A Fresh Look at the Regulative Principle
The "regulative principle" is the Reformed view of how God regulates our worship and provides that worship is by divine appointment. Everything we do in worship must be divinely warranted. And since Scripture is the sufficient Word of God, everything we do in worship must be "prescribed in the Holy Scripture."
So defined, the regulative principle is eminently scriptural. In biblical worship, we seek God's glory, not our own pleasure. And we have no sure way of determining what pleases God in worship except God's own revelation of Himself in Scripture. So Scripture is sufficient to tell us God's will for worship. We dare not add to, or subtract from, God's own Word (Deut. 4:2, 12:32, Rev. 22:18-19).
But when you think about it, the regulative principle is not limited to worship services. It is God's regulative principle for all areas of human life.
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Dr. John Frame serves as J.D. Trimble Chair of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.
An outstanding theologian, John Frame distinguished himself during 31 years on the faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary, and was a founding faculty member of WTS California. He is best known for his prolific writings including ten volumes, a contributor to many books and reference volumes, as well as scholarly articles and magazines.