The Scriptural Regulative Principle of Worship

By G.I. Williamson - Posted at The Westminster Presbyterian:

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 [2] the 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.

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