Archive for April 21st, 2007

An Excellent Article on the Regulative Principle of Worship

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

I just finished reading an article online entitled Calvin and the Worship of God by W. Robert Godfrey, Ph.D. of Westminster Seminary California. I found Dr. Godfrey’s article to be edifying and encouraging.

The subheadings of this article are:

  • Importance of Worship
  • The Practice of Worship
  • Basic Principles of Worship
  • Music for Worship

The following quote is from Dr. Godfrey’s conclusion:

For Calvin true worship must wed inward sincerity to outward faithfulness to God’s Word. Worship must be outwardly obedient to God’s inspired direction and also flow from the heart: “…it is not sufficient to utter the praises of God with our tongues, if they do not proceed from the heart…” In true worship the believer exercises faith and repentance as he meets with God and grows in grace. As Hughes Oliphant Old stated, “The outward form of worship and the inward adoration of the heart must remain firmly joined together.

Calvin’s labor to relate the inward and outward dimensions of worship properly flowed out of his theology as a whole. Reformed Christianity for him was an integrated whole. His doctrine of sin made him deeply suspicious of human instincts and human desires in the matter of worship. His doctrine of grace led him to expect God to be sovereign in directing worship. He would have insisted that those who think that they can preserve Reformed systematic theology while abandoning a Reformed theology of worship are wrong. Rather he would suggest that where theology stresses the sovereign power and work of God, where the priority of his action and the regulative authority of his Word are recognized, there a form of worship very like Calvin’s own will emerge. The church today needs to listen anew to Calvin on worship so that its worship will not be man-centered, but God-centered and God-directed.