Take the EP Challenge !!

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JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I agree in part. I understand what Joseph is saying, and I'm with him on that. I just don't agree with the basic premise nor how some particulars are used toward that basic premise. I agree with the notion, but its not a good argument. If the RPW falls, it should not effect EP if it is properly grounded; the second commandment still applies. A properly founded EP does not require the RPW, but is rather a reason to enforce it in that area. That's how this effects his major premise. As to the particulars of Nadab and Abihu, it cuts both ways. But his point of uncertainty is a valid question.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by biblelighthouseI have thought about the strict RPW, and I just do not think it can be supported Biblically.
Deu 4:1 "Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you.
Deu 4:2 "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deu 12:29 "When the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land,
Deu 12:30 "take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.'

Jos 1:7 "Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.

Jos 23:6 "Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left"

Mat 15:8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
Mat 15:9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"

Col 2:20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations;
Col 2:21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,"
Col 2:22 which all concern things which perish with the using; according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
Col 2:23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Deu 4:2 "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
So how is the RPW statute that whatever is NOT commanded is forbidden, NOT adding to God's word ? ? ? ?
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Saiph
Deu 4:2 "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
So how is the RPW statute that whatever is NOT commanded is forbidden, NOT adding to God's word ? ? ? ?
Anything violating the RPW IS adding to the word of God. In fact, we could just do away with all RPW termonology if that would better suit you and replace it with "DO NOT ADD TO THE WORD OF GOD", but it would only demonstrate the same argument that people who dislike the term Trinity because it is not stated explicitly in scripture.

We must not add to the Word of God (create new ways of worshipping God besides the way he has commanded) or subtract (not obeying what is commanded) without sin.

Would you like it in syllogism form? :p
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
1. We must not add to the Word of God

2. create new ways of worshipping God besides the way he has commanded

If the new ways of worship are based on necessary and good inference, and do not violate any command, then I guess they are no different than the RPW after all.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Saiph
1. We must not add to the Word of God

2. create new ways of worshipping God besides the way he has commanded

If the new ways of worship are based on necessary and good inference, and do not violate any command, then I guess they are no different than the RPW after all.
Help me out with what you are trying to say here. :candle:
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
First of all, saying "new" ways to worship is kind of loaded. If any worship is not derived from scripture it is anathema.

In a nutshell, the Bible does NOT say anywhere, that whatever is NOT commanded, IS forbidden.

That, is adding to the bible. It is making a command God has never made.

However, there are many things that are not commanded that ARE forbidden, because He has said they are forbidden.

And, there are many things that are not forbidden, that are good, and do not need a positive command to support, like smoking cigars. They are a temporal blessing from the Lord, like caffeine, or chocholate, etc. . to be enjoyed to His glory.

Yet, those things may be used in a sinful way. Even exclusive psalmody can be sinful. And total freedom in worship songs can be sinful. Especially me-centered hallmark pagan trance campfire cheese.

So, we do not need an explicit command to light candles, have musical instruments, or sing great hymns of the faith, to be worshipping scripturally. Because God condemned both perfect formal worship, with no heart to serve Him, and also condemns sentimental and emotional driven chaos without form and order and reverence.

[Edited on 10-20-2005 by Saiph]
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Saiph
First of all, saying "new" ways to worship is kind of loaded. If any worship is not derived from scripture it is anathema.
Agreed, but this contradicts what you later say.

Originally posted by Saiph
In a nutshell, the Bible does NOT say anywhere, that whatever is NOT commanded, IS forbidden.
It does not say this sentence explicitly, but then again, that is why the Regulative Principle is exactly that, a PRINCIPLE. It is derived from scripture. I guess I do need to put this into syllogism form.

1. It is sinful to add or subtract to the Word of God.
2. Making up new ways of worshipping is adding to the commands of scripture.
3. Not obeying scriptural commands is subtracting from the Word of God.
Conclusion: If one does not obey all of the commands (subtracting) or makes up new ways to worship God (adding) he is in sin. Ergo a violation of what is called the Regulative Principle of Worship.

Originally posted by Saiph
That, is adding to the bible. It is making a command God has never made.
If this true, then all logical inferences are invalid. The RPW never states that only explicit commands must be involved in worship, but logical deductions from scriptural commands as well. Good and necessary inferences are as good as scripture itself.

Originally posted by Saiph
However, there are many things that are not commanded that ARE forbidden, because He has said they are forbidden.
Agreed, but this is not where the debate lies, and is circular to say.

Originally posted by Saiph
And, there are many things that are not forbidden, that are good, and do not need a positive command to support, like smoking cigars. They are a temporal blessing from the Lord, like caffeine, or chocholate, etc. . to be enjoyed to His glory.
These in most circumstances are not part of worship, and therefore are not (or never have been) placed under the RPW. We have liberty to do whatever is not forbidden in everyday life. However, in Worship, God must tell us how to approach him, by explicit command or good and necessary inference.

Originally posted by Saiph
Yet, those things may be used in a sinful way. Even exclusive psalmody can be sinful. And total freedom in worship songs can be sinful. Especially me-centered hallmark pagan trance campfire cheese.
Many things can be made sinful internally. This does not negate the fact that many external things are also sinful. Only when one combines righteous methods with righteous motives is worship acceptable. The Regulative principle doesn't deal with motives though, only external elements and circumstances.

Originally posted by Saiph
So, we do not need an explicit command to light candles, have musical instruments, or sing great hymns of the faith, to be worshipping scripturally. Because God condemned both perfect formal worship, with no heart to serve Him, and also condemns sentimental and emotional driven chaos without form and order and reverence.
This does not follow from what you have written. If you disagree, then I challenge you like to put your argument is syllogism form. :D

[Edited on 10-20-2005 by Jeff_Bartel]
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Beside the Scripture already referenced, loci classici Ex. 20:4-5, Lev. 10:1, we can derive a humanistic example to help our comprehension of the RPW. Let us say the POTUS (that's "President of the United States"), the Potus Maximus, lets say he has a special celebration once a year (his birthday?) and he is particular about how he wants it celebrated. So he gives out details for it. There are all kinds of "celebrations" that go on on that day, most of which have his name attached to them, in which he is burned in effigy, satirized, picture printed on papers and passed out by the bale (toilet paper that is), etc. Some people celebrate his birthday with a cake. Now he happens to hate cake, that's why he told his people he wanted cherry pie, but every year he gets 15,000 cakes delivered to the White House door on his birthday. He didn't tell everyone what he didn't want. What, does he have to give out a list of 2 billion things he doesn't want? Why can't he just say exactly what he does want? And expect to get exactly that, and only that. All the effort and money that went into cakes didn't go into cherry pies. And he eats every cherry pie he gets. He can't get too much cherry pie.

So, when those cake-makers hear that the Potus didn't appreciate their offerings, do they say, "That ingrate, after all the effort I put into that cake too!" Or maybe, "I think you must be wrong about him not liking cake, after all, I think he should like my cake very much, because I put so much effort into it, and the icing is my absolute favorite." Or maybe, well, you get the picture.

God is no potus. He is vastly more than any earthly potentate. He can never be "surfieted" by the finite offerings of men. But he can be "satisfied" when they offer him obedient worship.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
If the RPW does not hold, then I suggest we all worship God by creating a swimming pool full of jello and slinging it at each other.

Is this proper for worship? I have good intentions....trust me. :p
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
First of all, syllogisms may be valid and not true.


Secondly:

These in most circumstances are not part of worship, and therefore are not (or never have been) placed under the RPW. We have liberty to do whatever is not forbidden in everyday life. However, in Worship, God must tell us how to approach him, by explicit command or good and necessary inference.
Again, where is the distinction between everyday life, and corporate worship life ? ? ?

I agree mostly with what you are saying, it is the forbiddance of an element of worship due to lack of a positive command, and the compartmentalizing of worship life that I do not see in scripture.
I think I will take a break for a while on this issue, and come back to it. Not so I can gather ammo, but because there is still a great deal I do not understand, and no one seems to be addressing. Like Josephs's question regarding synagogue worship (clearly never commanded).
And mine regarding publi/private and element/circumstane distinctions.

Josh,

The idea you brought up I have read before, and it is interesting. But it is one of the arguments for paedocommunion which Presbyterians deny, and one of the arguments for paedobaptism, which credos deny. Also, the Orthodox love to rest on the traditions of the Church fathers, and we know that has not been expedient.

An argument from antiquity can often be misleading:
http://www.puritanboard.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=13773
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Concerning the RPW and synagogue worship:

It was part of the law that every Sabbath should include a "holy convocation", Lev. 23:3. The regular Sabbath is the first "feast" to be mentioned in this listing. It was the rule of life for all Israel, not just up in Jerusalem, so the "holy convocation" was a part of the duties of the day.

Now, what was to be done at these convocations? Here is the RPW advocate's answer, the RPW being already proved and accepted by him: they did such things as had been ordered for Tabernacle/Temple worship, excepting those things that could only be done lawfully at the Tab./Tmpl. They worshiped the Lord in Word and song and prayer. The Levites were to minister among the people (Deut. 33:10; 2 Chron. 17:7-9; 35:3; Mal. 2:7). What was their function? To teach the Law. There were certainly "meeting-houses of God" in the land, Ps. 74:8, which the Chaldeans "burned up." The synagoue may have come into its own in the exile, but to say that it spung up de novo and without warrant is quite a reach I think, and not supported by biblical data.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Originally posted by SaiphJosh,

The idea you brought up I have read before, and it is interesting. But it is one of the arguments for paedocommunion which Presbyterians deny,
The argument from antiquity is no help for paedocommunion. It has only the sparest of testimony hundreds of years later, and is virtually unknown in the non-EO Church for millennia.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
History sometimes betrays us Josh. But it is worth considering.


Fred,

While it is sparse, it is used sometimes as an argument. And my point to Josh was that it was NOT a good argument at all. No argument from antiquity ever really is. But this is a digression.


Bruce,

It was part of the law that every Sabbath should include a "holy convocation", Lev. 23:3. The regular Sabbath is the first "feast" to be mentioned in this listing. It was the rule of life for all Israel, not just up in Jerusalem, so the "holy convocation" was a part of the duties of the day.

Now, what was to be done at these convocations? Here is the RPW advocate's answer, the RPW being already proved and accepted by him: they did such things as had been ordered for Tabernacle/Temple worship, excepting those things that could only be done lawfully at the Tab./Tmpl. They worshiped the Lord in Word and song and prayer. The Levites were to minister among the people (Deut. 33:10; 2 Chron. 17:7-9; 35:3; Mal. 2:7). What was their function? To teach the Law. There were certainly "meeting-houses of God" in the land, Ps. 74:8, which the Chaldeans "burned up." The synagoue may have come into its own in the exile, but to say that it spung up de novo and without warrant is quite a reach I think, and not supported by biblical data.

Sacred assemblies were called for (Lev. 23:3). But the synagogue worship was not Levitical in the full sense right ?

Also there were many man-made additions to synagogue worship:

"œYet there are certain traditional peculiarities which have doubtless united together by a common resemblance the Jewish synagogues of all ages and countries. The arrangements for the women's place in a separate gallery or behind a partition of lattice-work;

And this one:

Mat 23:6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues

And public announcements by strangers, or even what seems extemporaneous preaching ? Not sure.

Act 13:15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, "Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it."

And a place for trials,

Luk 12:11 And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say,

And spankings,

Mat 10:17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,



Can you recommend an in-depth book on the history of synagogues and their worship practices ? I am really interested in this.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Mark,
Edersheim has some info on synagogues (Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah). I don't accept his takes 100%, but he was very knowledgable. If I recall, he writes that if an ordained figure (priest or levite) were present he would be called on to lead in some capacity. The leaders of the synagogue would correspond to our elders. They were (and are) capable of leading worship as far as their office allows. A Rabbi was an acknowledged teacher or doctor in the church, also an office we recognize today.

As for the verses you allude to:
The quote (source?) is describing something we would call a circumstance. There are churches in the Middle East today (as well as the Amish) where the women sit on one side and the men on another. This is custom or habit, not strictly an element of worship.

Mt. 23:6 is a condemnation (compare James 2:1:4). There are "good seats" in almost any gathering place. Big shots like them. They like celebrity notoriety. When the Bible records an act it is not necessarily praising it. We cannot assume that there were not violations of God's will in worship in those days--in fast, given the evidence and our own experience we ought to expect that there was.
Acts 13:15 Again, it was customary to invite a visiting teacher to instruct, as it was a priest or levite. It was courtesy. When we invite a visiting pastor to the podium, we often introduce him to the congregation, and ask him to "please come and bring us the Word." Usually we know it ahead of time... :um:
Luke 12:11, Mt. 10:17. We use our churches as courts all the time. Before Session, Presbytery, even General Assembly (or synods). Where else are we going to do church discipline?

I'll try to research something really good to read on the subject. In the meantime, try Edersheim (including his book on the Temple, it may have something), bits and pieces of Coneybeare & Howe The Life and Letters of St. Paul, and perhaps best (out of this lot) Douglas Bannerman on The Scripture Doctrine of the Church.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
I have the edersheim book. I will look into it.

I was wondering if there was a biblical command to use the church as a coutroom. Or is that a circumstance, because as long as it is not for Sunday worship, it can be used for other venues.

I also want to retract my accusation of the RPW including "Whatever is not commanded, is forbidden". I think I got that from Schlissel, not the WCF.

Note:

"The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man´s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the word; and that there are some circumstances concerning 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."

Westminster Confession (I:VI):
That leaves quite a bit open to interpretation. Williamson narrows it too much I think, and Frame opens it up too much (or maybe misrepresents it).
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by joshua
Ok...so, I'm at a point where, because of certain questions raised, I'm forced to take a step back and look in from without.

What if it were to be shown (and I haven't looked enough to know) that only the Psalms were sang up until a certain point from the birth of the New Covenant Israel to the time of the Early Church Fathers. Then come the Dark Ages and this is the first tangible evidence we see of churches singing something other than the Psalms. Then comes the Reformation. According to Brian Schwertley from the WCF 1647 till 250 yrs later there were no Reformed Presbyterian churches which sang anything other than the Psalms. Now, it's back in Churches.

If this is true (and again, I don't know), then what part does history play into the issue of EP?
Joshua, just to add some historical clarity, there were only two Reformed churches to endorse EP; the Church of Scotland, and the New England Puritans (who abandoned it when Watts came on the scene). All the other Reformed churches did not hold to EP. They allowed other Scripture songs and singing of the Apostle's Creed.
:2cents:
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Originally posted by wsw201
In another thread I mentioned that we should take a look at why a number of Reformed churches are not EP.

Here is a link from the OPC web site on the issue of Song in Worship. It includes a discussion of the RPW. The report goes back to 1946-47 and it is interesting to note some of the heavy weights who were involved.

Songs in Worship
Simply BTW, this report is in fact probably what did more than anything else to popularize or set in concrete the phrase Regulative Principle of Worship, as the name for the Reformed principle of worship. We can probably thank John Murray for this, and before him some of the Southern Presbyterians, though I have not found evidence they used it so clearly and firmly. I cover this briefly in my intro to Lachman and Smith's articles on Gore and Frame on worship in the 2005 Confessional Presbyterian journal.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by puritansailor
Joshua, just to add some historical clarity, there were only two Reformed churches to endorse EP; the Church of Scotland, and the New England Puritans (who abandoned it when Watts came on the scene). All the other Reformed churches did not hold to EP. They allowed other Scripture songs and singing of the Apostle's Creed.
:2cents:
As I understand it, the Dutch churches prior to the Great Synod of Dort (1618-19), with its Article 69 affirming the few other songs along with the 150 Psalms, actually held to exclusive psalmody.

The Psalms of David, in the edition of Petrus Dathenus, shall be sung in the Christian meetings of the Netherlands Churches (as has been done until now), abandoning the hymns which are not found in Holy Scripture.--National Synod of Dort, 1578, Art. 76.
Only the Psalms of David shall be sung in the church, omitting the hymns which one cannot find in Holy Scripture.--National Synod of Middelburg, 1581, Art. 51.
The Psalms of David shall be sung in the churches, omitting the hymns which one does not find in Holy Scripture.--National Synod of Gravenhage, 1586, Art. 62.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Kaalvenist

As I understand it, the Dutch churches prior to the Great Synod of Dort (1618-19), with its Article 69 affirming the few other songs along with the 150 Psalms, actually held to exclusive psalmody.
No. They essentially held Calvin's view. Those songs they approved at Dort were already in regular use long before, which is why they approved them. Hence, they were not EP. You could label them a Dominant Psalmody type group like Calvin, but not EP. Plus, EP was not confessionalized like it was with Westminster. In fact, the 3 Forms don't even use the phrase "regulative principle" regarding worship. The thought is clearly there when they comment on worship and the second commandment but no official statement, at least not as clear as Westminster.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I don't understand the force of the first sentence. Where do the Westminster Stds use the phrase "regulative princple"?
Originally posted by puritansailor
In fact, the 3 Forms don't even use the phrase "regulative principle" regarding worship. The thought is clearly there when they comment on worship and the second commandment but no official statement, at least not as clear as Westminster.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by Kaalvenist
Originally posted by puritansailor
Joshua, just to add some historical clarity, there were only two Reformed churches to endorse EP; the Church of Scotland, and the New England Puritans (who abandoned it when Watts came on the scene). All the other Reformed churches did not hold to EP. They allowed other Scripture songs and singing of the Apostle's Creed.
:2cents:
As I understand it, the Dutch churches prior to the Great Synod of Dort (1618-19), with its Article 69 affirming the few other songs along with the 150 Psalms, actually held to exclusive psalmody.

The Psalms of David, in the edition of Petrus Dathenus, shall be sung in the Christian meetings of the Netherlands Churches (as has been done until now), abandoning the hymns which are not found in Holy Scripture.--National Synod of Dort, 1578, Art. 76.
Only the Psalms of David shall be sung in the church, omitting the hymns which one cannot find in Holy Scripture.--National Synod of Middelburg, 1581, Art. 51.
The Psalms of David shall be sung in the churches, omitting the hymns which one does not find in Holy Scripture.--National Synod of Gravenhage, 1586, Art. 62.
Also, see Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635-1711), in The Christian's Reasonable Service (1700): 'The decision of the Dutch Synods has been very correct indeed, namely, that none other but the Psalms of David are to be used in the churches.' (Vol 4, ET 1995, pp. 34-35).
 
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