Sabbath Observance

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Jie-Huli

Puritan Board Freshman
My mindset is such that I generally desire to keep the Sabbath apart from sundown Saturday until going to sleep on the Sabbath eve. However, I voted for "midnight to midnight" because this is what I do observe in the strict sense . . . i.e., I sometimes purchase needed items after sundown but before midnight on Saturday, under special circumstances work up to the approach of midnight on Saturday, etc. But in order to prepare for the Sabbath, I believe it beneficial to begin separating from the common affairs of this world even on Saturday night.
 

Henry from Canada

Puritan Board Freshman
I vote for "none of the above." I consider all days equal, however, we should make time for God 7 days a week.

The verse I use to "justify" this position is from Romans 14:
"One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike......"

I also have practical reasons for this position.

I suffer from a severe illness. If I am totally exhausted on Saturday, I will be active on Sunday.

I also look around and see police officers, dairy farmers, doctors, nurses, etc. working on 7 days of the week. I figure it is proper to perform a valuable service any day of the week.

On the other hand, MAYBE NFL players should not work on Sunday because they are not performing a valuable service. And therefore, we should not support these players by watching football on Sunday.

But I do not want to pass judgment on this. Romans 14 also says we should not pass judgment on disputable matters.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by joshua
Thanks, Andrew. I will read the article when I get a few minutes. Let me ask a possibly premature question. Would you think it sinful for a person who was convinced by Scripture (according to, say, Hebrew example) to observe a sundown to sundown Sabbath?
Josh,

I also recommend the article Andrew posted. He argues that according to Scripture, the day is NOT sundown to sundown, but midnight to midnight.
 

Henry from Canada

Puritan Board Freshman
I have a followup question.

If Saturday or Sunday is a "more sacred day," what is permissable and what is not permissable on this day?

- can a doctor work?
- can a dairy farmer work?
- can a person watch TV knowing the vile images on TV shows and commercials?
- can a person play sports?
- can a person walk 1,000 yards to get groceries?
- can a person entertain themselves watching entertainers working on Saturday or Sunday?
- can a student do homework on Sunday?
- can a fat person exercise on Sunday, knowing exercise can be hard work?

How specifically is this "sacred day" different from other days?

If a church insists on a sacred day, might this pose a unnecessary burden on new Christians? A new Christian may have to work on Sunday to provide for his family.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
There's an old acronym that sums up my position: KISS.
Hence, my Sabbath rest begins when I go to sleep Saturday night and ends when I wake up Monday morning.

[Edited on 1-2-2006 by SolaScriptura]
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by joshua
Thanks, Andrew. I will read the article when I get a few minutes. Let me ask a possibly premature question. Would you think it sinful for a person who was convinced by Scripture (according to, say, Hebrew example) to observe a sundown to sundown Sabbath?
I believe that Saturday evening preparations for the Lord's Day are a very good thing. My ideal Saturday night would look something like that described by Robert Burns in The Cotter's Saturday Night.

I think the person who feels that the Sabbath is over at sundown on the Lord's Day and then goes about resuming activities that are improper and unlawful on the Lord's Day (for example, watching the NFL) is indeed in violation of the Fourth Commandment. There is also the issue of misinterpreting God's Word.

The Fourth Commandment teaches that not only is one specific day in seven to be sanctified unto the Lord, ie., the Lord's Day, but that the whole day is to be sanctified unto him. Therefore, it is not only important to understand what duty is enjoined upon us as to keeping the Fourth Commandment, but also what timeframe is in view.

The Westminster Confession, chap. 21:

VII. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in His Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, He hath particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto Him: (k) which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week,(l) which, in Scripture, is called the Lord's Day,(m) and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath.(n)

(k) Exod. 20:8, 10, 11; Isa. 56:2, 4, 6, 7.
(l) Gen. 2:2, 3; I Cor. 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7.
(m) Rev. 1:10.
(n) Exod. 20:8, 10, with Matt. 5:17, 18.

VIII. This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations,(o) but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.(p)

(o) Exod. 20:8; Exod. 16:23, 25, 26, 29, 30; Exod. 31:15, 16, 17; Isa. 58:13; Neh. 13:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22.
(p) Isa. 58:13; Matt. 12:1 to 13.
The Westminster Larger Catechism:

Q115: Which is the fourth commandment?
A115: The fourth commandment is, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
[1]

1. Exod. 20:8-11

Q116: What is required in the fourth commandment?
A116: The fourth commandment requires of all men the sanctifying or keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his word, expressly one whole day in seven; which was the seventh from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, and the first day of the week ever since, and so to continue to the end of the world; which is the Christian sabbath,[1] and in the New Testament called The Lord's day.[2]

1. Deut. 5:12, 14, 18; Gen. 2:2-3; I Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; Matt. 5:17-18; Isa. 56:2, 4, 6-7
2. Rev. 1:10

Q117: How is the sabbath or the Lord's day to be sanctified?
A117: The sabbath or Lord's day is to be sanctified by an holy resting all the day,[1] not only from such works as are at all times sinful, but even from such worldly employments and recreations as are on other days lawful;[2] and making it our delight to spend the whole time (except so much of it as is to betaken up in works of necessity and mercy)[3] in the public and private exercises of God's worship:[4] and, to that end, we are to prepare our hearts, and with such foresight, diligence, and moderation, to dispose and seasonably dispatch our worldly business, that we may be the more free and fit for the duties of that day.[5]

1. Exod. 20:8, 10
2. Exod. 16:25-28; Neh. 13:15-22; Jer. 17:21-22
3. Matt. 12:1-13
4. Isa. 58:18; 66:23; Luke 4:16; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2; Psa. ch. 92; Lev. 23:3
5. Exod. 16:22, 25-26, 29; 20:8; Luke 23:54, 56; Neh. 13:19

Q118: Why is the charge of keeping the sabbath more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors?
A118: The charge of keeping the sabbath is more specially directed to governors of families, and other superiors, because they are bound not only to keep it themselves, but to see that it be observed by all those that are under their charge; and because they are prone ofttimes to hinder them by employments of their own.[1]

1. Exod. 20:10; 23:12; Josh. 24:15; Neh. 13:15, 17; Jer. 17:20-22

Q119: What are the sins forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A119: The sins forbidden in the fourth commandment are, all omissions of the duties required,[1] all careless, negligent, and unprofitable performing of them, and being weary of them;[2] all profaning the day by idleness, and doing that which is in itself sinful;[3] and by all needless works, words, and thoughts, about our worldly employments and recreations.[4]

1. Ezek. 22:26
2. Acts 15:7, 9; Ezek. 33:30-32; Amos 8:5; Mal. 1:13
3. Ezek. 23:38
4. Jer. 17:24, 27; Isa. 58:13

Q120: What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it?
A120: The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:[1] from God's challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God:[2] from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to us in our sanctifying it; Wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.[3]

1. Exod. 20:9
2. Exod. 20:10
3. Exod. 20:11

Q121: Why is the word Remember set in the beginning of the fourth commandment?
A121: The word Remember is set in the beginning of the fourth commandment,[1] partly, because of the great benefit of remembering it, we being thereby helped in our preparation to keep it,[2] and, in keeping it, better to keep all the rest of the commandments,[3] and to continue a thankful remembrance of the two great benefits of creation and redemption, which contain a short abridgment of religion;[4] and partly, because we are very ready to forget it,[5] for that there is less light of nature for it,[6] and yet it restraineth our natural liberty in things at other times lawful;[7] that it comesthbut once in seven days, and many worldly businesses come between, and too often take off our minds from thinking of it, either to prepare for it, or to sanctify it;[8] and that Satan with his instruments much labor to blot out the glory, and even the memory of it, to bring in all irreligion and impiety.[9]

1. Exod. 20:8
2. Exod. 16:23; Luke 23:54, 56; Mark 15:42; Neh. 13:19
3. Psa. 92:13-14; Ezek. 20:12, 19-20
4. Gen. 2:2-3; Psa. 118:22, 24; Acts 4:10, 11; Rev. 1:10
5. Ezek. 22:26
6. Neh. 9:14
7. Exod. 34:21
8. Deut. 5:14-15; Amos 8:5
9. Lam. 1:7; Jer. 17:21-23; Neh. 13:15-23
Excerpt from Greg Price's article:

(1) Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) was one of the Scottish commissioners to the Westminster Assembly. The following is an excerpt from his Ane Catachisme Conteining the Soume of Christian Religion (cited in Catechisms of the Second Reformation , by Alexander Mitchell, James Nisbet & Co., 1886, p.232). The original English of Rutherford has been preserved.

Q. Quhat [What] is it to sanctifie the Sabbath?
A. It is to sett all apairt from the dawning of the day untill midnight
(Jn. 20:1; Acts 20:7) for Godis service.

(2) Thomas Vincent (1634-1678) was a Puritan pastor in London and first published his Explanation of the Assembly´s Shorter Catechism in 1674. In "An Epistle To The Reader" the following words of commendation are found as an introduction to Vincent´s work:

For such reasons as these, we highly approve the labours of this reverend brother, in his "˜Explanation of the Assembly´s Shorter Catechism.´ And having to our great satisfaction, perused it ourselves, in whole or in part, do readily recommend it to others: for though he composed it at first for his own particular congregation, yet we judge it may be greatly useful to all Christians in general, especially to private families" (The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1980, p.v).

This epistle was signed by 40 divines including stellar Puritans such as John Owen, Thomas Manton, Thomas Brooks, Thomas Watson, and three surviving commissioners of the Westminster Assembly (Joseph Caryl, Edmund Calamy, and Thomas Case). Needless to say, Vincent´s work was highly prized as a faithful tool in explaining the Shorter Catechism. In his discussion of Question 58 of the Shorter Catechism, Vincent asks and answers the following question:

Q. 6 When doth this holy day or Sabbath begin, in the evening before [midnight] or that morning from midnight?

A. In the evening before [midnight], by virtue of that word, "Remember to keep holy the seventh day," we ought to begin to prepare for the Sabbath; but the Sabbath itself doth not begin until the evening is spent, and midnight thereof over, and the morning after twelve of the clock beginneth (The Shorter Catechism Explained from Scripture , Banner of Truth Trust, 1980, p.139; cf. pp.139-141 for Vincent´s biblical defense of his view) .

(3) Thomas Ridgeley (1667-1734) was an assistant minister in London to Thomas Gouge, a commissioner to the Westminister Assembly. Ridgeley composed a massive work entitled The Doctrines Of The Christian Religion Explained And Defended . This work is a commentary on the Larger Catechism. In it Ridgeley declares:

Hence, the Lord´s day begins in the morning, before sun-rising; or, according to our usual way of reckoning, we may conclude,that it begins immediately after midnight, and continues till midnight following (Commentary On The Larger Catechism, Still Waters Revival Books, 1993, Vol.2, p.352; cf. pp.352-353 where Ridgeley articulates his position from Scripture).

(4) Thomas Boston (1676-1732) in his classic work on the Shorter Catechism, An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion Upon the Plan of the Assembly´s Shorter Catechism Comprehending A Complete Body of Divinity , states the following:

The day to be kept holy, is one whole day. . . . This day we begin in the morning immediately after midnight; and so does the Sabbath begin, and not in the evening. . . . (Commentary On The Shorter Catechism , Still Waters Revival Books, 1993, Vol.2, p.189; cf. pp.189-190 for his biblical defense of the position).

(5) James Fisher (1697-1775), a minister in the Associate Presbyterian Synod, was appointed by the Associate Presbyterian Synod (together with Ebenezer Erskine and Ralph Erskine) to compose what is now known as Fisher´s Catechism (1760) which is an exposition of the Shorter Catechism. Under the exposition of Question 58 of the Shorter Catechism, the following question and answer appear:

Q. 10. When should we begin and end this day [i.e. the Sabbath]?

A. We should measure it just as we do other days from midnight to midnight, without alienating any part of it to our own works (an extract from Fisher´s Catechism , cited in An Anthology of Presbyterian & Reformed Literature , Naphtali Press, Vol.5, p.198, 1992).

(6) John Brown of Haddington (1722-1787) a Scottish minister in the Associate Presbyterian Synod expounds the following in his explanation of the Shorter Catechism:

Q. When doth the weekly Sabbath begin?

A. In the morning, immediately after midnight.

Q. How prove you that?

A. As Christ rose early in the morning, and the evening after is called the evening of the same day; and Moses said, "Tomorrow (not this night) is a Sabbath to the Lord, Jn. 20:1,19; Ex. 16:23.

Q. How then is it said, Lev. 23:32, "From evening to evening shall ye celebrate your Sabbath?

A. That related to the ceremonial, not to the weekly Sabbath (An Essay, Towards an Easy, Plain, Practical, and Extensive Explication of the Assembly´s Shorter Catechism, printed by Henry Frick, 1818, p.255).

(7) William S. Plumer, a nineteenth century Southern Presbyterian minister wrote the following in an exposition of the ten commandments entitled, The Law of God, as Contained in the Ten Commandments, Explained and Enforced (Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1864, pp.309-310):

When does the Sabbath begin?

There is some diversity in the Christian world respecting the time, at which the Sabbath begins. Some date it from sunset on Saturday till sunset on Sabbath. When asked for their authority, they refer to a phrase which occurs several times in the first chapter of Genesis: "And the evening and the morning were the first day." This has not been considered sufficient proof by the great mass of the Christian world. Nor ought it to be, as all the world knows that no day of creation began in the evening; but all of them began in the morning. That saying of Moses therefore only declares that the day was made up of two parts, the after part, and the fore part. Indeed the evidence in the New Testament seems to be clearly against this view. "Our Sabbath begins where the Jewish Sabbath ended; but the Jewish Sabbath did not end towards the evening, but towards the morning. Matt. 28:1. "˜In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week,´ etc. In the New Testament, the evening following, and not going before this first day of the week, is called the evening of the first day, John 20:19. "˜The same day, at evening, being the first day of the week,´ etc. Our Sabbath is held in memory of Christ´s resurrection, and it is certain that Christ rose early in the morning of the first day of the week."
[Edited on 1-2-2006 by VirginiaHuguenot]
 

CalsFarmer

Puritan Board Freshman
Ya'll would do really good at an Orthodox Synagogue!!!! The Orthodox Jews even have timers for lights and kitchen appliances even down to garage door openers so they do not have to push butons to 'work'.

Do you think maybe ya'll are worrying just a little bit TOO much about this? The answers I have seen here would do nothing but confuse and comletely upset a new christian to the point of complete and utter despair...I was starting to get depressed....

Both of my daughters are nurses and work weekends.....thye have to
schedule days off and trade shifts to attend church every week or two

We celebrate our Lords day with worship, meals at home, no malls and just family time maybe having people over after services, In my humble opinion theres no need to attach all these insane rules and regulations that just make it a chore to celebrate the Lords Day with the main worry being how we are offending God if we start at midnight or 6AM. I cook, do dishes and GAD maybe even throw in a load of laundry if theres been a mess....

There is possibly something wrong with me as far as ya'll are concerned...but this gal cannot live with all that self induced stress. I want to enjoy God not worry about the bobsled to hell.....
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by CalsFarmer
Do you think maybe ya'll are worrying just a little bit TOO much about this?
Grace,
We should be ever ferverent to obey God and his moral law. If God commands us to do anything, we should obey joyfully with submission.

Originally posted by CalsFarmer
The answers I have seen here would do nothing but confuse and comletely upset a new christian to the point of complete and utter despair...I was starting to get depressed....
When we as Christians have a good understanding of exactly what the law requires of us, it should drive us to despair in our own keeping of it. This is one of the purposes of the law, to drive us to Christ, and HIS keeping of the law, not our own.

That being said, this is only one purpose of the law. We still have the duty to obey these commands. The Westminster Larger Catechism addresses the purposes of the law as outlined in Scripture:

Q95: Of what use is the moral law to all men?
A95: The moral law is of use to all men, to inform them of the holy nature and will of God,[1] and of their duty, binding them to walk accordingly;[2] to convince them of their disability to keep it, and of the sinful pollution of their nature, hearts, and lives;[3] to humble them in the sense of their sin and misery,[4] and thereby help them to a clearer sight of the need they have of Christ,[5] and of the perfection of his obedience.[6]

1. Lev. 11:44-45; 20:7-8; Rom. 7:12
2. Micah 6:8; James 2:10-11
3. Psa. 19:11-12; Rom. 3:20; 7:7
4. Rom. 3:9, 23
5. Gal. 3:21-22
6. Rom. 10:4
Originally posted by CalsFarmer
Both of my daughters are nurses and work weekends.....thye have to
schedule days off and trade shifts to attend church every week or two.
I have extended family members who also work on the Sabbath. God however in his moral law forbids all such actions, when not considered acts of necessity and/or mercy.

Originally posted by CalsFarmer
We celebrate our Lords day with worship, meals at home, no malls and just family time maybe having people over after services, In my humble opinion theres no need to attach all these insane rules and regulations that just make it a chore to celebrate the Lords Day with the main worry being how we are offending God if we start at midnight or 6AM. I cook, do dishes and GAD maybe even throw in a load of laundry if theres been a mess....

There is possibly something wrong with me as far as ya'll are concerned...but this gal cannot live with all that self induced stress. I want to enjoy God not worry about the bobsled to hell.....
With all due respect, one could apply the same arguments you are giving to any of the 10 commandments. Stress/worry are not good reasons not to obey God. The ONLY reasons to (or not to) obey God should be found in his Word. If one cannot defend his/her position from Holy Scripture, he/she must submit to the clear teaching that God has given us.

Surely even the best of Christians sin countlessly every day. To say this is not to say that they are "in danger" of hell fire (although a healthy "fear of God" is a good thing). We as Christians know these several things:

1) That God has provided us with all things necessary for faith and life, and can be found explicitly or implicitly in his Word (2 Tim. 3:16).

2) That God has provided us with many commandments in this world that regulate morality. These are summerized in the 10 commandments, and even further into 1) Love God and 2) Love your neighbor.

3) That God demands nothing but perfection as he calls us to "be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Mat 5:48)

4) That Christ did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfil it (Mat 5:17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. ).

5) That as Christians, we can confess when we fail at keeping this law, and God is faithful and just to forgive us (1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.).

6) That in our justification, Christ alone has fulfilled the law on our behalf, and that our good works do NOTHING to justify us in the sight of God, but instead are our spiritual act of worship IN RESPONSE to what God has already done for us! (Romans 12:1)
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
Originally posted by CalsFarmer
Ya'll would do really good at an Orthodox Synagogue!!!! The Orthodox Jews even have timers for lights and kitchen appliances even down to garage door openers so they do not have to push butons to 'work'.

Do you think maybe ya'll are worrying just a little bit TOO much about this? The answers I have seen here would do nothing but confuse and comletely upset a new christian to the point of complete and utter despair...I was starting to get depressed....

Both of my daughters are nurses and work weekends.....thye have to
schedule days off and trade shifts to attend church every week or two

We celebrate our Lords day with worship, meals at home, no malls and just family time maybe having people over after services, In my humble opinion theres no need to attach all these insane rules and regulations that just make it a chore to celebrate the Lords Day with the main worry being how we are offending God if we start at midnight or 6AM. I cook, do dishes and GAD maybe even throw in a load of laundry if theres been a mess....

There is possibly something wrong with me as far as ya'll are concerned...but this gal cannot live with all that self induced stress. I want to enjoy God not worry about the bobsled to hell.....
Grace, I hope you didn't sense the same level of anal retentiveness in my post.
I too object to some of the pharisaic applications of the Sabbath that are sometimes expounded here. The principle is that on Sunday we rest from our normal activities in order to focus on worship and, as you put it, in enjoying God.
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
"Hence, my Sabbath rest begins when I go to sleep Saturday night and ends when I wake up Monday morning."

That's pretty much my view. However if I stay up past midnight I still consider the time I will wake up "tomorrow" even though it is technically the same day.
 

Henry from Canada

Puritan Board Freshman
For me the Sabbath issue is part of a much larger issue. That is, what does God expect of us.

Sometimes this is how church legal history appears to me:

God created the Law so that His elect people would know how to live proper lives.

When God saw that the Jews could not fulfill His legal requirements, He sent a sacrificial lamb to fulfill His legal requirements, and create a superior covenant.

This superior legal agreement greatly simplified the law because it simply focused on loving God and loving your neighbour. These are simple legal concepts to understand and can be applied in many areas.

Then along comes a multitude of other legal experts to "refine" these legal concepts.

Suddenly you have hundreds of "Christian denominations", each of whom will tell you what to do. I have had Seventh-Day Adventists telling me not to eat pork and not to work on Saturday. I have had Baptists telling me not to work on Sunday. I have had Pentecostals telling me that Calvin was a heretic and that I need to speak in tongues. I have had Catholics telling me to pray to statues.

Everywhere I go I see rules, and people telling what is right and wrong. The burden of these teachings can be overwhelming.

A few years ago, this situation got me very upset.

Then one night something strange happened. I woke up in the middle of the night, and I then wandered into the living room. I sat in my easy chair and opened the Bible randomly.

My eyes immediately fell upon one verse:

And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with you God. (Micah 6:9)

Finally, something my little brain could grasp.

I know many Reformers will find this experience to be bogus, but this is honestly what happened.

I find all these Sabbath rules very tiring and somewhat confusing.

Example: If working in a grocery store on Sunday is a sin, then is it a sin to watch NFL football players and referees violate the Sabbath by working on Sunday?

My prayer is: Lord, please show me the truth, and forgive me when I have burdened others with unreasonable requirements.
 

Henry from Canada

Puritan Board Freshman
To be honest Scott, I do not know how to answer your question.

I have read of the legal requirements that the Jews followed, such as you may only walk x number of yards on the Sabbath. These rules seemed very burdensome, though they did help the Jews rest in some cases.

Jesus made a number of comments about the Sabbath, such as physical healings are permitted on the Sabbath.

I have read that early Christians met on the Sunday.

However, beyond that I have not read a lot about the Sabbath. To the best of my recollection, I have not read what Calvin, Spurgeon and others have said about the Sabbath.

I am not arguing against the Sabbath. I think honouring the Sabbath results in big-time blessings for many Christians because it allows them to rest, enjoy family, read the Bible, go to church, etc.

What distresses me is how Sabbath rules can distress and burden people.

I hope this answers your question, Scott.
 

Henry from Canada

Puritan Board Freshman
Oh, Scott, I forgot, I also have read the WCF on the Sabbath.

Question:

Has a Reformed synod ever said what is deemed an acceptable work of necessity on the Sabbath:
- is exercise allowed?
- is cooking a fancy turkey dinner allowed, or shall we only eat food that is prepared or gathered on Saturday?
- are we allowed to benefit from other's work at restaurants, etc?

Scot, can you understand my confusion?
 

Henry from Canada

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for the readings Scott.


One article said, "Calvin argues that the Sabbath was given for three reasons: to depict spiritual rest, to preserve ecclesiastical order and to provide relief to workers."

I realize that violating the Sabbath actually hurt the Jews more than helped them.

I certainly will not argue the Sabbath. Many of these OT laws are unbelievable blessings. They help preserve us, keep us free from infectious diseases, etc.


My main concerns are:

1) I believe Romans 14 argues that considering every day alike is acceptable. I think this takes precedence over any logic provided by Calvin, et al. (I mean no disrespect by this. I realize that Calvin was an intellectual giant.)


2) I think Jesus' healing on the Sabbath and allowing His disciples to gather food on the Sabbath is also consistent with Romans 14.


Question 1: Is my interpretation of Romans 14 wrong? I believe it argues against mandatory specific "sacred" days.


3) The Bible says that the Sabbath was made for man. I believe it says so after Jesus healed on the Sabbath.


4) Because of health considerations or job requirements, making Saturday or Sunday a "more sacred day" may cause hardship for some Christians.

If a man needs to work Sunday - rather than Monday - to provide for his family, then should can I say?

Sometimes there are better things than a mandatory Sunday off. Some people have odd schedules or odd circumstances that require unusual days off and unusual worship schedules.


Question 2: If I make Friday's my Holy Day, will I be judged harshly?


Question 3: If the Lord heals my body and I can work again, but can only get a job that entails Sunday work, will I be judged harshly?


5) Many churches set up rules and regulations concerning tithing, foods, sacred days, etc. that burden people. I would rather avoid this if possible.


6) Often times, these Sabbath regulations are are confusing and seemingly arbitrary. As the above posts illustrate, determining what is and is not permissible is largely arbitrary.


7) I am also hestitate to say it is wrong to work on Sunday and watch NFL players earning their wages providing non-essential services on Sunday. The standards I set can come back to haunt me. (Actually I watch very little football.)

It sort of makes me a hypocrite as per Romans 14. I do not want to set as standard that I can not keep.

I realize how awful this may make me appear. I am arguing against a specific mandatory day off. In fact, I think we need time off for Bible readings, etc.

It is just that I prefer to give myself and others greater flexibility as per Romans 14.


Question 4: If I consider "every day alike," will I be judged severely?


Scott, I think where you and I agree is that the fact that so many people CAN NOT take Sundays off is a real problem.

Ironically, I think many Reformed people contribute to this by travelling, shopping, dining out, watching football, baseball, etc. on Sunday.

But I do not want to judge because I have shopped on Sunday.
 

Mike

Puritan Board Freshman
Non-sabbatarian here. Guess there's not much point to this post.

[Edited on 1-3-2006 by Mike]
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by joshua
If you vote, feel free to comment...ahem.

If you haven't voted, feel free to vote and comment. :)
I would vote, but, as is so often the case with polls on this board, the choices offered do not reflect my situation...so I'll just read...and maybe comment...
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Henry from Canada
I have a followup question.

If Saturday or Sunday is a "more sacred day," what is permissable and what is not permissable on this day?

- can a doctor work?
- can a dairy farmer work?
- can a person watch TV knowing the vile images on TV shows and commercials?
- can a person play sports?
- can a person walk 1,000 yards to get groceries?
- can a person entertain themselves watching entertainers working on Saturday or Sunday?
- can a student do homework on Sunday?
- can a fat person exercise on Sunday, knowing exercise can be hard work?

How specifically is this "sacred day" different from other days?

If a church insists on a sacred day, might this pose a unnecessary burden on new Christians? A new Christian may have to work on Sunday to provide for his family.
Henry is on to something. Sabbath observance often leads to ridiculous legalism, just like it did in ancient Israel. I do my best to rest and worship on Sunday...but I still catch a football game too, from time to time.

In rereading my post, I did feel the need to clarify: I DO believe in keeping the 4th Commandment, however, I do not spend a lot of time fretting about minutae such as, "when does the Sabbath begin?" These are the sprts of things that tended towards legalism in Israel (for which Jesus criticized them) and in the New Covenant church...:2cents:

[Edited on 1-3-2006 by kevin.carroll]
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Everyone needs to keep in mind, legalism is not legalism if God requires something! Jesus was concerned with the 'jot and tittle', as should we. Granted, the parts that were ceremonial have been abrogated, but the central theme is eternal. It should be all of our goals to hold to Gods sabbath as best we can. Jesus kept the sabbath; is it everyone's belief that He was lackadaisical? Can we keep it like Christ did? That shouldn't be the question.

The WCF is clear; we need to cease from the typical on the Lords day; this, I believe is key. Study Gods word in a deeper way on the Lords day; do acts of mercy. Break bread with the brethren (yes you can cook!) Minister to our families.
 

Puddleglum

Puritan Board Sophomore
Didn't vote . . . I tend to try for the same as Ben . . . though I very rarely will stay up past midnight (I can't think straight that late), I don't worry it when I do.
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Everyone needs to keep in mind, legalism is not legalism if God requires something! Jesus was concerned with the 'jot and tittle', as should we. Granted, the parts that were ceremonial have been abrogated, but the central theme is eternal. It should be all of our goals to hold to Gods sabbath as best we can. Jesus kept the sabbath; is it everyone's belief that He was lackadaisical? Can we keep it like Christ did? That shouldn't be the question.

The WCF is clear; we need to cease from the typical on the Lords day; this, I believe is key. Study Gods word in a deeper way on the Lords day; do acts of mercy. Break bread with the brethren (yes you can cook!) Minister to our families.
Again, completely agreed. But agonizing over things like does the Sabbath begin at midnight or dawn is certainly in the antechamber of legalism.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Is it legalism to remove all impediments to our enjoying God on the Lord's Day? Some might call it legalism. I call it love. The Sabbath is a delight because we can look at all our worldly duties and say,"I don't have to do any of this today. I can enjoy God today."
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
I think legalism could set in when we get down to defining worldly duties.And not to sound holier than thou either, but I honeslty enjoy God every day. My desire and prayer is to enjoy Him in all that I do every day of the week though I admit I have a job that may make that easier to do and remind me of my need for Him a well.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Originally posted by trevorjohnson
Don't we believe in a Sabbath "Principle" rather than a legal requirement?

The Sabbath, being a creation ordinance and thus eternal, is to be shed of its legal nit-picky requirements in this New Covenant age.

A strict list of do's and dont's was fine for civil Israel, but for us who are God's Elect - the new Israel, outward obeisance gives way to observing the principle in the best way we know how - which mostly hinges upon loving and honoring God with the day.


No Sabbatarian I know gives the same list of what is acceptable or forbidden on the Sabbath. If it were so clear, wouldn't there be a consensus?


Mercy or necessity gives clearance for civil servants, police, army, nurses to Sunday. Eating out, getting gas, etc may also be necessary.

GASP...many of you may not realize this, but your electric meter runs 24/7. You are working or causing work on the Sabbath by merely having electricity. Even your church requires work due to electricity.


I am a missionary who travels much to speak. Sometimes I need to drive on Sundays. By necessity, driving requires gas.

Should I only travel a "new" Sabbath day's journey (which would be, I guess, the equivalent of one tank of gas),and when I run out of gas, do I sleep in a ditch so as not to make Motel 6 work?

I think many of you all strain at gnats.
Trevor, I was seeking to respond but you have said it all so well. Jesus said:


John 4:23-24 23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
This is the essence of our worship, both inwardly and outwardly. It does not forbid holding one day above another, or committing oneself to a set of rules. If denying oneself is profitable for godliness, then I salute that individual believer for his/her realization and temperance.

I believe Sunday, the Lord's day, is sanctified by corporate worship, prayer, the Lord's table and giving thanks. It is practice in our household to spend time as a family enjoying each others company and appreciating how God has blessed us. But we also enjoy a good meal and have no qualms about eating out. And Trevor, your comment about our electric meter running and having others serve us on the "sabbath" is right on the mark. It seem a bit duplicitous. But I also do not doubt the intent of brothers and sisters who observe the sabbath. I am sure they do so out of sincere desire to worship God.
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by joshua
Ditto Patrick and Scott. We mustn't be too quick to label things legalistic.
It is all our responsibilities to find out exactly what God would require of us in His commands. In all of this, it is better to be safer than lackadasical in our approach to the day. If something is questionable, it should be removed from the equation until it is deemed acceptable. It should not be the reverse. This is exactly my rationale to the EP issue. It is safer........
 

Scott Bushey

Puritanboard Commissioner
Originally posted by kevin.carroll
Originally posted by Scott Bushey
Everyone needs to keep in mind, legalism is not legalism if God requires something! Jesus was concerned with the 'jot and tittle', as should we. Granted, the parts that were ceremonial have been abrogated, but the central theme is eternal. It should be all of our goals to hold to Gods sabbath as best we can. Jesus kept the sabbath; is it everyone's belief that He was lackadaisical? Can we keep it like Christ did? That shouldn't be the question.

The WCF is clear; we need to cease from the typical on the Lords day; this, I believe is key. Study Gods word in a deeper way on the Lords day; do acts of mercy. Break bread with the brethren (yes you can cook!) Minister to our families.
Again, completely agreed. But agonizing over things like does the Sabbath begin at midnight or dawn is certainly in the antechamber of legalism.
Kevin,
You are assuming that this premise is in the 'antechamber'. To call it legalistic, you would have to prove that it is above what God commands. You cannot prove this assertion, hence, you should hold to one or the other as it errs on prudence.
 
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