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"And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth. ... But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee."
- Deuteronomy 28:1, 15 (KJV, emphases added)
"The principle that the church hath power to institute any thing or ceremony belonging to the worship of God, either as to matter or manner, beyond the observance of such circumstances as necessarily attend such ordinances as Christ Himself hath instituted, lies at the bottom of all the horrible superstition and idolatry, of all the confusion, blood, persecution, and wars, that have for so long a season spread themselves over the face of the Christian world.
- John Owen, Of Communion With God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (1657, considered one of Owen's finest devotional treatises), emphases added.
"The Regulative Principle of Worship declares that God alone is sovereign in worship. The Regulative Principle of Worship simply applies the principles of Calvinism (i.e. God's sovereign Lordship) to worship, whereas the view that what God doesn't forbid in worship is permitted is applying the principles of Arminianism (i.e. man's sovereign lordship) to worship. Just as fallen man naturally seeks to impose his will in salvation (e.g. "I can cooperate with God in salvation"or "I have a natural freedom to choose Christ"), so fallen man naturally seeks to impose his will in worship ("I can cooperate with God in worship by adding what I desire so long as God doesn't specifically forbid it"). But just as God condemns a man-centered salvation, so God condemns a man-centered worship (Col. 2:23 specifically condemns all will-worship i.e. all worship instituted by man)."
- Greg Price, Foundation for Reformation: The Regulative Principle of Worship, from the free online edition at https://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/REFORMATION-RPW-GP.htm, emphases added.
Idolatry Brings Economic Calamity & God's Wrath/Curse Upon People, Churches & Nations by Dr. Ferrell Griswold (Free MP3)
An excellent introduction to the far reaching negative consequences of idolatry, as God hates idolatry and judges it in His wrath at the appointed time. Many examples of idolatry in the churches of our day are exposed and rebuked in the resources below. Nevertheless, keep in mind, that in the broadest terms, idolatry is placing anything before God and His glory in your thoughts, speech, actions, etc.
"Now after the death of Jehoiada came the princes of Judah, and made obeisance to the king. Then the king hearkened unto them. And they left the house of the Lord God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass. Yet he sent prophets to them, to bring them again unto the Lord; and they testified against them: but they would not give ear. And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the Lord, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the Lord, he hath also forsaken you."
- 2 Chronicles 24:17-20 (KJV, emphases added)
Regulative Principle of Worship in the New Testament (Second Commandment In Worship) by Greg Price (Free Video)
Regulative Principle of Worship in the Old Testament (Second Commandment In Worship) by Greg Price (Free Video)
"Rome makes the church ultimate, the Anabaptists make the conscience ultimate and the Reformers made the Word of God ultimate."
- The Sufficiency of Scripture by Greg Price (Free MP3)
"The Protestant Reformation was a conflict over many critical issues. Of all the issues contested between Romanists and Reformers, no issue was more crucial than the question of true worship. John Knox displayed a preeminent concern for worship. Throughout his ministry, the Reformer proclaimed the scriptural law of worship: all forms of worship (and all religious ceremonies) must possess clear scriptural warrant, if they are to be admitted as valid means of worship. This concept has subsequently been called the regulative principle of worship, because it regulates our approach to God in worship."
- From True and False Worship by Kevin Reed (emphases added), which is free online at https://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/tfwintro.htm.
"The matter is not of so small importance, as some suppose. The question is, whether God or man ought to be obeyed in matters of religion? In mouth, all do confess that only God is worthy of sovereignty. But after many -- by the instigation of the devil, and by the presumptuous arrogance of carnal wisdom and worldly policy -- have defaced God's holy ordinance, men fear not to follow what laws and common consent (mother of all mischief) have established and commanded. But thus continually I can do nothing but hold, and affirm all things polluted, yea, execrable and accursed, which God by his Word has not sanctified in his religion. God grant you his Holy Spirit rightly to judge."
- John Knox (Knox, Works VI:14 cited in John Knox, True and False Worship [Presbyterian Heritage Publications, reprinted 1988], p. x.). True and False Worship by Kevin Reed is free online at https://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/tfwintro.htm.
"The regulative principle of worship has clear implications for those who want to promote the celebration of Christmas. The Regulative Principle forces those who celebrate Christmas to prove from Scripture that God has authorized the celebrating of such a day. This, in fact, is impossible."
- From the free online book The Regulative Principle of Worship and Christmas by Brian Schwertley at https://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/CHRISTMAS.htm.
"I would to God that every holy day (including Christmas - ed.) whatsoever besides the Lord's day were abolished. That zeal which brought them first in, was without all warrant of the Word, and merely followed corrupt reason, forsooth to drive out the holy days of the pagans, as one nail drives out another. Those holy days have been so tainted with superstitions that I wonder we tremble not at their very names."
- Martin Bucer, cited in William Ames, A Fresh Suit Against Human Ceremonies in God's Worship (1633) , pp. 359-60
"... by communicating with idolaters in their rites and ceremonies, we ourselves become guilty of idolatry; even as Ahaz, 2 Kings 16:10, was an idolater, eo ipso, that he took the pattern of an altar from idolaters. Forasmuch, then, as kneeling before the consecrated bread, the sign of the cross, surplice, festival days (like Christmas, Easter, etc.-ed.), bishopping, bowing down to the altar, administration of the sacraments in private places, etc., are the wares of Rome, the baggage of Babylon, the trinkets of the whore, the badges of Popery, the ensigns of Christ's enemies, and the very trophies of antichrist, -- we cannot conform, communicate and symbolise with the idolatrous Papists in the use of the same, without making ourselves idolaters by participation. Shall the chaste spouse of Christ take upon her the ornaments of the whore? Shall the Israel of God symbolise with her who is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt? Shall the Lord's redeemed people wear the ensigns of their captivity? Shall the saints be seen with the mark of the beast? Shall the Christian church be like the antichristian, the holy like the profane, religion like superstition, the temple of God like the synagogue of Satan?"
- George Gillespie, A Dispute Against English Popish Ceremonies, emphases added.
FREE VIDEO: Christmas Condemned By Christ (1/3) Puritan Teaching On Roman Catholic Holy Days
FREE VIDEO: Christmas Condemned By Christ (2/3) Puritan & Reformation Teaching On Roman Catholic/Pagan Holy Days
"If it be asked, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a standing amongst us, and maintains its truth, it will be found that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of Christianity, viz., a knowledge first, of the right way to worship God; and secondly of the source from which salvation is to be sought. When these are kept out of view, though we may glory in the name of Christians, our profession is empty and vain."
- John Calvin as cited in War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin, p. 198 (Cambridge University Press, 1990). Carlos Eire is citing from John Calvin's On the Necessity of Reforming the Church, which is FREE ONLINE at: https://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/NRC_ch00.htm.
John Calvin on the Regulative Principle of Worship Against Idolatry
"...which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart."
"God here cuts off from men every occasion for making evasions, since he condemns by this one phrase, "I have not commanded them," whatever the Jews devised. There is then no other argument needed to condemn superstitions, than that they are not commanded by God: for when men allow themselves to worship God according to their own fancies, and attend not to his commands, they pervert true religion. And if this principle was adopted by the Papists, all those fictitious modes of worship, in which they absurdly exercise themselves, would fall to the ground. It is indeed a horrible thing for the Papists to seek to discharge their duties towards God by performing their own superstitions. There is an immense number of them, as it is well known, and as it manifestly appears. Were they to admit this principle, that we cannot rightly worship God except by obeying his word, they would be delivered from their deep abyss of error. The Prophet's words then are very important, when he says, that God had commanded no such thing, and that it never came to his mind; as though he had said, that men assume too much wisdom, when they devise what he never required, nay, what he never knew."
- John Calvin, Commentary on Jeremiah 7:31, emphases added.
The Regulative Principle of Worship as found in God's Word is accurately summarized for us in the Westminster Confession of Faith 21:1:
But the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.
In like manner, carefully note the answer given to question 109 of the Larger Catechism ("What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?"):
The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever... corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretence whatsoever... all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.
A short summary of the Regulative Principle of Worship is simply this: What Scripture does not authorize it forbids. Most churches (Romish churches, Orthodox churches, Anglican churches, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Evangelical, and most Reformed and Presbyterian churches) are operating on an altogether different principle from the one just stated. The principle they are operating on is: What Scripture does not forbid, it permits. Since Christ in the New Covenant has not expressly forbidden drama, dancing, candles, incense, musical instruments, uninspired hymns, crossing oneself, banners, crosses, images, etc. within the house of God, the vast majority of churches today permit these (to lesser or greater degrees) and many more practices into their worship services.
However, the Regulative Principle of Worship would prevent all the above practices into the worship of God because they are all without the authorization of Christ, the mediator of the New Covenant. In other words, every religious practice or symbol in the worship of God's people must have a divine warrant from God's Word either by (1) command; or by (2) authorized example of the apostles; or by (3) good and necessary inference.
- Greg Price, Foundation for Reformation: The Regulative Principle of Worship, p. 10, free at https://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/REFORMATION-RPW-GP.htm, emphases added.
FREE VIDEO: Instrumental Music in Public Worship in the Old Testament (The Second Commandment) by Greg Price (Free Video)
Instrumental Music in Public Worship in the New Testament (& the Second Commandment) by Greg Price (Free Video)
John Calvin on Separation from False Worship
"In 1550, Calvin proudly wrote to Melancthon: "many, in order to avoid idolatry, are fleeing France and are coming to us in voluntary exile." Calvin often refers to idolatry as if were a plague: Once an area becomes infected with this virus, the only way the residents can escape contagion is by fleeing. Those who remain behind, surrounded by the disease, risk infection every day as long as they come into contact with its victims. Calvin was aware that not everyone was free to emigrate, but he continually stressed that for those who found it possible, it was the wisest course to follow:
Now, consider whether you can have peace with God and your own conscience while you persevere in your present state ... We have no direct revelation commanding us to leave the country, but since we have the commandment to honor God in body and soul, wherever we may be, what else could we do? It is certainly to us, then, that these words are also addressed, 'Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred' [Gen. 12:1]; as long as we are there constrained to act against our conscience, and cannot live for the glory of God.
Calvin adds that one should regard as "filth and dung" everything which hinders one from being a good Christian; if anything separates one from God, who is the true life, then it can only lead to death."
- Carlos Eire, War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin (Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 260-261, emphases added.
"Some one will therefore ask me what counsel I would like to give to a believer who thus dwells in some Egypt or Babylon where he may not worship God purely, but is forced by the common practice to accommodate himself to bad things. The first advice would be to leave (i.e. relocate -- GB) if he could. ... If someone has no way to depart, I would counsel him to consider whether it would be possible for him to abstain from all idolatry in order to preserve himself pure and spotless toward God in both body and soul. Then let him worship God in private (i.e., keep separate from public worship where idolatry, or violations of the second commandment or regulative principle of worship, is practiced and taught - RB), praying him to restore his poor church to its right estate."
- John Calvin, Come Out From Among Them, The Anti-Nicodemite Writings of John Calvin, Protestant Heritage Press, "A Short Treatise", pp. 93, 94, emphases added. Cited in: Appendix G in The Covenanted Reformation Defended by Greg Barrow (free at https://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualnls/append_g.htm), "A brief examination of Mr. Bacon's principles regarding the visible church and the use of private judgment. Also, some observations regarding his ignoble attack upon Kevin Reed..."
FREE MP3: What Are Terms of Communion? (1/2) by Greg Price (Puritan Worship Series)
FREE MP3: What Are Terms of Communion? (2/2) by Greg Price (Puritan Worship Series)
What is Close Communion? Apostolic/Covenanter Teaching And Practice Concerning the Lord's Supper From Scripture (1/2) by Greg Price (Free MP3, Puritan Worship Series)
What is Close Communion? Apostolic/Covenanter Teaching And Practice Concerning the Lord's Supper From Scripture (2/2) by Greg Price (Free MP3, Puritan Worship Series)
FREE MP3: What is Occasional Hearing? (1/3) On Biblical Separation by Greg Price (Puritan Worship Series)
FREE MP3: What is Occasional Hearing? (2/3) On Biblical Separation by Greg Price (Puritan Worship Series)
FREE MP3: What is Occasional Hearing? (3/3) On Biblical Separation by Greg Price (Puritan Worship Series)
"Yet will I leave a remnant, that ye may have some that shall escape the sword among the nations, when ye shall be scattered through the countries. And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations."
- Ezekiel 6:8-9 (KJV, emphases added)
Pastor Greg L. Price Reviews and Recommends
the Puritan Hard Drive
Pastor Greg L. Price
I was one of those who had profited much from using the plethora of out-of-print Reformation materials offered by Still Waters Revival Books in the 62 CDs (Puritan CDs and Reformation CDs) for a number of years in my ministry -- works that I could only have found in select libraries (usually hundreds of miles away from my residence).
With the CDs, it took a little while to go to the index of each set, locate the documents I needed, and then find the correct CD. Of course, the time was always well spent in finding that particular document that I needed.
However, now that I have the Puritan Hard Drive, I am able to use my time much more efficiently in finding that particular document I need by quickly searching for it and finding it in a matter of seconds. It's like going from "dial up" to "high-speed" Internet!
And for all of those documents that have a font that are in block letters, I am able to simply cut and paste from the Puritan Hard Drive to my own document with ease.
Amazing surprises do come in small packages!
If you want to understand Reformed theology (i.e., the whole counsel of God) the Puritan Hard Drive is unsurpassed, outside the Bible itself. The First and Second Reformations gave us the most faithful Scriptural teaching and preaching since the time of the Apostles, and there is no other resource, outside Scripture itself, where you can find so much of God's truth as in the Puritan Hard Drive.
May the Lord continue to use this most profitable tool to promote a Third Reformation that encompasses the whole world (Isaiah 2:2-4)!
- Pastor Greg L. Price (Covenanted Presbyterian Pastor, Author, Theologian, etc.) Free online books, MP3s and videos by Greg Price at https://www.swrb.com/newslett/freebook/gprice.htm
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