Sabbath and Industry

Near the end of the debate (starting at 1:01:27 in the .mp3) I presented a very abbreviated version of an argument that Sabbatarianism is not consistent with use of electricity on the Sabbath.  To quote prominent Sabbatarian Joseph Pipa,

It is a lame excuse to say ‘They are going to be there anyway, so it really doesn’t matter what I do.’…If you use a person’s services, you are partly responsible for that person’s working on the Lord’s Day.

Or even quoting Kazooless (18:49):

Every time we pay for a service, there is a servant filling that need.  … You might argue that “they are going to do it anyway” but I say to you that even if that were true, we should not participate in their sin. Just as it is morally wrong to purchase a stolen item when you know that it is stolen, paying someone else to break the Sabbath for you is equally wrong.

So if Kazooless considers this standard worthy of condemning restauranters with, he should not shy away when it is applied to himself.  Continue reading

Ignorance Negates Responsibility

We Reformed types know very well that “inability does not negate responsibility.”  The very opening words of WCF 1.1 are in this vein: “the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable,” and of course, at the core of Paul’s arguments in Rom 1-2 is that man knows the moral law by natural revelation, and stands in condemnation for violating it. Paul’s justification for “God’s wrath is revealed from heaven” is not “that’s just the way it is”, but “what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. … ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Paul’s argument, however, does not apply to the 4th commandment (note Paul does not accuse natural man of Sabbath-breaking here or anywhere else), because it is not a part of natural revelation.   Continue reading

Sabbath Reflections

A few thoughts coming out of last night’s H&S:

First of all, the term “Creation Ordinance” gets tossed around a lot in discussions of the Sabbath.  It seems to me that “Creation Ordinance” is not particularly-well defined.  Kazooless and I may have been working to different definitions.  K is probably thinking “Creation=Universal” and “Ordinance=Commandment”.  But for me, calling the Sabbath a Creation Ordinance has nothing in particular to say about its nature, but only when it was instituted, i.e. in Creation.  In fact, I think the term “Creation Institution” works better for the Sabbath than “Creation Ordinance”.

Another thought is that the fatal flaw of the Westminster/Sabbatarian position is that they approach the whole day from a Regulative perspective.  Which means that questions of the form “is X permissible” are not even meaningful; only “is X commanded?”  And there are only 4 things commanded by Westminster: public worship, private worship, works of mercy, and works of necessity.  Any further questions “is X permissible?” are answered only with “no works, words, or thoughts concerning your own employments or recreations.”  But one point I had in my notes, but didn’t have time to articulate, is that this strict stance is entirely reasonable within a worship service — i.e. in the context where the Regulative Principle applies.  But Westminster goes that extra distance of extending the RPW to the whole Sabbath Day, whereas I would confine it (like the external observance of the Sabbath) only to corporate worship.

Hoagies & Stogies: Sabbath

MP3 are up!  Come & get ’em!

Thanks to Jeff for hosting the audio, and of course thanks more for a good discussion! For anybody that’s interested, here is a pdf of my notes, and here is a pdf that Jeff has shared as well.

Everybody mark your calendars for the next event: the date is as easy to remember as 1/23!