Defining the Debate

from Jun 14, 2011 Category: Tabletalk Magazine

The June edition of Tabletalk looks at four prominent views of the Sabbath and how it is applied to the Christian. In his contribution to this month’s issue, R.C. Sproul seeks to define the debate. “The question of Sabbath observation, historically, has provoked many debates and controversies involving separate issues. The first great debate about the Sabbath is whether, as an Old Testament ordinance particularly emphasized in the Mosaic covenant, it is still obligatory in the context of new covenant Christianity. Augustine, for example, believed that nine of the Ten Commandments (the so-called “moral law” of the Old Testament) were still intact and imposed obligations upon the Christian church. His lone exception with the commandment with respect to the Sabbath day. Since Paul spoke about keeping Sabbaths or not keeping Sabbaths as a matter adiaphorous (indifferent), Augustine was persuaded that the Old Testament Sabbath law had been abrogated. Others have argued that because the Sabbath was instituted originally not in the Mosaic economy but in creation, it maintains its status of moral law as long as the creation is intact.”

He looks to several other controversies within the Christian church in general and within the Reformed tradition specifically. You can read more in Defining the Debate.