The first proof for the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) is sola scriptura. The second proof comes from the doctrine of Christian liberty. This doctrine explains that if the Bible does not teach or command a certain practice, God forbids the church to add its own rites and ceremonies because man’s conscience must be free from human inventions. God freed men’s conscience from the doctrines and commands of other men, therefore, the church is forbidden to teach or command anything the Bible does not. This doctrine is important especially because the tyranny of subjectivism that can bind the conscience in public worship having people do things they are uncomfortable doing. Biblical liberty is freedom from ceremonial law (Gal 5:1-5), the commandments of men (Col 2:18-20), in redemption (Gal 3:10-13), from the moral law’s cursing (John 8:36), from the dominion of sin (Rom 6:12-14), and from the need of being justified by the law and its works (Rom 8:15). The Bible is the only ruler of men’s conscience and the judge of what is allowable in worship. The Lord is the only one to bind our conscience; freedom is the result of being released from man’s ideas to understand how their God wants to be worshiped. Human inventions may not be introduced into the worship of God for this is “Will-worship.” Worship that man had willed but not God (Colossians 2:23).
The next post will explain worship and the Second Commandments prohibition against idols. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we develop the Protestant Christian idea of worship biblically, theologically and explain what biblical Reformed worship looks like.