Robert Martin on Christian Liberty and the Sabbath

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C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
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“Think of the other nine commandments of the Decalogue. Are you free to disobey these commandments? Are you exercising Christian liberty if you worship other gods, make graven images, take God's name in vain, dishonor your parents, murder, steal, commit adultery, lie, or covet? No, you are sinning. Likewise, if you do not keep the Sabbath as God commands, you are not exercising Christian liberty. You are sinning.”—Robert Paul Martin, The Christian Sabbath, pp. 228, 229.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Did not know who this was (Dean and Professor of Biblical Theology in Trinity Ministerial Academy, Montville, New Jersey ), and he died only 68 in 2016. How would you characterize this work compred to others. It look far longer than recent works such as those by Pipa and McGraw (GPTS). It was puzzling to me to hear the objection, that if you think about you would not make, if you puritan Sabbatarians are right, who can keep the fourth commandment? Well, duh? No one can and no one other than Christ has. As I like to say, We don't define the fourth commandment's requirements of us by our inability to keep it any more than any of the other commandments. Or as Nicholas Bownd said back in 1606: "Lastly, though no man can perfectly keep this commandment, either in thought, word or deed, no more than he can any other; yet this is that perfection that we must aim at; and wherein, if we fail, we must repent us, and crave pardon for Christ’s sake. For as the whole law is our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ (Gal. 3:24); so is every particular commandment, and namely this of the Sabbath. And therefore we are not to measure the length and breadth of it by the over-scant rule of our own inability, but by the perfect reed of the Temple (Ezek. 40:3); that is, by the absolute righteousness of God himself, which only can give us the full measure of it.”
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Did not know who this was (Dean and Professor of Biblical Theology in Trinity Ministerial Academy, Montville, New Jersey ), and he died only 68 in 2016. How would you characterize this work compred to others. It look far longer than recent works such as those by Pipa and McGraw (GPTS). It was puzzling to me to hear the objection, that if you think about you would not make, if you puritan Sabbatarians are right, who can keep the fourth commandment? Well, duh? No one can and no one other than Christ has. As I like to say, We don't define the fourth commandment's requirements of us by our inability to keep it any more than any of the other commandments. Or as Nicholas Bownd said back in 1606: "Lastly, though no man can perfectly keep this commandment, either in thought, word or deed, no more than he can any other; yet this is that perfection that we must aim at; and wherein, if we fail, we must repent us, and crave pardon for Christ’s sake. For as the whole law is our schoolmaster to lead us to Christ (Gal. 3:24); so is every particular commandment, and namely this of the Sabbath. And therefore we are not to measure the length and breadth of it by the over-scant rule of our own inability, but by the perfect reed of the Temple (Ezek. 40:3); that is, by the absolute righteousness of God himself, which only can give us the full measure of it.”

Who was it who made that objection? Are you saying that Martin makes that objection, or he responds to that objection? I can't follow the connection between you mentioning how long it took for Martin's book to appear with the objection Bownd responded to.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Who was it who made that objection? Are you saying that Martin makes that objection, or he responds to that objection? I can't follow the connection between you mentioning how long it took for Martin's book to appear with the objection Bownd responded to.
There's not any connection. I have no idea who he's using for his objection for the quote cited. I was simply noting I wasn't familiar with him, noted he had died. I asked how the book which looks longer than Pipa etc. compares with them. His comment reminds me of the objection Bownd addresses. I cited Bownd.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
The book is larger and more comprehensive than Pipa or McGraw. It's very through and pastoral. He interacts quite a bit with older writers on the subject. He also interacts with contemporary objections and attitudes in a way that's very helpful. In spite of its size it's not overly academic and I would recommend it to any Christian wanting to understand the Bible's teaching on the Sabbath.

Dr. Bob, as he was affectionately called, went home to be with the Lord in 2016 just as this book was coming to print. He was the long-time pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in SeaTac, WA.
Before that he served as a fellow elder with Albert Martin at Trinity Baptist Church in Montville, NJ. He was also an instructor at the Trinity Ministerial Academy.

He had a couple of titles published by the Banner of Truth; one on Bible Translations and 'A Guide to the Puritans'.
 
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