Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


By Forrest Wayne Schultz

I am not going to say much about the Regulative Principle of Worship (The RPW) beyond what I just said in the Title. The RPW has an excellent motivation behind it -- to worship God the right way, in a way which honors God and is well-pleasing to Him and is a good testimony before the watching world. Unfortunately, that is not the whole story. Instead the RPW has led to acrimonious debates, the sundering of fellowships, and a poor testimony before the watching world, and has brought dishonor upon the Name of God.

Let me say that I am all in favor of church worship services which use only the best music. I am appalled at the degenerate stuff now found in many churches, such as so-called "Christian Rock", for example. But I am also appalled at the exclusive psalmody dogma. How dare any church forbid Haydn's Creation or Handel's Messiah or Bach's Jesu Joy Of Man's Desiring or such grand hymns as "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah" or "Thine Be The Glory, Risen Conquering Son"?? This is preposterous in extremis!! That kind of music is the very kind we need, the kind we wish to encourage, the kind which glorifies God and edifies the listener. To EXCLUDE music of this quality is the height (or is it the depth) of absurdity. That is the very thing the RPW is supposed to encourage and to INCLUDE in our worship services!!

There is one of two conclusions to which we must come based on the absurdity of using the RPW to exclude excellent christian music. Either the RPW itself is false. Or the ones who claim to believe in the RPW do not understand it.

OK, here is the line to be drawn. If The RPW includes and encourages and praises Handel's Messiah and Thine Be The Glory, Risen Conquering Son and other GREAT GOD-HONORING Christian music then it is true, so that anybody who uses it to exclude great stuff does NOT understand it. But if the RPW, rightly understood, excludes Handel's Messiah and Thine Be The Glory, Risen Conquering Son, then it is false and must be emphatically repudiated.

That is where I stand!! Where do you stand??


Forrest Wayne Schultz


  • At Sunday, February 08, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Nice article seems balanced to me.

  • At Saturday, May 02, 2009, Anonymous Edwina said…

    I must confess I am not familiar with RPW. Can you share where it originated or how it began?

    Regardless, I am of the belief that Christian music that honors God, that glories Him and is focused on HIM and not on "us" is the music that should be the music in our worship services.

    This is a great article!!


  • At Sunday, May 03, 2009, Blogger Forrest Schultz said…

    I am not that familiar with the history of the RPW but I do know that it goes way back. Not all RPW people agree on every thing but most of them say that in public worship services that only Psalms may be sung. This is known as Exclusive Psalmody (EP). It sounds really nutty but the EPs whom I have come to know are not nutty, i.e. not nutty in general. In fact when I lived in Philly one of the sharpest young women I ever dated believed in EP. And most of their denominations are in fellowship with the other Reformed churches, i.e. with those who do not believe in EP. So they are not fanatics about it. They do not say you are unsaved if you do not believe in EP. I really do not like to say much more because it is not something I have delved into to any extent.



Post a Comment

<< Home