Do's and Don'ts of the Regulative Principle?

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blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
For those who follow the regulative principle of worship, I was just wondering how that would differ from the worship offered in churches that don't adhere so strongly to the principle? What common practices would you not follow? How much freedom or leeway do you have in expressing worship and praise to God during the worship service?

(BTW, I realize that freedom may not be the best word choice. We are free when we obey God's commands. I guess what I mean is how much variety is allowed in expressing worship before you're not following the RP?)

I'm more curious about the "not-so-obvious" practices practiced in mainstream churches that you would not follow, as opposed to the practices of those churches who are way out in left field doing their own thing.

In addition, what are the characteristics of a worship service that follows the regulative principle of worship?

Bob

[Edited on 2-22-2004 by blhowes]
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Reformed liturgy.
Piety.

Too many churches we have visited show no respect for God. They act as if they are at a social function instead of the courtroom of God. They have reduced the word to the tertiary. Their music caters to the flesh instead of desiring to feed the spirit. They long to entertain each other; the concensus is that it is wrong to mix piety w/ church in this day and age. Go somewhere else!:shocked2:

[Edited on 2-22-2004 by Scott Bushey]
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Calvin's Liturgy is blatantly different than most churches - this is a form of his layout:

______________________

Welcome and Announcements

Call to worship
Hab. 2:20, "But the Lord is in His holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before Him."

Hymn or Song

The Confession of Sin
My brethren, let each of you present himself before the face of the Lord, and confess his faults and sins, saying together with me:

O Lord God, eternal and almighty Father,
we confess and acknowledge most sincerely before Your holy majesty
that we are poor sinners, conceived and born in iniquity and corruption,
prone to do evil, incapable of any good,
and that in our depravity we transgress Your holy commandments without end or ceasing: we have sinned against you.
We are grieved that we have offended You; and we condemn ourselves and our sins with true repentance, desiring Your grace to relieve our distress.
O God and Father most gracious and full of compassion, have mercy upon us in the Name of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
And as You blot out our sins and stains, magnify and increase in us day by day
the grace of Your Holy Spirit: that as we acknowledge our unrighteousness with all our heart, we may be moved by that sorrow which will bring forth true repentance in us, mortifying all our sins,
and producing in us the fruits of righteousness and innocence which are pleasing unto You; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Minister: Hear what words of comfort the Scripture says to all who truly turn to Christ.
"...If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1 Jn 2:1)

Let each of you truly acknowledge that he is a sinner, humbling himself before God and believe that the heavenly Father wills to be gracious to him in Jesus Christ.
To all those that repent in this way, and look to Jesus Christ for their salvation, I declare that the absolution of sins is affected in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Minister: The Prayer of Commitment
The Lord be with us, let us pray to the Lord.
Heavenly Father, full of goodness and grace, as You are pleased to declare Your holy will to Your poor servants, and to instruct them in the righteousness of Your law, grant that it may also be inscribed and impressed upon our hearts in such a way that in all our life we may endeavor to serve and obey none besides You. Do not impute to us at all the transgressions which we have committed against Your law that, pouring out Your abounding grace upon us in such abundance, we may have cause to praise and glorify You through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Hymn or Song

Scripture Reading

Prayer for Illumination

Sermon

Prayer

Psalm Sung

Benediction
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be merciful unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.

_______________

No choirs, no drama, no "Jesus is my girlfriend songs", no tromping on the RP.

Knox and Zwingli both have similar layouts, although Zwingli's is a little shorter.
 

dswatts

Puritan Board Freshman
Webmaster...

Can you enlighten further re: "Hymn or song"? Was this from a Psalter or were these what we today would call 'hymns'?

Just curious.

Dwayne
 

luvroftheWord

Puritan Board Sophomore
The example given by Matt is very close to the order of worship that my church uses. I have really come to appreciate high church liturgy.

By the way, I have heard this term used before in discussions of the Regulative Principle. What exactly is meant by the term "will worship"?
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:a6309e0c75][i:a6309e0c75]Originally posted by luvroftheWord[/i:a6309e0c75]
By the way, I have heard this term used before in discussions of the Regulative Principle. What exactly is meant by the term "will worship"? [/quote:a6309e0c75]

Will worship is basically any form of worship contrary to what God has explicitly set forth to be used in worship. It is called "will" worship because you as the worshipper would rather worship God as you see fit rather than how God sees fit. So in essence you worship your own will or determine worship by your own will instead of God's.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:9d57a1e06a][i:9d57a1e06a]Originally posted by blhowes[/i:9d57a1e06a]
For those who follow the regulative principle of worship, I was just wondering how that would differ from the worship offered in churches that don't adhere so strongly to the principle? What common practices would you not follow? How much freedom or leeway do you have in expressing worship and praise to God during the worship service?
[/quote:9d57a1e06a]

Here's what the RPW allowsas defined by WCF chapter 21:
III. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship,[6] is by God required of all men:[7] and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son,[8] by the help of his Spirit,[9] according to his will,[10] with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance;[11] and, if vocal, in a known tongue.[12]

IV. Prayer is to be made for things lawful;[13] and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter:[14] but not for the dead,[15] nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.[16]

V. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear,[17] the sound preaching [18] and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence,[19] singing of psalms with grace in the heart;[20] as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God:[21] beside religious oaths,[22] vows,[23] solemn fastings,[24] and thanksgivings upon special occasions,[25] which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.[26]


So, if you add anything which is not expressly commanded in Scripture as listed above (though perhaps not exhaustive) then you depart from Reformed worship.

How would a non-reformed church look different? Well, it can be as obvious as praying to saints, interpretitive dance, or drama/skits, or it could be more subtle like music solo's, using questionable images (like crosses, pictures of Jesus, etc. ), or even "altar calls".
Reformed worship is suppose to be simple, not clouded with frivolous manmade ceremonies or traditions.
 

luvroftheWord

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks, Patrick.

And also, the issue of exclusive psalmody aside (for arguments sake, let's assume that other forms of music besides psalms are permissible in worship), why do some people feel that contemporary worship styles are contrary to the RPW?
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:b6cce1d2ea][i:b6cce1d2ea]Originally posted by luvroftheWord[/i:b6cce1d2ea]
And also, the issue of exclusive psalmody aside (for arguments sake, let's assume that other forms of music besides psalms are permissible in worship), why do some people feel that contemporary worship styles are contrary to the RPW? [/quote:b6cce1d2ea]

Well, your question would apply to those who hold to EP too since often psalm portions are put to contemporary style music (i.e. As the Deer, Create in me a Clean Heart, etc.)

I honestly don't think there can be an objective answer to your question. Because now we are dealing with motive and subjective experience and preference. Calvin, Knox, and the Puritans threw out the musical instruments so they would not have had this problem like we do. But really, who's to say that contemporary style is ungodly or forbidden? Who's to say that one musical style is better than another or better conveys the meaning of the words than another? I don't know. I guess I can only speak from my own [i:b6cce1d2ea]experience[/i:b6cce1d2ea], having been a contemporary "worship" leader in my arminian days, that contemporary music exalts the pride of the musician and attempts to maniplute or manufacture good "feelings" in the people rather than aiding the mind in apprehending the things of God. But, those who favor this style of worship would probably disagree with me based on their own [i:b6cce1d2ea]experience[/i:b6cce1d2ea]. Hence the difficulty.
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
Thanks for your responses. Sounds like a wonderful way to worship. Of course, I guess that's a given because its based on the scriptures.

Were all you guys raised going to this kind of worship service?

[b:7a07e25c31]Matthew wrote:[/b:7a07e25c31]
No choirs

I've always enjoyed a good choir during the worship service, especially right before the message is preached. Like the singing of hymns, they seem to help prepare the heart to hear the word preached. Why would choirs not be used in churches that adhere to the RP principle of worship? Does the choir not really help prepare the heart for worship (maybe it prepares the emotions?) When did the singers and musicians in David's time sing and play their instruments? Was that reserved for other occasions besides the worship service?

[b:7a07e25c31]Craig wrote:[/b:7a07e25c31]
I have really come to appreciate high church liturgy

What does "high church" liturgy mean?

Other churches go to the opposite end of the spectrum, trying to make the worship service a memorable and enjoyable one for the congregation so they'll continue coming back. They're always trying to keep things exciting and new. Does the liturgical form of worship ever feel restrictive or repetitive for you, or does your heart preparation before the service take care of that?

Bob
 

luvroftheWord

Puritan Board Sophomore
Patrick,

[quote:ca50333df7]
But really, who's to say that contemporary style is ungodly or forbidden? Who's to say that one musical style is better than another or better conveys the meaning of the words than another?
[/quote:ca50333df7]

Exactly. Glad to hear you say that. Calvin, Knox, et al, overreacted when they through out musical instruments. Of course there's always the possibility of something being abused. But if you react to that possibility by just throwing out everything that COULD be abused, you might as well throw EVERYTHING out. I think this issue had been made more difficult than it really is.

I also believe that since we cannot see the hearts and motives of our Christian brethren, we should give them the benefit of the doubt. We are in covenant together, of course. I am disgusted at how quickly [Reformed] Christians will judge their neighbor on things they do not or cannot know for certain. Should we really brand people so quickly as being "Arminian" or "semi-pelagian", or worse, "self-seeking" just because they happen to support something that might not be "traditional"?
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:e26af35311][i:e26af35311]Originally posted by blhowes[/i:e26af35311]
Were all you guys raised going to this kind of worship service? [/quote:e26af35311]
I was raised charasmatic. I've only been enjoying the RPW in worship for the last 5 or so years.
[quote:e26af35311] I've always enjoyed a good choir during the worship service, especially right before the message is preached. Like the singing of hymns, they seem to help prepare the heart to hear the word preached. Why would choirs not be used in churches that adhere to the RP principle of worship? Does the choir not really help prepare the heart for worship (maybe it prepares the emotions?) When did the singers and musicians in David's time sing and play their instruments? Was that reserved for other occasions besides the worship service? [/quote:e26af35311]
The objection's to choirs stems form the fact that singing should be congregational. Now, I suppose an argument may be made for choirs to sing [i:e26af35311]with[/i:e26af35311] the congregation to keep them on track, but to sing alone would violate the whole purpose of worship. We are not there to be entertained. Whenever we are commanded to sing in Scripture it seems, to me anyway, that it is a congregational practice, not one for the elite.
 

luvroftheWord

Puritan Board Sophomore
My church incorporates a choir. It is very heavenly, and very appropriate for worship, but only because our music director does such a wonderful job of being in touch with what the pastor preaches on. The assumption is often made that churches only have choirs for their entertainment value. This is just hogwash, if I may borrow Phillip's term. ;)

[Edited on 2-22-2004 by luvroftheWord]
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
[b:b1f4cf3abb]Patrick wrote:[/b:b1f4cf3abb]
I was raised charismatic. I've only been enjoying the RPW in worship for the last 5 or so years.

That must have been quite a change for you. Praise the Lord you're enjoying the more biblical form of worship now.

[b:b1f4cf3abb]Patrick wrote:[/b:b1f4cf3abb]
The objection's to choirs stems form the fact that singing should be congregational. Now, I suppose an argument may be made for choirs to sing with the congregation to keep them on track, but to sing alone would violate the whole purpose of worship. We are not there to be entertained. Whenever we are commanded to sing in Scripture it seems, to me anyway, that it is a congregational practice, not one for the elite.

I agree there is a danger that the music sung by a choir can be thought of as entertainment. To avoid that, I think a lot rests on whether or not the congregation is in an attitude of worship. When a brother lifts up a prayer before God, the congregation joins silently and the collective prayer is brought before God. In the same way, if my heart is right, when a choir sings praises to God, I should be lifting up those praises to God as well. If I feel like I'm being entertained, then I'm not really in tune with the purposes for the various parts of the worship service.

I've never really thought about whether all singing should be done in unison or not. Off hand I can't think of which scriptures would regulate that the singing should be in unison. I do have a question, though, that maybe you or somebody who's given the issue more thought might be able to answer. In the OT, David appointed a whole bunch of musicians and singers. Was that so they could sing during worship services, or was it for some other purpose?

Thanks,
Bob
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
[quote:0a16224c29][i:0a16224c29]posted by LOTW[/i:0a16224c29]
This is just hogwash, if I may borrow Phillip's term[/quote:0a16224c29]

Borrow a Way.... :lol:

I would add that I agree with the listed elements of worship for the RPW but we do not utilize "high church liturgy."

In our service, we pray, sing, read the Word, there is preaching, and we enjoy the Lord's Supper every week and baptize when we have need. We have an offering box at the back for giving (we do not pass the plate). And we have a time of fellowship after the service.

Those elements again are (not in any order):
1. Prayer
2. Fellowship
3. Preaching
4. Praise/Singing
5. Reading the Word
6. Ordinances
7. Giving

(Acts 2:42, Eph 5:19-21, 1 Cor 16:2)

We do not use "liturgy" per se, in that some weeks we sing first, others we pray first, sometimes we have the Supper before to prepare to enter worship. But we always do have the same elements present in every service, so technically that is a form of liturgy.

We do not have choirs, testimonies, special music, altar calls, drama, special pagents, and we do not use [i:0a16224c29]contemporary[/i:0a16224c29] music. In fact, until God sends us a pianist, we sing acapella.

And to answer Bob's question, those who led in worship were qualified as priests! Not just the congregation, but those trained and qualified to minister "to the Lord". Their playing was at times a call to worship I think, but also enhanced the praise of God. It was not a performance to be watched or listened to, but an experience of worship to be joined in.

Worship must always point to God, never to us! I have been preaching through Obadiah and Joel the last dew weeks and I am amazed by the phrase, "Let the priests who minister to the Lord...." We do not minister to one another....we minister to GOD. That must be our focus.

Phillip

[Edited on 2-23-04 by pastorway]
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
[quote:909c711002]
Can you enlighten further re: "Hymn or song"? Was this from a Psalter or were these what we today would call 'hymns'?
[/quote:909c711002]

Either a Hymn (Like Mighty Fortress) or a Psalter selection like Psalm 51.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Unfortunately, since I've been raised A/G, I've NEVER been to even ONE church service in my life that I'd say truly follows the regulative principle, purposefully or incidentally. I greatly look forward to next year when I go to college and join a Presbyterian church. (I'm actually just as excited about that as I am the whole college experience, believe it or not!) I'll have to really analyze the services of several churches near the college I'll be at (most likely Wheaton) and see what they include, and how faithful it is to Scriptural instructions. Would anyone happen to be familiar with a good Presbyterian church in the Wheaton/Chicago area that might follow the RPW faithfully?

BTW, just out of curiosity, how long does a Reformed service often last? I've never been in any Sunday service but A/G, which is 1.5 hours.

Chris
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
[b:7c54073424]Chris wrote:[/b:7c54073424]
Unfortunately, since I've been raised A/G

What's A/G?

Just wondering,
Bob
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[quote:b91c0e214d][i:b91c0e214d]Originally posted by blhowes[/i:b91c0e214d]
[b:b91c0e214d]Chris wrote:[/b:b91c0e214d]
Unfortunately, since I've been raised A/G

What's A/G?

Just wondering,
Bob [/quote:b91c0e214d]

Assemblies of God ('nuff said!)
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:e25f42d74a][i:e25f42d74a]Originally posted by blhowes[/i:e25f42d74a]
I've never really thought about whether all singing should be done in unison or not. Off hand I can't think of which scriptures would regulate that the singing should be in unison. I do have a question, though, that maybe you or somebody who's given the issue more thought might be able to answer. In the OT, David appointed a whole bunch of musicians and singers. Was that so they could sing during worship services, or was it for some other purpose?[/quote:e25f42d74a]
I guess another point about choirs is that if they are set apart form the congregation by singing alone then you may be seperating the people of God without warrant and then violating the whole "preisthood of all believers" thing.
But back to your inquiry, the singers were appointed to serve in the temple, just like the musicians, and aided the sacrificial system. G.I. Williamson has a great article on this, examining the role of the temple singers and musicians in the OT.
http://members.aol.com/RSICHURCH/music1.html
http://members.aol.com/RSICHURCH/music2.html

There are some other articles by Williamson and others on worship at this site:
http://trueworship.netfirms.com/Singpsalms.dir/links.htm

Williamson ends up arguing that there is no need for instruments at all and that we should sing accapella. Now I certainly think this method is much more edifying [i:e25f42d74a]personally[/i:e25f42d74a] because we shouldn't be dependent on an instrument to worship God. But I also want to make sure that such a case is scriptural and not just a reaction to my charasmatic background. Though Williamson's case is strong I think, it doesn't convince me completely yet. So for now, until I can come up with a clear case either way, I go by the motto, "the simpler, the better."

And even if we throw out the instruments, which would end much of the debate, we still have to decide on the style of acepella music we should sing.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:7f6e7707c6][i:7f6e7707c6]Originally posted by Me Died Blue[/i:7f6e7707c6]
Would anyone happen to be familiar with a good Presbyterian church in the Wheaton/Chicago area that might follow the RPW faithfully?
[/quote:7f6e7707c6]

There's a few OPC's, PCA's, and URC's in the area. Though I think the OPC has some flaws in applying the RPW they are much better than the PCA's I've visited. I have no experience yet with the URC.
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:2cd019e887][i:2cd019e887]originally posted by blhowes[/i:2cd019e887]

Does the liturgical form of worship ever feel restrictive or repetitive for you, or does your heart preparation before the service take care of that?[/quote:2cd019e887]

Same question. My church mixes things up alot. But for those who follow more "strict" liturgy, what is your opinion?

I'm another brother who was accustom to the Pentecostal services. And boy am I glad to get out of all that hype and into truly meaningful devotion.

Rembrandt
 

rembrandt

Puritan Board Sophomore
Is it just me, or does the band/choir facing you during the service really distract you? It seems like eveyone just looks right at the band/choir (in my case band) the whole time- it is very tempting, almost like your at a rock concert.

Also if they are facing you, sometimes it seems like the people are actually worshipping the band- raising their hands toward them etc.

Obviously they can't face away from you if they are trying to lead. But perhaps they should stand on the side or front/side out of the way somewhere. I'm just concerned about them being the object of attention (and distraction).

Rembrandt
 

twogunfighter

Puritan Board Freshman
This was somewhat glossed over in this conversation:

[quote:8e9240a9f1]
why do some people feel that contemporary worship styles are contrary to the RPW?
[/quote:8e9240a9f1]

It is a serious source of division in a number of reformed denominations. Particularly mine the PCA. My problem with contemporary worship styles is that they support a low view of God. I know that Craig and others will be in disagreement, but there is a standard in music and contemporary Christian worship music is of lower quality than high church hymns. Bach and Handel could compose rings around Muddy Waters, Muddy Waters could compose rings around Tom Petty, and Tom Petty composes rings around CCM writers. We are not offering our best "sacrifice of praise" to our Lord when we worship to music that is aesthetically and technically beat out by "Ya don't... have... to liiiive like a refugee...." If that is all you have, then you have to give what you got, but we can offer so much more. God has graced us with much more to return to Him than CCM. When we return to God a sacrifice that is blind and lame what are we saying about what we really think about God? By worshipping God with unmajestic music we begin to lower God to ourselves rather than attempt (pitiful as it may be) to raise ourselves to Him. And a congregation that consistently "worships" that way begins to fear God less. We laugh at our charismatic brothers Sunday services and go happily tripping down the same road that they are on led by our own contemporary music team.

Those of you that are advocates of contemporary styles of worship can you tell me that you have a stable of worship songs that is able to beat out the Trinity Hymnal in-depth of theology. Please post one contemporary hymn that is able to compete theologically with "A Mighty Fortress is Our God." If one or two have been written, then great we have one or two new songs that are worthy to be sung to our God and we can update the next edition of the hymnal. But we still don't have enough to have a contemporary service.

BTW I don't think that casual attire is right for church either. I am not a particularly sharp dressed man but I just try to think what I would wear to the White House if I got called right now. One much greater than the one in the White House is at Church when I go. When I have a meeting with the Colonel, I shine my boots, get a haircut and put on a pressed uniform. I don't do it to impress the other guys at work, I do it because to show up otherwise implies disrespect to the Colonel. To show up to church in other than the best that you have that day is to imply disrespect to God.

My somewhat more than
:wr50:

Chuck
 

blhowes

Puritan Board Professor
[b:a1f4e00e92]Me Died Blue wrote:[/b:a1f4e00e92]
Assemblies of God ('nuff said!)

Thanks. 'nuff said.

[b:a1f4e00e92]puritansailor wrote:[/b:a1f4e00e92]
But back to your inquiry, the singers were appointed to serve in the temple, just like the musicians, and aided the sacrificial system. G.I. Williamson has a great article on this, examining the role of the temple singers and musicians in the OT.

Thanks for links to his articles. They helped me understand the position a little better. He even addressed a question that was in the back of my mind about the regulative principle..."Well, there's no mention of anybody sitting in pews either, so ..."

[b:a1f4e00e92]rembrandt wrote:[/b:a1f4e00e92]
Is it just me, or does the band/choir facing you during the service really distract you? It seems like eveyone just looks right at the band/choir (in my case band) the whole time- it is very tempting, almost like your at a rock concert.

I agree that there is that temptation/tendancy to focus on the choir, especially when they're sitting right in front of you. When I use to sing in the church choir, we were often told to try and sit as motionless as possible to help keep the focus off of the choir.

If a church uses a choir, the tendancy to focus on them can be reduced considerably if the choir loft is at the back of the church. That's how it was at the church (Methodist) that I was raised in and it seemed to work well.

Bob
 

kceaster

Puritan Board Junior
A few thoughts...

The music of the church should be decided by the church. It is not subjective, it is the whole church's decision. Now here is where we get into difficulties, it is not the local body.

I think presbyteries should determine this. They should have committees on this to determine good new music to give it their seal of approval. One of the biggest reasons that we have the hymns we have is because they were widely accepted in the good reformed churches, by the ministers of the gospel and ruling elders - the theologians.

Now should we accept CCM or contemporary worship styles? I would suppose that if the presbytery were to study this and hand it down, we could use it. However, I don't think any of the presbyteries in the OPC would do so, nor would some of them in the PCA. (You all may correct me on this, if I am wrong.)

The worship of God in Reformed churches should be uniform. I know that it may never be, but it is still my hope that God will someday do this. After all, He is the creator of the universe and there is nothing to suggest that He desires us to worship Him in any way that does not suit Him.

On instruments. Perhaps I am biased because I am a musician, but I believe God wants our worship to be as skillful as it can possibly be, while at the same time, as simple as it can possibly be. If our congregations need an instrument so that they can sing skillfully, then we should have them. Do most churches need a band in order to do that? No. Tempo and tune can be derived from a piano or an organ, so guitars, drums, brass, and woodwinds are over the top. They add pomp to what is supposed to be simple. It is glorious music to the soul, I'll grant. I have been priveleged to be a part of this in the past, and hopefully will be in the future. But, these moments are for special convocations and they are not formal, congregational, covenant renewal ceremonies - not for weekly Lord's Days.

On choirs. I am for choirs but have reservations about them being in front. I would much rather them be antiphonal (opposite sides perpendicular to the congregation). If they sing a special number, it should be a before service or after service. While the service is going on, it should be everyone with one voice.

On special music. I am for special music only in the context of singing from the back, and only as an interlude during communion. The song must focus upon the sacrifice of Christ or upon the sacrament, preferably not a solo, but a quartet. I could take this or leave this, by the way because it is probably left over from the years I spent in Zwinglian communion.

The key point about all music is that it should be theologically sound and musically sufficient. Some music is not sufficient for the tenor of the words. This may be subjective, and it may not be. Perhaps the Spirit intercedes in this and gives men the right mind about it. But the elders of the church should determine this and be responsible for the application of it. If it were possible, a synod or council of churches should do this, so that the One God we worship, would hear one voice from all His people.

In Christ,

KC
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[quote:45d95af3e2][i:45d95af3e2]Originally posted by puritansailor[/i:45d95af3e2]
[quote:45d95af3e2][i:45d95af3e2]Originally posted by blhowes[/i:45d95af3e2]
For those who follow the regulative principle of worship, I was just wondering how that would differ from the worship offered in churches that don't adhere so strongly to the principle? What common practices would you not follow? How much freedom or leeway do you have in expressing worship and praise to God during the worship service?
[/quote:45d95af3e2]

Here's what the RPW allowsas defined by WCF chapter 21:
III. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship,[6] is by God required of all men:[7] and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son,[8] by the help of his Spirit,[9] according to his will,[10] with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance;[11] and, if vocal, in a known tongue.[12]

IV. Prayer is to be made for things lawful;[13] and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter:[14] but not for the dead,[15] nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.[16]

V. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear,[17] the sound preaching [18] and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence,[19] singing of psalms with grace in the heart;[20] as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God:[21] beside religious oaths,[22] vows,[23] solemn fastings,[24] and thanksgivings upon special occasions,[25] which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.[26]


So, if you add anything which is not expressly commanded in Scripture as listed above (though perhaps not exhaustive) then you depart from Reformed worship.

How would a non-reformed church look different? Well, it can be as obvious as praying to saints, interpretitive dance, or drama/skits, or it could be more subtle like music solo's, using questionable images (like crosses, pictures of Jesus, etc. ), or even "altar calls".
Reformed worship is suppose to be simple, not clouded with frivolous manmade ceremonies or traditions. [/quote:45d95af3e2]
I was raised in a Dutch Reformed setting. We had no formal RPW; it was either Scriptural or it wasn't. The denomination at one time was rather strict on that. It amounts to the same thing; but a separate RPW would have sounded strange to us.

It is interesting that since I have had experience in few churches that hold to the RPW, I have noticed that my original church was closer to Calvin's order of worship, as Matt stated it above, than the RPW churches I have been a part of. There are aspects of the old order that I really miss; and Matt only reminded me of them yet again.
 
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