The Regulative Principle

“False worship in Israel always began with compromising the form of worship (violating the second commandment) and culminated in idolatry (violating the first commandment).

It may be easier for us to detect such novelties in other traditions, but Protestants have developed this “itchy for novelty” in their own way. Did God prescribe altar calls, sinner’s prayers…that often replace the public reading and preaching of Scripture, public prayers, the sacraments, and congregational singing of the Word?….

So nothing can be done in public worship that is not commanded in Scripture, either directly or by good and necessary inference drawn from Scripture. It is a solemn assembly of the Lord, gathered in joy but also “in reverence and awe.” It is not our gathering. It is  not a meeting of friends, relatives, coworkers, or any other natural associations. It is convened by the Father, in the Son, by the Spirit, as the site where he promises to bless his people and to add to the church.”

Horton, Michael. For Calvinism (Zondervan, 2011), 138-40.


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