The RPW and Family Worship

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Parakaleo

Puritan Board Sophomore
I was in discussion with several others about the importance of regularly engaging in family worship. Sadly, we came to an impasse on whether it is required of families or not.

I was arguing as one convinced that God commands His people to engage in acts of special worship, as families, throughout the week. This is the position held in the Westminster Directory for Publick Worship.

“Family worship, which ought to be performed by every family, ordinarily morning and evening, consists in prayer, reading the Scriptures, and singing praises.”

I argued that these exercises of worship are to be intentional times of gathering around the Word, with prayer, and singing praise to God as a family. Though I provided numerous passages showing families of God's people doing these things, I could not give a chapter-and-verse that families must engage in regular exercises of private worship together.

The others were happy to grant that the principle is good and sound, and that intentional times of family worship are certainly to be encouraged, but because there is no explicit command, it is going beyond to Scripture to say they are a requirement for families in the church.

As we went back and forth, several objections were raised against my position that God requires family worship:

- What if the family is illiterate?
- What if the family is extremely busy? Wait until your children are teenagers. You'll see!
- What if the children hate it, and forcing them to do it exasperates them?


However, I found this next objection particularly revealing, and touching upon a deeper question:

- We don't need set times for family worship because we worship all day. "All life is worship." We can worship any time as a family throughout the day, in the car, doing activities together, etc.

When I considered this attitude, I began to see the true reason for the impasse. It comes down to the deeper question of what worship is, and whether or not all worship is to be regulated. I mentioned that the Puritans would never accept this view, "All life is worship". An act of worship is set apart from other activities and regulated by God's Word. Unless you have these intentional, regulated times of family worship throughout the week, a family can not meaningfully say they worship the Lord privately at all.

The answer came back, "The Puritans had their blind-spots."

What do you all think? Are you prepared to say (along with me) that God requires family worship in the home? What's a good way to help someone see all worship is to be regulated and we should set aside regular times for this as families?
 

Parakaleo

Puritan Board Sophomore
The law for family worship by James Durham

Thanks, this is excellent. It's very convincing for me, but I'm still a little wary. There are many who will shut their ears to a well-constructed GNC argument from God's Word, usually dismissing it as legalism, especially if it there is a "cost" associated with receiving it as truth.

Still, I know I must trust the Shepherd to make His voice clearly heard by His sheep.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Yes; if it calls for putting forth an inconvenient effort ears shutdown. The problem is not just a misunderstanding of what worship is but of the law itself, its depth and how it applies to far more than what's on the surface of the command, as illustrated in the rules for rightly understanding the ten commandments in the Larger Catechism.
The law for family worship by James Durham

Thanks, this is excellent. It's very convincing for me, but I'm still a little wary. There are many who will shut their ears to a well-constructed GNC argument from God's Word, usually dismissing it as legalism, especially if it there is a "cost" associated with receiving it as truth.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Facebook and Twitter were invented to remind us that we do have time for family worship, though we often do not have the honesty to admit it. That being said, it does help to keep such devotions relatively short. Less is more.
 
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