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What should a church do if a brother has been offended by music in the services?

The music issue is a difficult one. My own preference in this matter is not to have two services – one traditional and the other contemporary - simply because it tends to divide the church between young and old, and it does not require adaptation or accommodation on the part of either group. I know that’s advice you didn’t ask for, but I’ve seen churches actually split along these lines, and in at least one instance here in Dallas, it started from having two services (contemporary and traditional). The young folks need to learn and to appreciate some of the great hymns, and the old folks need to appreciate some of the more contemporary music.

O.K. So much for that.

I think you are absolutely right. The weaker brother does not have the right to dictate, because he is actually the one whose grasp of the Scriptures falls short of the truth. He must avoid wine, keep certain days, eat certain foods because he does not yet fully grasp his freedom in Christ. The weaker brother is also the one who would sin because of my example. He would follow my example, while his conscience condemns him. Because what he does (in following my example) is not of faith for him, it is sin (Romans 14:23).

I think it all boils down to a wrong understanding of what the term “offend” means. As Paul uses it, it means that it causes one to sin. As the fellow you write about means it, it is something he does not like, or something he thinks is wrong. Be he hardly sounds like a true “weaker brother.”

There are some texts which seem to address his attitude and point of view.

Romans 12:10: Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.

NAS Romans 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus;

NAS Romans 15:7 Wherefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God

NAS Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love,

NAU Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

NAS Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

NAS Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;

NAS 3 John 1:9 I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.

I would admit that I have some problems with some contemporary music, but we all have our preferences, and this is not a matter of truth and error. If this fellow cannot really enter into the worship, and is only going to be a sour grape, he may find it best to move on.

In summary, since it seems that in your case this “weaker brother” is alone in his objection to the music, I would challenge this fellow to biblically defend his concerns. I wonder whether he’s really thought himself through biblically.

Related Topics: Fellowship, Worship