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RUBEL'S CASE AGAINST THE IGNORANT, ARROGANT, IDOLARTOUS TRADITIONAL CHURCH RELATIVE TO SOLOS, CHOIRS AND QUARTETS
-OR-
SHELLY ON PRESENTATION MUSIC
Wayne Coats

Introduction

The following material deals with one of the speeches which Rubel Shelly gave at his Church [Woodmont Hills in Nashville, Tennessee], on May 2, 1993. The title of Shelly's harangue and vituperative effort was Our Worship Traditions: Music. In uremic fashion [not irenic] Rubel blusters and blunders against any and all who might stand for the eternal truth of God [as Rubel once may have stood--before he read a few books written by infidel philosophers].

We shall notice the vitriolic, arrogant, haughty and despicable attitude displayed by the saint of Woodmont, and we shall answer the arguments which he attempts to make.

Ah, but what a debater with debility! What a coxswain with crudity! Rubel doesn't believe in debating with narrow-minded, bigoted, arrogant, hateful people. He had rather debate with Rubel. He can tell it round or square, short or long, smooth or fuzzy, and his followers will clap for him. Rubel informs me that he has more valuable things to do than meet me in debate. Every thoughtful person on earth will agree that it would not be very valuable, either for Rubel or for his cause, to march forward and try to defend his false ideas. He thinks it is better to spend that valuable time traipsing over the country making fun of faithful brethren and congregations. One can sound off when one stands on one's security blanket.

Wayne Coats
705 Hillview
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
June 1, 1993

Table Of Contents



Page 5
Chapter One

We Are Too Ignorant To Ever Get Ahead

We believe that when a pulpiteer attacks a position, he should give it his very best and cite all the proof available. I have heard some great and successful lawyers argue their cases before their peers, and it always interests me to see a man put forth the time and effort to sustain his position. It also interests me when a man is more than willing for his case to be put to the test, to be tried, to be examined. We have been willing to do this down through the years and we still do this in legal matters. In fact, trial by jury is a cherished heritage, but in the realm of religion, fellows like Rubel Shelly know better than to submit their foolishness to the crucible of debate. False teachers, including Rubel, know enough to protect themselves.

We all know how Rubel used to have enough courage [or was it just ego] to write, speak, and set forth some semblance of argumentation. That was back before Rubel repented so deeply and so sincerely. He declared that he had many things that he wanted to share with others but he had not, "...because of my manner, or the arrogance of my prensentation. I have repented of allowing myself to get in the way of my message." He has repented of all that hateful and arrogant disposition. He says he has. I say he hasn't, or maybe he repents seventy times seven each day. "Twould be better if Rubel repented before he writes one of his caustic letters or burst forth with his bilious and blab speeches as was so evident in his musical effort at Woodmont Hills.

Page 6

Has Rubel repented? Does the present day Rubel really love me and my brethren who stand for the truth? He can shift down into double-low and give that soft Rubel tone and the very devil himself must back off. But when he gets to some of us who have pricked his ego balloon, then with all of his sound and fury he gallops like a snorting steed unrestrained, as he tramples under foot all those benighted, damned and demented souls who are still so ignorant, depraved and discordant-and who are a bit like some preachers before they repent.

In his sometimes torrid, tizzy and touche' effort, Rubel gets pretty caustic toward faithful brethren. He can hob-knob with the premillenialists and boast that there is not one iota of alienation, or he can get real chummy with the Christian church, but what good word has he for the likes of those who stand where he once stood? Not one word! No, not one! We will show you the irenic side of Shelly. A few of his Love Lines [the bulletin from Woodmont Hills where he preaches] are taken from his sermon, which we will present in a following chapter, and then we will answer the heretical, false and lying assertions which cause some people to clap.
Rubel got real sweet in relating how years ago he answered a lady in Memphis who asked about solos and choirs. He was against 'em. He told he so, but now he says his being against them came from nothing but an attitude, "....rooted in nothing more than my narrow experience and supported by my ignorant and arrogant misuse of scripture." That is pretty strong when I think that such is descriptive of so many of us who have been left behind by the strident one.

Would you ignorant preahers who oppose solos and choirs dare to let your arrogance, ignorance and narrowminded misuse of scripture be known?

Page 7
The woods are concealing a number of pretty pastors in Middle Tennessee who try to remain anonymous. At one time Rubel was arrogant, but that was in Memphis. He has repented of being arrogant, but he can let us all know what it takes for others to be arrogant. I have no doubt that he is completely aware of the position of ignorance which I and others hold which he also once espoused in ignorance, but from which he has now been liberated. I am sure it is ignorance on my part, but it just has to be that Rubel refuses to debate because he knows so much and others know so little, and they are ensconced in ignorance and arrogance. Enlightenment and ignorance must never occupy the same premises. Ask Rubel!

Another brilliant breath from Rubel lets us know that beautiful gifts of good singing voices have been prohibited by prejudice. We've been painted into a narrow corner and we are so prejudiced that we just stubbornly refuse to examine.
Well, of course, since we are so ignorant we will be prejudiced. Disagree with Rubel and you will have a third deminsion added. There will be ignorance, arrogance and prejudice. Of course, there is little if any hope for ordinary people with such afflictions, but Rubel [the one in a million] has succeeded and soared far above the terrible afflictions which he attributes to his erstwhile servile brethren.

We will deal with the accusations in due time, but did you know Rubel thinks we are idolaters? We are so demented as to think that there is only one way to do some things. To Rubel that is a "...not so subtle form of idolatry." I confess! Will Rubel enjoy his sport of looking down on all of us idolaters? His Christian Church cronies are not so guilty, and materialistic premillenialists of Gallatin are not one iota removed from Rubel.

Page 8
He feels no alienation. Does that make you sick?

When we refuse to allow contemporary music, Rubel thinks we are guilty of idolatry. That's pretty stupid, but some folks enjoy such prattle. He is such a generous soul toward brethren with backbone.

Some people make narrow and hateful judgements, but Rubel will not. Some can pronounce eternal torment on others who refuse to accept certain types of church music, but Shelly will not be hateful or narrow. Never! He might talk about others who are narrow and hateful, and he might even describe them as narrow and hateful, but he is neither and never will be; was once, but has now returned home from the hog-pen of hate. He says he has.

One doesn't have to be a learned psychologist or a brilliant student of human behavior in order to detect a phony. It is still true that one's speech doth often betray one. Sometimes a betraying one doth speak as a nonbetrayer: remember Judas Iscariot.
Poor Rubel laments the stale provinvialism that is our tradition in music. It has become a bias. That is another infirmity which keeps us from interpreting the text. Is there no balm in Gilead? Arrogant, ignorant, narrow, prejudiced, biased devils walking around in stale traditions! God help us to evolve up to the heights of Rubel before we give up the ghost.

In order to let the reader know the rambling, ambling, disconnected and silly route taken by Rubel, we are giving his speech, which was transcribed from the taped effort. I do believe a good freshman course in English Composition with emphasis in unity and coherence would greatly improve the Shelly style, but hopefully the reader has expertise in ramblings. Read on!

Page 9

Our Worship Traditions: Music

By Rubel Shelly
Woodmont Hills Church of Christ
May 2, 1993

As a rule, probably the best time to have an invitation song in a Sunday service is at the end of the communion, because that's where we have focused on the meaning of the body and blood of Christ and certainly today that's the case.

The lesson this morning begins a five-part series on our worship traditions and we're going to talk about our music today. But the time for us to call people to confess Christ is after we've just communed with the body and the blood of Christ. And we're going to use a song that we've had up earlier. It's to the tune of "Just as I Am," and therefore you know it's an invitation song. But the words are different. The words are "Worthy is the Lamb, Oh Holy Lamb, now Son of God, most Holy Lamb, most worthy Lord. Standing in the center of God's throne, Oh worthy is the Lamb, the Lamb!"

The scripture that Bob has read to call to our minds the meaning of the atonement, the meditation and reflection that has filled this room, the body and blood of Christ which have been memorialized in our midst, constitute the background for asking you if you would come this morning to confess Jesus and put him on in the beautiful act of baptism, for you to do that while we stand together and sing.

I'm not sure exactly the sequence of the five lessons that I'll be doing around our worship traditions. I'll be talking today about music, next Sunday about giving. We'll do some other things in the middle of all that. I'll be away one Sunday in Prague and Roy Osborne is back in town that Sunday and I think we may have been able to twist his arm to get him to come back.

Page 10
Different ones of you are encouraging me to leave more often when Roy is around. That's O K, that's O K. Great guy!

In beginning, to draw us into the subject of the church and its being alive to the sound of music, I think I'd want to say, things one has known all of his or her life come to have an air of the sacred about them. And those traditions create a bias, and that bias taints even the way we read scripture. And surely that's at the heart of some of our experience n the Church of Christ with regard to our music. Because we value and practice and value congregational singing, as a rule do it reasonably well, some of us have allowed our experience to so inform our exegesis of scripture that we've taken some very arrogant and wrong-headed positions on what the Word of God demands on the subject, what the Word of God will alone allow on the subject. I am not really indicating anybody else here; if you thnk I'm beginning this sermon by tryin' to get somebody else, I'm speaking confessionally, because I well remember the first time anybody ever asked me what the Bible said about solos and quartets, choirs in church. I remember it distinctly - I was preaching for a church in Memphis. The telephone call came. The lady whose name I could still give you [she has since died], she said, "Brother Shelly, what about . . . ?" I did not have the courage or honesty to admit to her I've never thought about that before. Because my experience in the Church of Christ I've never seen that, never thought about doing that, so I don't really know what I think about it. I answered her with absolute self-assurance, full confidence and arrogance. Twisted and perverted scripture in the process. Insisted to her that of course such things were wrong, prohibited because denominations did them, we didn't.

Page 11
But everything that we did in music in Church assemblies in order to be biblical had to include every member's simultaneous participation.

Little did it dawn on me at that time, not for some time afterward, that the single New Testament text that specifies a method by which the first century Church did its music is from Paul, "What shall we say then, when ye come together, each one of you has a hymn or a word of instruction or a word of revelation or a tongue or an dinterpretaion. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the Church." In each of these cases, with hymn, the tongue, the interpretation, Paul says they were being presented by individuals who came prepared to do them.

They were having solos in the church at Cornith and that is the only passage in the New Testament that describes the method by which anybody did music in the first century. There are a lot of passages that talk about music and because our experience is what it is, we've read every one of those to mean they did it just like we did, surely in four-part harmony.

Now if somebody had pointed that passage out to me at that time or at the end of that phone conversation, I think I know what I would have said. I'd have pointed out in that passage I've just read, I Corinthians 14:26, we've been describing a church service too where tongues are in use. Granted! But Spirit-provided gifts were never permitted to be used at any point in history in God-defying ways, so there's nothing inherently wrong in doing music by a solo or, I think, even congregationally, though that's not specified in the New Testament the way solos are.

Be grateful that solos are not required, though, because at some time I might be asked to do it. You would not want that.

Page 12
Paul did not tell them that if somebody came to their assemblies with a hymn, to first write it out before sharing it with the Church, and make sure that everybody did it congregationally. He said, "present it for the strengthening of the Church."

R. L. Whiteside was Queries Editor for the Gospel Advocate for approximately a decade, maybe a little longer. Let me read what he wrote in his book, Reflections. Quote: "To the Corinthians, Paul said, 'when ye come together each one has a song' {I Cor 14-26}. A solo is sometimes very effective. So is a quartet. No one wants either as a regular diet. In solos and quartets there is a temptation to sing for show. A poor solo, or poor quartet can be a mess."

M. C. Kurfees is the person who probably did more research on church music in our fellowship than anybody else, and he certainly has, I think, influenced the position we've taken on the variety of music issues more than anybody else.

He wrote this in the Gospel Advocate of eighty years ago {May 15, 1913, p. 464}: "Hence, so far as the mere question of the number of persons who may sing at one time is concerned, one person or any number of persons may sing God's praise and impart instruction in the worship of God." Texts such as Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. You know the texts. We've cited them so often about the historical form and content of music in the Church that it ought to be: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; music appropriate to the worship we do.
But the passage doesn't say anything at all about how many people are to be involved. Speak, sing, and admonish with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Those words are broad enough to permit the use of David's psalms. There are psalms alright, of first century compositions.

Page 13 There are a few songs written by early Christians incorporated in the text of the New Testament. Did you know that? One of 'em is called the "Song of Christ." In the scholarly literature, Carmen Christie song, doesn't have a title in the way it's used. But it's in Phillippians 2, verses 6-11. Look at it in a Bible other than the KJV. It's printed in poetic form to indicate that it is a song. Now the musical notation is there and it doesn't say what tune it was sung to, but that's one of the very earliest Christian songs. It's a song to Christ. But that text would also allow the Fanny J. Crosby songs that most of us have grown up singing, or the Twila Paris music that's being written today. They're equally genuine in their authority. Those passages out of Ephesians and Colossians that we cite so often to sanction doing those pieces, whether David's or Twila's, as solos or small group presentations, or congregational.

Choose the music you like the best, so long as it glorifies God and strengthens the Church. Remember, that's Paul's criterion in I Corinthians 14. Perform it so as to use the gift to the people in the Church wisely. Get the most favorable hearing for the song's message, and maximize the impact on the unbeliever who may be among you.

Howard Norton is the editor of the Christian Chronicle. He put it this way: "It is imperative that we be Biblical in doctrine. It is also that we be progressive in methodology. Nothing in God's word requires us to be dogmatic and narrow in our methods, just because we believe that we must faithfully obey biblical teachings." One of the specific items that Dr. Norton mentioned in that editorial in the January, 1990, Chronical was Church music. He said, "This writer grew up in a Church of Christ that had a Children's Chorus at every single Sunday service."

Page 14
We also had quartets, trios and duets, but there are people in our fellowship today who are ready to fight rather than to allow an occasional special song to be a part of the worship service. Why? Because the Bible says it's wrong? NO! Because we've not done in traditionally.

That's what I meant when I said, you know when you've been around for a time in a given place and something's been done a certain way, that very tradition creates a bias, and the bias flavors the way you even read the Bible, and so you read back into the Bible what you've known, and assumed that the way you're doing it is, that's the only way it can be done and ot do it any other way is to be in trouble.

The only attempt I've ever heard anybody make to use a Biblical text against what I call presentation music, a solo, choir, quartet, or whatever, is this one. And you drop your voice and sound pretty serious, that's the way I've heard it made. "Ephesians 5:19 says that you're to speak to one another. And in the Greek there's a reflexive pronoun air [sic, there, WC], to one another,and a reflexive pronoun means everybody's gotta be doing it simultaneously with everbody else.

Well, if a reflexive pronoun means everbody's gotta be doing it simultaneously with everybody else in Chapter 5:19, I would guess back up in 4:32 where you have exactly the same word in exactly the same form, and Paul says in 4:32 that we're to be knid to one another and forgive each other--ther's that word--forgive one another as Christ has forgiven you. I wonder. Does that mean that there has to be simultaneous confessing and forgiving going on, or might one person have committed a sin and be asking the whole Church, "Please forgive me. I'm sorry I did that stupid thing."

Nobody ever read it requiring we can only have confession when everybody here has got one to make and we're all confessing and forgiving simultaneously.

Page 15

We use that passage all the time to say when brother Brown steps up here and says, "I got drunk Thursday night. I'm just sorry as I can be and I want you to forgive me and help me get back on the wagon." We've always thought that's what they were doing. Forgivness was happening one to the other. Something reflexive was happening. One person was doing something, the rest of us were responding to it. And that's exactly the way that word is used throughout scripture, and that's exactly what it means and that's what it means with regard to any number of behaviors, including singing.

Again, since some of our brothers who object to things like that so often raise the pejorative cry, "We're leaving our long-held position on so and so," let me go back and read Kurfees agian. I don't read our church fathers very often. You know that. I don't read 'em very often because I don't think they settle what the Bible means, but occasionally I do when somebody says, "Oh, nobody's ever heard the likes of that among us before. Ah, come on!" Maybe you just hadn't read any of the stuff they've said. Lot of us would do better if we'd read some of that earlier stuff, wouldn't we, Bob?

Here's what Kurfees said in that same article, eighty years ago, May 15, 1913, "Paul's admonition for the Christians to sing is in the following words. 'Speak one to another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.' He uses the reflexive pronoun." Kurfees even recognized that. Lot better Greek student than a lot of people who try to use Greek today. He uses the reflexive pronoun, "speaking to one another." He does not say whether this speaking in psalms and other kinds of musical compositions shall be done by all in concert, or by one at a time, hence either is correct. Of course it is!

Page 16

Whether I read Psalm 23 in you hearing, or some brother or sister who has the musical gift of God stands up and sings it for your hearing, your reciprocity is to hear it and be touched by its message and let the word of God register deeply in your soul. I can guarantee you this, if I had the gift to sing, if I had the gift to sing, if I had the gift to sing, the points that I struggle to make in my prosaic preaching style would be made much more adequately and you'd remember 'em a lot longer.

I can't do what Bill Sherman can do in lots of ways and one of 'em if that---to punctuate my sermon with an appropriate song. Music is a dynamic and powerful medium of communication. But where's it gonna lead? Well it would immediately to an abandonment of a narrow, judgmental, false view. My argument to that lady in Memphis about why choirs and solos were inappropriate was rooted in nothing more than my narrow experience and supported by my ignorant and arrogant misuse of scripture.

And to where will it lead is really just a prejudiced question to cut off the real question, "Is it Biblical and would it strengthen the Church?"

But don't denominations have solos and presentation music? Yes! Along with preachers, pews, Bibles, electric lights, water baptistries, communion cups, Sunday schools, parking lots, deacons, prayer, and-oh yes- congregational singing!

That's the ultimate objection made by somebody in our background and fellowship who wants, really, to just let you know, "I don't really have an objective other than I don't like it," so they try guilt by likeness, intimidation, and the only question worth asking I repeat: Is it Biblical and would it ever serve to communicate well so as to strengthen the Church?

Page 17

We've always had solos in the Church of Christ. Always, so far as I have any memory, at least. Here's the way we do 'em. Brother Song Leader would say, "Now #76 is a new song. We've never used that here before. First time through, let me sing that one to you and then we'll go back and do the first verse again and all the rest of ya join in." And Brother Song Leader would proceed to sing a solo. I've seen that happen dozens, scores, hundreds of times. I have never had anybody get up and protest it, and say it's a solo [laughter]. We're not having that. That's denominational [laughter]. You see, if you do it in the shibolith-pronouncing way, that we're accustomed to.

We've always had choirs in the Church of Christ, too. Yes we have. We've stacked parts all our lives. Ladies on the first verse in "Holy, Holy, Holy." I just want the women, I just want the sopranos, in fact, to sing. Second verse altos! Well, we had soprano chorus, and the altos, tenors, and basses were silent and we, we, we, had a female chorus, altos and sopranos together.

When is a choir not a choir? When we don't call it one [laughter]. And we should certainly expunge our song book of the music that has those bass leads down in the chorus: "Our God He is Alive," "There is a God" [laughter]. Yeah, my singing's, my singing's, just about that good [clapping]. I told you that some of the points I sometimes try to make in a prosaic way would be more emphatic if I'd sing 'em. I just thought I'd illustrate that for you [laughter].

Oh, what about those alto leads, as in "Paradise Valley?" Ah, we've always had choruses. Now there are some of those old songs I would like to expunge from our books, alright, but not because of their musical form because they set up bass or altos. Be a temporary choir!

It's both Biblical and practical for men and women who have beautiful voices to use them in the Church.

Page 18
Futhermore, I believe it's wrong for us to lay down prohibition against the use of those gifts by virtue of the prejudices that have come, either from our limited experiences that have painted us into a narrow corner or from prefudiced---prejudice, that we just stubbornly refuse to examine.

"But I just like it better when we all sing." Now there's the first honest, reasonable objection that I've ever had anybody offer me when I was pressing this point. Fine! You have a preference. Others in the Church with you have a preference too. Must you have your, always, to the exclusion of theirs? Can't the body of Christ be respectful enough among its biblical parts, that all things biblical and right can have their moment?

Alan Blum, in his widely-read The Closing of the American Mind, said, "Music is the most powerful influence in the lives of this generation. Though student's don't have books, they emphatically do have music. It's their passion. Nothing else excites them as it does. They can't take seriously anything alien to music."

If you got through your teen years prior to the 60's, music didn't mean a whole lot to you. It was, at most, sorta background filler noise for you when you were doing something. If you'd iron, you might turn on the radio, just to have a little noise. You know, you were tinkering in the wood shop, you might turn it on to catch the news at the top of the hour. But if you were reared post-60's, music doesn't play that kind of role in your life. Music describes your lifestyle and it defines your lifestyle.

Blum is right. For the younger generation, music is passion, if not filling. Because for people who grew up in the 60's, music was the medium of truth, when politicians were lying to them about Vietnam, when institutions were fighting racial equality. Both schools and churches, by the way!

Page 19

And when parents were behaving hypocritically about drugs, telling 'em, "Don't you be smoking them weird cigarettes," but they're doing that with a beer or martini in hand, their music was the one source they felt they could trust. It was talking about those things much more honestly, and they made music their special province, and they came to trust music more than they trusted those other entities.

And in addition to its role in telling the truth to that younger generation about hypocrisy and racism and equal opportunism, the same medium carried a lot of other messages that have been destructive and debilitating. And if you weren't willing to grant me the fact that it is music that has influenced a lot of the things in the direction of moral decay. Because in denouncing the hypocrisies of the establishment, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones taught them never again to trust government, or never again to listen to parents, or never again to go to Church, and that music legitimated unrestrained sex or drugs.

But I rest my case. Music became the vehicle of communication that teaches and guides and defines the lifestyles of a generation. And churches wonder why we're losing that age group. Churches wonder why the median age of most congregations is getting higher and higher all the time, and fewer of the baby boomers are excited about worship.

Let me tell you an interesting phenomenon. I can cite one church that a friend of mine is a member of here in town. United Methodist Church! Their Sunday school attendance is 60% higher than their worship attendance.

Page 20
Now that sounds a little strange to us. But more and more, that's the case in a lot of groups because worship so tunes out young people because it preserves those archaic, old, tired, wearisome musical forms. But in the Sunday school classes, you can open the Bible and be honest and fresh with the Word, and so Bible study is drawing a lot more people in lots of religious groups than worship, but our experience still has worship assembly still larger than Sunday school. Probably always will be that way among us! But I repeat: the median age of attendance is getting higher and higher. Maybe the answer is idolatry.

Whenever a generation presumes that its way of doing a thing is the only way it can be done with the blessing of God, that is a not-so-subtle form of idolatry. Many of the pre-60's generation insist that no formula for writing or choosing or using Church music can be used, other that the one they are familiar with, and that they continued out of their generation, so older people with a taste of classical music love the stately words and the conventional music of, "Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded" and "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee." Or if they are less sophisticated in musical taste, they may like the Stamps-Baxter songs of "Father Along," or "Just a Little Talk with Jesus," but they neither know nor appreciate the musical taste of the younger generation whose music is totally different and many of them draw the line and say, "It will not be allowed, it will not be permitted, it will not come in," and by doing so, they write those people off, they discount their tastes and their sensibilities, and they turn off the one medium of effective communication that, if used, would reach many of them with the Message.

Page 21

If either generation refuses to allow for the other, it's making an idol of itself in its preferences and its tastes. If the older generation refuses to allow the use of contemporary music, it's guilty of idolatry. If the younger generation banishes, refuses to respect, outlaws the good part out of the musical tradition that's older in the Church, it's idolatrous too. And a Church that can't bridge the gap in these issues so as to allow all generations to share in the life of the Church, will never be capable of dealing with the really major issues of our times. If we can't even sing together, we'll never do the important stuff like telling the world about Jesus.

I'm from the pre-60's era. My comfort zone is with the old and the familiar. I teened on Stanps-Baxter. I came to like a little bit better music, but my task from God is to reach this generation with the gospel and that requires a willingness to use this generation's musical____ [word unclear on tape, wc], and that's a very small sacrifice for me to make. From our acappella traditions, this has nothing in the world to do with the use or nonuse of musical instruments. I opt for and defend acappella music in our fellowship and will never argue a contrary case.

I believe we can make a good case historically, whether Catholic theologian, Protestant theologian or Jewish writers. Historically, all the evidence is that for several centuries, that's the only kind of music the Church used. The very term "acappella" means, [Latin] "as in the Church." I mean that's typically Church music, thologically you can make a good case for it. The word is what communicates the message, and whether it's the praise of God or the exhortation of man, that's the point of the music. But if you want me to make the case, and anybody who doesn't see it that way, as that's the way we ought to do it, is going to hell. I can't make that case. I don't try to make that case.

Page 22
I refuse that arrogant and hateful judgement. Within American Christendom, there ought to be an acappella tradition to survive. We're the best candidates. And we ought to preserve it. We ought to be proud of it, not in an arrogant cocky sense, but all ought to be proud of being able to preserve something--that folks, when they visit us from other traditions, they notice it's a little weird. They don't see any piano or organ, but about half-way through the service they say, "You know, folks really can sing." Thank ye very much!

There is really a power about the word borne on a human voice. But that has nothing to do with how that human voice in certain settings with musical style, and contemporary lyrics and forms of presentation ought to be narrow.

I don't want to abandon the classical stuff, like "Amazing Grace." Interesting story! Did you know that "Amazing Grace" was written by a fellow who, in his early life, his own language was a profligate and a libertine and came to Christ? Against resisting any discipleship claims, finally sold out to the Lord and became an Anglican clergyman? Now the Anglican Church is pretty stuffy. And people like Whitehead and Wesley--and Wesley left the Anglicans because they needed to be more aggressive in presenting the Word. Newton decided to stay, but because of his experience---he used to work on slave ships--used to be the captain of one. He'd go preach to people that the stuffy Anglicans typically didn't preach to, and you know one of the ways he'd preach? He'd testify. That was pretty radical for his day, and he wrote songs to pop tunes. And several folks tried to defrock him because he was tampering with sacred music. Now what in his own time was contemporary music, that nearly got him kicked out of his church, is to us the classic music.

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Have we learned anything from the experience? No. Because now that has become, not radical new stuff, but the classical. When anything contemporary is written, whether it's by Janet Wilson, or Michael Puryear, or Twila Paris, or any number of other people, we think it's tampering with sacred things to allow that to be used in, and some of it's not written congregationally and it would have to be done by a solo. We're just repeating the mistake of Newton's generation all over again. And in a few years, that'll be the classic stuff that the folks in a generation or two know, like, familiar with, and when somebody writes a new piece you think they will have learned by that time? I don't think so. I'm just that pessimistic about the way the human mind and spirit works. You see what this has to do with, is Paul's commandment in I Corinthians 9:26. But while remaining true to the message, the content of the message, we've got to become all things to all men, so that by all these means we can save some.

Folks, our music here isn't nearly as good as it ought to be. We do a pretty good job with a very limited range of familiar music. We think we're pretty progressive sometimes because we know a half-dozen songs that we didn't know a couple years ago. We're really so stifling in our musical traditions that we're cutting off our noses to spite our faces if our purpose for existing is other thatn just to affirm the comfort zone most of us have lived in so long.

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And if in fact we want to communicate the message meaningfully to this generation, I believe it's time for us to get off the stale provincialism that is our tradition, that has now become a bias which has become a way for interpreting the text-- and realize that our worship tradition about our music has some really glorious, good and healthy and proper and right things that ought to be preserved, but that ought to be preserved within the bubbling atmosphere of the fresh creativity of the Spirit of God that allows us in this time and in this place to do a better job, and to be open to music that communicates to the people whose generation is music and that some of us don't identify with, but we really care about the souls, our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren. And if it helps to do that, we don't have any option--we've gotta do it. And as we proceed to do it, not to do it blushing or defensively, but to the glory of God to the strengthening of his Church!


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Chapter Two

Does Rubel Use Bias Against Bias?

We notice that Rubel announced a "five-part series on our worship traditions and we're going to talk about music." I gather that the Woodmont speader detests other's traditions, but he truly loves traditions. He likes the traditions which are palatable to his taste, depending of course with which group of traditionalists he might be around. When he is with the Christian Church group, he fits in very well with their traditions, never mounting the pulpit to cause a ripple or a wave. When he is in an area where Dr. Wagner of the Southern Baptist denomination is to appear, Rubel can write commending the Baptist program and also appear as a participant. Such is the information contained in a letter which he sent out dated March 15, 1993. [The Baptist seminar of which he wrote was to be held, Tuesday, May 4, 1993, at the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.] It is noteworthy that the Apostle Finto mailed out a similar letter encouraging others to be in attendance and hear the Baptist Doctor as well as the Belmont Apostle. What does Rubel say at a Baptist gathering and in the presence of an Apostle? Does he feel above the Apostle, equal to, or less than the Apostle? Maybe the Baptist Doctor and the Belmont Apostle can confer some sort of Apostleship upon Rubel. That would be a real tradition, but 'twould be a demotion for Rubel, which methinks he might reject.

Sectarianism is steeped in worship traditions as we well know. Rubel is about to have a buck--ague in trying to get his church to adopt denominational traditions while lambasting "Church of Christ" traditions.

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My, but he gets fretful toward that stale Church of Christ, which is hidebound by old traditions.

I believe it was Jesus who said, "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" [Matthew 15:9]. Not all traditions are bad and not all traditions are good. We make a horrible mess of matters when we mix human opinions and/or traditions with divine mandates of truth. We certainly blunder when we make human traditions into truth and truth into human traditions. That is the basic trouble with Shelly, but I do not expect him to hear me, hear faithful brethren, or anyone who teaches truth, because he is too busy helping the Baptist, the Digressives and the premillenialists. Shelly makes sure that he shells the husks where he can get the most applause.

To borrow one of the scabrous, sneering, salty sayings of Shelly, "It is a scandalous and outragous lie," to paint and picture my brethren as being so dotty as to think that the things we have known all our lives "comes to have an air of the sacred about them." Are we not as discerning as Rubel and his followers? Ah, but he can see and identify great differences which those of us in the old church have not yet seen. Does Rubel have some special gift of decernment [I Corinthians 12:10]? Would it be sweet of me to ask Rubel "shall wisdom die with you" [Job 12:2]?

There are some things we respect age and endurance, but age within itself does not constitute the rule of sacredness. Some old things are bad and some new things that are good. The liberals have traditionally and historically sought to belittle the old, tried, tested and workable ways.

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Any student who has studied the French Revolution of 1789 can be aware of this.

Pity the poor Christian who is unable to discern between the sacred and the profane. The old traditions create biases. One is not able to think properly. There is a diagonal line that blurs one's vision. Few things are more damning, destructive and detracting than a biased brother afflicting other brothers with a bias. You see, "bias taints how we read scripture." No wonder Rubel runs hard trying to escape from us. Remember the bluegrass tune, "Fox on the Run?" Maybe all of us should run like Rubel. Traditions beget bias, and bias begets blindness, and blindness on our part enables those who have such long-range, telescopic vision to belittle, sneer, poke fun at and be arrogant toward the blind in their afflictions. Ask Rubel!

In the modern liberals, such as Shelly, we have an exact replica of the snooty Pharisees of Jesus' day. Those old Pharisees were so proud of their brillance. They had all the answers given by Jesus. They apparently thought their questions were more than airtight, although Jesus would burst their air-bags at will. They were so blind that they did not really know their condition. Jesus told them that they were blind leaders of the blind [Matthew 15:14]. Jesus called the religious upper scum of his day, "fools and blind" [Matthew 17:19]. The blind Pharisees would polish the outside of their cup, but let the grit and grime collect inside. Such is the doctrine of liberals.

If one claims to be a child of God, a member of an old-established congregation that still believes in reading, quoting, and living by the Bible, then I've got some real updated news for you. You probably can't even read the Bible. That old time scripture was what one could read fifty years ago, but one may not read like that today. How does one know? Shelly says it. Ask Rubel!

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I ask if old brother Smith is wasting his time. He is seventy-five years old, vigilant, clear-headed, sober minded, and has been reading the Bible for over fifty years. Must he read something differently today than that which he read half a century ago? Has the text changed? Does and old brother read with bias when he doesn't agree with Rubel? Aye, there's the rub!

The liberal presents his schemes and he palavers for the blind followers with all the rhetorical allurements at his oleaginous command. Liberal preachers assume proceed to solve the disgraceful malaise. The soap watchers listen and grin and leave the theatre with capricious smiles, happy to be a part of the wrecking crew.

I listen to Rubel's spiels--and alternately need some old-fashioned calmoel and some castor oil. A sort of checks and balances system! Rubel presents himself as a beacon on the hill, a modern crusader, a real unideological prophet. His stance is like some of the far away stars which twinkle in the distance. Now I reckon any of us might be able to see about as many stars as Rubel, if it were not for the fact that he is so very far above us. Most of us conservatives can talk about the little twinkling star "....far above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky." Rubel used to say it like we said it, but now? Well brethren, every liberal I know of has changed the piece and they chant, "I'm above the the stars so high, like shining diamonds in the sky." Hyperbole? Shucks!

Rubel wants change in "our" music. I don't know why he cannot shut up about the matter since he already has his church acting like the Holy Rollers. But in liberal form, all others must conform.

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The cause of liberalism is not doing that bad, especially when it is taking over the universities, colleges, schools, church buildings and pulpits which it did not finance and build. Such thievery has been successful so far.

The google-eyed, mind-boggling stupor which has settled like pea-soup fog over the thinking of so many is the thing "that's at the heart of some of our experiences in the Church of Christ with regard to our music." Not so in any sense at Woodmont Hills. Liberty has been declared. Freedom has arrived. The song of Woodmont Hills resounds from saints on higher ground. Lower saints don't dig that higher ground. Ask Rubel!

We do not read scripture from scripture, but we read scripture from culture and experience. A fellow who hasn't had any experiences cannot read scripture and, of course, the only persons who have had worth-while and validating experiences are the liberals, so they are by divine right or some other right, the only ones qualified to read scripture. The clerical robe of the priest would be an apt attire for Rubel. He has become so elevated that he can absolve his puppets and he can read them scriptures for them--and he isn't very far from Lord, God, the Pope. We just read and "rite" it like it is.

I believe it was Mark Twain who said that the only native criminal class in the country was our Congressmen. He may have been right back in his day, but having read so much from the pen of liberals, I would ask old Mark if I could add another class and would ask old Mark if I could add another class and include the liberals. Shelly notwithstanding, liberalism appeals to the ignorant, the apathetic and the parasitical. That is true in politics and religion and we dare anyone to try to refute my assertion.

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The liberal politicians have pushed us to the point of spending $164 billion dollars each year for welfare programs. What contributes do all the indolent, lazy slobs make to society? The same amount that the religious liberals make when they steal and rob the schools and church buildings which I and others have paid for.

Liberals consume. Period! They want more from you, me, us. There is a gang out there ready to use a 38 special with which to plunder. Not the liberal! He gets himself elected to the board or eases into some administrative position of some erstwhile school, or he might even run over and speak "great, swelling words" at Ashwood. Who knows? My bias keeps me from knowing. When will the liberals stop plundering?

The religious liberal likes to feign himself as an ambassador of compassion. He prides himself in helping the religious welfare crew to fight for their rights to get, to keep, and to hold that which has been earned by others--church buildings, schools and papers, that is!

Baby Boomers they are sometimes called! They came along in the sixties and we have not paid enough attention to them. Our worship doesn't attract and hold those blooming Boomers. They have been spoon-fed, coddled, diapered, spoiled and have allowed others to work and care for them.

Yes, those Boomers have had $3.5 trillions spent mostly on them--for doing nothing. I have paid my share of high taxes, along with every other tax-paying family in America since the mid-sixties in order to keep these bums fat. What have we received in return? Increased illegitimacy, more welfare programs, handouts--and "Billary" Clinton has proposed $40 billion more to be added to the welfare racket.

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Liberal preachers like Shelly moan over the Baby Boomers who are not being reached. We can reach them, if we will increase the dole--and that is exactly what Rubel proposes. Deny it, if you will. The only point worth any real notice in that music spiel is that we've gotta appeal to the tastes of these young people by giving them the kind of sweet music they LIKE. If Rubel thinks he is creative and being adventurous, let him bask in his ignorance. It may never dawn on him that his proposals were tried by Eve, Adam, Jereboam and countless others. It didn't work for them, but it will for Shelly. He will have a great crowd to congregate around his new altars at Dan and Bethel, and a horde of them will be students from David Lipscomb University. Rubel is a man with a plan. His young followers like to laugh and clap. Ask Rubel.

A few years ago, parents sent their offspring to colleges and many of those students got involved in "Campus Advance." They were caught up in a brainwashing movement, which later came to be known as "Crossroads." Those young people would get indoctrinated, go back home, sit on the front pews, plot and scheme until the iron got hot, and then they would strike their blows. They were trained to do such things, of course. Their elders and preachers would blink like hoot owls and groan, "Alas, my brother." Over two hundred congregations were split and who knows how many souls will be banished into eternal hell as a result of all the division which occurred.

Parents! I'm telling you the truth. Please believe me! Send your young people to Lipscomb and most of them will follow the crowd of the liberal, modernistic faculty, staff and students over to Woodmont Hills where they will listen to the heretical teaching of Shelly and others--and do you think they will not bring those damnable geresies home with them? Make note of what I have written and see if I prove to be false.

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Rubel spoke of our experiences regarding our reading or exegesis of Scripture. Would he care to make a little talk about all those experiences which led up to the Digressive Christian Church? What were those experiences? They should be told to the Woodmont clappers. Please tell those people just exactly what old Issac Erret and J. H. Garrison presented. Then tell the people how the liberals are copying after them. And oh yes, please do not use any bias, especially that soft Shelly tone, that whispering will-o-the-wisp tone that could distort the message. We know about those old digressive liberal thieves from whom our modern thieves are copying. There were rumors of wars and wars in unlikely places all over the brotherhood. Brethren continue until this day to coddle and support the liberals. Why? Ask Shelly!

Arrogant and wrong-headed positions have been taken by the "we've." Well "we've" repented of being so wrong-headed and arrogant. "We've" become adept at castingating all of those who are still wrong-headed and arrogant and "who've" refused to join "we've."

Rubel isn't wrong-headed and arrogant on the music subject. He is right-headed while others are arrogantly light-headed. Being right, others are wrong! That would be bad coming from an arrogant person like myself, but for one who has advertized his repentance, we are very skeptical, but will have to overlook the matter.

We are just wrong on what the word of God says, demands, and will allow, on the subject of music. I would not want to be wrong about what God says about any subject that pertains to my well-being here and hereafter. If Rubel has a tid-bit of truth for me, pass it along, please, and I will try to grapple with it as best I can.

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I know the Bible allows for some things, but I also know the Bible demands some things, but I also know the Bible demands some things. We usually say some things are bound whereas other things are loosed. I say happy is he who knows the difference.

It was while Rubel was preaching in Memphis [as he mentioned in his sermon which we quoted in Chapter One] that some lady asked him about "solos, quartets, and choirs in church." He says, "I did not have the courage or honesty to admit to her, I've never thought about that before. Because my experience in the Church of Christ, I've never seen that, never thought about doing that, so I don't really know what I think about it, certainly don't know what the Bible says about it. I answered her with absolute self-assurance, full confidence and arrogance, twisted and perverted scripture in the process." Fie, fie, fie!

Who in his right mind can believe that as a preacher in Memphis, Rubel had absolutely never even thought about a solo, choir or quartet in worship? What in the name of reason and common sense did he think about?

Rubel lacked courage and honesty as a Memphis preacher. I will not indict him as to his honesty, but his courage is woefully lacking even yet. Ask him some pointed questions about his teaching and see how he runs. I admire men of valor and courage.

Poor Rubel must have had some bad experience in the Church of Christ, since he says he didn't know what he thought about solos, choirs, and quartets. He reminds me of the old sister who was asked about her thoughts on a given matter and she replied, "How do I know what I think about the matter until I've heard myself say it?" Well, Rubel hadn't said it yet so he didn't know what to tell the Memphis sister. He was a Memphis preacher, but he didn't know what the Bible says about solos, choirs and quartets, albeit, in his arrogance he twisted and perverted scripture.

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What did he say back then? He said it, but he didn't know what the Bible said. Can we assume that Rubel said what others experienced in the Church of Christ are saying? Can we assume that the arrogance which Rubel had back then when he opposed solos is the kind of arrogance I might have today if and when I oppose solos? May I assume that when Rubel opposed solos he twisted and perverted scriptures, and when I oppose solos, I likewise twist and pervert scriptures? If that is the case, everyone who opooses solos according to Rubel is arrogant, ifnorant, and guilty of twisting and perverting scriptures. When one puts Rubel before the mirror of examination, he really doesn't look all that sweet. Or does he? It really helps some folks when they repent. I have very serious questions about some other folks.

Rubel recalls so very well telling that sister in Memphis that solos, etc. were "prohibited because denominations did them." You know what I think? I truly believe that Rubel Shelly, in giving that arrogant, fun-poking speech at Woodmont Hills, was going to great effort and laborious pains to make a flimsy, foolish case to present to that young audience of Lipscomb students, few of whom would dare to think for themselves, and few, if any, would see the shallow facade and tell-tale ruse of Rubel to impress upon them that solos, choirs and quartets are wrong for no reason other than that denominations use them. Well, that's the case all made up for the occasion, and it could be that one or two might be smart enough to see through the slurring and innuendo tactics of Shelly. The very best we conservatives can do is reject something-anything-because the denominations practice it. How brilliant!

I wonder if Rubel had the ability to tell the Memphis sister that we should not pray because the denominations pray?

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I do regret very much that stupidity isn't painful. You can imagine some Lipscomb student with a sophomoric mentality agreeing that since the only reason we don't solo is because the denominations do it, then we'll solo. See? Rubel makes his case to suit the occasion. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lie. Read it for yourself. "But everything that we did in music in Church assemblies in order to be biblical had to include every member's simultaneous participation." That was what Rubel believed when he was arrogant. He doesn't believe that now and he isn't arrogant anymore. Ask Rubel!

Sometime afterwards it dawned upon Rubel that Paul had given the specified method for church music in a single text. It is a specified method for church music in a single text. It is a specified method by which the church did its music in the first century.


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Chapter Three

Rubel Makes An Argument - He Thinks

Rubel quotes Paul when Rubel needs Paul, but otherwise when others who are not so wise desire ot quote Paul, Rubel can reject Paul as being only a "copy of a copy." That is what he thought about Paul yesterday. Brethren, this is sickening when people have so little intelligence or even common sense as not to see that which is so obvious. Even the copy of Paul has been filtered through centuries of culture to the extent that Paul is no longer Paul, and Paul becomes whatever Rubel wants Paul to be. God have mercy on our souls, if we refuse to see the real Rubel.

When Rubel wants a solo, he calls on Paul's copy in I Corinthians 14:26. That copy ceases to be a copy and it really is a specific method and it hasn't been filtered and it actually shows how the first century did its music, and the verse hasn't been strained through culture and Doctor Rubel really needs a verse from Paul, and his followers will forget and forget and swallow and bloat. I have no patience with blind leaders of the blind and hereby offer myself as one to be tried before the liberal Herods and Pilates at their bidding.

It won't be very pleasant for Rubel and his puppets, but I shall prescribe some pretty strong medicine for his ailment. He quotes from his perversion the "single New Testament text that specifies a method by which the first century church did its music." That text reads: "What shall we say then, when ye come together, each one of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, or a word os revelation, or a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church."

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In I Corinthians 14:26, Rubel has seen the method, and the method is a solo. I mean it is specified, set forth, declared, made known--to him. What did he say, infer, insinuate or indicate about I Corinthians 14:26? The whole idea was that therein is the method. Therein is the specified method. Therein is the solo method used and to be used NOW. "Oh for an Honest False Teacher!"

If Rubel's usage of I Corinthians 14:26 at Woodmont Hills is the best he can do for solos, [and it is] then God pity those poor demented souls who clap to his tunes. He says that, "....little did it dawn upon me....." I am positive the dawn has not yet arisen for Rubel, if he thinks he can use I Corinthians 14:26 as the specific "method by which the first century church did its music." He says the text shows how the Church did its music. I say the text does not say what Rubel wants it to say. Who is correct? The only way would be to examine the text, the context, the entire setting, the purpose of the text, the text in keeping with other texts, and this I shall do. In so doing I shall show Rubel Shelly to be the false teacher that he is, and of course challenge him and his clapping cronies to show the error in the case which I present.

Remember, Rubel says I Corinthians 14:26 shows a specified method by which the first century church did its music. the first century church did its music? The first century church did its music as specified in I Corinthians 14:26? The single New Testament text which specifies how the first century church did its music shows that individuals presented thier music as they "came prepared to do them?" "They were having solos in the church at Corinth, and that is the only passage in the New Testament that describes the method by which anybody did music in the first century." That's what Shelly believers are suppose to believe.

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I sincerely believe Rubel knows a bit more about I Corinthians 14:26 than he presents in his little speech. There are forty verses and almost nine hundred words in the entire chapter, every one of which is an integral part of verse twenty-six. Let Rubel memorize the chapter, study its every word, then have the courage and honesty to tell people what is taught therein. He won't get much clapping from clones, but regardless, men need to be honest enough to preach the Bible. Spewed-out denominational teaching will not take the place of truth. So many who are converted to a man will never know the difference.

I hope we might be able to assist some deluded souls as we give an analysis of I Corinthian 14:26 in keeping with its context. I claim no special gift of interpretation and have no theory to prop up, nor practice to justify. I do know I can read the Bible as well as Shelly, and it could be that I just might have a little more courage and honesty than Rubel had in Memphis. I know I have more courage and integrity than he shows in Nashville although Rubel may not think so.

The books of First and Second Corinthians were written to the church at Corinth, which was having problems over spiritual gifts, among other things. There were false teachers, false apostles and heretics in abundance. The inspired Paul very pointedly exposed those deceivers [II Corinthians 11:12-15]. When heretics attacked Paul's credentials as an apostle, he specifically said, "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord" [I Corinthians 9:1]. He further declared, ""Truly, the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds [II Corinthians 12:12].

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In Corinth there were miraculous gifts, but in order for there to have been miraculous gifts, they had to be imparted by the laying on of the hands of an apostle. Consider again the two previous passages above. Paul laid hands on Timothy and imparted a spiritual gift. [II Timothy 1:6]. In Ephesus, when ".....Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied" [Acts 19:6].

When Paul wrote to Rome, he declared, "For I long too see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established" [Romans 1:11]. Not being an apostle, Phillip could not impart spiritual gifts, but Peter and John wnet to Samaria, "Then laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost" [Acts 8:17]. "....through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given..." [verse 18]. Simon wanted that power [verse 19]. Peter referred to it as, "...the gift of God..." [verse 20]. Whether he knows it or not, Rubel is palavering for the same type of gift which old Simon wanted. Both want that which is not lawful.

Paul salutes the church in Corinth and then he immediately writes, "So that ye come behind in no gift..." [I Corinthians 1:7]. In chapter 3:16 Paul wrote, "know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" In chapter 12:7 Paul discusses spiritual gifts further and says, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal." He moved on to Chapter 14 which consists of matters pertaining to spiritual gifts.

It is beyond me how any man can be so completely confused by what Paul wrote concerning spiritual gifts and their usage for edification in Corinth. We know for a fact that those spiritual gifts were to be used for edification during the apostolic age.

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What is needed for edification today? Do we need apostles to speak to us? Do we need spiritual gifts? All the edification we need is contained in the textbook given by inspiration. Who will make a claim for more than that which is in the Bible? How will such claims be sustained? Will some liberal use the Bible to try to prove that we need more than the Bible to prove that we need more than the Bible? Yes, one can find such characters and some of them claim to be members of the Church. Would someone please tell me how long it would take to get Rubel's flock to understand that I Corinthians 14 deals with miraculous gifts? Paul continues in chapter 14 what he has been discusing in previous chapters. Please read chapter twelve carefully. The brethren were not to be ignorant concerning spiritual gifts [12:1]. There were different gifts [verse 4]. There was a manifestation of those gifts [verse 7]. Paul uses the word "manifestation" in II Corinthians 4:2 with reference to the gifts. The manifestation of the gifts and the truth was altogether obvious, demonstrative, made known, and to be seen. Paul mentions such gifts as wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discernments, tongues and interpretations [I Corinthians 12:8-10].

Paul further points out that, "God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, help, governments, diversities of tongues" [I Corinthians 12:28]. Not all were apostles or prophets, or teachers, or workers of miracles. Not all had the gifts of healing, and not all spoke in tongues or interpreted. These all were gifts which one might covet [verse 31]. There was a more excellent way.

The subject of spiritual gifts is considered in chapter fourteen, and Paul deals especially with tongues.

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The brethren were zealous about spiritual gifts [14:12]. Tongues were forbidden if there was no interpreter [verse 28].

Praying and singing are mentioned as spiritual gifts. Paul said, "For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the understanding also. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified." [14:14-17].

Brethren were praying in an unknown tongue and others did not understand what was being said. Whether they used the gift of praying or singing, there was to be understanding [verse 15]. In the matter of tongues, we know that the miraculous gift was not to be used at all unless the miraculous gift of interpretation was also used [14:3]. Futhermore, the gift of tongues was limited in the assembly. Paul directed that tongue-speaking was to be "....by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret" [14:27]. I think one would be foolish in the extreme to deny that the apostle is speaking of the miraculous in I Corinthians 14.

When we come to "that single New Testament text that specifies a method by which the first century church did its music....." have we also come to the single New Testament text which specifies a method by which the first century church did its speaking? I believe Rubel must have had a convenient lapse of memory along the line.

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These liberals like to brag about that psalm or hymn as being that single thing which the first century church did, but they surely do clam up when pressed to answer about the tongue. Paul wrote, "How is it then, brethren? When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying" [14:26]. If the psalm is not a miraculously given psalm, pray tell why it is placed in the verse? Five things are mentioned by Paul. Are four of them miraculous and one non-miraculous? Of course the psalm, along with the other gifts, was miraculous, so Rubel's sugar-stick has lost its handle. But when he insists that can bring in the hymn of 14:26, then we will also demand that he give us a special revelation. That would be easy for Rubel. Ask Rubel! He might also give us some special interpretations along with special tongues. Again, like the Holy Rollers, Rubel picks only what his crew will swallow.

How does Shelly actually know that the psalm was sung as a solo? He doesn't! But weren't psalms always sung? Of course not! One could write a psalm without singing it. Rubel says Philippians 2:6-11 is a psalm that was "....printed in poetic form...." A person could read a psalm or one could pray a psalm, and of course a psalm could be sung. Rubel thinks Rubel knows that the psalm of I Corinthians 14:26 was sung. How does he know? Rubel said it and that makes it so! The psalm may or may not have been sung. Grant that it was sung but it certainly has no relevance for you and me, no more so than speaking in tongues has revelance for the church today. Again Rubel's brilliance loses its brightness. We insist that he tell us how he knows the psalm was sung.

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The psalm of I Corinthians 14:26 was a spiritual gift and those solo singers which Rubel hallucinates as seeing in the Corinthian Church will not fit his foolish theory. In the chapter from which Rubel conjures up his solo singers, we learn that Paul wrote, "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in church" [14:34-35].

Women in Corinth could not solo for the simple reason that they were not given a spiritual gift. Rubel will have his Woodmont sisters doing a solo in spite of what the Bible said to those in Corinth.

One might counter, "Since spiritual gifts have been done away, may not women sing their solos today?" Well, if the one single verse which specified solo singing does not work for Rubel, he has no other verse to prove his theory and the answer is no. The hymn that Rubel sees as a solo was not given to women to sing. They never could exercise their lungs with a miraculous psalm, tongue, doctrine, revelation or interpretation. Rubel's ruse runs down the rat hole, as usual.

The passage which Rubel perverts will not allow men to do their miraculous psalms today and the women are certainly not allowed to show off with a solo. Men do not have the right to allow that which God disallows. Only Rubel can exercise that right. Do you see why Shelly shies away from debates?

Rubel says to all those people in his church, including those Lipscomb students, "They were having solos in church at Corinth and that is the only passage in the New Testament that describes the method by which anybody did music in the first century." How many years does it take for a man to attain unto such brilliance? Oh, for an honest false teacher!

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How does Rubel know about that solo method? There was a psalm in the church. Was there one psalm and one soloist? How does the man know that which is unknown? How does he manage to possess such unknown wisdom? "Psalm," to Rubel means a solo singer. One! Was there a tongue in Corinth? Indeed so! Only one? Let Rubel explain the matter to us. Maybe there was only one speaking in the unknown tongue, just like Shelly's solo singer: one tongue and one soloist! Such stupidity! Such shallowness!

Rubel thinks we have read the scriptures based upon our experiences. We therefore do not read the scriptures properly. Rubel can read intelligently and he is able to read solos. I cannot read solos, so it is clear, obvious, and certain that I cannot read as well as Shelly. I have a lot of dumb brethren who have had too many experiences to be able to read scripture. No limping liberal degressice ever sounded more digressive than Shelly since he has learned to read so well. We have learned to read the scriptures and have learned to have congregational singing. The old Greek church read something and they had congregational singing. They probably read their experiences.

Note where Shelly becomes aware that the Corinthian church service had tongues in it. He says, "But Spirit-provided gifts were never used at any point in history in God-defying ways, so there's nothing inherently wrong in doing music by a solo or, I think, even congregationally, thought that's not specified in the New Testament the way solos are."

Maybe I've had too many experiences to get any sense at all out of the above quip. I try to read it without experience and then I try to read it with experience and it is too fuzzy for me. I do believe, however, that, laying all experience aside, Rubel can see "spirit-provided gifts" in I Corinthians 14:26. He thinks he sees a solo in the text.

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The solo is "specified in the New Testament." Rubel is seeing what Rubel wants to see, when he wants to see it and where he wants to see it. No piercing eye of an eagle ever saw more clearly than Rubel--if Rubel is allowed to be the judge.

"Be graceful that solos are not required, though..." they are specified but not required. The solo is specified but congregational singing is not. Even the specified solo is not required and obviously the unspecified would not be required, so please get Rubel to give us a hint as to whether any method of singing is essential. And to think that a fortnight ago, some bloke tried to inform me how smart Rubel was. Hogwash! Taking the Shelly position, there is absolutely no mandate to sing. It is at best an optional matter. Solos are specified but not required and congregational singing is not even specified, so we can just do as we please. When we sing congregationally, we are doing that which is not specified. Do people have to do anything at Rubel's church except pay and pray?

No, Paul did not direct one who, "came to their assemblies with a hymn to first write it our before sharing it with the church and make sure that everybody did it congregationally." That is most enlightening and Paul likewise did not require everyone who spoke in tongues to write out their efforts and he did not require those who healed to write out their episodes. I do not think Paul had his solo singers to write out their solos. Rubel hasn't proven his solo events in the Corinthian church but he speaks as if all his clones accept his word--and I suppose they do. Rubel made a death-dealing, destructive, annihilating blow against congregational singing in the above. His slurs can kill the average dummy in the moronic church of today.

Ask!

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Rubel has arrived at the point so many of us will never reach--either in this world or in that which is to come. Those Ephesian and Colossian passages are "equally generic in their authority." Come now! Does a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy, having been strained through two thousand years of culture, have any semblance of authority for Rubel? We know why Rubel won't debate. We know why he is so adept at the game of hide-and-seek. We know Rubel like Rubel knows Rubel.

Those passages are so generic in nature that Rubel can use David's psalms, Twila's music, solos, small group presentations, and also congregational pieces. Old O. E. Payne could even get mechanical instruments out of those passages. With Rubel's stance one can get in or out, over or under, and up or down with any passage of scripture. Any cultic preacher can do the same.

Shelly intones, "Choose the music you like the best, so long as it glorifies God and strengthens the church. Remember, that's Paul's criterion in I Corinthians 14." This is another of Rubel's fatal mistakes and may God help us to open our eyes wide enough to see. I thought Rubel said the only kind of music was solo music as specified, but now we are told that we can pick what we like best and that is Paul's criterion. Which is it? Do not wait until Rubel gets ready to help with an answer.

I do declare in all sincerity that Rubel would make a good Catholic priest. What a marvelous choice one has a Catholic! Choose, pay and pray, and when Lent comes, choose not to eat what you do not like to eat anyway. Shakespeare is not the only one to write, "As You Like It."

That is the Shelly system. There is a variety but choose what you like. Let everyone choose according to one's tastes.

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There is an altar at Jerusalem, one at Dan and one at Bethel, and if that is not sufficient, Shelly will build as many altars as desired.

But whatever music one might like, make sure it glorifies God. Will that include the harp, cymbal and organ? Some do like those things. Also, one should, "...use the gift to the people in the church wisely." That is the crux of the matter. It is "to the people." We would like to ask Shelly to explain why we cannot completely eliminate singing if it is to be, "to the people." It is "to the people" that the Holy Rollers perform with their tambourines, drums and bugles. Give Rubel a bit of rope and I do believe he will be ringing his carol bells like the Baptists and Holiness people. I sincerely believe that Rubel believes so many of us are not wise enough to choose how to use the gift wisely.

"Get the most favorable hearing for the song's message and maximize the impact on the unbelievers who may be among you." I do not object to a hearing that is favorable. I question very strongly whether "the most favorable hearing" among ignorant people will please an omniscient God. There was a most favorable hearing at the foot of Sinai when Israel worshipped Aaron's calf. A most favorable hearing among the people will have the Bible thrown in the garbage dump in many places. We should know enough to know that the voice of the people is not the voice of God--except in Rubel's Church.

Howard Norton? God pity those who can join Shelly in using Norton as proof of anything except as an example of a reed shaking in the wind. For what does Norton contend? What conviction does he have? Norton's quote by Rubel is so expertly stupid as not to merit a reply. Like Shelly, Norton is afraid to take a firm position and can generate enough hot air to say something.

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Don't count on whatever Norton says today agreeing with what he said yesterday or what he might say tomorrow.

I do not care for liberal soup!


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Chapter Four

But What If . . .

Shelly attempted to make an argument. He really did, but he made the argument which he says others have made and then he makes his argument against others' argument. It is absolutely unbelievable that Shelly would try to have a one-man debate. Ah, but he is a good "argumentor" when he performs before his church where he knows he is safe. He can climb upon a high limb and spit down on those who are at some distance and from whom he feels safe. He can outdo any dude in Nashville when it comes to blowing down the houses of little pigs who are using only straw. The big, bad Woodmont Wolf can huff and puff and blow down the little straw houses of lowly swine. Rubel even demonstrated how brethren make silly arguments. He says, "You have to drop your voice and sound pretty serious. That's the way I've heard it." Shelly has good sound effects when it comes to making fun of others. I do not claim to have repented like him, so I do not hesitate to belittle his mockery and foolishness. Answer folly with folly. I'll try to lower my pen as I write, in order to present it like Rubel has heard it. That way, the low, low, low sound will be similar to that humble sound of Shelly when brethren Alan Highers and William Woodson were on his trail and tail at the Freed-Hardeman Forum a year or so ago. Rubel could really drop his voice and sound pretty serious when he got backed into a corner where he couldn't run. I think he knows how to stay out of the corner and he is good at dropping his voice while making fun of low-caste brethren.

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Rubel is so very careful and selective about what he reads. He no longer reads the "hateful" papers and "brotherhood rags" such as he used to read and to which he submitted articles. I feel confident he will not read my review of his little speech at Woodmont. It is certain that none of the cult members will read what I write. Hopefully, someone might be able to see the utter inconsistency and demeaning shallowness of Shelly's sayings. Like any and all false teachers, Rubel can be answered with the truth. I shall answer the argument which he attempted to put over on the gullible souls in his church.

Please note carefully that Rubel mentioned Ephesians 5:19 and lowered his voice. He then asked about Ephesians 4:32 and stated, "I would guess back up in 4:32 where you have the same word in exactly the same form, Paul says in 4:32 that we're to be kind one to another and forgive each other. There's that word, 'forgive one another, as Christ has forgiven you.' I wonder! Does that mean there has to be simultaneous confessing and forgiving going on, or might one person have committed a sin and asking the whole church please forgive me, I'm sorry I did that stupid thing."

Please take note how Shelly ignores the obvious import of a reflexive pronoun. He makes no attempt whatsoever to be honest and deal with the matter. Why? He knows and I know. His specious effort is couched in "well if..." There is no "if" about it until "ifs." The more blatant agnostic comes right out and squeaks "IF there is a God...." Now Shelly borrows from the "IF" cult.

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What does Paul say in 4:32? Regardless of what Paul said at any place, Shelly can wave Paul aside as a copy of a copy. How dense does one have to be in order not to see the real Shelly?

Please read slowly, carefully and with profound reverence where the inspired apostle uses the "one another' expressions five times in his letter to the Ephesians. We must stop and ponder those verses with reverence and honesty. Not one time do we feel any inclination to say, "Well, what if Paul had said it differently?" If Shelly had done his homework he could have known about those five verses, but it would not have helped his case. I'm sure he would wave them all aside with a pontifical "IF." Why demonstrate the attitude of some bigoted denominational debator who dishonestly and blatantly refuses to admit the truth?

Let's lower our pride and arrogance and take notice of the word of God. We can lower the voice but any fool can do the same. In Ephesians 4:2, Paul uses the phrase, "....forbearing one another in love." I wonder! Does that mean there has to be simultaneous forbearing and loving, or might only one person in the church forbear and love, and all the other "one another" members not forbear and love? Does one another mean one another?

Down at Rubel's church, the whole congregation doesn't love one another simultaneously. Some dude or squeaking sister will get up and render presentation love with a mite of forbearance. That is the only kind of love specified in the New Testament. It has to be that way 'cause Rubel thinks so. Loving one another and forbearing one another just cannot happen between church members at the same time. Is Rubel really that brilliant?

God help us when dishonest renegades from outer space can captivate the minds of multitudes with smooth words and fair speeches. Where I preach, we must not remain silent when error is on the rampage.

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Like the Shelly of yesteryear, we need to be soldiers in the army of God. Someone keeps telling me to be easy with false brethren. Why? Well, you know we just need to be nice to "one another."

Brethren, are we really and truly to be given to, "...forbearing one another in love" in a reciprocal manner? Of course, we are. Think how stupid Rubel's argument is, and view it with respect to Ephesians 4:2. Also consider a husband and wife who decide to practice the Shelly system. A husband decides that he will get up on a Sunday morning and he will forbear his wife in love. She must not forbear him in love until he gets through forebearing her in love. I mean that kind of love has to be solo love and solo forbearance. First one loves, then the other loves. I believe it is time to quip again that it is sad that stupidity isn't painful and again, "Oh, for an honest false teacher."

In Ephesians 4:25, Paul wrote, "...for we are members one of another." On a given Sunday when I stand up to preach, I might quote the above passage, but in my scholarly manner I unravel all the deep dark mysteries contained in the above text. I can be so very deep and profound as I lower my voice and proclaim how I will be a member of the "one another" clan while I stand to speak, and when I finish, someone else can stand forth and be a member of the "one another" clan, and all of us will be given his or her turn to solo, announcing our membership to "one another." We cannot be members, "one of another" at the same time or simultaneously. That would violate the code of Shelly and never should that be. There is no ignorance so appalling as educated ignorance. That is the kind some folks like best.

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We now come to chapter 4:32 and to that "iffy" passage where Paul said, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Please note that "ye" and "you" are plural. At least I think they are, but since I haven't asked Rubel today, I may be wrong. He may have changed plurals into singulars or completely done away with plurals. I declare that you do not know.

If we can proceed with our plurals, then Paul addresses a plurality in the passage. The "ye" and "you" are to "be kind one to another." Being kind one to another is addressed to "ye" and "you." This is reciprocal. Can we not be knid to one another at the same time? Ask Rubel! I think he has a wife and if she is ever kind to Rubel, does he have to wait until she quits being kind to him before he can reciprocate? I'm just asking? Is being kind to one another a solo affair? In being "kind to one another," does that mean that being kind not, cannot be, and will not be reflexive or reciprocal? Better ask Shelly! Any being who can absolve others from sin can eliminate pronouns.

Rubel shows his complete foolishness when he makes mention of the reciprocal act of forgiveness. It was the Holy Spirit who said, "....forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Yes, anyone who knows that in the matter of sin, there can be a situation where A could commit a sin and ask B through Z to fogive sinner A. This happens all the time. For example, A commits fornication. He is truly penitent and asks all the brethren to forgive him of his sin of fornication. Must all the brethren forgive him? Yes! Shall they say, "You forgive us of fornication and we will forgive you?" That is the sort of absurd case Shelly has presented as he referred to Ephesians 4:32. I do believe most normal people can be made to see a few simple matters.

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Let's look at a case in point where Ephesians 4:32 absolutely does apply in a reciprocal manner. A congregation becomes involved in a church brawl, a veritable dog fight, a factious, divided, disgraceful, wicked, hating and despising group. The entire membership is involved in the dirty mess. We know in such cases all those involved will split hell wide open. What needs to be done? What can be done? What must be done? Ask Rubel! There has to be a forgiving spirit upon the part of all those sinful people. Paul's directive would surely apply: All of the "ye" and "you" must be kind and forgiving one to another. One another must be kind and forgiving one to another. One another must be forgiving. This is reflexive. It is reciprocal. It is sheer stupidity gone to seed when one avers that this sort of forgiveness must be a sort of solo system. Must brother A wait until brother B gets through forgiving before brother A can forgive? Can the entire congregation be forgiving in a simultaneous manner? Of course they can and they must. Rubel cannot even give a sensible illustration in support of his theory, if that which he gave is the best he can do. His illustration certainly misses the mark. See what it takes to be a liberal?

We all know that a condition could exist where only one person would need to forgive another. I think we all know that a condition could exist where two people need to forgive each other. It happens all the time. We might know of conditions where a brother would seek the forgiveness of an entire congregation. There have been situations where all of those within a congregation have been ".....kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another" [Ephesians 4:32]. I was present where an entire church came forward weeping, confessing, forgiving, and asking forgiveness. I can act like Rubel and give an illustration which would be different from the above. Yes, it can be done, but the truth is that brethren can forgive one another simultaneously. Shelly will not dare to deny it. He had rather run.

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We will now look at Ephesians 5:21 where Paul wrote, "...submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." Here is a reflexive pronoun being used by the apostle. Ask Rubel what is the import of reflexive pronouns in his church. He will have one person doing a solo submission and when that is finished, then another can do his solo submission. Did you know that the only kind of submission in the New Testament is for a person to submit one at a time? There cannot be simultaneous submission "one to another." That would never do, lest some fool might decide that we should sing simultaneously. Of course, if we decided to forgive one another simultaneously, then some dim-wit might conclude that we simultaneous manner while singing. Lord help us!

With the aforementioned pointers before us, we now look at Ephesians 5:19, which Rubel uses to please Rubel. It is the passage which causes some to lower their voice. It is the verse which caused Rubel to jump to Ephesians 4:32. It is the verse which Rubel ignored completely. I have dealt with chapter 4:32, I trust in an honorable way. That is the only way to treat any passage when some false teacher pretends to make some point relative to the verse. It is not right to skip around, side-step, evade and fail to deal with matters, especially when we are looking at the Word of God.

I must be emphatic, insistent and urgent with my readers to please notice how completely Ephesians 5:19 was ignored by Shelly. Go back and read his speech with an honest heart. He messed up completely. I repeat that one sinful man asking forgiveness of an entire congregation has nothing on God's earth to do with the truth set forth by the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 5:19.

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Certainly a man can ask forgiveness, and he doesn't have to be in a group of Christians to do that. He might be in an assembly or he might be with one brother or one sister. The case in point would determine the matter, but as one old brother used to say, "The case being altered, alters the case," and indeed it does. Ask Rubel!


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Chapter Five

An Exegetical, Epistemological, Philosophical and
Theological Exposition Of A Pauline Copy Of A Copy

What does Ephesians 5:19 teach? What did the passage teach back in the seventies when Rubel used the verse? Does the verse teach today what it taught two decades ago? What did Shelly say about the passage back then? We have his speeches, articles and utterances. Would he care to divulge what he used to teach? Has culture changed so much with Shelly in the last twenty years? Does culture enable him to filter the Word of God and change it? Has Rubel only changed his attitude? Did he teach in Memphis what he teaches today about solos? What did he tell the Memphis woman in an ignorant and arrogant attitude about solos? Was it wrong back then to solo? It is right now, according to Rubel? If it was wrong back then and it is now right, does that mean that the only thing Rubel has changed is a bad attitude? "Oh, for an honest false teacher." Oh, for some honest church members who will open their blinded eyes.

We will look squarely at Ephesians 5:19 and notice the matter of reflexive pronouns. I serve notice that I am no Geek scholar, which is already known by my friends. I'm not any kind of a scholar, make no claims of being one, but I strongly insist that I am not one whit behind Rubel Shelly when it comes to understanding the Word of God. We both have borrowed all we know from others.

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'Tis possible that my integrity might surpass his, but I shall leave that to God who knows for certain. Rubel and I both have borrowed all we know from others. I just go ahead and admit that which everyone knows except maybe Rubel.

The word of God is not like a penny to be flipped up and called, "heads or tails." The liberals will play "heads" yesterday, "tails" today and alternate as the case suits them. If you deny this, try finding an honest liberal. Rubel knows how dishonest liberals have been, are, and will be.

There is not, never has been and never will be any man who can contrive a case, regardless of how specious it is--that will successfully set aside the scriptures. That is what Shelly attempts to do with his fair words and smooth speeches.

We would ask what is a pronoun? Peanuts said, "It's what you have when you can't think of the noun." Is there any such thing as reflexive pronoun? I looked in a number of books on grammar and all the authors apparently made stupid fools of themselves in their texts when they began to write about reflexive pronouns. They wrote about, described and gave examples of what they dare to call "reflexive pronouns." I do not suppose any of those Greeks grammarians thought about asking for Rubel's opinion before they wrote. Don't you think they should? We ask how many Greek Grammers has Shelly written? Maybe he will stop absolving his members long enough to write a Greek grammar textbook. I do believe that most people seem to act like they enjoy being fooled, especially the liberals.

Now just in case Rubel consents to allow such a thing as a reflexive pronoun to be a part of Greek grammar, it would be a pretty nice thing of him to announce to the world just what he will allow reflexive pronouns to do.

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I mean we need to know their function, if they still exist. Is Shelly a Greek scholar? If so I have never heard about it. I would deny that he is any kind of scholar. A real scholar is objective and not subjective in his presentations. A real scholar will be willing to be tested. Will Rubel? Rubel babbled a bit about that "only attempt" some make about Ephesians 5:19, and he must have programmed his clones right well. He altered the case to fit his case. He made no attempt whatsoever to deal with the reflexive pronoun in Ephesians 5:19. He chose to do exactly like any sectarian preacher will do when faced with the truth. Shelly says, "but what about another verse somewhere?" Corner a Baptist preacher on Acts 2:38, and instead of dealing with the verse he will act like Rubel and say, "But what about another verse." This is ignorance, or cowardice, or dishonesty, and perhaps a mixture of all three. Even the blind followers of Rubel should be able to see through his ruse. So far we have not been able to "hem Rubel in" on his platform. I would be overjoyed to meet Rubel in a discussion and use Ephesians 5:19. If he can tilt his head, wave his wand and eliminate the passage so effectively, think what he might do with other verses.

Is it possible that Rubel has done away with all kinds of pronouns except the personal kind such as I, me and mine? Now I think any fellow who can absolve people from their sins should absolve people from all pronouns. I know it must take a mighty big fellow to do such big things. Just think how simple matters would be if there were no reflexive pronouns at Rubel's church. There are reflexive pronouns discussed, however, in the several volumes which I have consulted. We will wait until Shelly gives us his explanation of reflexive pronouns, and how such is used in Ephesians 5:19, before we start burning all of our grammar books.

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I repeat that I certainly make no arrogant claims of being either a Greek scholar or even an English scholar, but I do have sense enough to read what real grammarians have written about the structure and usage of language and I do earnestly believe that I am honest enough to give up any position which cannot be sustained. If therefore the side-stepping prattle of Shelly is the exact truth, then God being my helper, not only will I begin to teach solos, I'll begin singing them everywhere I go. I do not plan to abandon the truth and begin to follow Rubel because of anything he says, however. I feel like Rubel used to feel when he opined, "Oh, for an honest false teacher."

Shelly is so very selective of what he reads and he will surely never read anything I write, but it would be good to put the lad on my knee and teach him a few things about reflexive pronouns. I'm confident that we would absolutely have to convince Rubel that we must not ignore reflexive pronouns.

In his book, "New Testament Greek for Beginners," J. Gresham Machen says, "Reflexive pronouns are pronouns that refer back to the subject of the clause."

"The reciprocal pronoun is, of one another, of each other." William W. Goodwin of Harvard wrote in his book, A Greek Grammar, "The reflexive is sometimes used for the reciprocal...we will discover with one another [i.e. among ourselves]."

Eric Jay in his New Testament Greek, says, "The reciprocal pronoun translates the English 'one another,' each other...."
James Hope Moulton discussed the reflexive and reciprocal pronoun in his A First Reader in New Testament Greek. He states, "The reciprocal pronoun is one another [only plural]. The middle voice suggests reciprocal action between persons. Cf. John 12:10--they took counsel among themselves."

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In his Essentials of New Testament Greek, Ray Summers dealt with the reciprocal pronoun and stated, "In function it represents an interchange of a plural subject - 'Let us love one another' - They burned in their lust one for another."

C. F. D. Moule in An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek cities Colossians 3:13 as an example of the reflexive pronoun. Paul stated, "Forbearing one another and forgiving one another...." He also gives I Thessalonians 5:11 as a further example, where Paul wrote, "Wherefore comfort yourselves together..." We give one other citation by Moule, taken from Luke 23:12 where it said, "And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves."

From Synonyms of the New Testament by Trench, we notice his comments regarding the reflexive pronoun as he states, "something belonging to each person in a group of people is placed in the singular..." and he gives Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 as examples. Paul is saying let "each person in a group of people" fulfil the action toward each person in the group. I suppose Rubel will not read such stuff, but he certainly cannot be excused because of ignorance. Trench gives many passages to show the reflexive or reciprocal nature of a reflexive pronoun. Among those, he lists:
    Romans 1:24, "....to dishonor their own bodies between themselves."
    Romans 2:15, "....and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or excusing one another."
    Colossians 2:2, "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love...."
    We present our next case which is taken from A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research by A. T. Robertson.
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Robertson says, "The use of the reflexive in the reciprocal sense has just been discussed [cf. personal pronouns as reflexive]. This pronoun brings out the mutual relations involved." It is, "reflexive in the reciprocal sense. I Corinthians 6:7, Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16." I wonder how low Shelly's voice will get when he tries to belittle Robertson's usage of the Ephesian and Colossian passages? Maybe Rubel will want to say, "But what about another passage somewhere?" It's about time to repeat, it is sad that stupidity isn't painful.

It is also of interest that the following scriptures are given by Robertson to show the mutual relations and the plural actions of brethren.
    "Therefore put away from yourselves that wicked person" [I Corinthians 5:13]. "Judge in yourselves; it is comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?" [I Corinthians 11:13]. "Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another...." [I Corinthians 6:7].
I beg and plead with people to consider the unimpeachable proofs presented above. If they can be squinted at, shrugged aside or ignored, I need to know. I do not want to take an untenable position.

Brethren, Rubel Shelly has not attempted to answer the reflexive pronoun case. He referred to it, lowered his voice in ridicule and ran. He will go to his grave without answering the truth of Ephesians 5:19. If the spiel of Shelly was indeed the truth, why did not some learned professor arrive at the great point of discovery long years ago? Where has wisdom been? Rubel borrows his foolishness from the old liberal digressives and that will work with people who are contended to follow their godlet.

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The answer Rubel gave that Memphis lady as to why choirs, solos and quartets were inappropriate simply came from his, "....narrow experience and supported by my ignorant and arrogant misuse of scripture." That is the bellicose babble which a young Lipscomb student will still hear when he goes over to Rubel's church. No Lipscomb student wants to be narrow. The sacrifice of parents must not result in developing students with narrow minds. Rubel will cure that. Rubel used to oppose solos, quartets, and choirs when he lived in Memphis and was afflicted with ignorance. Of course, no Lipscomb student wants to remain ignorant. When they listen to Rubel, they will be able to return home, kick the elders out, run the preacher off [but chances are he has already joined Rubel] and rally 'round the choir. See what happens to my prophecy! That's what occurred with the young Crossroads clones, and the bottomless pits of hell were the winners.

In Memphis, Rubel opposed solos, but that was when he was arrogant. He isn't any more. Listen to Shelly. The one, constant, incessant, repeated word which forever clings within the "craw" of Shelly is the word "arrogance." My, but he can put down all of us who are so arrogant! Which young Lipscomb don wants to be so afflicted? There is a real mental and personal problem and the malady is so devastating that very few will be able to survive like Rubel. No wonder the report is circulating that some think he is a god, while others compare him to Moses.

We are informed that the real question about solos, quartets and choirs is, "....is it Biblical, would it strengthen the church?" Now that should suffice for every question which troubles Israel. Neither Shelly nor anyone else can sustain their solo practice as they claim. If I practiced something and believed that such practice was Biblical, I should have no trouble at all in proving the practice by the Bible.

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Has Rubel proved his practice by the Bible? How did he prove it, and when did he prove it, and where did he prove it, and will he be willing to prove it before a huge audience who would literally beg him to prove it? The old axiom about, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating," is great, but the Woodmont preacher has lost his recipe or he never had one. Rubel proves his solos like the digressives prove their fiddling during the worship.

"Would it strengthen the church?" Read the articles of the old digressive preachers and see how the missionary society and mechanical music would, "....strengthen the Church." Ah, but did the church ever get strong! It became very strong in stealing schools, colleges, church buildings and properties which belonged to others. The liberals are presently taking away the schools and church buildings which others have paid for and maintained. The wrecking crew follows Rubel and others in their grandiose claims of making the church strong.

What about the brethren in and around Nashville who do not accept the solo screeching and squealing which is being introduced? As brother Dozier of Madison said, "If you don't like what we are doing, you can leave." That is the same meek, humble and lowly statement as made by the old digressives, when they ran brethren away who opposed the introduction of instrumental music in worship.

Shelly gives an analogy which might impress a few shallow-minded souls when he avers, "But don't denominations have solos and presentation music? Yes! Along with preachers, pews, Bibles, electric lights, water baptistries, communion cups, Sunday schools, parking lots, deacons, prayer, and oh yes, congregational singing."

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"That's the ultimate objection made by somebody in our background and fellowship who wants, really to just let you know, 'I don't really have an objection other than I don't like it,' so they try guilt by likeness, intimidation, and the only question worth asking, I repeat, is it Biblical and would it ever serve to communicate well so as to strengthen the church?"

I think another question is appropriate which Rubel did not ask. My question is this: Is a fabricated, bald-faced lie necessary in order to help my cause? Is it wrong to lie? Does Shelly still believe that liberals will lie in order to sustain their case? Back when he was narrow, ignorant and arrogant, he wrote a booklet entitled, Liberalism's Threat to the Faith and one of the very "ignorant" attacks made against the liberals was aimed at their dishonesty. Rubel was ignorant and the liberals were liars, but now neither is either, or either is neither.

Somebody in our background and fellowship equates solos and presentation music found among the denominations with preachers and ten other things. Who did that, "in our fellowship?" Shelly didn't say but he said it happened. Why did he tell a tale like that? What is his source? He should know better than to try to get by with such a scheme. Give us the reference and cite the occasion, please. Not all of us are a bunch of Sugar Creek suckers shoaling on a sand bar. We may be ignorant, but not all of us are retarded. Does Rubel actually know of someone who objected to solos and presentation music because the denominations had such? I've read every single word from articles submitted to the old Gospel Advocate written by "those in our fellowship" as they disapproved of solos, choirs and quartets. I have also read from the old Firm Foundation papers. You can do the same. You will never be able to read what Rubel would lead you to believe.

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It is not "....the ultimate objection made by somebody in our background and fellowship..." to oppose solos because the denominations have used them. If such an incident had occurred, the "incidenter" would surely have been an idiot and I do not think the editors "in our background and fellowship" would have published such incidents. Oh for honesty!

But Rubel thinks that the real objective has come from somebody "....in our background and fellowship" who says, "I don't like it." That's a fine piece of brilliance, we must admit. Just think for a moment how choirs, solos and quartets have been kept out of worship services for lo, these many years, solely and entirely because somebody in our background and fellowship said, "I don't like it." Strange that we do not know about that somebody. Could that somebody have been Nobody? Rubel can't say.

The somebody who said it had to be extremely ignorant, and all the other somebodies had to be even more ignorant, narrow and arrogant that the somebody. That's how the church operated until Shelly sallied forth.

"They" [meaning the ignorant, arrogant, narrow opposers, WC] "try guilt by likeness, intimidation...." "They" [not me, I and us, at Woodmont Hills, WC], but "they" who will not solo! "They" try to intimidation [but not me, I, us or we at Woodmont Hills]. Never would we use intimidation, for indeed that would make us as demeaning as "they." May my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if ever I use intimidation against those who who solo or those who will not solo. [That's a bit or irony] Neither Rubel nor I would intimidate.

Rubel proves his practice of solos by precedence. Yes sir! He says, "We've always had solos in the Churches of Christ." He declares that he has seen it "....happen dozens, scores, hundreds of times. I've never had anybody get up and protest it and say, 'at's a solo'" [laughter].

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Just when and where did he see those hundreds of solos? Hundreds of times he has seen a brother song leader sing the first unfamiliar line and then say "....we'll go back and do the first verse again and all the rest of ya join in."

I would not question what Rubel says he has seen, except to say that he hasn't seen it. I've seen as much as he has seen and maybe a mite more. Pardon if my skirt begins to show, but I left home when I was a sophomore in high school to go some distance to lead singing during a gospel meeting in which the great, good and lamented W. W. Heflin did the preaching. As a lad I was familiar with the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs which congregations used. For more than fifty years I have been engaged in examining, inspecting, singing and teaching the rudiments of singing. In days gone by, I have been a member of two fairly successful quartets of two colleges. Just about every song book which has been in my possession down through the years. The little paperback books which were used so widely during the depression years had the old familiar songs. Pick up the old Advocates and Firm Foundations and chech the advertisements of song books. Visit one of the college libraries and look at the various song books. I mean do a bit of honest investigation and see how many HUNDREDS of unfamiliar songs we have been cursed with since Rubel started noticing all these HUNDREDS of solos. You might believe his story but my reaction is, "Oh, For an Honest False Teacher!"

But, now, and if, some old brother did sing the first line, does that prove that soloing is Biblical? I do not believe for a moment that Shelly told the truth.

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I have probably worked with more song directors than he has and I will dispute his claims.

When some song leader stands up and says that he will sing the first line by himself, then I suppose all the others should not join in the singing. If singing is worship, and it is, then pray tell who can tell me that I cannot sing with the song leader? Even Rubel cannot control me to that extent. His illustration is but an illustration and it is a sorry one, for that.

But then we learn from Rubel that, "We've always had choirs in the Church of Christ. Yes, we have. We've stacked parts all our lives. Ladies on the first verse in 'Holy, Holy, Holy.' I just want the women. I just want the sopranos, in fact, to sing. Second verse altos. Well, we had a soprano chorus, and the altos, tenors and basses were silent and we, we, we had a female chorus, altos and sopranos together."

We had it, therefore, it was Biblical, or was it biblical because we had it? As a song leader, I might be able to arrange all kinds of situations during the worship assembly and say, "I just want..." If it can be done, I believe someone will do it. "I just want the women." On a given Sunday, "I just want the women to sing." How many Sundays can I just want the women to sing? If it is Biblical, every Sunday? Please answer!

I just want the sopranos to sing on a given Sunday? Is that biblical? Do not run like Rubel, but answer the simple question. Is it biblical? It is or it isn't. If it is biblical, may I and can I just want the sopranos to sing each Sunday of the year? Shake or nod? That should be easy to answer.

Since tenor singing is that which I prefer, and since I can have that which I want, then I will just have the tenors to show off. We will be the town of renown where only tenor singers perform. You ask why?

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Any dunderhead should be able to see that such is just what I want.

Rubel got a big laugh when he observed, "When is a choir not a choir? When we don't call it one." That being the case, all singing is a choir until we refuse to call it one. Ask Rubel! When Rubel says it is, it is, and it isn't until it isn't. I couldn't care less what man may call a situation, event or condition. Using a label will not alter the truth, even when used by Rubel.

Rubel thinks we have solos when the bass belts out "There Is a God," or when the altos sound forth with, "Up in Paradise Valley." When is a solo a solo? When Rubel says it is. When is a quartet not a quartet? when we don't call it one?

Shelly got a real hand-clapping response when he began to sing a line of "There Is a God." 'Twas funny to his audience. I mean it is hilarious to hear a god sing, "There is a God, He is alive."

The composition of a song determines whether or not it is done as a solo, quartet, octet, sextet, or any other kind of "tet." One phrase being sung by the soprano only doesn't make a solo, unless Rubel declares it one.

Let him announce that Sister Squealer will sing a solo and then everyone joins in and sings "Paradise Valley" together. I've sung any number of songs where one part will lead in its rendition on a phrase or clause. I've sung many songs where syncopation was the style but we never did announce that the song was a solo. Rubel undoubtedly thinks that we have solos, if we do not have synchronous singing. I vehemently deny it. Grant Rubel's ruse for a moment. He has not established the Biblical support for soloing during our worship to God. His efforts at best are only similar to the mother killdeer, dove or partridge in their diversionary fluttering, flapping and distractions to draw an intruder away from the nest. It will work occasionally.

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We have been "....painted into a narrow corner and have stubbornly refused to look at our prefudices." Of whom does the master speak, of himself or of thers? Somebody is in a pitiful, prejudicial predicament, but it could not be Rubel. He is not prejudiced, but others are and he is not in a corner. Remember the story of the Pharisee and Publican who went into the temple to pray? Never would Shelly be caught in a corner like the wicked Pharisee. Ask Rubel!

Can you believe that Rubel believes that the first, honest, reasonable objection that he has heard is, "But I just like it better when we all sing?" It may be honest, but may God help anyone who thinks that such is a reasonable objection. The objection is stupid, asinine, hollow, without reason, and has no basis whatsoever. Why did Rubel say such foolishness? It just might help to put down his detractors in the eyes of his audience. Do you see why Rubel will only debate with Rubel? Do you think Rubel knows Rubel?

I'm learning so much. I learn that somewhere, to someone, Rubel "presses this point." Where? When will Rubel press this point?

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Will he press this point in a public debate? No, he won't, but he will find a secure and safe place to press his point. We know why. Does Rubel think that he might gain a bit of credibility for his cause when he elects to "....press this point?" If he can press this point at one time and place, then why in the name of reason is he so tight-lipped at other places? Ask Rubel!

In his speech Rubel elects to ask questions which he is certain will not be answered while he speaks. He laments that people have different preferences and they should be expressed. Does it occur to him that our God has His preferences?

In true fashion, Rubel gets around to deprecating, ridiculing, and making fun of our worship because because "it preserves those archaic, old, tired, wearisome musical forms." When you hear one liberal discuss our worship, you have heard them all. They sorta let their love get the best of them when they begin to poke fun at how we worship God. Old Jereboam got enough of that old, tired, archaic, wearisome altar form in Jerusamlem, but Jehovah was not was not weary. Mankind can get pretty weary at times.

Rubel says, "Maybe the answer is idolatry," as he questions why OUR attendance is growing smaller. If you listen to Rubel's tapes, read his bulletins, peruse his articles and keep up with his rantings, you will be so very impressed with how many idolaters there are outside his church. His "ilk and stripe" [quoth Rubel] are growing and of course there are no idolaters among them. Look at it carefully and think it through. Rubel said, "Whenever a generation presumes that its way of doing a thing is the only way it can be done with the blessings of God, that is a not-so-subtle form of idolatry." According to the above, there must never be an "only way" to do a thing. I'm sure with Rubel's attitude, he can dispense with statutes, ordinances, laws, directives, commands and entire books of the Bible.

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He must have been running down the mountain toward the sea while rambling about those idolaters who think there is only one way to do some things. How learned does one have to get in order to stop, cease and desist in saying that there is only one baptism? How many ways does Rubel baptize people? Is there only one way to baptize a person out at the Hills? Either Rubel has more than one way to baptize people, or he is an idolater, or he is excused from his own indictment. Is there just one way to pray? I know Rubel prayed to the Holy Spirit but he might as well have adressed his prayer to Mary or Martha. We are to pray unto God, not the Holy Spirit. When we sincerely believe that we are to address our prayers only to God, are we idolaters?

The older generation are idolaters and the younger generation are idolaters when they refuse to do as Rubel prescribes. In that case there are a lot of idolaters running around loose, but of course, Rubel is not an idolater. He just identifies those who are.

"If we can't even sing together, we'll never do the important stuff like telling the world about Jesus." Who does that sound like? Did you ever hear of Errett, Garrison, Cowden and Boswell? They wanted one and all to play with them. Rubel wants all of us to "choir" with him. He won't give up his choir for the sake of unity, even though he would admit that it isn't specified. The truth is that he couldn't care less about singing with us. He wants us to solo with him.

If we do not solo, quartet, and choir as Rubel suggests, we are idolaters. If one uses mechanical instruments and doesn't do acappella, Rubel isn't going to make a case. He says, "I refuse that arrogant and hateful judgment."

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We certainly have a lot of people running around who are hateful, arrogant, judgmental and idolatrous, but we are so very thankful that Rubel is not troubled with such problems.

We sincerely wish that Rubel would repent more often and especially while he is talking to his church. 'Til seventy times seven in each speech would not be too much, and probably he might have less to say about those with whom he finds less to do. Amen!


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Chapter Six

Some Notes On Rubel's Quotes

It is interesting that Rubel would quote M. C. Kurfees and R. L. Whiteside to help his case, but regardless of his efforts, his position is not sustained by the word of God. It is also interesting that Shelly did not quote Kurfees and Whiteside to assist him as he spoke on the role of women. May we ask why? You see we can pick out who we quote and when. But let people quote from men--men are still men and few are like gods.

Brother Kurfees would have an, ".....exact number that might happen to be assembled in one place...." He points out that any other exact number of persons could sing in the worship. That "exact number" is the "exact number" assembled. If "....more than the specified number were present in the assembly" and "a part of them failed to join in the singing, the others....could rightly sing the praises of God." On this we can all agree. "He has nowhere specified how many shall or shall not do so." As to an exact number, of course not, but as to the Christians assembled, they are either to sing or not to sing. Is it optional? Has God specified singing? That is the issue. To whom has He specified singing? How many Christians may refuse to eat the Lord's supper.

Has God legislated singing? Read all the many articles written by brother Kurfees regarding instrumental music and see all the strong arguments made to show that singing is legislated and instrumental music is not.

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Read the Kurfees reply to O. E. Payne's effort and see what is legislated. I have Payne's book and Kurfees' reply. It is singing that is legislated, bound, demanded.

Brother Kurfees would have an, "....exact number that might happen to be assembled in one place..." He points out that any other exact number of persons could sing in the worship. That "exact number" is the "exact number" assembled. If "....more than the specified number were present in the assembly" and "a part of them failed to join in the singing, the others...could rightly sing the praises of God." On this we can all agree. "He has nowhere specified how many shall or shall not do so." As to an exact number, of course not, but as to the Christians assembled, they are either to sing or not to sing. Is it optional? Has God specified singing? That is the issue. To whom has He specified singing? How many Christians may refuse to sing? I would say the same number who refuse to eat the Lord's supper.

Has God legislated singing? Read all the many articles written by brother Kurfees regarding instrumental music and see all the strong arguments made to show that singing is legislated and instrumental music is not.

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Read the Kurfees reply to O. E. Payne's effort and see what is legislated. I have Payne's book and Kurfees' reply. It is singing that is legislated, bound, demanded.

Brother Kurfees stated that one person could sing and impart instruction in the worship of God. If that be the case, why write, "We are plainly told to sing?" "God has legislated here. He says sing. Then in obeying this injunction, we must sing and not do something else." If, "We are told to sing," how do "WE" obey this? Do WE obey this injunction if WE let another sing for us? If it is an injunction, how can I observe it? How can each Christian observe it? Does the legislation and injunction only apply to Miss Screamer? Are we really told to sing? Let's just quit singing period!

Has God legislated singing? Read all the many articles written by brother Kurfees regarding instrumental music and see all the strong arguments made to show that singing is legislated and instrumental music is not.

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Read the Kurfees reply to O. E. Payne's effort and see what is legislated. I have Payne's book and Kurfees' reply. It is singing that is legislated, bound, demanded.

Brother Kurfees stated that one person could sing and impart instruction in the worship of God. If that be the case, why write, "We are plainly told to sing?" "God has legislated here. He says sing. Then in obeying this injunction, we must sing and not do something else." If, "We are told to sing," how do "WE" obey this? Do WE obey this injunction if WE let another sing for us? If it is an injunction, how can I observe it? How can each Christian observe it? Does the legislation and injunction only apply to Miss Screamer? Are we really told to sing? Let's just quit singing period!

We are reminded that, "We are told to sing. Dancing and instrumental music would not be doing what we are told to do." There is something that, "is here enjoined," and I ask what it might be. It is singing! Brother Kurfees contended that, "...one person may sing a song, or any other number of persons may do so..." "We must not make a law saying that a certain specific number of persons must or must not sing, for God has made no such law." But that is the very rule or law that is made, when we specify that only Miss Squeaker shall sing and all the others must be quiet. Why oppose Miss Squeaker if onlu one person can sing? That is absurd.

Must the congregation not sing when a soloist struts her stuff? Is the congregation told to sing at the same time the solo singer is singing? I suppose that would not be a solo if all sang together. By definition a solo is a solo and by definition, all the other singers keep quiet by virtue of somebody making a rule that only the solo singer will be heard.

Yes, there is confusion when several are speaking at the same time.

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"God has legislated here." The passage cited by brother Kurfees is too plain to miss what the apostle is saying. The verse and the entire context relate to spiritual gifts, as we have abundantly shown. We certainly know that, "....each one had a psalm" and we likewise know that each one had a tongue, and each one had a revelation, and each one had an interpretation and these were supernatural gifts.

We are told that Paul used the reflexive pronoun in Ephesians 5:19 which denotes "....a service rendered one to another, or by one another," but brother Kurfees makes the statement that, in concert, or by one at a time is correct.

I believe common sense would be in order as we consider the above. Must Christians sing? Are we to sing in a congregational meeting? Are we free to choose what we want with reference to singing? If we sing one at a time, how many should sing? In Corinth, tongues--speaking was limited to three at the most. If we must all sing and if we sing one at a time, will it take a half-day of singing in order for everyone to sing his song? Since Christians are admonished, legislated and enjoined according to divine purpose to sing, then any system which inhibits the divine purpose for a Christian cannot possibly be correct. We should leave the solos with the sects from whence they have been borrowed.

In May, 1913, we notice another article written bt brother Kurfees which he called Singing in the Worship of God. He wrote with reference to the church choir. To me, the article is very confusing, but read the material for yourself.
    Singing in the Worship of God
    M. C. Kurfees
    "Now in the light of this line of facts, someone may ask the question, 'Would it not be alright, then, to appoint a given number of persons as a choir to conduct this part of the worship?
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We unhesitatingly give to this question a negative answer, but wish it distinctly understood that we do so, not because a special number of persons constitute the choir, nor yet because it is constituted of only a part of the memberhsip. So far as this point is concerned, the choir would be alright and clearly within the limits of divine requirement. There is something readically different from all of this in having a choir which makes it wrong to have one, and we must make a discrimination here as well as show what it is that is wrong about it, so that our condemnation will not embrace what is right as well as what is wrong. What then, is wrong about having a choir? The wrong consists in restricting to a part of God's children that which He has assigned to all of them--it is true that ordinarily, where a choir is regularly installed, the whole congregation is sometimes asked or permitted to join in the singing, but this exception does not destroy, but rather confims, the rule involved in the aforementioned restriction. The rule seems to be that the choir is wrong but the choir is alright and could come under the divine requirement.

"Where God has established an order, man has no right to change it or interfere with it, and in this case the order established by God places the singing in His worship equally in the hands of all His children and while He does not say how many shall or shall not at any given time join in service, he has, nevertheless, placed all on the same footing and we must not establish an order which interferes with this. Now the singing of a solo does not interfere with this order, for the simple reason that any one member has the same right at any time to sing a solo that any other member has, the only restriction being that which regulates and restrains the women in the public assembly and that all must be done decently and in order.

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On precisely the same principl that is now before us, it would be wrong to appoint a soloist to do the singing in church; but here again, be it remembered, the wrong would not consist in the fact that only one person is singing at a given time, but in the radically different fact of restricting to a part of God's children that which He has assigned to all of them."

In discussing the choir, please note that when a given number are appointed as a choir, brother Kurfees states, "We unhesitatingly give to this question a negative answer." This answer was not due to a special number of singers made up of a part of the congregation. We are told that a choir is, "alright and clearly within the limits of divine requirements." "The wrong consists in restricting to a part of God's children that which He has assigned to all of them." Now if you can make any semblance of sense out of saying that, "A choir is alright and within the limits of divine requirements," and then saying that a choir is wrong because it restricts a part of God's children from doing what God has assigned to all--you can certainly read between the lines, outside of the lines, above and below the lines--far better than I.

Even if the church is permitted to sing with the choir, "...this exception does not destroy, but rather confirms the rule involved in the aforementioned restriction." The rule holds true regardless of restrictions but according to Kurfees the rule is that a choir is wrong, but also a choir is alright and under the divine requirements. Oh, consistancy, thou art a jewel!

"Where God has established an order, man has no right to change it or interfere with it, and in this case the order established by God places the singing in his worship equally in the hands of all His children...." "He has placed all on the same footing and we must not establish an order which interferes with this. Now the singing of a solo does not interfere with this order, for the simple reason that any one member has the same right at any time to sing a solo that any other member has, the only restriction being that which regulates and restrains the women in the public assembly and that all must be done decently and in order."

Brother Kurfees closes his article by stating the principle upon which choirs and solos are wrong. If we can keep this in focus, we will have the basic and fundamental reason why M. C. Kurfees would oppose choirs and solos, or presentation music of any kind. The principle stated is: "....the radically different fact of restricting to a part of God's children that which He has assigned to all of them." If we keep this principle in mind, and look at all the statements made by brother Kurfees, and look at them in the context of the principle he gives, then perhaps we can understand his position.

Someone had objected to the articles written by brother Kurfees regarding solos, and in the Gospel Advocate of June 5, 1913, he wrote an article entitled Solo Singing and Expediency. He said, "Brethren do not have to sing solos, and we are not required to encourage it from any such point of view, but brethren may sing solos under some circumstances and just when they may and when they should not are matters determined by the principle regulating questions of expediency."

What did Kurfees believe about solos? It depended upon which article he may have been writing. You say this is harsh? This is why I have included the various articles in their full content as written by our lamented brother. The reader can peruse the articles and see for himself.

It might be of interest to notice some further quotations from some of the writers of the old Gospel Advocate.

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Back in 1881, E. G. Sewell wrote an article which he called Is Singing a Part of Worship. He said, "As one object of singing is to teach and admonish one another, we must be together and sing together in order to do that."

In 1915, brother Sewell wrote another article on the matter, which he called Is Singing Commanded. The article was in response to a sentence sent by Martin A. Devaney in which he said, "Brother Sewell, Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 are not commands to sing, but instructions how to sing." The reply of Sewell is as follows:

"When aman positively denies and repudiates the plain word of the Lord, as this man has done, I fail to see how I can benefit him.... He flatly denies that the passages I quoted are matters of authority, or in any sense commands or requirements to Christians to sing.... The entire connection of both passages shows them to be divine injunctions upon those churches to do the things required... In this spirit of obedience, they must speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs; and it is also required that they sing these songs in a devotional manner. The very same authority and divine requirments can be shown in the passage in the third chapter of Colossians for that church and for all Christians to do the same things."

In 1887, brother David Lipscomb wrote about the duty of Christians to sing in an article entitled Congregational Singing. As can be seen from the statement he believed singing was a duty. He said, "God has made it the duty of His servants to sing. Many fail to realize that it is a duty, so never try to engage in it, never prepare for it, never learn to sing, so the worship in song is greatly neglected, and seldom entered into as hearty, true worship to God."

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In 1904, brother Lipscomb printed and article wherein he pointed out that all should sing. Please read the following statements from the article entitled Singing as Worship and as an Attraction.

"It is the duty of all Christians who can to learn to sing, and it is their duty to sing... It is a sin for any man or woman who can sing, to refuse to join in the worship in song... Singing to attract or entertain an audience is not acceptable worship or service to God. Then, when one man comes to sing as an attraction and entertainment, it is wrong: such singing is not acceptable worship to God."

Brother L. O. Sanderson wrote in the Gospel Advocate about singing. In an article titled Indeed We Must Sing, he said:
"The responsibility is individual.
"Every Christian must sing! It is Personal. 'I will sing.' When Paul and Silas sang praise to God, each one did so! When it is said that Christ and his desciples 'had sung an hymn' the subject is plural--they all sang! When James asked, 'Is any merry?' he used the singular, so also the inspired answer, 'let him sing.....' I cannot sing for another; he must sing, just as he must believe, repent and be baptized himself! The sooner we teach all members of the church to sing, the more nearly like the New Testament church we will be."

Another article by brother Sanderson, dated November 19, 1931, page 1460, titled Congregational Singing stated:
"Solo singing seems to be included in Ephesians 5:19--speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Quartet or choir music might be used, provided it was rendered to teach or admonish. But such activities have their evils, which should be considered! To sing in the worship for the purpose of being seen or heard is a sin.

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"Scriptural singing, as taught in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, should be engaged in primarily for the benefit of Christians, 'one another,' and not for visitors or outsiders. Special singing might be used within these bounds, but excess, I am sure, would prove detrimental to the cause of Christ. If singing is commanded of the Lord, does He command but a few do it? Surely not! One cannot be baptized for another, nor can he obey any other command for another. But someone urges: 'We are exhorted to sing, and not commanded.' Very well. Can you be saved without heeding an exhortation? Pentecostians were exhorted to, 'save themselves.' Were they saved without responding to that word, or exhortation? Almost all of the contents of the letters to Christians is exhortation, and we should heed it. Now, if we use special music altogether, where will the congregation have opportunity to respond to this teaching? The singing may and should be engaged in by all..... Further evils of choir singing may be summed up as follows: The voice and not one's character, gets the special position; and often the vilest of sinners are doing part of the worship. Secondly, congregational singing is destroyed, through lack of practice and training."

On the subject of quartet singing, I will give a few articles written by brethren who opposed the practice and surely we might be able to learn from them.
    Quartet Singing
    by John T. Hinds.
    "I like beefsteak, pie and cake, but that is not evidence that it should be placed on the Lord's table. Quartet singing is not sinful in itself; neither is the meat, pie, or cake. Wrongly used, any one or all might be sinful. My idea of the Scriptures and fitness of things regarding quartet singing is this: There are many places where it may be used with innocence and pleasure, but not as a part of the worship of the church.
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I have two reasons for this conclusion. One is that suggested by the querist--it deprives other members of the church from having a part in that phase of the worship. With the quartet, they cannot do what they are required to do and what is best for them to do. The querist is correct in saying that in that particular, the choir is less objectionable, for others can sing with the choir, if they wish, even though the choir might prefer that they did not. But they cannot sing with the quartet. Such an attempt would spoil the whole purpose in quartet singing. The other reason is that the leading thing about quartet singing is the music--harmony--while th emain thing in Scriptural song worship is the sentiment contained in the words. Singing, 'with the spirit' and 'with the understanding' if the music be only passable, reaches the highest degree of perfection as an element of worship [I Corinthians 14:15]. If it be a matter of entertainment, then the music becomes the one essential. In spite of all our efforts at apologies for such singing in worship, the fact remains that we always select for the quartet only those with the best voices, which fact is a virtual concession that it is an effort to entertain rather than worship. When entertainment is in order, quartet singing is among the best means available."

Brother J. C. McQuiddy had a question and answer column in the Gospel Advocate. The question was asked by a brother, "Does the Bible justify the singing of quartets and solos when we come together to worship on the first day of the week?" Brother McQuiddy answered the question in an article titled Quartets in which he stated:
    "The Bible says nothing about solos and quartets; hence, no one can claim that the Bible authorizes the singing of quartets or solos." The New Testament teaches Christians to sing.
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Singing is an item of worship, and therefore should be engaged in by all of the congregation--at least, all of it that is able to sing. Of course, a man's responsibility to sing is measured by his ability to do so--if a person singing a solo does it to the honor and glory of God, or if a quartet sings for the same purpose, I do not understand that it would be a step toward digression. If a quartet or solo is used in the worship simply to please men, it is dishonoring to God. But if persons by singing quartets or by engaging in a solo can more effectively advance the cause of Christ, there is no reason why such singing would not be used at times. However when the congregation is come together, congregational singing should be used in the worship."

Brother J. C. McQuiddy wrote an article titled Quartet Singing, in which he stated:
    "I have seen no scripture in the Bible which authorizes quartet singing. It is the duty of all Christians to sing who can, in the assembly.... While congregational singing should not be abandoned, it may be at times the singing of a quartet might be helpful and effective in the worship or in a revival meeting."
Brother Guy N. Woods had a column titled Questions and Answers. The question was asked, "Is it permissible to have quartet singing during the worship hour on the Lord's Day?" Brother Woods answered:
    "All children of God are to participate in worship. Singing is one of the items of worship. All children of God must sing in worship in order to be pleasing to God [Acts 2:42; Ephesians 5:18-19; Colossians 3:16]. The practice of quartet singin in Lord's day worship is without precedent in the apostolic age and should therefore be shunned by all who wish to have the Lord's approval today. Only by complete conformity to New Testament teaching and practice may we be assured of that approval."
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Brethren have opposed the practice of choirs upon the same basis that they have opposed solos. There is no authority for such actions regardless of what they may be called. The usual custom is to call them a chorus. Whatever they are called, the purpose is to entertain. Some of the colleges keep their choruses on the road singing for churches. Such is but getting the congregation ready to start its own choir. Several have already done so.
    We 'bid the reader to consider the following observations.
    Brother H. M. Phillips wrote an article titled Do You Have Choir Practice? He said:

    "A soloist especially seeks for the praise of self. Everyone ought to sing, if it is possible for him to do so. The true way to have a choir practice is for the whole congregation to join in and sing with melody in the heart."

    Brother F. B. Srygley wrote an article titled Church Choirs, in which he stated:

    "Everyone knows that the use of the instrument has a tendency to do away with congregational singing and develop a choir. "A small choir composed of a few feeble, refined women can often split a large, dressed stone church squarely in two in the middle and not display any fatigue about it either.
    "Church choirs consist of sopranos, altos, basses, tenors and the wife of the man who contributes more money to the minister's salary than anyone else."

    Bro. B. C. Goodpasture wrote A Choir in which in stated:

    "We find some brethren call a few members of the church who sit together and lead the singing, a choir.
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This is not choir in the popular sense, nor is it at all objectionable, specially if the singing is so conducted that the members generally sing.

"But this is not the meaning of choir. The choir in a church is composed of artistic performers who sing for the church, sing difficult pieces that the masses cannot sing, for music and musical display, to attract, entertain and gratify the people--to charm them with music." Benjamin Frankilin

"For the divine purpose, nothing can seem so well as the singing divinely authorized. 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God' [Colossians 3:16].

Bro. J. L. Hines wrote Church of Christ Choir, What next? He said:
    "Whoever heard of a Church of Christ choir? Sometime ago at a certain Church of Christ, during a 'revival' meeting, about twenty-four singers furnished the music for a service. Anything wrong with that? I was present at one of 'our' meetings, when one of 'our' preachers who was conducting the meeting said: 'Tomorrow night we will have a quartet from_____to sing for us.' Why make that announcement? I have just read an extract from a letter to a friend of mine which read about like this: 'At the church service last Sunday, brother____had twelve singers seated on the platform, and I felt that all they needed was an organ.' Churches of Christ should never attempt to put on an entertainment."

    Brother Gus Nichols, in an article titled On the Choral Group, wrote:

    "One may read prayers of praise from the psalms without singing or praying the psalm read.
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"But this writer thinks such singing would not be expedient in our regular worship where we do not take time for enough congregational singing as it is. Then all are required to sing in our periods of regular church worship [Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16]."

It has been my purpose in answering the false teaching of Rubel Shelly to show that he cannot sustain his position on "presentational music." There was a time when men had enough conviction to stand up and attempt to justify their belief. That day is rapidly passing.

I would strongly suggest that Shelly and his cohorts follow the example of a church in Ohio which turned loose thirty-five canary birds to aid in the singing. "The canaries, along with the choir voices and the great church organ," it was declared by members of the congregation, "added greatly to the choir service." The pastor's text was, "Who are these that come flying through the air like doves?"

Give the liberals a little more time and then look at their progress. There is no telling how many "community churches" will dot the countryside. It would surely be the honorable thing for the liberal element to make an honest, distinctive, clean break with that gang of conservatives which they literally despise, abominate, detest, slur, make fun of, ridicule and have no fellowship with whatsoever. "Oh, for honest false teachers." The liberals are a most impressive group of people. They are cut from the same cloth as the old digressive rogues of yesteryear who roamed over the nation stealing schools, church buildings and property at random. The sweet, loving sisters and the beautiful brethren would like for all of us to be silent, as was the case in so many communities in the long ago.

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The book God intended for us to read will not allow us to remain silent. What do you say, if anything?



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