Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday Laws are a comin' !

I was browsing some of the articles at Adventist Affirm. A thought struck me as I was reading Sunday Laws in an Age of Freedom. The article uses as a springboard the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court to examine the Sabbath question and its validity. Let me preface my remarks by observing that the article, while I don't share the perspective on the subject, is well written and appears thorough, and his observations are good.

My thoughts are two:

1. I don't know anyone -- anyone -- who reveres Sunday near the way Adventists revere Saturday/Sabbath. I have heard friends and acquaintances talk about how their family behaves on Sunday - it is a family day. They never call it Sabbath. No one talks about a Sunday law. I can't even imagine anyone at my church desiring the passage of a Sunday law that enforces all to not work on Sunday; I know that none would support a death penalty associated with that law.

If the present "blue laws" had not been passed in a previous era, they would stand no chance of passage today. Our corporate and retail environment would prevent it. Christians simply do not have the power today - look at roe v wade and abortion.

2. Revelation 13 is very clear - in a vague way - that something will happen. In the time of Christ Jews were waiting for the promised Messiah to deliver them from Rome and establish the eternal kingdom. The Messiah came and left and many, since they were expecting something else, did not recognize Him.

I believe that it is the same with Adventists. I applaud them for studying prophecy and for attempting to understand. I simply think they've reached a wrong conclusion. Like U. Smith and others who saw Turkey as a fulfillment of prophecy and other "current day events" as evidence of prophecy unfolding, Adventists saw the Sunday-law activity by "fallen" churches as fulfillment of Revelation 13. They already knew that Saturday and not Sunday should be the Sabbath and were convinced that this was "it".

It seems to me that the only churches that are persecuting people are the legalistic and zealous churches -- like Seventh-day Adventists. Adventists have from the beginning punished anyone who doesn't conform to the societal theological norm. Those, like us, who question established theological pillars are persecuted. If employed they are fired. If in lay-leadership positions they are either removed or passed over for appointment. And if one "leaves" Adventism they are shunned and whispered about. Adventists fight for religious liberty but will fire someone for not being a good Adventist. Let that settle in your mind: Adventists feel that it is wrong to fire someone for observing Sabbath for their conscience, but if a person leaves Adventism for their conscience their livelihood can be removed and the family thrust into financial trouble.

For any system of thought the foundational concepts are the most important. An incorrect starting point must of necessity arrive at flawed conclusions. Adventists have started from the Old Covenant laws, have elevated Sabbath to supreme importance, and have naturally concluded that the "Sunday" churches will fight as hard to establish Sunday as Adventists have fought to establish Sabbath.

As food for thought, then: The starting point must be Christ, the Cross, the Resurrection and the true knowledge of the saving Gospel. The fraud that Satan perpetuates, then will be a doctrine that denies the pure gospel in some way. Legalism has always been the substitute for faith in Christ.

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