Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is all of life worship?

There are many attempts to redefine the regulative principle of worship viz. that "the acceptable way of worshipping 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...or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture" (WCF). One of these is the idea that "all of life is worship". In other words the Bible only regulates worship in the way that it regulates the rest of life. All of life contains many elements and activities that are not explicitly and strictly regulated by Scripture. therefore whatever is permitted in "all of life," is permitted in the public worship of God on the Lord's Day. This changes the regulative principle to a rather loose principle and to mean simply that worship may introduce what is not forbidden by Scripture. The idea has been popularised by John Frame citing passages such as Romans 12:1 and 1Corinthians 10:32. He concludes "Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to prove that anything is divinely requiredspecifically for official services." This idea ignores the obvious distinction between generic commands and specific commands in the Bible. Yet the Lord's Day is a distinct time of worship set apart by God, sanctified from the rest of the days.
There are some very useful contributions refuting this idea here. Daniel Ritchie also does so in pp.63ff of his book.