SFL Flashback: Keeping The Sabbath Day

This post was originally featured on SFL on February 18th, 2009

For fundamentalists, their “day of rest” begins promptly at 6:00 a.m. with mom and dad rousting the five children out of bed, feeding them breakfast, and hunting all over the house for various articles of children’s clothing that they could have sworn were hanging in the closet just last night. Then with everyone bathed, fed, and dressed, it’s off to the bus ministry and an hour and a half of driving around town picking up children and getting them to church.

Then it’s time to get the babies to the nursery, the children deposited at Sunday school, and making sure that there are coffee and doughnuts for the adult Sunday school class. After that it’s time for the main service where Dad watches the older kids while mom volunteers in the nursery since the youngest kid is teething and she’ll probably end up in there for half the service anyway.

Sometime later, the service concludes and it’s time to get the bus kids back to their respective homes just in time to rush to the monthly nursing home ministry which Dad happens to be speaking at this week and it turns out that the normal pianist is sick so mom fills in for that as well. After that it’s a quick lunch at a drive-through, then back to the church for children’s choir practice and Men’s meeting before the evening service. Evening service this week is followed by a lengthy business meeting which mom and dad take part in while the older kids play freeze tag in the parking lot. Finally, long after darkness has fallen, it’s time go home.

On the drive home, the eight-year-old looks out of the car window and exclaims “look, there’s a fair going on! People are riding the rides and playing games!”

“Those people should know better than that!”, says Dad piously “Sunday is a day for rest.” But in his heart he’s rather relieved that tomorrow is Monday when all he has to do is go to work. This much resting could be deadly in large doses.

113 thoughts on “SFL Flashback: Keeping The Sabbath Day”

    1. Exactly! But we have heard their theological chicanery that some how proves that you dont love gid and you are forsaking the assembling if you dont sit in your pew seat at least 3 times a week.

      The latest what I like to call “P.T. Barnum” trick is using the phrase “Church its the place to be!”. Like some carnival barker luring the crowds to a side show… — I need to start a thread in the forum on this stuff.

  1. The Sabbath is the only one of the ten commandments not restated in the New Testament. However, I do believe that the principle is valid, and we can learn from that rhythm of life/pirnciple of living by taking one day to get away from work and worship/rest without all the legalistic garbage of the previous generations attached.

    1. Well, Hebrews calls Jesus our Sabbath rest. Rest matters — God rested from his creation, Jesus went away from the crowds to rest from that part of his ministry. But the idea that “remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy” means “do anything church-related you want, no matter how strenuous, just make sure you don’t have any fun of any kind” is silly and unbiblical, you’re right.

      1. Dear AtticWife:


        Jesus IS our Sabbath. Right on, AtticWife!

        Not only is Jesus our Sabbath, but Jesus is also the fulfillment of the law and the prophets [Mt 5:17; 22:40], the end of the law [Ro 10:4], our Passover [1Co 5:7] our sacrifice [Ep 5:2], our life [Co 3:4], our hope [1Ti 1:1], our High Priest [Heb 4:14], our offering [He 10:10], and our temple [Re 21:22].

        If this is Biblical, why do so few churches preach it? Could it be that many pulpit bullies see themselves as the keepers of the oracles? That would come in very handy if your goal is to preside over all aspects of faith and life among the people of God.

        Christian Socialist

  2. When I was in high school, one Sunday afternoon, a bunch of us guys from church wanted to play some basketball. I called the chairman of the deacon board to get permission to use the church gym. (He also happened to be my uncle.) He said no. We weren’t allowed to use the church gym to play basketball on Sunday. I could tell from the background noise that he was watch football. Fundamentalism Fail.

  3. I have fond memories of coming off Saturday night graveyard shift, straight to my bus for the Sunday morning pick up. I would be a drooling mess in the service and then grab two or three hours of sleep in the afternoon and be back for the evening service (in a somewhat more coherent form).

    Funny how fundies are always ready to twist their rules to suit themselves when it comes to things like this: don’t work on Sundays (you need to be free for slave labour at the gulag–I mean church) or women should not work outside the home (except pastor’s wives get positions at the church so the pastor can pad his salary).

      1. Two things:

        First, the Pastor and church staff don’t get paid for their work on Sunday. That is a bonus day. And sometimes, so is Saturday. This is true for those on salary but even more true for those who work hourly jobs on a church staff. If you are a church custodian on an hourly wage at my former church/school, then cleaning up after conferences and setting up chairs for special events etc. is just considered “ministry,” not “work.”

        Secondly, pastor’s wives and staff wive’s often do not get paid for their work. If Sunday’s are a bonus day, staff wives are a “bonus employee.” Many times, churches insist on the staff wives not taking a job outside of the home, this way, the church can pay one salary and get empolyees. Have you ever heard of a staff member’s wife working a secular job? I haven’t.

        1. An example of this that I personally saw was during the annual business meeting when an elderly deacon proposed paying the organist for her service. I sat there with my mouth open. As pianist, I played along with the organist for every hymn, we often played duets for the offering and alternated solos, I usually played for all the special music (twice Sunday AM, one each PM), and I played all the choir music (choir sang Sunday AM and PM), attending choir rehearsal at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday and playing for special cantatas for Easter and Christmas. But apparently, because my husband was the youth/music pastor, I was just an extra bonus.

          I NEVER wanted or expected to be paid for playing the piano, but I was hurt beyond words to hear certain people in the church publicly value the organist over me although I actually put in way more time in the church music program.

          (Long-time SFL readers, I know that I’ve mentioned this incident before! I’m still baffled and hurt by it almost 15 years later.)

        2. I would concur. I’ve not had the MOG experience in the fundy churches I’ve been involved in–but every last one of them had a cheap labor fetish, including and perhaps particularly the pastor. Now, just wait till Brother Bingham arrives from Ceylon’s far off isle “where every prospect pleases and only man is vile”–and then we’ll pull out the wallets and take care of the Man of God. πŸ™„

    1. I plan to do my own past later, but the financial aspect made me stop off here: a pastors needs to be very careful to avoid the appearance of padding his salary by creating a paid job for his wife, and then only allowing himself to do it. In spite of the various troubled churches I’ve been in, this particular problem has not been one I’ve faced… but I can certainly see it happening.

  4. Right on. I really disliked Sundays when we did a nursing home service – as much as I liked visiting with the people there, it made the day as a whole horrible.

    I remember a Lutheran friend once asking my wife and I to join a volleyball league that played on Sunday evenings. Her “Oh you Baptists and two Sunday services!” response was just one more nudge on our way out of fundamentalism.

  5. Sunday is the Lord’s day which means for the IFB M-O-g it’s “ShowTime!” time to perform and earn that paycheck. It’s time to give the audience a Religious Experience that will bring them back week after week.

    Darrell mentioned the carnival the child pointed out but the family just left one.

    Step right up folks!
    Come on in!
    Have we got a show for you!

    Inside you’re-ah gonna see-ah and experience-ah a magnificient display of religious prestidigitation such as the world has never known.

    Yessiree folks-ah you will be treated to What is known as the Immaculate Sermon-ah. Why with only the slightest bit of study you will see the Man-o-gawd-ah mount the pulpit and launch into a sermon filled with vaudvillian era jokes, daring do, cheap thirlls, and a cheaper god-ah then you have ever experienced-ah since the last time-ah you were here. Hay-men-ah?.
    You will feel the Guilt!
    You will experience the manipulation!
    You WILL run to the altar!

    Step right up! Come on in!”

    “One Carnival is enough for any Sunday.”

      — Emerson Lake & Palmer, “Karn Evil Nine”

      1. Give ’em the old razzle dazzle
        Razzle Dazzle ’em
        Give ’em an act with lots of flash in it
        And the reaction will be passionate
        Give ’em the old hocus pocus
        Bead and feather ’em
        How can they see with sequins in their eyes?

        What if your hinges all are rusting?
        What if, in fact, you’re just disgusting?

        Razzle dazzle ’em
        And they;ll never catch wise!

  6. I recall at PCC that the handbook said Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest, so no shopping. That made no sense to me. And students weren’t supposed to work on Sunday either. Except if you worked in food service. Or the on-campus restaurant. Or maintenance. Or as a floorleader. Or an usher. Or security.
    That’s a lot of exceptions. There was no bus ministry, so no one was guilted into doing that, but a lot of people “worked” in various ministries around the place. And you were allowed to go to a restaurant off-campus and be served by people working on a Sunday. But don’t you dare set foot in a Dillards. That would be dishonoring to the lord.

    1. At PCC it’s all about control and “keeping people in line” so coming up with rules that have picky exceptions is a way of seeing who can read the fine print. In the case of the Sunday rule they “need” all those people to keep the place going, and shopping can be a nice escape, so no shopping. As I said, picky nonsense.

      [Disclosure: I never went to a Christian college, just fundy grade school (post 5th grade) and fundy high school.]

  7. There is a very good reason why so many Christians are so especially “holy” on the Sabbath. They feel they have to make up for the rest of the week. Been there, done that.

  8. My new church does not have a Sun evening service. And call me “carnal” or whatever else you like, but don’t miss it! πŸ˜‰ It is also nice to not feel so much guilt if we don’t make it on a Sun morning either. We do the best we can, and try and let that be good enough πŸ™‚

    1. I wonder what they think will happen if a church doesn’t have Sunday evening? Will everyone lose theor salvation?

      1. Well, according to my old fundy church, if you were “really” saved, you couldn’t lose it. However, we had a term, “Sunday morning Christians”, for those who didn’t attend Sun evening and Wed services. It was said that they either were not saved in the first place, or that they loved the “things of the world” and didn’t love God πŸ™

    2. When I first started attending the church I’m now part of, we had only one service, on Sunday evenings, because we were renting space from another church and couldn’t use it at the same time. I have to admit that the church kid in me felt deliciously rebellious sleeping in on Sunday mornings!!

      On a more serious note, that idea that there are Varsity-Level Christians and JV-Level Christians and it’s all based on how many of the Christian Schedule Clutter boxes you can check off (and how much crap you buy from the Jesus Junk store and how self-consciously pious and condescending your attitude is)? SO DANGEROUS. UGH. It’s bizarrely Roman Catholic too, the idea of a hierarchy among Christians, but with celibacy and empty ritual and weird hats as requirements rather than… celibacy and empty ritual and… weird … hats OH MY GOODNESS I think I’ve just made a very strange discovery!! πŸ˜€

        1. Dear Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:

          If ever that author comes to mind, do post it for us.

          Christian Socialist

        1. Just don’t say that to a fundy though, unless of course you don’t ever want to see them again! πŸ˜€ Btw, your name makes me laugh every time I see it πŸ˜†

  9. I remember this golden IFB nugget:

    “Bless Gawd, if you don’t have enough Gawd in you to get to church everytime the doors are open, then you need to check up and get right with Gawd, amen!”

    In the IFB, Grace is Amazing …if you work for it hard enough.

  10. Yup. Sounds like Fundies on Sunday. Except the Pastor and his family. They get a nice meal at home or at a restaurant and a nap. πŸ˜•

    1. Paisley!

      Isn’t that the truth! I remember one afternoon finally getting back to the church after the bus route and having to run up to the parsonage to talk to preacher’s wife about an issue and when the preacher answered the door, I had woken him up!!! I hadn’t even had lunch yet and they had dined and were napping!

      Later I was pretty much reprimanded and informed that on Sundays the parsonage should not be disturbed! Oh brother!!! 😯


    2. As a pastor’s kid, I can tell you that our church was different. Almost everything except the bus ministry was a normal Sunday for us, but it was because we were the pastor’s family. Saturdays were almost as bad. We helped our mom with the church bulletins, getting Sunday School rooms prepped, and anything else that needed to be done. I tried to tell my mom that if she stopped organizing nursery, Sunday School, Children’s Church, women’s ministry, and being the secretary that people would realize that unless they pitched in it wouldn’t get done.The weekend was the most stressful. We usually crashed on Mondays.

      1. Aw….PK, I’m sorry to hear that. And I do hope that your Sundays are restful now. By no means does every Fundy pastor relax on Sunday. But enough do that I felt called upon to make a snarky comment. I hope you are not offended.

    3. @Paisley The “preacher” explained this often by citing that preaching a message was equivalent to working 8 hours, and he had to do that twice on Sunday, so it was like working a 16-hour day, so he deserved rest and sympathy…

      And when that story wore old, we were told how that the “preacher” had to carry all the burdens of the congregation, as well as his own and his wife’s burdens.

      1. As an assistant pastor, I’ve known several of the burdens carried by the pastor. It can be stressful and gut wrenching. In the same token, it doesn’t excuse the pastor from carrying his weight (which in some MOG is more than others) around the church.

        I think a good leader should do he expects of others. After all didn’t his church members presumably work a 40 hour week as well?

      2. Dear Guilt Ridden:

        Imagine being in a church where the real sermonic work was done throughout the week. Imagine starting by translating the passage from Hebrew or Greek into English, then defining the limits of the text, then checking for textual variants and where they exist, determining their nature and weighing their significance for the passage. Imagine parsing all verbs in the text, noting the import of tense and other features for the passage, preparing a vocabulary list of the passage, and then studying the usage of the key words from your passage in that particular book. Imagine doing word studies on theologically significant words. Imagine diagramming the passage, studying its structure, and then its role in the overall structure of the book. Imagine going into the history of the book to learn the ‘faith and life’ situation of God’s ancient people, discovering the principles at stake in the passage, and then looking at our own culture to discern where and how and in what way any principles embedded in the text relate to today’s culture. Imagine pulling all this and more together into a 20 minute message, together with several stories and/or antidotes to help people relate the text to our own time a profitable and memorable way.

        Imagine planning liturgy replete with prayers, responses and readings, plus a children’s message, and the right blend of anthems and contemporary music. Imagine relating all these things plus community and congregational concerns, the civic calendar, the church calendar, the denominational calendar into a cohesive whole which retains the theme of the day arising from the preaching passage. Now imagine doing all this week after week, year in and year out. And imagine that this is only your preparation for Sunday. And that is only the morning service, whereas some churches have two Sunday services.

        Imagine that in addition to this, there are church meetings and community events to attend, the calls and visits to make, hospital visits, nursing home services, calls on shut ins for sacraments, youths to be catechized, the erring to be corrected [very gently], the straying to be found, pastoral critics to be babied, church bosses to be placated, special services to be prepared, funeral services to be planned, reports to be made, books to be read, articles to be written, questions to be answered, etc., etc., etc. There are pastor classes and adult classes for which to prepare and teach. Occasionally, a deacon or elder ‘falls off the wagon.’ Pastor must go to the bar and carry out the drunken lamb. There is counseling for prospective marriages, planning and performing marriages, and more counseling during and after divorce. You need to be competent to expert in all these things.

        Then there are the big hit items: the call to end family vacation early to do Great Grandma’s funeral. Another church is without a pastor and needs someone to do their funerals as well. A couple has a stillborn child. Then Christmas. Some pastors are expected to lead and preach for a Christmas Eve service, a Christmas Day service, a Sunday morning service, a Sunday evening service, a New Years’ Eve service, a New Years’ Day service, and then a Sunday morning and Sunday evening service. Seven days, eight services — assuming that there are no funerals at that time. Also bear in mind the need to calculate all these things around everybody else’s schedule because after all, everybody else has a REAL job [unless they don’t, in which case you may be asked to help them find one].

        None of this addresses the requirement to keep up on world affairs, denominational affairs, theological and apologetic trends, planning new programs and recruiting people to run them. It doesn’t address genuine family emergencies — a home burns to the ground, a teenage son got drunk, drove through an intersection and killed three people, a teenage daughter fled her home because her stepfather raped her, a son of the church is hospitalized because of a narcotic overdose, a precious, 3 year old daughter of the congregation is hospitalized with a brain tumor. This says nothing of the pastor’s financial situation, the struggle to maintain a strong, spiritual walk with God, sometimes while ignoring/repressing their own questions. It says nothing of trouble in the congregation because some people are too liberal, too conservative, don’t use the right translation, disagree with someone’s eschatology, etc. It says nothing of the need to balance and reconcile, to heal after division, or to do damage control after someone loses their head in a meeting and means to storm off to another church. It says nothing of the need to guide church officers, to know both what to and say and do, and what not to say and do, to whom, at each particular time. And you get to do that without manipulating people.

        This by no means exhausts the list. Yet plenty of godly pastors do these things year after year. They do it well and with remarkably few complaints. They do it because they love and cling to the church as their own family. For the times when they cannot stand her, they can neither imagine life without her. Yes, pastors face plenty of pressures.

        Many of these things can’t be helped. They MUST be done. Yet I find little sympathy for pastors who shape feces into sermon and pass its presentation as a day’s work. That won’t wash – especially where God’s people are blessed to have solid, expository preaching.

        Christian Socialist

        1. That certainly sounds a whole lot more like my husband’s week! (Our church is small however so we don’t have quite as many crises to handle.)

          Add to that sometimes having to work a second job to pay the bills.

        2. Dear Christian Socialist:

          Thank you for the reply. Nothing in what I wrote should be construed to mean that I don’t think pastors have a life of ease. I understand that good pastors are like gold and that there can be a lot of work, especially as so many church members act like children.

          What I resent is the pastor who drives his people to work 7 days a week for the church programs (not usually for God; usually so that the pastor can be looked upon with approval by others) and then takes one or two days a week off of work. What’s good for the people should apply to the pastor, too.

          You wrote quite a tale about the pastor’s job, but there are other jobs that can be equally stressful and require as much mental effort.

        3. Dear Guilt Ridden:

          You are most welcome. And nothing you said suggested to me that pastors ‘have it easy.’ Your resentment of pastors who drive their sheep is most telling. Tyrants drive their sheep. Shepherds lead them.

          Pastor’s wife:

          As you may have guessed, I do have a full, theological education. But after completing those studies, I returned to school for further work in order to pursue a career in education. My thinking was, a layman with a theological education could be a great asset to a congregation, standing behind the pastor, but assisting as needed with the work.

          It ended up with me trying to straddle two careers, ever wondering whether or to what extent I succeeded in either.

          Along the way, I have been able to participate in several pastor peer groups [owing to the theological education and church involvement], served on my denominational board, done supply in many, many churches, and served a term as State Secretary to the Socialist Party.

          Along the way, I somehow managed to raise four daughters. They turned out alright for the most part. I tell people that they get all their good qualities from their mother, and the rest from me!


          Christian Socialist

  11. You will never know how restful the bus ministry is until you have illegally filled a 15 passenger van with 30 kids from the projects with broken air conditioning and windows that are broken and won’t open on a 98 degree day with 99% humidity.

    I’m very sure that’s what Heaven will be like.

    1. I often wonder why churches with bus ministries all over town don’t just… you know… plant churches in those neighborhoods. It’s like church planting isn’t even on the radar for a lot of fundies. Guess you can’t collect tithes for your MOG if you plant a whole different church.

  12. Win ’em
    Work ’em
    Waste ’em

    Years later:
    Wonder why ’em leave and they are a wreck.
    Blame it all on the world the flesh and the devil.

      1. Dear Clara English and Guilt Ridden:

        STOP IT, both of you! You’re messing up theology in Fundistan! :mrgreen:

        Christian Socialist

    1. The ones who get featured here generally eat out right after church, make exacting demands of the waitstaff (who have to be a pack of unchurched heathens or they wouldn’t be working on the Lord’s Day amirite?), and leave a tract printed to look like money instead of an actual tip.

      I like our church’s solution better. For $3 you can fill up on basic breakfast foods between the two Sunday morning services. Any profit goes right back into the breakfast ministry. It’s a way to help families rest as much as possible on the Sabbath. (You just take one breakfast shift every couple of months or so.)

      1. I would like to say you’re joking, but I have a friend who, for years, was a server at a Cracker Barrel close to several fundy churches. She said the Sunday crowd was the most evil, demanding, messy, and rudest bunch all week. To top it off, they’d tip $1 and a tract on a 6-top, claiming she got paid enough already. Her hourly before tips was $2.13/hr. πŸ™

        1. 1) I have also heard that the after-church crowd are the worst tippers. And sometimes also the most demanding and abusive.

          2) I understand Jerry Falwell was known as a big tipper in all his favorite eateries around Lynchburg. He claimed he was trying to offset (1) by tipping big whenever he could.

          3) Some 30 years ago, I worked alongside payroll at Company HQ for a restaurant chain and made a discovery. It’s called “Tip Credit”. Waiters/Waitresses/Waitrons/Servers are paid BELOW minimum wage, and are expected to make up the difference in tips. (However, they are taxed as if they were making minimum wage, figuring in the Tip Credit.)

          So if you stiff a waitress on her tip, she has to pay income taxes on the tip you didn’t give, regardless. Including if you tipped her with one of those fake $100 bill Gospel Tracts.

    2. Nah, “real fundies” would just be really smug and self-righteous about it, whether they went out to eat (and “witnessed” to the waitress by leaving a Chick tract instead of a tip) or didn’t.

      1. they really shouldn’t leave a tip for the waitress, after all she shouldn’t be working to provide filthy lucre on the sabbath.

    3. Laurat99:

      That was what we were taught both when we were originally pentecostals and eventually left for the IFB. In fact, it was taken to extreme in households in reference to cooking on Sunday.

      The scriptures used was Exodus 16, but with emphasis on verse five which reads:

      “On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

      My mom (and as my sisters got older) would actually cook twice as much food on Saturday morning and afternoon. We ate with no seconds allowed (in order to have plenty on Sunday).

      Sunday, the cereal bowls, cereal, glasses, napkins, and spoons were already set on the table Saturday evening to where all mom did was to get the milk and juice out of the fridge. And early in the morning before going to church, mom would take the precooked stuff out of the fridge and safely place Saturday’s leftovers in the oven at 200 degrees and we would go to church. When we got home, mom would turn the stove up for 15-20 minutes, then pull out the leftovers and we ate Sunday dinner.

      When it was Suppertime, repeat the same pattern as lunchtime because supper was cooked on Saturday evening.

      Both the pentecostal / holiness church we attended and the IFB we attended viewed food preparation and cooking as “work” that violates the Sabbath.

  13. OMG!! I never had a day of rest! At age 13 I started playing the piano for every church service which of course included playing for the choir’s special music. At age 16 I became a bus captain, which took up all my Saturdays because I would be bus calling all day then at night I would be preparing the free candy or treats or give-always. My dad was a deacon so we would clean the church in between that time. On Sundays I was up at the crack of dawn running the circuit, which meant running up and down the stairs to this huge area of apartments, get these kids to church, run to play the piano for adult Sunday School, try to get back to be with my high school class but then have to leave early to start playing the piano for main church, then play again for invitation, finish and then run to my bus to round up my bus kids to get them home which I ran an average of 50 a week! I attended our church’s Christian school so I was at the church every day of the week!!!!!! I never ever had a day of rest!!! And these aren’t all the details!

    What really really bothered me was when, on Monday, when everyone was continuing the grind in this Fundamental Frenzy, where was our preacher and his wife? Oh…. It was their day off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    To this day I feel cheated and robbed of so much time of my teenage years and years beyond that too!

    These days I’ve indeed claimed Sundays as a day to enjoy life!

    Gosh… I feel exhausted from this reminiscing! I’m so glad it’s over!

    ~~~Heart 😯

    1. Awww… you just posted what I was going to post. This used to infuriate me… the majority of the church members worked 5 or 6 days each week. Then, on Saturday, the members were guilted into going “soul winning” or working on the bus — and they were expected to spent most of tho day on this — the lazy one “just got by” with 2-4 hours… the ones held up as great examples work often work until nightfall… and then, on Sunday, they would start earlier than everyone else, get home (if at all) very late, and then rush back for choir practice (if they could sing), and then stay for a message that often piled on more guilt for not doing more; with after-church meetings and the like, it made for a VERY full Sunday – and not a single day “off”. Meanwhile, the “preacher” and staff all had their “days off” because of all the hard work they did.

      Jesus Christ said that the Sabbath was made for man, and I’m a firm believer that we should have a day off to rest and enjoy the family and to thank God for it… but such was not the way of many fundy churches.

      Still really irritates me — and they have the nerve to justify this kind of burden on the people by claiming that we should work in this life because heaven is our rest.

  14. I don’t want to sound too much like an Adventist, but the Sabbath (seventh day) of the Bible is Saturday, not Sunday.

    Just thought I’d throw that in there. 😈

    1. C’mon, B.G.–You know somewhere hiking along the Trail of Blood the Baptist Calendar shifted. Every since, any TRUE CHRISTIAN 1611 BBAPTIST (hayyyyyMAN!) knows the Sabbath is Sunday. Just like the day Paul worshiped from his English Bible on his mission trip to the New World.

    2. I know where the concept of the “Lord’s day” comes from, that Jesus rose on Sunday and Revelation mentions the Lord’s day. however, does anyone know where Christians developed the idea that Sunday was the Sabbath?

      1. Probably a simple transfer of significance from the Jewish Sabbath the day before. Making it Sunday instead of Saturday distinguished their tribal identity. Especially after the two faiths split completely after the destruction of Jerusalem.

        (A real kicker since the first Church council in history — a knock-down-drag-out in the Book of Acts later called “The Council of Jerusalem” — was over “Should we let the goyim into the Church?”)

      2. It’s inconclusive, but there are references in Acts to meeting ofn the “Lord’s Day” (Sunday) as a church. It is possible that this practice arose so that the Jewish believers could attend Sabbath synagogue services, as Paul clearly continued to do. The Didache contains a commandment for meeting together and breaking bread on the “Lord’s of the Lord’s” with an assumed “Day” in there. This would mean that this was considered correct practice as early as 120 AD or earlier, and corresponds with Acts and Paul’s letters. Nowhere, as Don and others said above, does the text transfer “Sabbath/Shabbes/Sabbat” to “Sunday.”

  15. The sad part for us is that we raised our kids in this craziness. We even stayed (for a year) after our preacher got mad at the congregation for daring to question his purchase of a new car after telling us he couldn’t afford to pay the staff. He threw the car keys into the congregation as he was yelling.

  16. @ Heart – I’m feeling you today.

    Tomorrow I will wake up at 730, do the bus route, teach Sunday school, take the bus brats back home, eat lunch, sleep for 3 hours, go in for 5:30 for orchestra practice and evening service, return about 8.

    Day of rest? Hardly.

    Burned out? Nah, that happened a long time ago.

    Most fundies have no idea why their chuch has 3 weekly meetings. Honestly, I think most have them for the sense of superiority over other churches who don’t.

  17. I started working on a bus route when I was 14 just to have a day of rest from my psychotic family. I adored the bus captain who really WAS a godly man, good and kind and sweet. He loved God and he loved the kids. He made such a huge impression on my life, and it broke me heart when he died a few years later. Bus kids by the droves attended his funeral. *sigh*

    That said, I hated the Sunday tedium.

  18. CLICK!

    Snapshot of life!

    Here’s a thought!

    Early Christian writers had it that the observance of a day was an external sign which was abolished with the advent of the Christ [Rom 14:5; Gal 4:8-11; Heb 9:10; Heb 10:1; Col 2:13-23].

    But there’s more.

    The Sabbath held before believers that eternal day of rest [Heb 4:4-10], and assembles them until it comes [He 10:25]. The Sabbath also resisted the recreation of the conditions of Egypt in Ysra’el. We know that was intended because while Ex 20:8-11 makes reveals the Sabbath as a creational ordinance, the rationale in De 5:12-15 is redemptive, based on the liberation from Egypt.

    Sabbath observance brought many practical implications. I’ll mention only three here. 1] Market did not have unrestrained domination over all of life, much to the chagrin of merchants itching for it to end so that they could open for business, cheating and scamming 24/7 [Am 8:4-6]. 2] The Sabbath also implied a minimal 6-day wage sufficient to give 1/10th to God, feed the family and pay bills even with a day of rest. 3] Together, these two implications limit the power of the wealthy to grow beyond all bounds while at the same time elevating the life of the laborer. Together, they eliminate extremes of wealth and poverty while bring sanctity to all of life.

    Lo and behold — sanctity seems to be YH’s intention all along: ‘this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you’ [Ex 31:13]. Nehemiah said that ‘you made known to them your holy Sabbath, and laid down for them commandments, statutes and law, through Your servant Moses’ [Ne 9:14]. It seems that when the prophets wanted to say, ‘you have violated and polluted all that is right and good,’ they could say simply — ‘you do not hallow my Sabbath.’

    Isaiah interrogates Sabbath-keeping in ‘Zion’ and finds it in want.

    ‘To see them going at it, you’d think they are a nation that actually delights in the Lord and in Yahweh’s Presence!’ Then they turn around and ask, ‘why haven’t you blessed us, God — don’t you see all the stuff we’re doing’ [Is 58:2-3]! Of course Isaiah had to point out that they live high and easy on the backs of those who must hustle to the call of ‘Free Market Fundamentalism [Is 58:3]. Isaiah’s rhetorical questions ask whether Yahweh might actually want something more than ritual observance [Is 58:5]. Then he says this:

    ‘Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry, and he will say, ‘here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, and if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail’ [Is 58:6-11].

    Based on the discussion around Darrell’s Sri Lanka tour, it is arguable that good Sabbath-keeping is the very LAST thing wanted in Fundistan.

    Christian Socialist

    1. And there’s our sermon for the week. Now I can sleep in tomorrow. Not that I wasn’t going to, anyway. :mrgreen:

      1. Dear boymom:

        Thank you for adding that final qualification. For one, tense moment there, I thought I was going to be blamed as the reason for your skipping church.

        Christian Socialist

  19. My husband is a (non-Baptist) pastor, and it’s true that Sunday is a workday for the pastor…so our family takes a sabbath on Friday. It’s foolish to go and go and never pause to think or rest. From a different perspective, church people tend to think that they are all the boss of the pastor (they pay his salary, right?), so if you ever want to get a break, you have to be clear about a day off. No other job my husband has had has expected him to be available 24/7, so unless it’s a true emergency, he’s just not available on Fridays. We’re hoping that our kids won’t grow to hate church just because their dad is a pastor, you know? And if they ever start, my husband says he’ll quit the next day.

    1. Here the priest’s day off is usually Saturday. Unless something is on fire or somebody is in the hospital, don’t call Father on Saturday!

    2. I’m all for the pastor having a day off; I think the principle of the Sabbath day (which is Saturday; or, more accurately, Friday night to Sat night) is wise – that we should do work things 6 days a week and rest one day in the week.

  20. Delightful postings, so funny. In my Methodist church we had 3 services a week and I had to go to all of them. My favorite was sunday nite, when the “altar call” was given and I got to piously pray for fellow students to go down front. I was really too young to know better, but it took me years to discard this “Keswick}” theology.

    1. Jo, in many churches in the states, Sunday School is for all ages, from infants to Old Age Pensioners. Our church has Sunday School with several different (age-graded) adult classes and then classes for the teenagers and children. It was a shock to our American-ness to find our church in England didn’t have Sunday School for adults. When my husband volunteered to help teach children, the ladies were amazed, because most men didn’t help with the Sunday School in that church.

        1. A few churches also have a Sunday School-ish adult meeting before the evening service. My dad taught ours for most of my growing up years. I can’t even remember what they called it now, but it was based on something at FBC-HAC.

        2. The SBC called it “Training Union” and had a whole Curriculm for it. There were work books, tests and cirtificates of completion for each topic of study. It was Missions oriented.

          The Kids had RA (Royal Ambassadors for boys in grades 1-6) and GA (Girls in Action for girls in grades 1-6)classes that were Missions oriented as well.

          Wow that brings back memories.

    2. many fundy lite churches don’t call it “sunday school” for the adults – it will be Adult Bible Fellowships or Bible Fellowship Groups or something like that, Adult smaller groups meeting while the kids are in sunday school.

  21. I never understood the need for church on Sunday and Wednesday nights. When I became an adult I stopped both with no regrets.

    1. Well, Wednesday night is Gossip Circle……I mean prayer meeting. I never understood Sunday evening though, it just seemed like an abbreviated Sunday morning with less music.

      1. Went to Sunday School with my mom last week (first time I’d been in ages. our church doesn’t do that). Sunday school, too, has turned into gossip circle, aka “sharing prayer requests.” There is no need to go into deep, intimate details about other people’s health and/or spiritual conditions.

    2. Well, actually I don’t disagree with the concept of meeting more often instead of less. I believe there is a scriptural precept for meeting more as we see the day approaching. The problem comes with all of the unneccary legalistic garbage that comes around it….and not every meeting needs to be a worship service dressed in your Sunday best. Sometimes it can be casual and just for recreational purposes. And if you dont make a meeting because of other reasons, even if you just need a break, then it should not be considered sinful.

      The point is that it should be something that people want to do on their own and not cnsidered a measure of your holiness or faithfulness.

      1. Spot on, Michael. The number or times of gatherings is not nearly as important as what goes on during the gatherings. God intended the church to be a community of people that bears each others’ burdens and teaches one another. When these things are happening, members of the community want to spend time with each other. When it becomes a show or a dictatorship or something even worse, people don’t feel a part and get tired of the nonsense.

    3. My writing partner (a burned-out preacher-man in rural Pennsylvania) thinks Wednesday Night services got established in the 19th Century for agricultural reasons, as it was the only time many farmers could attend. Nowadays, of course (just like the Altar Call), it dates back to the New Testament Church and the days of the Apostles.

  22. Drives me nuts when people say Sunday is the sabbath. Sabbath means rest, has nothing to do with going to church. Our Methodist pastor calls it sabbath.

    1. If it really is the sabbath, and we have to keep it, then why aren’t we slaughtering a cow on the altar and burning it – I mean, if you offend in one point you are guilty of all, wheres the gospel?

  23. My personal rule for working on Sunday was this: if I want to do it, it’s not work; if I don’t want to do it, it’s work. Didn’t always play out that way if I had forgotten some homework or to avoid offending someone. Did you know some people consider knitting on Sunday to be sin???

    1. Haha, that’s my personal rule right now, too! (Which is handy, because I run two Etsy shops, but I *love* doing the work for them.) Although only doing what I want all day certainly doesn’t always work out with a three-year-old…

  24. My husband has never wanted to overburden people; we never ran busses (though we did send out one church van to pick up some kids for Awana) or had door-to-door visitation. Both my husband and I grew up in homes that revolved completely around the church, and we were both very aware of the tendency to wear people out with church responsibilities.

    Since leaving the IFB, we’ve canceled Sunday PM services as well as Wednesday night, having small groups meet during the week instead.

    The thing is, though, few people want to join a church that doesn’t have a well-staffed nursery or a vibrant children’s program for their kids, but in order to provide that, we need plenty of volunteers who come faithfully every Sunday. Without their faithful service, church programs will never thrive and the church usually won’t grow.

    1. This is why my church has commitment cycles. If you commit to, say, working in kids’ ministry (which they strongly encourage couples without kids to do, for example), you commit for six months at a time, and then can recommit if you want to. The church might not grow without a kids’ ministry, but it’ll die a slow, painful death if its volunteers are constantly squeezed like a tube of toothpaste.

      On the flip side, people are often more willing to volunteer for a shorter term, or at least a finite term. I find that many of our volunteers end up working at their tasks for many years — with perhaps six months off here or there — when they’re not asked to give an answer about the rest of their lives when they sign up to help out in the nursery. I’ve worked off and on with our Connect ministry (manning the info table, making coffee, handing out bulletins, generally welcoming people) for probably 70% of the time I’ve been at the church and haven’t felt burned out because I can always take a break from it if I get too busy.

      1. That’s a good idea!

        It’s a little harder to implement with a church of 50 people! πŸ™‚

  25. Thank you for summing up why I have started to hate Sundays. I want my kids to love to go to church, and I know they learn their attitude from me and my husband. This may be just another nudge for us to find a different church where the emphasis is not on doing but being.

  26. Just to stir the pot a bit on the origin of the word Sabbath:

    From dictionary.com–
    SabΒ·bath   [sab-uhth]
    1. the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as the day of rest and religious observance among Jews and some Christians. Ex. 20:8–11.
    2. the first day of the week, Sunday, similarly observed by most Christians in commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ.
    3. any special day of prayer or rest resembling the Sabbath: Friday is the Muslim Sabbath.
    4. ( sometimes lowercase ) a period of rest.

    and from the Online Etymology Dictionary:
    O.E. sabat “Saturday,” observed by the Jews as a day of rest, from L. sabbatum, from Gk. sabbaton, from Heb. shabbath, prop. “day of rest,” from shabath “he rested.”

    So if this is true, I have been guilty of passing on false fundy info about the word meaning “rest”. So I guess a true retiree has seven Sabbaths a week.

  27. Tired from a half marathon and a college football game all in one day, I rested today. I slept in a little. I read. I watched “Sunday Morning.” I did a little laundry so I have clean clothes this week. I made my family dinner at noon. I napped. I ran (albeit slowly) to get my legs back. I enjoyed a wonderful evening supper my wife made…watched football..I love going to church but some days I need to just “be.”

  28. All these stories, including Darrell’s seem to come from one deep seated belief. That is, God isn’t good or gracious. We as sinful humans just won’t believe that God loves us and wants good for us. Thus we either dive headlong into sin or we decide we need to work ourselves to death to worship him. Interesting that the day of worship is also supposed to be the day of rest. Why won’t we just accept it?

  29. PCC was the first fundy church/school that I went to that actually made a big deal about Sunday being a “day of rest” in sermons, yet nothing could be farther from the truth in practice. Overcrowded breakfast that you would miss if you didn’t get up early, and you spent half of it wandering around looking for a table. Then we got herded into the the mass Sunday school class (we didn’t get to choose which class to attend like real church members), after which we got herded into the main church service. Then was the even more overcrowded lunch. It was stressful, frustrating, and not “restful” at all.

    Then once a month we had mandatory vespers (not Catholic at all πŸ˜† ). Of course, there was Christian service every week, and even though it wasn’t technically mandatory they let you know what they thought of you if you didn’t go. They always needed college students as underlings in all the church ministries, and if you signed up for them and then didn’t show up (or just did something they didn’t like) you would get demerits. Then we were herded into the evening service, followed by the final overcrowded meal of the day.

    Despite all of that, they liked to blame many of their controlling Sunday rules on the “day of rest” excuse. You weren’t allowed to go shopping, you couldn’t go to the beach, they closed and locked the aerobics rooms in the dorms, and could only scan out for two hour maximum the entire day for an extremely limited range of activities. And while PCC didn’t hesitate to make students that worked on campus work on Sunday, students who worked off campus were not allowed to work Sunday shifts under any circumstance.

    My view now is that everyone should try to have a day of rest, a REAL day of rest, whatever day that happens to fall on for you. For a person who is very involved in church ministries, even though its not to a degree that they are burning themselves out and doing too much, it probably won’t be Sunday.

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