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  • Writer's pictureJonas Croissant

Our Order of Worship - A Local Expression of the Regulative Principle of Worship

Updated: Jun 21

An order of worship is also known as the liturgy of the church meeting, and it delineates what takes place during the Lord's Day gathering of the saints. In the most detailed description and regulation of a church service in the Bible, the first epistle to the Corinthians in chapters 11 through 14, Paul teaches us that during our services "God is really among [us]" and that He is a God of peace and order (1 Corinthians 14:33,40).

Therefore, to reflect the attributes of our great God and for the benefit of the church body, it is only wise to plan beforehand what takes place during the services to allow for all spiritual contributions for mutual edification and the exaltation of Jesus Christ. Submitting to our God of order leads to an ordered worship.

At Acts Church of Maricopa, we believe that God teaches in Scripture that He must be worshipped only in the way that He prescribes. This is historically known as the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) from the Protestant Reformers.

This teaching, however, finds its foundation in Scripture. In 1 Corinthians 4:6, Paul commands us "not go beyond what is written". Jesus warned of worship ideas that find their origins in men rather than God's Word: "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:8-9).

The Regulative Principle of Worship does not concern only singing (or what most people only associate with worship) but the whole Sunday service and it simply means that God regulates the service in the way that He wants it to take place.

Nonetheless, most churches today have Christians thinking that as long as God does not explicitly forbid something in the Bible, then it is allowed in His church. This is called the Normative Principle of Worship. It is a flawed principle of ecclesiology because the Bible is not a long list of prohibitions and rather contains divine commands and patterns for our lives. The rejection of the Regulative Principle, which is the application of the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture for the church life, is why so many unbiblical inventions have been made in church services in our day.

The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 3:15 that there is a way we "ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God" and by implication other ways which are improper in God's house. And God sets His house rules in His Word. We do not decide what the church should look like. We "ought" to obey His rules, not "may". The first epistle written by Paul to Timothy was intended to tell him what God wants for the local church meetings and practice (1 Timothy 3:15, 4:13). We also learn more facets from other biblical passages. In summary, we are instructed by God in Scripture that on Sunday we ought to:

  • Read the Word (1 Timothy 4:13).

  • Pray the Word (1 Timoty 2:1-9).

  • Teach and Preach the Word (1 Timothy 2:10-12; 2 Timothy 4:2).

  • Sing the Word (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19).

  • Send the Word through the Offerings (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

  • See the Word through the Ordinances (1 Corinthians 11:17-33).

  • Share the Word through mutual edification (1 Corinthians 14:26ff; Hebrews 10:24-25; 1 Peter 4:10-11).

That being said, there are diverse ways of practicing the commands of God for the Lord's Day. In the document below you will find our local expression of the Regulative Principle of Worship for the Lord's Day. You can use this resource to find out what to expect when you visit us and why we believe and teach what we teach.

May God bless you,

Jonas Croissant Pastor-Elder

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Order of Worship -Acts Church of Maricopa 2024 Large
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