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Question and Answer

Does the use of video in preaching break the regulative principle?

Question:

Does the use of "video clips" in preaching break the regulative principle in the worship of God? If not, why not?

Answer:

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "video clips" in preaching ao I will simply assume that you mean a minister making use of projected pictures, perhaps with sound, interspersed with his own speaking during part of a worship service in the church. It is my opinion that he is, to say the least, doing something that is questionable. It is true, of course, that some of the O.T. prophets (Ezekiel 4 for example) sometimes used what might be called "dramatized actions" to underline their message. But these were unusual and specifically authorized by direct command of God. I do not recall any like example in the N.T.

One of our OPC ministers has written a very cogent defense of the spoken word as the God-ordained means of communicating the gospel message. Of course we've all heard the well-known saying to the effect that "a picture is worth a thousand words," and this may be true in some contexts, but it is not true here. Faith does not come by pictures, it comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17). It follows, then, that reliance on anything other than the word, or on anything along with the word (except for the two divinely instituted sacraments), is not only erroneous but also counterproductive. It is therefore my conviction that such things are indeed contrary to "the regulative principle of worship" so clearly stated in our Westminster Standards!


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