Guitar Solos in Church

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Written by German L. Portillo

I don’t know how you feel about guitar solos, but having grown up in the 90’s with perfect-hair rock, I love them. The electric guitar has been a major part of music now for a very long time and in recent years it finally seems to have made it’s way into the church.

Thank you Lord!

I don’t know what most worshipers think about guitar solos in church but I’m going to try to explain what I think about them.
King David, before he was king and was just a little guy in the court of King Saul, was known for his skill with the harp.
The Bible says that Saul had problems with “a spirit from God.” I will not even touch what that could mean, but I would like to touch on what happened when he had these encounters. The Bible says in 1 Samuel 16 that David would play his harp for Saul and that the music relieved him.

The Psalter (aka The Book of Psalms) is filled with examples of God’s people celebrating Him, not with just song lyrics, but with the skillful playing of musical instruments.

So you have this two way street. The music serves as a conduit, and perhaps in some way as the yellow lines in the middle of the road. On one side runs traffic of worship and adoration toward the Father. In the opposite direction runs the relief, comfort, and joy that comes to His people. The worshipers lift up songs of thanksgiving and joy and praise on the very same medium that the Father sends down peace and comfort and hope.

Maybe the guitar isn’t that conduit for you. Perhaps it doesn’t serve as a path or line between you and the Father, but for me, listening to instrumental music in church can beautifully convey the message of the songs. I sense that something opens up, and we are in a place unlike many others; a place we don’t get to come to just any moment of any day.

So if you’re finding yourself sitting through a 20-second instrumental part of a song at church and you’re not sure what that’s got to do with the message, try to take a step onto that road, venture out into the path where these spiritual things can happen. Let yourself go.

If you don’t want to do that, or can’t, that’s okay, just clap along and enjoy good music. The music is being made to honor the Lord and for that it is precious.


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  1. Beth says:

    I go to an acapella church. We don’t feel we have scriptural justification for instruments. But we do sing awesome four part harmony (when you grow up doing it, it just comes). I find that when I visit churches with more “rock band” style music, I am uncomfortable. Especially during long guitar solos. I feel like I am at a concert instead of a shared worship experience.

  2. ben says:

    ummm i think that most sermons are a pretty much a 45 minute guitar solo

  3. Rafe says:

    I like to think of Jesus like with giant eagles wings, and singin’ lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with like an angel band.

    And I’m in the front row.

  4. German says:

    I can totally understand how someone would feel uncomfortable in a church like ours. I’m uncomfortable in other churches, and I think I’d feel inadequate in a church with no instruments.
    The thing I’ve learned, though, is that no one set of eyes can claim to have seen the King, and no one set of ears can claim to have heard the music of heaven, and no one heart can know beyond what has been revealed to it.
    To some the scriptures have not revealed instruments; to some it has revealed a multiplicity of them. To some the scriptures has revealed wealth; to others poverty.
    I will be as faithful in the meantime as I can possibly know to be.

  5. Andy says:

    1 Chronicles 15:16

    “David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals”

  6. Quinn says:

    Beth- I don’t know if you are Church of Christ, but it sounds like there is a pretty good chance that you are (if not, they view worship in a similar way that you are describing).

    (to all, now) I grew up going to a non-denominational church, but I went to a Church of Christ school elementary through high school. I could probably recite all the reasons for or against instruments that you could possibly come up with, and there are very convincing arguments on all sides. When I was younger, I struggled with this a lot, knowing which side was right and which was wrong. What I realized is that both sides are right, and both sides can be wrong. What matters is the heart. If you are truly seeking to worship God with all of your heart, the Spirit will lead you to worship appropriately. Sometimes that means acapella, sometimes that means rock with guitar solos, sometimes it means trance, etc. Sometimes you will sit still, and sometimes you will dance wildly like David did. There is no set way that is always right or always wrong. Jesus just loves it when we worship, and He loves when we spend time with Him. I don’t think He is going to send anyone to Hell because they worshiped the best way they knew how.

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