12 September, 2005

Calling the Sabbath a Delight

Recently in our congregation we have had discussion about the evening worship service and the sad fact that attendance of it ebbs and flows. Pastor Lanning put out a few paragraphs on the importance of attending both services as well as seeing evening as important as morning worship.

The importance of evening worship opens the door for another, and in my opinion, bigger discussion. How are we as Christians to use the Lord's Day? It seems that in a busy world like ours, setting time "aside" for God is not as easy as it may have been in the past. If one is a "Sabbath keeper" as our Reformed and Presbyterian forefathers (because of biblical warrant) have prescribed, then what is to be the use of the Lord's Day, or Sabbath?

This discussion comes up in my home often because of the desire to use this time to the glory of God. My wife becomes easily discouraged at the lack of spiritual discussion, solemnity, and theological discussion that goes on in the Lord's Day. Even in the most conservative of Reformed circles the conversation can quickly slip into sports, entertainment, careers, hobbies, and what Hollywood is doing. It is much easier to discuss mindless topics; but we need to make an effort to keep our thoughts, words, and deeds on spiritual matters.

Here is what our Presbyterian forefathers wrote in the Westminster Directory of Worship:

Of the Sanctification of the Lord's Day

THE Lord's day ought to be so remembered before-hand, as that all worldly business of our ordinary callings may be so ordered, and so timely and seasonably laid aside, as they may not be impediments to the due sanctifying of the day when it comes.
The whole day is to be celebrated as holy to the Lord, both in publick and private, as being the Christian Sabbath. To which end, it is requisite, that there be a holy cessation or resting all that day from all unnecessary labours; and an abstaining, not only from all sports and pastimes, but also from all worldly words and thoughts.
That the diet on that day be so ordered, as that neither servants be unnecessarily detained from the publick worship of God, nor any other person hindered from the sanctifying that day. That there be private preparations of every person and family, by prayer for themselves, and for God's assistance of the minister, and for a blessing upon his ministry; and by such other holy exercises, as may further dispose them to a more comfortable communion with God in his public ordinances.
That all the people meet so timely for publick worship, that the whole congregation may be present at the beginning, and with one heart solemnly join together in all parts of the publick worship, and not depart till after the blessing.
That what time is vacant, between or after the solemn meetings of the congregation in publick, be spent in reading, meditation, repetition of sermons; especially by calling their families to an account of what they have heard, and catechising of them, holy conferences, prayer for a blessing upon the publick ordinances, singing of psalms, visiting the sick, relieving the poor, and such like duties of piety, charity, and mercy, accounting the sabbath a delight.

Discussion points:
-How can we sanctify the Lord's day better?
-What practices in your home need to be changed to make this more of a reality?
-How can seeing the Sabbath as a delight aid in your Christian experience?


Anonymous said...

In the DOW, it states that we are to abstain--
"but also from all worldly words and thoughts."

That is mighty difficult! I guess it is something I cannot comprehend, but I truly desire. Do you engage in theological debate/discussion all day? It seems as if we would be best to go lock ourselves away with the Bible and sit in devotion and prayer (along with church attendance). I realize, though, that the Sabbath is also a day for fellowship. That seems to be the biggest problem.

When I first became a Christian, the Sabbath was one of the easiest doctrines for me to see, in light of Scripture, but also a doctrine that has been a struggle throughout my walk. What is one to be doing on the Sabbath day?

A lot of people/books say to focus on the DOs and not the DON'Ts. Well, okay, that is true. If you are doing the dos, then it will all fall into place...?

I think the DON'Ts still need to be addressed in the home (ahem). There needs to be some idea of what you may/may not/will not do on the Sabbath. If there are bibilical guidelines, then one will know what to tell their children (ahem). It does seem hard to avoid hypocrisy though! A walk but not a jog? A picnic in the park but not swinging in the park? Checking your phone messages but not your email?

The habit of church, eat, sleep, church, and then dowhateveryouwanttodothelongestdayoftheweekisover is ridiculous.

Yes, NATHAN, I realize it is a day of rest. But, moreso from worldly activities.

I also think that those that partake in unbiblical sabbath delights, need to refrain from doing such in the Lord's House where it it offensive to MANY. (Yes, also away from the Lord's house)

In that said, I would like to say to the single and married without children, LISTEN and ENJOY church/worship now. It gets much harder with children.

I understand the importance of evening service, yet at times with children, sometimes (SOMETIMES) it is best for them to stay home and for the parent to listen to a sermon (like I did yesterday, thanks Pastor Price).

Okay, I am done saying not much of anything.

I would like to hear from others how they find themselves celebrating their Sabbath day.

mot juste said...

REMEMBER the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days you are to labor and do all your work
but the seventh is a sabbath to the Lord your God.

God rested thus you rest.
I must admit the common idea about the Sabbath is don't, don't, don't(!).
Also notice that God doesn't just leave us here with a raw command He ties the commandment to the order of creation and says God has created 'worked' thus you labor 'work'. God has rested thus you rest.

Very important: if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old has gone, the new has come!

Observation: Any time we sin on the Sabbath, be it coveting, not loving our neighbor, not providing for our neighbor, engaging in disputes about words, etc. we are breaking the Sabbath as well (not to mention the rest of the moral law!).

Christ is LORD of the Sabbath; thus we listen to Him as only teacher of what to on HIS (emphatic) day of rest. Many people if not most allow this unbiblical principle to tyrranically govern their Sabbath observance: I do whatever I find restful. This would include hunting, fishing, football, skipping church, going to restraunts, etc. I readily admit I formerly walked in these ways, but Christ's salvation made me want to not do these things anymore(i.e. His work caused me to not want to obey 'the lusts of the flesh')...

Mark said...

It's always sad to see people who regularly skip evening services, it's really detrimental to themselves. It's akin to saying "No thanks, God, you've given me enough grace today as it is." Your point on conversation after the sermon is also right on, though I admit I rarely follow that principle.

As for the rest of the Sabbath debate, I think the question is often framed incorrectly. We focus too often on what we mayn't do instead of what we can do. So, for instance, we say that we can't go out to a restaurant. But we neglect to mention that we can have a Sabbath feast at noontime. It's a day of rest, after all, and I don't think we enjoy it as much as we ought.

I think fellowship plays a large part in the Sabbath. At church, obviously, one should be able to talk with others about the sermon, their week, their lives, etc. I've found that spending time with friends come nightfall is also edifying, a concept which goes back to the Dutton Bar.

Doug Jones makes the case a lot better than I can at the following link:


On a final note, Calvin bowled on Sundays. :)

Johannes Weslianus said...

Have you read Joey Pipa's book The Lord's Day? I thought it had some of the best application of the Sabbath to our modern situation that I have seen. It helped me see a lot of possibilities that I hadn't thought of.

Of particular interest was the section on Ministers and the Lord's Day. That was quite a challenge, but I do think it was good. He notes that Pastors must be careful not to turn the Lord's Day into a work day. I've found this to be a problem, and I've tried to do as little preparation for sermons and studies as possible on Sunday. That has helped make my Sabbath Day more of a delight. Instead, I spend the time with my family (trying to point even my young children toward the Lord), reading the Bible privately, and having people over.

Anyway, Dr. Pipa says it all much better than I do.

mot Juste said...

"...Calvin bowled on Sundays."
Such blasphemy shouldn't be spoken!
I have often heard this cited...that along with that he believed in the perpetual virginity of Mary. Show me this one in text...not necessarily denying it, I just want to know.
On a side note: In the later issue, I certainly know that in regards to texts commonly cited contra the idea the perpetual virginity, Calvin said that the text couldn't prove either case, seeming more in the order of 'don't squeeze blood from a stone', i.e. you can't prove either from the texts.

Anonymous said...

isn't every day the Lord's Day? Our life should be constant worship, as Romans 12:1-2 says. What makes "Sunday" the Christian Sabbath? The Sabbath was always Friday sundown until Saturday sundown. It was part of the Jewish relationship with God. It seems that further revelation relieves us of this obligation (one day over another in a week). Colossians 2:16-17 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the SABBATH days: which are a shadow of things to come: but the body is of Christ." Paul seems to be saying that don't let other people (I assume Jewish believers) judge you when you don't celebrate holy days or sabbaths.
As Paul says in 1 Cor. 10:31 "whatever ye do, do all for the Glory of God." Everything we do should be for the Glory of God, not just on a certain day of the week.
Galatians 5:13 "ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. We have been blessed with liberties (the whole book of Galatians proves the point of not being under the law), but we should use them to serve.
So why do we set aside "Sundays" to meet together? Well, I think it's cultural. I think if you go to a different country, you might be meeting on Fridays or Saturdays. Why should we go back to church on Sunday nights? We should desire to, for fellowship,and for encouragement. Hebrews 10:25. Peace to you all

Nate said...

The Sabbath is different from Sabbath days. One is ceremonial and the other is rooted in creation and moral in nature.

As far as the Lord's Day is concerned: Rev 1.18 says that John was taken up on the Lord's Day...does this mean that he was taken up on all days..or was it a specific day that the early Christians would have recognized as a term that they used. Ie; in other early Christian writings (albeit extra-canonical) we have the use of Lord's Day as a term that was was commonly used and is said by Eusebius as being the 8th day Christian Sabbath.
From this we see that even in the first century Christians were celebrating the Sabbath day on the 8th day (Sunday) and setting it apart as a holy day rooted in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews says that there remains a Sabbath for the Christians. This does not mean "there remains rest in Jesus as our Sabbath". It would not make sense in context, but can only properly be interpreted as meaning that there remains a day of rest for the Christian people. This would be a Pauline requirement (if you believe in Pauline Hebrews), otherwise it is also an Apostolic command.

Smart Aleck said...

Christian are not recorded to meet on the "Sabbath" day after Christ's resurrection, so when Col talks about don't judge about the Sabbath it is not cancelling out one of the Ten Commandment(moral law). If you look in the context of what is being talked about you see that it is talking about the "ceramonial" days from the Jew/OT. Jews where problaly saying that beside worshiping on the 8th day/Lord's Day that the Christians now where doing they also had to observe the OT sabbath and other special days.

Mr. Baggins said...

I echo Nate and smart-aleck on the Colossians passage: it is *not* talking about _the_ Sabbath, but about the ceremonial sabbaths. The OT Sabbath on Saturday always pointed forward to the eschatological rest that the Mediator would provide. Just as the six work days of God pointed to the eternal rest that God entered into (see here Hebrews 3-4), so also the Sabbath itself "tips over into" Sunday in the New Covenant. Sunday is the Christian Sabbath. If it was not, then one entire command of the Ten Commandments would be annulled, which we know is impossible from the Sermon on the Mount (see especially chapter 5). When Jesus says "fulfillment of the law" He does *not* mean "abrogation." He explicitly says this in Mt 5:17-20. Unfortunately, Calvin's understanding does not convince me. I think the Puritans are right. By the way, the "no recreation" clause in the WCF is based on Isaiah 58:13-14: (ESV)

If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the Lord honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; then you shall take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

I have read about 25 commentaries on this passage, and *none* of them have dislodged the Puritan exegesis of it. In fact, several of them support it (such as J.A. Alexander).

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the Reformed practices of the Sabbath. Yes I think we should attend church, but we have freedom in Christ to spend the rest of the day which ever way we please. If that means going out shopping, watching and playing sports, and going out to eat with friends and family.

Smart Aleck said...

Anonymous -- Can you support that biblical (without taking Col out of context)?

Nathan's servant said...

Anonymous- Statements like yours show the utter disregard for the Law of God. I know that Christ only gave His life for our sins (note the sarcasm please), so how dare He want us to give 1 day to spend apart from our worldly activites. It is all about making ourselves happy, right?

What is not realized, is the great blessing that is found in this day of rest. God was actually doing a a great favor by requiring this day apart from the hassles and stresses of life. I know many people who just keep going all week and do not take time for the Sabbath. They show great stress and great need for the rest found in the Sabbath.

It is great freedom in Christ to have the Sabbath day... We should desire to do what God's Law requires and not as "we please."

Anonymous said...

I am the 2nd anonymous:
top reasons why Christians are not required to celebrate Sabbath:
1. It was for nation of Israel, sign of the Old Covenant (Ex 31:16-17, Nehemiah 9:14, Ezekiel 20:12
2. New Testament nowhere commands Christians to celebrate Sabbath
3. Nowhere in N.T. is the requirements of the Sabbath (last day of week) transfer to the Christians who meet on 1st day of week (Acts 20:7)
4. No hint in Old Testament that God expected Gentiles to celebrate Sabbath.
5. No record of people keeping the Sabbath before the time of Moses, or before the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai
6. Jerusalem council did not impose Sabbath keeping on Gentile believers.
7. Paul warned Gentiles about many sins, but not about breaking Sabbath ( interesting, because he did deal with many weak/mature believer issues in Romans, Galatians, Corinthians)
8. Paul rebukes Galatians for thinking God expected them to observe special days Gal. 4:10-11
9. Paul taught that keeping the Sabbath was a matter of Christian liberty Romans 14:5
so if you want to make Sunday a special day, that is between you and the Lord. But if I choose to live every day for the Lord, not just one, "keep between yourself and God." verse 22 Romans 14.

Mr. Baggins said...

For a relatively complete refutation of anonymous's position, please see my blog, where I have posted my paper on Sabbath to Sunday:


Enjoy, and feel free to comment.

Anonymous said...

Very well put anonymous. I could not have explained it better myself. People may spend their Sundays as they wish, but must attend church. If this is your personal convicition that Sundays should not be spent studying, watching football, shopping, working or eating out at restraunts fine. But others of us have the freedom to do so. Just do not turn your personal convicitions into God's commandments. That is called legalism and the last time I checked, that's a sin.

Nate said...

Feel free to post as anonymous, but it is better if you have a name to go along with any discenting comments.

I welcome all discussion, not just the Reformed and Presbyterian thoughts.

If you want to hold to heterodoxy, that's your choice, but could you add a name at the end of your commmets?

If you look at my list of bloggers, I discuss with all sorts of Christians: from emergent to Eastern Orthodox to the blessed Reformed.


Mr. Baggins said...

I think it is not a matter of legalism. When Jesus set forth His views of the OT law in Matthew 5, He actually raises the bar on *representative* laws. Therefore, He is not trying to say that all the ones He didn't mention were somehow annulled.

So the fourth commandment is all of a sudden non-existent now in the New Covenant, when ALL the rest of the Ten Commandments are so clearly retained and heightened in their application? This would be wishful thinking in the extreme. We should examine ourselves to see whether or not our motives are selfish in the application of the fourth commandment. God does not want the poor thin apple core of one hour on one day of the week for Himself, but one entire day.

And legalism is limited to salvation only. As far as I know, no one here has yet suggested that Sunday Sabbath keeping is required for salvation. So the charge of legalism is not only not fair, but rather uncharitable.


"...all the ones He didn't mention were somehow annulled."
Not again asserted thus it's not obligatory anymore?
Sounds familiar...
Where before now have we heard this principle?
-Ironically, I am severely skeptical anyone would be able to find this principle in either Testament.

Droll Flood said...

'Feel free to post as anonymous, but it is better if you have a name to go along with any discenting comments. '
Good call, Nate.
-It is confusing to be 'lost in a sea of unknowns' i.e. anonymous writers.
Which unknown are we addressing?
"I don't know."
"That remains unknown."

Droll Flood said...

"And legalism is limited to salvation only. As far as I know, no one here has yet suggested that Sunday Sabbath keeping is required for salvation. So the charge of legalism is not only not fair, but rather uncharitable. "

-In regards to the covenant of works, obedience unto eternal life. In regards to the covenant of grace/redemption the logical necessity of God's effectual grace, i.e. Christ saved you thus YOU WILL obey. So the logical outcome showing our salvation. As a matter of justification before men, we want to show obedience to the Sabbath as a result of God's grace to us. "I'll show you my faith by my works."

-Also, isn't outward manifested obedience the realm in which members are judged to be abiding in grace or cut off from Christ (excommunication) We affirm: be inward jews yielding obedience.

Smart Aleck said...

Anonymous(I can't keep track which one)- Sabbath observance before Moses see: Gen 2:2-3
- Gentiles called to Sabbath observances
Isaiah 56

1Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.
2Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
3Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.
4For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;
5Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.
6Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
7Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.
-If we aren't called to keep the sabbath holy then why go to church at all.

Anonymous said...

has anyone answered how Sunday became the Sabbath? Where in Scripture is Sunday the new Sabbath?
We should be meeting on Saturdays, because Friday night-Saturday was the Sabbath.
Genesis 2:2-3 says God rested from His work. There is no revelation to mankind that they should use do likewise. I don't see anything about a Sabbath and a holy day in Genesis 2:2-3. so sorry, point not taken.
Isaiah: 56:1-6 yes we do see sons of the foreigners, strangers. God even will bless them. But we do not see a command from God ordering Gentiles to do it. Once again, these Gentiles (non Jews) entered in a relationship with God through Israel. What I said is still true: we do not see God expecting Gentiles to celebrate Sabbath.
i would like someone to read the Greek in Colossians 2:16 and to ask yourself the question...why does Paul equate the Sabbath with "things that were shadows, the body is of Christ." and please do not say you already answered it. read it with an unadulterated mind. Acts 17:11 says the Berean church was more noble, because they searched the Scriptures. I ask that you search the Scriptures.
1. It was for nation of Israel, sign of the Old Covenant (Ex 31:16-17, Nehemiah 9:14, Ezekiel 20:12
2. New Testament nowhere commands Christians to celebrate Sabbath
3. Nowhere in N.T. is the requirements of the Sabbath (last day of week) transfer to the Christians who meet on 1st day of week (Acts 20:7)
4. No hint in Old Testament that God expected Gentiles to celebrate Sabbath.
5. No record of people keeping the Sabbath before the time of Moses, or before the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai
6. Jerusalem council did not impose Sabbath keeping on Gentile believers.
7. Paul warned Gentiles about many sins, but not about breaking Sabbath ( interesting, because he did deal with many weak/mature believer issues in Romans, Galatians, Corinthians)
8. Paul rebukes Galatians for thinking God expected them to observe special days Gal. 4:10-11
9. Paul taught that keeping the Sabbath was a matter of Christian liberty Romans 14:5
i would like to know what you think of these points with Biblical support.
a seeker of truth

Anonymous said...

Once again you made some good points. Notice they keep quoitng OT passages? Give me a verse from the NT that the Sabbath applies to the church like it does to Israel and I believe you.Don't try to read something into a passage that isn't there just to fit your theological system. Then again the NT does not. God deals differently with the Church and that's why a lot of the OT law doesnot apply today.
In defense of Evangelicals-they do not disregard Sundays. Several of them structure that day around church. They do not get caught up in legalistic rules. Oh and I asked my pastor about legalism. It does not just apply to salvation, but also added extra rules to scriptures to become a better Christian.
As far as Reformed Theology, I do hold to a lot of it. I just don't like this pompous attitude some of them have towards Christians who think differently from themselves.

Mr. Baggins said...

Pompous? I think I have tried to show that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath (again see my blog), *from Scripture, OT and NT*. I think there is room for a tu quoque here (what about you, lit.). All these objections have been met in my blog, honestly.

Anonymous said...

One point: Everyone is always pointing to the Gospels to show that the Sabbath continues in the New Testament. There is a problem with that. There is no difference between Malachi and Matthew. God is still working with Israel as His people. Matthew 10:5, Matthew 28:20, Mark, Luke, John, Acts 1-8 (they were still meeting in the temple). We do not see a difference until Acts 9, when Saul becomes saved and Jesus tells Ananias that Saul (Paul) is the chosen apostle to go to the Gentiles and to Israel. Suddenly, there is a change. In Acts 28, Paul says he is no longer going to the Jews at all. We see God judicially and temporarily setting Israel aside (Romans 9-11, especially 11:25). I would appreciate Mr. Baggins if you would address my 9 points. You write in your paper that they are meeting on Sunday in the N.T. But you draw assumptions that it is because it is the Sabbath. Yet it is never referred to as the Sabbath in the N.T. Wouldn't Paul need to tell the new Gentile believers that Sunday was the new Sabbath??? Why do we not see that in the Scriptures?

Sola Scriptura
seeker of truth

vigilanter said...

"5. No record of people keeping the Sabbath before the time of Moses, or before the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai"

-"The end of days" in Genesis 4:3: in regards to Cain and Able. Someone who knows Hebrew can tell a little more about it. The text literally reads "the end of days." I am a smidgeon skeptical this is making some sort of eschatological statement... The Sabbath is so written in mens hearts that Abel observed it (Cain wanted to observe his own Sabbath worship principles but he certainly showed that he will never enter into God's rest...)

"Once again you made some good points. Notice they keep quotng OT passages? Give me a verse from the NT that the Sabbath applies to the church like it does to Israel and I believe you.Don't try to read something into a passage that isn't there just to fit your theological system."
-Is this a valid interpretation principle? Without the OT, the NT means NOTHING. Baptists have been trying to pull the wool over our eyes for years with the principle 'if it's not repeated or expressly stated in the NT again it's invalid.'
-Go ahead and try to make sense out of Acts 2:39 without Genesis 17.

"No record of people keeping the Sabbath before the time of Moses, or before the giving of the law at Mt. Sinai"
-So lack of an example, thus proves invalidity? I defy you, ironically to your own principles of interpretation, to show where that interpretive principle is in Scripture. (i.e., it ain't there)

Mr. Baggins said...

Well, to answer Mr. Anonymous (did you read Nate's posting about being anonymous?) briefly, here goes:
1. The church is the NT Israel. This is proved by Galatians 3 and Romans 11 (paradoxically enough). The remnant got smaller and smaller until it was one person: Christ Himself. In Him, we are *the seed of Abraham.* So all commands have to be filtered through Christ.
2-3. The NT gives us a pattern for worship in John 21, Acts 20:7, 1 Cor 16:1-2, and Rev. 1:10. Christ *nowhere* abrogates the Fourth Commandment. As I have said in my new shorter blog, your position implies that the Fourth Commandment is in a class *by itself.*
4. This was answered by the other blogger. My answer to number 1 answers this as well.
5. Abraham and circumcision? The Exodus 20:11 based on *creation*? Cain and Abel wrt murder? Lot wrt covetousness? These are clear: the law given at Sinai was in existence beforehand.
6. They didn't abrogate *any* of the Ten Commandments. The issues at the Jerusalem council was how much Judaizing the Gentiles were going to have to do. God's law now applies to Gentiles via Gal 3. Actually it always applied to Gentiles via Adam, but that is another story.
7-8. Special days refer to the Jewish feast days, not to the Ten Commandments. Otherwise, he would have been more explicit about abrogating one of the Ten Commandments. Weak/strong issues are about *indifferent* issues, such as food sacrificed to idols, *not* about the Ten Commandments. I am amazed that you could put these into the same category.
9. You have totally misread Paul here. The days referred to are the Jewish festival days, *not* the Sabbath, or Paul would have been much clearer.

Nate said...

The problem with our anonymous friends is that their view of the scriptures is one of discontinuity. They do not see all scripture as being profitable for correction, rebuke, and instruction in righteousness.

In order to "prove" the Sabbath still applies to the church (besides the Hebrews passage that I mentioned earlier and Mr. Baggins MANY attempts are giving the Word), we have to show that Dispensationalism is a system that actually divides the people of God in a way that is not in accord with the word of God.

I am willing to reccomend books to help you all with this area. (I must confess that I, as a new convert to Christianity had these leanings because I did not know of any other way! All I saw around me were Dispensationalists. Also I have great friends that I hold in high regards as Christians that are Dispys as well. So I mean no disrespect, but I do see it as a serious error that does more harm to the faith than good.)

If anyone wants books let me know!

(Also one of my favorite preachers of all time was a dispy...Donald Grey Barnhouse of 10th Pres in Philadelphia PA!)

Have a great day.

Lee said...

I don’t want to disagree unnecessarily, but I would like to quibble with the Westminster and the Directory of Worship on this point. As a Three Forms of Unity person, I prefer the Heidelberg Catechism answer on the fourth commandment.
103. Q. What does God require in the fourth commandment?
A. In the first place, God wills that the ministry of the Gospel and schools be maintained, and that I, especially on the day of rest, diligently attend church to learn the Word of God, to use the holy sacraments, to call publicly upon the Lord, and to give Christian alms. In the second place, that all the days of my life I rest from my evil works, allow the Lord to work in me by His Spirit, and thus begin in this life the everlasting sabbath.

That is a very concise statement that leaves the particulars up to the individual and gives some freedom and liberty to Christians. I believe the Westminster Directory gets too detailed and actually requires every “vacant” moment to be filled with meditation and other such things to improve the sabbath. Does this not seem to miss the idea of “rest?” I prefer the recommendations that came out at Dordt about the sabbath.

“This day must be so consecrated to worship that on it men rest from all servile labor (except those required by charity and present necessities), and likewise from all such recreations as prevent the worship of God.”

This statement is still pretty strict, but does not abolish the idea of a board game with your family as the Westminster Directory of Worship seems to do.

Nate said...

I like the 3 forms okay, but I think that the HC is somewhat weak on the Sabbath day question.

I discussed this with Dr. Bilkes one of my professors, and he agreed that it may be a bit weak for today, but he said that it was addressing problems of the time.
An argument from silence, but he said that since it does not discuss the negatives as the WCF does, then it most likely means that these abuses were not going on.

Some of todays RCA and CRC "scholars" say that the HC is not weak, but that the continental reformers were not "puritan" as the Westminster divines.

I disagree with modern scholarship on this point but I think that the HC needs to have a stronger position.

Anonymous said...

Mr Baggins writes: "These are clear: the law given at Sinai was in existence beforehand."
is this norm for covenant theology? Why did God need to give Moses the law if it already existed?

thanks for the note on Galatians 3: However, 3:25 says we are no longer under the law...wow

what about Romans 11:25-29...Israel has been set aside, God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. V 26. All Israel will be saved...when is this going to happen?
Romans 10: Paul's wish that the Israelites would be saved. How have we replaced Israel if these verses show that there is still a nation called Israel that has been set aside?

please explain how Israel was so small it became one and that one was Christ? When was Israel God? I have never heard this, and I would like biblical evidence. thank you

Nate said...

The Israel will be saved can of worms will be saved for an escatological discussion. It does not prove that God deals with them differently, only that God will deal with them more fully in the future.