A late-night guide to discussing the Sabbath (or any theology, really)


When it comes to issues like the Sabbath, I feel that my position in recent years has become somewhat gooey. Something like a half-cooked muffin – I could probably look like I know what I think on the outside, but on the inside I’m all inconsistent and messy.

I managed to (thankfully) miss a debate on the Sabbath on a Facebook page I spend time on tonight, and as I flicked through the responses before bed (not recommended), I thought there was something I could possibly add to the discussion. Not by way of wading into the debate, but by pointing out some of the wacky and unhelpful ways in which evangelicals often participate in discussions such as these.

So, here they are.

First, there’s the ‘hakuna matata’ or ‘what, me worry?’ approach. This is the approach which says “Well, this isn’t the gospel, so why should we waste time talking about it?”

It sounds very holy and good, and it reflects a healthy desire to see the gospel as the main focus of our ministry, but it fails to account for the fact that there are more things in Scripture than just the gospel. Try this approach the next time a discussion about gay marriage or domestic violence comes up. Actually, don’t. It would be dumb.

Second, there’s the “driveby verse” approach. These helpful people jump into their cars and drive past the debate at 80km/h shouting out the window “Colossians two sixteeeeeen!” before disappearing without the slightest bit of explanation as to what they think that verse is saying.

Look, if you’re going to participate in any discussion helpfully, you’re going to need to say what you think. Revolutionary, I know. And honestly, when it comes to issues like this, Sabbatarians are well aware of these verses, and have opinions of their own about them. Read them and see.

Finally, there’s the “biblico-covenantal-Christological-systematic” approach. The aim here is to kick up enough rhetorical dust that your opponent has no other option than to bow to your superior intellect. You may hear these fine theologians saying things such as “I don’t feel this fits well within the Christological framework provided by a good grammatico-historical hermeneutic. It would overturn the warp and whoof of the rich tapestry woven throughout the unfolding mystery of the Christ event, would it not?”

I don’t have time for these guys. It’s best just to raise your eyebrows with an understanding look on your face and walk away before they explode.

Now, I post this with the full knowledge that I’ve contributed to discussions like this in the past. But, if you’ll join with me, I’d like to propose that we each take our right hand and bash our head repeatedly whilst saying “Don’t. Do. This. Again.”

Thanks for being patient with me. Job nineteen tweeeentyyyyy!

A late-night guide to discussing the Sabbath (or any theology, really)

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