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A Critique of Steven Schlissel's Articles Against the Regulative Principle of Worship

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.