The Puritan Sabbath

Chris Coldwell:

The Puritan Sabbath

The refinement of English Sabbatarianism in the latter decades of the sixteenth century produced one of the key defining features of Puritan piety, which would later be systematized in Presbyterian and Nonconformist doctrine via The Westminster Standards (1647), The Savoy Declaration (1658) and the Baptist Confession of Faith (1677).While it is true that a generation earlier in England, the Elizabethan Puritans worked to refine and systematize a sounder doctrinal footing for Sabbatarianism, they were nevertheless building upon a conservative practical Sabbatarianism that stretched back to the middle ages, which even under the darkness and superstition of Roman Catholicism had laws against labor and pastimes on Sundays.4 The “evidence from the period establishes that late Elizabethan sabbatarians were not innovators, but were elaborating a doctrinal tradition which had medieval origins and was part of the authorized teaching of the English church.”5 The theological concept “of a morally binding sabbath … was defined first by thirteenth-century scholastics and used by such pillars of the English Reformation as Heinrick Bullinger, John Hooper, Thomas Becon, and others” (Parker, “Rogers,” 334).

Without question, the doctrinal statements of the Westminster Assembly present a Puritan or English Sabbatarian understanding of the fourth commandment. Some have noted that English Sabbatarianism consists of three major points, 1. that the fourth commandment is moral, not partly ceremonial, 2. that the day of worship was moved to the first day of the week because of the resurrection of Christ, and 3. that the day should be observed in a strict manner in putting aside our regular weekday labors and recreations.6 Patrick Collinson defined English Sabbatarianism as,

… the doctrinal assertion that the fourth commandment is not an obsolete ceremonial law of the Jews but a perpetual, moral law, binding on Christians; in other words, that the Christian observance of Sunday has its basis not in ecclesiastical tradition but in the Decalogue. The more important propositions of the Sabbatarians are that the Sabbath derives from the creation and so antedates both man’s fall and the Mosaic law, although its use was defined in the Decalogue; that the hallowing of the Lord’s day in place of the Sabbath was of apostolic or even divine appointment, and more than an ecclesiastical convention; so that the Sabbath is still in force in this altered form, commemorating the second creation in Christ’s resurrection, and robbed only of some of its ceremonial detail; that the whole day should be kept holy and devoted to the public and private exercise of religion; and that this precludes all otherwise lawful recreations and pastimes as well as the work of one’s calling, unlawful games and mere idleness.… The first extensively argued, dogmatic assertion that the fourth commandment is morally and perpetually binding was published in 1595, The doctrine of the Sabbath by the Suffolk Puritan divine, sometime fellow of Peterhouse and rector of Norton, Dr Nicholas Bownd.7​

The ministry of Nicholas Bownd (1551?–1613) exhibited the practical divinity taught by his stepfather, Richard Greenham (1543?–1594), which focused on the means of grace (Word, Sacraments, prayer, etc.). The crucial ‘mean of the means’ whereby all these means of grace were made available to the people of God was the weekly gathering on the Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day. The Lord’s Day is a blessing that the Lord has given to His people. “God prohibits certain activities on the Sabbath day in order to free us for communion and fellowship with Him and with one another.”8

Bownd’s 1595 book was based on lectures given circa 1585/86 at the Monday combination lecture in Bury St. Edmunds. The book was extensively augmented in a second edition in 1606, due in no small part to the criticisms and trouble caused the Norton parson by his severe conformist neighbor Thomas Rogers.9 In his 1606 dedication to Bishop John Jegon, Bownd outlines the Puritan Sabbatarian position as follows:

1. First of all, that the observations [sic] of the Sabbath is not a bare ordinance of man, or a mere civil or ecclesiastical constitution, appointed only for polity; but an immortal commandment of almighty God, and therefore binds men’s consciences.

2. The same was given to our first parents, Adam and Eve; and so after carefully observed, both [by] them and their posterity, the holy patriarchs and Church of God, before and under the law, until the coming of Christ.

3. And it was revived in Mount Sinai, by God’s own voice to the Israelites, after they came out of Egypt, with a special note of remembrance above all the rest; and fortified with more reasons than they, and particularly applied unto all sorts of men by name; all which shows how careful the Lord was that everyone should straightly keep it.

4. The ceremonies of the law, which made a difference between Jew and Gentile, though the gospel has taken away, since the partition wall was broken down by Christ (Eph. 2:14); yet this commandment of the Sabbath abides still in its full force, as being moral and perpetual, and so binds for ever all nations and sorts of men, as before.

5. The apostles by the direction of God’s Spirit (leading them into all truth) did change that day (which before was the seventh from creation, and in remembrance of it) into the eighth; even this which we now keep in honor of the Redemption. And therefore the same day ought never to be changed, but still to be kept of all nations unto the world’s end; because we can never have the like cause or direction to change it.

6. So that we are in keeping holy of a day, for the public service of the Lord, precisely bound not only to the number of seven (and it is not in our power to make choice of the sixth or eighth day); but even on this very seventh day, which we now keep, and to none other.

7. On which day we are bound straightly to rest from all the ordinary works of our calling, every man in his several vocation; because six days in the week are appointed for them, and the seventh is sanctified and separated from the others, to another end; even for the public service of God, and that by God Himself.

8. Much more, then, in it ought we to give over [relinquish] all kinds of lawful recreations and pastimes, which are less necessary than the works of our calling, and whatsoever may take up our hearts to draw them from God’s service; because this law is spiritual, and binds the whole man, as well as any other. Most of all ought we to renounce all such things, as are not lawful at any time.

9. Yet in cases of necessity God has given great liberty unto us, to do many things for the preservation and comforts not only of the beasts and dumb creatures, but especially of man. Not only when he is weak and sick, but being healthful and strong, both in the works of our callings, and also of recreations, without which necessity we are persuaded that men ought ordinarily to cease from them.

10. And herein more specially the governors of the Church and Commonwealth have great liberty above all others, who in such cases may upon this day do many things for the good of both, not only for war, but for peace; and may prescribe unto others, and the people ought therein to obey them. And as in other things they ought not busily to inquire a reason of all their commandments; so in this they ought to presume with reverence so much of their good consciences, that they know more cause of the things which they command and do, than themselves do, or is meet for them curiously to inquire.

11. The same day of rest ought ordinarily to be spent altogether in God’s service, especially in frequenting the public assemblies, where the Word of God is plainly read and purely preached, the sacraments rightly administered, and prayer made in a known tongue to the edifying of the people; where also they ought to attend upon these things from the beginning to the ending.

12. The rest of the day ought to be spent by every man himself alone, or with others (as his family or neighbors) in all private exercises of religion, whereby he may be more prepared unto, or reap greater fruit from the public exercises: as in private prayer, reading of the scriptures, singing of psalms, meditating upon, or conferring about, the Word and works of God—and that either in their houses, or abroad in the fields.

13. And as every man particularly is bound to the observation of this commandment, so more specially masters in their families, magistrates in their precincts, and princes in their realms ought to provide for this, as much as in them lies; and hereby to look to all that are committed to their charge, and to compel them at the least to the outward observation of the rest, and the sanctifying of it, as well as of any other commandment, as of not committing murder, adultery, theft, and such like.

14. 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.​

As noted by Collinson, Bownd’s work, while preceded by shorter works touching upon or anticipating Sabbatarian doctrine, was the first large scholarly publication to give the subject a systematic defense. The impact of the work was significant and while Bownd claimed no originality, his work helped to set the standard argumentation. From Bownd’s 1595 edition until the suppression of Sabbatarian works by Laud, many works were published promoting what became an essential characteristic of Puritan piety.10 After the lifting of the press ban that began with the reissue of the Book of Sports, many more works were published just prior to, during and after the Westminster Assembly to the close of the seventeenth century.11

Puritan Sabbatarianism was formally codified into Presbyterian theology by the well-known statements of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms on the doctrine of the Christian Sabbath.12

—————-
4. David N. Laband and Deborah Hendry Heinbuch, Blue Laws: The History, Economics, and Politics of Sunday-Closing Laws (Lexington Books, 1987), 14–16.

5. Kenneth Parker, “Thomas Rogers and the English Sabbath: The Case for a Reappraisal,” Church History 53, no. 3 (September 1984): 332–333.

6. John H. Primus, Holy Time: Moderate Puritanism and the Sabbath (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1989), 11; Richard L. Greaves, “The Origins of English Sabbatarian Thought,” Sixteenth Century Journal XII, No. 3 (1981), 19. Kenneth L. Parker, The English Sabbath: A Study of Doctrine and Discipline from the Reformation to the Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 1988), 6–7.

7. Patrick Collinson, “The Beginnings of English Sabbatarianism,” in Studies in Church History, volume one, Papers read at the first winter and summer meetings of the Ecclesiastical History Society (Thomas Nelson, 1964), 207–209.

8. Pilgrim Covenant Church, Singapore, 16th Annual Conference (9–11 June 2015), The Lord’s Day; Dr. Joseph Pipa, The Lord’s Day: The Market Day of the Soul,

(accessed June 26, 2015).

9. See Chris Coldwell, “Anti-Sabbatarian Scold: Thomas Rogers’ Letter to Nicholas Bownd, April 29, 1598,” The Confessional Presbyterian 10 (2014): 113–170, and, Introduction, Nicholas Bownd, The True Doctrine of the Sabbath (Naphtali Press and Reformation Heritage Books, 2015).

10. George Estey, Certain and learned Expositions upon divers parts of Scripture (London, 1603), which includes the earlier, A Most Sweet and comfortable exposition upon the ten commandments (London, 1602). John Dod and Robert Cleaver, An Exposition of the Ten Commandments (1603, 19th edition, 1635). William Greenham, Treatise of the Sabboth, in Works (London, 1604); George Widley, Doctrine of the Sabbath, handled in Four Severall Bookes or Treatises (London, 1604); John Sprint, Propositions tending to prove the necessary Use of the Christian Sabbath, or Lord’s Day (London, 1607); Andrew Willet, Hexapla in Genesis (1608). Lewes [Lewis] Bayly, The Practice of Piety, third edition (1613). Lewes Thomas, A Short Treatise upon the Commandments, in seven sermons or exercises of seven sabbaths (London, 1615). Edward Elton, An exposition of the ten commandments of God (London, 1623), an update of A plain and easy exposition of six of the commandments (1619). Effigiatio veri Sabbathismi (1605) by Robert Loews may qualify but this Latin work contains criticisms of some points characteristic of what was becoming the Puritan position.

11. See the books listed in Chris Coldwell, “Calvin in the Hands of the Philistines, Or, Did Calvin Bowl on the Sabbath?”, The Confessional Presbyterian 6 (2010): 42, fn 60.

From Chris Coldwell, “Dropping the Subject, Again? The Decline of Sabbatarianism in the Old Southern Presbyterian Church and in the Presbyterian Church in America,” The Confessional Presbyterian 12 (2017), 41–43.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/what-would-you-think-on-my-pastors-view-on-the-sabbath.93089/, Comment 6

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Arminianism and the Lord’s Day

While Arminian converts usually manifest a strict and praise-worthy abstention in the life they lead from drink, smoking, gambling, cinemas, etc., and a self-denying zeal for propagating their gospel and winning converts, their attitude to the Lord’s day is not one of tenderness and love. “Ye are not under the law, but under grace,” is the Scripture which they wrest in order to justify themselves. True believers in Christ are not under the condemnation of the law—”for there is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” but they are ‘under the law to Christ’ as their rule of life. This the apostle states in 1 Cor. 9:21. Love to Christ is manifested and proved by love to His commandments. “If you love Me keep My commandments.” “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4). All who have no love for God’s holy day, who are not grieved over how far short they come in keeping the Sabbath holy to the Lord and who are not wounded and grieved in soul when they see the Lord’s day desecrated, whatever their profession, and whatever name they may have, they have but a name to live: they are still in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. “This is the love of God that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3). When the Lord writes His law in the heart in regeneration there is love for the Fourth Commandment, as surely as for the other commandments. Love to the Lord, to His Word, to His Cause, to His people and to His commandments, the holy Sabbath included, cannot be separated.

Arminian church bodies of our day have removed the ancient landmarks set by the godly fathers in the past as safeguards and bulwarks of the sanctity of the sabbath. The result is obvious. The curse of the Popish or “continental Sunday” has overspread the land like a flood. Is it any wonder that Dr. Kennedy of Dingwall said that Voluntaryism and Arminianism must be pioneers of Rationalism, for they are both the off-spring of unbelief?

~Rev. William MacLean, M.A., “Arminiamism: Another Gospel” under “Saving Faith”

Source: http://www.truecovenanter.com/gospel/arminianism_another_gospel.html

“Sundays Excepted?”

Via Apologetics Press:

“Sundays Excepted”?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Did the Founders of American civilization believe in the God of the Bible? More specifically, did the vast majority of them embrace the Christian worldview? Even though they advocated freedom of worship, and opposed any persecution instigated against those who sought to practice divergent religious views, did they, themselves, approach life from the perspective of the Christian religion? A mountain of evidence exists to prove that they did. Consider just one.

Though the Founders intentionally omitted an extensive treatment of religion in the federal Constitution, since they intended for the federal government to stay out of the religious arena and leave such matters to the States and local communities, they nevertheless implied their religious orientation in that seminal document. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution reads:

If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law (Constitution of the United…, emp. added).

“Sundays excepted”? Indeed, to this day, the U.S. government shuts down and does not transact business on Sunday? Why? If this provision had been made in respect of Jews, the Constitution would have read “Saturdays excepted.” If provision had been made for Muslims, the Constitution would have read “Fridays excepted.” If the Founders had intended to encourage a day of inactivity for the government without regard to any particular religion, they could have chosen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Instead, the federal Constitution reads “Sundays excepted”—proving that America was Christian in its orientation, that the Framers themselves shared the Christian worldview, and that they were determined to give political recognition to and accommodation of that fact by making allowance for the Christian day of worship. Their decision reflects a respect for Bible teaching on the matter (Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10).

This respect for the Christian worship of God on Sunday has been perpetuated throughout American history. The vanishing “Blue Laws” verify this fact. For example, in the 1846 South Carolina court case City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin, the court declared:

The Lord’s day, the day of the Resurrection, is to us, who are called Christians, the day of rest after finishing a new creation. It is the day of the first visible triumph over death, hell and the grave! It was the birth day of the believer in Christ, to whom and through whom it opened up the way which, by repentance and faith, leads unto everlasting life and eternal happiness! On that day we rest, and to us it is the Sabbath of the Lord—its decent observance, in a Christian community, is that which ought to be expected (2 Strob. L. 508 [S. C. 1846], emp. added).

Many other examples exist (cf. Miller, 2006). America was founded on Christian principles. The future of the Republic is endangered in direct proportion as those principles are abandoned. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

REFERENCES

City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin (1846), 2 Strob. L. 508 (S. C. 1846).

Constitution of the United States, [On-line], URL: http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/ constitution.html.

Miller, Dave (2006), “America, Christianity, and the Culture War (Part I),” Reason & Revelation, June 2006 – 26[6]41-47, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2942.

Original Source: http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2405

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Wednesday is the New Sunday

Churches are now making up a new Christian Sabbath “day” where God gets a couple hours on a weekday while His ordained day is spent in amusement:

Some churches are even rescheduling their services on weekdays, like those churches in Minnesota that have appointed “Wednesday as the new Sunday,” according to StarTribune
Meanwhile in Minnesota, many families are reportedly abandoning Sunday services to accommodate children’s sports schedules, week-end work shifts or out-of-town travel.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/why-many-churches-are-dropping-the-11-a-m-sunday-service-and-looking-at-wednesday-as-the-new-sunday-182201/#FL84Lxii1i8XO6bA.99

Why Keep a Christian Sabbath Today?

Why Keep a Christian Sabbath Today

Rev. Ian Goligher

November 26, 2006

Nehemiah 13

Listen to the sermon here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=11280613851

Notes:

  • In Nehemiah’s time, the Sabbath was being openly and flagrantly profaned – the very thing that brought the wrath of God upon the city beforehand and the reason why the Israelites were spending their entire lifetime rebuilding the city

  • What would Nehemiah think of our society today???

1. The Sabbath day still needs defending:

-Against the greed of the ungodly

  • today’s focus is on profit, profit, profit, which is now consuming the Lord’s Day
  • we will never win the argument from economy because people can make more money opening their businesses for 7 rather than 6 days a week

-Equality

  • Another argument we will never win, ie. That everyone should be free to follow their own convictions, way of life, culture, and desires
  • this practice has ruined the church and Canada for many generations, although greed is now taking over as the primary reason given for not keeping a Sabbath
  • note, though, that Nehemiah’s rule was the rule of God and not what unbelievers did

2. We need to contend against false doctrine on the Sabbath:

-It is a “holy” day, not a holiday:

  • Genesis 2 – God sanctified the day, set it apart and made it His day
  • to be used for God’s pleasure, not ours

-Permanency has to be contended for:

  • Dispensationalism teaches no Sabbath any more and has influenced many
  • teaching has only taken root in North America since the 1920’s

  • teaches that you can go to church in the morning and do whatever you want the rest of the day

-10 Commandments still the rule of life for the Christian:

  • Jesus did not cancel any of them out

-Change from the 7th day to the 1st day has to be contended for:

  • Apostles practice was to meet on the 1st day
  • founded on the principle of the resurrection
  • from earliest times, Christians met on the 1st day of the week
  • no controversy about the change in the New Testament
  • church historically has always accepted that we meet on the 1st day of the week
  • change to giving up the whole day is due to liberalism and modernism that has unravelled the inspiration and foundation of the Bible

-Must contend against the dishonor of God’s name

  • Sabbath reminds society of God’s name and glory

  • A society that turns away from the Sabbath also turns away from God

  • the more secular the day is treated, the less people think about God’s name and worship

-Sabbath was to put a difference between the Israelites and the other nations

  • Exodus 31:13 – a sign, a special covenant arrangement

  • remains as a sign for believers today in multifaith societies

-Must contend against the misuse of the Sabbath’s benefits

  • is a place for physical rest but not for sports and recreation

  • benefit of spiritual exercise – to be used to grow in the Lord

  • benefit to congregate in the church – no Sabbath would make churches into drop-in centres; no Sabbath means there be no witness in society; No Sabbath = no church = no witness

  • harm when day is desecrated – no time for Sabbath means no time for God

We have to use our influence where we can to “close the gates” for the Sabbath.

There is a blessing in taking a stand for the Lord’s day even if there is a price to pay for it.

The Church Calendar v. Biblical Worship and Biblical History

This whole cyclical liturgical view of worship is wrong. Fesko writes albeit too briefly on this, observing,

The Church Calendar conflicts with the biblical view of worship and what the Reformed tradition calls the regulative principle. There is the constant theme in Scripture that God sets the standards for worship, not man (Deut. 12.32; Matt. 15.9; Lev. 10.1-2; 1 Cor. 14.1ff). For this reason the Westminster divines write that “the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will” (WCF 21.1b). God has not instituted the Church Calendar. Paul exhorts Timothy to “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4.2); he does not give him a schedule to follow. Moreover, the previously cited author claims that the Church Calendar would bring about unity that nothing else can bring about. If this was the case, why did God in all of His wisdom not command the Church to do this? Moreover, the argument that the entire Church body needs to follow the same schedule flies in the face of the occasional nature of the New Testament epistles. A Church Calendar will not bring about greater unity, only Christ can bring unity through the work of the Holy Spirit and the means of grace. If this is how the Church Calendar conflicts with the biblical view of worship, how does it conflict with the Bible’s view of history?​

Note the language that is used to describe the Church Calendar: “In the liturgical year the various aspects of the one Paschal mystery unfold. This is also the case with the cycle of feasts surrounding the mystery of the incarnation” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 303, § 1171; emphasis). Notice that the church calendar operates on a cyclical pattern. It is ancient pagan religions that have a cyclical view of history: “The world-cycle runs its course, obeys it stars, absolves its round, and then the end links on to a new beginning, ushering in a repetition of the same sequence” (Geerhardus Vos, Pauline Eschatology, p. 334). A cyclical view of history is at odds with the biblical view, which is linear—a definite beginning and end, not an endless repetitive cycle. The Church should not expect “a quasi-consummation, which would bear on its face the Sisyphus-expression of endless toil” (Vos, Pauline Eschatology, p. 334). In other words, the Church Calendar repeats the same endless cycle, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, only to start over again with Advent. The biblical view, on the other hand, recognizes that the events of Christ’s ministry are in the past and that we are moving forward to a goal—the consummation of history, the return of Christ, the final judgment, and eternity with our triune Lord.​

God reminds us of this linear understanding of history, a beginning and an end, by the Sabbath. For example, the author of Hebrews writes: “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Heb. 4.9). He reminds his recipients that just as God concluded His creative work and entered His Sabbath rest (Gen. 2.2; cf. Heb. 4.1-11), so too we must desire to enter God’s Sabbath rest. We get a foretaste of that final eschatological rest each and every Sunday. For this reason, OPC Minister and professor at Westminster Seminary, Richard Gaffin, notes that “the pattern of six days of activity interrupted by one of rest is a reminder that human beings are not caught up in a meaningless flow of days, one after the other without end, but that history has a beginning and ending and is headed toward final judgment and the consummation of all things” (“The Sabbath: A Sign of Hope,” OPC Position Paper, p. 6). In a sense, God has given the Church a calendar—observe a Sabbath rest and worship Him on this day (Exo. 20.8-11; cf. Acts 20.7; 1 Cor. 16.2). On the Sabbath we recall the great redemptive events of the past, namely Christ’s first advent, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension, and look forward to the consummation of the age and His second advent.​

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/real-easter-sunrise-services.92617/, Comment 5

Free from Lawlessness

Kodos on the Puritan Board:

Often people when stating that “Christ came to set us free from legalism” forget too that “Christ also came to set us free from lawlessness (sin).”

I think it is interesting that of all the Commandments, the 2nd and 4th Commandments are the most heavily under assault within the Church. Both directly are connected with the Worship of God.

But it is no wonder that Satan and the Sinful Nature despise the 4th Commandment. It is the Commandment that gives us time for deepened Communion with God, for being fed by the Means of Grace, for proclaiming Salvation to the Lost, for Performing Deeds of Mercy to the Poor and Afflicted.

It is rest for those who have labored, both physically and spiritually – those who have been slaves to sin and the world. It is a time of refreshment for the Church. It is time spent when her Lord recharges her, and gives her the Spiritual Food for the following 6 days of warfare. It loudly proclaims the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, that this world is passing away, that a New Creation has come, old things have passed, all things being powerfully brought under the feet of Jesus Christ. It teaches us of the gospel – that salvation is not by works, but by rest in the finished work of Christ. It gives us a foretaste of heaven, time being spent with our Lord and His People for all eternity. It should excite us that heaven will be like this, yet more glorious!

In kindness we also have strangers to the promises of God (Exodus 20:10) cease from their labors towards us so that they too can hear of these things and may be saved by the faithful preaching of the Word of God (Romans 10:17) by the working of the Spirit. We do not try to shut them out of the means of grace, praying that they too will come and attend the worship services and hear of the spiritual rest that is found in Jesus Christ, and that they may be saved.

Powerfully bound up in the 4th Commandment are Love to God and Love to Neighbor! How can the Church not see these things, as we see people wishing instead to waste away the day on trifles, and vanities. The pots of meat back in Egypt as it were.

No wonder Satan and the Sinful Nature of our Flesh have managed to deceive ourselves that the Sabbath is Cruel, Unkind, Uncharitable – when it is the very opposite of all of these things.

The Super Bowl attempts to rob God of His Glory, and to weaken God’s People.

So yes, please do decry legalism. But decry true legalism, and do not decry the Sabbath Day of the Lord – where Love to God and Love to Neighbor are rightly and lawfully expressed.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/christians-watching-the-super-bowl.85756/, Comment 17

No Need of the Church

Cymro on the Puritan Board:

“If Christians do not keep the Sabbath day, then there is no need of the church. Its observation is as obligatory as thou shalt not kill. God’s moral reflection as delineated in the commandments is not subject to relaxation or change. We are commanded to “remember the sabbath day” and keep it holy. To remember it before it comes,(preparation),remember it when it comes,(participation), remember it when past,(meditation), on the Monday and successive days. ”

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/christians-watching-the-super-bowl.85756/, Comment 14 (one typo corrected)

The Sabbath and the Super Bowl

Mark Jones:

This is not a post that will gain me much popularity, with accusations of legalism bound to happen. If there’s one thing I know from attending a Big Ten school to play soccer, it is this: don’t mess with Americans and their sports. If we don’t think we have a problem with the idolatry of sports then we’re borderline insane.

For those who don’t know, the Super Bowl takes place this coming Lord’s day (330pm PST). Is watching the Super Bowl a good idea on the Lord’s Day? For some, the game may even take them away from church altogether. We’ve gone from Sabbath to Lord’s day to Super Bowl Sunday…

Read more at: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/01/christians-watching-the-super.php#sthash.WID4rov6.8OR0vcKN.dpuf

How To Cultivate Sabbath Keeping (Beeke)

Joel Beeke on Isaiah 58:13-14:

How to Cultivate Sabbath Keeping

http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?m=t&s=5191514403910

My notes:

  • Keeping the Sabbath = great way to cultivate holiness
  • Once a major part of Western culture but no longer
  • Sabbath = a foretaste of heaven

Four things:

  1. Doctrine
    • Day is not ours; it is the Lord’s
    • Must call it a delight to honor Him
    • Whole day is sacred time devoted to worship
    • If go own way, God says will come under His curse and disfavor
    • Not honoring will desensitize the conscience to all of God’s commandments
    • Isaiah 58 and Genesis 2 are not ceremonial law; Exodus 20 commands to remember it
    • Commandment 4 never taken away
  2. Discipline
    • Self-control needed to not do own pleasure
    • North American Christianity is primarily antinomian – people just want to go to church and be made to feel good and then do what they want the rest of the day
    • Discipline ought to be our delight
    • Don’t indulge your pleasure or preference apart from God’s will
    • We must turn our feet toward God and engage in careful, thoughtful, God-honoring, God-worshiping living
    • Must be disciplined before the day – do work on Saturday so free on Sunday
    • On Sunday, resist the temptation to do other things
    • Ryan McGraw: “Worldy recreations on the Sabbath are no more appropriate than if a groom paused in the middle of his wedding ceremony to check the scores of a football game.”
    • Repent of sinful desires and practices (cf. Amos 8:5)
    • A day to examine ourselves and the direction of our life
  3. Delight
    • Use to glorify and enjoy God
    • A day of exquisite delight, sweet joy
    • A day of blessing to us; a day when God gives us grace as we give Him worship
    • A day free of worldly responsibilities
    • A day to:
      1. Examine ourselves, confess sins, give thanks for our graces
      2. Pray for ourselves and others
      3. Read Scriptures and other sound books
      4. Meditate on God’s truth
      5. Engage in holy conversation with others
      6. Meditate and converse about God’s works in creation and Providence
      7. Sing psalms
      8. Serve people in mercy and love – poor, sick, widows, fatherless, foreigner; make peace with those with whom we have a quarrel, speak gospel
    • Not a day to be idle, but take a nap if necessary
    • Time to feed soul
    • Blessings – spiritual riches, inheritance in eternal kingdom of God
  4. Desire
    • Hopeful anticipation of the eternal Sabbath to come