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.
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, 2implication, 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.