08 December, 2014

The Circumstances of Worship

In order to understand the regulative principle of worship properly, 
one must understand the difference between worship ordinances and 
the circumstances, or incidentals, of worship. Worship ordinances 
are those things and activities received from divine revelation. Every 
worship ordinance is appointed by God. Anything connected to worship 
that has a religious and moral significance has to be based on divine 
command (explicit or implicit) or approved historical example. The 
church receives all worship ordinances from God as revealed in the 
Bible. The church must obey all of God's ordinances. The church does 
not have the authority to add to or detract from those things God 
has appointed.

The circumstances of worship refer not to worship content and ceremony 
but to those things "common to human actions and societies." 
The only way someone can learn a worship ordinance is 
to study the Bible and see what God commands. But the circumstances 
of worship are not dependent on the explicit instructions 
of the Bible; they depend only upon general revelation and common 
sense ("Christian prudence"). Believers and unbelievers alike 
know that shelter and heat are useful to conduct a meeting in January, 
in Minnesota. They understand the desirability of chairs, lighting, 
clothing, and so on. It is understood that a time must be chosen in 
advance in order to conduct a meeting. There are many things common 
to both religious and civil (or secular) meetings that are not dependent 
on specific biblical instructions. These things are the circumstances, 
or incidentals, of worship

No comments: