If you don’t already know, this is a post that helps you the reader to become more acquainted with where I – the author of this site – stand on various topics and theological points. Please, keep reading to see where I stand on today’s topic.
Church worship time is to be guided and directed by the regulative principle.
I could end it right there as I think that should explain my position enough but let’s unpack that.
The regulative principle deals with church government and worship. In it, we find the direction to worship using those components commanded by God. We are not to go outside of His commands found in Scripture for worship.
This worship includes each item done together which includes singing, Scripture reading, prayer, sacraments (Baptism & Communion), responsive readings, etc. Notice I did not limit this to singing only.
What Does This Mean for Lord’s Day Worship?
There is a time and place for everything.
Church worship time is first and foremost for believers and for their edification. This is not to say that non-believers are not welcome but it does mean that the entire meeting time should be fixated on God and His worship. The focus is upon God and not man. Believers are strengthened by this time spent together as we reflect on God and His importance in and for our lives and give Him glory for everything.
With these things in mind, singing should be God-glorifying (not man glorifying). The music should be theologically sound. A great place to be safe in singing in worship is to sing the Psalms. This is not to say hymns or other created songs are wrong to sing in corporate worship but they must be theologically sound. This is best done by using hymns that are a further reflection on particular Scriptures, including the Psalms.
The principle also has implications for the sacraments. We should be turning to the Scriptures in how we approach and practice both Baptism and Communion (Eucharist).
Liturgy is therefore another element impacted. The very way we order our worship time should point to God.
Church worship is a corporate worship and what is included within it should reflect this corporate nature. This is why I would put special music or performance out of the regular Sabbath worship. These things should be for concerts/events held at a separate time.
As usual, I do not intend this to be a deep and comprehensive address but this should suffice to show you where I stand.
To clarify a few items as this article closes . . .
- I do not spurn contemporary style music in worship time. I do, however, require it to be theologically sound. There’s no place for a song that sounds like it could be singing about a lover or God at the same time. Such music is shallow at best and ultimately fails to be edifying. We are called to be bold in Christ in the truth we proclaim, not lukewarm (Rev. 3:16) and this should apply toward our singing too.
- Our Sabbath worship time should always be distinctly God-focused and God-honoring. It is not about generating personal “feel-good” experiences through mood manipulation and the like.
- Church assemblies would be better served today if they consistently everywhere entrenched themselves in the Scriptures and promoted the preaching of His awesomeness in every element.
Note: I do these posts not because I think I’m somehow superior in my views or anything absurd like that but out of a desire to be up-front and honest with my readers as to where I stand. Otherwise, you’d be left to figure things out by reading between the lines and/or guessing.
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