How are we to worship God? That is the question. And the answer is already implied in our firm adherence to the Bible as the inspired word of God — the only infallible rule of faith and practice. The remainder of my presentation will therefore be an attempt to demonstrate two things from the Scriptures: [1] The first is the fact that there is a regulative principle taught in the Bible, and the [2] second is what that principle means — and how it ought to be applied — today, in our churches.

In a paper on this subject a few years ago Professor Norman Shepherd referred to the already existent literature on the subject of the regulative principle. He correctly stated that this literature “abounds with references” to certain “Biblical examples.” “There is therefore” he said, “no need to discuss these examples in detail . . . .”1 Well, I could agree with that statement in the context of a gathering of well-informed scholars. But my concern is not so much with the scholars as it is with the rank and file membership of our churches. Are they familiar with what the scripture says on this subject? It is my experience, after nearly forty years in the pastoral ministry, in four Reformed denominations, that they are not.2 Without apology, therefore, I center my attention today on a few of these once well-known examples.
This month's article comes from the mind, heart and pen of G.I. Williamson, well known to some of us and quickly to be known, perhaps for the first time, by many others. The article, as one can plainly see presents what I consider to be one of the finest presentations and biblical defense of what the Reformers held as true and the Puritans developed even more in regard to the worship of God. Let me mention at this juncture that I believe that Dr. Williamson's paper to be 99% sound. That 1% which I do not believe is totally defensible is what is known as "Exclusive Psalmody", the restriction upon the Church to sing the biblical Psalms only in worship. There are those who even posit that there should be no instrumentation used in the worship of God too, which I thoroughly reject. However, with that caveat aired, I again must heartedly recommend what follows to all for serious consideration and prayer.

The basic question is and always has been, Does God, in Scripture, set forth His will in the matter of how He is to be worshiped? And further, if God has revealed how He is to be worshiped, how is it to be recognized, i.e., are the people of God free to worship God except for what God has forbidden? Or, is the Church to do only that which God has commanded? These are the two views mainly held in the Church today. There is a third view, of course, and that is that the Bible has nothing specific to say about the worship of God to the New Testament Church. It is often expressed this way, "We do not hold to what is sometimes called the 'regulatory principle' of worship as we do not see it specified in Scripture." Thus, worship is whatever someone feels is worship.

May the Lord use this article to turn the hearts of many so that God is worshiped aright, according to His infallible Word.

You can read this article here: The Scriptural Regulative Principle of Worship.

Or, you can always access this month's Article of the Month and past articles from The Highway homepage and then clicking on the link, "Article of the Month" logo.

In His service and grace,

[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

[Linked Image]