Regulative Principle

Just to pique your interest…

Samuel Waldron explains the Regulative Principle in his Exposition of the 1689 using the following example. “Mr Anglican must use the materials of the Word of God, but has no blueprint and may use other materials. Mr. Puritan must use only materials of the Word of God and has a blueprint. It takes no special genius to discern which will be more pleasing to God.” Mr. Anglican represents the normative principle and Mr. Puritan represents the regulative principle.

Waldron also notes:

– God alone is to determine how the sinner approaches God in worship
– extra biblical practices usually tend to nullify true biblical worship (see video I posted earlier of holy laughter)
– we call into question the sufficiency of scripture when we add or make additions to the biblical norm
– the Bible explicity condemns all worship that is not commanded (Waldron lists the following scriptures: Lev. 10.1-3; Deut. 4.2, 12.29-32, 17.3; Josh. 1.7, 23.6-8; Matt. 15.13; Col. 2.20-23)
– how God is to be worship is explained here Deut. 12.29-32

John Owen is quoted, ” Three things are usually pleaded in the justification of the observance of such rites and ceremonies in the worship of God: First, that they tend unto the furtherance of the devotion of the worshipers; secondly, that they render the worship itself comely and beautiful; thirdly, that they are the preservers of order in the celebration thereof. And therefore on these accounts they may be instituted or appointed by some, and observed by all.”

Owen recognizes that some are changing the biblical order and practice by instituting what they like forcing others to observe and practice it. I see the regulative principle as freeing me from observing false traditions, human forms of piety, etc.) Owen hits the nail on the head with swift efficiency. All three points tend toward the preferences of man, they are man centered, rather than centered in the word of God.

Considering Deuteronomy: 12:

21. If the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to put his name there be too far from thee, then thou shalt kill of thy herd and of thy flock, which the LORD hath given thee, as I have commanded thee, and thou shalt eat in thy gates whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. 22. Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them: the unclean and the clean shall eat of them alike. 23. Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh. 24. Thou shalt not eat it; thou shalt pour it upon the earth as water. 25. Thou shalt not eat it; that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD. 26. Only thy holy things which thou hast, and thy vows, thou shalt take, and go unto the place which the LORD shall choose: 27. And thou shalt offer thy burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, upon the altar of the LORD thy God: and the blood of thy sacrifices shall be poured out upon the altar of the LORD thy God, and thou shalt eat the flesh. 28. Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God. 29. When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30. Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

v. 1.-2 destroy Temples belonging to false religion
v. 4-19 worship is prescribed where God reveals His name…the Tabernacle
v. 4. “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way.”
v.8 “You shall not do according to all that we are doing here today, everyone doing whatever is right in his own eyes,”
v. 20-21 the revealed will of God regulates worship
v. 29-21 we are not to be influenced by culture
v.31 “You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way, for every abominable thing that the Lord hates they have done for their gods, for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.”
v. 32 “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.”

Just a few notes from my reading on musical instruments being used in worship:

– David was given divine revelation to use them (when to use them, how to use them, etc.) which is why we find them listed in the Psalms (in the AV with instructions on what to use)

– The inclusion of musical instruments was not commanded/given by divine revelation in the NT

– Musical instruments were associated with worship in the Temple

– Synagogues did not use musical instruments because they were apart of worship in the Temple

– The early church, following the pattern of the NT, did not use instruments

– The church at large refused to use instruments in worship until the 19th century

– The new covenant deals with the heart, circumcision was of the heart not flesh, worship in the NT is a matter of the heart

– When Protestants, following the lead of Roman Catholicism, wanted to use instruments the argument was made, “to keep our children from leaving the church”

To say I read a lot is an understatement. My notes in the past have been a mess so I am not sure where the argument, “to keep our children from leaving” was used but I believe it was and Anglican.

What Early Christians believed about USING INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

Interesting read…

Why do the Orthodox not use instruments in worship? Part 01 | OrthoCuban

Should we use instruments during worship? Comment and let me know your thoughts.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Reformation Heritage Study Bible Premium Hardcover

Ok, I’m back…for a minute.

Bought a new Bible and wanted to share some pics of it since I was unable to find any online, except from the publisher and they were not very detailed.

From 2009 until December of 2015 I used a reference Bible only. In December I started reading The Orthodox Study Bible and found the “study notes1” helpful so I decided to go for it and get the Reformation Heritage Study Bible. The regular hardcover, IMO, looked a little tacky and I wanted just a plain jane cover. The black hardcover was listed as “Premium” for a few bucks more so I took a chance and ordered it.

Why hardcover?

The first two “leather” Bibles I purchased were bonded and felt worse in the hand than any of the high quality imitation leather covers I had seen on the market. After looking around online I ordered a Bible through Trinitarian Bible Society, printed by Cambridge, but straight out of the box the text block had pulled away from the cover. I didn’t complain, just sucked it up, TBS is a good organization worth supporting. It has lasted me seven years so I guess the issue is just cosmetic. When the Westminster Reference Bible was released from TBS I ordered the hardcover and came to prefer it over the limp leather or paperback bindings. The price was also a lot better which means I could save the money for more theological and devotional works. I am still happy with my Westminster Reference Bible and will continue to use it but I wanted a few notes to aid my study when I’m talking with folks at the coffee shop.

Google provided me with a few reviews for the Reformation Heritage Study Bible but nothing for the “Premium” hardcover so I thought I would post a few pictures so folks can see how nice it really is. I am not disappointed and highly recommend the Premium edition. This Bible is substantial with just over 2200 pages, and has a good Smyth sewn binding with heavy cover boards. Compared to the Westminster it is much better bound and the boards are thicker, with a leather look and feel, as well as gold gilding on the pages. The paper seems fine to me by the way. That’s all I’m going to say about the looks of the Bible since, for me, the Bible must be functional and durable rather than pur-tee.

The Notes

The real meat and potatoes can be found in the notes. The notes are taken from the works of the Puritans as well as modern Reformed Christians who have been influenced by Puritanism. The editors of the Reformation Heritage Bible have mined the works of William Ames, Geoff Banister, Charles Barrett, Brian Borgman, Wilhelmus A Brakel, Anthony Burgess, John Calvin, Stephen Charnock, Jonathan Edwards, Christopher Love, John Owen, William Perkins, Richard Sibbes, Thomas Watson, etc.  to provide us with a study Bible that is theological deep as well as practical. With this Bible you won’t have to worry about any modern controversies, modern textual criticism, etc. just time tested exegetical wisdom from solidly biblical Christians. The back of the Bible contains articles, creeds and confessions along with introductions, theological articles and practical questions for rumination. This Bible will help you anchor your biblical faith in the historical church.

Details From the publisher.

Product Description

A Study Bible to Feed Your Soul . . .

Thoughts for personal and family devotions for every chapter
Three dozen articles on how to live the Christian life
Guidance on how to experience the truths of the Bible

A Study Bible to Instruct Your Mind . . .

Thousands of study notes with integrated cross-references
Introductions to each section and every book of the Bible
Classic Bible text with explanations of difficult words
More than fifty articles on key Christian teachings
Concordance, color maps, daily reading plan, and more!

A Study Bible to Discover Your Roots . . .

Overview of twenty centuries of church history
Ancient creeds, confessions, and catechisms with introductions

Specifications

Size: 6 ½ x 9 ¼

Page Font:

Bible: 9.8 pt. Minion Font

Notes: 8 pt. Myriad SemiCondensed Font

All Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bibles are Smyth Sewn for lasting durability. These editions of The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible are being printed by Jongbloed, a Dutch printer reputed as the world’s finest publisher of Bibles.

With the purchase of the Bible, you will receive a free access code to create an account at http://www.holybible.com. This will allow access to all the study notes from the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible online.

Each Bible is packaged in an elegant presentation box.

Smyth Sewn bindings use thread to sew through folded signatures of a book. Signatures are made by printing on large sheets and then folding into groups of pages, usually 16 or 24 at a time. Each signature is sewn individually with threads going through each page several times. The threads are then tied off. All of the signatures are likewise attached together with thread creating what is called the book block. The book block is further strengthened using flannel and adhesive on the spine.

Editors

General Editor: Joel R. Beeke is pres­i­dent and Pro­fes­sor of Sys­tem­atic The­ol­ogy and Homilet­ics at Puritan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, a pas­tor of the Her­itage Nether­lands Reformed Con­gre­ga­tion in Grand Rapids, Michi­gan, edi­tor of Ban­ner of Sov­er­eign Grace Truth, edi­to­r­ial direc­tor of Ref­or­ma­tion Her­itage Books, pres­i­dent of Inher­i­tance Pub­lish­ers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Trans­la­tion Soci­ety.

Old Testament Editor: Michael Barrett is Aca­d­e­mic Dean and Pro­fes­sor of Old Tes­ta­ment at Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He is a min­is­ter in the Free Pres­by­ter­ian Church of North Amer­ica. For­merly, Dr. Bar­rett served as pres­i­dent of Geneva Reformed Sem­i­nary. For almost thirty years, he was pro­fes­sor of Ancient Lan­guages and Old Tes­ta­ment The­ol­ogy and Inter­pre­ta­tion at Bob Jones Uni­ver­sity.

New Testament Editor: Gerald Bilkes is Pro­fes­sor of New Tes­ta­ment and Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy at Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He com­pleted a PhD (2002) from Prince­ton The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He was recip­i­ent of the United States Infor­ma­tion Agency Fel­low­ship at the Albright Insti­tute (ASOR) in Jerusalem dur­ing the 1997–1998 year.

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1) not really study notes but Eastern Orthodox opinions on the text…but anyway

EVANjellyFISH: The Creedless Christian

B. H. Carroll:
carroll
“…I want to say first of all is that it is a time that men speak disparagingly of creeds. You hear it on every side, ‘I believe in religion but I don’t care anything about theology. I love flowers but I don’t care anything for botany. Let’s have a religion without any dogma.’ Men take great credit to themselves in these utterances that they are free from the enslavement to dogmas. You must not take these people too seriously. They either don’t know what they are talking about, or else know what they say is utterly unworthy of human respect. There never was a man in the world without a creed.”

One example of how a creed or confession finds its foundation in scripture:

“…from the 8th chapter of Romans and the 34th verse. I am showing you how creeds start and confessions of faith start and how absolutely impossible it is to make light of them. Thus says Paul, ‘Who will lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justified. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died,’ (now comes the statement of the creed): ‘yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.’

Now there is a creed. That creed contains four elements:
(1) Christ died;
(2) Christ rose;
(3) Christ exalted to the right hand of the majesty on high;
(4) Up there Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us.

What is the value of that creed? By that creed, accepted in the heart and confessed with the lips, the man who so accepts and confesses is immune from any charge that angel or devil or man can make against him: ‘Who shall lay any charge to God’s elect?’

Now you just might as well proclaim yourself a simpering idiot as to stand there opposing those four things and say, ‘Oh, let’s not have any dogmas, creeds and confessions of faith; let’s have religion.’ How can you have a creedless religion? You had just as well adopt as your god a jelly-fish floated up on the beach, that has no backbone, merely a pulpy mass, as to say, ‘I want a religion without a creed.’ A man cannot have a religion without a creed and the religion he does have is not worth anything unless it is avowed. The avowal of it is a confession of faith. Now Spurgeon in his great sermon on the text I have just read called these four doctrines the four pillars of salvation. On top of these four pillars the superstructure is erected. If you pull down the pillars you pull down that which rests upon the pillars. If you take away the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the enthronement of Christ or the intercession of Christ, the house of salvation falls.

Notice again the practical effects of it. In this same 8th chapter of Romans:

‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? Nay, in all of these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

If my creed was some inarticulate thing, if it was nebulous like a spray of star dust in the skies, or if it was shifting like the change of the shapes of floating clouds, or if it was traceless like the track of a serpent across a rock or the flight of an eagle through the air, I never could say, ‘I am persuaded.’ The persuasion takes possession of my heart and of my soul that no power above nor below, no distress, no famine, no peril, no nakedness, no spirit, no devil, no future, no past shall ever be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A man without a creed cannot have that persuasion.”

source

Teaching Children

familypraying“Though I cannot say I truly approve of the method of education used by some good people; as by teaching them the Creed, a form of belief, saying, I believe, so and so, before they have any knowledge of and faith in divine truths; and to babble over the Lord’s Prayer, as it is commonly called, and other forms of prayer; which seems to have a tendency to direct them to rest in an outward form, and to trust in an outward show of righteousness; which they need not be taught to do, it is natural unto them; and whenever they receive the grace of God, all this must be untaught and undone again. It is proper to instruct them in the necessity of faith in God and in Christ, and of the use of prayer; and to lay before them the sinfulness of sin, and show them what an evil thing it is, and what are the sad effects of it; to teach them their miserable estate by nature, and the way of recovery and salvation by Christ; and to learn them from childhood to read and know the holy scriptures, according to their capacity; and by these to be “admonished” of sin, and of their duty, to fear God, and keep his commandments; which may be meant by the “admonition of the Lord”; and the proper opportunity should be taken to instili these things into their minds, when their minds begin to open, and they are inquisitive into the meaning of things; (see Deut. 6:20) and these several respective duties are to be carefully attended to; since the peace and order of families, the good of the commonwealth, and the prosperity of the church, and increase of the interest of Christ, greatly depend upon them.”  – John Gill

The Bible

Great quote from Rev. Winzer;

The Bible is the very word of God. It is God given. The translation of the Bible is a blessing of Providence. The Bible as translated is to be received and read as the very word of God. The problem with multiple translations, sometimes contradictory in meaning one from another, is that they force the Bible reader to choose between them. The Bible reader seeks God for wisdom, and makes his choice based on the evidence attainable at the time. The choice being made, he reads the preferred translation with the conviction that it is God-given. In the absence of any solid evidence to the contrary, he has no reason to alter his preference. Add to this the blessing of God upon the reading of the Bible, the important place of church authority and ministry, confessional subscription, religious vows and engagements, and other things of a like nature, and it becomes impossible to view the translation as a matter of indifference.

Rev. Matthew Winzer
Australian Free Church,
Victoria, Australia

What’s in a name?

What does it mean to be Reformed?

I tend to shy away from using Reformed before Baptist, knowing the historical roots of the meaning of the word Reformed, preferring Confessional (or more historically actuate) Particular Baptist. In an effort to be “terribly reductionistic,” I believe Reformed theology includes Calvinistic soteriology, covenant theology and the Regulative Principle of Worship. I believe these three elements can be found in all paedobaptist confessions, the First and the Second London Baptist Confessions. If you confess those three elements, perhaps you are Reformed but I have a hard time calling Dr. Piper, even with this terribly reductionistic view, Reformed.

Others have weighted in on the matter over the last few years. I posted a few quotes with their source so you can read the rest of the article the quote was taken from.

Dr. R. Scott Clark points out;

A good number of people who could not be reasonably defined as Reformed have affirmed those points long before the Reformation. There was a vigorous predestinarian theology at different points in the middle ages. Gottschalk of Orbais in the 9th century taught the substance of the five points but we would not allow him into a Reformed pulpit. Thomas Aquinas taught predestination and arguably limited atonement in the 13th century. There were several late medieval proponents of a high Augustinian soteriology from whom the Reformation learned but who would not be Reformed. So it is with Piper. Intersection is not identity. A necessary condition is not a sufficient condition. A race car must have an engine. That’s a necessary condition but an engine is not a sufficient condition because not every engine is a racing engine. There are other components (e.g., suspension, frame, the cockpit) to a race car that distinguish it from other cars.

I agree with that…sorta…I think.

Likewise, anyone who has a deep appreciation for the Reformed confessions and has studied the development of Reformed theology will be understandably jealous to help people see that there is much more to being Reformed than a predestinarian soteriology. As one who subscribes to a historic Reformed denomination and has written a book on the Heidelberg Catechism, I am enthusiastic about all that the Reformed tradition has to offer, from ecclesiology, to worship, to our understanding of the law, to our understanding of the sacraments, to a dozen other things. I sympathize with those who are quick to point out that a college freshman who believes in a big God is not exactly plumbing the depths of what it means to be Reformed.

But on the other hand, it doesn’t bother me when John Piper is called Reformed. Kevin DeYoung

Dr. Trueman adds;

‘Reformed’ in current popular parlance is somewhat like ‘confessional.’ I keep meeting ‘confessional evangelicals’ who do not actually adhere, other than at a notional level, to any of the great historic ecclesiastical confessions. They seem to be using the adjective as a substitute for ‘conservative’ or ‘orthodox’, which is fine — as long as (once again) it does not then lead to blurring the significant difference between being orthodox in belief and being confessional in practice. Carl Trueman

Justice ;

Reformed people view the church in two ways. They see it as the entire body of the elect. This body, of course, is invisible. They also see it as a local assembly or the aggregate of all local assemblies in a nation or on a continent. As such, the church is visible. So the Reformers believed in a universal, invisible church, and in a more local, visible church.

Jellyfish

Benajah Harvey Carroll:carroll

“The modern cry: ‘Less creed and more liberty,’ is a degeneration from the vertebrate to the jellyfish, and means less unity and less morality, and it means more heresy. Definitive truth does not create heresy it only exposes and corrects. Shut off the creed and the Christian world would fill up with heresy unsuspected and uncorrected, but none the less deadly.”

An Interpretation of the English Bible, Ephesians 4.

A two part sermon on Creeds and Confessions can be read online here.