Why do christians today reject the sabbath?

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Blueridge Believer, Jan 31, 2009.

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  1. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    The Commandment That Time Made 'Optional'

    I used to reject the doctrine myself till August of '07 but still in my heart I knew that something was missing for me on the Lord's day. I thought I had all the bases covered in my theology covering this issue but the more I studied the matter the more the ship began to sink.
    I did not post this to argue with christians who reject it but to try and get them to really put some time into study on the matter. This treatise is short and to the point and is designed to have you examine what you believe about the matter. I hope you'll take the time to read this short piece called "the commandment that time made optional".
    God bless you all today
  2. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't like to get into this debate or baptism debates here, at all. That said, I feel that I do honor the Sabbath. I just don't have a long list of dos and don'ts to help me.
  3. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    That's fair enough brother. A man his his conscience about the matter. I have my list of do's and don't's that I believe I can justify from the Word of God. I certianly have a lot of grace about the matter to christians who reject the doctrine seeing that I myself am a relative newcomer to it.
  4. christiana

    christiana Puritan Board Senior

    I thought in the New Testament that Christ is our Sabbath rest. Do you see that as wrong? We are to honor Him every day, not just on Sunday.
  5. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    I see the story of Jesus disciples picking and eating seed and the Pharisee's "freaking out over it" applying to the long lists of what one can and cannot do applying more so than many allow it to.

    Christina, the argument against that idea (even though I come close to following it myself) is that honoring the Sabbath is in the ten commandments, the part of the law that has not been "done away with". That said though, if Christ is our Sabbath rest we surely DO honor Him.
  6. Theognome

    Theognome Burrito Bill

    I do not have a big list of 'do's and don'ts' for the Lord's Day, just two items-

    Do- Worship the Lord and serve His people.
    Don't- try to earn a living; six days is enough for that.

  7. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    I think what confuses many people is that Jesus rejected what the Pharisees had done to the Sabbath; primarily they excluded mercy, necessity, and the positive direction of the law to use this day to glorify God. Therefore, the reasoning goes, Jesus either fulfilled or did away with the Sabbath.

    But man was created to observe a Sabbath as we can see in the creation accounts in Genesis. And saying that every day we are to glorify Christ, not just Sunday, eats into the full keeping of the Sabbath -- in other words, most of us can't afford to spend the predominant part of every day in prayer, study, and worship, but God has graciously given us this one day in seven to do so. This also means that the keeping of the Sabbath involves far more than just showing up for church in the morning.
  8. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    I believe Dabney addresses this issue in his Systematic Theology: Chapter 31: The First Table of the Law-Commandments 1-4 :)
  9. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    Which Christians are you referring to in your question? When you ask, I can't help but think of that White Horse Inn episode where they polled Christians at an evangelical convention with the question: "Can you name the Ten Commandments?" If you aren't even aware of the fourth commandment (not to mention the others), why would you debate its abiding validity for today?
  10. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    We're to "pray without ceasing"
  11. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    True, we are to pray without ceasing, but there are practical necessities to be met on the other six days of the week (indeed, we are commanded to do so: "Six days shall you work ...") and the sabbath affords us more careful attention to the Word and prayer.
  12. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I have tons of questions that no one has been able to answer with Scripture but I'll quiet my tongue on those. I do have a small comment about the "mercy work". My church allows me to work on Sundays because I'm an RN (lucky me I choose the right profession). It's allowable because it falls under "mercy works". If we define mercy as a kind act done voluntarily to some other person, then we really cannot put any profession into this category because we are getting paid to do it. Only volunteer work would fall into "mercy acts". I don't have mercy on my patients just because I go to work. If I didn't get paid, I wouldn't be an RN. If no RN got paid, then no one would be an RN as their profession. Many might volunteer to help others who have the skills of an RN, but no one can live on not getting paid. Just my :2cents:
  13. SemperEruditio

    SemperEruditio Puritan Board Junior

    I agree. I am newly Reformed and am learning the elegance of the WCF. Up to this point I had a Dispensational view of the OT and viewed the decalogue as historical but not applicable to NT Christians. Sabbatarians were viewed as "strange." I think the focus would be the whole of the law first and that should help. In my studies I am leaning more and more to a Sabbatarian view. The logic makes sense. In presenting it to my wife she stated that she does not understand how we can take all the other commandments as commands and the fourth as symbolic. So I think the focus should not be on #4 but on 1-10....but first on what "their" view is on the Bible. Start at the source and then move forward. I would not expect a "christian" to honor the Sabbath if they do not even believe in the infallibility of scripture.
  14. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    snips from an old email folder......There is a difference between the view in the WCF and what is call the “continental position.” The continental (e.g. Heidelberg Catechism) position is that the whole Law is abrogated insofar as it pertains to symbols and ceremonies fulfilled in Christ (Belgic Confession, article 25). Many who come from the Continental tradition say that the Sabbath was one such symbol, and that it is now fulfilled by trusting in Christ rather than by observing one day in seven (cf. Heb. 4:1-11). At the same time, the Continental tradition also affirms a weekly Lord’s Day (note, for example, the categorization of the Heidelberg Catechism into portions that are to be read each week on Lord’s Day).

    "The PCA officially holds to the WCF 28 on this point, which clearly articulates the Puritan approach to the Sabbath day in strictly forbidding not only work but all forms of recreation. Other very old and ancient Reformed traditions (leading back, of course, to Calvin himself) allowed more flexibility in Sabbath practice including leisure and recreational activities

    So, as you can see, there has been some disagreement going way back.

    Personally I am of the view that many things predate the law and are part of the created natural pattern/order for mankind. Tithes ( Abe paid them), the sabbath, husband headship, a blood sacrifice for pleasing God.

    But I will say that in the super strict sabbath keepers I know, I think there is some hypocrisy going on. The fact is that if you use electricity or natural gas at all on Sunday, or even drive on the road, you make somebody work, either at the power plant or the pumping station or the state cops. I've noticed that the ones who are critical of other people for allegedly making somebody work don't mind using the power and energy grid. And try telling a Mom with babies she isn't allowed to do any work at all. Ha. may as well kill the babies if you don't want her sinning every Sunday, at least that's only one sin committed instead of weekly commandment breaking if we must not "work".
  15. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    there's a category for some of those things which is the category of "necessity". Lots of things can be dumped into that category to help the Sabbatarian get what they need for Sundays and then "use your conscious" is attached to it giving the Sabbatarian freedom to move about. BTW, I completely agree with you.
  16. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    I am awful when it comes to sabbath keeping but recently when I was asked if I would take a management position one of my stipulations would be that I would not work in any way (specifically reading e-mails) on a Sunday. It seems to me that unless it is a matter of mercy even a poor sabbath keeper like myself should draw a line on working for reward on Sundays.
  17. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Do you believe that the medical field or police officers work for a reward? Yet, these professions are allowable because they've been deemed "mercy work". As an RN, I get a nice reward of money.
  18. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    There are a number of passages that allow for works of mercy, necessity, and basic infrastructure. Here are a few that I found: 2 Kings 11:5, 2 Chronicles 23:8, Nehemiah 13:19, Matthew 12:11, etc....
  19. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    When Jesus was going back and forth with the pharisees about the sabbath, the real issue was their heart attitude. The "dos" and "don'ts" of the pharisees were the fruit of hearts that were self-righteous.

    Our sinful hearts love to have sets of rules to follow so we can check and recheck to make sure we haven't done anything we're not supposed to do, and therefore declare ourselves "righteous".

    To put it another way, Jesus was down on the pharisees, because their self-righteous hearts were creating lists of things to do and not do on the Sabbath to prove how good they were. Whether you believe that we should set aside one day for rest or whether you hold to the idea that sabbath is all the time, the issue is the heart.

    When the heart is right with God, the do's and the don'ts almost disappear, and we start living to please Him. As we turn our focus from doing things to loving God first, our desires change, and we find ourselves doing just because we want to please Him.

    Obeying the ten commandments or whatever other commands God gives is not worked out like children following the orders of their parents because they have to. Obedience comes as a natural fruit of loving Christ with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

    It boils down to whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.
  20. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    While being an RN it is in some sense a work of mercy, I would consider it first and foremost a work of necessity.
  21. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I would agree! I've always felt that it belonged in that category more. But then so is that person who works to give us electricity on Sundays etc as Lynnie pointed out.
  22. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor


  23. MrMerlin777

    MrMerlin777 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    :ditto: Only I'm just a Hospital Corpsman, not a nurse.
  24. Hippo

    Hippo Puritan Board Junior

    I have always felt that practicing as a tax inspector on the sabbath would be stretching the definition of "mercy" a bit far.

    It has to be a temptation though to work on the sabbath in a job that rightly requires such work (i.e. nurse, police etc) for reasons of remuneration rather than duty (i.e. choosing sunday shifts for time and a half) and I would suggest that this would be problematic.
  25. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    The OP asked, "Why do Christians today reject the sabbath?"

    What makes this question difficult to answer is that some dear brethren who do not have a Puritan view of the sabbath may dispute whether or not they are rejecting the sabbath.

    The term sabbath is seldom used outside of Reformed churches. I was a Calvinist for nearly five years before I first heard the term applied to the Christian church. Before that I thought it was for Judaism or co-opted by the Seventh Day Adventists. The term I was more acquainted with was "the Lord's Day."

    Brother James, from the perspective of one who holds to a high view of the sabbath, as contained in our confession, I can understand why you believe anyone who does not hold to a similar view of the sabbath is rejecting it. Why do the reject it? Most people don't know about it! Churches don't teach it. I've moved towards observing the Lord's Day more in keeping with our confession, although I still stumble at times. I want to observe it from a willing heart, not because of a set of rules; as though bound by duty. As I recognize the liberty we have in Christ, my ability and desire to set the day aside wholly to God increases. Consequently, my joy increases!
  26. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    Why does this only seem to come up in regard to employment and sports? If not for those two things I don't think anyone would wonder why some people "reject" the Sabbath.
  27. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

    Honor the Sabbath day, keep it Holy.

    While Christ is our Sabbath rest, does that vacate the imperative of this mandate?

    Christ does fulfill all commands for us as He is our Holy Righteousness, are we not to follow those commands too? Christ was sinless for us in all aspects. He knew no murder, theft, blasphemy, and He kept the Sabbath perfectly and He is our Sabbath rest and our righteousness. However, we are still not to murder, steal, bear fasle witness, etc. How then, are we now allowed to ignore the Sabbath simply because Christ fulfilled it like all the other commands.

    That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.
  28. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    No one here argues we need to or can "ignore" the Sabbath. It's just some here feel that watching a football game isn't ignoring it. Some even feel working isn't ignoring it. Now I know some of you are going to post 500 refrences from past puritans or part of the confessions stating that working on the Sabbath or watching sports is a sin.


    We all know that is the view taken with many and that this being a confessional board that we are to not argue against it. So my question has always been, what's the point of these discussions then? They either have to be full of like minded Sabbatarians talking about all the members here who are sinning this Sunday, or debate about a subject that technically isn't debatable here.

    So in the end, what's the use?
  29. A5pointer

    A5pointer Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think our opponents would say that Christ as "fullfillment" of the Sabboth is very different than having just obeyed the command in the same manner that the other commands were as well. :2cents:
  30. JohnGill

    JohnGill Puritan Board Senior

    One word: Dispensationalism
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