A Call To A New Reformation and A Return to the Primacy of Pure Worship

a call to reformation 2


We are in a desperate need of a new Reformation. There are areas that the First and Second Reformations did not fully tackle. Areas that need to be further expounded or even clarified. Subject areas that might have slightly been mentioned but need to be further Reformed according to the Word of God. The First Reformation was largely a Reformation of the Church and of it’s worship and the Second Reformation was largely a Reformation of the State but there are other subject areas that need to be Reformed.

But like I wrote in my article ‘Semper Reformata’ @ https://mintdill.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/ecclesia-reformata-semper-reformanda-secundum-verbum-dei-the-abuse/,

“The Reformed Faith wanted to reform everything to the Word of God. Not by novelty, creativity or by any human whim are we to determine for our doctrine, worship or lives.

‘Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda Secundum Verbum Dei’ is often abused by liberal churches but it can also be abused by conservative churches who want to encourage a broader definition of the Reformed Faith. It is usually invoked as a way of expressing dissatisfaction with Reformed theology as received and expressed in the Reformed confessions and the Historic Reformed Faith.

One thing that is extremely important though is that confessional Reformed churches must also beware of not forgetting that our doctrinal standards are subordinate authorities but still authorities.”

In addition I wrote,

“The phrase “The church is reformed and always [in need of] being reformed according to the Word of God.” The verb is passive: the church is not “always reforming,” but is “always being reformed” by the Spirit of God through the Word. Also it is done corporately and not individually. The phrase was never intended to become a license for corrupting the Reformed faith.”

So in calling for a new Reformation I am not calling for a corruption of the Reformed Faith or what is already established and considered Reformed Orthodoxy but to strengthen, Reformed Orthodoxy, Further Reform what has not been Reformed or touched in previous Reformations.

But in addition to further Reform what has not been Reformed according to Scripture we must first return through Reformation what we have already Reformed.

We have lost much attainment of our previous Reformations and have much declension. We must return to the old paths of our forefathers and start a new Reformation by regaining our previous attainments.

That first must with absolute necessity begin with worship. Contrary to what others may supposed think, worship is of primary importance. This is not some secondary issue. It is vital, absolutely vital. We need to reaffirm the regulative principle of worship but we must also reaffirm the primacy of pure worship.

Often what people tend to forget is that the First Reformation as well as the Scottish aspect of the First Reformation was predominately a Reformation of WORSHIP. So importance is the primacy of worship that John Calvin himself placed the ‘how we worship’ as the most important doctrine of the church, even above Justification by Faith Alone.

By why did John Calvin place ‘how we worship’ above Justification by Faith alone?

In The Necessity of Reforming the Church, 1543, John Calvin wrote,

“If it be inquired, then, by what things chiefly the Christian religion has a standing existence 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: that is, a knowledge, first, of the mode in which God is duly worshipped; and, secondly, of the source from which salvation is to be obtained. When these are kept out of view, though we may glory in the name of Christians, our profession is empty and vain.”

The first reason is that it is because Justification is not our chief end. Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever which is worship, Justification is merely a vehicle to get us to our chief end. So how we worship God is of primary import. It is our sole reason of existence to give God worship and we will be doing so for all eternity. How we are saved is the means by which we reach our chief end which is to glory God and enjoy Him forever. And failure to have correct worship and to keep this out of view, no matter how much we may glory God, our profession is empty and vain.

How we worship God and the source from which salvation is to be obtained is the whole substance of Christianity.

Secondly, It is because God alone has the pejorative and right to determine how he is to be worshipped and how man before and after the fall can approach a just and holy God.

So let me finish off with a wonderful quote by Kevin Reed which nicely sums up what I have been saying.

Kevin Reed wrote in Worship in the Presence of God, chapter John Knox and the Reformation of Worship in the Scottish Reformation,

“The example of Knox stands as a sharp reprimand to Christians in the present day. It points to our need to think about worship. We need to contemplate the grounds of our religious activities. Many areas of contemporary worship need to come under the scrutiny of the Word of God.

The Church needs to reaffirm the regulative principle of worship. Nothing should be admitted into the worship of God, unless it possesses a clear Scriptural warrant. This principle is merely an extension of the sola scriptura perspective of Protestant theology, as applied to the realm of worship. Anything less is a violation of the demands of the living God, who says, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deut. 4:2; 12:32).

It follows from this principle that the Church has some serious housecleaning to do. Protestant Churches are presently full of un-Scriptural devices which have corrupted the worship of God. The struggle between the Bride of Christ and Antichrist has never ceased; there are many Papal institutions which have sough entrance into Protestant Churches. Away with such baggage from Rome! Let’s get specific we should rid the Church of all graven images, including those ‘pictures of Christ’ which are found in the foyer and children’s Sunday School literature. …

In addition to the corruptions of Rome, Protestant have added a few of their own over the past two or three centuries. For example, a neglect of the proper use of the sacraments has given rise to a number of ‘false sacraments’- that is, to many practices which have come to serve as ‘sealing ordinances,’ but which have no warrant from the Word of God.

The altar call constitutes such a false sacrament; it serves to confirm religious professions of faith, and it is used to provide assurance to the adherents of modern ‘evangelicalism.’ Its function is quite similar to the false sacraments of Roman Catholicism; and in each case, the false practices are reflective of Pelagian notions of salvation. May we work for the elimination of altar calls, and other manipulative techniques which have no Scriptural sanction. …

These are merely suggestions of some places to begin. There are multitudes of other things which have inappropriately found a place in the Church. May we pledge ourselves, before God, to unceasing labor, until we have cleansed the temple of God from all the modern monuments of idolatry.

In this vein, the officers of the Church have a special duty to carry out the work of Reformation. We may not live to see idolatry entirely eradicated from our society; but it can be removed from within the walls of the Church. It is the province of Church officers to perform this task in all matters under their jurisdiction. Church officers awaken to your responsibilities. One day you must render an account for how well you have discharged your responsibilities. …

Finally, it is important to realize the primacy of pure worship. On the individual level, there is nothing more important.

Knox saw that human innovation in worship is the very seed of idolatry, He took it very seriously because idolatry “separateth man altogether from God” A pastoral concern for the souls of men fueled Knox’s opposition to corrupt worship.

In the modern pluralistic age, the Church has lost a sense of immorality of false worship. False religious opinions and practices are not simply academic differences; they are a form of moral corruption which destroys the souls of men. This truth should provide the Church with a sense of urgency as it confronts men in their false worship.

The primacy of worship also has tremendous ramifications on the corporate level. Today in America, there are many cries for a ‘new Reformation.’ Yet, these calls often come from groups which have no conception of the priority of worship.

A new Reformation cannot be based upon an attempt to preserve a social structure or a cultural way of life. The Scottish Reformation was preeminently a struggle over worship. Certainly, it had social and political ramifications; and those who seek to divorce religion from social and political life are being naive. But, likewise, it is folly to seek to ‘reform’ America without a primary emphasis on worship.

Frequently, the new social reformers join hands with Papists, Pelagians, Mormons, and others, in an attempt to save our nation. Yet, God’s blessings are to be found when His people seek refuge in Him- not when they can construct a coalition from among the various factions of religious idolaters in the land. To think otherwise is to miss the main point of the Scottish Reformation.

While Knox would share the abhorrence for the general lawlessness in our society, it is doubtful he would approve of the selective emphases of the modern social reformers. These contemporary cultural reformers wax eloquent in their denunciation of certain forms of lawlessness: homosexuality, adultery, government theft by taxation, and federal intrusions into family life. It is very popular to denounce these practices. Yet, our modern social critics are strangely silent when it comes to violators of the first table of God’s law, such as idolaters (including Papist, Pelagians, Mormons, etc) and Sabbath-breakers.

Say Knox,

“But vain it is to crave reformation in manners, where the religion is corrupted. For like as a man cannot do the office of a man, except first he have a being or a life, so to work works pleasant in the sigh of God the Father can no man do without the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, which doth not abide in the hearts of Idolaters.”

In closing, let us hear the words of John Knox, who calls us to that preeminent concern for true worship:

“The matter is not of so small importance, as some suppose. The question is, whether God or man ought to be obeyed in matters of religion? In mouth, all do confess that God is only worthy of sovereignty. But after that many– by instigation of the devil, and by the presumptuous arrogance of carnal wisdom, and worldly policy– have defaced God’s holy ordinance, men fear not to follow what laws and common consent (mother to all mischief, and nurse most favorable to superstition) hath established and commanded. But thus continually I can do nothing but hold, and affirm all things polluted, yeah execrable and accursed, which God by his word hath not sanctified in his religion. God grant you his Holy Spirit rightly to judge.””

So may God grand us a new Third Reformation and may we repent of our sins and return to our previous attainments which is primary the reaffirming the primacy of pure worship and we must have a Third Reformation and Reaffirming the primacy of Pure Worship by  not walking hand in hand with idolaters.

May Yahovah be Merciful to Us


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