Email Author
Return to this issue
Return to Current Issue

A Free-Form Exchange on
Instrumental Music and the Holy Spirit
Larry Ray Hafley

( Editor's Note: The following correspondence was initiated with brother Hafley by a man who sought to defend the use of instruments of music in Christian worship. We will limit our identification of the man to his first name, Don. Don's grammar and punctuation, as well as his sentence construction, lacks formality. We thought it best, however, to retain the form rather than seeking to edit the posts of one with which we disagree. The correspondence is reprinted here for your study on this important subject.)

Don (Post 1):

we better stop praying "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven"

there are musical instruments in heaven

Thank You Lord Jesus for filling this brothers heart with Your version of Your word.

The Lord won't agree with my version of "nothin."

Message text written by don

Larry Ray Hafley (Post 1)


Where did you learn that there are "musical instruments in heaven"?

Please cite the source of your information.

Thanx. Larry

Don (Post 2):

Dear Brother Larry,

Rev 5:8, 14:2 harps
Rev 8:13, 9:14 trumpets

I know of 5 other references where there is a musical instrument from God or it is His will to have instruments in heaven.

My chief desire for you is that you have all of God;s best for your life and ministry.

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in the hope of glory!

Love in Christ,

Larry Ray Hafley (Post 2):

Don ,

Thanks for the information and the passages which you say show that mechanical instruments of music will be in heaven. I, too, want you to have all the blessings of God in Christ Jesus. Now, let me ask some questions about the references you cited.

(1) Revelation 5:8: The passage not only mentions "harps," but it also mentions "golden" bowls. Will there also be literal golden vials (bowls) in heaven? If so, may we have them in the church today? If we may, how shall we use them in the worship of the church?

(2) Revelation 8:13: Since there are "flying" angels in heaven, are there "flying" angels in the church today? If there are angels that fly in the church today, do they also speak with a "loud voice" in the church as they do in "the midst of heaven"?

(3) Revelation 9:14: Since the "sixth angel" in heaven gave messages to the inhabitants there, does he also give messages to the church today? Since the sixth angel "heard a voice" coming from "the golden altar which is before God," does he also hear this same voice and communicate the things he hears to the church today (Rev. 9:13)?

(4) Revelation 14:2: Will there be literal water and thunder in heaven? If there is literal thunder in heaven, as we know it, in the church today? If not, how may we utilize such thunder in the worship of the church?

I am curious because it appears that if the passages you cited with respect to musical instruments justifies their use in the church today, then they also authorize the use of the other things that are cited in the same passages. I sincerely would like to hear how we might apply these things in the worship of the church today, as you say we may apply the musical instruments. Thank you for any light you can shed on these matters.


Don (Post 3):

Dear Brother Larry,

You have become a blessing to me. When you said in your last Email: "I sincerely would like to hear how we might apply these things in the worship of the church today....

I have had the same desire and request before God for sometime now. The desire seems to be growing in my heart. I will continue to delight myself in Him and be found worshipping God.

Ultimately I want worship in heaven. But until then I will agree to His will in worship on the earth as it is in heaven. Can you imagine being in a worship situation as it is in heaven like the Bible describes.

Let's seek Him together for all we can find of His provision for our worship!

I'm sure that your questions can be best answered by the Holy Ghost. Have you received Him as your teacher.

I will share with you a little of what I have learned while meditating on "our 4 verses".

Rev 5:8 - The bowls contain the prayers of the saints and alot of the worship songs that I'm familiar with are in fact musical prayers or "psalms" it you will. In that context we have the connection with heavenly worship in the church.

Rev 8:13, 9:14 - Angels have been seen and heard in church meetings and I have heard recent reports of such activity. Short of an Angel being manifested in the natural realm it would involve the gifit of the Holy Spirit called discernment of spirits (as the Spirit wills). I have never heard of an Angel manifested in the natural realm in a church meeting.

Rev 14:2- Notice: the voice form heaven as the voice of many waters and as the voice of a great thunder

Here in is described the sound of 144,000 whole hearted, singing, Holy Ghost powered worshippers. The "harpers harping" were heard as well. God believes that we can do that. We just need a few more salvations at my church how about you! I'm sure that youv'e got a sense of humor lurking somewhere in the bullrushes. Amen?

If we had a football stadium size crowd that was behaving like those folks in heaven we would have a similar sound.

The prayers that Paul prayed for the church in Eph. and Col. have been a great help to me. I learned to pray them for my self. They have been what God needed, in part, to increasingly sensitize me to the Holy Ghost. Surely you can see that praying the word of God over yourself, just like the Bible reads, can be efficient.

I will always refer you to the word and the Spirit and admonish you to Seek The Lord. That way we can avoid foolish disputations and pitting our minds against one another.

I grew up in a denomination similiar to yours and I expect that a lot of what I can share will not fit what you are use to. I also have needed abundantly confirmation from the Lord on unfamilar things.

It's always a pleasure to meet faithful and diligent Christian men such as your self.

Love In Christ,

P.S. We use musical instruments in our worship at church because it seems good to us and the Holy Ghost. Acts 15:28

Larry Ray Hafley (Post 3):


I am still curious as to whether there will be literal, physical, material harps in heaven. You have not told me.

If the golden bowls were symbols of the prayers of the saints, is it possible that the harps were symbolic also?

You say that you were raised in a denomination similar to mine. Dan, I am not a member of any denomination. I am simply a Spirit led Christian, a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).

You seem to equate the conditions of heaven with those of the church. Since there will be infants in heaven, are infants also members of the church of which you are a member (2 Sam. 12:23)?

Some things which are in heaven are not in the church, such as angel's speaking directly. Other things in the church will not be in heaven, such as the Lord's supper, for it is to be taken only until the Lord comes again (1 Cor. 11:26). It is in the church, but it will not be in heaven. Angels directly speak in heaven but do not do so in the church. Infants will be members of heaven's citizenship, but are not members of the church. Thus, not everything that is in one place will be in another.

Catholics may have infant membership in their churches because it seems good to them and to the Holy Ghost. They may even cite the fact that infants will be in heaven. Still, that does not prove that we should have babies as members of the Lord's church (Cf. Acts 8:12--"men and women," NOT, infants).

Therefore, even if you were to prove that literal harps and trumpets will be in heaven, that would not authorize them for the worship of the church today.

Yes, 144,000 were praising God in Revelation 14:2. I wonder if there are rain and thunderstorms in heaven since many waters and great thunder were also heard? If the many waters and great thunders are symbolic, why aren't the harps (as per Rev. 5:8). However, if the harps are literal, physical harps, why isn't the water and thunder also literal? You say that since there were harps there, that we may have them in the church today. Well, do you have "many waters" and a "great thunder" in your church today? If one, why not the others?

How does one "receive the Holy Ghost" as his teacher? Too, what does it mean to be sensitized to the Holy Ghost, and how does prayer accomplish this feat? Please cite the passages on prayer that speak of this sensitization.

Where does the Bible say that "praying the word of God over (ourselves), just like the Bible reads, can be efficient"? Rather, see Acts 20:32; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:2)

Don, like you, I am opposed to "foolish disputations." You certainly agree with me that our exchange does not qualify as such.

You speak as though we should not be "pitting" our minds against one another. Yet, this is exactly what the Holy Ghost encourages us to do (Acts 17:2, 3; 19:8, 9; 28:22-30; Phil. 1:17; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:15; Jude 3). So, why would you speak against the direct leading of the Holy Ghost with respect to such exchanges?

I know that the use of mechanical instruments of music in the worship of the church seem good to you, but where did you learn that the use of such things is "good" to the Holy Ghost? It will not do for you to cite what the Holy Ghost may approve in heaven, for we are here discussing the worship of the church. So, where did you learn that your instruments are "good" to the Holy Ghost?

If you would like, we can arrange for you or for one of your preachers to address the church here on these topics and show us the way of God more perfectly. We are open to study and consideration for the will of God on all such matters (Jn. 3:20, 21).

I shall look forward to hearing from you again.


Don (Post 4):

Dear Brother Larry,

You certainly have a well oiled mind. I will prayerfully consider all your questions and statements and respond with what I have from the Lord. This will take a few days.

If I may, I would like to ask you a few questions. Not to challenge you, but to have a little more information as to what you are used to.

  1. Can you ask the Lord a question and hear him answer it.
  2. How does the Holy Ghost behave when your church is in worship.
  3. Is it a normal function of the leadership in your church to know what the Holy Ghost wants to do during the course of a meeting. Can He change directions at will during a meeting.

Brother I need to apologize to you for my opening statement in my first E-mail to you. Looking back at it, it seems insensitive and a little rude. It seems more in the flesh than walking in love and I am sorry for presenting my self to you that way.


Larry Ray Hafley (Post 4):


I appreciate your apology. I didn't take exception to it but noted that it was terse. I thank you for your courtesy. Now, to your questions.

1) If by "hear him answer it" you mean audibly, orally, the answer is no.

God speaks to us today "by his Son" (Heb. 1;1, 2). We are to "hear...him" (Matt. 17:5). We hear the voice of the Son of God the same way that Abraham expected the five brothers of the rich man to hear Moses and the prophets, i.e., through what they had written (Lk. 16:29; Jn. 5:25). Paul said that some in his day could hear the voices of the Old Testament prophets. How could they do so? By reading what the prophets wrote, they "heard" them (Acts 13:27). That is how Moses was preached; that is, by reading what Moses wrote, Moses was preached (Acts 15:21).

When Jesus wanted his audience to hear what God had spoken, he cited them to Scripture, not to an audible voice (Matt. 22:31, 32). When the Hebrew writer called the Holy Spirit to witness on a point, he cited Scripture, therefore, the Spirit witnesses to us through Scripture (Heb. 10:15, 16). Likewise, God speaks to us today through his word.

His word is all sufficient. It is complete (2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Jas. 1:25). We now have all things that pertain unto life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). We need no more, for the apostles were guided by the Spirit into "all truth" (Jn. 16:13). Thus, there is nothing more for the Lord to add to us today. The faith has been once for all, one time for all time, delivered unto the saints (Jude 3).

2) Would you kindly cite me a passage which tells how the Spirit is supposed to behave when we worship? What verses in the Bible speak of the Spirit's behavior during the worship of the saints today? Please supply answers to these questions so I can address your question.

Note that the apostles directed us as to how we ought to behave ourselves "in the house of God, which is the church of the living God" (1 Tim. 3:15). They did not speak of the Spirit's behavior but of how we ought to behave. Should we not do likewise? Why speak of the Spirit's behavior in the church when the apostles did not do so?

Does the Spirit ever misbehave in your worship? Does the Spirit ever show any direct disapproval of anything that goes on in worship? How do you know? What Scripture shows us how the Spirit is to behave and what Scriptures show us how to recognize when the Spirit is displeased with our worship? Does every church, from charismatic Catholics to praying Pentecostals, have the approval of the Spirit in their work and worship?

Don, the answers to these questions will be helpful to me in replying to your question more completely.

3) First, your wondering about the Spirit's random change of will would seem to contradict what the Spirit himself said in 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40. If the Spirit indeed changes "directions at will during a meeting," that would result in confusion and disorder, things of which the Spirit has said he is not the author.

The Holy Spirit has already shown us how he wants us to worship and serve God. As 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, clearly reveals, he has given us everything we need. We have everything which is sufficient for every good work. He has outlined those things for us and given us specific rules by which we are to walk (1 Cor. 4:6, 16, 17; 11:1, 2, 23-26; 14:33, 40; Phil. 3:16, 17). Thus, we know how we ought to walk and to please God (1 Thess. 4:1). We need no further instruction along that line. If so, then 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 is false!

Since Jesus is "the head over all things to the church," we do not listen to another, not even to an angel from heaven (Gal. 1:8, 9). We listen to Christ and to his will. The church is to be subject unto Christ (Eph. 5:23, 24). He has told us what to do "during the course of a meeting" (Matt. 28:20; Acts 2:42). Thus, we need not inquire of the Spirit. Jesus, not the Spirit, is the head of the church; therefore, we do what he has commanded, what he has authorized through the word given by the Spirit unto the apostles (Lk. 10;16; 1 Cor. 14:37; 1 Jn. 4:6).

Not only shall I anxiously await your reply to this material, but also to the previous note to which you have promised to respond after you give it more thought. Again, if you or one of your teachers should desire to do so, we would be glad for them to speak for us and show us how the Spirit is to behave and lead our worship. We are open to study and are willing to hear others who may disagree with us. We want to know and to do God's will in all things. Anyone who can help us know the truth more perfectly is our friend (Acts 18:24-26).


The next post is combined. Brother Hafley's answers to Don appear in italics.

Dear Brother Larry,

I've numbered my responses for my own use.

# 1. Heaven is a strictly spiritual place meaning it does not exist in the natural realm. Heaven cannot be perceived with natural human perceptions that are designed for use here in the natural realm on the earth. As the Lord wills He can show heaven to a human but it will be "in the spirt" not in the natural.

If we were with John in heaven when he witnessed Rev 5:8, we would have experienced spiritual reality in heaven and observed, with him, the activities there. The harps would have appeared to us as literal, material, physical harps which the beasts and the elders each had when they fell down before the Lamb. Their existence however would be in the spiritual realm.

    Don, you're right! Thus, the harps are not literal instruments as we know them. Therefore, you have not proven that harps will be in heaven; yet, when we began this study, the presence of harps in heaven was your proof that they should be in the worship of the church today. So, you are back to square one. Since literal, material harps are not in heaven, how do you prove that they may be used in the worship of the church today?


#2. The golden bowls were not symbols of the prayers of the saints. They contained odors "which are the prayers of the saints."

    The golden bowls were not literal, material golden bowls, which is what you must find in order to establish that literal, material harps are in heaven, for this, according to your initial argument, would prove that such harps may be used in the worship of the church today. They are not physical, material harps or bowls, therefore, you have not proven that mechanical instruments of music may be used in the worship of the church.

#3. Perhaps I should apologize to you on behalf of the Holy ghost because He is not willing that I respond to your questions and statements as you require.

    Don, no man can apologize for the Holy Ghost, or on his behalf, for the Spirit of God cannot sin, cannot err. You say that the Holy Ghost "is not willing that I respond to your questions and statements as you require." Well, Don, the Holy Ghost told me that he expects you to respond to my questions and statements. He said, "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" [1Pet. 3:15]. The Spirit said, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" [1 Thess. 5:21]. This is the will of the Holy Ghost as he expressed it in the word of God. Now, you say, "He is not willing that I respond to your questions and statements." Don, how did you learn this? Why would the Spirit tell you something which contradicts his revealed will as given in the Bible?

I was led by the Spirit to "resign from the debating society" some years ago. I do welcome situations where people are willing to let the Lord use me to minister His word to them. In that case He will.

    Don, what is this "debating society" of which you speak? I am not a member of it, and I did not know you once had been a member of it.

    When you say you welcome situations "where people are willing to let the Lord use me to minister His word to them," do you mean by this that you will teach them so long as they do not question or reason with you? Do you mean that you can only "minister" to them so long as they do not respond or object to what you say? If that is not what you mean, then what is your point? Please explain.

    We read where the apostles ministered the word of God to people, but they did so with great controversy, with much reasoning, even as our Lord did at age 12 [Lk. 2:46--"both hearing them, and asking them questions." Cf. Acts 17:2, 3]

    Further, if you resigned from "the debating society," why have you been engaging in this exchange with me? This very reply of yours, which I am now reviewing is in debate form. If it is not, what do you mean by debating?

    Generally, Don, I have found that folks resign from "the debating society" when they find they cannot sustain their doctrine from the Bible. Up to this point, you have been engaged in a written discussion with me. Now, you inform me that you cannot respond to me, though you tell me this as you respond to certain of my "questions and statements," even numbering them as you make your response!! Can you not see your inconsistency here?

When I wrote against "pitting our minds against one another, I was referring to the verses that say: ..."the man of God must not strive", and "we wrestle not against flesh and blood". I struggled for years in my discipleship while striving with people combined with leaning to my own understanding of the Bible. The truth that set me free from this difficulty is that God can use who He wants, the way He wants, when He wants and it will never be based on my understanding. Period! Jesus became Lord of my understanding when previously, in part, my understanding was Lord.

    Don, when the Bible says not to strive, is it forbidding such a Bible study and discussion as we are having? If so, then Paul sinned in Acts 28:22-31 when he invited folks in and studied and reasoned from the Scriptures. If not, what is your point? No, we are not to engage in angry quarrels and strife, but that is not what you and I are doing. At least, I am not. We are commanded to "earnestly contend for the faith," and Paul said he was "set for the defense of the gospel" (Phil. 1:17; Jude 3). Surely, you believe you must do as the Holy Ghost instructs you to do; that is, to dispute the Scriptures with those who are lost in error [Acts 9:29; 17:2, 3, 16, 17; 18:4; 19:8, 9].

    You are correct in saying that we are not to lean on our own understanding, for that is what the Holy Ghost says [Prov. 3:5-7]. However, the Holy Ghost commands us to "understand" what the will of the Lord is, and he says we can do that when we read the New Testament [Eph. 3:4; 5:17]. I assume you believe those words of the Holy Ghost. Thus, you are bound by the Holy Ghost to share your understanding with others [2 Tim. 2:2, 15].

    You cited Ephesians 6:12, where it says we are not to wrestle against flesh and blood. In that text, the Spirit is not telling us we may not reason with others. If so, he would contradict what he said elsewhere--"Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" [Jas. 5:19, 20]. Further, if in saying that "'we wrestle not against flesh and blood'" the Holy Ghost is saying we should not reason with those in error, why did He say, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove (expose) them" [Eph. 5:11]? See the problem? In one place, the Spirit tells us to expose or reprove error by taking "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God," but in the same context, according to you, he tells us not to reason with others with respect with what we understand the Scriptures to teach [Eph. 5:11; 6:12, 17].

    Don, either the Holy Ghost contradicted himself, or you have misapplied Ephesians 6:12. Please explain.)

The only version of the word of God that He will agree to is His; the version that the Holy Ghost teaches. One Old timer said: "Some read the Bible in Hebrew and some read it in Greek, but I read it in the Holy Ghost".

    Don, would you please be so kind as to type me some "Holy Ghost" Scripture without using Hebrew, Greek, or English, etc.? I would love to read Scripture in that Holy Ghost version, so if you could please e-mail me some of it, I would like to see it. Thanks in advance.

    In the New Testament, Jesus quoted from the Septuagint [Greek translation of O.T., Hebrew Scripture]. May we not do as the Lord did? Surely, Jesus could have used that Holy Ghost version of which you spoke, yet, he, like us, quoted from a Greek translation of Hebrew Scripture. Again, what is wrong with us doing as he did?

Paul ministered against unbelief with revelation knowledge that he received from the Lord. His "speech and preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power."

    Right you are, Don, and when we read what he wrote, we are reading "the commandments of the Lord" as given by the Holy Ghost [Cf. 1 Cor. 2:12, 13; 14:37]. When we refer to what the Spirit recorded in the Bible, we are speaking as the oracles of God and are not using the enticing words of man's wisdom but are using the wisdom of God as revealed in the word of God, the Bible [2 Thess. 2:15; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:2, 15; 4:2-4; 1 Pet. 4:11].

The anointing of God coming from within Paul (from his spirit) effected the listener's spirits and those that were able to receive would be changed into believers by this ministry.

    Don, "faith cometh by hearing" the word of God as expressed by the apostles. We believe through their word which they received from the Spirit [Jn. 16:13; 17:20; Rom. 10:17].

Nothing that originates with me is of any value in ministry of the word. If I cannot speak, what I hear the Holy Ghost gives me to say to you, then I am of no value to the lord as a vessel. I would just be an "information booth" reciting my understanding. You would never get Jesus from me you would only get Don the earthen vessel.

    No one, certainly not me, wants to hear Don's wisdom. However, I do want to hear you "preach the word" and "sound out the word of the Lord" as given by the Spirit in the Bible. Now, if your paragraph above is saying you cannot answer my "questions and statements,'' why have you done so anyway? Why have you given me your understanding of certain passages in the book of Revelation and Ephesians? Were you being an "'information booth'" in this note of yours, or were you attempting to help me to know and understand the will of God?

    Is this the way you deal with evolutionists and other infidels? Do you refuse to try to teach them and convert them because you would be giving them your word, and because you would be just "an 'information booth' reciting [your own] understanding" to them? Is that how you deal with your friends and neighbors who are not Christians? Do you refuse to study with them and show them the truth as you understand it from the word of God? No, it is not! Likewise, then why not treat me the same way?

    Again, no one wants anything that "originates with" you. I certainly do not. However, I want you to show me where pianos, organs, harps, and other such instruments of music "originated" in the New Testament for the worship of the Lord's church. Do not give me your own understanding, give me the passages that "originate" such things for the worship of the church. Will you do it? Can you do it?

#4. If I made an incorrect assumption about my coming from a denomination similar to yours, then I ask your forgiveness. The church that I grew up in was called the 1st Church of Christ. My understanding back then was that it was the same as the Church of Christ across town except that they believed against using musical instruments in church and we called them "The non musical Church of Christ". The church that I was in was real strong on accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior and making a public confession of your faith. They ministered a lot on baptism by immersion in water. At the age of nine I was born again and baptized in water. They seemed to be opposed to any thing that might come under the heading of Charismatic or Pentecostal activities.

    Don, there is no offense taken about your assumption regarding the church. I am simply a Christian [Acts 11:26]. I have been saved by grace through faith [Eph. 2:8, 9; Cf. Acts 19:5). The Lord redeemed me by his blood [1 Pet. 1:18, 19]. He did this when I repented and was " the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" [Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16]. At this point, I was "baptized into one body," the church [1 Cor. 12:13].

    I note that you say you were "born again and baptized in water." Don, where does the Bible teach, where does the Holy Ghost say, that one is born again before he is baptized? I would like to know. Or, did that idea "originate" with you?

#5 "Praying the Word" refers to an approach to prayer that focuses what the Bible says on the need. For example: I have 6 young children at home. The oldest is eleven. In the last year I would estimate that around 15 times it came to my attention that one or more of the children had symptoms of sickness on their body. Stomach ache, nausea, congestion, coughing etc.,. etc. Any of these symptoms could develop into something more serious of not checked.

In this type of situation I will pray after this fashion: Thank You Heavenly Father for your word that says: by his stripes ye were healed, thank you for your word that says Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses, thank you for your word that says Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law (which includes every plague and sickness not written in the book of this law, Gal 3:13 and Deut 28:61)

I ask You Father in the Name of Jesus to watch over your Holy Word and perform it in this child's body. Thank You Heavenly Father for healing my child in Jesus Name.

Satan! In the mighty Name of Jesus I command you and every demon of sickness and disease and infirmity to go from this house. Jesus gave me authority over you all and made me the head of this house. Get off of my property. Now! In Jesus Name I said Go!!!

Usually all symptoms disappear within hours

    Don, I thought you said you were opposed to being an "information booth." I thought you did not want to present things that "originates with me." You said, "Nothing that originates with me is of any value in ministry of the word." Yet, immediately above, you have done just that. You have given your testimony, your own understanding. In so doing, you have misapplied what the Holy Ghost said. Surely, you know that Galatians 3:13 has nothing to do with physical healing! Surely, you know that Jesus "fulfilled" Isaiah 53:4 in Matthew 8:16, 17, and that miraculous, divine healing is not incorporated in the promise of Isaiah 53:4 for believers today.

    I am puzzled by your use of the word, "usually," when you said, "Usually all symptoms disappear within hours." What do you mean, "usually"? Does God occasionally fail in fulfilling his promises? If not, why the word, "usually"? Further, "young children" the age of yours often have such maladies as you describe and they disappear "within hours." The same thing happens in the homes of atheists and unbelieving Jews and Muslims. So, that is not a miraculous fulfillment of Scripture.

    May I correctly assume, given your testimony above, that your house contains no cold remedy, cough syrup, aspirin, or stomach medicine of any kind?

# 6. If I were to pray the Word over you like Paul did the church in Ephesians it would be after this fashion: I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto Larry Ray Hafley the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of Larry's understanding being enlightened; that Larry may know what is the hope of Your calling, Father, and what the riches of the glory of Your inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of Your power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of Your mighty power, Which You wrought in Christ, when You raised him from the dead, and set him at Your own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

    Don, I thank you for your sincere concern for my growth in the Lord. Perhaps you would do well to cite what Paul told the Ephesians as the means to fulfill his prayer for them--"I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" [Acts 20:32]. In order for the Ephesians to receive the benefit of the prayer for them, they were told to "read, [that] ye may understand" [Eph. 3:4]. That is how that prayer will be fulfilled today [1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:2].

After I prayed this way for my self consistently, (for a season) it became obvious that the spirit of wisdom and revelation was operating freely in my life. I became able to look at most any place in the bible and began to receive increased understanding or revelation knowledge from the Holy Ghost. I became able to minister with the Holy Spirit much more accurately and efficiently.

    (Don, if this is so, why, then, have you made so many blunders in this response of yours? Several of your errors and misapplications of Scripture have been pointed out in this reply. Surely, you do not blame the Holy Ghost for leading you astray! To illustrate the charge, you state that through prayer you received " increased understanding." However, the Holy Ghost says that such understanding comes from reading and studying the word of God [Acts 20:32; Eph. 3:4; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 2:2, 15; 1 Pet. 2:2]. Why do you say that you received understanding one way, through prayer, directly from the Holy Ghost, while the Bible says such understanding comes through reading and study? Please explain.)

One man that benefitted the same way that I have from this said: It's amazing that the deacons didn't come and pull me in out of the rain. Before, I was preaching like I had no sense.

    Don, the above paragraph is some more of your "'information booth'" religion. It is from you, not from the Holy Ghost, not from the Bible. Earlier you said, "If I cannot speak, what I hear the Holy Ghost give me to say to you, then I am of no value to the lord as a vessel." If that is so, why did you give me the last two paragraphs? You see, they conflict with your earlier statements.

    If you and that other gentleman were "preaching like [you] had no sense," does that mean you were not preaching from the word of God? Were you ignoring the Bible when you preached like you had "no sense"? It's possible for men to preach like they have no sense, and it is possible for them to do so while they pervert Scripture. Which scenario describes you during the time you were "preaching like [you] had no sense"?

What is revealed by the spirit of wisdom and revelation is God's understanding of His Word. It is uncontaminated by the wisdom of man, man's intellect, man's ego, logical deductions and all that seems right to a man. The pure, blessed, Holy mind of Christ is made available.

    Don, did you not know that, "The pure, blessed, Holy mind of Christ is made available" to us in the Bible? Paul said he had "the mind of Christ" [1 Cor. 2:16; 7:40]. When we read what he and the others wrote, we, too, have access to "the mind of Christ" [1 Cor. 14:37; Eph. 3:4]. As shown above, this knowledge comes through study and reading, not directly through prayer.

    Your statement immediately above says there is God's word, the Bible, and then there is "God's understanding of His Word." This understanding is, you say, revealed through prayer. Don, would you please read a passage from the Holy Ghost that says this? Where does the Spirit of God speak of the revelation of the word of God and also the revelation of the understanding of that word? You speak of it, you make that distinction in the paragraph above, but, like you said, your word is nothing. The word of God is all that matters. Therefore, I should like to see that distinction taught by the Holy Ghost. Can you produce it? Did the idea "originate" with you or with the Holy Ghost? I should like to know. Will you show me from the Bible?

We become sensitized to the Holy Spirit who Is enabled by our praying of His Word to open the scriptures up for us; not unlike Jesus opening the scriptures for His disciples.

    Don, where does the Bible teach what you just said in the paragraph above? Or, did this idea "originate" with you? Where did you learn that "the Holy enabled by our praying of His Word to open the scriptures up for us"? Remember, "Nothing that originates with me is of any value in ministry of the word."

    Yes, the Lord opened the understanding of the disciples, but note that he did so on that occasion through teaching and instruction [Lk. 24:27; Acts 1:2, 3]. He did not do so by telling them to "pray through the word" or "through the Holy Ghost, as you tell me to do. Rather, he taught them. Don, why does the practice of the Lord differ from what you are telling me? How can you say you have a direct knowledge and enlightenment from the Holy Ghost when you keep making mistakes like this?

This is not a substitute for worship, prayer and fasting, seeking God, intimacy with God, praying in the Holy Ghost and all the time needed for preparation to minister.

#6. John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

    Don, John 14:26 cannot be a promise to you. Note that is was made to those who had been with Jesus "from the beginning" [Jn. 15:27]. That certainly does not describe you [Acts 1:21, 22]! Further, note that the passage says Jesus will remind those to whom he was speaking of "all things...whatsoever I have said unto you." Now, Don, just what things are there that Jesus spoke to you that he needs to remind you of? You see, Don, Jesus was speaking to those disciples, to the men to whom he had spoken and instructed [Acts 1:2, 3]. He promised them, NOT you and me, that he would remind them of things he had said. He could not make such a promise to you, for he has never spoken to you as he did to them. Thus, the passage is not a promise to you.

If I want to pray in agreement with this scripture I might pray: Dear Holy Ghost, Jesus said that You are the teacher of all things and I ask in the Name of Jesus that You would be my teacher and that you would enable me by your grace, mercy, wisdom, knowledge,help and unction to be one of your excellent students. From this day forward You are my teacher and I am learning what ever you are teaching. In Jesus Holy Name

I pray, Amen.

    Bless your heart, Don, but would you please read to me where the Holy Ghost ever originated such a prayer as that? Where does the word of God exhort us to say a prayer like that? Really, though, why is such a prayer necessary? In the paragraph above this one, you said that Jesus promised to give you such miraculous wisdom and understanding through the Holy Ghost. Is that promise, which you say is intended for you, contingent upon your prayer? If so, where does the Bible say so?

    When Paul commended the Ephesian elders to the word of God and when he told the Ephesians to "read," he failed to tell them of the prayer you just gave me [Acts 20:32; 1 Cor. 14:37; Eph. 3:4] . Why is that? Why didn't the apostles give the advice you gave? Why did they say, "study" and "read" when it would have been so much easier for us if they had told us to simply pray for that knowledge as you advise me to do? Would you please explain why they told us to "read" while you say we ought to "pray" and let God give it to us through the Holy Ghost?

It is not the exact wording that is important but praying in agreement with the Spirit and The Word, believing in your heart and confession in agreement with it. Refer to the principles found in Rom 10:9,10. Very simply, I believe what Jesus said about it and the Holy Ghost is my teacher.

    Don, Romans 10:9,10, gives no principle which we may apply to your teaching. It says to confess and believe. It says nothing about prayer. Further, just seven verses later, the Spirit says "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." So, the faith of verses 9 and 10 does not come by prayer, but by hearing. But to fit and apply to your doctrine, it ought to say, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and since that faith in him comes after you pray through the Holy Ghost, then you must pray through the word to get it." That is not what the text says; hence, it does not apply to your doctrine.

    For a man who is supposed to be giving me, not his word, but the very word of the Holy Ghost, you surely are managing to be in conflict with the word of the Holy Ghost in the Bible.)

#7Rev 14:2- Notice:
1 the voice from heaven
2 as the voice of many waters
3 and as the voice of a great thunder

Here in is described the sound of the 144,000. The "harpers harping" were heard as well. The harpers had to be producing a very loud volume to be heard along with the 144,000.

There is a pattern here that God likes to see in church meetings.

1. Large number of strong singers worshiping.
2. Singing a new song
3. Harpers harping (stringed instruments) at an appropriate volume

    Don, Revelation 14:2 says absolutely nothing about the church, or the worship of the church on earth today. Why, then, do you say it " is a pattern...that God likes to see in church meetings"? I suspect this idea "originated" with you, and not with the Holy Ghost, for he has given no such pattern as you describe. Again, though, if the voice of harpers harping with their harps justifies harps in the worship of the church today, does the voice as the voice of a great thunder mean there are thunderstorms in heaven? In your opening paragraph, you said that the harps of Revelation 5 were "spiritual," not material, physical harps. Are the harps here also "spiritual" in their nature and composition? If so, then you still have not found a material harp to justify the use of material, mechanical instruments of music in the worship of the church today. I am still looking for that proof. Perhaps you ought to pray a little harder through the word and ask the Holy Ghost to show you where the authorization for such things may be found.

#8 We need to unconditionally open our selves up unto God. And cry out to Him for His version of our lives, our gifts, our ministries, our home, our church. It is far more important for God to find us worshipping Him privately than it is to struggle with our understanding about instruments in church. It would be wrong for me to say that you should have musical instruments in your church because that could be a stumbling block for your whole church, at present. I want you to have God's best and I have shared with you some of what I have to that end.

    Don, where does the Bible teach that, "It is far more important for God to find us worshipping Him privately than it is to struggle with our understanding about instruments in church"? That is what you said, but where does the Holy Ghost say it? Your word is not sufficient; it is not my guide. So, if you will direct me to where the Holy Ghost said such a thing, I will believe it.

    Jesus did not think that our private worship was "far more important" than our understanding of certain doctrines. He did not teach that "worshiping him privately" "is far more important" than our public doctrines or teachings. He said that when we draw near to him (whether privately or publicly) and we do so while keeping our own human traditions, that our worship is "in vain," void [Matt. 15:8, 9, 13, 14; Cf. 7:21-27]. Again, Don, your advice, judgments, and pronouncements are shown to contradict what the Holy Ghost and Jesus said. If what I said kept on proving to be different from what the word of God says, I believe I would have to back up and take a look at myself in the mirror of God's word. "Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith" [2 Cor. 13:5].

    You state that, "It would be wrong for me to say that you should have musical instruments in your church because that could be a stumblingblock for your whole church, at present." Is that how you approach infant baptism or sprinkling for baptism? Do you believe one can continue to practice infant baptism and sprinkling because the removal of those doctrines and practices would be "a stumblingblock"?

    It was "a stumblingblock" to remove the moneychangers and them that sold doves from the temple, but the Lord did it anyway. It was "a stumblingblock" to add circumcision to the will of God, but that did not justify those who thought it was acceptable to bind circumcision. The worship of the church is not decided by what would prove "a stumblingblock," but by a "thus saith the Lord" (Matt. 28:20; Col. 3:17).

You are a wonderful brother Larry and I thank God for you.
Sincerely, Don.

    I appreciate your kind attitude toward me. However, I fear that our vast differences show that we are not in spiritual fellowship with one another. I do not say that to be unkind, but to cause you to think and consider what has been said in the light of God's word. Please write again and feel free to respond to what I have written. I will be glad to study or discuss Scripture with you or with one of your teachers or preachers.

    Sincerely, Larry