The regulative principle of worship is the idea that we must worship God the way He wants to be worshiped, and that He tells us how He wants to be worshiped in His Word. The Bible, either by explicit command or by principles we can properly deduce from it, tells us how to worship God.
In 2000, while in seminary, I undertook a directed study under the supervision of Dr. Iain Duguid of the regulative principle of worship, writing a lengthy paper on this doctrine. In 2002 I had the privilege of teaching on worship for the adult Sunday School at Grace Presbyterian in Yorba Linda. That teaching experience led to some refinement and improvement in my thoughts, and I’ve wanted to write more on the regulative principle since then. At the very least I wanted to update the paper, which I believed had a weak conclusion. With the encouragement of the members of Mission Presbyterian I took some time earlier this year to update the old seminary paper. It is attached below.
I do not intend this paper to be the last word on the subject – it is not even close! While reading and re-reading through it I kept wanting to expand this or that section, tweak here, improve there. Doing so, however, would have resulted in a book, and taken more time than I have.
I do intend the paper to provoke thought and reflection and even further discussion on the important topic of worship, to inspire others to a deeper exegesis of some of the important biblical passages that teach us about how to worship God.
May it be a blessing to you. Please download and share with others!