Thursday, June 23, 2011

Discussing Sabbath

Fred G. Zaspel reviews a book that may be of particular interest to Seventh Day Baptists: Perspectives on the Sabbath, in fact, four perspectives, each presented by an advocate:
  • Skip MacCarty, pastor, Pioneer Memorial Church, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, representing the Seventh-day Adventist position;
  • Joseph A. Pipa, president and professor of historical and systematic theology, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, representing the “Christian Sabbath” position;
  • Charles P. Arand, chairman, department of systematic theology, Concordia Seminary, representing the confessional Lutheran position;
  • Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary, representing the fulfillment view.
Following the established “views” and “perspectives” approach, each author’s case is presented in turn, followed by responses from the others. One helpful innovation in this book is the space given to the author, then, to give a final word of response, rounding out the discussion well. ....
And his review is interesting, given his confession of bias [i.e. Blomberg is right]. Later, Zaspel suggests something he wishes Blomberg had addressed:
It might have been helpful to Blomberg’s case if he had addressed more fully the question of why Christians worship on Sunday. He highlights this up front in his article, and in most respects his answer is sufficient. However, more would be helpful for those looking on from a Sabbatarian perspective. There are of course good reasons for “going to church” on Sunday, even if these reasons are not tied to the Sabbath command. It would serve a non-sabbatarian position well to cover this base as thoroughly as possible in order to satisfy questions and concerns Sabbatarians inevitably will have. ....
Indeed, why choose any particular day? And if one must be chosen, whether as a Sabbath or simply a day to go to church, why not the one for which God has indicated a preference?

Zaspel has provided an interesting review of a book which he compliments as a genuinely good model of civil discourse: "I should mention something also in regard to the pleasant tone that prevails in this volume.... Their interaction is direct and pointed at times, as it must be in a book like this, but the mutual respect remains. The disagreements among Christians on this issue are not likely to go away, but in this regard the authors helpfully model ongoing discussion"

Since the position, a seventh day [i.e. Saturday] Sabbath, is here represented by an Adventist, one does wonder whether it is argued as a Seventh Day Baptist would present it.

Perspectives on the Sabbath - TGC Reviews