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Perspectives on the Sabbath: Four Views Paperback – April 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christopher John Donato is senior associate editor of Tabletalk magazine, a devotional reader that exists to help explain important doctrines and events that shape the church while encouraging people to reflect the image of Christt in both word and deed. He lives in Lake Mary, Florida.

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Product Details

  • Series: Perspectives
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Academic (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805448217
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805448214
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #763,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I would venture to guess that most Christians have not thought about the issue of the Sabbath before. Many, like myself, have always assumed that they ought to attend worship on Sundays out of tradition, but maybe haven't considered what it really means, theologically speaking. A large contingent of the church thinks that Sabbath observance is fulfilled if one attends religious services.

Thankfully, if you're ignorant in this area, there is a solution. Chris Donato has edited a new volume devoted to letting the four major views on the Sabbath duke it out. The format is familiar, with the first chapter being devoted to the author defending his view. In the next chapter, each of the remaining three views have an opportunity to weigh in, and then of course, the original author is given a chance to respond to the other three in a few brief pages, wrapping things up. To the editor's credit, enough space is given (400+ pages total) to deal substantially with each view. As a point of reference, other volumes from the same series are less than half the size of this one.

The four perspectives being shared in this book could be separated into two units: those who say that the Sabbath commandments are still binding, and those who say that the Sabbath commandments are no longer binding. The first half of the book covers the two views arguing for a continuing Sabbath. Skip MacCarty, as I mentioned before, begins by defending the Seventh Day Sabbath view. In Part II, Joseph Pipa defending what he calls (to the chagrin of the other contributors) the Christian Sabbath view. After this, we are introduced to the two views who say that Sabbath Commandments are no longer binding. In Part III Charles Arand spends his time laying out Luther's view of the Sabbath.
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Format: Paperback
When it comes to discussing the relevance and continuity of the Ten Commandments for the Christian, the dividing line seems to rest on the application of the fifth commandment - the command to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. If obedience to the Ten Commandments is still in effect for the Christian then we must keep the Sabbath. If it is not in effect for the Christian then we do not have to keep the Sabbath. This of course is tied to the NT teaching on the law which is the seedbed of much of the controversy.

Perspectives on the Sabbath: 4 Views presents four views on Sabbath keeping for the Christian. It covers from the Seventh-Day Adventist view which is the strictest view to the Fulfillment view which is the most lenient.

The first view presented is the Seventh-Day Adventist view by Skip McCarty. There is much that McCarty rightly uses in defense of the Sabbath-Day view. He rightly starts in Genesis 2:2 and utilizes the Ten Commandments as given in Exodus and Deuteronomy. McCarty clearly holds a continuationist view of the Ten Commandments so much so that he believes the Sabbath rest is still to be held on what our calendars still call Saturday. Texts like Isaiah 56:5-6 & 66:22-23 are used to claim that the Saturday Sabbath rest is universal for all time. However, as Pipa points out, McCarty does not follow his application through since he does not believe we need to obey the other ceremonial observances (p. 76). What makes the Seventh-Day view stand out is that it does not recognize the resurrection event as having any bearing on when the day in which the Sabbath is held - changing from Saturday to Sunday.
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This is a topic in which I have a lot of interest. Largely because I, like Skip Mccarty, spent much of my adult life and education as a Seventh-day Adventist, complete with the teachings of its Prophetess & Church Pioneers, in addition to Scripture. Since my conversion to Christianity in 2009 I have discovered and read a many of the issues Professors Arand, Bloomberg & Pipa but admittedly am still learning. My largest regret is that I had not found such positions much sooner.

This Perspectives issue is excellent for any Christian to read. It demonstrates that while there is not a consensus in our understanding of what, if any, is the role is of the Jewish Sabbath in the life of a Christian it does make clear among Christians that the central purpose of the OT Law is the pointing of its ultimate fulfillment in Christ FINISHED works.

I commend Professors Arand, Bloomberg & Pipa for responding to the issues that Skip Mccarty presented although they were never raised as Seventh-Day Adventists. This is an important item to note for both those who are Christians and those who were raised under the tutelage of Seventh-Day Adventism. By reading Seventh-Day Adventism's responses to Christian issues such as the Sabbath the Christian may begin to assume the two understandings are similar, they are not. For that matter one raised in Seventh-Day Adventism might be led to believe that the core doctrines are Christian and can be found in Scripture since they seem steeped in texts.
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