Regulative Principle of Worship: elements and circumstances

Discussion in 'Worship' started by monoergon, Feb 27, 2018.

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  1. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    I just began studying about the Regulative Principle of Worship for the first time. I shared that with a colleague of mine who asked me if the following are elements, circumstances or neither:
    - announcements made in every service (usually after the sermon has been preached);
    - the triple amen;
    - the moment of contrition.

    Can anyone shed some light on this?
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  2. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    So far, I believe that announcements are circumstances. They can easily be left out of the service by being sent by e-mail and/or distributed to the members as pamphlets.

    Saying "amen" three times and asking God for forgiveness are parts of our prayers.

    I suppose my colleague has a firm stance against the RPW.
  3. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I think there is a difference between what happens before the "call" to worship and after the benediction, than what actually happens in the worship service. We do our announcements before we enter into worship, just like we bring out toys for the nursery, or sweep the floor before worship.

    Saying amen is completely a biblical term, which can be used anywhere and anytime, just like any other word.

    And a confession of sin - this is always pleasing to God and is a true form of worship.
    The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
    Psalms 51:17
  4. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    We do our announcements prior to starting the worship service, precisely because it's not an element of worship. An amen and prayer of contrition are parts of prayer, which are appropriate elements of worship.

    Circumstances deal more with things common to human societies (i.e. what is necessary for any public meetings). So, lights, furniture, meeting times, liturgical orders, etc. are all examples of things that may vary depending upon the needs of the congregation for public worship in their local settings.
  5. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you all for your comments. They have been helpful to me.
  6. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    Announcements would be an element if part of the public worship service. As it is not a commanded element it would be regarded as an illegitimate element. That is why most Reformed churches either do it before the call to worship (thus not actually being part of worship) or leave it to the bulletin.

    A threefold Amen would be the content of an element and thus neither. Presumably the element is of prayer or singing. Whether it is appropriate content to that element is a different question.

    I'm not sure what a moment of contrition is. If it be, as I suspect, a time during worship where one's sins are confessed quietly in prayer, then it would again be the content of an element (prayer).
  7. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    1) Announcements - Not commanded by God to do, therefore they are not part of the worship service. These usually come before the worship service in most churches.

    2) Three-fold amen - This too is not commanded. There is no three-fold amen in Scripture, however, there is the command in Scripture for the congregation to give the Amen (e.g. 1 Cor. 14:16; 2 Cor. 1:20).

    3) moment of contrition - This sounds like a papist inclusion into any worship. There is no command in Scripture for worship to have a moment or act of contrition. If as above, it is a private confession of sin, then it also is not an element of worship. Private confession is a papist addition to corporate worship that is not found in Scripture. Corporate worship is corporate in nature.

    Thus, I'd find that all are not elements nor circumstances. Patrick explained circumstances above.
  8. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I think both 2 and 3 come from the RC service?
  9. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Yes Chris, that would be true. I remember as a papist singing that threefold amen. I don't remember saying it. That's probably why it didn't come to mind.
  10. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    Is there a specific meaning to threefold amen or is it just saying or singing it thrice? I think of hymns like the Gloria Patria and Psalm versions with three amens (like one of the selections in the back of the Scottish Psalmody and a section in the Book of Psalms for Worship) when I hear this, but I don't know if it's the same thing.
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