Sunday, December 5, 2010

Musings on Biblical Worship

On Friday I had the opportunity to engage in some discussion about biblical worship with a friend and a newly made acquaintance. Most of it revolved around people who have different tastes when it comes to worship(those words make me uneasy because worship is about God, not about our preferences). Think hymns or contemporary praise songs(cps from here on out), a capella or instrumentation, etc. Now I believe that hymns and CPS are valid forms of worship, as long as the lyrics are biblical and you can understand the words. I realize some of my fellow reformed brothers and sisters will disagree me, and I can partly see why. I would also like to add that this isn't something I have devoted a great deal of study or prayer to(which I should).

Here are some thoughts listed in no particular order
  • I do not think things like being slain in the spirit, writhing uncontrollably, or acting like animals is true/acceptable worship to God, mainly because I think these activities violate the fruit of the Spirit self control, they just seem plain old disturbing, and because you don't find them in the Bible.
  • I think the regulative principle of worship(RPW) holds water, because it doesn't let anything not seen in the scriptures enter the worship service thus leaving out certain unholy things like writhing uncontrollably or acting like animals. Also once something like RPW is agreed upon it effectively ends all dispute over hymns vs. contemporary praise songs and what instrumentation if any is acceptable.
  • My understanding of biblical worship is rudimentary and centers largely around the text John 4:24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." I take this to mean that worship must be the following things, truth-true, compatible with the Bible, and in spirit-one must be sincere, one needs be a Christian to truly worship God.
  • Again while not holding to RPW, several things may drive me down that path. One being I'm a monergist(Calvinist, sovereign gracer), and hold to covenant theology. Another is the question of, where does one draw the boundaries in worship? For instance I think it's ok to sing hymns, etc. in worship but I don't have any express command to do such a thing, or a prohibition against it. On the flip side I think writhing uncontrollably is sinful, but I don't find a specific scripture against it(unless I'm missing something). In other words, how can I support one form not found in the Bible, while denying another form not found in the Bible? I think you see my issue there, if not ask.
To wrap it up my concern is this, that I worship God in a true and acceptable way, that you do the same, and that God be glorified by us willingly. These are my thoughts, biblical correction is welcomed, as well your honest thoughts. This is something that is important to get right. Leave your thoughts below in the comment section. I hope I was humble, loving, understandable and glorifying to God.

In Christ, Aaron


  1. Great topic to be thinking on. When I was researching the Regulative Principle, I came across a book called "Covenantal Worship: Reconsidering the Puritan Regulative Principle" by R.J. Gore Jr. Very helpful, evenhanded critique of the Regulative Principle, and not a hard read. I recommend checking it out, if you haven't already!

    from the Knight Blog

  2. Some great thoughts to contemplate on!