The Regulative Principle of the Church 14: Its Specific Application (Part 3)Subscribe
Having dealt with the application of the regulative principle to the government and tasks of the church, here I touch on its application …
III. For the Worship of the Church
The regulative principle of worship is often seen as repressive and negative. In actuality it is positive and liberating. It requires that the great elements of gospel worship ordained in the Word of God have the central place in the worship of the church. It is often when churches feel that their worship is dull and lifeless and traditional that they begin to search for some new ceremony, program, or innovation to liven things up. What a sad testimony this is to the carnality and ignorance of such churches!
My brethren, the way to life and power and reality in the worship of God is not the way of innovation and novelty. It is the way back to the great, central requirements of gospel worship. If people and churches languish and die under those ordinances, then they ought to die; and nothing else will be sufficient to resurrect them to spiritual life.
We must maintain the centrality of the reading and proclamation of the Word in the worship of God. If anything was central in the churches of the New Testament, this was (1 Tim. 4:13; Acts 2:42; 20:7-9; 1 Cor. 14). This means that the predominant place in the worship of God should be given to the proclamation and reading of His Word. This may mean longer services and sermons. So be it.
We must maintain the centrality of the congregational singing and praise of God in your worship. This, too, is a prominent part of New Testament worship (Matt. 26:30; 1 Cor. 14:15, 26; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
We must also maintain the centrality of both pastoral and congregational prayer in your worship (Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 14:13-17). How can we say that we believe in the absolute sovereignty of God in salvation and the building of the church and not meet statedly as a church to pray for His blessing and help?
Let me finally encourage you to maintain the centrality of the great ordinances of the church in your worship. Make certain baptism, the joining of men and women to the defined membership of the church, the Lord’s Day, the Lord’s Supper, the election of officers, church discipline are prominent aspects of your church life.