Mark Henderson, the preacher of the Quail Springs Church of Christ, was asked about his churches plan to introduce instruments into the worship. This is part of the Q & A in the Oklahoman newspaper.
Q:What do you hope to accomplish with this worship service? A:There are two things that we really hope will come from this. One is we want to keep more of our people that were leaving to go to instrumental churches. One of the ways I would describe it is the way we handled it doctrinally. We essentially said you are free to worship with instruments and you are free to worship without them . From just a doctrinal biblical standpoint, we, for a number of years, have treated this as a nonissue . And so to me it seems like we were giving our people freedom to leave . We were saying you’re free to worship with instruments — just not here. So one of things we’re trying to do is for those people who really connect more with instrumental music, even of our own people, we’re trying to give them a greater opportunity to stay and to worship and to serve and be a part of the church here.1
The question that comes to my mind is where does Mr. Henderson find the authority to do this? If I ask the straight forward question: “Mr Henderson, it is OK with God for me to worship with instruments?” He answers, “Yes, it is acceptable to God.” How does he give others the “freedom” to do so. His choice gave 300 the freedom to exit the front door.
The Quail Springs action is a shining example of change agent methods. The principles of following Scripture are being obscured for the greater good of building a large congregation. For years, Mr. Henderson says, they treated it as a “nonissue”. The truth is, it was not a “nonissue” to many in that congregation. No doubt, many who disagreed with him were tolerated for believing it WAS an issue. This is a reminder for all of the faithful children of God to remain vigilant. When the slick preachers say that “it doesn’t matter to God”, remember they don’t have a private discourse with God on the matter. What they are really saying is that it doesn’t matter to them.
On reading the justification given by Elders and preacher from Quail Springs for this change, one gets the sense that it’s more about pleasing people than it is anything else. They know that people will come or go on the basis of instrumental music. The principle of offering only “spirit and truth” worship that pleases Jehovah is relegated to secondary importance..
“If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28 So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt. 29 He set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. 30 Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. (1 Kings 12:27-30)
The news story on the change at Quail Springs said that when the Elder finally addressed the congregation to break the news that they were moving forward with the plan to use instruments, the congregation broke out in applause, except for some who left in tears. Applause! Applause? If there was any demonstration of a wrong spirit at Quail Springs, that was it. What kind of spirit-filled congregation breaks out in applause over such a thing?
1Quail Springs Church