Sat | Mar 17, 2018

Continuing the Sabbath debate

Published:Saturday | March 12, 2011 | 12:00 AM


Debating the Sabbath has been a favourite pastime of apologists for keeping Sunday as the day of rest. I think it is without merit to engage in this exercise in the light of both hermeneutical principles and historical facts.

To separate the command to keep the seventh-day Sabbath from the rest of the 10 commandments is not just disingenuous, but bad scholarship. Simply put, if the commandments prohibiting murder or idol worship or adultery among others are still valid today, the commandment requiring the seventh day as holy is also still valid.

The reasoning of Rev Devon Dick is flawed when he says that the Sabbath is not a creation ordinance. Genesis 2:1-3 has to be seen in the light of Exodus 20:8-11, and any Bible scholar who defends Sunday as the day of rest will tell you that there is no argument against the institution of the seventh day as God's day of rest at creation, as they argue that the solemnity was transferred from the seventh to the first.

The scriptures say that God rested on the first seventh day and that He blessed that day and sanctified it. It was not a Jewish institution, as at that point there were no Jews. Later, God's chosen people in those days (the Jews) were admonished to keep it as a witness to the nations around. It was obvious that they had forgotten it and God reminded them in Exodus 20 and 21 and Deute-ronomy 5, as he did all over the Old Testament.

Invalid arguments

Rev Dick should know that the arguments surrounding the change of the Sabbath from an Old Testament institution to one under the new covenant loses its validity in the light of the unchangeableness of God, as referenced in Malachi 3:6. It is an historic fact that the Sabbath was changed by men without any theological reasoning or scriptural support.

Rev Dick should read one of the foremost Baptist scholars on the subject, the Rev Alexander Hislop, in his seminal work, 'Two Babylons'. Rev Hislop carefully and with scholarly astuteness outlined the historic moves leading to the change and gives the reasons why it became necessary for some to do so.

I am, etc.,