Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Five Resources for Understanding the Lord’s Day as the Christian Sabbath

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on February 24, 2011 at 8:00 am

Here are five resources—both doctrinal and practical— for those who want to give this subject more serious consideration:

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1. Chapter 22 “Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day” in the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689).
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These eight paragraphs with scriptural proofs follow the Savory Declaration and the Westminster Confession with only slight variation in laying out the Puritan and Reformed view of the Lord’s Day as “the Christian Sabbath.” Here is the distilled wisdom of our Protestant Reformation and Particular Baptist forebears.
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2. Robert Lewis Dabney, “The Christian Sabbath: Its Nature, Design, and Proper Observance” in Dabney’s Discussions, Volume I (Sprinkle reprint, 1982): pp. 496-550.
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The Presbyterian stalwart doggedly defends the classical Reformed position by exhaustively reviewing the Biblical texts to defend the fourth commandment as “moral and perpetual.” Of note is his exegetical review of “objection passages” like Romans 14:5-6; Galatians 4:9-11; and Colossians 2:16-17 (see pp. 521-530). Dabney does not suffer lightly those with mushy and inconsistent thinking on this issue.
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3. Richard C. Barcellos, In Defense of the Decalogue: A Critique of New Covenant Theology (Winepress, 2001).
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Barcellos offers a critique of “New Covenant” theology (an effort to blend Calvinistic soteriology and dispensationalism) from a Reformed Baptist perspective. Though this booklet covers the Christian’s view of the moral law in general, it readily applies to the question of the continuing validity of the fourth commandment, which NCT rejects.
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4. Walter Chantry, Call the Sabbath a Delight (Banner of Truth, 1991)
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Classic booklet by longtime Reformed Baptist Pastor and Banner of Truth editor which both offers a Biblical and doctrinal explanation of the fourth commandment and provides practical counsel on how positively to observe the Lord’s Day without straying into legalism.
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5. Bruce A. Ray, Celebrating the Sabbath: Finding Rest in a Restless World (P & R, 2000).
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Another worthy attempt to do what Chantry’s book does. This brief book (only 125 pp) is ideal for parents and families to read and study together in order to discern a Biblically faithful way to enjoy the Lord’s Day without becoming Pharisaical.
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Jeffrey T. Riddle, Pastor
Christ Reformed Baptist Church
Charlottesville, Virginia
http://www.jeffriddle.net
  1. Thank you very much for bringing these to our attention.

  2. Jeff,

    Thanks for the recommendations. I’ve also recently come across John Frame’s treatment of the Sabbath in his Doctrine of the Christian Life (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2008), which I found quite helpful. He identifies and summarizes several views of the Sabbath advocated within the Reformed tradition (513-27). He provides theology and modern application of the fourth commandment that is biblical and balanced (528-54). Finally, he offers a biblical-theological justification for the shift from a seventh-day to a first-day Sabbath (555-74).

    Bob Gonzales

  3. Wow, Jeff. How did you read my mind? I was just considering this issue.

  4. Jeff,

    I have also found Joseph Pipa’s “The Lord’s Day” to be a helpful biblical defense of the Christian Sabbath.

  5. Pastor Riddle, thank you for starting the list with our the confession. I also suggest David Chanski’s brief article, The Lord’s Day, which is an excellent and thoroughly biblical overview of this subject. http://reformedbaptistmn.org/lordsday.html

  6. […] Five Resources for Understanding the Lord’s Day as the Christian Sabbath […]

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