Sunday, May 01, 2005

To Sabbath or not to Sabbath?

In the past few months, I have been investigating the positions surrounding the 4th Commandment. So, I have decided to take a little informal survey and debate. As far as I can tell there are at least three positions on this subject.

1. The 4th Commandment means that every day, indeed, every moment of our lives is to be holy, and we are to rest from our evil labor and rest in Christ every moment. Meeting for worship on Sundays is not required, for no particular day is required. Sunday is just the traditional choice. The church is allowed to choose the day to meet. John Calvin and Gromarius appear to hold this position.
2. The 4th Commandment means that Sunday is our new Sabbath, but we are not to observe it as the Jews did. Corporate worship is commanded on Sunday, resting from servile labors is commanded, but all other things are permissible. I believe Bullinger, Capito, Cramner, and the pronouncement of the Synod of Dort hold this position.
3. The 4th Commandment means that Sunday is required, and no work is to be done on that day. The day is to be spent in public and private worship, allowing only for works of necessity and mercy. Often this position is accompanied by a refusal to use Feast Days like Christmas and especially Easter because they detract from Sunday’s meaning. The Westminster Divines appear to hold this position along with many of the early New England Puritans.

I just thought I would throw this debate out there to any who wish to give an opinion or voice to the matter. I hope everyone has a good Sunday.


Bud said...

I suppose I will be in the first group, but I would add that attendance at church is commanded, required. It would be wrong, however, to refuse to worship on another day if the needs of the church and her proper authorities so required it.

I do not think anyone is really keeping the fourth commandment unless the peace of God rules his heart and mind, as the apostle says. This is not a suggestion but a requirement for true faith, which includes trust.

Love your blog.

C. W. Powell
New Geneva Seminary
Trinity Covenant RCUS

DRB said...

You might include the Lutheran view, that the Sabbath has been fulfilled in Christ, not in the Lord's Day. An intermediate view is similar to your View #2.