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, 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
01 December, 2014
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.