Could Instruments Be Idols?

Friday, in the Medieval-Reformation course I gave a lecture on Calvin’s doctrine of worship during which a student asked about instruments. I replied that Calvin (and most of the Reformed) would have viewed the introduction of instruments into the service the same . . . Continue reading →

On Elements and Circumstances

An HB Classic

The Reformed confessions distinguish between the elements of worship and the circumstances of worship. In Westminster Confession 21 we say, “…the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he . . . Continue reading →

New Reformed Congregation in the Dallas Metro

Via Exclusive Psalmody comes the announcement that the RPCNA is planting a new congregation in the Dallas metro. The RPs are an American Presbyterian denomination with roots in the Scottish Presbyterian tradition. Sometimes known as “Covenanters” because of their connections to the . . . Continue reading →

In Case You’ve Never Heard

One of the reasons why people resist the call to return to historic Reformed (and catholic) worship practices, e.g., singing God’s Word without musical instruments is because it is completely unfamiliar and thus seems implausible or entirely theoretical. It isn’t. Thanks to . . . Continue reading →

We Neglected The Reformers On Worship

Although I had been raised in Methodist and Presbyterian churches and attended Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, was ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, served pastorates in that church and in the PCA, I nevertheless found myself at different times in my . . . Continue reading →

You Mean That There’s More Than "Shine, Jesus Shine"?

Do you realize that, for people of a certain age, let’s say those born since 1980, “Shine, Jesus Shine” (published in 1987) is now a “traditional hymn”? It’s about as “traditional” for those generations as revival songs from the early 20th century . . . Continue reading →

Online Now: Worship Matters

Earlier this summer (Summer ends 21 September 2013) the good folks of the Associated Presbyterian Church invited me to contribute an essay on worship to the denominational magazine, APC News. It appeared as “Worship Matters” in APC News, 160 (July/August 2013), 5–9. It’s . . . Continue reading →

Does The Bible Command It?

In other words, when we are considering the content and conduct of our worship, the biggest question is not “Does the Bible forbid it?” but “Does the Bible command it?” That makes things much simpler because any list of what God forbids . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 41: Reformation Worship Conference


David Hall and the good folks at Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Powder Springs, GA are hosting the fifth annual Reformation Worship Conference next month (Oct 17-20, 2013). David joined me by phone this afternoon to talk about the conference and about . . . Continue reading →

Renewed And Improved: Gillespie Against The Normative Principle Of Worship

When I first came into contact with the Reformed faith about 33 years ago, there were two things that Reformed folk had to believe: divine sovereignty and the inerrancy of Scripture. It’s not that we actively disbelieved the other elements of the . . . Continue reading →

Resources On the Doctrine of Sanctification And The Third Use Of The Law

Apparently, there is only one way to speak about sanctification and it is no longer sufficient to uphold and teach the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Westminster Standards (Reformed confessions) on justification, sanctification, and the third use of the law. . . . Continue reading →

Available Now: Gillespie Against English Popish Ceremonies

“Gillespie’s famous book is a vitally important work in the history of the Scottish Reformation, but it is much more than simply that. It has abiding and profound value for all who are committed to knowing, applying, and following the Word of . . . Continue reading →

The Effects Of Reformation In Geneva

Daily religious life changed in significant ways in the first years following Geneva’s Reformation. The city churches—which the French reformers called temples—were reduced in number of rom seven to three, and the outlying parishes consolidated. A company of around fifteen Protestant pastors . . . Continue reading →