09 August 2006

Westminster Wednesday: Concerning the Sabbath

Isn't every day the Lord's?Something I have been meaning to comment on regarding the Westminster Confession is the prescription of Sabbath observance:

WCF 21.8 This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations; but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.
Evidently, the English Puritans held this understanding in opposition to the European Reformed tradition. For instance, Calvin's Geneva Catechism sings a slightly a different tune:
168. Does He thus forbid us all work one day a week?
This commandment has a particular reason, for the observance of rest is part of the ceremonies of the ancient Law, which was abolished at the coming of Jesus Christ. (See the rest of this section of the catechism here.)

My own understanding of the relationship between the Law and the believer differs in some ways from Calvin's, but on this point I am much closer to agreeing with Calvin than with the English Puritans.

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