According to the western church calendar this is the Lenten season (the 40 days from “Shrove Tuesday” to Easter) and it is being more widely observed within NAPARC. This is worth noting since, historically, most Reformed churches have not observed Lent and have often confessed against it as an infringement of Christian liberty and contrary to the formal principle of the Reformation, sola scriptura. That principle holds that Scripture is the sole and final magisterial authority for the Christian faith and the Christian life. The only real defense for observing Lent relies upon a different principle, that embraced in the Anglican and Lutheran traditions, that the church may observe and even impose upon its members whatever is not forbidden by Scripture. Recently, I sat down with Les and Tanner to follow up their ongoing discussion of Lent, sola scriptura, and the rule of worship (or the regulative principle of worship), namely that we do in worship only what God has commanded explicitly or by good and necessary inference. This understanding of Scripture is confessed explicitly in Belgic Confession (1561) art 7 and in article 32, where the churches say:
Therefore we reject all human innovations and all laws imposed upon us in our worship of God, which bind and force our conscience in any way. So we accept only what is proper to maintain harmony and unity and to keep all in obedience to God.
We also confess the sufficiency and sole magisterial authority in Westminster Confession 1.6 and and chapter 21 among other places.
Here is the episode.
Here’s the HB archive.