Is it Scriptural for a church to hire an unsaved organist if it does not have one in its congregation or to bring in unsaved people to perform musically? Some think it is all right because it exposes them to the gospel.
I would approach this question in at least four ways. First, we must love Christ and His Word supremely. We must show this love by seeking high standards and by obeying the Word of God as devotedly as possible. Jesus told His disciples, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” One Scriptural command that would surely bear upon your question is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14 and 15: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord bath Christ with Belial? or what part bath he that believeth with an infidel?” Is obedience to the Word of God less important than filling a slot in the church program?
Second, we need to examine this question in the light of the whole matter of spiritual gifts. The Biblical passages listing spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:6–8; 1 Cor. 12:8–10; 28–30; Eph. 4:11; 1 Pet. 4:11) affirm that believers, not unbelievers, exercise these gifts for the benefit of fellow believers. The local church is composed of believers only, and the purpose of the local church is to edify one another as believers. Thus it is grossly out of character for unbelievers to attempt to “minister” among people who are radically different, people who have experienced the new birth.
Third, we must be Scripturally consistent in the matter of separation, a Scriptural mandate we fundamental, Bible-believing Christians strive to uphold. We do not practice a policy of “inclusivism” or engage in ecclesiastical or evangelistic activities that allow or even encourage unbelievers to be a part of the show. It should follow that such alliances on a local-church level would be just as unscriptural. Also, the argument that we might be a witness to unsaved people performing in our church is, to me, a form of “the end justifies the means” thinking. Bible-believing Christians have rejected this philosophy, as the Bible provides examples of people who operated in this way and were soundly defeated.
Fourth, we must think of the testimony we portray. What will these practices demonstrate to the unbelieving world as well as the believing world? What do they say to children and youth? Your question rang a bell with me, because I grew up in a church that tended to compromise in these areas. It made quite a negative impression on me as a young person to see an organist borrowed from a mainline denominational church later puffing away on a cigarette during her break in a factory where I worked. These encounters often affect children and youth more than adults. Will any looseness in these areas tell others that we don’t have strong convictions in these areas? We wouldn’t think of appointing unbelievers as Sunday School teachers (at least I hope not). Shouldn’t the same be true of any type of activity in a local-church ministry? One well-known writer commented on this same issue:
I most strongly hold that no greater mistake has been made than that of admitting the possibility of unconverted people accomplishing anything in the interests of the Kingdom of God. . . . How can it be thought possible that men and women who are rejecting the Savior should lead others to Him? . . . I have no words too strong to use in denunciation of the whole system of church music, which tolerates that which must be so utterly out of harmony with the mind of the Master.
To me, that writer was on target Scripturally.
Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to email@example.com or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.