Post Number: 53
|Posted on Sunday, October 16, 2016 - 7:14 am: || |
Sunday: The Church’s Special Day
by Jack Cottrell (Notes) on Saturday, December 26, 2009 at 8:41pm
SOMEONE HAS ASKED, “How do we get Sunday as a holy day?” I.e., why do we keep Sunday as the church’s special day, rather than Saturday? And why should the church gather for corporate worship on Sunday, rather than on Friday or Saturday? Is there something special about Sunday?
MY ANSWER: Sunday is indeed the church’s special day, and has been so since Jesus arose from the dead. This is so because world history is divided into two main epochs, the dividing point being the death and resurrection of Christ. By his redemptive work Christ divided history in two senses.
FIRST, history is divided in terms of COVENANT. This has to do with God’s relation to his special people—first Israel, then the Church. God related to Israel (the Jews) in terms of the first or old covenant, the one given through Moses and recorded in Exodus through Deuteronomy. Under the old covenant the special day was the Sabbath Day, which was our Saturday (Exodus 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12-15). The main purpose of the Sabbath day was to honor God for redeeming the Israelite nation from Egyptian bondage. The main means of so honoring God was to rest from all labor, in contrast with their former life of slavery: “On [the Sabbath] you shall not do any work . . . . You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day” (Deut. 5:14-15, ESV). The choice of the SEVENTH day as the Jews’ day of rest was appropriate, because that was the day God rested from his work of creation (Gen. 2:1-3; Exodus 20:11).
The fact is, though, that we as Christians are living under a NEW and DIFFERENT covenant, one established by Jesus through his death and resurrection (Jer. 31:31-34; Luke 22:20; Heb. 8-10). Under the New Covenant the FIRST day of the week is the Church’s special day. We do not keep this special day by resting, because our deliverance was not from physical labor but from slavery to sin and death. Rather, we set aside this day for the purpose of celebrating Jesus Christ and his mighty work of redemption. It is a day of celebration, not a day of rest.
In the New Testament (the New Covenant Scriptures) the Sabbath commandment is the only one of the ten commandments that is not repeated in some way. It is no longer binding on the people of God (Col. 2:16). It is an OLD covenant requirement, and Christians live under the NEW covenant. But this is not the whole story—
SECOND, history is divided in terms of CREATION. Until the death and resurrection of Christ the entire world (not just the Jews) was living only under the regime of the first or old creation as described in Genesis 1. However, through his redemptive work Jesus inaugurated a NEW CREATION, a new sphere of existence within which the people of God now live and now serve him. Many will point to Gen. 2:1-3, as cited in Exodus 20:11, as evidence that Sabbath (seventh-day) keeping is not just an Old Covenant requirement but a creation ordinance and thus permanently binding. But the New Testament makes it clear that Jesus Christ began not only a new COVENANT, but also a whole new CREATION (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10).
This new creation began specifically with the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the redemptive event in which Jesus himself became “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18, ESV), “the firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29, ESV). His resurrection was on the first day of the week—Sunday (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). The first day of the week was appropriate because his resurrection was not the conclusion of something (the old creation) but was the beginning of something NEW—the NEW CREATION. Thus we are not surprised that the Apostles led the early church to gather to celebrate the Lord’s redemptive work on the FIRST DAY of the week—Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2.
The earliest Christian writers testify that Sunday, the first day of the week, was the church’s special day because it was the day of Christ’s resurrection. Ignatius (early 2nd century), in his letter to the Magnesians (paragraph 9) says that “those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death.” The Epistle of Barnabas (early or mid-second century), paragraph 15, says that God has told Christians, in effect, “I shall make a beginning of the eighth day, that is, a beginning of another world. Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead.” Justin Martyr (mid-second century), in his First Apology, chapter 67, says: “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read,” followed by preaching, prayer, and the Lord’s Supper. “But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead.”
It seems to me that making all days the same, as if Friday or Saturday were just as appropriate a day of Christian remembrance as Sunday, denies or ignores the transition from old to new covenant, and especially from old to new creation. (On Romans 14:5, see my commentary on Romans. The reference is not to the days of the week, but to the various special days set apart under the Old Covenant.)
Post Number: 15445
|Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016 - 3:08 pm: || |
FYI: We cleaned up this thread because so much had accumulated that opposed the purpose of the forum. Just so you know what happened. I'm sorry it took me a couple of days to see how this had exploded. Thanks to all of you who defended the gospel and the teaching of Scripture!
Post Number: 2011
|Posted on Monday, October 17, 2016 - 6:53 pm: || |
My thanks to you for caring and taking time for not only, 'keeping and eye', on this particular thread but the Forum in general~
Post Number: 1887
|Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 8:50 am: || |
Living in a SDA town, my pastor has quite a few former Adventists in his congregation and also gets quite a few contacts from current SDAs. A long time ago he said to me (in a very nice way), "Sometimes when I'm having these conversations it's like you're telling me you're wearing a yellow shirt and you want to debate the merits of wearing the yellow shirt, but all I can see is a blue shirt. Sometimes I don't even know how to engage in the arguments about yellow shirts, because the shirt is blue in the first place and I don't understand why you think it's yellow or why it would really matter either way. It's like you're talking a different language."
The further and further I get from Adventism the more and more I understand his comment. Adventism, and other cultic belief systems, cannot just read Scripture in the most straightforward way and accept it for what it says. Aberrant belief systems are dependent upon faulty presuppositions, tortured logic, non sequiters, and random proof texting. Good solid hermeneutical exegesis is death to these types of belief systems so their adherrants do everything possible to avoid engaging in line by line contextual exegesis.
Without any underlying agreement on how to even approach Scripture, it's nearly impossible to have a coherent discussion. As I said in another thread, it's like trying to engage with someone who insists that "The Martians will invade prior to the Illuminati gaining control of earth". There are so many presuppositions, falsehoods, and irrationalities built into the premise that it's nearly impossible to have a meaningful dialogue.
The older I get the less interested I am in interacting with irrational arguments. It just doesn't seem very productive. If a person wants to really dig into a passage and discuss the best way to draw the author's intent from the passage in it's own context, then let's talk even if we disagree at the end of the day. If, instead, they just want to throw out more random personal belief statements as if they were fact (backed only by out of context proof texting), then it's time to disengage and let that person go their way (in my opinion).
Post Number: 1888
|Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 9:10 am: || |
I would like to address a charge that came up in this thread. It's a charge that has been directed at me in the past by a fairly well known SDA author among others. It goes like this, "You former Adventists are just as rigid and dogmatic as you ever were. You used to be dogmatic about Adventism, now you're just dogmatic about something else."
For me, this charge doesn't ring quite true. It's not that I exited Adventism, latched onto some of other set of dogmatic doctrines, and then decided to defend them to the death.
For me, part of the transition out of Adventism was learning how to read and study whole books of the Bible in their own context and then being shocked by what was being said in context. All of a sudden, the great, historic, orthodox, Christian doctrines of the Church seemed to leap off the page and into reality. It was like scales falling from my eyes. I suddenly understood why orthodox Christians have believed what they have down through the Church age. The Church has embraced these doctrines because it is what naturally flows out of a plain contextual reading of Scripture. You can simply believe what the author says without skipping and hopping all over the place to disprove it.
It's not that I'm so terribly dogmatic. Hey, if I'm wrong, I really want to know. But what I'm not going to do ever again is be swayed by sloppy, non-contextual, random proof texting and leaps of logic. If I'm wrong about a key Christian doctrine, then show me by going to a primary didactic passage designed to teach the Church about this topic and working though it using proper hermeneutics. I'll listen to you if you use proper hermeneutics.
If the Church has been wrong down through the ages, then it is encumbant on the one making such a charge to show it using a good contextual, hermeneutical approach. Asking for at least this as baseline to a meaningful discussion is not being dogmatic, it's simply being rational.
Post Number: 15446
|Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 5:39 pm: || |
Absolutely so, Chris. That accusation is such a smoke-screen. I had the same experience, and I was absolutely amazed, shocked, even, when I discovered that reading Scripture in context delivered the historic doctrines of the Christian faith. There really is an unbroken reality of teaching and truth that has come to us from the apostles onward. I didn't invent what I was reading; people for 2,000 years have read Scripture and seen the same things.
Moreover, the pages of Scripture ring true; the reality of the gospel, of the Lord Jesus, of sin and salvation and the nature of men—these things are clear and un-confusing. They settle so much confusion.
In contrast, false doctrines are confusing. They are not clearly seen; they have to be explained and buttressed with a dizzying collection of proof-texts. No one reading the Bible would ever come up with them if he was submitted to the Lord Jesus and looking for truth.
Evil and falsehood are confusing, not clear and linear. They sound clever and smart to an uninitiated person, but ultimately they reveal themselves to be merely clever deceptions.
Very well said, Christ.
Post Number: 1053
|Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 3:59 am: || |
AMEN and AMEN!!
This is why I think people who rely upon bible commentaries are studying the bible wrong. The context of the passage is the only commentary you need. God designed His Word to be read and understood without "biblical know it alls" telling us what the text "really" is saying.
When I read scripture I ask God to to open my eyes to see and understand the truths He has for me to discover. Why would God need "a lesser light" to point me to "the greater light"? Why dont Adventists believe that the Word of God can stand alone without any extra help? Is God guilty of creating an incomplete and imperfect work that we call the bible?
If we would just trust God and allow Him to speak to our hearts thru His Word...there wouldnt be so much confusion and false doctrine...or am I wrong to think this?
Post Number: 223
|Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 5:17 am: || |
"Hey, if I'm wrong, I really want to know. But what I'm not going to do ever again is be swayed by sloppy, non-contextual, random proof texting and leaps of logic."
Well said Chris! Your statement strikes at the very foundation of Adventism.
Post Number: 8217
|Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 10:00 am: || |
"Hey, if I'm wrong, I really want to know. But what I'm not going to do ever again is be swayed by sloppy, non-contextual, random proof texting and leaps of logic."
Or any other man made learning. Being a true Bible believing christian is just about as rational as a person can get, but in this day and time people are saying that it's irrational too believe the whole thing.
What is irrational to me is too split hell wide open on someone else's dime.
Post Number: 2012
|Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 10:45 am: || |
I like the way you, "...tell it like it is..." !
"What is irrational to me is too split hell wide open on someone else's dime."
Post Number: 117
|Posted on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 9:05 pm: || |
I really miss the nuggets of gold from setusfree314😫
Post Number: 857
|Posted on Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 8:41 pm: || |
Well, Animal, considering that there's some thirty thousand different Protestant denominations who all say they have the truth, something seems wrong.
The Calvinists say the Armenians are wrong; there's the Amillenialists, the Preeterists and the Rapture folk. Pentecostals, Evangelicals, Presbyterians..high church and low church.
Sure, there's Christ's death on the cross and resurrection, but even the 'why' of that is not agreed upon. Penal substitution? Theosis?
Either the Holy Spirit sows confusion;, or there's virtually no objective truth; or that contextual interpretation idea has a fatal flaw.
Post Number: 1055
|Posted on Friday, October 21, 2016 - 12:04 pm: || |
So...what is your solution? Abandon the bible?
Post Number: 15447
|Posted on Friday, October 21, 2016 - 12:06 pm: || |
Loneviking, good to see you!!
I hear what you are saying. And here's where I'm finding myself "coming down". Regarding the core of the Christian faith, the non-negotiable are clear: Jesus Christ was God incarnate who died according to Scripture, was buried, and rose again on the third day according to Scripture (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
All those other things...Calvinism, Arminianism, the timing of the rapture and the millennium, and the denominational distinctives...those things are not the core of the gospel, and we simply cannot divide the body over questions the Bible does not clearly state. The gospel, the identity of Jesus, the security of salvation...those things are clearly stated.
The "isms", as I call them, are man-made. What I am seeing is that there is a tension in Scripture; it clearly teaches both the sovereign election and security of the Almighty God as well as the necessity of each person to believe when exposed to the truth of the gospel. Both are true, and we just can't explain how both are true. I'm concluding that in eternity, where we aren't bound by three dimensions and time, these apparent contradictions are not contradictory.
I'm learning that if the Bible teaches it, I must believe it. If a passage appears to conflict with another, I have to ask God to show me how to hold these two things loosely and to allow His Spirit to clarify the truth. Interestingly, however, I am also finding that the more time I spend in the Bible, doing contextual, verse-by-verse learning, the more I pay attention to the words and punctuation, the verb tenses, the prepositions, even...the less conflict I see between the things that used to seem incompatible. There is a reality beyond what we can see, and these difficult passages give us glimpses into them.
Ultimately, we are not asked to resolve all these conflicts. We are asked to trust God and His word, so these issues harmonize better as we immerse ourselves in the Word. The divisive doctrines seem to gain power and defenders when people feel the need to reconcile what the Bible does not ask us to reconcile...or when people grab onto one idea and try to explain away the passages that seem to contradict. We can't dismiss one half of a conundrum and stay orthodox. If the Bible says, for example, that the Lord God elects, foreknows, and predestines people to be conformed to the image of His Son, I cannot then dismiss the clear commands to believe or the statements that Jesus is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (1 Jn. 2:2-3). Neither can I conclude that everyone is therefore saved—nor can I conclude that God does not foreknow, elect, call, choose, and predestine.
I have to know that the tension of Scripture is part of God's word that we must hold, knowing that we can trust Him.
There is objective truth, but God has not revealed it all to us. But He has revealed Himself, and He is the One we trust, knowing that although we cannot understand, He is bigger than our doubts and lack of understanding. In fact, 1 John 5:6 says this: "This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth."
Knowing how things harmonize is not God's promise to us; knowing Him, the triune God over all, however, IS His promise if we believe in the Son of God who came as the propitiation for our sins.
False teaching engages the mind in all sorts of fanciful and clever explanations. Scripture read in context, however, is different. It is not confusing, but it is immense and far deeper than our humanity can comprehend. I'm left with more questions about the "how" of things as I read and study, but I'm also far more grounded in security and trust because of how consistent His word is.
In fact, this apparent contradiction itself is an example of how far beyond us truth is and also how impacting on our individual lives it is.
The "isms" have distracted the church, I'm convinced.
Post Number: 858
|Posted on Friday, October 21, 2016 - 8:18 pm: || |
Long ago, when I was still Adventist, I had an interesting pastor. He was a Turk, raised on the divided island of Cyprus. He had an illustration he often used to show the difference between the Eastern and Western mindset---and the authors of the New Testament were from the east.
He said if you took a beautifully crafted wooden chair, set it in a room and asked an American and a Turk if the chair was 'perfect', you'd see different responses.
The American would look at the fit, the finish of the chair. Were the joints tight? Were the decorative carving without flaw? Perfect, here, meant flawlessly crafted.
The Turk, on the other hand, would want to sit in the chair, would see if it was sturdy and comfortable. There would be little concern over fit and finish, as long as it was sturdy and comfortable. Perfect, here, meant that the chair was designed and built to be comfortable to sit in.
One word, two different viewpoints. The early church also took Greek words and gave them a Christian meaning, which further complicates things.
Do we just give up? No, the church has thought, wrote and studied about Scripture for 2,000 years. There were lots of early church fathers that wrote about the Bible. They would be a good place to start as some were only one or two generations removed from the apostles.
Finding a pastor/teacher/spiritual father who knows the writings of the early church and brings their wisdom into todays world is another resource.
We don't have to re-invent the wheel, and we should use writings that have stood the test of time to backstop our studies, to keep us on track. We should also learn, personally, from Godly teachers who can model Christian living for us.
A lone Ranger Christian, trying to work through the Bible by applying context is going to wind up pretty confused.. Come to think of it, isn't this what the Adventist pioneers claimed to do and isn't this what led them to much of their truth?
Post Number: 859
|Posted on Friday, October 21, 2016 - 8:56 pm: || |
For a minute there I thought you were going to quote the Nicene creed! And that creed is a good foundation for any Christian to build on.
Build on? Yes, because there is so much more to experience and learn. ' Least common denominator' is a sad version of Christianity
You mentioned the tensions and paradoxes, and IMHO you're right that we should let these exist instead of dividing into warring camps. But again, you're tripped up by 'context', as others say that the paradox you find is because you aren't reading in context!
If Scripture, read in context was not confusing, then how do you wind up with so many different opinions? Are those you disagree with reading out of context? Or are you? You see how this is a never ending, circular argument?
We need more than context to arrive at the truth.
Post Number: 860
|Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2016 - 5:08 am: || |
If you want to see an example of good Bible study just look at Jonasaras post. He goes through the Old Testament, compares and studies into the New Testament and then checks to see what the church fathers had to say.
Post Number: 108
|Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2016 - 9:32 am: || |
Are the Church fathers the final arbiters of truth regarding what Scripture says and/or means?
Post Number: 861
|Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2016 - 6:46 pm: || |
Final arbiter? Not necessarily.
Some doctrines developed or were refined over time, and debates were settled in several councils down through the centuries.
As these developing doctrines (such as the nature of Christ) were studied and debated, some of the father's viewpoints were rejected at the council.
On a handful of occasions, an orthodox bishop would become a heretic, so that only their early writings are useful.
So sure, there needs to be a nuanced approach but there is great value to studying what they wrote.
You might want to read a book titled 'Reading Scripture With The Church Fathers' by Christopher Hall.
Post Number: 8218
|Posted on Monday, October 24, 2016 - 9:30 pm: || |
Per Longvikings post #857, a great verse is in the Gospels that gives us the right answer.
John 21:21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
John 21:22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
I find myself living in the non-negotiables nowadays far more than the ism's Collen talked about. That may be because I have a very sick Daughter, and a son with Cancer. It sure puts me on a narrow track.
As I look at these people (including my daughter) in ICU so deathly sick I find the non-negotiables very comforting.