Purity of Worship

What to Expect at Worship

It is helpful to know what to expect in worship as a first-time visitor. First, you should know that we keep it simple as New Testament worship should be (as the Old Testament ceremonial temple system has been fulfilled by the coming of Christ and the Holy Spirit working in us as the Temple of God and instruments of His praise). This keeps us mainly to the reading, preaching, and singing of God’s Holy Word.

There is no offering taken during worship, but you may tithe and give to God’s work at our church in boxes at the side and back of the sanctuary before or after each service.

We sing only the Bible’s own, God-inspired hymnal — the collected Psalms, using the Comprehensive Psalter (Blue Banner Books) which puts them to meter for ease in our language and time. Many of the psalms are set to commonly known tunes.

As well, we sing without instruments as the Old Testament temple system has been replaced, and we sing now with the instruments of our hearts in the Spirit as Christ’s spiritual temple (Ephesians 5:19). This message here is not a theological explanation of our worship practice, but is simply shared so that you know what to expect when you visit us.  Please go to our “Duty and Practices Page” and scroll down to the section, “Purity of Worship” for theological presentations of acapella psalmody, the Regulative Principle related to purity of worship, and other important topics.  For a quick explanation, watch this brief video: Purity of Worship by Pastor Jeff Stivason (produced by PRPC’s Pastor Grant Van Leuven during his internship at Grace RPC in Gibsonia, PA).

We do highlight here that this practice has been the worship practice of the Church from Biblical times through most of its history, recovered by the Reformers and Puritans, and only recently has changed in many churches along with the times. Purity of worship as God wants it is simply right and refreshing for His saints.  It all stems from the first of the 5 Solas: “Sola Scriptura” understood now in the New Testament dispensation of God’s covenant people.

As well, we believe in covenant family worship: we do not segregate by age (a modern phenomenon) and encourage parents to teach their children how to behave in worship.  There is a small cry room available with a window looking into the sanctuary available as needed.  Family worship at home is vital to helping children learn to worship in the Sabbath assembly contributing themselves to God’s reverence and awe (Hebrews 12:29).  And it is important for our children to learn they are part of God’s people and equally important to be present for and under the reading and preaching of His Word and offering Him holy worship, even “out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants” (Psalm 8:2 quoted in Matthew 21:16).

Before settling for worship our saints are quite friendly and chatty until the bell rings announcing time to be seated five minutes before we begin (and “trumpeting” to the neighborhood we are about to worship God).

The following is printed in our weekly bulletin:
Please be seated at least five minutes before worship for quiet preparation and meditation. If the service has begun and you are late, or you need to leave momentarily and upon return, please go to the balcony (an exception to return is allowed for parents training young children who may need to go to the training room for a time, for whom we ask to reserve the last two pews on both aisles).

This sermon may be helpful for understanding our effort to properly prepare for and preserve reverent worship (as the Puritans taught): Prepare for Proper, Quiet Worship (The Silent Building of Solomon’s Temple).

The  Lord’s Supper immediately follows the morning worship service (please see our services page for our policy on who may partake).

Following worship we encourage the saints to linger to enjoy fellowship (presently we request outside the building for the fresh air during COVID — please see our policies related to this topic on our services page).  Normally, pre-pandemic, we have a Westminster Standards teaching time after evening worship followed by a fellowship meal in the adjacent building “Fireside Room”, which we hope to resume in the near future.  

While we do not have a formal dress code and no one would be discouraged to join us (so long as proper modesty and decorum are honored), we do have a culture of dressing in our “Sunday Best” to show the same respect for God our King as would anyone attending a formal assembly with an earthly monarch.