformed Church of Scotland, observes the standing posture, and moreover we learn from Scripture that the publican stood praying (Luke 18:13) and the Lord Jesus said, “And when ye stand praying” (Mark 11:25).