Joining a Brass Band

Some of the brethren who desire to take a leading part in the church work joined a brass band. They would engage in band practice during our protracted meeting, at the same hour of service. They would also practice instead of attending prayer meeting. We admonished them not to let the band interfere with their church work. They would reject the admonition, and, besides, have given a concert in which they burlesqued* the church and an elder, and one feature of the program was a dance, with banjo music. (Enclosed find their program.) The church has withdrawn from the brethren, charging them with reveling and such like, which Paul condemns in Galatians 5:21. They ignore the action of the church, and claim they will take part in our services, and we cannot keep them from it. Have we acted on scriptural grounds, and how shall we protect ourselves from imposition by them? We desire to do only what the Book teaches.

 

Joining a brass band or performing in it is not necessarily sinful. The habits and practices of it may lead into sin that Christians ought not to countenance and that a church ought not to tolerate in its members. It is just as lawful to cultivate music in a brass band as in any other way, if no sinful practices are encouraged or participated in. I think the custom of the bands in small towns is to lead out into things that are wrong. The program of this minstrel concert seems to me to indicate that no Christian should participate in it. “Comic songs,” a “negro sermon,” a “dance,” and a “breakdown” constitute items of it. Certainly no Christian could engage in or encourage these. Then it leads to other associations that are evil, to company that lowers the standard of morality, and to the ridicule of religion, and does not obey the admonition of the Spirit, which says: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).

Then this seems to me very manifest revelry. Revel is defined: “To feast with loose and clamorous merriment; to carouse; to wanton.” This is condemned as unworthy of Christians. It is especially sinful, and shows a low religious feeling that will cause Christians to neglect church services and Christian worship and instruction to engage in such things. Persons following this course ought to be remonstrated with, and, if possible, saved from such courses. If not, spiritual ruin must be their portion. A man of any self-respect or Christian feeling cannot force himself on a church or claim its privileges which has excluded him. If a man has been, by the customary way, excluded from a church, he has no more right to participate in the privileges of the church than if he had never belonged to it – no more right to force himself upon it than he has to force himself upon the privileges of a private family. The civil courts would protect the church from such intrusion as readily as they would protect a private family. We mention this for the benefit of those who attempt such things. A church had better bear patiently with such intrusions than to appeal to the courts.

David Lipscomb

* “to make ridiculous by mocking representation.

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Is Playing Ball Conforming to the World?

Paul says (Romans 12:2), “Be not conformed to this world,” and John says (1 John 2:15): “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”

Now, I am well aware that there is a line of distinction between the world and disciples of Christ; but just where, in all cases, I do not know. For instance, there is here in Midway a baseball club, and they meet Saturday evenings to play. I do not belong to the club, though I have played a few times, and I find it excellent to develop one’s muscles. For no other purpose would I participate. It has its evil associations; but they play here in town, so there is very little ungentlemanly behavior. Now, do I cross the bounds of a Christian life when I share the sport with them? Am I “conformed to this world” in so doing?

 

We were never in a baseball club, and know but little about them, but suppose the right or the wrong would depend largely upon the sort of people that compose them and the manner in which they are carried on. If decent, well-behaved young men that are most of their time confined to indoor work, as clerks, get together occasionally and in a gentlemanly manner, so that nothing improper shall be said or done while the game is going on, we do not see that there would be any more harm in that than in the jovial running on, extravagant talking and laughing, and slang style that is usually indulged in by young people when they are together. But where wicked, profane, and obscene young men get together in such plays, we think Christians should keep out of them; and not only out of such plays with young men of that character, but Christians ought as far as possible to keep out of the society of such men at all times, except to endeavor to teach and influence them to better things. Just simply as a matter of pastime, Christians should not associate with such people. Their own morals will be corrupted by such association. Every child of God should be striving every day not only to grow better himself, but to make others better, to exert an influence over all around for good. But there is a lack among the members of the church in these matters when with the wicked, the vulgar, and the rude. Instead of exerting an influence over them for good, they are too apt to partake with them in their wild ways, rather than so act as to win others from their folly. We think whether a young man who is a member of the church should play in a baseball club, or others of a similar character, or not, should depend upon his own character as much almost as theirs. If he can go among them and improve them by his association with them, he might without impropriety go among them, and might even, do good in so doing.

But if a Christian is disposed to love wild company him­self and to fall into the habits of the low and vicious, then for his own sake he had better stay entirely away from evil influences. A Christian should be careful never to go into any societies unless he can either receive good from them or impart good to them. If no good is to result either way, then make that a reason for staying away. Nothing is more blighting to a Christian’s character than evil associ­ation, unless he has strength enough in himself, derived from God’s divine appointments, to overcome the evil. If he is weak enough for the worldly influence to overcome him, he had better always keep away from them. Before a young Christian goes into a baseball club, or any other social club, he should consider first whether he be able to resist any bad influence any association with them might bring upon him and come out unscathed. In the next place, he should consider whether he is able to exert any good in­fluence upon them that will have any tendency to elevate them and turn their attention in any wise to the religion of Christ or not. If he decides that the character of those persons is such that they are beyond the reach of good in­fluences, he should keep away from them.

Elisha G. Sewell