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1999 Issue 6

"The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon; they that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God, they shall still bring forth fruit in old age, they shall be fat and flourishing, to show that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."

The subject of this memoir was one of the trees of the Lord. The Lord planted it. The Lord watered it. The Lord pruned it. The Lord rejoiced in it. If David called the stately cedars of Lebanon "trees of the Lord," how would his soul have gone out into lofty flights of holy meditation had he beheld the forests of California! In the kingdom of our Lord, Leighton Wilson was one of the monarchs of Yosemite; in its branches the birds of the air found lodging, and under its shade the pilgrims of earth joyfully rested.

Recently, a series of articles was written by Pastor Steven M. Schlissel against the regulative principle of worship, entitled "All I Really Need to Know About Worship...I Don't Learn from the Regulative Principle." These articles were published in Schlissel's newsletter, Messiah's Mandate, and were reprinted in an edited-abridged form in Chalcedon Report. They received a rather wide audience in Reformed circles and are being referred to by opponents of Reformed Worship.

The purpose of this essay is to examine Schlissel's main arguments and expose them as false, unscriptural, and based upon poor exegesis and faulty reasoning. After reading Schlissel's articles we want to commend him for his openness and honesty regarding his position on the regulative principle. Many people in Reformed churches give lip service to the regulative principle while doing everything they posibly can to get around it. They confess it with their lips, but dread it with their hearts. They formally adhere to what they in practice continually deny. At least Schlissel, in his quest for human autonomy in worship, is consistent. He jettisons the foundation of Reformed worship altogether and in its place advocates what he calls the "informed principle of worship," which we will see is, in principle and in reality, no different than the Lutheran or Episcopal conception of worship. Before we examine Schlissel's false presentation of the regulative principle, his sloppy exegesis and faulty reasoning, let us first examine his disapprobation of Reformed worship and the historical relativism that accompanies it.

The purpose of this article is to set forth the Biblical and Confessional argument for restricting congregational voting to male heads of households. Though an admittedly unpopular position, it is the official position of the Reformed Presbyterian Church In The United States (RPCUS). We believe this limitation is consistent with the teachings of God's Word on church government, and that it may be deduced by good and necessary consequence from the system of truth set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and its Directories. Clear inferences are as binding upon us, according to our Confession, as the foundational doctrines that are explicitly spelled out. We read in chapter I section VI of the Westminster Confession Of Faith, "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture..." In his exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith, Robert Shaw said the following concerning this portion of the Confession: "...but we hold that conclusions fairly deduced from the declarations of the Word of God are as truly parts of divine revelation as if they were expressly taught in the Sacred Volume." We shall demonstrate from the Standards and its proof texts that the Scripture does restrict congregational voting to only male heads of households.

Over the next several pages, I am entrusted with the task of giving an introductory overview of the book of Revelation. Undoubtedly, it is the most difficult book in the Bible. It has been said that wherever you find five commentaries on the book of Revelation, you will find six different views. To make matters worse, many of the commentaries are like a black hole - they are so dense that no light can escape from them. In fact, Ambrose Bierce wrote what he called The Devil's Dictionary. In his definition of "Revelation" we read: "A famous book in which St. John concealed all that he knew. The revealing is done by the commentators, who know nothing."

In this overview I cannot deal with all the details of this very perplexing book. I do, however, want to highlight some portions that I think will be helpful as keys or tools to open up the book of Revelation to you. I want us to focus on two big issues: the date of the writing of Revelation and the theme of Revelation. These will provide helpful keys to the correct interpretation of the book.