In reference to a section of John Frame’s Worship in Spirit and Truth (P&R, 1996):

…If we are exhorted to raise hands (Neh 2:8; Ps 28:2; 1 Tim 2:8), clap hands (Ps 47:1), and fall down (1 Cor 14:25), is it not expected and natural that we accompany words with actions? (p.131). We can’t preach, surely, without using our bodies to express our thoughts and words, so how can we arbitrarily “draw the line” to exclude dance?  Frame points out that the real way to make decisions about these issues (such as dance) is wisdom and love–namely, what will edify? In other words, if you think that dancers in leotards will be too distracting and sexually provocative for your congregation, just say so–don’t try to prove that the Bible forbids it. It is a bad habit of mind to seek to label “forbidden” what is really just unwise.

— Tim Keller, in Chap. 4 “Reformed Worship in the Global City” of Worship by the Book, ed. D.A. Carson: Zondervan 2002.

My two cents:

There are two groups for whom this quote is instructive, the first being those who seek to make their practical applications (let’s say, on structure and style in corporate worship, or even clothing styles) normative by proving them from Scripture. The second group consists of those who, out of fear of overstepping their bounds and violating sola scriptura, have stripped themselves of any means by which to mark boundaries or make “common sense” decisions in the above applications. We all have to use our brains to apply Scripture, even if my “common sense” looks a little different from the next guy’s.

Quoth the Westminster Confession of Faith:

“…there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.” (1.6)

Advertisements