Overtures 2 and 9 to the PCA GA

North Texas Presbytery and the Tennessee Valley Presbytery have both overtured the PCA GA to establish a study committee regarding the Sabbath. The issue is about the “no recreation” clause. In the minds of these presbyteries, so many men are coming who have a difference with the Westminster Standards on this issue, that the presbyteries think we should change our standards.

In one way, this is both understandable and laudable. I mean that both of these presbyteries are concerned with confessional fidelity, and feel uncomfortable in dealing with this issue so much today. Further, I don’t have any intrinsic problem with changing the standards, if we think there is a more biblical option on a particular issue (I agree with all three of the changes made in the American version of the WS, for instance).

On the other hand, I am wondering if there aren’t several misconceptions about the Puritan view of the Sabbath. It seems to me that our normal view of the Puritan Sabbath is that it is exactly like that of Almanzo Wilder’s father (in the Little House on the Prairie series), who wouldn’t let his sons do anything except sit quiet all afternoon and read the Bible. The example that most candidates use is “tossing around a football with my son in the backyard on Sunday afternoon.” Folks, anyone with small children will recognize that there are certain works of necessity (Ha!) that have to happen if the children are going to be able to pay attention to the evening service (actually, what’s that?). Ask yourself a simple question: will this activity be conducive to worship? This is the real question that needs to be answered.

In terms of granting the exception, it seems clear to me that different presbyteries have a widely differing spread on this issue. Some presbyteries have almost all of their guys taking this exception. Others have almost no one taking the exception. My question is a simple one: why do these presbyteries think that our current system is broken? That is what has not been made clear in my mind.

I have published an article on the “no recreation” clause in the Westminster Standards, defending it on biblical grounds. It was published in the Confessional Presbyterian Journal. The editor, Chris Coldwell, has graciously made this article available in the light of these two overtures in the PCA GA.


  1. June 2, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    I’d be curious as to how many of those who hold to a strict view (for lack of a better term) also hold evening services on Sundays.

    If someone’s view of the Lord’s day led to them having morning & evening services, I’d be far less concerned with their view of the recreation clause. (At the very least make worship the priority of the day, like many of the Reformed churches do.)

    Thanks for this post, and the link.

  2. Howie Donahoe said,

    June 2, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Good words Lane. Great to see you again at RPR. I’m confident I will get you smoking cigars soon…

  3. Chris Coldwell said,

    June 3, 2015 at 9:24 am

    As Lane has already indicated, if this is over the question, “can I toss a ball with my son,” that kind of thing can be discussed within the principles governing the Lord’s Day already established in historic Presbyterianism in the Westminster Standards, ie. the purposes of the day established by the Lord, the reasonable exceptions for acts of necessity and mercy, etc. If this is as far as the end result, about relegating the Lord’s worship from the Lord’s Day to the Lord’s hour, so anyone may engage in any kind of play, pastime and recreation as if it were any other day, may the Lord mercifully keep the PCA from conforming our long established doctrine (which has never been formally excepted or changed by anyone before) to such a miserable and God dishonoring practice. There seems to be a lack of familiarity with the actual puritan Sabbatarianism that underlies the view of the Westminster Standards. The one puritan work that did more than any single book to codify if not standardize the general argument and positions of puritan Sabbatarianism, was Nicholas Bownd’s “True Doctrine of the Sabbath” (1595; 1606). A new critical edition in a large print run has been published by Reformation Heritage Books and Naphtali Press. RHB intends to have plenty of copies available at a great price at their booth at the 2015 PCA GA. For more info or to pick up a copy now see RHB or see http://www.naphtali.com/2015/02/05/prepub-offer-sabbathum-veteris-et-novi-testamenti-or-the-true-doctrine-of-the-sabbath/

  4. Stuart (OPC) said,

    June 3, 2015 at 9:35 am

    Any confessional revision is serious business and I would think warrants some consultation with other Presbyterian bodies that embrace the same confession (esp. NAPARC). Not to do so tends to harden denominational lines and the eccentricity of each group.

  5. roberty bob said,

    June 3, 2015 at 11:34 am

    If God intends for the Lord’s Day to be a day of Re-Creation by means of resting from our six days of labor, then it is worth having conversation about what constitutes rest. Blue collar workers who work with their bodies in construction and farming will need a good Sunday afternoon nap in order to re-create themselves for another six days of labor. White collar workers who sit at their keyboards all the live long day expending mental energy will need the ball game, the bike ride, or the five mile run to re-create themselves for the upcoming week. God’s will on this matter is for us to rest from our six-day labor in honor of the Lord who rested from his six-day labor. Such resting — however it is done — is an act of faith, of believing that the Lord knows what is best for us and that He will continue to provide for our basic needs.

  6. tominaz said,

    June 3, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    J. Alec Motyer comments @ Isaiah 58:13, a text used by both sides in this debate and keeping the Sabbath (Lord’s Day) “The determining factor is whether this or that activity defiles or honours the holiness of the day, whether it is a mere indulgence of a personal pleasure (doing as you please) or preference (going your own way) or whether it conduces to ‘sweet delight’ in the Lord and his ordinances.” Isaiah, p/ 483.
    IMHO this is the center of the debate – personal preferences and pleasures vs. honoring God. Lane is correct in his assessment that many candidates have little historic understanding of the ‘recreations’ reference in the Westminster Standards.

    On another note, Howie, how long is ‘soon’?

  7. Chris Coldwell said,

    June 3, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    The Puritans would have been so fortunate to have had five day work weeks and labor laws limiting hours, etc.; yet that did not hinder them correctly articulating the doctrine of the fourth commandment that the rest granted is in order to worship the Lord. How vain and self centered for us to think it is about resting to simply ensure our work week goes more easily for us?

  8. roberty bob said,

    June 3, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    In his Geneva Catechism John Calvin teaches that the commandment was given for the following reasons: 1) to figure spiritual rest [from our evil works as we learn to trust and obey]; 2) to preserve ecclesiastical polity [so as to ensure that time is set aside for the public worship of God]; 3) for the relief of slaves [to ensure that the working class is granted sufficient rest / re-creation].

    Calvin’s numerous comments on the 4th commandment, along with anecdotal evidence of what he did on the Lord’s Day, show him to be much more relaxed about Sabbath observance than the framers of the WCF.

    In my estimation, even the WCF is fuzzy about the whole business as evidenced by the term “one day in seven.” The original Sabbath Day was “the seventh day,” not just any one day out of the seven. The “first day of the week” on which most Christians worship and rest is not “the seventh day” on which the Sabbath was observed. In the early years of the New Testament church one sees the traditional seventh day Sabbath observance continuing in some quarters even as the church began meeting on the first day of the week in honor of their risen Lord. There is no indication that these first day worshipers thought of their first day activity as some kind of Sabbath keeping. Wrong day!

  9. June 4, 2015 at 12:02 am

    […] the Presbyterian Church in America and is pastor of Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Winnsboro, S.C. This article appeared on his blog and is used with […]

  10. June 4, 2015 at 8:12 am

    The literature defending Presbyterianism’s sabbath views is long and broad and needs no defense in a comb box. I’ll leave Lane to defend the Westminster standards as appropriate. As for Calvin, Presbyterian scholars such as Gaffin and Primus grant Calvin was a practical sabbatarian. Calvin would have fit right in with puritan practice. Lauer makes a case for more than that: “John Calvin, the Nascent Sabbatarian: A Reconsideration of Calvin’s View of Two Key Sabbath-Issues,” by Stewart E. Lauer. http://www.cpjournal.com/articles-2/articles/john-calvin-the-nascent-sabbatarian-a-reconsideration-of-calvins-view-of-two-key-sabbath-issues-by-stewart-e-lauer/

    Calvin on Deut 5.

    Thou shalt labor six days, our Lord would hereby signify unto us, that we ought not to complain of yielding unto Him one certain day, when He leaves unto us six for one. As if He did say, “Shall the cost and charge be great unto you, to choose one day which may be wholly given to My service? that you do no other thing in it, but read and exercise yourselves in My law, or hear My doctrine which shall be preached unto you; a day to come to the temple to the end you may there be confirmed by the sacrifices which are there made; a day to call upon My name, to declare and protest that |237| you are of the number and company of My people. Ought this to be grievous and troublesome unto you, seeing you have six days free to traffic and to do your business in? When I use such gentleness towards you, that I demand but one day of seven, is not this an over great unthankfulness on your part, if you complain of this time as being evil employed? if you be such covetous and niggardly wretches, as not to spare Me one seventh part of the time? I have given you your whole life, wheresoever the sun shines upon you; you ought to acknowledge My goodness, and how that I am a liberal Father towards you. For this sun which I make to shine is to give you a means to go and walk by, to the end that every one may do his business. And yet for all this, why is it that I shall not have one day among seven in which every one should withdraw himself from his travail and labor? that you be not wrapped in the care of the world, and so have no care to think on Me?” Now then we see that this sentence of travailing the six days is not placed as a commandment, but is rather a permission which God gives, and that to reproach the unthankfulness of men, if they observe not the Sabbath day, and sanctify it in such sort as we have spoken…. So then when men shall have well considered of this thing, they shall be convinced that God bears with them as a Father, which should show himself pitiful to His children. And therefore let us take diligent heed that we be not ungrateful, but be provoked and allured to serve our God so much the more, seeing He commands us not those things which might seem over bitter and painful unto us, but has a due regard to our power and ability. Therefore when He bears with us after this manner, and leaves unto us our profits and commodities, so much more dissolute, wicked, and inexcusable are we, if we are not inflamed to yield ourselves wholly unto Him. (Calvin, Deut. 5, Sermon 35. [Ten Commandments, 39r–39v, 40r. Sermons upon Deuteronomie, 206, 207]).

    Let us know that it is not sufficient that we come to the sermon on the Sunday to receive some good doctrine, and to call upon the name of God; but we must digest those things, and that by this means we are so formed and fashioned to the thing, that all the rest of the week cost us nothing to aspire to our God, and that we need but to call to our mind, that which we shall have learned before, at good leisure, when our minds were (as it were) unwrapped from all those things which hinder us to recount the word, and works of God. (Calvin, Deut. 5, Sermon 34. [“…fashioned to this thing, that the Monday, and all the rest of the week beside, cost us….” Ten Commandments, 36v–37r. Cf. Sermons on Deuteronomie, 204]).

    Although God nourishes us every day, yet notwithstanding we meditate not sufficiently on His goodness, to magnify Him for it. True it is that this should be but a poor thing, if we should consider of the benefits of God, but on the Sunday; but on the other days, because we are occupied overmuch about our worldly affairs, we are not so given to God, as on that day, which is altogether dedicated unto this. The Sunday therefore ought to serve us for a tower to mount on high to view the works of God from afar, when we are neither hindered nor occupied with anything, but that we may apply all our senses and our whole understanding to reknowledge [acknowledge] the gracious gifts and benefits which He has bestowed on us. And when we shall have practiced this on the Sunday, namely, shall have deeply considered of the works of God, it is certain that all the rest of our time should be given hereunto, and that this meditation shall so fashion and polish us, that all the rest of the week we shall be led to thank our God, when so beforehand we shall have premeditated on His works to make our profit therein. (ibid.).

    When the Sunday is spent, not only in games and pastimes full of vanity, but in things which are altogether contrary unto God, that men think they have not celebrated Sunday, except God therein be by many and sundry ways offended; when men, I say, unhallow in such sort this holy day, which God has instituted to lead us unto Himself, is it any marvel if we become brutish, and beastly in our doings all the rest of the week? (Ibid., 36v, 204).

    Who glut themselves by rioting, and are shut up in their houses, because they dare not show a manifest contempt of their duty in the open streets; so that the Sunday is to them a retreat, to withdraw themselves from the congregation of God; whereby one may see what affection they have to all Christianity and the service of God, when by this, which was given us for an aid and help to draw nearer unto God, they take occasion to withdraw themselves the further from Him. (Ibid., 36v, 204).

    “For if we employ the Sunday to make good cheer, to sport ourselves, to go to games and pastimes, shall God in this be honored? Is not this a mockery? Is not this an unhallowing of His name?” (Ibid., 36r, 204).

  11. Reed Here said,

    June 4, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Lane, well written article. You are both plain and elucide in your style.

    An aside to the topic here, the article provides great help for a pastoral need here. I’ve been working off and on to explain why Sunday IS the day we are to obey the 4th C, and not Saturday. Your article provides simple and thorough biblical exegesis.

    If I might humbly offer this opinion, the day of worship that obeys God’s commands in this era IS Sunday, not Saturday. There is no optional Saturday worship.

  12. Reed Here said,

    June 4, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Some thoughts,

    My own thinking is cautious. I am grateful for the demonstration of my fathers and brothers in taking seriously their vows and their willingness to take exceptions where they believe their conviction of what Scripture teaches is different than our Standards. Such integrity is a blessing of protection to our Church and to be commended. With respect to any who have taken exception to the recreation clause, thank you for your integrity.

    At the same time, it appears to me sometimes lack of information on particular language in the Standards results in an apparent difference in convictions between a man and the Standards. With a bit more study a man finds that he actually agrees with the Standards and that mere differences in cultural nuances of language was this issue. Such instances are rather common and not of concern, provided a man be willing to check and make sure his understanding of the Standards is consistent with that of the Fathers who wrote them.

    I admit to being concerned that this is at least most of what is going on with the recreation exception. Could it be that differences in cultural contexts leads us to read “recreation” differently than the authors of the Standards? I recognize that this factor might not remove all objections, but if it removes a majority, then that is a good thing to answer this question.

    Still, there may be need to “perfect” the language of the Standards. This would be the case if it can be shown that the understanding of the authors of the Standards is incorrect with regard to what the Bible teaches. In that case integrity calls us to amend as needed. To that limited end, documenting exactly what the Bible teaches about “recreation” on the Sabbath, and then making sure our Standards submit to the Bible’s teaching, a study committee would be helpful.

    My application here would be to vote no to Overture 9, which does not call for a study committee, but only change the language in the Standards. If possible I would amend Overture 2, removing the suggested changes to the Standards, and leave it solely as an overture for a study committee on the topic. IF there is sufficient reason to conclude that the Standards misunderstand the Scriptures on this topic then the recommendation of perfecting changes from the committee after the fact would be appropriate. To make recommended changes up front would be to at least imply an intended outcome for the committee’s work, something which would void it’s integrity.

  13. greenbaggins said,

    June 4, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Reed, great thoughts. I hope many people read them.

  14. Andrew said,

    June 4, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    A thorough article on Isaiah. Agree that there should be continuity from one Testament to another.

    My understanding had been that even if ‘pleasure’ means ‘pleasure’, it doesn’t prohibit recreation. The problem with the pleasure is that it contradicts God’s. But what God’s pleasure for us is on the Sabbath is exactly the point of discussion. I would suggest Neh. 8:9-12 as an example of biblical recreation on the Sabbath (and a defence of the Sunday dinner, a fine custom seemingly threatened by the language of the WCF).

    I do like your broad understanding of necessity, though. Conducive to worship could presumably permit a trip to the beach, board games, sports, cycling, etc – all prohibited in my childhood.

    My own suggestion would be to ask this activity involves others in unnecessary work. So the ball game in the yard is fine, even after evening church, while professional sports are not. But still lots of hard practical questions.

  15. Tim Harris said,

    June 5, 2015 at 7:12 am

    to #8 — much of the traditional “anecdotal evidence of what [Calvin] did on the Lord’s Day” turns out to be baseless.

  16. greenbaggins said,

    June 5, 2015 at 8:00 am

    The category of necessity is not endlessly plastic, of course, though it seems to me broader than Almanzo Wilder’s father believed it.

    One very important point to bring up here is that the same activity might conceivably be conducive to worship for one person, and NOT conducive to worship for someone else. I believe that this is the reason why the Bible does not spell out every possible thing that could or might not be included in that category. There is an element of individual conscience that must be taken into account.

  17. roberty bob said,

    June 5, 2015 at 8:34 am

    to #15 . . .

    Would it bother any of you if Calvin went outside on a Sunday afternoon for a little game of bocce [lawn bowls]?

    Calvin did say in his Geneva Catechism something like this: As the observance of rest is part of the old ceremonies, it was abolished by the advent of Christ. Being a preacher, Calvin goes on to exhort his congregation on how to rest in a God-honoring way on the Christian sabbath. Go figure . . .

  18. June 5, 2015 at 9:03 am

    How did Jesus treat the Sabbath, any way He wanted! We have entered into His rest. The apostles had every opportunity to instruct us to observe the sabbath. There isn’t one in the NT.

  19. June 5, 2015 at 9:25 am

    In the context of Lane’s blogpost, for those of you who have a actual stake and interest in the biblical theology and practice of the Westminster Standards, here is what appears to get lost sight of in this discussion of just how far toward an actual week day recreation I normally enjoy during the week I can get and it not violate God’s command: the whole day is His for the purpose of worshiping Him. That is the governing principle.

    The intent is not that we be physically miserable while so engaged, nor that exceptions are made for necessity and mercy (indeed acts of mercy are fitting to do on the Lord’s Day, e.g. Christ’s healing on the Sabbath). We need necessary sufficient rest, food and some modest amount of bodily activity to function as we would on any work day to do our callings. But all these serve the purpose of the day, just as they do for our work day. They are not ends of themselves. So we don’t sleep away the time we should rather be engaged in the public and private exercises of worship, nor like a child fritter it away in our own amusements and interests. So one of the main questions to ask is does doing xyz activity further my participation in the public and private worship of God on His day, or does it rather detract and unfit me for these things?

    Now, what I suspect this move in these overtures is really about for some at least, is not how wide a latitude we can force onto necessary things on the Lord’s Day, but the principle itself of the whole day being the Lord’s for His worship. So what happens is, the Lord’s Day simply becomes like Saturday with all our normal recreations, etc., but with a worship service tacked onto it (two, maybe, if we are feeling generous towards the Lord). The fourth commandment functionally becomes not about the Lord’s Day, but merely the time of the public worship services. So this really is not about can I do x or y that I like to do on other days, tweaking the “recreations clause” to be more generous with ourselves with the Lord’s time as far as our pastimes and recreational pleasures are concerned on His day, but is basically about the rejection of the Sabbatarianism that is central to the puritan piety of the Westminster Standards.

    The practical ‘divinity’ of Puritanism (see for instance works on and by Richard Greenham and Nicholas Bownd) systematized and exhibited in the Westminster Standards, focuses on the means of grace. The crucial “mean of the means,” the avenue whereby all these means of grace are widely made available to the people of God, is the weekly gatherings on the Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day. We cut out the sanctity of the Lord’s day, we cut out the heart of the piety of Westminster Presbyterianism.

  20. roberty bob said,

    June 5, 2015 at 9:32 am

    That’s right, Kevin!

    Jesus intentionally performed deeds on the Sabbath that were viewed by his Sabbath-keeping contemporaries as violations. He did works of restoration purposely on the Sabbath which he could have put off until the next day, but he did these works nevertheless to fulfill the true meaning of God’s Holy Day. Yes, and he even called these Sabbath Day deeds “work!” He said, my Father is working to this day; therefore, I am working too!

    I was raised by strict Reformed Sabbath keeping parents in a non-Reformed community. I was the only child in town who was forbidden to play his horn in the marching band for the town’s annual parade on a Sunday afternoon. We did not start the car on Sunday — we walked to church. Sunday Dinner was prepared on Saturday. We did not play outside with our neighborhood friends on a sunny Sunday afternoon. We had no TV to entertain us. While dad and mom took their 3 hour nap [Sabbath rest!], we children memorized Scripture and mediated on the morning sermon just like the Puritan children of old!

  21. roberty bob said,

    June 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

    The Lord’s Day norm my Reformed church is that each member attends and participates in the morning worship service and the Sunday school. Afterwards the people join up with their small group ministries for a meal, fellowship and prayer. The young people’s society meets in the evening. There is no second service [anymore]. I’m sorry to see that one go by the wayside. No celebration of Super Bowl Sunday or any other secular nonsense is allowed.

    My guess is that most Reformed / Presbyterian churches nowadays fall in line with this norm. It’s only a guess.

  22. Tim Harris said,

    June 5, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    @17 — far from bothering me, I used to quote that “anecdote” as fact all the time, after first hearing it, I believe, from Otto Scott. However, I have since come to the belief that it is apocryphal: I have found no primary evidence for. But if you have some documentary evidence (from 16th century, not some later Romantic reconstruction), I’m all ears.

  23. Tim Harris said,

    June 5, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Kevin @18 — the argument of Heb. 3-4?

  24. June 5, 2015 at 9:57 pm

    Calvin in the Hands of the Philistines: Or Did Calvin Bowl on the Sabbath?

  25. roberty bob said,

    June 5, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    to #24 . . . Chris . . . I read your article, and this is what I gather:

    that it cannot be proven that Calvin bowled on the Sabbath / Lord’s Day, but that it is common knowledge that the good Christians of Geneva who were under Calvin’s authority could not be kept off the bowling green on God’s Holy Day. Although Calvin, in his sermon, made much ado about his congregation dishonoring God’s Holy Day through their recreations, the Genevans were unrepentant.

    Does anyone wonder why?

  26. June 6, 2015 at 9:53 am

    Tim, whats you point? Jesus is our sabbath rest. Colossians 2:16 ” therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or new moon, or SABBATH day.” This means the weekly sabbath because all others would be considered under festivals. Reformed be careful putting another Mishnah on peoples backs that the fathers could not bear. We aren’t pharisees. The Sabbath was in the middle of the ten commandments. Its not a moral law. It was given to the Jewish people. There was no reason for Adam to rest on the Sabbath. God rested. And He gave this to the Jews obligatory to remind them of the paradise He created. All the other commandments are kept in the NT, not the Sabbath. Like I said Jesus did what ever He wanted on the Sabbath. He became the rest of believers. K

  27. Ron said,

    June 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    “Like I said Jesus did what ever He wanted on the Sabbath.”


    This might be signicant if in doing whatever he wanted he violated the sabbath.

  28. Ron said,

    June 6, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    “The apostles had every opportunity to instruct us to observe the sabbath. There isn’t one in the NT.”


    By these calculations bestiality is acceptable “under grace” since the apostles didn’t repeat the OT laws governing the perversion.

  29. Roy Kerns said,

    June 6, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Kevin #26 (and others who appeal to Col 2 to negate the present application of the 4the C:

    Col 2 does not show there is no NT Sabbath. Maybe other passages do (they don’t), but Col 2 is at most neutral on the issue.

    Begin with a hint: v16 says “Sabbaths” (plural, not Sabbath days). Then turn to details.

    First: context. Trace from ch 2:2ff. What concept does the text repeatedly stress, so much so that even without this iteration of the theme, the point stands out? Note the repeated citations of “in whom”, “in him”, “in Christ”, “with Christ”. Sure, Union with Christ (= salvation). If one has this relation, then there exists no need for the world’s philosophy (v8). The sacraments of the church portray that union (OT circumcision, v11, NT baptism v12, noting in an aside that Paul uses these as interchangeable in content contra the antipaedobaptist). That union means sin can no longer condemn us v13-15, that we have every reason to reject approaches that would proclaim salvation by works v 16-17, which apparently some said to the Colossian church (don’t eat this, don’t do that, do this, and you’ll get right with God). Obviously God did not intend us to think that meant we should ignore, say, “Thou shalt not steal” simply because some might misuse that command by saying those who don’t steal go to heaven. Just as obviously the flow in Col 2 does not invalidate the 4th C, but the possible misuse of it. Whatever Col 2:16ff ref’s, it cannot ref the 4th C. It could ref some cult’s teaching that doing Sabbath things is meritorious. One must reject that teaching. But that is not the 4th C.

    In the OT this same reasoning applies. Always only what Christ did could make one right with God. Salvation is by grace, not by works. So OT Sabbath keeping, which one must agree God commanded, could not save, even if somebody wrongly claimed it could. Yet one could not then ignore the Sabbath on the basis that it did not save.

    Second: v17’s “shadow”. If Col 2:16 has in view the 4th C, then one must show how the 4th C is a “shadow of the things to come” the “reality” of which is “Christ.” (Heb 8:5 gives a parallel reference to “shadow”, telling us that the tabernacle was a hint of what would come. “Foreshadow” gives the idea in both Heb 8 and Col 2.) Thus anyone who wishes to apply Col 2:16 contra the 4th C must demonstrate how the 4th C foreshadows the redemptive work of Christ. How does the 4th C foreshadow Christ? It does not.

    Well, what fits as a foreshadow? There are items in v16 which did exactly that. They functioned as aspects of the OT ceremonial law and were well understood by Hebrew readers. The trilogy “Sabbaths, feast day, new moon” became a sort of label for the Old Testament feast days. That summarizes the homework. Here is the homework: Lev 23 tells us that God commanded a number of feasts. Some were attached via the calendar to new moons. Some took place in association with the weekly Sabbath. Nu 28, esp v9-10, 26ff reiterates some of this. II Chr 2:4 cites “Sabbaths, new moons, feasts” as does 8:13. These occasions, while sometimes occurring on the Sabbath, did not equal or mean the same thing as the Sabbath. Indeed, one can easily recognize much of their “trappings” as foreshadows of Christ’s redemptive work; they clearly involved the sacrificial system. Neh 10:33 uses the trio in this sense as does Is 1:13-14, Lam 2:6, Ez 45:17, 46:3 and Ho 2:11.

    These feasts did foreshadow Christ. These feasts became known by the collective term cited in Col 2:16. The people attempting to confuse the Colossians wanted them to continue in these foreshadowing feasts. They need not do so, for not only has the reality has come, but works do not, nay, cannot make them right with God (v13-15),.

    Third: note how very well this understanding fits the argument of Col 2. Some people said “Christ plus something.” Col 2 says repeatedly, “Christ alone.” When one gets to v16ff we have a specific plus something listed: the Old Testament sacramental/ceremonial feasts. Col says, “Nope. Not only do those not save, they as a mater of fact pointed to that which does save. Don’t let anyone impose them on you.”

    If this were mathematics, I would write QED: I demonstrated that Col 2:16 does not refer to the present validity of the 4th C. But since it is not math, I will simply recommend that no reader misuse that reference as somehow contrary to the present validity of the 4th C. That question must find resolution elsewhere.

  30. Joel Norris said,

    June 6, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    I wonder if the decline in sabbath-keeping is related to the rise of various midweek Bible studies, small groups, etc. that committed Christians are encouraged (or expected) to attend. These may be useful spiritual activities, but they take time that could otherwise be used for chores and recreations. Then people catch up on chores and recreations on Sunday.

    My church used to have a devotion and corporate prayer time early Saturday morning and my pastor was always disappointed that attendance wasn’t greater. I reasoned that it would be more in keeping with the Sabbath to hold the prayer time on Sunday, but my strongly Sabbatarian pastor was reluctant because he liked the idea that people would devote themselves to corporate prayer midweek in addition to all the regular Sabbath activities on Sunday.

  31. June 7, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Roy said” whatever Colossians 2:16 says it can’t be the 4th commandment.” Really, it says Sabbath. It must mean the weekly sabbath since Paul uses festival days in the other reference. The Apostles had every opportunity in acts 15 to instruct gentiles to keep the Sabbath, they never do. In fact the Apostles never instruct ever about the Sabbath, ever. The sabbath was put in the middle of the moral law, given to the Jews. Every commandment is is reiterated in the NT, not the sabbath. We have entered Jesus rest. The temple was destroyed and all that went with it. The Priests were making sacrifices in the Temple on the Sabbath and they were worried about the apostles shucking grain. Why do the Reformed, who are the stallworths of the true gospel want to put on the backs of believers who have entered Jesus rest, a Mishnah.

  32. roberty bob said,

    June 7, 2015 at 9:57 am

    The First Day of the Week, the Lord’s Day, on which Jesus arose from the grave is not the Seventh Day, the Sabbath, on which God rested from the six days of work whereby He created the world.

    God never commanded that one day out of seven be set aside for rest, as if any one of the seven days could suffice; no, the Lord specifically designated the seventh day as the Sabbath. When Christians gathered for worship and the breaking of bread on the First Day of the Week, they set apart that day as The Lord’s Day in honor of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. It was not in their mind at that time to transfer the Sabbath Day from the Seventh Day to the First Day. The Apostle Paul, on his various missions, preached on the Sabbath Day at various synogogues [Jewish community gatherings] as that was the established day of worship. The Christ followers were by then already gathering on the First Day to celebrate and commune with their risen Lord.

    So, the real question is about how to enter and benefit from the Sabbath rest that comes to us through our crucified and risen Lord. It is not about rules for keeping one day in seven holy — because what day of the week would that be now?

  33. Chris Coldwell said,

    June 7, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    An outline of the Puritan/Presbyterian/Westminster Standards’ view of the fourth commandment.
    “First of all, that the observations 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.”

    Author’s preface, Nicholas Bownd, Sabbathum Veteris et Novi Testamenti, or The True Doctrine of the Sabbath (1595/1606; Naphtali Press and Reformation Heritage Books, 2015) 7–9. Bownd fully explores these points outlined in his book. However, the arguments have remained pretty uniform/standard over the centuries and even improved since he first presented them in full, and many able pieces are online from British and American Reformed authors of various denominations, from Anglican to Presbyterian to Baptist. Below are a sampling of 19th and 20th century writers.
    J. C. Ryle: Sabbath: A Day to Keep. http://www.fpcr.org/blue_banner_articles/ryle_sabbath.htm
    R. L. Dabney: The Christian Sabbath: Its Nature, Design and Proper Observance. http://www.reformed.org/ethics/sabbath/sabbath_Dabney.html
    Charles Hodge: The Fourth Commandment (Systematic Theology; v. 3). http://www.reformed.org/ethics/sabbath/sabbath_Hodge.html
    John Murray: The Fourth Commandment According to the Westminster Standards. http://www.westminsterconfession.org/worship/the-fourth-commandment-according-to-the-westminster-standards.php

  34. Roy Kerns said,

    June 7, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Kevin #31 The word “sabbath” does not occur in Col 2:16. Instead, the text says Sabbaths = plural. (The Greek plural is a fact sometimes not so clear in English translations.) The issue at hand focuses on what the text itself means by the term “Sabbaths”. Note that I have capitalized the word (which is not explicit in the Greek text). I do so because, as my #29 showed, the text refers to a technical term, a proper name, with Sabbaths part of a trilogy. Thus an accurate translation into English will capitalize the word (parallel to capital S for Spirit when that is what the text means). All three of “New Moon”, “Feast Day”, “Sabbaths” existed as ceremonial festival foreshadowings of the work of Christ.

    Simply insisting that the term in Col 2 refs the 4th C won’t do. Instead replies will have to interact with what the text actually says.

    Beyond debate the Apostles said nothing about about 7th day Sabbath keeping. But that highlights an astonishing reality. Observe that there exists clear record that the NT church worshiped on the first day. For evangelistic purposes apostles (and possibly) believers met (until evicted, anyway) people at synagogue 7th day worship. But the church itself met the first day. This happened with no hint of conflict from anyone at all ever. How could such a monumental change take place with no debate, no instruction? What does the reality that the change did take place imply regarding our understanding of the current applicability of the 4th C? What do you think, Kevin (and others)?

    Yes, Jesus shucked grain. He met immediate needs. He did not harvest grain. He did not say to the Pharisees attacking his practice, “You got me. I blew it. I who keep the whole law perfectly should not be doing this.” His response said, in effect, “You dummies do not understand the 4th C.” Ie, while Jesus may have squelched a man made law, never, ever did Jesus’ grain shucking violate the 4th C. One cannot appeal to this event as somehow proving the current non-applicability of the 4th C.

  35. Roy Kerns said,

    June 7, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Roberty #32: Answer this question, and you will have accomplished a huge step forward in understanding the 4th C in the Old Testament as well as in the New: how come why for did Jesus rise on the First Day rather than on the 7th?

  36. Bob S said,

    June 7, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    RB, Kevin,

    we are all entitled to our opinions, but from the perspective of confessional presbyterianism it is far from the last word.

    IOW not only the explicit commands in Scripture are binding, but also the good and necessary consequences of approved examples.
    Thus the Westminster Assembly.

    The Minutes for Sess. 649. June I, 1646, Monday morning tell us:

    Report was made from the first Committee about the
    proposition recommitted concerning examples. It was debated ; and upon debate it was

    Resolved upon the Q., ‘ Some examples show a jus divinum and the will and appointment of God; as in the Old Testament the building of altars to the Lord and offering of sacrifices by the fathers from Adam to Abraham, which was done in faith and acceptance, for which there is
    no foregoing precept recorded in Scripture.’
    . . .
    Resolved upon the Q., ‘ The like also we may say of Jews having of synagogues and worshipping of God in them, and in particular of their reading of Moses and the prophets there every Sabbath-day.’

    Resolved upon the Q., ‘ In the New Testament we have the like instances of the observation of the first day of the week for the Christian Sabbath.’

    … Resolved upon the Q., ‘In all which examples, as we have cause to believe that the fathers at the first had a command from God for those things whereof we now find only their example for the ground of their posterity’s like practice for many generations, so likewise, though we believe that Christ, in the time that He conversed with His disciples before and after His resurrection, did instruct them in all things concerning the kingdom of God, yet nothing is left recorded to show His will and appointment of the things instanced in, but the example and the practice of the apostles and the churches in their time.’

    True, the examples of worshiping on the first day are not enough to convince fundamentalists that the focus of the 4th commandment has changed in the NT, but again the P&R are not fundamentalists.

    Two, that some husbands beat and cheat on their wives is not an argument to abolish marriage. The same goes for legalism or the abuse of Lord’s Day observation. Works of mercy, necessity and piety are all allowed.


  37. Ron said,

    June 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    “while Jesus may have squelched a man made law, never, ever did Jesus’ grain shucking violate the 4th C. ”

    My point exactly. Bob S. That Jesus did whatever he wanted on the sabbath doesn’t suggest he abrogated the commandment. In fact, his defense for his actions was often that his accusers did not understand the law! He wasn’t abolishing – he was interpreting. Moreover, the ceremonial law was expunged by the work of the cross. Accordingly, any view of abolishment won’t be grounded in Jesus’ actions.

  38. roberty bob said,

    June 7, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Those who worship God on the Lord’s Day [First Day of the Week], who hearken to the Word of the Lord [as hearers & doers], who rest from their work [by not engaging in worldly pleasures, entertainments, and sports — but by meditating upon God’s wondrous works], who go out on that day [visiting] to show Christ’s compassion to the lonely, sick, and grieving, and to help the needy . . . are those who keep the 4th commandment and enter into God’s rest.

  39. June 7, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    No man, until God gave gave the Sabbath in Exodus to the Jews, observed a sabbath. It was God that rested in Genesis, not Adam. God put the Sabbath in the middle of the moral law. When the temple was destroyed so was the Sabbath. Paul warns you here who would judge in regard to a Sabbath day. Reformed just can’t get away from jusdaizing the NT sometimes. We have entered Jesus rest, and its permanent. Jesus treated the Sabbath any way he wanted. Why do you an and your cohorts here put a Mishnah on the back of those who have found permeant rest in Jesus. You all would do well to read Colossians 2:16 carefully. WCF says reformed and always being reformed. Hopefully, this will be revisited. K

  40. June 7, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Reformed, In Exodus it says that the Sabbath was a SIGN, a SIGN between God and THE SONS OF ISRAEL. When Jesus came, everything changed. He didn’t clean up the Temple, He abolished it. Radical change. He didn’t keep some of the Priests, or sacrifices, or ceremonies. He destroyed them all. The rest for believers, and me as a gentile believer is Jesus himself. This is why there is why there is no instruction on keeping a sabbath in the NT. And this is why you are warned not to judge based on a sabbath day. We are free to thank God on the seventh day for his creation, and be thankful on the first day for the greatest thing in history. It reminds us of our our only rest JESUS. K

  41. greenbaggins said,

    June 7, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Kevin, I suggest you read Geerhardus Vos’s Biblical Theology on the Sabbath. I think you will find it quite illuminating. He argues quite convincingly that the covenant of works was nothing other than an instantiation of the sabbatical principle. The Sabbath will become one of those backbone concepts that ties together the entire Bible.

  42. June 7, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    greenbaggins, I will read it, and i hope you listen to John MacArthur’s sermon on the Sabbath. K

  43. Ron said,

    June 7, 2015 at 9:40 pm


    You believe the Sabbath was part of the ceremonial law and consequently abrogated along with it. I’m not inclined to debate the matter. Rather, I simply want to point out some anomalies that any non-sabbatarian should readily grant.

    You’ve argued (1) that Jesus during his earthly ministry taught abrogation by example: “How did Jesus treat the Sabbath, any way He wanted!”

    Yet more recently you’ve argued (2) that the Sabbath was abrogated in A.D. 70: “When the temple was destroyed so was the Sabbath.”

    Which is it? At the very least…

    Concerning 1, Jesus’s defense of his controversial actions on the Sabbath was not that the law was abrogated but that the Pharisees did not understand the law. IOW, when accused of Sabbath breaking Jesus didn’t respond by saying that the Sabbath has been done away with, but rather he corrects his accusers about lawful Sabbath keeping. These narratives neither establish nor refute either position regarding a perpetual Sabbath; yet you seem to want to appeal to these narratives as proof of your position.

    Concerning 2, the destruction of the temple was judgment for trampling the blood of the covenant under foot. Accordingly, in context the judgment *presupposes* that the ceremonial law had *already* been abolished (but when?), not during Jesus’ teaching ministry but at the cross: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross…”

    At base, you might want to quit using Jesus’ teaching on the Sabbath as corroborating evidence, if not also maybe you might pick a time in which the law was abolished – teaching ministry, cross or ~40 years later.

  44. Ron said,

    June 7, 2015 at 10:10 pm


    As I noted, you don’t want to argue your Sabbayh position on Jesus’ teachings about the Sabbath, for he would have only defended the practice given that it was still operable. Not surprisingly at all, John MacArthur agrees that the ceremonial law was done away with at the cross (and not during Jesus’ teaching ministry or through the providential destruction of Jerusalem).

    “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,”(Ephesians 2:14–15)

    John MacArthur on this text:

    “Christ forever broke down (the Greek aorist tense signifies completed action) every dividing wall by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances. When Jesus died on the cross He abolished every barrier between man and God and between man and his fellow man…The greatest barrier between Jew and Gentile was the ceremonial law, the Law of commandments contained in ordinances. The feasts, sacrifices, offerings, laws of cleanliness and purification, and all other such distinctive outward commandments for the unique separation of Israel from the nations were abolished…All the ceremonial laws which distinguished and separated Jews from Gentiles were obliterated.”

  45. Chris Coldwell said,

    June 8, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Lane, if you are heading to GA please vigorously defend the long established doctrine on this point. We don’t need a study committee; certainly one is not justified by the reasoning in the one overture which one OT seminary prof has said is incoherent and reads like a bad first year seminary paper. We also don’t need a study committee to find out what the doctrine is. This is not some obscure subject in the long history of Presbyterianism.

  46. June 8, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Ron, In Exodus it specifically say God gave the sabbath specifically to the SONS OF ISRAEL as a SIGN. It is not binding in the NC on believers. Every moral commandment is reiterated in the NT, not the Sabbath. In fact, Paul says in Colossians to quit judging men in regard to a sabbath day. We know this is the weekly sabbath because he says festival days in the same verse. IOW, Ron quit putting your Mishnah on the back of those of us who believe we have entered the true rest, Jesus Christ. If a man wants to celebrate the first day of the week, God’s creation, or the first day for the obvious significance. It always baffles me how the Reform, could ever defend strict sabatarianism. But i will read the book Lane told me too. Hope you are well brother. K

  47. Jack Miller said,

    June 8, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I be interested in hearing anyone interact with Calvin in these quotes concerning the Sabbath, all from his Institutes (Book 1.8 – on the 4th commandment)? By the way, how does the URNCA approach the observance of the Lord’s Day? Thanks.

    The Sabbath being abrogated, there is still room among us, first, to assemble on stated days for the hearing of the Word, the breaking of the mystical bread, and public prayer; and, secondly, to give our servants and laborers relaxation from labor. It cannot be doubted that the Lord provided for both in the commandment of the Sabbath…

    They complain that Christian people are trained in Judaism, because some observance of days is retained. My reply is, That those days are observed by us without Judaism, because in this matter we differ widely from the Jews. We do not celebrate it with most minute formality, as a ceremony by which we imagine that a spiritual mystery is typified, but we adopt it as a necessary remedy for preserving order in the Church…

    Paul informs us that Christians are not to be judged in respect of its observance, because it is a shadow of something to come, (Colossians 2:16;) and, accordingly, he expresses a fear lest his labor among the Galatians should prove in vain, because they still observed days (Galatians 4:10, 11.) And he tells the Romans that it is superstitious to make one day differ from another (Romans 14:5.) But who, except those restless men, does not see what the observance is to which the Apostle refers?…

    They did not desist from manual labor on the ground of its interfering with sacred study and meditation, but as a kind of religious observance; because they dreamed that by their cessation from labor, they were cultivating the mysteries which had of old been committed to them. It was, I say, against this preposterous observance of days that the Apostle inveighs, and not against that legitimate selection which is subservient to the peace of Christian society. For in the churches established by him, this was the use for which the Sabbath was retained…

    If superstition is dreaded, there was more danger in keeping the Jewish Sabbath than the Lord’s day as Christians now do. It being expedient to overthrow superstition, the Jewish holy day was abolished; and as a thing necessary to retain decency, orders and peace, in the Church, another day was appointed for that purpose.

    It was not, however, without a reason that the early Christians substituted what we call the Lord’s day for the Sabbath. The resurrection of our Lord being the end and accomplishment of that true rest which the ancient Sabbath typified, this day, by which types were abolished serves to warn Christians against adhering to a shadowy ceremony.

    34. The whole may be thus summed up: As the truth was delivered typically to the Jews, so it is imparted to us without figure; first, that during our whole lives we may aim at a constant rest from our own works, in order that the Lord may work in us by his Spirit; secondly that every individual, as he has opportunity, may diligently exercise himself in private, in pious meditation on the works of God, and, at the same time, that all may observe the legitimate order appointed by the Church, for the hearing of the word, the administration of the sacraments, and public prayer: And, thirdly, that we may avoid oppressing those who are subject to us.

    It seems Calvin’s emphasis and concern regarding the Lord’s Day has to do mainly with order in the church as to its corporate worship and the individual’s private worship “as he has opportunity.”

  48. roberty bob said,

    June 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    “The Sabbath being abrogated . . . .” — John Calvin

    “. . . the early Christians substituted what we call the Lord’s Day for the Sabbath.” — John Calvin

    Herein lies the problem. If Calvin is correct about the Sabbath having been abrogated, then there is no need for a Sabbath substitute.

    The Lord’s Day [on the first day of the week] is the church’s celebration of God’s new creation through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Sabbath Day strictures cannot possibly apply to the Lord’s Day if indeed [as Calvin asserts] the Sabbath has been abrogated.

    Of course, the church has suggested all kind of ways to observe the Lord’s Day — even imposing Sabbath-type practices based on the old Sabbath Day principles [see Isaiah 58]. If Calvin is right that that Sabbath was abrogated, then on what basis does the church transfer Sabbath principles and practices onto the Lord’s Day?

  49. Chris Coldwell said,

    June 8, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Per #10, there is a body of literature from the last several decades on Calvin v. Puritanism on the Lord’s Day or Christian Sabbath and one of the scholars (Primus) has long noted what others have termed Calvin’s practical Sabbatarianism. Some of this may be explored via references in the piece by Lauer from The Confessional Presbyterian journal noted in 10 above, which goes further in taking Calvin closer in agreement to Puritanism on two main doctrinal points rather than simply a practical agreement. The recent literature (Collinson and others) also notes that English Sabbatarianism developed in tandem with thoughts coming from the Reformed on the continent and Puritans such as Bownd drew significantly from Junius and Zanchius amongst others.

  50. Ron said,

    June 8, 2015 at 2:33 pm


    I didn’t argue for any Sabbath position. I merely showed how the narratives regarding Jesus’ practice doesn’t prove a thing. I also showed that the ceremonial aspect of the law was done away at the cross, not before and not during the invasion of Jerusalem.

  51. June 8, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Ron, ok, I don’t think i can disagree with the fact that the ceremonial law was done away at the cross. MacArthur’s whole point is their was a radical change when Jesus came. Eventually the Temple wasn’t cleaned, but destroyed. K

  52. Ron said,

    June 8, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Great. Thanks, Kevin.

  53. Tim Harris said,

    June 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Chris @24 — excellent resource. I have bookmarked it for ongoing study. Thank you.

  54. Tim Harris said,

    June 9, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Jack @47 — “as he has opportunity” would essentially be the whole day, not counting worship, necessity, and mercy, unless obstructed by masters (in violation of the Sabbath day). So much seems clear by juxtaposing all the features he wants to keep.

    Unless… “as one has opportunity” would be impeded by one’s own desire to go back to work — gotta cobble a few more shoes, don’t have time for all that meditation stuff. Somehow, I don’t hear the anti-sabbatarians arguing for that. It is usually for the freedom to have own’s own pleasures, which could hardly be considered an impediment to “as one has opportunity.”

    So actually, the passage you cite from Calvin seems quite puritanical to me, once one understands that what he connotes as being “abrogated” are the specifically ceremonial types of appendages, not to mention the Talmudic (Pharisaic) strictures which are completely man’s law and not the eternal Sabbath.

  55. Jack Miller said,

    June 9, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    @54 Tim,

    Jack @47 — “as he has opportunity” would essentially be the whole day, not counting worship, necessity, and mercy, unless obstructed by masters (in violation of the Sabbath day). So much seems clear by juxtaposing all the features he wants to keep.

    You make a good. Thanks…

  56. Jack Miller said,

    June 9, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    How to define necessity? Wouldn’t it be somewhat geared to very different individuals and their individual situations?

  57. Alan D. Strange said,

    June 11, 2015 at 9:34 am

    Thanks for this, Lane. And I agree with what Chris wrote about how to approach this at GA (though I may be a bit late here).

    Stuart (OPC) expresses precisely the sentiment that I did over on the PuritanBoard with some pathos and urgency: the PCA should not consider confessional revision (nor should any confessional body) apart from ecumenical consultation. It is vital that any confessional body, as part of preserving the purity, peace, and unity of the broader church, consult with bodies that hold the same confession in considering confessional revision.

    The OPC and PCA, for instance, hold to precisely the same doctrinal standards and neither should proceed to amend such standards without extensive consultation with the other. This is Ecumenism 101.

  58. John Drake said,

    June 11, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Sadly, it seems that from the upshot the PCA has shown not only ignorance of but also disdain for Ecumenism 101.

  59. Alan D. Strange said,

    June 11, 2015 at 10:17 am

    I am sorry to hear that, JD. I returned late Tuesday from the OPC GA and was otherwise occupied yesterday and could not watch any of the PCA GA (I am watching it now). I’ve been unable to discover what action the PCA may have taken with respect to this. An update on this would be appreciated.

  60. John Drake said,

    June 11, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    By “the upshot,” I meant 1973. But I’m sorry I said it. It was very unedifying. I request forgiveness from the owners and readers of this blog.

  61. greenbaggins said,

    June 11, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    The overtures committee has recommended to answer in the negative, but there will be a minority report. GA has not gotten to the overtures report yet.

  62. Chris Coldwell said,

    June 11, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Lane or someone there can give details as appropriate, but reports I’ve seen say the PCA GA followed the OC’s recommendation to decline the overtures to form a study committee to change the PCA doctrinal standards regarding the fourth commandment. 662-248-9. With this over for now, as this almost surely reflects more of a conservatism toward making changes to the standards than a conservatism of practice and actual belief, maybe true believers in the Westminster standards on this point will increase efforts at instruction on this important aspect of Presbyterian practical godliness.

  63. Alan D. Strange said,

    June 11, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Lane, thanks for your part in this. And I rejoiced, Chris, to watch the debate on this and to see this proposed revision of the doctrinal standards soundly defeated.

  64. Chris Coldwell said,

    June 11, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I didn’t get to see the broadcast; is this particular online anywhere?

  65. January 12, 2021 at 6:51 am

    […] the Presbyterian Church in America and is pastor of Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Winnsboro, S.C. This article appeared on his blog and is used with […]

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