On one of my mailing lists a few weeks ago, an unrelated message morphed into a discussion on the Sabbath. This is a technical list that consists of those who agree to an Evangelical Christian statement of Faith, the former part of that meaning any discussion can come out of about every discussion and the latter meaning everyone seemed to agree on one thing: the observance of the Sabbath will not save you nor is it a required step toward salvation.
Generally speaking, Christians try to follow the law, though not required, because we want to do God's will. That point is often used against the argument of sabbatarians, much like Paul's declaration not to judge any observance of Sabbaths, new moon festivals, etc. (Colossians 2:16). Still, assuming we want to do God's will (see argument 1), it would seem to me that we should set down our guard and consider the sabbatarian argument — not as a requirement or a judgment, but an earnest attempt to understand whether or not it has merit. Unless we have no interest in following God's laws willfully, then our freedom from the law is not an excuse to let this issue slide (I'm not saying one must get a particular conclusion, but that we should really consider this issue rather than just ignoring it like it so often is).
For the last few years, I've made an effort (that I have often failed) to make Sunday a day of rest. I have always followed the reasoning that Sunday is the new sabbath — the Lord's Day. However during this particular argument I started to wonder if all of this was really a fallicy. My Seventh-Day Adventist friend, who seems to enjoy a good debate as much as I do, made a really good point: there is nothing, that I know of, in the Bible that says the early Christians actually moved Sabbath observance to Sunday. They met on Sunday, yes, but there is no indication that they ended the observance of the Sabbath in doing so.
Another friend, who attends a non-sabbatarian church, solves the problem in a way that seems to closely mimic what we can infer from Acts. He observes the Sabbath, but worships on Sunday morning. The Sabbath is a day of rest, and it is the seventh day, but that isn't a prohibition on Sunday worship. The command we are considering isn't “Honor the Sabbath and worship only on this day.” In other words, this need not be an all or nothing position where if you accept the Sabbath, you must give up your existing Church and move to one that has Saturday services. All this question is, is a question concerning whether the day of rest must be on the seventh day.
One person chimed in suggesting that the ideal solution might be to observe both the Lord's Day and the Sabbath as days of rest. At first this sounded like a good idea, but wasn't this exactly what the Phari did? When unsure, they added more rules “just to be safe.” To me, this seems like a road destined for legalism, whether that is intended or not.
With that in mind, I am pondering the idea of switching to Sabbath observance. Not legalistic, mind you, but the same way I have treated Sunday for a while. I'm confused as to whether this is right or wrong, but it seems to me that only post-Biblical dogma provides rationale for having a “first day Sabbath.” If that's the case, and I want to take the fourth commandment as seriously as the rest, I guess I must confront this.
The status quo is unacceptable. It is comfortable, but if it isn't God's will, that is irrelevant. Now I must just pray that I can better understand this.
Of course, as always, I welcome the thoughts of my friends here in the blogosphere…