RC Sproul and the Sabbath Day

In a recent question and answer session, prominent theologian, RC Sproul spoke on Blue Laws, the laws restricting commerce on the Sabbath Day, or Lord’s Day. This conversation speaks to the broader issue of whether, regardless of Blue Laws, one should work and shop on this day. Sproul states that our neglect of this restriction is a relatively recent matter. This particular conversation centers around whether the government, as a body separate from the church, should be involved in the regulation of this day. He says that it is not function of the church to pass legislation forcing people to take the sacraments or to preach the gospel nor to wage war or impose taxes; that there are different tasks given to the state and given to the church. However, the “question of Sabbath keeping is a question of the origin and the institution and the application of the Sabbath. Is the Sabbath something that was created in the mosaic dispensation of the old testament? Or was the Sabbath instituted before the mosaic covenant?”

He goes on to say that “[t]he Sabbath was not ordained or instituted by Moses merely for the Jewish people, but was established in creation on the seventh day as part of the covenant of creation which would mean that the observation of the Sabbath is given not to Jew as Jew or Christian as Christian, but to man qua man. That this is an ordinance that everybody is supposed to obey and it would fall under the responsibility of the civil government to regulate it. So I [Sproul] for one, as ancient as it may sound, believe that  it is the government’s responsibility to protect the sanctity of the Sabbath for the well-being of human beings.”

Perhaps it is because Dr. Sproul is getting a little older than the average preacher, as he alludes to, but this issue is not really an issue any longer.  Rarely does today’s preacher or parishioner make any distinction between this day and any other day. If you listen to the question, the questioner even implies that this is a matter of Christian “liberty”. Really? What other of the ten commandments are a question of liberty? There are not nine commandments, but ten. Those Christians that continue to work and do business including forcing others to work by frequenting shops and department stores neglect their duty for the want of more stuff and more convenience in their lives. Let us not be legalistic, but let us observe the Lord’s Day, the Sabbath Day, out of love and reverence for our Father who knows that one day in seven is for rest and reflection, worship and good works, to slow us down in a world competing for our time and attention. If God rested on the seventh day, perhaps we should consider doing the same.