Church Asks Judge to Strike No Instrumental Music Clause in Land Deed (11.04.21)

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Plain Bible Teaching Podcast

This week we’re discussing a church in Tennessee filing a lawsuit to determine whether the property deed prohibiting instrumental music is binding. The Otter Creek church of Christ acquired the property from the West End church of Christ last year and this prohibition was written into the deed. Now they want a judge to determine whether this is binding.

STORY – Church of Christ in Brentwood Asks Judge to Strike No Musical Instrument Clause in Land Deed

“A Brentwood-based church is saying it should be allowed to use instruments in worship at a new Nashville campus, despite its 1943 deed saying otherwise.

“Otter Creek Church of Christ filed a lawsuit in Davidson County circuit court last Thursday asking a judge to determine which parts of the deed are valid and which are not.

“It’s currently unclear if Otter Creek can use all parts of the property, or only some, in the same way. The deed says that some portions are ‘restricted from the use of instrumental music in worship services, as well as from using any “innovations and invention and devices of men,”’ states Otter Creek’s complaint.

“The debate over the deed is is representative of a larger disagreement in the Churches of Christ denomination about whether congregants can use instruments during worship or only sing a cappella.

“Otter Creek acquired the property along West End Avenue in September 2020 from its previous longtime owner, West End Church of Christ. As a result, Otter Creek also inherited a deed from 1943 that includes a complicated and ambiguous clause about how the owner uses certain plots.

“The deed for the property — drafted more than a decade prior to the actual construction of the church, according to county assessor records — states that the property’s owner must ‘work and worship only as required in the New Testament.’

“But the deed isn’t specific about what forms of technology can or cannot be used on the property.

“Furthermore, the deed’s restrictive language isn’t valid anymore because ‘West End Church of Christ first introduced innovations and devices of men,’ the complaint says, pointing out the inconsistencies between the deed and the previous owner’s actions.” (The Tennessean)

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