M. D. Clubb remembers J. W. McGarvey, part 2

Seventh Affirmative

…J. W. McGARVEY is quoted.  Here is what he says: “And if any man who is a preacher believes that the apostle teaches the use of instrumental music in the church by enjoining the singing of psalms, he is one of those smatterers of Greek who can believe anything that he wishes to believe.”  professor McGarvey was my teacher for five years.  I loved him as a father, and I revere his memory.  As most people I know, he was opposed to instrumental music in the [96] worship.  But remember this: He never made it a test of fellowship, as my good Brother Boles is doing.  His son, J. T., said to his father, when he had decided to do to Chestnut Street Church: “Suppose they put an organ in at Chestnut Street, what will you do then?” He answered: “If I cannot find a place where they do not have it, I will worship where they have it.” He went to Chestnut Street because he preferred to worship without the instrument, not because he could not fellowship those who used it.

I do not believe Brother McGarvey would call men like James Moffatt, W. G. Ballantine, Dr. A. T. Robertson, Professor Bacon, “smatterers” in Greek.  These men are among the finest Greek scholars in the world.  Professor McGarvey was not a Greek scholar.  He had only a working knowledge of Greek.  President Robert Graham, a colaborer and lifetime friend of Brother McGarvey, deeply regretted his stand on the music question.  he said to me: “Brother McGarvey made the mistake of his life when he espoused the cause of the opposers of instrumental music in worship.” Robert Graham was  the equal of McGarvey in scholarship.

M. D. Clubb and H. Leo Boles, Discussion, Is Instrumental Music in Christian Worship Scriptural? Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1927, pages 95-96.

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