Continental View of the Sabbath

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Romans922, May 27, 2008.

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  1. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I have searched other posts on the PB on this subject and found nothing clearly defining the Continental View of the Sabbath.

    Could you define the Continental View of the Sabbath?
  2. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    The Continental view of the Sabbath is the same as the Puritan View found in the Westminster Confession of Faith. However, they argue in a different fashion.

    The Ceremonial nature of the Sabbath has been done away with. But the law to observe one day in seven as a rest from work and play to devote oneself to the Lord has not been rescinded.

    Hope it helps,

  3. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Not really, sorry.

    Could you or someone be very very specific and clear. You confused me by mixing views.
  4. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    The "Continental view" is often alledged by some to be more lenient than the Puritan view of the Sabbath, often perpetuated by the myth of Calvin bowling on the Sabbath.

    But in reality, the Continentals were for all practical purposes identical in practice to the Puritans. They both held to a strict resting from worldly labors and a great focus upon public and private worship.

  5. dannyhyde

    dannyhyde Puritan Board Sophomore

    After the international delegates returned home, the Synod The Synod of Dort (1618–19) dealt with many practical issues facing the Dutch Reformed churches. In its 164th session on May 17, 1619, the Synod issued the following doctrinal deliverance concerning the fourth Commandment:

    1. There is in the fourth commandment of the divine law a ceremonial and a moral element.

    2. The ceremonial element is the rest of the seventh day after creation, and the strict observance of that day imposed especially on the Jewish people.

    3. The moral element consists in the fact that a certain definite day is set aside for worship and so much rest as is needful for worship and hallowed meditation.

    4. The Sabbath of the Jews having been abolished, the day of the Lord must be solemnly hallowed by Christians.

    5. Since the times of the apostles this day has always been observed by the old catholic church.

    6. This day must be so consecrated to worship that on that day we rest from all servile works, except those which charity and present necessity require; and also from all such recreations as interfere with worship.

    [Cited in Howard B. Spaan, Christian Reformed Church Government (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1968), 208.]
  6. JohnOwen007

    JohnOwen007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dear Danny,

    Thanks for the citation brother. I noticed that no mention was made of Sunday having to be the day of rest. My understanding was that this was the Continental view of the Sabbath. Then there were those of the Nadere Reformatie (the Voetians) who believed the Sabbath had to be Sunday. And, of course, there were the Cocceians who believed that the Sabbath had been completely abrogated by the coming of Christ.

    Every blessing.
  7. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    That is a little different than the WCF, Chap. 21, wrt recreation:

    The difference between the Nadere Reformatie/Voetians and Cocceians on the Fourth Commandment was significant.

    It should also be noted that the Continental Reformed, except for the Nadere Reformatie, also allowed for man-made holy days, contra the Westminster understanding of the Fourth Commandment, which teaches that the only holy day to be kept is the Christian Sabbath.
  8. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    What of Sunday being the Christian sabbath? I thought the Continental reformers were more diverse on this with some saying that the church picked Sunday to be the sabbath, but they could have picked any day. The Wesminster Standards seem to be more specific on this point.
  9. Kaalvenist

    Kaalvenist Puritan Board Sophomore

    "The day of the Lord;" that is to say, the Lord's Day, or the first day of the week.
  10. Endymion

    Endymion Puritan Board Freshman

    Lord's Day Recreation

    I confess to an honest ambivalence toward this issue. I can see strengths of both views: the Puritan, which forbids recreation on the Sabbath, and the Continental, which permits it.

    And, Dort's clause is, like many, ambiguous. Does recreation "that interferes with worship" mean that which would keep us from attending church services? Or, does it mean any that pre-empts any act of public or private worship at any time of the day?

    It would seem that it would not be the latter, because any recreation at all will interfere with Sunday worship if that worship is to be done throughout the entire day. I wish I could know exactly what the Synod meant.

    It does seem that it is not a bad idea to try to worship God throughout the day, because we can never worship God enough. On the other hand, it does seem that recreation(though, perhaps, not any and all kinds) might be permissible on Sunday, because it does seem from the first reference to the Sabbath in Genesis that a purpose for it is to enjoy creation.

    Please - if you have any response, for or against these statements, I would like to read them.
  11. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Welcome to the board Endymion. Please see the link below my signature on how to fix your signature to be in accord with board rules. Thanks very much.
  12. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    I've always enjoyed this comment relayed by Terry Johnson:

  13. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    I seem to recall reading somewhere (maybe even here on the PB) about the "Continental" reformed taking it too easy on the Sabbath. I believe they were referred to as the "licentious Dutch". :lol:
  14. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Is this book possibly still available?
  15. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    It looks like you can find used copies here.
  16. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Excellent! Thankyou.

  17. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    You are welcome, brother.
  18. dannyhyde

    dannyhyde Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hello Matthew,

    There is a little more historical info in the Church Order Commentary of Monsma and VanDellen, although it is a bit more expensive. Heritage Books sells new copies of this book here: Reformation Heritage Books
  19. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Thankyou Danny. I am enjoying a deeper exploration into the Dutch Reformed tradition. Is there a Dutch equivalent to the Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology?
  20. dannyhyde

    dannyhyde Puritan Board Sophomore

    Not that I know of in English. There is a large series of books by Eerdmans on the Reformed Church in America (the mainline denom that arrived in the New World in the early 1600's). Here is a link: - Book Display
  21. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks for that link. Perhaps you have contacts over there who might be interested in promoting a Dictionary-like project. [hint; hint] :)

  22. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    I believe that there are a couple of differences that I have come across as I have been reading up on this issue during the course of this week.

    The WCF says that there is a moral principle of "one in seven" that since the coming of Christ has been permanently transferred from the last to the first day of the week, and that it is to be known as the Christian sabbath.

    Turretin I was less sure on, but he seems to agree with Calvin on certain points (who I will discuss after Urisnus) although then he goes on to qualify and elaborate on so many issues that (during the course of my late night reading) I lost track of where he stood on a couple of things.

    Ursinus, in his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, agrees in the propriety of having one day in seven for worship, although he states that it should be able to take place on any day, and not be strictly upon the first day of the week. He says that this is because the designation of a particular day was ceremonial, but the perpetuity of the moral law makes it so that there does need to be one day set apart for worship.

    Calvin goes even further by saying that it is not good enough to do away with any particular day (such as not requiring that worship be on a Sunday), but he is very clear that for one to say that the ceremonial portion of the law has been abrogated, while the moral portion of the law remains in force is nothing other than "the trifles of the false prophets, who in former centuries infected the people with a Jewish opinion" (Institutes 2.8.43).

    So, it seems that:

    a) Calvin does away with both ceremonial and moral "bondage".

    b) Ursinus does away with the ceremonial, but retains the moral as far as having at least one day set apart.

    c) Turretin does away with the ceremonial, keeps the moral, but also seems to imply at times that the first day should be kept.

    d) The Westminster Divines seemed to be the "strictest" of them all in that they not only retain the moral, but absolutely require the perpetual observance of the first day of the week as the "Christian sabbath".

    I think that those differences are much greater than merely trying to parse out how we should understand their application of "rest and worship". It seems that for Calvin, the WCF would be a Judaistic document on this point!
  23. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor


    I side with Calvin when it comes to the Sabbath. Calvin held services everyday of the week every other week and the other week he did merciful acts and a Sunday service. This man was dedicated to God's work 24/7 and not just on Sundays. Most of us do not have this privilege...but what a privilege it would be to have!
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