Definition of the Regulative Principle...Again

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Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
So as not to detract from the intention of the thread on EP, I started this thread aimed at a definition for the Regulative Principle.

I posted:
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Originally posted by Saiph
3) The RPW is much broader than whatever is not commanded is forbidden.

This is simply not true. The RPW is DEFINED as "whatever is not commanded is forbidden." If one believes something else, that is fine, but do not call it the regulative principle, it's definition is already taken.

Then Mark posted:

Originally posted by Saiph
Jeff,

Does the WCF use the phrase "whatever is not commanded is forbidden." ?

"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 imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in Holy Scripture."

What is the definition of the Regulative Prinicple?
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Here\'s a few that I\'ve found:

The Regulative Principle in Worship: A brief article.
http://www.apuritansmind.com/PuritanWorship/McMahonRegulativePrinciple.htm
"œSimply the Regulative Principle States this: True worship is only commanded by God; false worship is anything not commanded." "“Matthew MacMahon

The Regulative Principle of Worship and Christmas
http://www.reformed.com/pub/xmas.htm
"œWhatever is not commanded by Scripture in the worship of God is forbidden. Anything that the church does in worship must have warrant from an explicit command of God, be deduced by good and necessary consequence, or be derived from approved historical example (e.g., the change of day from seventh to first for Lord's day corporate worship)." "“ Brian Schwertley

The Regulative Principle of Worship
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulative_principle
"œThe regulative principle of worship is a Christian theological doctrine teaching that the public worship of God should include those and only those elements that are instituted, commanded, or appointed by command or example in the Bible; that what God institutes in Scripture everything he requires for worship in the Church, and everything else is prohibited." "“ Wikipedia

The Regulative Principle of Worship (I)
http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/REFORMATION-RPW-GP.htm
"œA short summary of the Regulative Principle of Worship is simply this: What Scripture does not authorize it forbids." "“ Greg Price

PUBLIC WORSHIP AND THE REFORMED FAITH
http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_38.html
"œThat regulative principle says, "˜We worship God only as He has commanded us in His Word.´ " - Rev. Barry Gritters
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Jeff,

I will admit that what I would like to think the Regulative Principle should be, and what most TR's say it is are different. I suppose I would be considered somewhere between RPW and NPW.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
The phrase "whatever is not commanded is forbidden" is a short definition of the RPW as I detail from this extract from my intro to the Smith/Lachman piece on worship in the 2005 issue of The Confessional Presbyterian journal. http://www.cpjournal.com
From: Frank J. Smith, Ph.D., D.D. and David C. Lachman, Ph.D. "œReframing Presbyterian Worship: A Critical Survey of the Worship Views of John M. Frame and R. J. Gore,"The Confessional Presbyterian (2005) 116.
The Westminster Assembly determined: "œBut 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 imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture." (Confession of Faith, 21.1). The Princeton professor, Dr. Samuel Miller, gives a succinct statement of the principle when he writes that since the Scriptures are the "œonly infallible rule of faith and practice, no rite or ceremony ought to have a place in the public worship of God, which is not warranted in Scripture, either by direct precept or example, or by good and sufficient inference."4 A briefer statement still which sums up the Presbyterian principle of worship, is that in the worship of God, "œNot to Command is to Forbid,"5 or "œWhatever is not commanded is forbidden."6

As this brief definition can lead to misunderstanding, a necessarily corollary to this principle states that there are some circumstances "œconcerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the word, which are always to be observed." (Confession of Faith, 1.6). Defining these "œcircumstances," is part and parcel with the discussion of what authority the church has in ordering the worship of God.

4. Presbyterianism the Truly Primitive and Apostolical Constitution of the Church of Christ, "œThe Worship of the Presbyterian Church" (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1835) 64-65.
5. Samuel Rutherford, The Divine Right of Church Government and Excommunication (London, 1646) 96.
6. John B. Adger, "œA Denial of Divine Right for Organs in Public Worship," Southern Presbyterian Review, 20.1 (January 1869) 85.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Here's a lesser known Reformer's definition from 1551:
John à Lasco (1499-1560).
"˜Nothing ought to be added to public worship concerning which God has given no command. The Reformation of the Church, ed. Iain H. Murray (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1965), 62.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Saiph
Jeff,

I will admit that what I would like to think the Regulative Principle should be, and what most TR's say it is are different. I suppose I would be considered somewhere between RPW and NPW.

What is NPW?
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
The regulative principle of worship is a Christian theological doctrine teaching that the public worship of God should include those and only those elements that are instituted, commanded, or appointed by command or example in the Bible; that what God institutes in Scripture everything he requires for worship in the Church, and everything else is prohibited.

The regulative principle is often contrasted with the normative principle of worship, which teaches that whatever is not prohibited in Scripture is permitted in worship, so long as it is agreeable to the peace and unity of the Church. In other words, there must be agreement with the general practice of the Church and no prohibition in Scripture for whatever is done in worship.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulative_principle
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Thanks Mark!

So if you're somewhere in-between, how does one decide what is in, and what isn't?

I guess I don't see the difference between being NPW and your position. Can you elaborate?
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Jeff,

I am not claiming to be a scholar or elder or theologian, I just do not see the RPW in scripture. (yes I have read Williamson and Schwertley)

I guess my view differs from the NPW because the "peace and unity of the church" is not the measure of proper worship. Scripture alone is the measure.

My idea for a principle of worship would go something like this:

Whatever is in question would need to comply with the following:

1) Is the element/practice directed towards the Triune God alone ?
2) Is the element/practice experienced or done in a reverent manner ?
3) Is the element/practice deduced from the doctrines and examples of scripture ?
4) Does the element/practice reflect and typify the entire counsel of God's revelation ?


I know you can deduce EP by stating that psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are the headings in the LXX. But, it misses out on #4. Psalms under the old covenant only typify what was to be fulfilled in Christ. I enjoy singing about the risen Lord who conquered death and hell and will return again in glory.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by Saiph
Jeff,

I am not claiming to be a scholar or elder or theologian, I just do not see the RPW in scripture. (yes I have read Williamson and Schwertley)

I guess my view differs from the NPW because the "peace and unity of the church" is not the measure of proper worship. Scripture alone is the measure.

My idea for a principle of worship would go something like this:

Whatever is in question would need to comply with the following:

1) Is the element/practice directed towards the Triune God alone ?
2) Is the element/practice experienced or done in a reverent manner ?
3) Is the element/practice deduced from the doctrines and examples of scripture ?
4) Does the element/practice reflect and typify the entire counsel of God's revelation ?


I know you can deduce EP by stating that psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are the headings in the LXX. But, it misses out on #4. Psalms under the old covenant only typify what was to be fulfilled in Christ. I enjoy singing about the risen Lord who conquered death and hell and will return again in glory.

Mark,
For what it's worth, the charismatics would say they are fulfilling the menu you provide. The above opens the door wide.

As well, the Psalms do speak of the Savior.......
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Scott Bushey

Mark,
For what it's worth, the charismatics would say they are fulfilling the menu you provide. The above opens the door wide.

As well, the Psalms do speak of the Savior.......

The Psalms speak of the savior in shadow. And, I do not find barking and roaring in the Spirit anywhere in the pages of holy writ. Most tongue speaking churches I have visited do not follow Paul's clear teaching on the matter either. There is usually no interpreter.
 
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