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#44013 - Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:47 PM The Sabbath  
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Tom Offline
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I have been reading with interest a discussion on another Reformed Board on whether or not the Sabbath is still binding today, like it was in the OT.
In this particular discussion, it would seem like those who support the view that it is binding, are in the minority. Which I thought was surprising since for the most part, most of the participants agree with the LBCF on most issues.

Among the things that the people who don't believe it is binding said, that has not been challenged. Is that the Reformers themselves were not strict Sabbatarians. That it is mainly a Puritan and Scholasticism view.
They also state that Calvin and Luther preached against a strict Sabbatarian view and quoted Calvin himself as proof of this.
Quote
As Calvin points out, “He, I say, is the true completion of the sabbath: “We are buried with him by baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life,” (Rom. 6:4). Hence, as the Apostle elsewhere says, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holiday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days; which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ,” (Col. 2:16, 17); meaning by body the whole essence of the truth, as is well explained in that passage. This is not contented with one day, but requires the whole course of our lives, until being completely dead to ourselves, we are filled with the life of God. Christians, therefore, should have nothing to do with a superstitious observance of days.”


First of all, I agree with both The WCOF and the LBCF that the Sabbath is no different from the rest of the other 9 commandments and is binding.
However, I was a little surprised to read that the Reformers such as Luther and Calvin were not strict Sabbatarians. I was equally surprised that nobody challenged this.

I am not knowledgeable enough to know if indeed the Reformers were not strict Sabbatarians.
Anyone with knowledge of this aspect, care to comment?

Tom


Last edited by Tom; Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:12 AM.
#44015 - Tue Jan 12, 2010 7:59 AM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Tom]  
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Tom,

This subject of Calvin's view of the Sabbath being different from the later Puritans, etc., has been discussed here before. In fact, even as recently as June of last year there was mention of it in This Thread and more specifically, I offered This Reply and Rebuttal.

I cannot comment on Luther's view of the Sabbath from memory, however. But as to Calvin, his view was completely inline with that of the WCF and the Puritans who wrote it.

With the influence of John Reisinger and others who have promoted NCT, it shouldn't be surprising to you, being a Reformed Baptist, that the matter of the Sabbath Day should be questioned and ignored within that denomination/association. Presbyterian churches who ignore or reject the sanctity and perpetuity of the Sabbath do so most often for other reasons vs. those found in the NCT adherents. The result is the same but the reasons do differ.


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#44019 - Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:47 PM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Tom]  
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Tom,

With regard to Calvin, Pilgrim has I think given a satisfactory response. I would add that I think it possible that Calvin's views on the Sabbath may have changed in the course of his life towards a "Sabbatarian" view, thus some of the confusion on his actual position. As for Luther, he was by no means a strict Sabbatarian - he thought a day should be set aside, & since due to ancient custom Sunday had been set aside, then there was no reason to disrupt that order of things; but he did not believe that any particular day of the week was to be regarded as the Sabbath day. You can read a sermon of Luther's on the subject here.


Kyle

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified.
#44021 - Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:34 AM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Pilgrim

I think your rebutal was very good.

I was wondering if you can comment dirrectly on the quotes from John Calvin, that were used to try to prove Calvin didn't believe the same way that the WCF teaches.

Sorry it did surprise me that about many Reformed Baptists. But perhaps I some how just over looked this particular matter.

By the way, from what I gather, the people on that particular discussion deny believing in NCT.

Tom


#44024 - Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:57 AM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Tom]  
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Originally Posted by Tom
I was wondering if you can comment dirrectly on the quotes from John Calvin, that were used to try to prove Calvin didn't believe the same way that the WCF teaches.

The quote you provided that is allegedly Calvin's (I haven't tried to look it up as there was no source reference, e.g., Commentary on Colossians, Institutes, etc.), is dealing with Col 2:16f which I have dealt with elsewhere in a similar discussion on the Sabbath. So, I'm not going to iterate all that I wrote but simply point out that in the quote, Calvin rightly translates or his version of the Bible rightly renders it as "or of the sabbath days;" - Notice the plural days. Paul is speaking of the "Festivals" of OT Israel and special days which were called "sabbaths", (cf. 1Chron 23:31; 2Chron 2:4; 8:13, 31:3; Neh 10:33, etc.) This same rebuke and rejection of the continual observance of such days is also found in Gal 4:10. Again, there are CLEAR statements in the writings of John Calvin which show he held to the 'traditional' Sabbatarian view as expressed in the WCF and other confessions and catechisms of that era. So, that being the case, the CLEAR statements must take precedence over those statements which are less than clear or in this case, over the imposed views of the reader upon Calvin in the attempt to make Calvin appear to agree with that presupposition; in this case, an anti-Sabbatarian view.

Originally Posted by Tom
By the way, from what I gather, the people on that particular discussion deny believing in NCT.

Of course, I have no idea what theological camp these people are joined with on this board you are visiting. But if they are "Reformed Baptists", then the OFFICIAL statement of the Calvinistic Baptists is recognized as being The London Confession of Baptist Faith, which in Chapter XX, Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day says:

Quote
VII. As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God's appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by His Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, He hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto Him,[28] which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord's Day:[29] and is to be continued to the end of the world as a Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.

28. Exod. 20:8
29. I Cor. 16:1-2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10

VIII. The sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs afore hand, do not only observe an holy rest all day, from their own works, words and thoughts, about their worldly employment and recreations,[30] but are also taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.[31]

30. Isa. 58:13; Neh. 13:15-22
31. Matt. 12:1-13

However, there are some "Reformed Baptists" who follow John Bunyan in regard to the Sabbath and thus reject its perpetuity and observance. But historically, as one reads through the various confessions and catechisms of the denominations which came out of the Reformation, they are unanimous in what they believe concerning the Sabbath; the Fourth Commandment is a perpetual moral law which is forever binding upon the conscience of ALL men whereupon they are to work six days and then rest from their labors on the seventh day in order to devote themselves to the worship and service of God. The "day" was not specified in the actual Fourth Commandment and therefore the designation of Saturday to Israel was specific to that theocratic nation but was changed to Sunday, the first day of week, for the Church because of the fulfillment of all that the OT Sabbath foreshadowed. Thus He, Christ being raised on the first day of the week, the infant Church worshiped on that day and thus it is now designated as "The Lord's Day", etc., etc......


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#44053 - Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:48 PM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Pilgrim

Although I agree with you concerning Calvin's view of the Sabbath; I have found that the issue of Calvin's view of the Sabbath is debated in the Reformed community.
Theologians such as Richard Gaffin disagree strongly that Calvin held to the same understanding of the Sabbath that the WCF teaches. Gaffin and many others believe that the Puritans returned to Scholasticism and created the Lord’s Day as the Reformed Church knows it today.
Apparently Gaffin quotes Calvin (though I don’t have a reference) “"...we ought to observe this order of having some day of the week, whether one or two. But all of that can be left up to the liberty of Christians."

The previous Calvin quote was taken from the Institutes where Calvin offers his exposition of the “Moral Law”.
Many Reformed theologians also believe that the 4th Commandment was ceremonial, not moral.
It appears that Calvin isn’t as clear on this issue as I thought.

Tom

#44054 - Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:51 AM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Tom]  
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Originally Posted by Tom
Although I agree with you concerning Calvin's view of the Sabbath; I have found that the issue of Calvin's view of the Sabbath is debated in the Reformed community.

Surprise, surprise!! But why are YOU surprised, Tom? There has been a growing antipathy and even opposition/rejection of the Fourth Commandment for quite a number of years now, particularly in the USA. Haven't you heard of NCT (New Covenant Theology)?

Originally Posted by Tom
Theologians such as Richard Gaffin disagree strongly that Calvin held to the same understanding of the Sabbath that the WCF teaches. Gaffin and many others believe that the Puritans returned to Scholasticism and created the Lord’s Day as the Reformed Church knows it today.
Apparently Gaffin quotes Calvin (though I don’t have a reference) “"...we ought to observe this order of having some day of the week, whether one or two. But all of that can be left up to the liberty of Christians."

Gaffin has written that he is persuaded that Calvin wasn't a strict Sabbatarian, but for someone to say that he "disagrees strongly" would be incorrect. In the article I referenced Gaffin is mentioned and his objections dealt with more than adequately with direct quotes IN CONTEXT from Calvin's writings. I'll try and get permission, D.v., from the publisher/author to reproduce the article on The Highway so that you and many others can read it.

Originally Posted by Tom
The previous Calvin quote was taken from the Institutes where Calvin offers his exposition of the “Moral Law”.
Many Reformed theologians also believe that the 4th Commandment was ceremonial, not moral.
It appears that Calvin isn’t as clear on this issue as I thought.

What appears to be true is that you are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine by men who you apparently give much credibility. Gaffin, e.g., has embraced NPP/FV to some degree. He has also been known in his later years to hold to other "questionable" views. He no longer can be deemed reliable as he once was. This seems to be a pattern of late with those who were once very conservative but then change their view(s) or develop "new" ones which are heterodox. The quest for fame is the apparent driving force. It isn't enough to stay on the "old paths" and simply to be faithful to the Scriptures in those matters which have been hammered out over centuries of debate.

As for the view that sees the Fourth Commandment as "ceremonial, not moral"... igiveup Give me a break! How can anyone exegetically rip the Fourth Commandment out of the nine and call it ceremonial while maintaining that the others are moral? [Linked Image]. It just goes to show how far people will go to twist the Bible around and turn it on its' head to prove a presupposition which is not taught in the Bible. (2Pet 3:16) Need I remind you how some "notable" men have done the same with the doctrine of Creation? wink

Perhaps you are spending too much time in the wrong places, Tom, where these aberrant views are being held and/or defended? [Linked Image]


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#44062 - Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:50 PM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Pilgrim

I am not being tossed to and fro. I already told you that I agree with you. I am not all that familiar with Gaffin, other than he seems to be popular in Reformed circles.

The reaaon why I said "It appears that Calvin isn’t as clear on this issue as I thought." Is because there are quotes that Calvin makes that do seem to support the opposite view. However, I think this may be because I have not been able to find the whole context of these quotes.

Tom

#44063 - Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:06 AM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Pilgrim

Just so you understand where one person that believes that the 4th Commandment is ceremonial is coming from; I thought I would give you a quote from him.

Quote
I don't believe we can limit the teaching of the Sabbath to one section of scripture. When I say the Sabbath is ceremonial I'm saying it has to do with an external form of religion. The Sabbath given by the hand of Moses is not limited to the passages you refer to, the Sabbath Law is expounded further in other areas of scripture so our understanding is not limited to Ex. 20. The Sabbath contains rites, ceremonial exactness, rules of social interaction and prescribed penalties for breaking it. When I asked how is it you keep the Sabbath no one can show me, using both Old and New Testaments, how I might keep the Sabbath...exactly.

If the ceremonial aspect of the Law is done away with I can make no profanation of the Sabbath for there is no Law to break. The Puritan Sabbath is completely out of context because it's isolated from the Laws that govern it. That’s why no one is able to answer the question as to how do you keep the Sabbath under the New Covenant or at least agree on what a Christian must do to keep the Sabbath...there is no scriptural answer. We end up with a day, not a Sabbath, that is out of harmony with scriptural Sabbatarianism. You can not keep the Sabbath without the totality of the Mosaic Law system, it was central to the Mosaic Covenant where we receive detailed instruction in how to keep it. These ceremonies are nothing but shadows, weak and beggarly elements of the substance and the substance is Christ!


I am thinking of answering this person, but I think I need to do a little research first.

Tom

Last edited by Tom; Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:09 AM.
#44064 - Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:34 AM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Tom]  
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Pilgrim,

I do not think Tom is tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. I believe he tries to determine what people believe and why, just as I do. I have benefited greatly from both his questions/thoughts on here as well as the subsequent replies to them.

heart


#44065 - Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:17 PM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Tom]  
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Originally Posted by Tom
Pilgrim

I am not being tossed to and fro. I already told you that I agree with you. I am not all that familiar with Gaffin, other than he seems to be popular in Reformed circles.

The reaaon why I said "It appears that Calvin isn’t as clear on this issue as I thought." Is because there are quotes that Calvin makes that do seem to support the opposite view. However, I think this may be because I have not been able to find the whole context of these quotes.

Tom,

Evidently we are NOT in agreement since I made it clear that I do not see obscurity in Calvin's thoughts on the Sabbath when once considers ALL that he wrote and in CONTEXT. Thus, when someone who provides a quote that appears that Calvin didn't hold to the Sabbatarian view of the WCF, it is done with the expressed intent to confuse the informed reader by taking the quote either out of context and/or in isolation from Calvin's other writings on this subject. It seems obvious that this person's presupposition, according to what he also wrote, is that the Fourth Commandment is to be relegated to the Ceremonial Law and not to the Moral Law, which I have already stated here and on numerous other occasions when this subject has been discussed, is exegetically impossible. Have you actually read the source material from which this individual and others quote from?? If you have/had then it should be evident that Calvin's view of the Sabbath is inline with the Puritans and the WCF and other Reformed Confessions.

Again, I will make an effort to try and gain permission to republish the article "John Calvin, the Nascent Sabbatarian: A Reconsideration of Calvin's View of Two Key Sabbath-Issues". The article was published in [i]The Confessional Presbyterian[/i], volume 3 - 2007. The author, Steward E. Lauer quotes from Gaffin and deals more than adequately with Gaffin's conclusion, which in the end is to be rejected in that it is inaccurate.

IF <--- I am given permission to reproduce this article, once it is done and web-ready on The Highway, I will announce its arrival in the appropriate forum. grin


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#44068 - Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:24 PM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Pilgrim]  
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Pilgrim

You said:
Quote

Evidently we are NOT in agreement since I made it clear that I do not see obscurity in Calvin's thoughts on the Sabbath when once considers ALL that he wrote and in CONTEXT.


As I said:
Quote
However, I think this may be because I have not been able to find the whole context of these quotes.

This does not mean that we disagree, it just means that I need to find the whole context of Calvin's quote.

Tom

#44069 - Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:33 PM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Jacy]  
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Jacy

Quote
I believe he tries to determine what people believe and why, just as I do.


Thank you that is exactly what I am trying to do. In fact, this is how I became Reformed in my theology.
My old Arminian understanding much to my chagrin didn't hold up to the scrutiny of Reformed theology. Funny things is, now that I am Reformed, I have been accused more than once of being tossed to and fro, by some family members for becoming Reformed.
Good thing I am learning not to be easily hurt…

Tom

#44070 - Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:15 PM Re: The Sabbath [Re: Tom]  
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I came across an interesting review of Gaffin's book, Calvin and the Sabbath. I haven't made a study of Calvin's position, so I can't enter into the conversation, but I thought of this thread when I read it and thought it might be of interest.

K


Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love and the future to God's providence." - St. Augustine
Hiraeth
#44077 - Fri Jan 22, 2010 10:22 AM Re: The Sabbath [Re: gotribe]  
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K,

Yep, interesting article but the reviewer never challenged Gaffin's quotes nor conclusion. He simply accepted what Gaffin wrote at face value which is a fatal mistake especially on a subject that is so hotly debated.

I have had contact with the editor of The Confessional Presbyterian magazine asking for permission to publish Stuart Lauer's article mentioned above. Hopefully, the author will grant permission to allow his article to be put on The Highway. The big difference between Lauer's article and the one you linked to is that Lauer scrutinizes Gaffin's quotes as well as others who seek to find a difference between Calvin's sabbatarian view and those of the later Calvinists. He painstakingly goes back to Calvin's writings and shows what Gaffin and others are claiming Calvin believed simply can't hold water.

This approach of questioning what the Church has understood in regard to the teachings of Calvin isn't anything new. Kendall attacked the Reformed church's doctrine of Limited Atonement asserting that John Calvin held to a universal atonement and thus Limited Atonement is a later doctrine which is not truly "reformed". Paul Helms responded in his book, Calvin and the Calvinists to show that Kendall had misconstrued what Calvin believed by taking him out of context, leaving out critical sections of Calvin's writings, etc., and showing indisputably that Calvin clearly believed and taught Limited Atonement. Of course, despite the overwhelming evidence, there are those who continue to charge that Limited Atonement was not taught by the magisterial Reformers and thus it is not truly "reformed". I believe that this is what we are seeing now but on the matter of the Sabbath. There is a latent rejection of the Fourth Commandment which many are going out of their way to convince the Church that it is no longer binding upon believer's today.

What needs to be remembered, at least is:

1. The Scriptures are to be the sole and final authority in all matters of faith and practice.
2. The Sabbath is a creation ordinance that existed long before Sinai and thus it is binding upon all men everywhere.
3. The Fourth Commandment is immovably wedged between 9 moral commandments and cannot be extricated from them and relegated to the ceremonial law.
4. There is NT evidence that the Sabbath was kept by Jesus Christ and defended both in its perpetuity but also in how it should be rightly practiced contra the Pharisaical addenda which were oppressive, never mind heretical and not according to the purpose for which God instituted the Sabbath Day.
5. Lastly, "Beloved, believe not every spirit (teaching), but try the spirits (teachings) whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."


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