Church Picnic Today - To GO or Not to Go. That is the question.

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
Postscript:

Well, we didn't go to the "Book of Sports" inspired picnic. Instead, we spent the afternoon the emergency room after my wife accidentally swallowed a jagged piece of a peach pit. It finally went the rest of the way down but scratched her esophagus, giving her the sensation that it was still stuck. We just got home at 7:30 p.m. All is well.

Thanks to all for your helpful input.


Ed
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Ed, That sounds painful, and I'm sure scary as well. Praying for healing.
Postscript:

Well, we didn't go to the "Book of Sports" inspired picnic. Instead, we spent the afternoon the emergency room after my wife accidentally swallowed a jagged piece of a peach pit. It finally went the rest of the way down but scratched her esophagus, giving her the sensation that it was still stuck. We just got home at 7:30 p.m. All is well.

Thanks to all for your helpful input.


Ed
 

Kinghezy

Puritan Board Sophomore

See my post #3 about @Herald 's post, "Setting the mood?" Here is the basic introduction I sent to my elders:

You know that I longer, or rarely bring any criticism of our church's practice. But I don't want to become so cynical that I give up all attempt when I think something is important. Therefore I hope you will take a few minutes to read the posts on a Puritanboard.com thread titled, Setting the Mood? Many of the Puritan Board participants are pastors, elders, and many godly and knowledgable members from Reformed churches. My contribution is post #13, so I am asking that you will read at least the first 13 entries. Post #14 by Rev. Stephen Charnock is quite good also.

This way eases the tension that might be caused if I alone (a nobody) brought the concern. So I mentioned that I had the concern without even spelling out what it was. The email subject was enough of a hint. Two weeks later, after worship, we had a face to face discussion that went pretty well. It was not just me and them but rather a multitude of counselors who mostly agreed with the point I hoped would be considered.

Thanks. I like this approach of giving them something to consider before speaking, so they are not being blindsided by what you are interested in discussing. I could also see it being useful to write something down, if some elders have not interacted with some of these positions.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I really don't get what's wrong with a picnic. Corporate worship is not the only place Christian fellowship and growth in grace happens in community. "Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man." So if plucking grain and eating it while going for a walk is okay for the Sabbath, I find it really hard to understand how plucking off some grapes to put on your plate over a nice fellowship meal would be condemned by the Savior. :2cents:
The fellowship meal is not what we object to.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Postscript:

Well, we didn't go to the "Book of Sports" inspired picnic. Instead, we spent the afternoon the emergency room after my wife accidentally swallowed a jagged piece of a peach pit. It finally went the rest of the way down but scratched her esophagus, giving her the sensation that it was still stuck. We just got home at 7:30 p.m. All is well.

Thanks to all for your helpful input.


Ed
Praying your wife will recover.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
A picnic type fellowship meal per se is not the issue, but a picnic at odds with the purpose of the Lord's Day and contrary to the very standards folks say they profess. Games and recreation are not for the Lord's Day, but spiritual refreshment in the Lord. That was the main point in Ed's bringing this up and whether despite that to go or not. Encouraging church members to participate in these things by provision is leading them into sin.

Consider what Westminster divines Daniel Cawdry and Robert Palmer say,

“2. But beside these, there are other works of pleasure, some of which, though perhaps delightful, are as toilsome to the body, as some works of labour; and some of them of greater distractions of the mind from the service of God, than most labours are: and therefore are in that respect, as impediments of God's service, confessedly prohibited in the fourth Commandment. 1. As our own works. Not expressly indeed, but first by implication, as thy works, opposed to God's works: 2. As impediments to the sanctification of the day. And secondly, by consequence and conclusion; both as equal, if not greater impediments to the publick and private sanctification of the day: And then thirdly à minore ad majus; If honest labour be forbidden, much more honest recreations; for recreation is but the means to prepare and fit men for labour; therefore if labour, which is the end of recreation, be forbidden; much more recreation, which is but the means to labour. And indeed (which may be added) Recreation is a week day's work, as well as labour; Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do: But moderate Recreation is a work we have to do on the weekdays, otherwise we are cruel to ourselves and ours. There is indeed, a spiritual Recreation, which is an holy joy, rejoicing, delighting in God, in his services, in his ordinances, &c. and this is the Recreation not only permitted, but required on the Sabbath, Isaiah 58 and is (as we may so say) the Spirituality of this 4th commandment."

For a defense of the recreations clause in the WCF see Lane's bit here: http://www.cpjournal.com/articles-2/articles/the-sabbath-day-and-recreations-on-the-sabbath/
I really don't get what's wrong with a picnic. Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man. Corporate worship is not the only place Christian fellowship and growth in grace happens in community. :2cents:
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
The fellowship meal is not what we object to.
Exactly, I would not object if my church decided to do their next fellowship meal outside in a “picnic” style, we actually have a nice property with many old and beautiful trees. The issue is the “needless recreations”.
 
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Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Exactly, I would not even object if my church decided to do their next fellowship outside in a “picnic” style. I love nature and often look at my own trees on the Lord’s Day. The issue is the “needless recreations”.
Right. I love the idea of Lord's Day fellowship at the park. What a pleasant way to spend the Sabbath with fellow believers. But it really ought to be a Sabbath gathering. I'm all for having fun, but the Sabbath is simply not the time for it.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
May we use the Lord’s Day for a Christians chief pleasure and for acts of mercy.

I likely got the following from one of @NaphtaliPress post, but i once heard a quote close to the following:

“The Lord is not against all pleasure, but on the Lord’s Day he commands us (think Isaiah ) to be concerned with our Chief pleasure, the worship of Him.” And again the body doing acts of mercy is also good.

I'm all for having fun, but the Sabbath is simply not the time for it.

Maybe if others will state that they take exception to the “recreation clause” that would be more transparent and helpful for understanding some mindsets.
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Bownd argues acts of mercy are a part of observing the Lord's Day; as an act of mercy, in doing good on the Lord's day, if someone thinks they can go in a similar situation and keep their and their own family's integrity and witness for the truth and perform suitable to their station called for rebukes, that is their own call to make.
QUOTE="Grant Jones, post: 1209093, member: 10849"]May we use the Lord’s Day for a Christians Chief pleasure and for acts of mercy. I likely got this from one of @NaphtaliPress post, but i once heard quote close to the following:

“The Lord is not against all pleasure, but on the Lord’s Day he commands us (think Isaiah ) to be concerned with our Chief pleasure, the worship of Him.” And again the body doing acts of mercy is also good.[/QUOTE]
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Junior
A picnic type fellowship meal per se is not the issue, but a picnic at odds with the purpose of the Lord's Day and contrary to the very standards folks say they profess. Games and recreation are not for the Lord's Day, but spiritual refreshment in the Lord. That was the main point in Ed's bringing this up and whether despite that to go or not. Encouraging church members to participate in these things by provision is leading them into sin.

Consider what Westminster divines Daniel Cawdry and Robert Palmer say,

“2. But beside these, there are other works of pleasure, some of which, though perhaps delightful, are as toilsome to the body, as some works of labour; and some of them of greater distractions of the mind from the service of God, than most labours are: and therefore are in that respect, as impediments of God's service, confessedly prohibited in the fourth Commandment. 1. As our own works. Not expressly indeed, but first by implication, as thy works, opposed to God's works: 2. As impediments to the sanctification of the day. And secondly, by consequence and conclusion; both as equal, if not greater impediments to the publick and private sanctification of the day: And then thirdly à minore ad majus; If honest labour be forbidden, much more honest recreations; for recreation is but the means to prepare and fit men for labour; therefore if labour, which is the end of recreation, be forbidden; much more recreation, which is but the means to labour. And indeed (which may be added) Recreation is a week day's work, as well as labour; Six days shalt thou labour, and do all that thou hast to do: But moderate Recreation is a work we have to do on the weekdays, otherwise we are cruel to ourselves and ours. There is indeed, a spiritual Recreation, which is an holy joy, rejoicing, delighting in God, in his services, in his ordinances, &c. and this is the Recreation not only permitted, but required on the Sabbath, Isaiah 58 and is (as we may so say) the Spirituality of this 4th commandment."

For a defense of the recreations clause in the WCF see Lane's bit here: http://www.cpjournal.com/articles-2/articles/the-sabbath-day-and-recreations-on-the-sabbath/
Thank you for your clarification and patience with me in replying hastily and not taking the time to fully understand the background.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
I just took a nice bike ride and had a great time in prayer. Biking is a sport. Sometimes I'll throw a ball around with the kids between services. I don't see a problem with spending time with God and His people in such a way. Now, regular organized team sports I feel differently about. The main question is what is the church regularly doing? Our church is almost full of Lord's Day worshipful duties from beginning to end, so if one Sunday I threw a baseball with a few brothers for a few minutes before prayer meeting, I'm completely fine with that. On the other hand, to say let's drop our evening service so we can do weekly karate, then that would be a terrible idea. To me this is situational, and a one-time gathering of the church where some people are playing innocent games for a little while doesn't seem like a problem to me. The real question is how does the church normally handle the Lord's Day and what activities fill it? Should a church be supported in general if it doesn't observe the Lord's Day, is the bigger question.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Please keep in mind the rule on advocacy against the confessions of this board and the recreations clause is still part of the WCF and LBCF, and the clause is a total prohibition. Even as antiSabbatarian a presbytery as my church's, concluded as much in their study committee on this. The picnic in question was for organized sports and not in leu of the evening service because they don't have any. Your last question would be appropriate for a new thread.
I just took a nice bike ride and had a great time in prayer. Biking is a sport. Sometimes I'll throw a ball around with the kids between services. I don't see a problem with spending time with God and His people in such a way. Now, regular organized team sports I feel differently about. The main question is what is the church regularly doing? Our church is almost full of Lord's Day worshipful duties from beginning to end, so if one Sunday I threw a baseball with a few brothers for a few minutes before prayer meeting, I'm completely fine with that. On the other hand, to say let's drop our evening service so we can do weekly karate, then that would be a terrible idea. To me this is situational, and a one-time gathering of the church where some people are playing innocent games for a little while doesn't seem like a problem to me. The real question is how does the church normally handle the Lord's Day and what activities fill it? Should a church be supported in general if it doesn't observe the Lord's Day, is the bigger question.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
Please keep in mind the rule on advocacy against the confessions of this board and the recreations clause is still part of the WCF and LBCF, and the clause is a total prohibition. Even as antiSabbatarian a presbytery as my church's, concluded as much in their study committee on this. The picnic in question was for organized sports and not in leu of the evening service because they don't have any. Your last question would be appropriate for a new thread.
I see. I'm sorry. That makes me wonder why this thread is even up then if nobody can answer the question of the original post with anything but "no you shouldn't go", as participation would be violating the Standards. It's only a one way one answer question.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
That's not a fair assessment of this matter at all. The question was not whether Ed should go and partake of the recreations which is clear in the posts.
I see. I'm sorry. That makes me wonder why this thread is even up then if nobody can answer the question of the original post with anything but "no you shouldn't go", as participation would be violating the Standards. It's only a one way one answer question.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
That's not a fair assessment of this matter at all. The question was not whether Ed should go and partake of the recreations which is clear in the posts.
I'm just saying if he goes isn't that automatically advocating breaking the Sabbath? One doesn't have to be a baseball player to be a fan in the crowd breaking the 4th commandment.

I was just saying I am okay with certain things because every Lord's Day my church and myself are consumed from sun up to sun down with Sabbath obeying activities, and 5 or 10 minutes of some fun are not personally problematic for me. But if I can't say that, then my lips are now sealed.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
That is a key issue in going; how one maintains their integrity to the truth in such a situation. But you can see from the answers not all agreed that abstention was the only route called for. Ed raised a legitimate question, how does one deal with such as situation.
I'm just saying if he goes isn't that automatically advocating breaking the Sabbath? One doesn't have to be a baseball player to be a fan in the crowd breaking the 4th commandment.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
:judge:Several questions have been raised or could potentially be raised from this thread, which are suitable to new threads, such as the meaning of the recreation clause, or how do you deal with membership in an antiSabbatarian, or at least nonSabbatarian church? Folks feel free to start those if interested.
 
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