Featured Lord’s Day 1 (2019). Dr. Old via Dr. Johnson. No Reformed 'continental' view.

Discussion in 'Daily Devotional Forum' started by NaphtaliPress, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Lord’s Day 1 (2019). "Years ago Hughes Old said of those who were claiming the ‘continental’ view of the Sabbath over against that of the [Westminster] Confession, that they must mean the ‘continental Catholic’ view, allowing no disjunction between the Reformed in Britain and those in Europe proper” (Terry Johnson). “Christ is born, is circumcised, dies, rises again for us every day in the preaching of the Gospel” (Danæu). “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
     
  2. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    I agree that the supposed differences between the Continental Reformed and the British Presbyterians on the issue of the Sabbath have been greatly exaggerated. a'Brakel's views, for instance, are indistinguishable from the Puritans, and he was late orthodox. I think there might have been a few continental Reformed who would not go as far as the Puritans as to strictness, but hardly enough to constitute the huge dichotomy often proposed.
     
  3. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    The problem really is that the phrase is not tied to any historic position even of a few, but is a modern wax nose to justify unReformed anti Sabbatarianism. My churches PCA presbytery had a committee set up to study the issue of recreations and the continental view to determine if what was intended by the framers was as strict as, well, the last four centuries of Presbyterians have said it was. They concluded, yup; and the presbytery is not a bastion of Sabbatarianism, to put it mildly. They also concluded what I just said about "continental Sabbath"; it has become an unhelpful phrase in our day disconnected from any historical meaning. I would blame the teachers who are more concerned to teach their exceptions than to even give the confessional view equal time and a fair hearing if not a correct explanation. Thanks to the Lord for schools like GPTS.
     
  4. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Why not just change the WCF to what they (historical revisionists) take exception toward? At least in particular churches, or in particular denominations.
     
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    This is the devotional forum; make your question another thread in the appropriate forum. Do as I say not as we do, etc.
     
  6. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Would you agree, though, that if one looks solely at the confessional documents there is a difference in what is said and what is left unsaid?

    I agree that if you compare the practices and the writings of the Scottish Presbyterians and the Continental Reformed of yesteryear, you will find little difference on the matter of Sabbath. And my early-life experience within the Dutch Reformed tradition matches nicely with the Presbyterian mindset in Chariots of Fire, for example. The two traditions are in step with each other.

    But when I compare Heidelberg to Westminster, there is a difference. Westminster codifies those practices; Heidelberg does not. I remember wrestling with this when I was preparing to become a Presbyterian deacon. I realized that if I believed it was a good use of the day to spend part of it taking a walk, having a nap, or horsing around with my kids, I should probably bring that up in my interview with the elders. Whereas in the Dutch Reformed tradition those activities might run afoul of what many people felt was appropriate, but they didn't violate the actual wording of the Heidelberg so long as I also made time to attend church and did not spend the day at work.
     
  7. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I can't answer for Dr. Old who has better company now, but correct, the documents are not as specific for the Reformed as Westminster which I'm sure he knew, but that he saw no practical difference in strictness. Now whether he had specific ideas of whether this or that was okay, I don't know. He was old enough to have been raised right though when the practice for both would have been much more common.
     
  8. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    There is a difference of emphasis, not necessarily a difference of doctrine. I suspect that this difference was owing to the historical context in which the divines wrote the Westminster Confession - especially given the Book of Sports.
     
  9. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    Robert Godfrey in this month's TableTalk, says of the Synod of Dort that "... when asked what to do with the traditional evening service if it was poorly attended, the synod advised that the evening service should be held even if only the minster’s family were in attendance. In time, the Dutch Reformed churches became careful in observing the Christian Sabbath, and the two services helped greatly in producing a devout and well-educated laity."
     
  10. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    As to Dordt, there were those who wanted to get more specific and the compromise Regulae de Observatione Sabbathi eventually drafted was essentially puritan, and matches for instance William Ames, that the day is for worship and that in addition to servile labor all recreations that interfere with worship that day are prohibited. See Danny Hyde's article, Regulae de Observatione Sabbathi: The Synod of Dort’s (1618–19) Deliverance on the Sabbath in The Confessional Presbyterian 12 (2016) issue or in the original version in the journal of PRTS. And this is the crux of the issue; for most it's the prohibition of our regular weekly recreations that feeds the exception to Sabbatarianism and the desire to claim the so called "continental view." If one looks at the regulae, one might imagine Dordy saying on seeing the use of the term today, "you keep using that word, we don't think it means what you think it means."
     
  11. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    As has been noted there is also in our day a huge misunderstanding as to what "recreation" is. No Westminster divine, that I've read, is against taking a walk with children, etc... on the Lord's Day. As Chris noted there are so many strawmen on this subject that are used to justify actual violations (organized sporting events, mass economic activity, etc...) of the intention of the Divines.
     
  12. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Going for a walk is not going to the professional sports arena for the local team game, which I've been told of two instances in two different PCA Presbytery, the pastors do right after the morning sermon.
     
  13. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    Unbelievable. I find it frustrating enough when decisions are made that are obviously not rooted in the Westminster Standards. To badly quote Paul: "It is actually reported that there is Sabbath breaking among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among broadly Evangelicals."
     
  14. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    One I'm familiar with boarded a plane immediately after preaching to fly to an away game a few years ago. My jaw about hit the floor when he told me that was his plan. :confused:
     
  15. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    Is this common? My sense is our TEs and REs are frequently involved in some sort of fellowship after morning service with members, and would find it difficult to just "jet off" somewhere. One would hope the elders would be setting examples for the congregation to emulate...
     
  16. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    I don't know whether it's common for pastors to attend NFL games in person on Sunday, but I doubt it--it's tough to swing. I won't say who it was, but the pastor in question would not be considered a typical PCA pastor. That said, my experience would suggest that it is not uncommon for PCA elders to at least watch NFL games on TV regularly. There was a semi-official church Superbowl party at a previous PCA church that I attended (not the same pastor as the above).
     

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