The Rule of Worship: That nothing may go under the name of the worship of God, which he has not ordained in his own Word, and commanded to us as his own worship. For we are forbidden under pain of the curse of God, either to add, or to take away any thing from the precepts of God, in which he prescribes his own worship. When the Jews worshipped God after the devised fashions of the Gentiles, though their meaning was to worship nothing but God, yet the text says, they worshipped nothing but devils. Again, the Lord forbids us in his worship to follow after our own hearts and eyes, or to walk in the ordinances of our forefathers, but only in his commandments. And he holds it as a vain thing, to teach his worship and fear by the precepts of men. That we may worship God with reasonable service, we must prove what is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. And those are good works indeed, acceptable to God, which he has prepared for men to walk in. All volunatry religion, and will-service, is utterly condemned. Therefore nothing may go under the name of God's worship, but that which he prescribes.


  1. What does God prescribe as worship in the New Testament? All of life is worship, is it not? It's just who or what are we worshiping.
    If Perkins is speaking to public worship, you will find thousands of different worship styles through out the world. Who is doing it exactly right? We automatically assume (humanly speaking) we are doing it most correctly, but how do we know? I personnaly believe that yes it was very detailed to the people of Israel how to worship, however, in the New Testament church the order and style of worship is very unregulated in Scripture, simply because the Gospel was to go out to all lands and all peoples and all cultures. Your thoughts?

  2. Good post. I added u in my link, would u add me too. Thanx

  3. Hi Steve and Janine,

    Perkins is speaking here of corporate public worship on the Lord's Day. You ask about worship styles and how we know who is "doing it right”. Let me offer a few thoughts. First, God does not change. In Leviticus 10, when Nadab and Abihu offered a profane fire before the LORD, we read that fire fell from heaven and consumed them. The principle of worship was then declared by the Lord in Leviticus 10:3 "By those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy; And before all the people I must be glorified." Since the Lord does not change, the same principle is restated in the NT in Hebrews 12:28-29, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may worship God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.”

    What is acceptable worship? Perkins defines it correctly as that which God has prescribed in his Word. What has God prescribed? First, remember that Colossians condemns all forms of will-worship (imposing our own inventions and ideas into the worship of God) when it states that there can be an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed worship. We do not decide how best to worship God. The elements are defined for us in Scripture; namely, prayer, confession of sin, reading of the Word, preaching of the gospel, singing of Psalms, sacraments. Since much of contemporary worship profanes God's holiness, and disregards his clear commands to worship with reverence and godly fear, modeling the service on entertainment, much of it is rejected by the LORD. For some reason we think that worship in the Spirit means that God has left us with a free for all when we come before him. But, in all actuality, to worship in Spirit and truth means that we are not kept away by shadowy types and veils, and bulls, etc., but now are in the face of God so to speak, having direct access through the work of the Spirit because of Christ's blood. This, all the more, requires that we honor God in the way he desires to be worshipped since we are right in the holy of holies. There is a lot written on this. I would commend Michael Horton's book, A Better Way, and In the Face of God. I also have a little book by W. Robert Godfrey on Honoring God in our Worship. I will give it to you free if you drop by. Below are a few audio links, go to our website at www.lyndenurc.com, click on the radio link, and locate the dates. I deal with this subject in much more detail in these broadcasts. I think your local? So if you ever want to talk more, you are more than welcome to come and visit us. Thanks for your questions. CJG

    Friday February 27, 2009 Pastors Wes Bredenhof and CJ Gordon

    Friday Sept 14 2007 Gospel Talk: Pastors Wes Bredenhof & CJ Gordon

    Monday June 9, 2008 Nehemiah 8 A Much Better Way
    Tuesday June 10, 2008 Nehemiah 8 A Much Better Way
    Wednesday June 11, 2008 Nehemiah 8 A Much Better Way
    Thursday June 12, 2008 Nehemiah 8 A Much Better Way

  4. I beleive we must consider soberly how we approach God in worship and ask ourselves what God requires of us and ask what he accepts as worship. He does not appear to accept all kinds or types of unregulated worship in his name?

    I personally, would not want to be left to my own devices, imagination, or will-worship. I need his revealed word on the matter, to know His will, that my worship be acceptable to Him. How can I be sure I am approaching Him in an acceptable manner?

    I notice in Isaiah's prophesy (Matt. 15:9) that Jesus said, "And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men".

    It appears that we either worship God by the doctrines and commandments of men or by the doctrines and commandments of God.

    WCF xxi. states,

    "But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men....or any other way not prescribed in his word."