Original Research - Special Collection: Impact of Reformed Theology

The legacy of singing Scripture only in the Reformed Churches in South Africa: The regulating role of the Word from Heidelberg to Dordrecht

Simon N. Jooste, Johannes C. Potgieter
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 54, No 2 | a2577 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v54i2.2577 | © 2020 Simon N. Jooste, Johannes C. Potgieter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 November 2019 | Published: 06 July 2020

About the author(s)

Simon N. Jooste, The Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Johannes C. Potgieter, The Unit for Reformational Theology and the Development of the South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

This article presents a historical–theological investigation into, and retrieval of, the principle underlying Article 69 of the 1618–1619 church order of the Synod of Dordrecht for the reformation of worship in the Reformed Churches in South Africa (RCSA). Article 69 essentially mandates the singing of Scripture only in corporate worship. The Dordrecht church order was adopted by the RCSA (originally the Vrye Gereformeerde Kerk) at her founding in 1859, a founding in part as a reaction to the singing of free hymns in the mother Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk. In her formation, the RCSA re-established vital continuity with a catholic and Reformed tradition of singing Scripture only in public worship. And yet, in 2012, the General Synod of the RCSA decided to revise Article 69 to allow for the singing of free hymns. In the name of Semper Reformanda, this article seeks to challenge the historical–theological validity of this decision by recovering a central principle overlooked at the aforementioned Synod, yet present in the continental Reformed tradition. That principle is the Scriptural or regulative principle of worship (S/RPW). Simply stated, it is doing in public worship only what God commands. The presence of the S/RPW in the founding standards of the RCSA is of significance for appreciating her historic 150-year legacy of singing Scripture only and for her ongoing responsible critique of introducing free hymns.


Keywords

RCSA; Synod of Dordrecht; Three forms of unity; Regulative principle of worship; Worship; Covenant

Metrics

Total abstract views: 1684
Total article views: 920


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.