Biblical Worship #1
Imagine you just sang happy birthday, someone blows out the candles on a cake, and everyone cheers. Where would you expect these events to have happened? A birthday party right? What if it was at a Christmas day Sunday service called, “Happy birthday Jesus.” I wish I was making this up, but I was there. I witnessed it with my own two eyes. I ate the cake. At the time I did have any reason to complain other than that it was trivializing and the cake was dry. Today I’d be tempted to pull a “John 2:15.” But really, what’s wrong with it? Sure it feels wrong. Still, Biblically why is it wrong? Can we give a Biblical reason?
Let me bring this home to Pilgrim Pres. Why don’t we have liturgical dance? Why don’t we keep the OT worship laws? Why don’t we have puppets for the kids? Kids love puppets! Artsy people love to dance!
Another way to ask the question is: why do we have all the things we do have in our worship services? For example, we have the call to worship, the long reading of Scripture, followed by exhortation, confession of sin, and declaration of pardon. We have the wine and leavened bread in the Lord’s Supper. Most modern progressive churches don’t have any of these things.
The reason is the Bible guides our worship. The only acceptable way of worshipping God is by what He instituted. God’s institution limits what we can do in worship. Like a faucet regulates the amount of water that comes out of a hose for your garden, so the Bible regulates what we are to do in our worship services. No less and no more.
This is called the regulative principle of worship. Over the next few weeks I will explore this in our bulletin articles. The main thing to realize is that this is a matter of God’s instituting authority. God alone has the authority to regulate the way we worship Him.