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All Saints Reformed Church is a growing body of worshipers consisting of believers and their children. From the early days of our humble beginnings, All Saints has aimed to reach the lost in our area and to welcome those seeking fellowship with a church which loves Jesus Christ and the truth He has revealed in Scripture. Since All Saints began to take shape as a church plant and a worshiping community, three emphases have characterized its ministry:
The first characteristic of this ministry is expressed in our name, All Saints. Living in one the of the most ethnically and culturally diverse regions in the world, we aim to make All Saints a church that is inviting to all saints, heartily welcoming the various ethnic and cultural groups which live in the surrounding community into our fellowship. We consciously work to make our church a place where the worldâ€™s stereotypes and segregation by age, culture, language, and social and economic classes are dishonored. By the grace of God, we are witnessing the Lordâ€™s work in shaping us into a diverse body of worshipers who love Jesus Christ and seek to live for His glory in everything.
The second characteristic of this ministry is expressed in our thoroughgoing commitment to the Regulative Principle of Worship as formulated and practiced by the 16th and 17thcentury Reformed and Presbyterian churches. That means our worship consists solely of the things God has commanded in His word such as the centrality of preaching, the regular and faithful administration of the sacraments, exclusive use of inspired canonical Psalms in our praise without the accompaniment of musical instruments, and many prayers sprinkled throughout worship. Taking care to maintain these standards of worship, our worship does not flow from a desire to be â€śdifferent,â€ť rather, it is rooted in a heartfelt desire to demonstrate our full submission to Jesus Christ who is the Head of the Church, and who alone has authority to prescribe what is to be done in worship.
The third characteristic of this ministry is expressed in our commitment to be a confessionally Reformed church. Since the Bible is a large book, written by multiple authors over the course of hundreds of years and in multiple different languages, it is essential for the church to have doctrinal statements which accurately summarize and formulate the system of doctrine contained in Holy Scripture. These confessional documents, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, as well as the Ecumenical creeds including the Apostles, the Nicene, the Athanasian, and the Chalcedonian Definition, are not received as authoritative in our church out of a regard for tradition; instead, we receive them as authoritative because these creeds and confessions accurately summarize the word of the God, and they unite our voices in confessing the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
An all too common mistake that Christians make in their thinking about public worship is to imagine that what they themselves find edifying must also be pleasing to God, as long as such worship is offered to God with sincerity and passion. The 16th century Protestant Reformed pastor and theologian, John Calvin, made a similar observation about much of what was passed off as Christian worship in his day when he said, â€śI know how difficult it is to persuade the world that God disapproves of all modes of worship not expressly sanctioned by His Word. The opposite persuasion which cleaves to them, being seated, as it were, in their very bones and marrow, is, that whatever they do has in itself a sufficient sanction, provided it exhibits some kind of zeal for the honor of God.â€ť Instead of such worship being honoring to God, Calvin candidly stated that it was â€śvainâ€ť and was nothing other than what the apostle condemned as â€świll worshipâ€ť (Colossians 2:23). The question is, how could that assessment be described as fair or even charitable, after all, arenâ€™t sincerity and zeal the most important characteristics of worship?
Without discounting the importance of heartfelt sincerity, the standard of worship expressed in Scripture prioritizes proper form above all other considerations. That is why the Reformed churches have confessed what is known as the Regulative Principle of Worship for the past several hundred years. Simply put, this principle of worship says that God may be worshiped in no other way than he has commanded in His word (Heidelberg Catechism Q & A 96). In contrast to most all of the contemporary churches, including Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Evangelicals, which all agree in principle that Christians are free to worship God in any way that they desire as long as it is not forbidden by Scripture, the Reformed have insisted that we may only do in worship what God expressly commands. Hardly a moment of reflection is required in order to isolate the basic difference in principle between these two contrasting views of worship. On the one hand, the Reformed maintain that Scripture teaches that the true worship of God consists only of what God has commanded in Scripture, while on the other hand, the opposite principle of worship is that the church may worship in any way not expressly forbidden by God in Scripture. In other words, one says â€śdo only what God has commandedâ€ť and the other says â€śjust do it unless God said not to.â€ť Clearly, these two perspectives on worship are completely opposite in principle.
Beyond being opposite in principle, these two views are distinguished from each other in another way: one is clearly taught in Scripture and the other is not. Careful study of Godâ€™s word shows that it is impossible to find any Biblical support for the idea that God is pleased with worship which He has not commanded. Instead of teaching that the church is free to worship as it pleases, the Bible repeatedly teaches that God is properly worshiped only in accordance with divine commands (Deut. 12:28-32; Lev. 10:3; Matt. 15:7-8; Col. 2:16-23). Furthermore, Scripture records many examples of God expressly judging and condemning worship which He did not command, even though such worship was apparently offered in all sincerity (Genesis 4:1-5; Lev. 10:1-3; 1 Samuel 15:10-23; 2 Samuel 6:1-7).
Since we subscribe to this Regulative Principle of Worship, our aim is to insure that in worship practices conform to Biblical commands. The result of seeking to maintain faithfulness to God and His word is that our worship looks and feels much different than most other churches around us. In our praises, instead of using hymns and songs made by men, we use only the inspired Psalms and Songs composed under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit which are found in Scripture; and in the place of organs, pianos, or guitars and drums, we make melody with our hearts and mouths singing without any musical accompaniment at all (Ephesians 5:19).
Furthermore, rather than fostering a casual, entertainment oriented atmosphere which seeks to please men, we aim to cultivate an atmosphere of reverence and awe which is fitting for worship in the presence of the living God (Heb. 12:28-29). These distinct worship practices are not rooted in a desire to be intentionally different from other churches, or to carve out a market niche, or even to be traditional or â€śconservativeâ€ť as opposed to being â€ścontemporary;â€ť rather, they represent a conscious effort to only do in our worship what we find commanded in Scripture. The great blessing of worshiping God in the way He prescribes in His word is that Godâ€™s people are edified, and above all, the church has the joyful confidence of knowing that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are actually glorified by its worship.
Pastor John Sawtelle is an ordained teaching elder in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America and is married to his college sweetheart and longtime friend, Denise. Both John and Denise have the wonderful distinction of being â€śPKâ€™s,â€ť whose fathers have diligently served as ministers of the word and sacrament in the Reformed church for many decades. Together they have three teenage sons Wyatt, Garrett, and Zachariah. John has a BA in Humanities with a concentration in Ancient Near Eastern Studies from CSU Sacramento, a Master of Divinity from Westminster Seminary in Escondido, CA, and is about to complete an MA in Rhetorical Theory and Criticism at CSU Fullerton. Pastor John loves to preach the Bible verse by verse in order to show Godâ€™s people the basis of their doctrinal convictions in Holy Scripture. His life-goal is to be a part of a church planting movement which seeks to plant more Reformed churches in LA metropolitan area than there are AM/PM Mini Marts.
Worship & Communion Service 9 AM
Catechism Service 10:45 AM
Primary Speaker: John SawtellePastor John is married to his college sweetheart and longtime friend, Denise. Both John and Denise have the wonderful distinction of being â€śPKâ€™s,â€ť whose fathers have diligently served as ministers of the word and sacrament in the Reformed church for many... | more..