Regulative Principle of Worship - Breadth and Depth

Discussion in 'Worship' started by RobertPGH1981, Jan 18, 2020.

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  1. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    Hello All,

    I have a friend who attends an RP Presbyterian church who sings exclusive Psalms acapella (without instruments). Says that its aligning to how God commands to be worshiped per the Regulative Principle of Worship. LBC 1689 says Chapter 22, Section 1 says,

    1. .... But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures. ( Jeremiah 10:7; Mark 12:33; Deuteronomy 12:32; Exodus 20:4-6 )

    In our discussion he asked me a few questions in relationship to special worship that I didn't have an answer. Special worship as in the Sunday Service while the worship in everyday life as general. I did reference Jesus with the woman at the well in John 4, but there appears to still be a distinction between General and Special. Here are a few questions in relationship to Special Worship,

    1. What is the overall extent of the Regulative Principle. In other words, How do we determine what things apply to the worship service versus do not apply?
    2. How do we determine which songs are allowed / not allowed during the worship service?

    Looking forward for your answers.

    Thanks,

    Rob
     
  2. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Moderating: The Baptist forum is exclusive to only Baptist members for discussion. If that is what you want, okay; but if this was a mistake it can be moved to the worship forum.
     
  3. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for following up. I was intending to receive a Baptist perspective to this question.
     
  4. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Okay; but you are crossing two PB exclusivites, this baptist forum, and that EP which is held by both baptists and presbyterians, is only discussed on the board in the EP subforum. The moderators may need to think about this some.
     
  5. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    I am confused. What is wrong with seeking a Baptist only response to this question?
     
  6. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    As a general rule, we don't tell some % of the board of which we are all equal members: Your response is unwelcome.

    We've carved out some spaces where internal cliques can emphasize some aspect of their distinctives, free from people chiming in who have a pronounced dissent from those very distinctives.

    The idea is to validate those distinctives, while letting things be free flowing discussion outside those safe-zones.

    As a matter of fact, the fact of the "Credobaptist response only" forum, subforum to the "Baptism" forum, will allow you to post a seemingly off-topic thread. And we'll let one of our Baptist moderators decide if he thinks that's appropriate.

    The bigger moderating issue is that the second-layer topic is also its own "special concerns" subject.
     
  7. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    The reason I asked for Baptist only responses is primarily due to differences in viewing the continuity between Old & New Covenants. The presuppositions entering into the discussion would be different hence the conclusions different.

    With that said, because I am Baptist I wanted to hear what others would say from the same Theological Framework. In other words, does your Baptist Church have outlined principles to adhere like our RP Presbyterian brothers & sisters? If so how would they answer my questions?

    Feel free to move it to worship to include other responses if you feel like its necessary.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Moving to Worship. Members who don't share the background of the OP please don't sidetrack the thread. However, if this devolves into EP, the thread will need to be further moved to that subforum.
     
  9. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I'll chime in as a Baptist. I don't think my view of the Regulative Principle is materially different from the historic Presbyterian view. We gather, hear the word preached, pray, and sing hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs. We observe the Lord's Supper regularly, and have baptisms when required.

    Nothing else.

    That is what we do during gathered worship. I wouldn't think of our Lord's Day worship as "special worship." It is "normal worship."

    As for picking what to sing, that is a matter requiring discernment. Although I am sympathetic to EP position, we don't consider that a regulative principle issue. Keeping it simple: we want to sing to the glory of God things that are true, supported by Scripture, and not glorifying to man.
     
  10. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for your reply. So in matters of discernment how would your church determine if one song is valid for worship over another? Say if the below was the proposed lineup.


    Examples:
    Psalm 27
    Newton - Amazing Grace
    Hillsong United - Oceans


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    I don't believe this is documented in most Baptist churches. The discretion that is used is something that tends to be subjective in my opinon. My friend is actually Baptist but attends an RP Presbyterian church as a non-member because of his views on liturgy and covenant theology.

    We had this discussion and it had me thinking about how other Baptist Churches handle this concept. I wanted to dig deeper and found the following statement from the RP Presbyterian Church made at the following Synod. 'Adopted as a position paper by the 2003 Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America' Click here to view the paper

    With that said, it is my understanding that there are differences of how this is viewed between RP, PCA, OP (and others if I didn't mention it... In all honesty I am not sure of all the different Presbyterians groups). Care to share how your church would view this topic?
     
  12. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Graduate

    @RobertPGH1981, I'm not a baptist, but I want to mention that there are some Baptist churches that sing Psalms exclusively (Immanuel Church in Salisbury, where Malcom Watts is pastor, is an example), and that a capella is the historic Baptist mode of singing.
     
  13. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    @TylerRay thanks Tyler. I wasn't aware of Baptist churches being exclusive Psalms so this is helpful. Do you attend RP, OP, PCA? I am familiar with the RP Position based on the paper I cited above. However, if you come from a different branch then feel free to provide you insight. Especially if you're not exclusive Psalms.
     
  14. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Graduate

    I'm in the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), and I do hold to exclusive Psalmody.
     
  15. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    This book "Aiming to Please" will be an important resource in worship for Baptists and Paedobaptists when it comes available. It is by an esteemed member of this board. What I think will be unique about this book is its conviction that true worship should be grounded in covenant theology.
     
  16. Guido's Brother

    Guido's Brother Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks for the plug, brother. Others (especially from my tradition) have written about the connection between worship and covenant theology. What may particularly be unique about this book is how it grounds the Regulative Principle in covenant theology. I don't believe I've read anyone else who has done that.
     
  17. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Wes, on Christmas day I was thinking about a previous conversation we had. On our table close to me was three most delicious New Zealand pavlovas. I had a sampling of each ;);)

    Seriously, my church denomination (Reformed Churches of NZ) holds to the Regulative Principle of Worship and the Doxological Principle of Worship although there is variation on how they are practiced. I think a book like this will be of continuing encouragement to the RCNZ to continue to ground their worship in covenant theology. I was wondering what is the best way for us Kiwi's to obtain the book when it is finalised. Can we get it from a bookshop in Australia?
     
  18. Guido's Brother

    Guido's Brother Puritan Board Junior

    Australian distribution is being worked out at the moment. Stay tuned...
     
  19. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Wes, if this is a book and not a tract sort of thing or booklet, when in print consider sending a copy to get a review in The Confessional Presbyterian journal.
     
  20. RobertPGH1981

    RobertPGH1981 Puritan Board Freshman

    Will this book be available in the United States as paper or digital (eg. Kindle)?
     
  21. Guido's Brother

    Guido's Brother Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, it is a book and I'll send you an e-mail about it. Thanks!
     
  22. Guido's Brother

    Guido's Brother Puritan Board Junior

    Hard copies will probably be available through Amazon. Digital copies through Lulu.
     
  23. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    This is good stuff and much to reflect on. But I am wondering why, good brother, did you post this in the worship forum, not the baptism or covenant theology forum??
     
  24. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Wes, @Guido's Brother I was looking back at some of my older posts on worship. On this particular post I was reflecting on this majestic statement by Herman Bavinck:
    I then made this reflection:
    Wes, I would be interested in your comments generally. No doubt your reflected on this principle in your book "Aiming to Please". Would you agree that a true covenant theology preserves a true balance of objectivity and subjectivity in worship? It seems to me that much worship today (including unfortunately some worship in Reformed circles) - in Bavinck's words - "pantheistically pull God down into what is creaturely". On the other hand, in Medieval times did worship "deistically elevate Him endlessly above it"?

    Now in its broader context I believe Bavinck is commenting on the creator-creature distinction in WCF 7:1. But it seems to me that this creator-creature distinction is rightly balanced in covenant theology. What are your thoughts Wes?
     
  25. Guido's Brother

    Guido's Brother Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, I do say something about this in the new book, though quite a bit less profoundly than Bavinck. I think he makes a great point. When covenant theology is properly understood, Christians will also properly understand that God is sovereign and transcendent in majesty, while at the same time we are his people called (and privileged) to be able to commune with him. Thanks for sharing that!
     
  26. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Its great you enjoyed it. I read it a few years ago when reading through Bavinck's RD vol 2 and realised it was a very profound statement. I used it in another Puritan Board forum on apologetics because his comments about the covenant and its relationship to pantheism and deism also have important relevance to apologetics.
     
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