Saturday, December 27, 2008

An Old Exception to the WCF

What follows is a written exception I took to the Westminster Confession of Faith, 21-7, before the Northern California Presbytery of the PCA, back in October of 1996. I'm posting the text here mosty so that I won't lose it myself - in fact, I had to Google myself to find this version, which probably exists only on the website (many written records of our presbytery during this period have been lost). For those less interested in such details, this is basically my rebuttal to the English Puritan view that the fourth commandment forbids almost all forms of work and recreation on Sunday. My own view was shaped largely by Meredith Kline, and, in my view, takes more seriously the typological aspect of Sinai legislation than the Puritan view.

"Kay took exception to WCF 21-7 ("observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations"), since he believes that "it is highly likely that the command to abstain from all work is specific to Sinai, given that Sinai described the unique instance of a pure theocracy where worship and labor could be completely ordered and integrated. Israel was a geo-political expression of the kingdom of God, a type of the heavenly kingdom to come. As New Covenant believers, we still await the consummation of God's kingdom, yet there is no political or civil component to it at this time. Unlike the Israelites then, we live in a common grace culture where we work for nonbelievers as well as employ them. It seems improper that the church (with its solely spiritual domain) would require common-grace culture to accommodate to Sabbath labor laws which originally were in place to make a special-grace typological point--that the people of God will ultimately enter God's Sabbath rest (Heb. 4)."