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Principles of Public Worship: The Object

Ryle lists several “leading principles of public worship.” The first is that “true public worship must be directed to the right object.”


It is written plainly, both in the Old and New Testament: ‘Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve’ (Deut. 6:13; Matt. 4:10). All adoration and prayers addressed to the Virgin Mary, the saints and angels, is utterly useless, and unwarranted by Scripture. It is worship that is mere waste of time. There is not the slightest proof that the departed saints or the angels can hear our worship, or that if they did hear it they could do anything for us. It is worship that is most offensive to God. He is a jealous God, and has declared that he will not give his glory to another. Of all his Ten Commandments there is none more stringent and sweeping than the Second. It forbids us not only to worship, but even to ‘bow down’ to anything beside God.

—J. C. Ryle, Knots Untied (Banner of Truth, 2016), 314.

The focus of Ryle’s warning here is the idolatry of Roman Catholicism, but there are many idols worshiped in the name of God. Only the God of the Bible is true, and worthy of worship.

Posted 2017·06·13 by David Kjos
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