What does the RPW allow for church furniture and decorations?

Discussion in 'Worship' started by jpfrench81, May 26, 2009.

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  1. jpfrench81

    jpfrench81 Puritan Board Sophomore

    After reading this thread about having a cross in church I wanted to find out what furniture and decorations are allowed during a worship service under the regulative principle. Coming from a non-reformed background and new to the idea of the RPW, here is my working definition of the regulative principle: we should only worship God in ways that are specifically prescribed/allowed by Scripture. (If this definition is wrong please correct me).

    So what is allowed during a worship service? Can we have pews? Can we have a pulpit? Can we have a stage? etc. This really aren't fececious examples; I don't know of any passages that specifically allow for these things. So what furniture, decorations, etc. are allowed?

    If you choose to answer, PLEASE include the appropriate Scripture passage. As someone who is trying to grow in their understanding of the historic reformed faith, it would be very helpful. Thanks.
     
  2. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Joshua,

    It might be helpful to give quickly give "the other half" of the historic understanding of the RPW; for while we do need a positive command for the elements or practices of worship, we also affirm the following (WCF 1.6):

    "...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."

    Therefore, things such as the time and location of meeting are left (not to caprice) but to the ordered light of nature. Factors regarding the building and its furnishings are to be left to "Christian prudence," being in accord with the general rules of the Word. Thus, a pulpit seems a prudent idea, and we see it to be in accord with the general rules of scripture (see Nehemiah as he preaches the plain meaning of the law). The fact that Christ honored the synagogue worship indicates that separate buildings dedicated to worship are acceptable and good. Regarding the decor of the building, these things simply must be in accord with Christian prudence: nothing that would distract from the purpose of the building, nothing that would harm the conscience of an attender, nothing that might inspire idolatry or wrong religious significance being assigned to an object; simplicity, frugality, some level of comfort and convenience, etc., are all things which should be taken into consideration.
     
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