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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Reflecting on the Westminster Confession of Faith 21-"Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day"


Okay, so I'm thinking through the subject of Worship as the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) plays it out. What is below is simply a "thinking-out-loud" chart of the three basic "Regulative Principles of Worship" in Christianity (each branch, and all sub-branches have a regulative principle, or so it seems to me; but we simply draw up the lines in different places). Give it a look, and let me know what your thoughts are:

1.      Position A (More Constricted Position):

Ÿ  True Worship-Only what is commanded in Scripture.

Ÿ  False Worship-Anything outside what is commanded in Scripture.

2.      Position B (More Lutheran, Anglican, Some Reformed, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic)

Ÿ  True Worship-What is commanded (and anything not specifically forbidden is permitted and at times mandated).
Ÿ  What is prescribed by Church Councils sometimes required sometimes permitted,
Ÿ  Guided by Sacred Tradition and/or the Magisterium.

Ÿ  False Worship-Only what is specifically forbidden (more or less).

3.      Position C (What Appears to be More In-line with the WCF)

Ÿ  True Worship-What is specifically commanded in Scripture must be done,
Ÿ  What is according to the general principles of the Word is allowed,
Ÿ  Some circumstances ordered by the light of nature, Christian prudence, and also things set down by Church synods and councils for the better ordering of the public worship of God – all of which are to be governed by the rule of the Word of God (1.6 and 31.2) are permitted.

Ÿ  False Worship-That which permits or mandates what is specifically forbidden in Scripture,
Ÿ  That which neglects what is specifically commanded in Scripture,
Ÿ  That which commands [or forbids] what is permitted by the general principles of the Word etc. (this last one seems to be one of the major concerns of WCF 20.2).


But keep in mind the broad charitable recognition of WCF 25.4: “This catholic Church has been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.”

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