Regulative Principle help

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Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
The purpose of a creed is to provide the boundaries of the doctrine taught in a church.

Would this not be the purpose of our confession of faith (WCF) instead which is much more detailed than the Westminster creed. To my knowledge, creeds are designed to be recited, that is why they are short and concise. Plus they include (I believe ..... ) before the doctrine to be confessed which seem to be designed to be recited.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Maybe I'm being dense, but could you clarify what you mean by "Westminster Creed" as distinct from "Westminster Confession"? You indicate it is short, could you post a link to it?
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
This is the Westminister Creed, although I don't know if can be considered to be part of the Westminster Standard, it does confess the truth taught in our Standards almost word for word. It might be something that was created later on. And I guess it comes back to my question, did the Westminster Divines approve of creeds?


Westminster Creed

I believe man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever;

I believe God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth;

I believe there is but one true and living God; that there are three persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and that these three are one God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory;

I believe God has foreordained whatever comes to pass; that God made all things of nothing, by the word of His power, in the space of six days, and all very good; and that God preserves and governs all His creatures and all their actions;

I believe our first parents, though created in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, sinned against God, by eating the forbidden fruit; and that their fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery;

I believe God determined, out of His mere good pleasure, to deliver His elect out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a redeemer;

I believe the only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continues to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever;

I believe Christ, as our Redeemer, executes the office of a prophet, of a priest, and of a king;

I believe Christ as our Redeemer underwent the miseries of this life, the wrath of God, the cursed death of the cross, and burial; He rose again from the dead on the third day, ascended up into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father, and is coming to judge the world at the last day.

I believe we are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit;

I believe God requires of us faith in Jesus Christ, and repentance unto life to escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin;

I believe by His free grace we are effectually called, justified, and sanctified, and gathered into the visible church, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation;

I believe that we also are given in this life such accompanying benefits as assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end; that at death, we are made perfect in holiness, and immediately pass into glory; and our bodies, being still united in Christ, rest in their graves, till the resurrection; and at the resurrection, we shall be raised up in glory, we shall openly be acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment, and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God to all eternity.
 

Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
What I meant to say was the Westminster Creed, what is the purpose of a creed if not to be recited, and if it's not to be recited during worship, when is a appropriate time to recite it and to what end?

The purpose of a creed is to provide the boundaries of the doctrine taught in a church. The officers of the church take a vow to uphold a creed, and are not to advocate anything that contradicts it.

Secondarily, creeds can be excellent teaching tools for sound doctrine. But their primary purpose is to provide a clear statement of the doctrine of the church (that is to say, their official understanding of the Scriptures on key points).

I think that the teaching about (and any related memorization of and subsequent reciting of) catechisms, confessions, creeds would be done in a teaching time apart from the times of public worship- such as on Wednesday nights, SS, in the homes, etc. The purpose would be to teach families and individuals the tenets of the faith in a concise form; sort of like a concise systematic theology one can keep in the memory, to keep one between the rails, doctrinally (I'm sure you already know what they're for!) :) But those good things are not the word of God, so they wouldn't be recited by the congregation in public worship, where we should be able to 'relax' and know in good conscience that what we're being asked to sing or pray or confess is the unadulterated, without error, word of God.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
The 'Westminster Creed' appears to be a fairly recent compilation out of the shorter catechism. I have not been able to determine who produced it or why. But as far as the Westminster Assembly, they opposed the recitation of creeds in public worship.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I was as confused as Logan on this. "Westminster Creed?" There is very little reference to it anywhere, and it certainly is not part of the Westminster Standards.

But then I found it in the CREC 2011 Constitution on page 24, under Article X. Reformed Evangelical Confessions CREEDAL STATEMENTS
(THE REFORMED EVANGELICAL CONFESSION).

http://crechurches.org/documents/governance/CREC_Constitution_2011.pdf

It is described as "A modern selection from the 17th century Shorter Catechism." I cannot find who did the selecting.

For those who don't know, CREC is not considered by us to be a reformed denomination--many of the CREC churches are involved in the so-called "federal vision" movement.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
This is the Westminister Creed, although I don't know if can be considered to be part of the Westminster Standard, it does confess the truth taught in our Standards almost word for word. It might be something that was created later on. And I guess it comes back to my question, did the Westminster Divines approve of creeds?

Thanks for posting, I'm completely unfamiliar with this, and the best I can find to its history are places that say it is "A modern selection from the 17th century Shorter Catechism". It was definitely not created by the Westminster Divines, I'd like to find out more about this though.

To answer your question, the answer is no, the Westminster Divines did not approve of creeds in public worship, though they may have approved of creeds in general. Notice they reference say, the Apostle's Creed, but then see the conspicuous absence of creeds as part of the worship service from both the chapter in the Confession and from the Directory for Publick Worship.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
The purpose of a creed is to provide the boundaries of the doctrine taught in a church.

Would this not be the purpose of our confession of faith (WCF) instead which is much more detailed than the Westminster creed. To my knowledge, creeds are designed to be recited, that is why they are short and concise. Plus they include (I believe ..... ) before the doctrine to be confessed which seem to be designed to be recited.

My church weekly recites from the Heidelberg Catechism (responsive reading). We also song both Psalms and hymns. My church believes these things are both helpful and permitted.

I'm not trying to contradict those who would disagree with these practices, but only to demonstrate that there is great diversity in how the mandates of the RPW are derived from scripture and interpreted.

I think the key word is principle. We should be careful not to dogmatically employ a "one-size-fits-all" mentality, though a discussion is always helpful.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
The 'Westminster Creed' appears to be a fairly recent compilation out of the shorter catechism. I have not been able to determine who produced it or why. But as far as the Westminster Assembly, they opposed the recitation of creeds in public worship.

Would they approve it for family worship?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
The assembly did not produce any directory for family worship and offhand I don't know if they addressed that specifically, but my guess would be that they would not as far as a part of worship. The directory for family worship produced by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1647 and often published in the full set of Scottish 'Westminster' Standards, nowhere mentions using the creed in worship. Cf. http://files.puritanboard.com/confessions/directoryforfamilyworship.htm
The 'Westminster Creed' appears to be a fairly recent compilation out of the shorter catechism. I have not been able to determine who produced it or why. But as far as the Westminster Assembly, they opposed the recitation of creeds in public worship.

Would they approve it for family worship?
 
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Logan

Puritan Board Senior
On the other hand, family worship is far less "regulated" than public worship, and things like catechizing or family prayer take place there that wouldn't in public. That being said, it would seem strange to me to have my family recite a "creed" regularly together, but maybe that's just me.
 

Fogetaboutit

Puritan Board Freshman
On the other hand, family worship is far less "regulated" than public worship, and things like catechizing or family prayer take place there that wouldn't in public. That being said, it would seem strange to me to have my family recite a "creed" regularly together, but maybe that's just me.

This is why I was asking, I usually don't have time to catechize my children and do family worship on 2 separate occasion each day since they are young and go to bed early and I work all day, therefore sometimes I incorporate creeds to be recited, or questions from the catechisms and thought it was helpful for memorization and learning doctrines.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Why isn't some of the visual and auditory aspects considered a form of communication that aids in preaching, not hinders?

Richard, in case you couldn't already tell, there is wide variation even among more conservative Reformed folk (and the PuritanBoard tends to be strongly conservative) as to how to apply the principle. I personally see no reason why printed words on a paper page would be allowable while projected words would not. To me, that thinking reflects a fear of new technologies stealing the limelight from the simple ministry of the Word. This may be a valid concern that's similar to the concern behind the regulative principle, but it's not exactly the same thing.

Personally, I have no problem either with a preacher using some other visuals in addition to printed words to help in his communication—perhaps a map or other info-imparting illustration. I do realize there's a long history of the church misusing visuals, and this might cause us to exercise great care. But I am one of those who don't see it as adding a non-commanded element to worship. I don't see it as a "element" at all.

The distinction between "elements" of worship (what we should be doing—singing, preaching, praying, etc.) and "circumstances" of worship (how we go about it) is vital to the discussion. The do-only-what's-commanded rule applies just to the elements. Yet it can be difficult to draw the line between elements and circumstances. Add to that the fact that it's hard to say sometimes how direct a scriptural command must be to count as a command, and you get a wide range of practice even among believers who aim to follow the principle. Add to that our sinful proclivity to find excuses to do whatever we want, or to tell others they must do it exactly the way we think is wisest, and you get the current situation.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
My church believes these things are both helpful and permitted.

The idea of "permitted" worship seems to me to be operating on some principle beside that which is "regulative." If it is merely permitted, it might be left undone; and if it can be left undone, it is obviously not demanded as a matter of regulation. Those who operate under the idea that certain practices are "permitted" are effectively functioning under an "advisory" principle.
 
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