Post Number: 31
|Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 8:42 pm: || |
How does one's viewpoint about the new covenant affect one's belief about the Sabbath?
Here's the context for the question. The controversy about Sabbath--whether it is required of Christians--occurs among people who believe they are under the new covenant. They all hold a high view of the new covenant, yet end up with differing beliefs about the Sabbath. So I conceive of two possibilities: 1) Either everyone holds the same view about the new covenant, but that view is insufficient to provide an answer to the question, or 2) There are subtle differences among Christians with regard to the new covenant, and those differences lead to the conclusions they make about the Sabbath. Maybe it's something else. How someone defends their position may give some clues.
Post Number: 190
|Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 9:40 pm: || |
I guess one needs to question what the Apostles meant by the New Covenant ... I believe they had in mind the dispensation when the Gentiles would be part of the people of God. Clearly this is what Paul was speaking about when he penned Ephesians 2:
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
Post Number: 191
|Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 9:46 pm: || |
Part of that New Covenant was an abolishing of the laws that separated Jew from Gentile, as being a special people, and Paul goes into greater detail in Colossians 2 by mentioning circumcision (v.11), food laws and the Sabbath and holy days (v.16).
Those that seek to rebuild the "dividing wall of hostility" through requiring Gentile Christians to observe the "law of commandments expressed in ordinances" are seeking to re-establish what Christ died to abolish, and therefore are (whether knowingly or not) teaching contrary to the New Covenant.
Post Number: 192
|Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 9:57 pm: || |
You will find among people who claim to be under the New Covenant many wrong beliefs and practices: the worship of Mary, letting children die by refusing them blood transfusions, faith in extra-biblical writings, etc.
Also, keep in mind that the Ten Commandments are referred to as the Old Covenant (Deut. 5:2; 2 Cor. 3:4-16; Heb. 8:13-9:4) and the Sabbath is also referred to as the Old Covenant (Ex. 31:16).
Placing the Sabbath as a barrier (or a door) to the kingdom of God is a damnable heresy. I personally know/knew people who left God completely because of the Sabbath, who are now dead. They were taught that they could not be acceptable to God without Sabbath observance.
Think about that for a bit, that is very serious if people did not come to Christ but are burning in hell right now because of Adventist Sabbatarian teaching.
Post Number: 3550
|Posted on Friday, January 26, 2018 - 3:43 pm: || |
Terryohare; Jeremiah 31:31-32 promised that God would bring in a new covenant not like the one He gave Israel when He brought them out of Egypt. (Jesus brought in the new covenant [New Testament] at His death.) Here's some more verses that refer to the old covenant as the Ten Commandments; Ex. 34:28; Deut. 4:13; Deut. 9:9-15. I would also like to mention that that covenant [law] started 430 years after Abraham and was to go until Christ - Galatians 3:17-19.
Post Number: 32
|Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 5:45 pm: || |
Thank you gentlemen. Jer 31:31ff, Col 2:16 and Eph 2:11ff are indeed foundational verses. So here's an example of someone who understands the new covenant yet conceives the Sabbath to be outside the "law of commandments."
Matthew Henry can say about "the law of commandments": "By his sufferings in the flesh, to took away the binding power of the ceremonial law (so removing that cause of enmity and distance between them), which is here called the law of commandments contained in ordinances, because it enjoined a multitude of external rites and ceremonies, and consisted of many institutions and appointments about the outward parts of divine worship. The legal ceremonies were abrogated by Christ, having their accomplishment in him. By taking these out of the way, he formed one church of believers, whether they had been Jews or Gentiles. Thus he made in himself of twain one new man." So Henry explains it as well as any man (person). But he also wrote "A Serious Address to Those Who Profane the Lord's Day" in which he says: "It appears by the New Testament, that the first day of the week should be observed and sanctified as a Christian Sabbath. It is evident to any who read the New Testament without prejudice... We not only find no repeal of the fourth commandment, in the New Testament, nor any reason for the repeal of it..."
Is it his concept of the new covenant that forms the basis for observing the Sabbath, or is his rational for Sabbath-keeping independent of his covenant viewpoint?
Post Number: 193
|Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 6:07 pm: || |
The English Reformation (especially Presbyterianism and Puritanism) stressed the keeping of the fourth commandment. Henry was minister of a Presbyterian church.
The Continental Reformation understood that the fourth commandment was a ritual law and no longer in effect for Christians. You can read the Lutheran statement in the Augsburg Confession, Book of Concord, paragraphs 29-61.
I think the understanding of the Lutherans was a far more biblically and historically correct view. The Puritan view birthed Seventh-day Adventist's view of the necessity to worship on Saturday.
Post Number: 194
|Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2018 - 6:09 pm: || |
"Of this kind is the observance of the Lord's Day, Easter, Pentecost, and like holy-days and rites. For those who judge that by the authority of the Church the observance of the Lord's Day instead of the Sabbath-day was ordained as a thing necessary, do greatly err. Scripture has abrogated the Sabbath-day; for it teaches that, since the Gospel has been revealed, all the ceremonies of Moses can be omitted. And yet, because it was necessary to appoint a certain day, that the people might know when they ought to come together, it appears that the Church designated the Lord's Day for this purpose; and this day seems to have been chosen all the more for this additional reason, that men might have an example of Christian liberty, and might know that the keeping neither of the Sabbath nor of any other day is necessary.
There are monstrous disputations concerning the changing of the law, the ceremonies of the new law, the changing of the Sabbath-day, which all have sprung from the false belief that there must needs be in the Church a service like to the Levitical, and that Christ had given commission to the Apostles and bishops to devise new ceremonies as necessary to 62] salvation. These errors crept into the Church when the righteousness of faith was not taught clearly enough." - Augsburg Confession, Book of Concord, 57-62
(Message edited by leifl on January 28, 2018)
Post Number: 1313
|Posted on Monday, January 29, 2018 - 6:31 am: || |
Last week, I had a 90-minute meeting with a PCA pastor. One of the things we discussed was the Westminster Confession's teaching about the Sabbath...that it's on Sunday and that it should be observed by keeping it holy.
I shared with him that I was raised in the Presbyterian church and learned the concepts of Westminster Confession as a child and young adult. I also told him that I now believe the WC is in error on the Sabbath and that error enabled me to get sucked into Adventism.
He then shared with me that, as a PCA pastor, he has the freedom to express objections to certain tenets of the church and make those objections formal, even in his ordination as a pastor. He said he agrees with me that the WC teaching on the Sabbath is way too strict and impossible to keep and that was one of his formal objections, when he was ordained. I breathed a little easier then.
I told him that I much prefer the Augsburg Confession's teaching on the Sabbath. He asked, "That's the Lutheran confession, right?" I said, "Yes." I hope he reads it for himself.
I had considered becoming a member of his PCA church, but expressed to him my huge hesitation in joining any church as an official member, because of my experience of 16 years in Adventism. I don't think he fully grasps what this means, because he presented me with a 6-page typewritten document on why church membership is Biblical.
He left open the possibility of meeting with me again to discuss these things further, which I greatly appreciate. I hope to continue our conversation and give him more information about Adventism.
I have visited 4 different churches over the past few months, 2 Presbyterian and 2 Southern Baptist. I have heard multiple times that the 10 Commandments are still binding. *sigh* I know that if I ever commit myself to one of these churches, I will have a lot of discomfort about this teaching and may even refute this idea publicly.
One of my hesitations about participating in any church is knowing I will be very tempted to get into uncomfortable discussions on this very topic. *sigh* It takes so much energy to get involved in confrontations like that!
(Message edited by honestwitness on January 29, 2018)
Post Number: 33
|Posted on Saturday, February 03, 2018 - 1:00 pm: || |
I certainly appreciate the comments and dialogue, and I am familiar with the Lutheran and Presbyterian views of the Sabbath. However, the question that I am asking is how one's understanding of the new covenant influences one's conclusion about the Sabbath. That is, is one's view of the new covenant per se foundational to the rejection or retention of the Sabbath?
Lutherans and Evangelicals seem to emphasize the abolishment of the whole law of Moses (which includes the Ten Commandments) with the institution of the new covenant. At the time of Luther, others reacted to this and asserted that the new covenant uses Mosaic laws to inculcate ethical norms for the church. Therefore, the whole law of Moses can't be truly abrogated, only certain laws. So, would you say that one's view of the new covenant is central to the argument whether the Sabbath is binding on the church?
In the case of Reformed Presbyterianism, the fact that they distinguish different kinds of laws in the OT forms the basis for placing the Sabbath within the context of moral laws. In the case of Lutheranism, the fact that they see Mosaic law fulfilled in its entirety forms the basis for "starting from scratch" with just what the new covenant teaches about ethical standards.
Do these views about the new covenant necessarily lead to certain conclusions about the Sabbath?
Post Number: 34
|Posted on Saturday, February 03, 2018 - 2:18 pm: || |
Honestwitness. I enjoyed reading about your conversation with the PCA pastor. My understanding is that they would be more relaxed about Sunday norms than OPC, CRC, RCA, and URC, even though they uphold the same secondary standards (WCF). I was a member of an OPC and URC church. I've nothing against membership per se unless church leaders use it to manipulate their congregation. Misuse of a relationship shouldn't mean that all similar relationships are suspect. I would consider going to a PCA if they wouldn't discipline me for my viewpoint. From their standpoint, they'd let someone attend church but not to undermine what they teach. I think the time will come that more of these churches will allow taking exception to paragraphs 7-8 of Chapter 22. And who knows, they may even revamp it entirely.