15 December, 2014

Strange Fire


"And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his 
censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered 
strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. 
And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they 
died before the Lord" (Lev. 10:1,2).


"What was their sin? Their sin was offering of strange 
fire, so the text saith that they offered strange fire, 
which God commanded them not. . . . But had God ever forbidden 
it? Where do we find that ever God had forbidden them to offer strange 
fire, or appointed that they should offer only one kind of fire? There 
is no text of Scripture that you can find from the beginning of Genesis 
to this place, where God hath said in terminus, in so 
many words expressly, You shall offer no fire but one kind of 
fire. And yet here they are consumed by fire from God, for 
offering 'strange fire.' "7


Those who reject God's regulative principle of worship have a real 
problem explaining this text. Some argue that Nadab and Abihu were 
condemned because they offered strange incense, for offering strange 
incense is expressly condemned in Exodus 30:9. But the text does not 
say "strange incense", it says "strange fire". Others 
argue that they must have been insincere or drunk. But what does the 
Holy Spirit give us as the reason for their judgment? They offered 
strange fire "which he commanded them not." When 
it comes to worshipping God, there must be a warrant out of God's 
Word. "All things in God's worship must have a warrant out of 
God's word, [and] must be commanded. It's not enough that it is not 
forbidden. . . . Now when man shall put a Religious respect 
upon a thing, by vertue [sic] of his own Institution when he hath not a 
warrant from God; Here's superstition! we must all be willing worshipers, 
but not Wil-worshipers [sic]."8

10 December, 2014

Worship Ordinances vs. Worship Circumstances

Ordinances
Circumstances  
Preaching from the Bible Matt. 26:13; Mk. 16:15; Acts 9:20; 2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 20:8, 17:10; 1 Cor. 14:28 Structure in which the church meets Acts 20:8, 17:10; 1 Cor. 14:28 
Reading the Word of God Mk. 4:16-20; Acts 13:15; 1 Tim. 4:13; Rev. 1:13; Acts 1:13, 16:13; 1 Cor. 11:20 Location at which the church meets Acts 1:13, 16:13; 1 Cor. 11:20 
Meeting on the Lord's day Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2; Rev. 1:10; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:18 Time at which the church meets Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:18 
Administration of sacraments Matt. 28:19; Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Cor. 11:24-25 Clothing worn to worship 1 Cor. 11:13-15; Deut. 22:5 
Hearing the Word of God Lu. 2:46; Acts 8:31; Rom. 10:41; Jas. 1:22; Lu. 4:20; Acts 20:9 Type of seating provided Luke 4:20; Acts 20:9 
Prayer to God Matt. 6:9; 1 Thess. 5:17; Heb. 13:18; Phil. 4:6; Jas. 1:5; 1 Cor. 11:13-15; Deut. 22:5
The singing of Psalms 1 Chron. 16:9; Ps. 95:1-2; Ps. 105:2; 1 Cor. 14:26; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16



Note that everything in the left column must be learned from the Word 
of God. Everything in the right column is a circumstance common to 
everyone who lives in God's universe. Worship ordinances are limited 
in number by divine revelation. Worship circumstances are virtually 
infinite in number, being based on the common agreement of men guided 
by "Christian prudence." Because man is created in the image 
of God and must live and function in God's created reality (the universe), 
he must live and function in accordance with that reality. People 
do not need explicit instructions from the Bible to know to put on 
a jacket when it is five degrees outside. But men do need clear instructions 
from the Bible on how to approach the infinitely holy God.


The regulative principle of worship is taught throughout the Bible. 
What follows is an examination of the many passages in Scripture which 
prove that whatever is not commanded in Scripture in 
the worship of God is forbidden. Worship ordinances must be based 
specifically on what God says, not on human opinion or tradition.

03 December, 2014

Introduction

The Puritan/Presbyterian wing of the Reformation accomplished a purity 
in worship not seen since the apostolic church. This purity was attained 
by making the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments the only infallible 
standard and authority in determining worship ordinances. Any ordinances 
solely based on church tradition or man's authority were discarded. 
However, this purity attained by our spiritual forefathers has, with 
the passage of time, been cast aside. Pragmatism, tradition and human 
opinion are exalted in determining how God's people are to worship 
Him. The attitude among many in church leadership positions is to 
give the people what they want, rather than to submit to God's divine 
revelation.


The purpose of this booklet is to show that God does not leave it 
up to man to make up his own rules regarding worship. Christians are 
to learn and submit to what God says in this area. The first part 
of this booklet discusses the "regulative principle" of Scripture 
and worship. God has set down in Scripture how He is to be worshipped. 
Man is not to add to or detract from what God says. The second part 
of the booklet examines the keeping of Christmas. Christmas is a good 
example of how many people violate this regulative principle of worship. 
It is celebrated almost universally, even by those who claim to adhere 
to the regulative principle.


I

The Regulative Principle

The Regulative Principle of Scripture - Sola Scriptura


Because of man's sinful nature, God's covenant people often stray 
from the truth. Men often pervert true religion by eliminating elements 
in it they find unpleasant. They also pervert it by adding their own 
ideas to it. This very tendency to corrupt true religion, by addition 
or subtraction, is why God warned Israel not to add to or subtract 
from His Word. "Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes 
and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye 
may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your 
fathers giveth you. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command 
you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the 
commandments of the LORD your God which I command you" (Deut. 
4:1-2).


This passage of Scripture, and others like it, forms the basis for 
the Protestant reformers' doctrine of sola Scriptura. That is to say, 
the Bible alone is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. 
"The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own 
glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, 
or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: 
unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations 
of the Spirit, or traditions of men . . . and that there are some 
circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, 
common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light 
of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, 
which are always to be observed."1 Therefore, everything that man does is to 
be based on either the explicit commands of Scripture, deduced by good and 
necessary consequence (e.g., historical example,2 implication, etc.) 
or, if circumstantial, to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, 
according to the general rules of the Word (e.g., time or place to meet, etc.). 
Moses' command in Deuteronomy 4:2 is God's regulative principle, in a broad 
sense. Man's ultimate authority and blueprint for life is revealed in the Bible.

01 December, 2014

Footnotes

My aunt brought my attention to this last year & I liked it so much I broke it up & scheduled it ahead of time. Finally coming to it at the end of the year & re-reading it, it still pokes; so I've decided to put it out there. This is a month long blog post & will be on Mon., Wed. & Fri. but I'm going about it backwards & putting the references out first.
1 Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), chap. I, sec. 6.
 Back


2 An instance of historical example is Lord's day public worship. There 
is no explicit command or divine imperative changing public worship 
from the seventh day (Saturday) to the first day (Sunday) of the week, 
recorded in Scripture. Yet in the New Testament, the change from the 
seventh day to the first day is recorded as an accomplished fact 
(Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:2, Rev. 1:10). Not every divine command or 
prophetic word has been inscripturated (i.e., included in the Bible). 
The universal practice of the apostolic church, such as Lord's day 
public worship, is binding because of the unique authority given to 
the apostles (by direct revelation). When the apostles died, direct 
revelation ceased and the canon was closed, and now our doctrine, 
worship, and all historical examples are limited to the Bible, the 
Word of God. Those who appeal to church traditions, invented 
after the closing of the canon, for authority in establishing worship 
ordinances are, in principle, no better than Jeroboam the son of 
Nebat (1 Ki. 12: 26-33).
 Back


3 James H. Thornwell, Collected Writings (Richmond: Presbyterian 
Committee of Publication, 1872), 2:l63.
 Back


4 Chap. XXI, sec. 1. 
 Back


5 Thomas E. Peck, Miscellanies (Richmond: Presbyterian Committee 
of Publication, 1895), 1:82.
 Back


 6 "The first idea contained in them, is that they are religious duties, 
prescribed by God, as an instituted method in which he will be 
worshipped by his creatures. . . . Now, the ordinances, 
as thus described, must be engaged in according to a divine appointment. 
No creature has a warrant to enjoin any modes of worship, pretending 
that these will be acceptable or well-pleasing to God; since God alone, 
who is the object of worship, has a right to prescribe the way in 
which he will be worshipped. For a creature to institute modes of 
worship would be an instance of profaneness and bold presumption; 
and the worship performed would be 'in vain'; as our Saviour says 
concerning that which has no higher sanction than 'the commandments 
of men' " (Thomas Ridgely, A Body of Divinity [New York: 1855], 2:433.)
 Back


7 Jeremiah Burroughs, Gospel-Worship (London: Peter Cole, 1650), pp. 2-3.
 Back


8 Ibid., pp. 9-10. 
 Back


9 William G. Blaikie, Commentary on Second Samuel (New York: A.C. 
Armstrong and Son, 1893), p. 88.
 Back


10 Samuel H. Kellogg, The Book of Leviticus (New York: Hodder and 
Stoughton, n.d.), p. 240.

 Back


11 Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 
[1692]1881), p. 267.
 Back


12 Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), chap. XXI, sec. 1.

 Back


13 Calvin's Commentary, on Jer. 9:21-24 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 
1989), 9:398.
 Back


14 The phrase "inspiration of the Holy Spirit" does not mean that 
the early Presbyterians believed that their prayers were "God Breathed" 
and inerrant like the Scriptures. It simply means "with the help or 
aid of the Holy Spirit".
 Back


15 J. King Hewison, The Covenanters (Glasgow: 1908), 1:41-44.
 Back


16 Encyclopedia Britannica (1961 ed.), 5:643.
 Back


17 "Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era 
itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time 
of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen 
of heaven; and it may be fairly presumed that, in order to conciliate 
the heathen, and to swell the numbers of the nominal adherents of 
Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, 
giving it only the name of Christ" (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons 
[Neptune, N.J.: Loizeaux Brothers, (1916)1943], p. 93).
 Back


18 Encyclopedia Britannica (1961 ed.), 6:623.
 Back


19 Ibid., 5:642. 
 Back


20 Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, (quoted in 
Encyclopedia Britannica, (1961 ed.), 5:643).
 Back


21 "The Saturnalia, like Christmas was a time for giving presents. Small 
dolls were a popular gift-though for an unpleasant reason. They 
commemorated a myth that Saturn ate all his male children at birth, 
to fulfill a pledge that he would die without heirs" (The United 
Church Observer, Santa's Family Tree, Dec. 1976, p. 14).
 Back


22 World Book Encyclopedia, (1955 ed.), 3:1425.
 Back


23 Encyclopedia Britannica, 5:643. 
 Back


24 G. Lambert, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, 
(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975, 1976) 1:805.
 Back


25 George Gillespie, English Popish Ceremonies, (n.p., 1637), 
Part III, p.19.
 Back


26 Ibid., Part III, p. 35. 
 Back


27 Martin Bucer quoted in William Ames, A Fresh Suit Against 
Human Ceremonies in God's Worship, (n.p., 1633), p. 360.
 Back


28 Gillespie, p. 146. 
 Back


29 G. I. Williamson, On the Observance of Sacred Days, (Havertown: 
New Covenant Publication Society, n.d.), pp. 9-10.
 Back


30 "There is no day commanded in the scripture to be kept holy 
under the gospel but the Lord's day, which is the Christian Sabbath. 
Festival days, vulgarly called Holy-days, having no warrant in the 
Word of God, are not to be continued." (The Westminster Assembly, 
The Directory For the Publick Worship of God, 1645).
 Back


31 Ralph Woodrow, Babylon Mystery Religion, (Riverside: Ralph Woodrow 
Evangelistic Association, 1961), pp. 160-1.
 Back


32 Of course, the world loves puppy dogs, apple pie and baseball 
as well, but these hold no religious significance. They are not associated 
with Christ and are not religious ordinances.
 Back


33 John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 
1965,68), pp. 177-8.
 Back


34 Ibid., p. 257. 
 Back


35 Out of 24 commentaries consulted, only one entertained the possibility 
that these days were non-Judaical.
 Back


36 Murray, p. 178. 
 Back


37 In Gal. 4:10-11 and Col. 2:16-17, the observance of days is condemned 
by Paul because in these instances the celebration of days was connected 
with heresy. The situation at Rome was different. The days were kept 
because of a genuine misunderstanding. Heresy and ideas of 
works-righteousness were not involved.
 Back


38 Westminster Confession of Faith, (1647), chap. XXI, sec. 5, proof- text (a).
 Back


39 God's people are the church whether they meet in a church building, 
barn, park or house. When Christians gather together to hear the Word 
and worship God, it is the church meeting. It is public worship whether 
they meet at 7:00 a.m. or 11:00 p.m. Public worship must occur on the 
Lord's day, but that does not mean that public worship is limited to that 
day alone. The idea that teaching and worship at 10:00 a.m. is not public, 
but at 11:00 a.m. it is public is totally irrational and arbitrary. It is based 
on human tradition. If this imaginary line really existed between 10:59 a.m. 
and 11:00 a.m., then could not Reformed churches have two worship and 
teaching services each Lord's day? One could be run by women. The women 
could teach and lead. They could sing uninspired hymns and charismatic 
camp fire songs. They could burn incense and wear popish dress. They 
could have intricate popish liturgies, candles, bells, dance and so on. 
Then at 11:00 a.m. they could have "public worship" in which they 
have Psalm singing, preaching by men, etc. Those who arbitrarily set 
up a sphere of private worship in which human innovations are 
permitted have no recourse, on their own presuppositions, in which 
to avoid such bizarre dualities.
 Back


40 As noted earlier, Christmas is a monument to past and present idolatry; 
therefore, even apart from the regulative principle it is still wrong to 
celebrate it in the home, office, church, country club, and so on.
 Back

21 November, 2014

Oct. Field Trips

We've been busy little bees this fall & I took very few pictures, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I started school a bit early on the same day w/ another friend. A promised playdate was motivation to wrap up our first school day successfully & we went to her house to play. She & I were thrilled, all of the children kind of underwhelmed. "Meh. School." I didn't let that bring me down, we've been in a looser but on track schedule than ever. This is my 4th formal year as homeschooling mom & I am just now kind of feeling like I know what I'm doing. We had 2 field trips in Oct. that were fun, low budget & broke the monotony. The historical society has a bunch of 18th century re-enactors who put out 12 real neat informative booths for grade schoolers about mountain life during the Revolutionary War. The Overmountain Man March is our county's historical pride. I disremember all of them, but they showcased blacksmithing, traditional music, weapons, textiles, a play, crops, tanning & some others. There were 12 stations, that I know. We rotated by sound of musket fire. Leora picked that week to potty train herself. (I swear I didn't initiate, she's spooky smart.)So I had to run her stroller back & forth to the porta potty (YUCK for a baby!)& she was holding her muscles EVERY SINGLE TIME. It's not convenient out of the house, but I do enjoy 1 load of nap & night diapers as opposed to 3 all day intermixed w/ poo's. No more scrubbing! She just pats her hip & says "Oh!" in a certain tone I've come to recognize. Our second trip was the RenFaire; the children loved it, especially Victor who has not had his hair cut in almost a year in an attempt to grow it our "mid-evil style." Again, home school passes at $9.00 a ticket rather than the usual $21.00. The girls loved the clothes (we were all dressed up, save Mike). Victor liked the jousting best. Mike & I enjoyed bread bowels of soup like we used to eat at Busch Gardens & the glassblowing demonstrations. I became a goodwyfe rather than a housewife (same thing + or - 400 years.) I got to wear my hoopskirt & other things I rarely wear & got comments of approval from professional faire riggers. I aimed to fit in w/ the peasantry, & might have been the only one; everyone loves to deck out in finery but my sewing skills are not up to it.

25 September, 2014

Hola, All I Have is Christ

 I'm not sure if I'm back to blogging or not, so don't get excited. I remember a lot of feelings from my childhood; not a whole lot of actual events, I just mostly lived in my head & books. But looking at Victor I wondered how I would feel at 8 if blogging had existed & mom had put our lives up to see. My life was very different from his but I know I would have hated being put on display w/ every fiber of my being. Hence the hiatus.

So, I don't know where this will be going. I do like the accountability & inspiration I see on home school themed blogs; it's something to think about. I dislike the taking & posting of a million pictures, another blog turn off. Pictures have become cheap & I think an underlying source of societal narcissism. Hey, that sounds like a blog post topic. Maybe.

I'm taking some free classes through canvas.net. One of them is immersion conversational spanish (Cada Dia) & we were supposed to find la cancion en espanol, y disfrutes de las canciones de sus amigos. I copied that, but I understood it to mean finding a song in spanish, & post the video to your classmates/ friends. I found this animation on a spanish/ english playlist late last night & couldn't find it in spanish but we sing the song at church. It reminded me of Ray Boltz's Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb, but I do love this song.


10 April, 2014

Frozen Wash

My mom sent Frozen over in the mail last weekend, along w/ the sound track. We made it our Sat. movie & w/ Mike doing clinicals, the soundtrack must have played 6-8 hours straight. Thanks mom!

I had heard the "Let it Go" song before watching & liked it. However when watching the movie, the opening, "Frozen Heart" moved to my favorite spot. I like men's ensembles, & this has a fun ethnic/ peasant vibe to it. BUT listening to it in the back ground for hours straight made me a little loopy. I discovered that this is a natural laundry song! Here is the song if you don't know it.

My adaptation begins w/ the rapid washer plunging up & down & picking up on

Born of soap & water clear,
the laundry pile declining
There's dirt & stains impressed right here
They meet on the washboard shining!

So plunge through the water
Plunge again
Scrub on the board
Make a din

Grass stains, blood & oil shan't win
Scrub the stains apart!
On the final rinse depart.
 "Hyup! Ho!
Soak & wash; go!"
"Hyup! Ho!
 Rinse & hang; go!"

 Constant! Eternal! Millenia old!
 Wash day at home will clean your clothes.
Soak & wash once!
Rinse twice again!
Wring, hang & let the sun begin!

Repeat

It's silly, but unlike my "Do you want to build a smoothie?" song, I finished it, lol. Happy poetry month!