Monday, February 14, 2011
Tuesday: Pepperoni and Pineapple Pizza, Applesauce, Salad
Wednesday: Corn Chowder with Chilies, Cornbread, Salad
Thursday: Dinner at Michael and Rachel's
Friday: Poppy Seed Chicken and Asparagus, Applesauce, Salad
Saturday: Beef Roast, Baked Potatoes, Salad
Sunday: BBQ Beef Sandwiches, French Fries, Salad
Monday: Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese, Salad
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
It was really a simple question, yet I found myself grappling for an answer. If the Lord commanded you to keep one day in seven as completely set apart for him, would you even want it? That's the question a friend posed to me a couple years ago. Don't let the weight of that question fall on deaf ears, and don't give it a hasty response. A question of that magnitude deserves a truthful answer, no matter how much it might hurt. Maybe you don't find that to be a hard question. Perhaps you can sincerely respond with the affirmative. If so, I'm glad for you, I really am. Or maybe you're like me, and this question betrays your true sentiments and exposes the remnants of Adam's fallen nature. Would I even want it?
Let's face it, many of us simply wouldn't want a day like that. The idea of spending the whole day worshiping God in public and private doesn't excite us. Taking time to read and study God's Word both corporately, in the family, and in the closet doesn't really satisfy our hunger for entertainment—especially when the Packers and Steelers are playing the Superbowl. Admit it, when God makes demands on our schedule we'd sooner be that child who throws a temper-tantrum crying “It's my day!” or “It's my time!” or “It's my schedule!” then the compliant child who joyfully obeys his Father. I know it's not a definitive argument but it's a good place to start when you come to examine the Scripture's teaching on the Lord's Day. So as you approach this question, for the good of your own soul, be honest with yourself. Would I even want it?
I'm a Reformed Presbyterian, and as such I believe our Confession of Faith rightly divides the Word of truth. The church within my tradition, despite her horrible practices of late, has always believed we should honor the Lord's Day. Unfortunately, the Reformed conviction has not won the day in mainstream American Christianity. There is, among many evangelicals, a prevailing spirit of Dispensationalism. Dispensationalism, in my mind, introduces too much discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments. This same error is now being advocated in Baptistic circles especially in New Covenant Theology. It's true that Israel had some laws that were established only for a season and a time. Now that Christ has ascended to the right hand of the Father, those ordinances have ceased because they found their fulfillment in him. But this is simply not true in regards to the Ten Commandments, which have a perpetual character because they reflect the immutable moral will of God. You'll notice as well that the fourth commandment points us back to creation, its original institution, and points us forward to our eternal sabbath rest. This alone tells us that it transcends the temporary character of the ceremonial laws.
It's not my aim to make a defense of Sabbath keeping, nor to work through the issues it raises. Those are important questions, but before one addresses those one needs to address the sinfulness of their own heart. Natural man and remaining sin are always seeking to worship the creature rather than the Creator. In my opinion this is painstakingly evident in the way Christians view the fourth commandment. We're Americans, and Americans tend to worship their schedule. Sure, every Calvinist I know makes God sovereign in salvation, but sovereign over how I spend the days of my week—no thanks! This is exacerbated when you consider the theological sympathies of our own day, which is continually leaning, in some ways, towards a spirit of lawlessness and getting rid of the relevance of the Old Testament. It's a sad day when confessing Christians exchange the wisdom and goodness of God, both which are at play in designing a Sabbath rest for humanity, and seek to be wiser than he.
I agree that we need to always tread carefully between offending the liberty of conscience on the one hand, and transgressing God's holy law on the other. This is why a question like this must be wrestled with and dealt with. If keeping the Sabbath is no longer relevant then Reformed Christians had better rethink their entire law/gospel paradigm. If it's still binding then the majority of Christians and churches in our land had better earnestly seek repentance. William Symington once cautioned “Our object should not be to have Scripture on our side but to be on the side of Scripture; and however dear any sentiment may have become by doing long entertained, so soon as it is seen to be contrary to the Bible, we must be prepared to abandon it without hesitation.” Are you willing to do that? Even if it means not watching the Superbowl? Even if it means rearranging your entire weekly schedule so as not to be burdened on the Lord's Day? Even if it means say no when the rest of the world is saying yes?