Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Sabbath: A Confessional Approach

Herein is presented an examination of the doctrine of the Sabbath as it is found in the confessional standards of The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. This confession has been the standard confession among Reformed Baptist brethren for over 300 years. This paper seeks to examine our confessional standards, in particular, its doctrine of the Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day in light of Scripture, history, theology and Christian practice. If we are to agree to walk together in Christian love, it must be around the truth of the word of God, agreeing together upon its meaning and import for the benefit of the church, and uppermost, to the glory of our great God.

We would surprisingly find agreement with our New Covenant Theology brother, Fred Zaspel, when he writes that

  • It may be an oversimplification to say that disagreements regarding the subject of divine law are all settled on the question of the Sabbath. Then again, (he adds) perhaps in some sense this is not oversimplification at all. It is common knowledge that disputes concerning the subject of divine law eventually and almost inevitably make their way to this subject and often with considerable energy (Zaspel, 211).

We hope and pray that this energy will be well spent for the cause of Christ and for the good of his beloved church. Our prayer is two-fold, first that we might once again, as our brethren in past ages have done, grow to a point for the glory of Christ where we will again taste and see the goodness of God in the precious gift of the Sabbath. Second, we pray that we might come to a point primarily in our hearts, but also in our practice, where the words of Isaiah will ring true within:

"If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day
of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
[14] then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Isaiah 58:13-14 (ESV)

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