Mark Driscoll on the Regulative Principle

Mark Driscoll taught a lesson answering this question: “Do you believe that the Scriptures not only regulate our theology but also our methodology? In other words, do you believe in the regulative principle? If so, to what degree?

Normative principle (Do things you want until the Scripture says no):

  1. Strengths:

a. Sees the bible as principles and gives flexibility for methods.

b. Allows cultural contextualization

c. It treats gathered and scattered worship the same – same set of rules for life. When you live throughout the week you live by the normative principle (brushing teeth, wearing pants, driving cars – We don’t live at home saying I can’t do that unless the bible says so)

2. Weaknesses:

a. It can go too far and allow to pagan syncretism

b. It can make our enjoyment and not God’s pleasure the object of our worship

c. It can elevate unbiblical elements to the point where they squeeze out biblical elements

Regulative principle (Do not do something until there is Scriptural warrant to do so):

  1. Strengths

a. It seeks to define worship by God and his Word

b. It tries to honor the Bible and hold it in high esteem

c. It draws a ditch between the world and the church keeping out syncretism, worldineess and paganism out.

2. Weaknesses

a. It separates gathered and scattered worship flipping the switch as soon as you gather as if Jesus is not Lord over all of your life – that is very peculiar

b. It’s not sufficient – it doesn’t answer the questions about announcements, technology, and seating.

c. It becomes legalistically applied making goofy rules sometimes with extreme applications that are not in the bible (like no instruments or like Psalms only worship)

Mark Driscoll says he does both.

Mark’s principles:

Missional worship principle: “All of Christian life is ceaseless worship of God the Father, through the mediatorship of God the Son by the indwelling power of God the Spirit, doing what God commands in Scripture, not doing what God forbids in Scripture, in culturally contextualized ways for the furtherance of the gospel when both gathered for adoration and scattered for action in joyous response to God’s glorious grace.” (worship as we perceive it biblically at Mars Hill Church)

I’ll post some of my thoughts later on.


About pjtibayan

I love Jesus Christ and live to share life and share Jesus together with First Southern Baptist Church of Bellflower primarily to Southeast Los Angeles County.
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5 Responses to Mark Driscoll on the Regulative Principle

  1. jmark says:

    Hi there, was just poking around and came across your blog (again). Thanks for Driscoll’s outline. As a Reg Principle guy I think his analysis of the weaknesses of RPW are fairly shallow objections best. They fail to grapple with how the Reg Principle is applied.

    I know of no-one who holds to point one. In fact most Reg Principle guys are insistent that Jesus is Lord of all life. We just recognise that there is somethign special in what God calls us to bring to him.

    Point two is naive – those elements are not part of the essence of worship.

    Point three shows he hasn’t grasped that for the most part of 1800 years since Christ the church sang unaccompanied Psalms for good theological reason. It is sheer chronological snobbery and immaturity to write it off as goofy.

    I must listen to his talk and put a response together.

    God Bless

  2. I wonder if this discussion would be more clear if it were placed in the realm of the historic division of “forms, elements, and circumstances” in worship. When Driscoll says that a weakness of the Regulative Principle of Worship is that it does not account for such things like announcements, technology and seating he is misrepresenting what hundreds of Reformed theologians have placed under the heading, “circumstances.” For instance, those reformed ministers who have held to the RPW have had to decide such important matters as time, place, and other circumstantial matters.

    Throughout church history there have been men who have even explined instumental worship as a circumstance (i.e. instuments used to accompany the singing of God’s praises). Such things as announcements, technology, and seating do not make a difficult case against the Regulative principle. The difficulty comes when you try to determine how the Scripture regulates corporate worship.

    I guess I am trying to emphasize that there has been a great deal of care put into the idea of the regulative principle. I hope that those who have heard Driscoll will take the time to search out the historic teaching on this important matter.

  3. Tom says:

    I agree with Mark. To call them goofy with no reasons or back up statements is simply making personal statements that hold no weight.

  4. repre5entyhwh says:

    i’m doing a bit of a study on this my self but so far it seems to me that i’m leaning towards driscoll, just because something was done doesn’t mean we are in the wrong if we dont do it. the prayer cloth that the charismatics are floating around for example must we always pray for people with a cloth?…

  5. Aaron Saylor says:

    And how is sing only psalms with out instruments goofy? Did you ask any of the reformers about this mark? There is always a reason for this. trying 2 chronicles 29 and how God commanding them in the Old testament to use instruments in the temple. It is the book of Leviticus that God tell them do this. As for sing only psalms that is in the Greek. Before making a judgement like this. Do your research!

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