Regulative Principle

Some Useful Technologies for Church Ministry (Part 4)

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Technologies for Worship

Introducing new technologies into worship can be a challenge—especially into churches within the Reformed tradition.35 Some Christians within this tradition believe the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) applies only to the corporate gatherings of the church and interpret it as precluding the introduction of anything into the worship service that’s not explicitly commanded in the New Testament.36

Personally, I question whether the RPW should be limited to corporate worship. I don’t think we live by one regulative principle when we pass through the “sanctuary doors” and a different principle when we’re outside corporate worship.37 Rather, as I see it, we live by one principle, which is sola Scriptura. This principle applies to all of life in a more general way and to church worship, community, and mission with greater specificity. Thus, there’s one principle, but different applications based on varying contextual situations, i.e., worship in a broader sense and worship in a narrow sense.38

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Worship for Dummies

God created man for worship. Jesus declared that the Father is seeking worshippers who will worship Him “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). Not surprisingly, the Shorter Catechism begins by affirming, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” But this raises the question, “How should God be worshiped?” To be more precise, “What kind of worship pleases God?” The answer is vital. Thankfully, it’s not that complicated. Even a child may understand.

Red Light: “Stop!”

It may seem a bit stifling to start with a negative. But that’s where God begins:

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them (Exod 20:3–5 ESV).

We can’t just approach God on our terms. It ultimately doesn’t matter whether it seems good, feels good, or looks good to us. God doesn’t accept “manmade” religion (Matt 15:1-9; Col 2:20-23; 1 Tim 4:1-5). As the Supreme Object of human worship, God reserves the right to define the terms by which men may offer to him acceptable love, service, and devotion. And when God says, “You shall not!” we must not. Period! In the words of the Baptist Confession, “The acceptable way to worship God is instituted by Him, and it is delimited by His own revealed will” (22.1).1 Which brings me to the next point.

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