Remember the Sabbath? Some Christians have never even heard of it in the first place…

The church in America in the 21st century has lost the notion of the Lord’s Day as the Christian Sabbath, even in Presbyterian churches whose confessional standards and historical backgrounds point us in a counter-cultural direction. Many of those who most clamor for the 10 commandments to be posted in courtrooms and schools flagrantly flaunt and ignore the 4th commandment, and live as if there are really just 9 (if that many). Is it any surprise that we are weary, depressed, burned out, chasing our tails, enslaved to youth sports, idolatrously addicted to professional sports, losing our children to the world, floating adrift on the tidal motions of cultural currents, and ignorant of our Bibles? As goes the Sabbath, so goes the church; and as goes the church, so goes the nation. For anyone who wonders what to make of the 4th commandment, I encourage you to check out the following books:

  • Pipa, Joseph A. The Lord’s Day. Christian Focus: Fearn, Scotland. 2001.
  • Chantry, Walter. Call the Sabbath a Delight. The Banner of Truth Trust: Edinburgh. 1991.
  • Ray, Bruce A. Celebrating the Sabbath: Finding Rest in a Restless World. P & R Publishing: Phillipsburg, NJ. 2000.
  • Dennison Jr., James T. The Market Day of the Soul: The Puritan Doctrine of the Sabbath in England, 1532-1700. University Press of America, Inc.: Lanham, MD. 1983.
  • John Murray’s articles on the 4th commandment in his Collected Writings and in his book Principles of Conduct

I’ve also uploaded William Swan Plumer’s pamphlet entitled, “The Law of the Sabbath Still Binding, and What it Forbids,” here. It gives a helpful overview of the biblical basis for remembering the Sabbath day to keep it holy, answers some objections, and reminds us from what God desires us to rest. (unfortunately he doesn’t spend as much time telling us the things God wants us to be doing once we have ceased from our worldly labors and recreations! The words of the Children’s Catechism are a great summary of the positive – “prayer and praise, reading and hearing God’s word, and doing good to our fellow men”). May the Lord renew His people’s desire to obey the 4th commandment, for His glory and our spiritual and physical health.


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