Excerpted from: Saul in the Cave of Adullam: A Testimony Against the Fashionable Sub-Calvinism of Doug Wilson (Editor of Credenda/Agenda Magazine); and, for Classical Protestantism and the Attainments of the Second Reformation by Reg Barrow
In our previous correspondence you had asked four questions
regarding worship which I have yet to address. You said, "I asked about
David and the showbread, and bowing in the house of Rimmon, and
worshipping in a synagogue, and sacrificing only to the Lord in the high
places." I will take up each question, in order, giving *short* answers to
each below. I've also answered one question you have raised outside of our
discussions here. This question has to do with using "Hezekiah songs" as a
warrant for uninspired hymns in worship.
In answer to "David and the showbread."
I don't see how transgressing a ceremonial law (in the most extraordinary
of circumstances -- "hard cases make bad laws") to fulfill a moral law (i.e.
the sixth commandment -- "The duties required in the sixth commandment
are, all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of
ourselves and others..." _Westminster Larger Catechism_ answer 135)
would somehow overthrow or annul the duty to obey another moral law
(i.e. the second commandment or the regulative principle). All 10
commentaries I checked are in essential agreement, but I think that
Matthew Henry best gets to the heart of the matter when he writes,
"*Ritual observances* must give way to *moral obligations*; and that may
be done in a case of necessity, which otherwise may not be done" (_A
Commentary of the Whole Bible_ volume 5, p. 463, Henry is commenting
on Mark 2:25-26, emphases added). Calvin (on Matt. 12:3) writes "that the
*ceremonies* of the Law are not violated where there is no infringement of
godliness (i.e. the moral law--RB)" for "if David had attempted to do what
was contrary to (moral--RB) law, it would have been in vain for Christ to
plead his example" (emphasis added). Matthew Poole, on 1 Sam. 20:5,
states that ceremonial enactments "must give place to the great law of
necessity and charity (the law of love or the moral law--RB), because God
will have *mercy* preferred before *sacrifice*" (emphasis Poole's). "The
ceremonies of the Law are not against the love of our neighbour" (The
1599 _Geneva Bible_, sidenote on Matt. 12:8). Or, finally, as our Lord said,
in answering this question (and in rebuking the *real* Pharisees; those
who added to the moral law and burdened men's consciences with man-
made innovations and ceremonies), "But if ye had known what this
meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have
condemned the guiltless" (Matt. 12:7).
In answer to "bowing in the house of Rimmon."
Your question about Naaman's "bowing in the house of Rimmon" is
answered in Anderson's _Alexander and Rufus_ on page 15. Anderson
"They who have justly withdrawn from the communion of any particular
church on account of its corruptions; and yet allow themselves in the
practices of occasional communion with the church in her public
ordinances, are far more involved in the guilt of its corruptions, than
Naaman the Syrian was, in the guilt of worshipping Rimmon, when he
bowed in the temple of that idol: for they cannot pretend, that communion
with such a church is no end of their attendance on her public ordinances;
as Naaman pleaded, that his intention, in going to the temple of Rimmon
and being present there, was not to worship the idol, but to serve his
master. Grotius, indeed, and some other commentators, justify or excuse
the conduct of Naaman. But more candid interpreters hold that the
indulgence, which Naaman desired, was unlawful; that there was such an
appearance of evil, such a countenancing of idolatry in it, as he ought to
have avoided, that his presence in the temple of Rimmon in the time of
worship of that idol, was a dangerous example to others; that, on such an
occasion, he ought either to have obtained leave of absence from his
master, or to have quitted his service; and that even his desire of pardon
intimated his consciousness of something sinful in this matter."
Matthew Henry takes a stronger line on Naaman's dissimulation, but
ultimately tempers it with his usual pastoral insight. See Henry's
commentary (volume 2, p. 716) on 2 Kings 5:18. I especially like his
following comment, which faithfully answers your question, because in the
final sentence he uses the words "house of Rimmon" analogously for sin.
"If, in covenanting with God, we make a reservation for any known sin,
which we will continue to indulge ourselves in, that reservation is a
defeasance (i.e. a making void or breaking--RB) of his covenant. We must
cast away all our transgressions and *not except any house of Rimmon*"
For Calvin's more lengthy response to your "Naaman question," see "A
Short Treatise Setting Forth What the Faithful Man Must Do When He is
Among Papists and He Knows the Truth of the Gospel" (1543). This article
can be found in the book _Come Out From Among Them: The 'Anti-
Nicodemite' Writings of John Calvin_ (Protestant Heritage Publications,
forthcoming), pp. 70-73 (in the proof copy).
In answer to "worshipping in a synagogue."
You questioned us (Greg Price and me) regarding "worshipping in a
synagogue" in an attempt to weaken the force of the regulative principle. I
would suggest that you read Bushell's treatment of "Psalmody and
Synagogue Worship" in his book _The Songs of Zion: A Contemporary Case
for Exclusive Psalmody_. This is found on pages 68-74 of the second
edition. Though this was written before Steve Schlissel started pushing his
novel views on worship, it does a good job of shooting holes in Steve's
over-simplification of the matter. Besides noting some of the differences in
synagogue services and those of the early church (destroying the one-to-
one identification that Schlissel implies throughout his arguments against
the regulative principle), Bushell writes (and shows) that "the temple
rather than the synagogue is the ultimate source of a number of the most
important aspects of Christian worship" (p. 72). He also shows that "the
primary function of the synagogue was instruction, not worship. The
Christian Church, however, was a replacement for both the synagogue and
Temple, and as such it combined in one structure the instructional aspects
of the former and the ritualistic aspect of the latter' (p. 71) -- of course,
also incorporating the changes which the New Testament era brought
Some useful notes on the synagogue are also found on pages 93-94 in
Samuel Rutherford's _The Divine Right of Church Government and
Excommunication: or a Peaceable Dispute for the Perfection of the Holy
Scripture in Point of Ceremonies and Church Government; in Which the
Removal of the Service Book is Justified..._ (1646). Gillespie's _Dispute
Against English Popish Ceremonies_ (Naphtali edition) deals with the some
aspects of synagogue worship on pages 290-292 and Gillespie even
comments, "Yet the synagogue was tied to observe those (and no other
than those) ceremonies which the word prescribed" (p. 292).
It is also interesting to me that if the synagogue was not regulated by
some kind of divine command (in keeping with the second commandment
which is of perpetual moral force), which was not recorded *for us* in
Scripture (which was sometimes the case in the Old Testament economy,
see Greg Price's outline below),
"1. That there was no such thing as an uninspired hymn ever sung; and
2. That there was no such thing as an instrumental accompaniment to
singing ever employed in the ancient synagogue."
(Robert Nevin, _Instrumental Music in Christian Worship_, 1873, pp. 15-
All those years of supposed "de-regulation" in the synagogue and no
innovations: astounding! Give our modern anti-regulativists and
pretended-regulativists a decade and you'll have all sorts of innovations
(from instruments and man-made hymns to dance, drama, responsive
readings, women preachers, cool-aid communion and a host of other
heresies). Were the Jews really that much more holy than men today (in
restraining themselves from introducing innovations and violating the
second commandment); or did they understand something that the modern
On the question of the origin of the synagogue and similar ploys to
undermine the historic (classic) Protestant/Presbyterian defense of the
second commandment (i.e. the regulative principle), Dr. R.D. Anderson, in
_Prophetic Singing in the Corporate Worship of the Church_ (unpublished
manuscript, p. 13), has written,
Modern scholarship has come up with a variety of theories regarding the
origin of the synagogue. It has been dated from the time of the exile, from
the time of Ezra, or even later (long footnote not cited here). What enables
scholars to come up with such divergent theories is the fact that we have
very little information to go on.
What we do have, however, is a common tradition in the first century that
dated synagogue worship back to the time of Moses. Josephus says that
Moses ordained "that every week men should desert their other
occupations and assemble to listen to the Law and to obtain a thorough and
accurate knowledge of it" (_Ag. Ap._ 2:175). Likewise, Philo traces the
practice in his own day of meeting in synagogues every sabbath, to the
command of Moses to set aside the sabbath for the study of the Scriptures
(_Vit. Mos._ 2.215-16; cf. _Op. Mund._ 128).
Important for us is the fact that this explanation of the origin of
synagogues is also recorded in the New Testament. When James delivered
his speech at the council of Jerusalem, he noted that "Moses from ancient
generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the
synagogues every Sabbath," Acts 15:21. This explanation also fits in with
what we discussed above concerning the command of Lev. 23:3 for every
Israelite to assemble every Sabbath to worship God.
Since Greg Price is now preparing a book-length defense of the regulative
principle, in light of some of the modern attacks on it (including answers to
questions surrounding the synagogue and its institution), I will not
elaborate further at this time. But here is the outline for Greg's book (as it
stands at present):
_Defending the Reformation Regulative Principle of Worship; or, Was
Synagogue Worship Regulated By God's Revealed Word?_
1. The Second Commandment (like the First Commandment) is moral,
and therefore of perpetual and universal obligation having been written
upon the hearts of all men from the point of creation (i.e. God has written
upon the hearts of all men not only that He alone is to be worshipped as is
taught in the First Commandment, but also that He is to be worshipped
only by those means which He has authorized as is taught in the Second
2. The Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) is simply an articulation
of the Second Commandment, and therefore is morally binding upon all
people from the first man to the last. Since the RPW is a part of the moral
law of God, it cannot be limited to the Ceremonial Law. To the contrary,
tabernacle/temple worship, synagogue worship, and all public worship
must be regulated by the Second Commandment/RPW.
3. The RPW defined and defended from Scripture (both the Old
Testament and the New Testament).
4. The RPW expounded in history (especially its articulation from the
First and Second Reformation).
5. The Sabbath is a creation ordinance having been instituted as a day
of rest and and worship at the creation of the world (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-
11). The Sabbath was observed as a weekly day of rest and worship prior
to the institution of tabernacle worship (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 16:23-30). Since
God gave one day each week to be dedicated to Himself in rest and
worship, and since God regulated worship from the very beginning of time
(Gen. 4:1-7), it is therefore inferred that God's people must have used only
worship authorized by God before the regulated worship of the tabernacle
6. Worship was in fact regulated by God's authorization prior to the
tabernacle/temple, even though one may search in vain to find the original
and explicit authorization of God within the pages of Scripture.
a. Blood sacrifices were required by God, though no explicit
authorization was recorded (Gen. 4:1-7). Thus, it must be inferred that
God revealed His will concerning blood sacrifices to Adam, Eve, Cain and
Abel, but did not record His original authorization in Scripture.
b. Clean animals were offered in sacrifice by Noah rather than
unclean animals (Gen. 8:20-21). Where does God specifically authorize
clean animals and forbid unclean animals in sacrifice? Or where does God
identify which animals are clean and which are unclean prior to the
Levitical law? It must be inferred that the Lord revealed His will
concerning clean and unclean animals to Noah, though He did not record
the original prescription in Scripture.
c. Melchizedek was priest of the Most High God, and thus
performed worship on God's behalf (Gen. 14:18-20). Where is the office of
priest instituted prior to Melchizedek? What were his duties as a priest?
Abraham paid tithes unto Melchizedek as the priest of God (Heb. 7:1-10).
Where is there any warrant for tithing stated in Scripture prior to
Abraham? Therefore, it must be inferred that God gave explicit instruction
concerning these matters related to worship, although these instructions
are not specifically stated in the biblical record.
d. In like manner, God's people faithfully gathered each Sabbath to
worship the Lord in synagogues subsequent to the institution of
tabernacle/temple worship. Where is synagogue worship specifically
authorized in Scripture? It must likewise be inferred that it was explicitly
regulated by God (since He authorized their meeting in such assemblies
each Sabbath), although that regulation (like the examples above) is not
explicitly recorded in Scripture.
7. Even if (for the sake of argument) tabernacle/temple worship alone
was explicitly regulated in the Old Testament, that does not alter the fact
that New Covenant worship is regulated (according to the Second
Commandment and the RPW) by the explicit precepts, the approved
examples, and the good and neccesary deductions derived from Scripture,
the light of nature, and the general rules of God's Word even as all public
worship was regulated in the Old Testament (Mk. 7:6-13; Jn. 4:24; 1 Cor.
11:16; 1 Cor. 14:26-40; Eph. 5:19; Col. 2:23; 1 Tim. 4:2; Heb. 10:1 etc).
8. The example of the Lord in worshipping in synagogues during His
ministry provides no proof that the Lord approved of unregulated worship
outside of temple worship. It must first be demonstrated that the
synagogue worship which He attended was not regulated by God's
revelation (by revelation not recorded in Scripture). The Lord did indeed
forbid His disciples from sitting under the ministry of heretical scribes and
Pharisees (Mt. 15:13,14; 16:6,12; 23:2-36), but He did not forbid His
disciples from attending faithful synagogue worship.
9. It has been claimed by the opponents of the RPW: "Jesus is our
RPW." We agree. However, it is only by His revelation that we know
Christ as our RPW.
10. What is the biblical alternative to the RPW? All views of worship
principally lead either to Rome or to Westminster. Thus, that which
prevents churches from becoming epistemologically consistent with their
Romish views of worship is ultimately preference, expediency, and mere
pragmatism, not biblical principle.
Lord willing this book will be ready sometime in the near future and if I
remember I will send you a complimentary review copy.
In answer to "sacrificing only to the Lord in the high places."
I see nothing in what took place at the high places, rightly considered,
which militates against the regulative principle correctly understood. The
high places were
"places of worship, specifically of idolatrous worship. So the title was
transferred from the elevation to the sanctuary on the elevation (1 Kings
11:7; 14:23) cf. the burning of the 'high place' in 2 Kings 23:15), and so
came to be used of any idolatrous shrine, whether constructed on an
elevation or not (note 2 Kings 16:4; 2 Chron. 28:4 the 'high places are
distinguished from the 'hills'). So the high places in the cities (2 Kings 17:9;
2 Chron. 21:11 [LXX] could have stood anywhere, while in Ezk. 16:16 a
portable structure seems to be in point" (_International Standard Bible
Dictionary_ hereafter _ISBD_, (Hendrickson, 1939, 1956, reprinted 1994,
vol. 3, p. 1390).
Furthermore, the _ISBD_ notes,
"The opposition to the high places had many motives. When used for the
worship of other gods their objectionable character is obvious, but even
the worship of Jeh in the high places was intermixed with heathen
practices (Hos. 4:14, etc.). In Amos. 5:21-24, etc., sacrifice in the high places
is denounced because it is regarded as a substitute for righteousness in
exactly the same way that sacrifice in the Temple is denounced in Jer.
7:21-24. Or, *sacrifice in the high places may be denounced under the best
of conditions, because in violation of the law of one sanctuary* (2 Chr.
33:17, etc.)" (pp. 1391, emphasis added).
One aspect of this question, with which we must be careful if we are to
determine a faithful answer to the biblical view of the "high places" (and
which may be confusing to those who have not yet be given better insight
into the regulative principle worship -- at least to the level which most of
the Reformers seemed to enjoy), has to do with the historical chronology of
worship in "high places". For example, "in 1 Kings the practice of using the
high places is treated as legitimate before the construction of the Temple
(1 Kings 3:2-4), *but after that it is condemned unequivocally*" (_ISBD_, p.
1391, emphasis added).
In short, worship (contrary to the second commandment or what we call
the regulative principle) in the high places brought national judgement
upon the covenanted people of God in the OT (for much Scriptural
corroboration see the second column, page 1393, of volume 3 in the _ISBD_
article on the "high places"). Our modern "Reformed" and "evangelical"
communities are much like Israel (to give the moderns the benefit of the
doubt) when she worshiped Jehovah in the high places. "Reformed" and
"evangelical" defection from biblical and Reformation attainments
(concerning worship) is of such long standing and has become so much a
matter of habit (or the traditions of the elders, Mark 7:9) that she
denounces those faithful servants of Christ sent to rebuke her and
overthrow her idols. The _ISBD_ (p. 1391) notes, "the practice had been of
such long standing that Hezekiah's destruction of the high places (2 Kings
18:4) could be cited by Rabshakeh as an act of apostasy from Jehovah (2
Kings 18:22; 2 Chron. 32:12; Isa. 36:7)."
I think we need to pray for the success of our modern paleopresbyterian
Hezekiah's and Josiah's (2 Kings 23:19-22) and the overthrow of the
modern neopresbyterian and "evangelical" Rabshakeh's. We also need to
mark the words and actions of our faithful Reformation forefathers (Phil.
3:16-17, and as noted throughout my letters), who have already fought
and won many of the same battles against idolatry and apostasy which are
being rekindled today. Note Gillespie's answer to your question,
"whereas many of the kings of Judah and Israel did either themselves
worship in the groves and the high places, or else, at least, suffer the
people to do so, howsoever they might have alleged specious reasons for
excusing themselves (Hospin, _De Orig. Templ._, lib. 1 cap. 1; Wolph. in 2
Reg. 12:4) as namely, that they gave not this honor to any strange gods,
but to the Lord only; that they chose these places only to worship in
wherein God was of old seen and worshipped by the patriarchs; that the
groves and the high places added a most amiable splendor and beauty to
the worship of God, and that they did consecrate these places for divine
worship in a good meaning, and with minds wholly devoted to God's honor;
yet notwithstanding, because this thing was not commanded of God,
neither came it into his heart, he would admit no excuses; but ever
challenges it as a grievous fault in the government of those kings, that
those high places were not taken away, and that the people still sacrificed
in the high places. From all which examples we learn how highly God was
and is displeased with men for adding any other sacred ceremonies to
those which he himself has appointed (Hospin., ibid., p. 3)." (_A Dispute
Against English Popish Ceremonies_, Naphtali edition, p. 318)
In answer to "Hezekiah songs" as a warrant for uninspired hymns in
You (outside of our recent letters) and others often appeal to Hezekiah for
warrant to sing uninspired songs in public worship. Because this is a
common (and I believe fleshy) appeal, please note the following from
pages 85-86 in SWRB's republication of _The Psalms in Worship_
(McNaugher, ed., 1907, reprinted 1992),
"Prof. Heron claims the songs of Hezekiah were sung. This claim is based on
a line contained in Hezekiah's song of thanksgiving composed on the
occasion of his recovery from sickness:
'Jehovah is ready to save me:
Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments
All the days of our life in the house of Jehovah.' (Isa. 37:20, R.V.)
The Hebrew word here rendered 'sing,' whenever it occurs in the Bible,
except three times, is translated 'stringed instruments.' The word rendered
'we will sing' should be rendered 'we will strike'; Gesenius' Hebrew Lexicon
gives no other meaning for it. The verse is properly translated:
'Jehovah is ready to save me:
Therefore my stringed instruments we will strike
All the days of my life in the house of Jehovah.'
Cheyne, Delitzsch, George Adam Smith, Orelli, Blake, the Cambridge Bible,
the Encyclopedia Biblica, and, indeed, all modern commentators translate
the verse as I have given it. Prof. Heron's argument is based on what is
certainly a mistranslation of this verse.
This rendering would be in accord with what we know of all the great
Reformations of Old Testament times,
As to the Biblical evidence outside the Psalter, the various references to
praise in the Old Testament show conclusively that the Psalms were the
matter of the songs. At the dedication of the temple in Solomon's time, and
again in the days of Zerubbabel, when the foundation of the new temple
was laid, the Psalms we sung. 2 Chron. 5:13; Ezra 3:11-12. And again they
were sung when good King Hezekiah, in a reformation that is worth more
than all the history of the years of Israel's backsliding as a testimony to
what had divine appointment, did everything "according to the
commandment of David... for so was the commandment of the Lord by His
prophets" 2 Chron. 29:25. "Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded
the Levites to sing praise unto the Lord with the words of David and of
Asaph the seer." 2 Chron. 29:30. The singers came up from captivity with
Ezra and Nehemiah. We are told that "both the singers and the porters kept
the charge of their God... according to the commandment of David, and of
Solomon his son. For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were
chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God." Neh.
12:45-46. These reformations and rededications are the best witness of
what was the real practice required by the Lord, for they then sought to do
everything according to the divine pattern. The objection that songs
outside the Psalter were used in God's worship, as the songs of Moses, of
Hezekiah, and of Habakkuk, is no positive sanction for singing extra-
Biblical hymns. And if there were uninspired songs used at times, they are
only exception and infractions that prove the rule ("The Psalms Are the
Divinely Authorized and Exclusive Manual of Praise" by Kennedy, as cited
in McNaugher, ed., _The Psalms in Worship_ , p. 62).
Do you think that things were more in order ecclesiastically in Calvin's
Geneva, Knox's Scotland and during the covenanted second reformation
than today among the OPC, PCA, CRC, etc.? What about the times of OT
reformation versus the days of OT backsliding? Even though it is unlikely
that uninspired songs, outside of those God provided for his people (and
possibly still inspired outside of the Psalms), were ever sung in public
ecclesiastical services; that they may have very sporadically appeared at
times of declension and apostasy is no argument for their lawful use --
much less an argument for writing and singing *uninspired* songs today.
This is not to mention that most (or possibly even all) of the modern
uninspired hymns are unbalanced and full (to a greater or lesser degree)
of heretical statements. But this is not surprising, because the hymn
writers often held to various heresies themselves -- from Wesley's
Arminianism to Watts' denial of the Trinity (and many hymns written by
Papists, Universalists and sundry other malignants). For your information
Watts' denial of the Trinity can be found in his _Works_, volume 7, pages
476-477 (Leed's edition). It may also be of interest to you to know that
when Watt's was subverting Reformation exclusive Psalmody with his
_Imitations of David's Psalms_ his stated purpose was to make David a
Christian. He also said that there are words in the Psalms which ought
never to be found on the lips of a Christian (information on Watts gleaned
from a letter by Jim Dodson). Our modern hymn-mongers fear not to
compose their own ditties for public worship, while the Apostles and the
Lord Himself, while He walked the earth, saw no need to add to God's
already existing hymnal (i.e. the Psalter). Why is it that heretics, from
Bardesanes (a Syrian Gnostic in the third century), Arius (d. 336 A.D.), the
Donatists (of Augustine's day), the Anabaptists (during the Reformation),
Wesley, Watts, and the "Frame's" of our day, always want to add to God's
finished Psalter? Why is it that the Council of Laodicea (about 360 A.D.),
the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.), the Calvinistic Reformers (and their
creeds) all opposed the introduction of uninspired hymns? Were the most
orthodox defenders of the church *always* wrong on this question and the
heretics and the compromised *always* right? Are you walking in the
footsteps of the flock (Song 1:8)? Who really defends the classic Protestant
(and Apostolic) position today? (cf. "The Psalms in the Post Apostolic
Church" in _The Psalms in Worship_, pp. 159-168 for more).
Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye
well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the
generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be
our guide even unto death (Ps. 48:12-14).
Saul in the
Cave of Adullam: A Testimony Against the Fashionable Sub-Calvinism of Doug
Wilson (Editor of Credenda/Agenda
Magazine); and, for Classical Protestantism and the Attainments of the Second
Reformation by Reg Barrow
Doug Wilson and others at Credenda/Agenda used their magazine to publicly attack and slander Reg Barrow (President of Still Waters Revival Books) in a column that they call the "Cave of Adullam." This invective was Credenda's response to Barrow's comments on Knox Ring (where Barrow noted that John Calvin would have excommunicated John Frame for the apostasy that he manifests in his new book on worship). Numerous private attempts were unsuccessfully made (by Barrow and others) to call Wilson to repentance for this slander. Ultimately, charges for violation of the ninth commandment were brought (in accord with Matt. 18:15-17) against Wilson by Barrow. This book recounts the salient points of the controversy (and the Matthew 18 proceedings) between Wilson and Barrow -- in their actual email debates! Also included is Barrow's demonstration of why Calvin would have excommunicated Frame and Greg Price's Testimony Against The Unfounded Charges of Anabaptism. These debates are a classic example of the differences that exist today between paleopresbyterians (Barrow) and neopresbyterians (Wilson). Wilson's charges against Barrow, of Anabaptism, separatism, etc. are all refuted under a mountain of quotations from Reformation source documents. Barrow's refutations of Wilson's spurious charges bring to light many aspects of Reformation thought that have been lost or forgotten in our day. Besides the initial controversy (over Frame and worship) and the restoration process (set forth in Matthew 18:15-17), this book should be of special interest to all of those who love the "old paths" of truth -- trod by our forefathers in the Reformed faith -- for some of the most pressing issues of our day (regarding the individual, church and state) are addressed herein. Classic statements, cited by Barrow, not only exhibit the wisdom which God granted the best Reformers of both the first and second Reformations, but also specifically demonstrate how Wilson and many other modern Protestants actually reject the Reformation at many points (all their protests not withstanding). "And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in" (Isa. 58:12). This item is also available as a bound photocopy for $3.98 (US funds) and a Hardcover photocopy for $14.98 (US funds).
Biblical Worship by Kevin Reed (Written with a clear view of upholding the biblical tradition of Reformation worship -- with the life and death struggle that was a backdrop to the Reformers war against the idols clearly in mind. Touches on a number of controversial issues that have arisen as human innovations in worship have become commonplace in contemporary church life -- even among those that still fancy being known as Reformed.) This item is also available as in softcover for $4.77 (US funds)
Worship: The Regulative Principle of Worship in History by Reg Barrow
Psalm Singing in Scripture & History by Reg Barrow (Discusses Reformed worship-song in the context of the regulative principle of worship [Sola Scriptura in Worship]. Defends exclusive Psalmody from Scripture and the writings and testimony of the most prominent Reformers.)
Presbyterian Worship: Old and New by Kevin Reed (A Review and Commentary upon Worship in Spirit and Truth, a book by John Frame [Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Pub. Co.,1996; paper, 171 pages]. Reed shows how Frame has abandoned the Reformation, both scripturally and confessionally, in regard to worship. He also gives an excellent summary of historic Reformed views and then contrasts them with the novel ideas now being touted by Frame. In light of the fact that Frame teaches at a Presbyterian seminary and is also a Presbyterian pastor (in the P.C.A.), Reed notes the "distressing implications regarding the disingenuous nature of confessional subscription within both the churches and the seminaries." Moreover, Reed comments that "there are also troubling ramifications concerning the doctrine of scripture, since the regulative principle rests upon the foundation of the sufficiency of scripture, with respect to worship." He continues by concluding that "Frame's book furnishes patent evidence that ecclesiastical discipline is lacking in the churches, and that seminary professors can teach heterodox views with impunity. If Presbyterians took their creed seriously, Mr. Frame would be removed from both the seminary and the pastorate, and not allowed to teach. But in the current situation, the majority of pastors, seminarians, and the people are partners in the crimes of corrupt worship and confessional laxity. 'A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so.'")
Paleopresbyterianism Versus Neopresbyterianism by Michael Wagner
Defines the major differences between "paleo" or old Presbyterianism (the position held at the Westminster Assembly, 1648) and "neo" or new (modern) Presbyterianism. Maintains and proves that the two major differences are found in the form of subscription (whether complete, as with the "paleo's," or loose [i.e. allowing for scruples], as with the "neo's") to the Westminster standards and in whether or not the Solemn League and Covenant is thought to be binding today (in its moral equity). Wagner also demonstrates how the neopresbyterians have turned away from the original Presbyterian position. The implications of this introductory booklet are far reaching and revolutionary and could easily shake the prevalent neopresbyterian establishment (PCA, OPC, etc.) to its very core. This item is also available as a bound photocopy for $2.39 (US funds)
Terms of Ministerial and Christian Communion in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and In Our Day, In the Puritan Reformed Church; With Explanatory Dialogue (Including "The Biblical and Logical Necessity of Uninspired Creeds") by Larry Birger
Though not originally written with Brian Schwertley in mind, in the providence of God Birger's work has come at a crucial time. This delightful dialogue, between Hans (a paleopresbyterian) and Franz (a neo-turned-paleopresbyterian), deals with many of the accusations made by Schwertley (a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America -- RPCNA) in his recent open letter against the Puritan Reformed Church ("PRC" -- Edmonton, AB, and Prince George, BC) and Still Waters Revival Books (SWRB). In the process, this enjoyable work sets forth in a very clear, easy-to-understand way a number of the more controversial and misunderstood teachings adopted by the PRC and promoted by SWRB in their return to the biblical attainments of the Second, or Covenanted Reformation on the British Isles. The conversation begins with "The Biblical and Logical Necessity of Uninspired Creeds", where Hans shows Franz that Franz's rejection of uninspired creeds is itself an uninspired creed. After several months of study Franz is now interested in joining Hans' Covenanter church, but has been confused and unsettled by the charges of his friend (a member of the RPCNA). This RPCNA friend alleges that Hans' church is a continuation of the "schism" of the "Steelites", and that they are "basically Papists, putting uninspired works on a par with the Bible and then abusing (their) church authority by requiring faith in the church, rather than in the word of God." Hans then goes through and explains pertinent aspects of each term of communion, demonstrating that the RPCNA friend's (and Schwertley's) charges and objections are entirely inaccurate, vindicating in the process precious and vital truths of the Reformation. This easy-reading and mild-mannered dialogue includes an index of topics discussed and objections raised, and is an excellent introduction to the true Covenanter position (i.e. the position of the Westminster Assembly and the Church of Scotland during the Second Reformation) and an effective antidote to the kinds of unfounded slanders circulated by those like Brian Schwertley. This item is also available as a bound photocopy for $1.99 (US funds)
The Songs of Zion: A Contemporary Case for Exclusive Psalmody
Contains one of the best explanations of the Scriptural law of worship (also known as the regulative principle of worship) in print today. For this and a number of other reasons this is one of the most significant books published this century concerning worship! Furthermore, it demonstrates and defends (from Scripture, history and the creeds) the Reformation practice of exclusive Psalmody. It dovetails splendidly with Eire's celebrated War Against the Idols, setting forth foundational principles that lay at the very heart of Reformation thought, theology and practice. For as Bushell points out, "Purity of worship and uniformity of worship go hand in hand because they are both founded upon the assumption that the Scriptures contain clear, sufficient and authoritative directions as to the proper way of worshiping God. The diversity of worship practice that we see in our churches arises ultimately from a denial of this assumption, and it constitutes, therefore, a denial of a central aspect of the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. There is much more at stake, then, in this whole discussion than the mere observance or non-observance of a few external rites" (2nd edition, 1993, p. 3). If you are a Calvinist and have not read this book, you are missing a real treat!
(Softcover) $19.95 (US funds)
_ The Regulative Principle of Worship_
($5.88, 2 tapes)
_ Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep It Holy ($12.75, 5 tapes on 4th commandment. Titles below:)
ï Why Keep the Sabbath? (1/5) ($2.55)
ï Is Sabbath Keeping for the Jews Alone? (2/5) ($2.55)
ï Sabbath Keeping & Building the Kingdom of God (3/5) ($2.55)
ï There is Left a Rest For the People of God (4/5) ($2.55)
ï Lordship, Sabbath Keeping, Holy Days & Christmass (5/5) ($2.55,
against Xmas, Easter & other Roman Catholic festival days)
_ Exclusive Psalmody ($17.89, 7 tapes. Separate titles in series as listed below:
ï Exclusive Psalmody (1/7) Inspired Song Versus Uninspired Song ($2.55)
ï Exclusive Psalmody (2/7) God's Covenant Songs in Worship ($2.55)
ï Exclusive Psalmody (3/7) The Sufficiency of the Psalter ($2.55)
ï Exclusive Psalmody (4/7) Exclusive Psalmody and the Regulative Principle ($2.55)
ï Exclusive Psalmody (5/7) Exclusive Psalmody in Church History ($2.55)
ï Exclusive Psalmody (6/7) Exclusive Psalmody and the Westminster Standards ($2.55)
ï Exclusive Psalmody (7/7) Objections to Exclusive Psalmody Answered ($2.55)
_ Instrumental Music in Public Worship ($3.97, 2 tapes against the use of instruments in NT worship.)
Discretionary Power of the Church (1875)
Must reading for all regarding worship. Proclaims the only antidote to spiritual tyranny in the Church, while showing the only sure way to know that you are pleasing God in worship. Girardeau, a Southern Presbyterian, is often referred to as the "Spurgeon of the South."
(Rare Bound Photocopy) $9.95-60%=3.98
Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church
"To sing the praises of God upon the harp and psaltery," says Calvin, "unquestionably formed a part of the training of the law and of the service of God under that dispensation of shadows and figures; but they are not now to be used in public thanksgiving."Calvin continues: "With respect to the tabret, harp, and psaltery, we have formerly observed, and will find it necessary afterwards to repeat the same remark, that the Levites, under the law, were justified in making use of instrumental music in the worship of God; it having been his will to train his people, while they were yet tender and like chil-dren, by such rudiments until the coming of Christ. But now, when the clear light of the gospel has dissipated the shadows of the law and taught us that God is to be served in a simpler form, it would be to act a foolish and mis-taken part to imitate that which the prophet enjoined only upon those of his own time." He further observes: "We are to remember that the worship of God was never understood to consist in such outward services, which were only necessary to help forward a people as yet weak and rude in knowledge in the spiritual worship of God. A difference is to be observed in this re-spect between his people under the Old and under the New Testament; for now that Christ has appeared, and the church has reached full age, it were only to bury the light of the gospel should we introduce the shadows of a departed dispensation. From this it appears that the Papists, as I shall have occasion to show elsewhere, in employing instrumental music cannot be said so much to imitate the practice of God's ancient people as to ape it in a sense-less and absurd manner, exhibiting a silly delight in that worship of the Old Testament which was figurative and terminated with the gospel." Written in 1888, this book was highly praised by R.L. Dabney (in a review which we have bound together with this printing). Dabney notes "Dr. Girardeau has defended the old usage of our church with a moral courage, loyalty to truth, clearness of reasoning and wealth of learning which should make every true Presbyterian proud of him, whether he adopts his conclusions or not. The framework of his argument is this: it begins with that vital truth which no Presbyterian can discard without a square desertion of our principles. The man who contests this first premise had better set out at once for Rome: God is to be worshipped only in the ways appointed in His Word. Every act of public cultus not positively enjoined by Him is thereby forbidden. Christ and His apostles ordained the musical worship of the New Dispensation without any sort of musical instrument, enjoining only the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Hence such instruments are excluded from Christian worship. Such has been the creed of all churches, and in all ages, except for the Popish communion after it had reached the nadir of its corruption at the end of the thirteenth century, and of its prelatic imitators." Arguments from Scripture, history and creedal standards are all considered, while objections are noted and countered. Given the present rejection of the regulative principle of worship in most Protestant quarters, this book is even more valuable today than when it was first written. It contains the best discussion of Biblical and Godly guidelines regarding worship in general, and the instrumental music question in particular, that has come to us out of the 19th century. Defending the Apostolic [and later Puritan and Reformed] position, against Popish innovations, Girardeau clearly lays down what God requires in the area of public worship. Public worship is a most important area of duty and privilege and Girardeau's is the best book on the instrument question.
(Rare Bound Photocopy) $29.95-70%=8.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $24.00 (US funds)
Heart and Voice: Instruments in Christian Worship Not Authorized (1873)
"The Early church did not use instrumental music in its worship.... They considered the practice as pagan or Jewish rather than Chris-tian. Dr. Hughes Oliphant Old, in his work The Patristic Roots of Reformed Worship says: ëAs is well known, the ancient church did not admit the use of instrumental music in worship. It was looked upon as a form of worship which like the sacrifices of the Jerusalem temple prefigured the worship in spirit and truth....'" (Needham, The Presbyterian, #32, p. 35). This book contains advanced exegetical study of the second commandment (from the Hebrew) and upholds the regulative principle of worship. It's a vindication of the Westminster Confession against all ritualistic practices that give the Church the power to decree rites and ceremonies ó a power that denies the sovereignty of God. Glasgow proclaims that he has "sought to vindicate the words of the Westminster Confession," and has made his "appeal ëto the law and to the testimony." He also demonstrates why it was that many of the Reformers regarded the use of instrumental music in public worship as the "badge of Popery."
(Rare Bound Photocopy) $39.95-75%=9.99
(Hardcover photocopy) $24.00 (US funds)
War Against the Idols: The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin
Eire shows that as the Reformation progressed the primary focus of the Reformers became upholding God's sovereign prerogative in worship -- what today is called the regulative principle of worship. Eire's _War Against the Idols_ demonstrates the extent of the Reformers clear condemnation of Arminianism in worship (i.e. will-worship [Col. 2:23]) in rejecting all elements of worship that did not have Scriptural warrant. In fact, Calvin was so intent on highlighting this point, concerning the centrality of worship (and the application of *Sola Scriptura* as exhibited in the regulative principle of worship), that he placed worship ahead of salvation in his list of the two most important elements of Biblical Christianity.
Regarding Calvin's On the Necessity of Reforming the Church Eire notes,
about the nature of worship and about the seriousness of the sin of idolatry in
his 1543 treatise, On the Necessity of Reforming the Church, where he concentrates on the significance of
worship for the Christian religion. Calvin's argument, as indicated by the
title of the treatise, is that the Church had reached such a corrupt state that
its reform could wait no longer. The most significant aspect of corruption
singled out by Calvin is the perversion of worship, and it is in explaining
this issue that he set forth the basis for his attack on idolatry.
Calvin begins by studying the place that worship holds in the Christian faith, and he concludes that it is one of the two elements that define Christianity:
"If it be asked, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a standing amongst us, and maintains its truth, it will be found that the following two not only occupy the principal place, but comprehend under them all the other parts, and consequently the whole substance of Christianity, viz., a knowledge first, of the right way to worship God; and secondly of the source from which salvation is to be sought. When these are kept out of view, though we may glory in the name of Christians, our profession is empty and vain."
(War Against the Idols, p. 198 citing
from Calvin's On
the Necessity of Reforming the Church)
The scholarly translational work found in Eire's book also gives insights into the worship question not found in any other English history books (concerning Calvin, Knox, and a host of others) -- for it contains much from previously untranslated (into English that is) Reformation documents.
A large portion of this book centers on Calvin, but its major thrust is to reveal the single most burning issue confronting the Reformers: purity of worship! Furthermore, this book's teaching regarding the Reformers (and their view of the Scriptural law of worship) is as applicable today as it was in the days of the first Reformation -- for it demonstrates the time tested Biblical principles which guard against the errors, excesses, and idolatries of the Roman harlot, Eastern Orthodoxy and all liturgical innovators on one hand and the modern "evangelicals," Anabaptists and Charismatics on the other. This is, without a doubt, one of the best Reformation history books available -- stirring, scholarly, relevant and edifying!
As far as we know this book may be out of print in the near future, so those interested would be advised to obtain a copy as soon as possible.
(Softcover) $39.95 (US funds)
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