Concerning The Fourth Commandment, Very Convincing!

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Puritan Board Junior
New Article by Warren C. Embree.

Title: Concerning The Fourth Commandment


The author, Warren C. Embree, happens to be a very close friend of Dr. R. Scott Clark.

Below is an excerpt:

It is generally accepted that Ignatius, along with Polycarp, studied under and was trained by the Apostle John. Irenaeus was Polycarp’s pupil. It is evident from the writings of these early church fathers (Ignatius died circa 107, Justin circa 165, Irenaeus circa 202, Tertullian circa 220) that they all understood that the fourth commandment still held forth a moral obligation for Christians, but that moral obligation required not a sanctification of “one whole day seven” but rather a sanctification of every moment of our lives. “Living according to the Lord’s Day,” says Ignatius. I submit to you that neither Tacitus nor Pliny nor Trajan found it necessary to charge the Christians with an unwillingness to work on any given day precisely because the Ministers of the Word who instructed those early Christians taught them that every day was holy and that the notion of “secular” versus “sacred” work was contrary to the Biblical principle that all work is now holy in Christ Jesus. It is this principle of moving from the shadows and types of the Old Testament Sabbath to the reality and truth in Jesus Christ which guided these teachers. Christ did not abrogate nor abolish the moral principles of the fourth commandment, he “extended” them. That extension was based on the fact that, in Christ Jesus, we are now free to be righteous and holy and, as such, we are no longer to look to the lesson of being confined to “one whole day in seven” for our understanding of holiness: we are to serve God in holiness every day of our lives.

R. Scott Clark

Puritan Board Senior
Warren is indeed an old and dear friend and I agreed with him for many years until I read the sources and history of the Sabbath question for myself. I have since come to the conclusion that the Reformed confessions are correct. There is a good bit of patristic evidence for a weekly, Christian, Sunday Sabbath observance. Yes, there were periods and circumstances when it just wasn't possible, e.g. under persecution or in the case of slaves, but the great thing that folks forget is that the Sabbath was not simply a Mosaic institution. It was a creational institution which transcended Moses. When the early church remembered creation, and thought about it correctly, it observed the Sabbath and the new creation in Christ.

I did a lecture on this a year ago Jan at the sem and it's available or should be at the WSC bookstore (Westminster Seminary California). The substance of that material and more is due out in Nov, Dv.
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