Re: Short Question about RPW (& related prayer request)
- | | From: "Whit" <covie_pres.1646@v...>
Date: Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:13 am
Subject: Short Question about RPW
(& related prayer request)
Just saw this a couple of days ago. Maybe you have already had your
meeting. Would be interested in hearing how it went.
I found a statement claiming to be a summary of the RPW.
Is the following statement an accurate summary?
"Only what God has commanded in Scripture is acceptable
in public worship." (B. Kauflin, "So What Do We Do?: Biblical
Principles for Public Worship", Sovereign Grace Ministries 2001
Worship Leaders Conference)
A more accurate summary might be: "Only what God has commanded in
Scripture explicitly - or implicitly by good and necessary
consequence, including approved examples - is acceptable in the
public worship of God."
He is using it in the following context:
"III. An Earlier Debate
A. At the start of the 16 th century the Reformers broke
away from the Catholic church, claiming among other things that its
worship, with its vestments, bells, incense, and images, was
idolatrous and unbiblical.
Idolatrous as in a gross violation of the Second Commandment's
condemnation of idols and images, superstitious as in uncommanded.
B. The Reformers' emphasis on sola scriptura caused them
to reconsider worship in light of the Bible. The Westminster
Confession of Faith (WCF) spoke to the kind of worship God
desires in what later came to be known as the "regulative principle"
of worship. "The acceptable way of worshipping the true God is
instituted by Himself, and so limited by his own revealed will,
that be may not be worshipped according to the imagination and
devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible
representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy
Scripture." (WCF 21:1)
See proof texts for, as well the Catechisms on the Second Comandment.
C. By seeking to do only what was "prescribed in the
Holy Scripture" they were rejecting the idolatry of the Roman
Catholic church, as well as establishing liberty of conscience
against the imposed worship regulations of the Anglican church.
D. This was a major step forward in understanding the
importance of Scripture guiding our worship of God. The specific
things God commanded us to do were referred to as "elements."
However, realizing that every detail of carrying out these
elements was not contained in the Bible, they stated early on:
"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." (WCF 1:6)
1. See also that which preceded it:
"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." In other words, the RPW is the good and necessary
consequences of the Second Commmandment.
2. Only that which is "common to human actions and societies"
is circumstantial. Otherwise, the elements get defined as
circumstances and the thrust of the RPW is evaded.
E. In other words, while God tells us certain things to do,
He doesn't always tell us how, when, or where to do them.
We are to use our God-given reason within the general boundaries of
the Bible, to determine those details, which are often referred to
as "circumstances." They include what time to meet, whether
you use seats or pews, how many songs we should sing, etc.
F. Despite its apparent simplicity, implementing the
regulative principle, sometimes simplified to "Only what God has
commanded in Scripture is acceptable in public worship," has
caused heated debate in certain circles. It has been used against
contemporary music, and in support of exclusive psalmody, a cappella
singing, non-descript worship settings, and a specific order for
The last is to insinuate that its use "against contemporary
music" and in defense of acappella psalmody is an abuse. But "say
so," don't "make it so."
G. Our goal is not to enter into that debate, but to answer
the questions posed previously:
Can't be done if you are going to be fair to the historic
formulation of the doctrine and its practical application.
1. "What does God want us to do in our public worship?"
2. "How can we be sure that our corporate worship is
1. Obey the Second Commandment, WCF 21 and Catechisms on the same.
2. For starters, confine our worship to the reading, preaching and
singing of the Word and prayer as per WCF 21:5
H. Not aware of any evangelical church that would desire to
exercise public worship which is contrary to the Word of God.
This is immaterial, if not a diversion. Nobody starts out saying
they are going to disobey God's Word. Rather our ignorance of our
ignorance of the deceit of our hearts should make us cautious
instead of presumptious in ignoring those who have gone before us
and upon whose shoulders, like it or not, we stand. And if we have
any claim to be presbyterian the West. Standards, not just the WCF
and the Catechisms, is square one.
Yeah, I know, "The Westminster what? . . ."
However, our interpretations of what the word of God
actually says are as multi-faceted as light reflected through a
1. This is a straight forward denial of WCF 1:9, if not also 1:7,8 &
10. So much for the clarity of Scripture. The meaning of Scripture
is one. After all, one of the reasons for translating
Scripture "into the vulgar language of every nation unto which
they come," is that all men "may worship Him in an acceptable
manner (1:8)." Not only that, the Father is seeking for those who
will worship in spirit and truth and his seeking is not in vain
2. The presbyterian interpretation of the Word of God according to
the West. Stands is not the prismatic one.
3. In other words, this sounds like John Frame's buddy, Vern
Poythress and his symphonic theology, which is what you get when you
cross Hegel's dialectic with contemporary worship music: a Bose
acoustical 5 channel worship/wave experience aka karaoake chaos.
This also passes as: "What's right for you is right for you,
but not everybody else sees things like you do etc. . . ."
I. I am indebted to many people on understanding what
the Bible says in this regard, but want to mention especially John
Frame, a systematic theology professor at RTS in Orlando. His
books (Worship in Spirit and Truth and Contemporary Worship
Music) and his articles have demonstrated humility, biblical
faithfulness, and insight, and have been a major resource for me.
Much of this
teaching is derived from his work." (ibid.)
Run, do not walk to the exit.
I read Dr. Frame's work, who was loaned to me by a
friend who is trying to answer my objections. To say the least, I
found Dr.Frame's work to be duplicitous,
You are being very charitable. Frame is a quack. Maybe not on
apologetics, but on worship, he is a quack. For starters, he refuses
to admit that the RPW is grounded in the Second Commandment,
moreover the Second only condemns gross idol worship (Worship
Inspite of the Truth, p.38). In other words here is a presbyterian
professor of theology who can't/won't give his readers the
classic confessional definition of the doctrine of worship. His
works as a consequence demonstrate a humbug humility and are
bibilically foolish, as well as insipid.
Frame's Contemporary Worship Music needs to be compared to Dan
Lucarini's Why I Left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement;
Confessions of a Former Worship Leader (Evangelical Press, UK,
2002). Even though Lucarini is a Baptist and probably doesn't
even know what the RPW is at all, he still gets a few things right.
He denies music is amoral and advocates avoiding all appearances of
evil based on 1Thess. 5:22 instead of mistaking self indulgent
sensuality however sincere for spirituality as the CCM crowd does.
Neither is MTV a commendable contemporary orthodox manifestation of
missions and evangelism.
No doubt the praise and worship hamsters consider Nadab and Abihu in
Lev. 10 old hat and pointed at that because it is the Old
Testament, but the trouble is, whether the lemmings realize it or
not, they are wearing a hat too. Only it is a baseball hat on
backwards, which is why they can't see it in the first place, all
the while pied pipers like Frame lead them merrily over the edge.
CCM is neither presbyterian nor a panacea for all the woes besetting
the church of Christ these days, even lack of evangelism, but is
rather rat poison. The church needs to spit it out, before they get
and I have let my friend (and other
closer friends) know implicitly that I still support and
true worship of God as faithfully taught and practiced
by our Covenanted forefathers and brethren.
Glad to hear it.
I am meeting with my immediate pastor of my member
church soon to
resume discussing the issues I have with that church (of
which Mr.Kauflin is the Worship Pastor and my aforementioned
friend is Mr.Kauflin's intern) regarding worship, their self-
description "essentially Reformed....", church unity,
Is your immediate pastor Mr. Kauflin or are they two different
I have not attended public worship there for 2+ months.
So, I would
appreciate your prayers.
Lord willing, it will go well, if it hasn't already. Be
again in hearing yr. followup.
Fortiter in res, suaviter in modo. Firm on the substance of the
matter, gracious in manner or something like that. (In other words,
there is nothing like being a jerk in defending the truth to leave a
bad taste in everybody's mouth. Don't ask me how I know.)
cordially in Christ