Worship, Wales and other things

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I've been involved in teaching one of those one-week, all-day courses that allowed me little time except to "monitor" the blog. I noted that some lefty cab driver threatens to vilify the Welsh and a good friend from North Wales is arming himself in preparation, he tells me. And I am stockpiling, ready for this menace whenever he appears!

But, I've been reflecting again on Worship -- the gist of the course I've been involved in.

We've spent a good deal of time talking through the regulative principle: that only that which God mandates is appropriate for the worship of God. Of course, folk define (actually, redefine) the regulative principle in different ways. One author persistently uses the term "regulative principle" but understands it in an entirely different way to that of Calvin (who did adhere to the principle despite another author's claim that it was a "puritan invention"), or the Scottish Presbyterians or the English Puritans. Several things have been reinforced in my own thinking:

1. That even though the regulative principle (RP) does not immediately answer every single question, there is no need to abandon it. It answers more questions than it doesn't.

2. Commitment to the RP does not imply uniformitarianism. The worship liturgies of the Calvin, Knox, or the Westminster Directory all conform to the RP but have considerable variation--variation which if used judiciously (where circumstances allow) can relieve much of the soporific tendency of sameness.

3. Without a commitment to the way in which the RP applies to "gathered worship" the rhythm and benefit of Lord's Day worship is lost. To suggest, for example, that the Bible knows nothing of a "formal" or "gathered" worship where the RP operates in a distinctive fashion is nonsense. No Christian is entitled to celebrate the Lord's Supper on Friday evening at home with his wife and children employing coke and chips under any circumstance! To suggest that the only commitment the Bible speaks of is a worship "in all of life" is to cheapen the importance of the Lord's Day and abandon the significance of the sacraments.

Posted January 18, 2007 @ 9:11 PM by Derek Thomas

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