Roanoke Church of Christ


I Can Only Imagine

NEW LIFE BULLETIN    September 19, 2021


A Friend of mine who lives in Nashville and is a member of the Church of Christ sent me an e-mail which included an article from The Nashville Tennessean. It had to do with a Church of Christ Christian school in Columbia, TN. It seems five of the teachers attended a Church of Christ that had used instrumental music during a Good Friday service. When this was discovered by the Board of Directors the teachers were told to resign or stop attending that church. One woman who had taught kindergarten there for 27 years decided to retire. However, the Board worked out a compromise. The other four teachers were told they could stay if they promised not to attend the three or four services a year the church had where instruments were involved. Two of them took the deal and the other two resigned to seek other jobs. 

A blogger, who I first thought was being sarcastic but, upon rereading and rereading, was serious, talked about dealing with such things quickly because young minds could be lead astray. He added that no one in their right mind would burn in hell over (as I remember) a harp or a flute. 

Let it be said:  I was raised a cappella and intend to stay a cappella until I die. But I do not believe the use or non-use of instrumental music is an offense to God. For me it is more a complication than an innovation. Have I sung in a worship service with an instrument? Yes, and I would again if the situation put me there. That also means I believe, contrary to some folks, that you can sing hymns and play the piano, or guitar, or whatever on some occasion. Having said that, I can only imagine….

The year is 2208 and the choir for the Church of The Future mega-church is preparing for Sunday’s performance. Actually, like most churches, their services are pay-per-view. The congregants simply slide their credit card through a scanner on the TV, their contribution is collected, and they are ready to worship in the comfort of their own home. Some have said this was the result of global warming, but others say it is not. Most believed it was a carry-over from the pandemic two years earlier. So, the rehearsal is on a ‘‘heavenly” looking set, rather than an old-time choir loft. 

A choir member says to another, “You know, I was reading a little history on church music. Did you know some churches actually sang without instrumental accompaniment?”

“Get out!”

“No! They called it a cappella.”    

“Aka what?”

“A cappella, It means something like as in the chapel. Do you want to try it on the rest of the choir?”

“Why not? We’re always looking for a new way to get viewers and save souls, of course. Hey, you people, gather round! Andronis has an idea. He’s found some religious history where people sang in a method called ‘a cappella.’ It means singing without the use of instrumental accompaniment. Would you like to try it?” Frowns passed over the choir’s faces, especially the orchestra.

“What about us?” asked a violin player. “This is what we get paid to do.”

“It won’t be permanent. We just want to see what it’s like. If it works, we’ll slip it in for next Sunday’s broadcast.”

With some reluctance, and a little fear, they agreed to give it a try. When they did, they were surprised at how well they sounded. One woman turned to the other and said, “All these years I’ve never really heard your real voice. It was wonderful.”

 Of course, there were others who discovered some who seemed to sing well, but actually didn’t. That was okay, but it was a little surprising. They decided, after promising the orchestra it would just be for one Sunday, to try it. When time for the Sunday performance came, they were well-tuned and ready. If they had to say so themselves, they thought they sounded really good. Their delight was short lived. As soon as the service was over the pastor was in a rage. “What was that!? I’ve never heard anything like that in church before. It sounded more like a bar room! Good Christians don’t sound like they’re singing to God in the shower! I want it stopped! Now!”

Then the calls and e-mails started coming in, thousands of them. 90% of them were threatening to cancel their membership. Words like “Devil worship” and “Worldly” were tossed around like leaves in the wind. Some said they had to remove their children from the room so they would not be led astray by the siren song of a cappellaism. A few thought it was different, but beautiful. However, they wondered about adding to what the Bible clearly said about instruments of music and their use in heaven and the Old Testament. They asked if it was done again that it not be on a Sunday broadcast but only on other special days.

 Added to all this was a call from the Lion Network, on which their show was broadcast. Lion said they had received threats from viewers to boycott the network unless they did something about the lascivious music they’d seen on The Church of The Future’s broadcast. Lion said COTF’s contract would be rescinded unless they signed an agreement not to sing in such a fashion ever again. COTF agreed and passed out loyalty forms for each choir member to sign. A church across town decided they were missing their market share of those who liked “bar room” singing and started a Saturday night service where the choir sang a cappella. It was called “Hum Don’t Strum Saturday Night.” I can only imagine…… 

*From 2008 

   Keith Wagner 


Announcements: Mike Branch or Connie Crites 

Ushers: Lyn Jordan

Singing:19-Wayne Flora,

              26- Del Bolin

Scripture: 19 & 26- Susan Jordan

Communion: 19- Keith Wagner 

                        26-Wayne Flora,


22-Carolee Crosen

25-Mark McRoy

 25-Judy McWhorter

 29-Ann Claris “AC” Fuller

CONCERNS: Please continue to pray for Judy McWhorter’s Sister, Jan, and brother-in-law, Gary Overstreet. Gary is in Hospice care. Deanna McRoy is recovering from cancer surgery in Atlanta. Joni & Alan ask for prayers for their son, Nathan, and his family. Del Bolin’s mom, Carrie, please continue to pray for her health.  Erma’s sister, Lorretta, has a serious six-month oncology treatment plan. Please continue to pray for Alisa Flora’s nephew, Ethan Gentry, and her sister Melanie Gentry. Wayne Flora’s parents, Sylvus and Martha Flora, and sister, Jan. Teryn Gaynor’s mother Brenda Windham has cancer and is on immunosuppressant medicine. Pray for Steve Gaynor’s family.  A friend of Mark McRoy’s, Charlie Duvall, has constant pain and is facing several surgeries. Phil Peters, a friend of Holly Wagner, has stage 4 Pancreatic cancer.  Jim Hunter has been diagnosed with an autoimmune deficiency and will be going to UVA September 29th. Joni Beach’s niece, Jamie Cole. Pray for Debbie McRoy’s cousins, Linda Alsup and Erica Halford.

 ALSO REMEMBER: Wendy Davis & Sons, Judy & Bud McWhorter, Stacey Smith, Bonnie & Judd Beaver, Martha Albert, Steve Nicklas and Family, Alan & Joni Beach, Kerry & Sula Hay, Wayne & Susan Phlegar, Lebreska Whitaker, Nick Hodges, Ruby Crosen, Mark & Ellen Tidwell, Donte McCadden, Joni and Alan Beach’s fathers, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, and Tim Elder


     This Sunday September 19th, Sunday Class (9:30) and service (10:30) will be OUTSIDE behind the Annex building.  


We have evening services at 6:30pm for those who are unable to attend Sunday Mornings. Hand out postcards to spread the word.


Brian will be discussing the book Saved from What?  Please join us at 9:30 am, in person or online with YouTube.


Our third Sunday fellowship is back. We will be following COVID-19 protocol, and will be eating outside, wearing a mask and gloves when serving.


We will be hosting kids from the Rescue Mission. This event will take place twice a month, starting on Friday, October 1st.  If you would like to help let Brian know.


We continue to provide services online. The Roanoke Church of Christ YouTube channel link below:


Stop by the building! Or Join the Zoom prayer meeting at 7pm. Meeting ID:871 5121 9038 Passcode: RCofC


The study of the book Saved from What? is on Thursday nights at 6:00pm at the Mileti home and on Sunday mornings at 9:30am. This will be a great on ramp for someone you have been witnessing to.


Congratulations to Alyssa Mileti, who was baptized in the Roanoke River last Sunday. Way to go, Alyssa!!!

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