Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Wisdom in Keeping the Lord's Day

Up to this point in the discussion, I have stated no dogmatic position that I hold on the issue of the Lord's Day. In this short post, I will let all concerned know where I currently stand and why I am standing there. If you find me to be in error, I hope to be teachable. I am still investigating this subject.

I have come to an undeniable conclusion that the early Church held Sunday to be the Lord's Day. I believe that the evidence for that from the Scripture is too compelling to deny. That, to me, is signifcant. It becomes more clear that this is the case even upon a cursory examination of Church history. Sunday has always been a day in particular that has been set aside for worship of Christ and for the gathering of the body for worship and observing the ordinances.

For this reason, I believe that it is wise to keep this day special. I will endeavor to keep this day set aside for devotion, worship, and the ministry of the Word, and I recommend this practice to all Christians. Keep this day special for the Lord's sake. Not for some legalistic pursuit of justification, but rather as a time to relax and enjoy the bounty of God's goodness. In practice, I have always observed Sunday in this manner, though I do not know if it was previously a conscious effort on my part. I will admit now that I take great pleasure in the thought of Sunday being especially set aside by myself for special enjoyment of the things of God.

I am not, however, convinced that Sunday is the "New Sabbath." If you mean by "Sabbath" that Sunday is a one-to-one correspondance with the Old Testament ordinance. Not even the staunchest Sunday observer would believe it to be exact or else they would not meet on Sunday! Nevertheless, the Lord's Day is the Lord's Day, and it ought to be respected by all.

I find this discussion of the Lord's Day to be a bit like trying to convince a married couple that they ought to have children if God allows. Often, couples see children as burdensome, time consuming, money pits who encroach on their "freedom" to go to the movies, putt-putt, and dinner. It is hard to convince someone enamored with such things that I would trade every movie I ever saw to hear and see my son look at me again and say, "Pa-Pa" for the first time. You want to go fishing on Sunday? Fine. But I believe that you are flitting away a great delight in choosing the lesser thing. You have six days in which to fish, hunt, clean your garage, and do general labor. Why not, as a reasonable service to the Lord, complete those things so that Sunday is a day especially devoted to the Word and prayer? This is the legacy of your forefathers, no matter what denomination you belong to. The Lord's Day cuts across Arminian, Calvinistic, Baptistic, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic lines. It is as old an observation as the New Testament itself. We would do well to heed their example.

7 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I would expect that you would take this position...but hope that you will further investigate some things.

I am wondering which time period you are referring to as being NT church? Is this the church during the NT writings or the one that followed later...like a few centuries later?

I am wondering if you would post those scriptures in the NT that prove they observed Sunday as their Sabbath?

Another question...isn't the term the Lord's Day only used once in the Bible? In Revelation 1:10? Being that is a book about end time events, I wonder how it would fit here, as to being taken in context of the passage it is written in? Seems to me that term would better fit the Fri pm to Sat pm time frame being the LORD said He was Lord of the Sabbath and to my knowledge ONLY followed the usual Jewish custom in that regard. What would prevent that time being called the LORD's Day I wonder? Just a thought...

Well, blessings on you, brother, and especially if you do change your position on this matter...you will probably be looking for another line of work, perhaps...so it would not be an easy path to follow.

ColinM said...

Amen, Brad.


Elizabeth: as an aside, is not one time enough, if that one time occurs in the Word of God?

Sojourner said...

Elizabeth,

What is your position, exactly?

Even So... said...

I appreciate what you are trying to do here with these last few posts, and I am in general agreement, Brad. Thanks.

It would seem to me that it is all tied up in what our heart motivation is, in the light of all the conflicting "evidence" on all the sides there are to this "issue".

What we shouldn't do is turn this into just another "shibboleth". I will be discussing this very topic soon, perhaps now very, very soon so that we can get some cross pollination, as it were.

As a parenthesis I would add that it's the Lord's Day, not the Lord's hour and a half!

Even So...

Daniel said...

Sunday was certainly regarded as the Lord's day - though what "the Lord's day" meant to early Christians has yet to be determined. Certainly they met, worshipped collectively, shared meals, observed the ordinances, received teaching and admonished one another, not to mention ministering to those who had need, and praying together - a tradition that continues to this day as every Christian body I know of meets together on the Lord's day.

There is wisdom in that, certainly - except that one day a week was set aside - we might never congregate as a whole body.

I don't feel that this observance is "the new Sabbath" - but as Brad points out - there is much wisdom in making the most of this day.

Personally, I believe that anyone who doesn't set time aside each day for day set aside for devotion, worship, and the ministry of the Word is a beg-time slackard - as such things need to be our daily practice, as opposed to our weekly practice - and I wouldn't make Sunday an especially devotional day in that sense - since that would be regarding one day above another.

What I would do however, is take advantage of the congregating of the saints to minister to those in the church. Sunday, of all days, ought to be the least selfish, and not the most.

Sojourner said...

Daniel,

You aren't making a law that we can't observe one day above another, are you?

Since you love your wife everyday, it doesn't make sense for you to set aside a date night or celebrate anniversaries. Every day is lovely bliss equally. Of course, I am speaking like an idiot, but you get my drift.

Elizabeth said...

Brad, my position, if you are trying to figure out what box to put me in, belief-wise, is going to be difficult! We do not belong to any group, other than a small Bible study group here (churches here are "all full up" and basically country clubs so far as any we felt would be ok doctrine wise...not willing to go to the Catholic church, 7th Day Adventist, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormon, etc). Our search for truth has brought us here...we have listened to many teachers via internet, CD, conferences, etc...and still continue to study and listen and search to be sure that what we believe lines up with scripture. Searching into the original languages via computer programs that help do that, when something in English does not make sense. I know it would make others more comfortable...but basically, I simply feel we need to take scripture, ALL of it, for what it says. Understanding that will not necessarily be easy as it was not originally written in English and to my knowledge, none of the original documents remain today. But I really wonder why people think the 9 commandments are still valid and the Sabbath one is not. That was given way back during creation, to Adam. Why would a CHANGELESS God change that? And no where are we told that our LORD said to change this (He certainly did not hesitate to teach MANY other important things, some seemingly not as important as this issue even). Something this important ought to have been put into a very clear command seems to me. If it was important enough to be mentioned right off in Genesis at the beginning, etc...does that not make you question? It seems to me that you must or else this strain of posts would not have come to be.

We must not trust in any human documents, etc on such issues...only so far as it helps understand scripture. It is important to know HOW changes have happened in the years since Creation. Even the last pope, who died not long ago, stated that one way that shows even the protestant world is still under him was that they observe Sunday as THE DAY...being the Catholic church was the one who changed it. If you have no problem with that?....

Some churches (baptist ones even) have come to understand the mistake that was made centuries ago in changing the day and are now observing the Sabbath again. We personally do not think it is wrong to go to church and worship on any day of the week, but we think what you do, in your home, with the Sabbath is indeed an issue. But then we do not discard, or disregard the OT either...in fact, we see no division between the OT and NT as far as doctrine, etc. goes. Our LORD himself stated in John 5:46-47: "For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wro
te of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?"

Brad, I do not think this issue can be examined in such a few short days for most of us who were nearly "born" Believers...having come up through the church. We have found that it took us a long time of study and searching to really accept the truth that is plainly there. No we were not raised in a cult...just a regular denomination, conservative at that. But some of what we accepted from our youth, we have had to reexamine in light of scripture and then make some changes. I think the LORD must be talking to you but I think you need to study this out longer...I encourage you to do so. It may be that you will find things much quicker than did we with your tools, background, and even line of work. My husband had to go to work every day so did not have near the amount of study time as you may, for instance.

Scripture states that Jesus kept the Sabbath, "as was His practice"...was he wrong? Look at IJohn 2:6? HOW CAN we be wrong for observing Sabbath? If God changed HIS mind, what assurance do you have that HE won't again change HIS mind and "discard, reject" the church? Again, please direct me to the verses to answer these things!

If you would feel more comfortable to email me, feel free. I am not an expert in anything, just a woman who is praising God for ALL He has shown me and the JOY and PEACE that floods over me in ways like never before..and the insatiable appetite now I have for the things of HIM!! The TRUTH shall make us free...and I AM FREE!! Hard to describe really...