The book’s purpose is to examine the current interpretation of the regulative principle in order to determine if the modern application of the principle is faithful to Scripture and to the original statement of the position in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Prof. Frame states that Presbyterian worship in its early days was “very restrictive, austere, and `minimalist’“ (page xii) and argues that “the Westminster standards actually contain very little of the Puritan theology of worship” (xii). He asserts that much of the historical practice of Presbyterian and Reformed churches is based on Puritan and Reformed writers and not the standards themselves. Therefore, he calls on us to rethink the way we apply the principle today.

regulative principle

“The Puritan principle of Worship was no invention of the Puritans. On the contrary, it is the principle regulative of Worship formulated by Calvin and adopted by all the Reformed Churches, as will appear from a consideration of passages in the writings of Reformed writers and the Reformed creeds. The reformed view of the principle regulative of the external worship of God stands out by way of contrast with the Lutheran view. Lutherans have held that what is not forbidden in the Word of God may be allowed in the Worship of God. Ceremonies in worship are thus regarded as to a large extent indifferent (Adiaphora), i.e. things neither commanded nor forbidden in the Scriptures... .The Reformed view has uniformly been that only that which is prescribed be the Word of God may be introduced into the Worship of God. Calvin formulated this regulative principle with clarity and applied it with great consistency in the Reformation at Geneva. - The Puritan Principle of Worship By Dr. William Young.

I haven’t spent much time reading about this perspective of worship and I don’t have very strong opinions on the matter of worship. But I don’t care for dance and drama. I believe that the focus should be on the Word, through the preaching, singing, praying and praising. One of the reasons I switched from the PCUSA to the PCA was because of the worship. I don’t care for expressions of worship that focus strictly on feelings rather then the Word. But at the same time I wouldn’t agree with a doctrinally dry service that seemed to be devoid of any feelings. As a worshiper, I believe that our worship should definitely include heartfelt emotions of Joy, sadness, love and so on. But emotions without direction or Gods truth is Charismatic.

I like to share though a personal experience of mine. I live in an area where there are three PCA churches near me. It just so happens that these three churches are distinctly different in their worship. Even though they are all still PCA they hold to different styles of worship. One has a full blown contemporary worship with electronic instruments, drums and so on. Most of the songs sung are contemporary Christian songs. But the preaching is still expository and good. The second church holds to a very strict regulative style of worship. It only has a piano, and the only songs that are sung are from the psalter. No hymns and definitely no contemporary Christian songs. The preaching is definitely expository by much more poetic and Scottish in its nature, I believe the term is homiletic? Not sure on that though. Any way, this second church is literally like stepping back into time to a more puritan age. The third church is a balance of the first two, and is the one that my family and I attend. They sing contemporary Christian songs, hymns and psalms. But they don’t have a full blown contemporary band. They don’t have drums and the major instrument or the focal instrument is the piano.

Anyway the interesting fact seems to be this. The first church has the largest congregation, but it seems that everything is a little more liberal. Don’t get me wrong, its still a PCA church, but out of the three, I would categorize this church as the most contemporary and liberal in its worship, its bible studies and its functions. The third church has the second largest congregation but it remains more conservative in all aspects. I have been very happy there and most of the members are very biblical Christians. The second church I mentioned is definitely the most conservative, like I said, its like going back in time. You see women with homemade cloths and head coverings. The men wear very conservative suites and the Word is very much the main focus. But interestingly it has an extremely small congregation. It’s not because of the preaching either. The preaching is first rate. But they don’t have things like a nursery or daycare or louder contemporary music or a lot of attractive young adults and the sermon lasts for more then 45 minutes. All these things I attribute to the fact that it’s congregation is very small, of course “ALL” of it’s members are very devout and biblical Christians.

So I enjoy a balanced service and I enjoy how my church conducts its service. But I don’t care for dance or drama and I will voice my opinion against such things if they come up in the future.



Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. - Galatians 2:16