Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Part II of my Response of my Response to Centuri0n on Christmas

Part I of my response is provided above, and should be read first (link).

In Part II, I will discuss very briefly Centuri0n's comments on Lord's Day worship:

Centuri0n seems to think that if one took my position to its logical conclusion, one would have to "-- stop worshipping on Sundays" to avoid having the gospel of Scripture be confused with the gospel of the Vatican.

I responded that this "is out, because (a) Rome itself no longer emphasizes Sunday worship, and (b) Scripture requires it."

Centuri0n surprisingly insisted that Rome continues to emphasize Sunday worship (which seems dubious, to anyone who has seen the difference in attendance on days of obligation versus a typical Sunday). Nevertheless, let us suppose out of charity that Centuri0n is right, and that I was mistaken about Rome's deemphasis of Sunday worship. No problem, my second point was sufficient.

Even more surprisingly, Centuri0n challenges the fact that Scripture requires Sunday worship!

I simply point Centuri0n to

The Heidelberg Catechism, Question 103. What does God require in the fourth commandment?

Answer: First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be maintained; (a) and that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, (b) to hear his word, (c) to use the sacraments, (d) publicly to call upon the Lord, (e) and contribute to the relief of the poor. (f) Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by his Holy Spirit in me: and thus begin in this life the eternal sabbath. (g)

(a) Tit.1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 2 Tim.3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 2 Tim.3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 1 Tim.5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 1 Cor.9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 1 Cor.9:13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 1 Cor.9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 2 Tim.2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (b) Ps.40:10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. Ps.40:11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. Ps.68:27 There is little Benjamin with their ruler, the princes of Judah and their council, the princes of Zebulun, and the princes of Naphtali. Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, (c) 1 Tim.4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 1 Cor.14:19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. 1 Cor.14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 1 Cor.14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. (d) 1 Cor.11:33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. (e) 1 Tim.2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 1 Tim.2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 1 Tim.2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 1 Tim.2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. 1 Tim.2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 1 Tim.2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. 1 Tim.2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 1 Cor.14:16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? (f) 1 Cor.16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. (g) Isa.66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

See also Chapter XXI of the Westminster Confession of Faith of 1646, Chapter XXII of the Savoy Declaration of 1658, and Chapter XXII of the London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689.

This is not advanced theology, but part of ordinary Reformed catechesis.


Questions 86-90 of the Catechism for Young Children
Questions 57-62 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism
Questions 115-121 of the Westminster Larger Catechism

These various sources, and the Reformed churches that have variously endorsed them are an adequate explanation of the Scriptural doctrine.



Hidden One said...

I'd like to make a couple points.

1. Sundays are days of obligation for Catholics.
2. You're darn right there's a big difference between attendance on Holy Days of Obligation and Sundays. Christmas and Easter it goes up, and all the others (varied as they are by country) go very down. Like too many Protestants, too many Catholics see Christmas and Easter as pretty much the only time when one needs to show up and sit in the pews (or chairs). Other Holy Days of Obligation, notably ones that are not moved to Sundays and especially ones that are not during school breaks are notoriously poorly attended in North America, particularly in less-fervent dioceses.

As I see it, the real measure is between daily Mass and Sunday Mass. In some parishes, the numbers can be as disparate as 4 and 800 to 1600. This is on the extreme side, but actually a true example. (I don't know how many services the certain parish has on Sundays, and estimated the capacity of the pews, and multiplied by .7)

Anonymous said...

I was wondering which of those Scriptures changes the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday? I didn't see any which did that. I did see in Acts where they met daily and not just on Sundays. I find that interesting and a piece of info that we in the reformed church seem to miss. I know what is in our WMC, but I really haven't found where we were instructed to change these days. I know that we think it changed because Christ rose on Sunday, but I don't see a Scripture which connects these two events. I know that Paul brought to life the young man who fell out of a window while he was preaching on Sunday, but that Scripture's emphasis is on the miracle and not on the fact that they had church on Sundays...because Acts says they met daily which would include Sundays. Again, the disciples being gathered together on the day that Christ rose is used as proof, but they were gather together because they were afraid of the Jewish rulers not because they were in a worship service. I'm really trying to find a Scripture which changes the OT Sabbath, the 4th commandment not something to be messed with unless given direct instruction by God, from Saturday to Sunday. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

One thing I didn't think about when I gave you Acts 20 as an example is that even though I think this account is more about the miracle...according to Biblical time doesn't each day start in the evening according to Genesis? If so, wouldn't the "first day of the week" start Saturday evening at sundown (thus the need for the lamps they were using) and the "next morning" be Sunday on which day Paul left them? It sounds like he observed the Sabbath on Saturday(if he didn't, then why not start the service earlier than at a time when you would need lamps? If one says it is because they were working, I can't imagine that Paul was able to rid these first-generational, Jewish converts from the "no working on Saturdays" law) So technically, they did have service on this particular Sunday according to Biblical time but really during the dark hours of Sunday (doesn't really fit with the thought of changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday because Christ rose on Sunday. He rose in the morning when it was light not during the dark hours of Sunday). Paul seems to be traveling during Sunday day and not having Sunday morning worship. This is something I had never thought of before. What do you think? No, I'm not a 7th day Adventist!!!! My church is an OPC.

Turretinfan said...

It's not one of the clearest things in Scripture (that the Christian sabbath is the next day after the Jewish sabbath) but it is the position of basically all the Reformed churches, based largely on the impossibility of the abridgement of the moral law, and the example of the apostles.
That a day of rest is universally binding can be seen from the fact that it is a creation ordinance, not merely a Mosaic ordinance. Furthermore, that the early Christians came together for weekly worship on the first day of the week is evidenced variously.

There's not really time or space for me to get into the full discussion here.

Suffice to say that I'm satisfied that what the Reformed Presbyterians, Reformed Anglicans, Reformed Congregationalists, and Reformed Baptists all concurred on in the 17th century is correct.