Eating out on Lord's Days, what is the practice in the OPC and ARP?

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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
There's a couple in the Dallas area too that are not OPC or ARP, but the question is about OPC and ARP denominations.
 

MChase

Puritan Board Freshman
I don’t think Texas is some kind of anomaly in the OPC either. Same sort of things happen in the OPC in Missouri that my wife used to be a member at. At the same time though, when I visited the OPC which Rev Buchanan pastors in northern Michigan, felt very at home and that the sabbath had a proper place in the people’s hearts.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
About 15 years ago, I came across the website of an anti-sabbatarian OPC church in the DFW area. It was TX for sure. I'm pretty sure it was in the Metroplex, or not far from it. The TE was a Klinean and the site had an anti-sabbatarian article posted on it. (I'm not saying that all Klineans are anti-sabbatarian.) It is one thing to be anti-sabbatarian in practice. It is another to broadcast it to the world in that way, apparently without concern for any consequences.

In my old OPC in the Presbytery of the South, I heard that the TE rebuked a prominent couple for eating out after church. This was before I got there. But he had a strong emphasis on the Sabbath. He also practiced hospitality, with them preparing meals at times. Without them doing this, I don't know if I would have actually joined the church! Not only did it help with sanctifying the Lord's Day, but it provided an opportunity to get to know them.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Okay; Texas seems to be a common denominator.
I was member of an OPC church in Texas and I never heard anything. The older people probably didn't do it but if they had a problem with it you'd never hear about it. Never heard it from the pulpit and it is a good church. They practiced inviting people over to their house a lot. Having a toddler in an elderly persons home could be stressful to my ex and I but it never bothered anybody.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
My experience in the ARP is that the only "sabbatarian" presbytery is the Canadian Presbytery.

To my personal dismay the Sabbath is not widely observed by ministers, elders, or church members in the ARP.

Part of that is lack of teaching for several generations, though as has been noted there has been slow and steady movement to a confessional point-of-view in small steps, including a recent motion which passed at Synod three years ago to have Erskine College athletics stop scheduling practice/games on the Lord's Day.

I personally think that as we add more and more confessionally-sound ministers, as with other confessional questions that have been improved upon (Six-Day Creationism, 2nd Commandment issues, etc...) that observance of the 4th Commandment will come along with it. It may take a generation or two to get there, but at least we are moving, snail-like to be sure, in a hopeful direction, by God's grace.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
My experience in the ARP is that the only "sabbatarian" presbytery is the Canadian Presbytery.

To my personal dismay the Sabbath is not widely observed by ministers, elders, or church members in the ARP.

Part of that is lack of teaching for several generations, though as has been noted there has been slow and steady movement to a confessional point-of-view in small steps, including a recent motion which passed at Synod three years ago to have Erskine College athletics stop scheduling practice/games on the Lord's Day.

I personally think that as we add more and more confessionally-sound ministers, as with other confessional questions that have been improved upon (Six-Day Creationism, 2nd Commandment issues, etc...) that observance of the 4th Commandment will come along with it. It may take a generation or two to get there, but at least we are moving, snail-like to be sure, in a hopeful direction, by God's grace.
Very few in my church keep the Sabbath. Nor do they understand the Second Commandment. I think it’s because the congregation is almost entirely baptistic. Despite this our pastor doesn’t give up preaching and teaching it.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I think it’s because the congregation is almost entirely baptistic.

I really don't see the connection. I've known some fundamentalist Baptists who are quite Sabbatarian while we all know of plenty of Presbyterians who are not.

For what it's worth, our small flock seems to be very much in line with the LBCF on the subject.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
I really don't see the connection. I've known some fundamentalist Baptists who are quite Sabbatarian while we all know of plenty of Presbyterians who are not.

For what it's worth, our small flock seems to be very much in line with the LBCF on the subject.
Victor, I was trying to figure out a way to phrase it without seeming to criticize my baptist brethren. There are no LBC folks in my church. There are a few who believe New Cov Theo, but most are baptist in the sense of having gone to SBC churches, or nondenoms or Arminian churches where dunking is the norm. They are slowly being brought around to the Doctrines of Grace but the restaurant after church visit is a cultural habit that is hard to overcome I guess. And you are so right about most Presbyterians.:(
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Sophomore
In my OPC mission work, which is overseen by another nearby OPC church (their pastor is our pastor as of right now), everyone is strictly against eating out on the Sabbath as far as I know. Our pastor told me he makes sure the church's view on the Sabbath is clear to members because he will talk to people (and I suppose potentially discipline) who break the Fourth Commandment in that way. I believe all our members take it very seriously. Our church is also very, very Southern. I can't really stress that enough. So we certainly break the mold of Southern church members and their eating habits. Our church is as about as Southern Presbyterian as they come. Which is a good thing, I think.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm writing again because I've read through some more comments on this thread. I had no idea the Presbytery of the Southwest of the OPC seems to generally disavow Sabbatarianism, I'd like to point out that the Presbytery of the Southeast (observed through personal experience and from what I've been told and what I've read) is noticeably Sabbatarian. Every minister I've met from the Southeast (and the Mid-Atlantic Presbytery) has not only observed the Sabbath personally but talks about it with joy. In the past two months I believe the Sabbath has probably been mentioned more than once in a sermon and we already had a full sermon on it (from a minister whose church just left the PCA for the OPC). So it seems to hotbed of Sabbatarians in the OPC are situated in Virginia to Georgia. I think Sabbatarian Orthodox Presbyterians are found further North as well though.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Reading this thread is bittersweet for me because, on the one hand, it is sad to see how poorly the Sabbath is observed in various branches of the conservative Reformed world. On the other hand, it is encouraging to know that I am not the only person who has to regularly deal with these issues among his fellow congregants.

What is really sad is that when I was a kid growing up (I am talking roughly 30 years ago) in broadly evangelical Methodist and PCI congregations (even in circles that would have allowed women ministers to preach), the Sabbath was much better respected than it is in many more overtly Reformed circles nowadays.
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
I don't need to ask this about the PCA; but would like to know, without debating the doctrine of the fourth commandment, what the actual practice is in both the ARP and OPC with regard to folks eating out on the Lord's Day (we could extend to other practices but this is the most visible and cuts across the clear grossest violations of the fouth commandment, labor and commerce). The questions preclude acts of necessity; just talking about routine like in the south it is just the custom, etc.
  1. Do members routinely eat out on the Lord's Day and how likely will they be confronted on this practice?
  2. Do ruling elders eat out on the Lord's day and defend the practice? Or is that a barrier to office holding?
  3. Do Teaching elders eat out on the Lord's day and teach that is okay to do so?
  4. If TEs are teaching soundly on this, are they limited to instruction or is actual discipline possible?
It's funny you mentioned the south being from the south I never thought twice about my big family always went out to eat after church, I never thought about it. My poor dad, 5 boys and himself and my mom (plus sometimes other, exspensive). But when I was in that OPC church I think my ex-wife and I ate out maybe enough times to count on one hand, we were always invited over to someone's house that may have been their way of keeping others from doing it but it felt more like a cultural thing, like they never talked about it it was just something they just didn't do. Like from my cultural background it was just something you did on Sunday.
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
This was before our family arrived, but our current pastor preached on the sabbath soon after he arrived and was surprised that he upset some of the congregation! It is his first call, and he naively thought this is a reformed church, and we at least have exposure to reformed teaching. I don't know if eating out on the Lord's Day has come up specifically, but I don't hear anyone talking about lunch plans after church like I did in the PCA.

Another anecdote which is slightly related: I once heard another long-time ARP pastor say that the biggest change he has seen in his time in the ARP is that we have become more loving. When I asked what he meant he said that we used to have a sign at Bonclarken, our denomination's church camp, that said "no swimming on Sunday," and we don't have that anymore.

Back to the PCA, maybe this is unjustified optimism on my part, but I find it is actually the older generation that is more hostile to the Lord's Day. The younger generations might be more progressive in some areas, but I find they are more receptive to the need for rest and can see sabbath as a justice issue.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
It needs to be a doctrinally sound position on the fourth commandment. Part of the boost to the international Sabbath movement in the mid 19teens was just this kind of interest from the progressives. It soon vanished. Progressive interest kept the issue alive in the PCUS for a few decades going along with the conservatives' interest to try to retain/recover keeping the Lord's Day. But when the PCUS conservatives lost any control and input at GA and the denomination the Sabbath issue died a sudden death with interest practically vanishing over the course of just a few years.
The younger generations might be more progressive in some areas, but I find they are more receptive to the need for rest and can see sabbath as a justice issue.
 

JollyGreenGavin

Puritan Board Freshman
I grew up in the rural south and was a member of a PCA church. I remember that we didn’t hunt or fish on the Lord’s day, but that was the extent of our restrictions. It was common to eat at local restaurants after the morning service. And our afternoons were filled with other types of recreation.


I am now a ruling elder in an ARP church. It is in a less rural area than where I grew up, but I would still consider it rural. We are working to reclaim a higher view of the Lord’s day. We have implemented and evening service and begun having people over to our home between services. This has been incredibly beneficial.


For those of you that have been doing this for awhile, (and maybe this deserves its own thread), what do you do with 8-15 children when you gather in someone’s home on a Lord’s day afternoon? I know we need to be more intentional with the time we have them together, but right now it is a bit chaotic. Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
The younger generations might be more progressive in some areas, but I find they are more receptive to the need for rest and can see sabbath as a justice issue.

I think this observation is a very good one. Whenever people invite me out for lunch on the Sabbath, which rarely happens now, I reply with, "I will leave you to oppress the proletariat."
 

JollyGreenGavin

Puritan Board Freshman
The ARP ministers in Winston-Salem and Lugoff are two of the ones I had in my mind when I mentioned the positive changes, as noted slow, going on in the ARP.

I hear good things from Clover as well. I’ve wanted to come to your 5th Sunday Psalm Sing, but it is a bit of a drive from Lugoff especially with school the next day for the kids.

Found a great post that contained some practical resources. Title:
Resources Available - Keeping the Lord's Day
 
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