Yesterday in church (17th October) we thought about the theology of the Sabbath. This Sunday coming (24th October) we’re going to be thinking about the practicalities of the Sabbath.
One of the reasons we’re pausing to think through this issue is because of the societal shifts that have taken place in the past fifty years. As recently as 1965, swing parks were chained and closed by local councils on Sundays. Sunday trading hours in Northern Ireland were very conservative for a long time. Competitive sport was also prohibited for a long time. The Irish Football Association didn’t allow clubs to play on a Sunday until 2008. The Northern Ireland national team didn’t play on a Sunday until 2015.
As a country, Northern Ireland has been very conservative on this issue. But all that has changed. Culture and society no longs places any importance on Sunday. It’s just another day in the week. As a BBC News article put it, Northern Ireland has apparently “moved with the times.” Culture’s thinking on Sundays has had an impact on the church whether we know it or not.
Society and culture doesn’t understand the Bible’s teaching on the Sabbath but we shouldn’t expect it to. It just reverts to saying that Christians are dull and behind the times.
The church at large, however, doesn’t really understand the Bible’s teaching on the Sabbath. And that’s why thinking about this issue is important. If we don’t understand what the Bible teaches about any issue, never mind the Christian Sabbath, then we can’t expect the world to understand it either.
As this is a controversial issue within the Christian church and a topic that has been hotly debated, below is a list of articles that you might find helpful to read. In putting together this list I’ve attempted to present different views on the Christian Sabbath. Whatever conclusions you come to, I hope that you find these articles helpful and come to enjoy the rest that the Lord Jesus offers us.
Defining the Debate – RC Sproul
On the First Sabbath Day – Richard Holdeman
Navigating the Christian Sabbath Day – Camden Bucey
Resuming Breakneck Speed – Mark Loughridge
Below are three links to a Gospel Coalition series on the Sabbath:
For a sermon series by Alistair Begg on the issue of the Sabbath, click here.