Silence of the Scriptures
When it comes to knowing what to do for living and worship we can read the Bible and come across a number of commandments. These tend to be quite clear on what we can and cannot do. For instance, we need baptism for salvation (Mark 16:16), we are to gather together (Hebrews 10:25), and we are to partake of the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week (Acts 20:7).
These direct commands are easy to see and most people who are (or claim to be) Christians understand that these need to be followed. Of course, there are some exceptions, like baptism, which is directly commanded and yet many still have problems understanding that it is needed.
But it seems that more difficulties and misunderstandings for our worship arise, not from what the Bible says, but from what it does not say. Many problems form from what the Scriptures are silent on. An example would be in using instruments with our singing while we offer praise to God. We know that singing is commanded (Ephesians 5:19), but what of adding instruments?
The argument for using instruments tends to be “Well, the Bible doesn’t say that we can’t use them.” That is true - we do not read that ‘instruments are not to be used in the assembly’. So the question is: Does the silence of the Scriptures indicate approval or disapproval?
Fortunately, we actually have an answer to that question in the Bible. It is Jesus Himself who answers it for us, by applying the answer to Himself.
Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. John 5:19
We see that even Jesus didn't do things that God did not grant authority for. If He was not given authority to do something then He did not do it. Christ did only what was proven right by the Father. And as each one of us looks to Jesus as our example, this principle applies to us as well. If we do not see an example, necessary implication, or commandment in the Scriptures, then we do not have the authority to take action. Silence of the Scriptures indicates disapproval!
With our example of instruments being used with our praise to God: we are not given instructions or examples to use them in the assembly and thus we cannot use them in our worship to God.
-- John Thrower Jr.