The Regulative Principle and the Lord’s Day

Regulative Principle of Worship

What is the Regulative Principle of Worship, and what is its relationship to the Lord’s Day? The regulative principle is “the theory of church government and worship that not only church doctrine but church practice must be based on clear Scriptural warrant.”[1] The Westminster Confession says:

The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture (Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 21: Section 1).


Both of these definitions hinge upon Scripture. Scripture alone is what regulates true worship of God. One will notice that this principle is an application of Sola Scriptura. During the 16th century Reformation, all Protestants affirmed Sola Scriptura, that the bible, and not the Church, was the sole standard and authority upon which the Christian faith ought to be based upon. Like Rome, the Reformers too affirmed the notion of Apostolic Succession. The different between the two was (and is today) that for Rome said Succession stops at the feet of the Pope and his bishops. The Reformers correctly understood that said Succession stops at the feet of Scripture which is the teachings of the apostles and prophets. All bible believing Protestants today affirm that the bible alone is authoritative, inerrant, infallible, and the complete revelation of the will of God for His Church. However, while all such Protestants affirm Sola Scriptura as it is applied to theology—i.e. the Person and Work of Christ, the Atonement, the attributes of God, the Trinity, etc.—what divides Protestants today is what divided the Reformers of yesterday: that is applying Sola Scriptura to both polity and worship as well. The Lutheran wing of the Reformation (taking its lead from Luther) accepted anything in worship that was not prohibited in the Bible. This principle is known as the “normative principle.”  The normative principle does not restrict the elements of worship to what the bible prescribes alone but opens up and makes more room for man-made elements and rituals to be employed in worship.  In short, the normative principle is permissive: what God has not prohibited is permitted. In contrast to this permissive principle is the restrictive nature of the regulative principle. Simply put, “whatever is commanded in Scripture is required, and that whatever is not commanded is forbidden.”[2]  It’s restrictive because if God ‘s Word has not commanded it via explicit command or by example, then it is not permitted. These are two different principles employed with two different regulations for worship. The former is regulated in part by Scripture and in large part by the norm of human prudence; the latter is regulated in toto by Scripture. The regulative principle is a subset of the Sola Scriptura: i.e. nothing is to be added to regulate worship, including human prudence.

The regulative principle adds a double filter, to filter out idolatry in worship. What do I mean? Case in point, is the Roman Catholic Mass. The normative principle can’t filter out the idolatry of Mass. Nowhere in Scripture does it prohibit Mass. Based upon the permissive nature of the normative principle there is no justification for excluding Mass. What then was Luther’s justification for restricting Mass? Horton Davies says:

If men were justified by their faith in the righteousness of Christ, accepting his sacrifice as the all-sufficient guarantee for the pardon of their sins, then all practices motivated by a belief in justification by works had to disappear. Such practices included attending the Mass as a good work and going on religious pilgrimages.[3]

Luther grounds his exclusion of the celebration of Mass based upon the doctrine of Christ’s once and for all sacrifice. The Author of Hebrews teaches very clearly that Mass contradicts the once and for all sacrifice of Christ. He says, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,” (Heb 10:12 ESV). This is in part why Mass is excluded from true worship. Sola Scriptura— instantiated in the doctrine of the once and for all sacrifice of Christ— precludes Mass. The Reformed wing of the Reformation also utilized Sola Scriptura instantiated via doctrine to filter idolatry. However, the Reformers had a second filter: i.e. Sola Scriptura instantiated via regulative principle of worship. Mass is a man-made tradition; it is not commanded in Scripture. In fact, the regulative principle is the first and best defense against idolatry. What I mean is this: there are more steps that have to be taken with the former to come to the realization that Mass is excluded from true worship—i.e. one must first understand the nature of the Atonement; secondly, understand the nature of Mass; thirdly, conclude by deduction that the Mass is excluded. With the latter there are just two basic steps:  does Scripture command the observance of Mass? If not, then Mass is excluded. Not only does the regulative principle, a sort of Occam’s Razor, simplifies truth but provides a first line of defense against convoluted arguments at the practical level of worship. This applies mutatis mutandis to the liturgical season of Lent. The Lutheran wing of the Reformation took a different approach to liturgical calendar reform.[4] Old notes that the Lutheran calendar “represented a moderate reform.”[5]  What made it a moderate reform was that Lutheranism provided an alternative; instead of providing a covenant of works framework to the seasons—e.g. instead of Advent and Lent being a means of justification by works—the Lutheran wing framed Advent, Lent, Good Friday , etc. within the covenant of grace lone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, making the celebration Christocentric.[6] In contrast to the Lutheran wing was the Continental Reformers in Strasbourg. They rejected Lent and Advent because they were “…basically ascetic and penitential” in their orientation.[7] In contrast to the Continental Reformed wing was the Anglo-Saxon, Puritan wing —e.g. during Cromwell which included Congregational, Baptist, and Presbyterian—that rejected the liturgical seasons in toto.[8] What explains the differences? The Lutheran wing’s reform was based exclusively on Sola Scriptura regarding doctrine, while embracing the normative principle for worship. The Continental Reformed wing embraced a modified regulative principle. They correctly rejected liturgical seasons; they understood that such ceremonial and liturgical seasons ended with the Old Testament church, that such ceremonies and seasons of the Old Covenant church were not transposed into the register of ceremonies and seasons in the new covenant church. They also correctly understood that at their root, Advent and Lent were ascetic and penitential, that they were means of grace and works in tandem. Unlike the Lutheran wing, they did not seem to think that transforming Advent and Lent from a humanistic to a Christocentric bent was even a possibility. However, Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost were worthy endeavors. They chose them “because they were understood to mark the essential stages in the history of salvation,” naming them “evangelical feasts.”[9] They opted for evangelical feasts vis-à-vis liturgical seasons or calendar.  This is why I call the Continental wing’s application of the regulative principle “modified.” They agreed that liturgical seasons/calendars are nowhere found in Scripture. In fact, very early on a calendar was established: “the weekly observance of the resurrection on the Lord’s Day.” This they understood to be the only “season” celebrated weekly. However, they modified the regulative principle in that they did add to the weekly calendar of the Lord’s Day a seasonal calendar not commanded in Scripture, and they were the five evangelical feast days. This is like the High Sabbaths of ancient Israel. Just as you had the seven feasts or the High Sabbaths/Assemblies of Passover, Pentecost, etc. of Leviticus 23, likewise you have added onto the Lord’s Day other “evangelical feasts.” A strict adherence of the regulative principle precludes such, though well meaning, accretions. Just as with Mass, the Occam’s Razor of the regulative principle precludes the addition of evangelical feasts onto the Lord’s Day. Every Lord’s Day is an evangelical feast, celebrating Christ’s birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, gift of the Holy Spirit, and His sure return! This reasoning is what separated the Anglo-Saxon, Puritan, Presbyterian wing from not only the Lutheran wing, but also the Continental wing of the Reformation.  The difference between the Continental Reformed and Puritan-Presbyterian Reformed is that the former was less consistent; the latter more consistent. I say less consistent, because there is no positive command instituting holy-days as a dominical ordinance equal to and/or in addition to the Lord’s Day.

Before I say more about the Lord’s Day and its relationship to the regulative principle, let me say more about the biblical justification of the regulative principle. This is important for us to consider. It seems self-evident that the regulative principle, though not explicitly stated, is (as the Westminster divines noted) a good and necessary consequence deduced from Scripture. R.J. Gore denies this. He contends that the regulative principle is an unworkable and unscriptural view of worship, that it’s unique to the Puritans. He says, “All that has preceded has been helpful in determining that the regulative principle of worship, as formulated by the Puritans and adopted by the divines at the Westminster Assembly, is unworkable. More importantly, it is simply not the teaching of Scripture.”[10] One of his main arguments against the regulative principle is synagogue worship. He states that Jesus attended the synagogue worship and that synagogue worship is not prescribed in the Old Testament, that it was a later development. Yet, Jesus countenance this practice of worship not prescribed in Scripture. Therefore, the Puritan regulative principle is just that: a Puritan innovation.[11] T. David Gordon cites Josephus’ description of synagogue practice and says that such practices of reading and prayers in “synagogue was not worship but study.”[12]Gordon notes that pious Jews attended synagogue to deepen their understanding of Torah, along with prayer and scholarly study. It’s more along the lines analogous to “…a Christian study center or seminar …. There was no pledge of divine presence at the synagogue…no atonement was made there; and Israelites were not called to meet God there.”[13] I agree with Gordon, that synagogue practices are a moot point. When it comes to worship, Scripture regulates such practices. However, when it comes to the synagogue, Christian study centers, seminaries, etc.— custom regulates such voluntary practices.

Contrary to Gore, both Calvin and the Puritans held to the regulative principle. However, do we have biblical justification for the regulative principle? Are there biblical texts that evince the regulative principle? One among many texts that demonstrate this is Exodus 20:4-6. We read:

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands1 of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exo 20:4-6 ESV)

The Westminster divines correctly understood that the second commandment deals with right worship: worshiping the one true God correctly. The Second Commandment opposes all forms of self-willed worship, not only through the form of an idol. Although crass idolatry a la carved images were the most extreme form of idolatry in antiquity, there are more subtle forms of idolatry today which includes anything introduced in worship that comes from the hands or minds of man. In large part, this is the basic meaning of the command “You shall not make.” This precludes all human invention in divine worship. In other words, if God has not commanded it, then man is restricted from doing it!  The Second Commandment is the regulative principle of worship made explicit. Another passage of Scripture is Leviticus 10:1-3. We read:

Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered cunauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them.  And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.  Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.'” And Aaron held his peace. (Lev 10:1-3 ESV)

This text displays God’s zeal for his own glory, especially regarding the way that He is worshiped. What was Nadab and Abihu’s sin that caused such anger and retribution from the Lord? They took upon themselves to offer up “unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not authorized.” They were not judged for doing what God forbid them to do (normative principle), but for doing what God did not command them to do (regulative principle). They had no warrant or power of discretion to offer up fire they deemed “helpful.” In short, they were consumed by the wrath of God for violating the regulative principle of worship. The human fire they offered was just as practical as divine fire: both could burn incense. The only difference was the former was not of divine command, while the latter was of divine command. There are numerous other passages of Scripture, but these two are more than sufficient to provide evidence for the categorical and unequivocal biblical justification for the regulative principle of worship in general, but now let me turn in particular to the the Lord’s Day and its relationship to the regulative principle.


The Lord’s Day


Broadly speaking, when it comes to the notion of the Lord’s Day there are four dominant views. Christopher Donato’s Perspectives on the Sabbath presents the four most common views: the Seventh-day Adventist, the Sabbatarian, the Fulfillment, and the Lutheran views.[14] Out of the four, the Sabbatarian view or the Christian Sabbath view is the historic teaching of the Reformed tradition. The Confession teaches:

As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, he has particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week: and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which, in Scripture, is called the Lord’s Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath (Westminster Confession Chapter 21: Section 7).

Though there is no explicit command changing the appointed day of the Sabbath from last day of the week to the first day of the week, there is an implicit command. Hebrews 10:24 commands corporate worship. Believers are also required to assemble for worship on the first day of the week by apostolic example (Acts 2:20), and by apostolic endorsement (1 Cor 16:2). Why is the Lord’s Day required? To answer this, we will have to go back to the original purpose and the nature of the Sabbath.

Joseph Pipa explains that God’s original intent was for all of mankind.[15] As Pipa says, when God blessed the day of the Sabbath, that “…by blessing the day God made the day a blessing for man.”[16] Pipa argues from Isaiah 58:13-14 that the said purpose of the Sabbath as a Creation ordinance promised three things: “intimate communion with God, spiritual victory, and practical enjoyment of his privileges.”[17] Pipa argues that these promises are not only for the Old Testament church, but also for the New Testament church. However, these promises are conditional. The condition is to keep the Sabbath.  The prophet Isaiah says,

If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure1 on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; (Isa 58:13 ESV)

God does not oppose pleasure, says Pipa. God opposes lesser pleasures in favor of greater pleasures in store for us on the Sabbath. In short, to remember the Sabbath means not doing one’s own work, not seeking one’s own pleasure, and not speaking one’s own words—these instantiate what it means to keep the Sabbath.[18] Desisting from one’s own work does not mean that works of piety or necessity[19] (Matt. 12:1-8) or works of mercy[20] (Matt 12:9-14) are precluded. To the contrary—not pursuing normal business as we do during the week does not mean we are not to pursue works of piety, necessity, and mercy as our Lord taught. We are to rest as a spiritual vocation. One will ask, what is the focus of the Sabbath? Is it rest or worship? Meredith Kline argues that the focus is rest and secondarily worship. John Frame, who was a student of Kline’s in the 1960s, recalls that Kline taught a modified Sabbatarianism. Frame explains the following:

In his earlier years, he questioned the position … that God designed the Sabbath mainly for worship, not for rest. In [other] views, Sabbath (or Sunday) rest is primarily a means of preparing for worship. But in Scripture itself, rest is a far more prominent element of Sabbath celebration. One may even say that the essence of Sabbath (from Shabbat, “to cease, desist, rest”) is rest. Genesis 2:3 describes God’s rest. It does not mention worship, of course, since God is not a worshiper, but the supreme object of worship. The fourth commandment tells Israel to cease work, without mentioning worship explicitly (though to keep a day “holy” is certainly an act of worship). God typically judges Sabbath breakers (as in Num. 15:32-36), not for failing to worship on the Sabbath, but for doing inappropriate work. Similarly, Jesus’ argument with the Pharisees was not over Sabbath worship, but over Sabbath work (as Matt. 12:1-8). So, the early Kline finds the essence of Sabbath in rest, rather than worship. Of course, when we rest from our weekly labors in honor of God, it is an especially appropriate time for worship, and Kline is well aware of the biblical emphasis on Sabbath worship …. But he is unpersuaded of the Westminster standards’ view that the day is to be spent entirely in public and private worship, together with deeds of necessity and mercy. Plain physical rest, like a long nap (what the Westminster Divines may well have considered “idleness”: see WLC, 119), is also appropriate, as is noncommercial recreation, such as taking walks, swimming, biking, or neighborhood games (contrary to the prohibition of “recreations” in WLC, 119).[21]

Later, Kline departed from the Sabbatian view by confining the Sabbath to the cultic sphere.[22] However, his accent on rest, as opposed to worship, is well founded. Case in point, we find with regard to the Sabbath a charitable concern of giving rest to the alien so that they may be refreshed (Ex 23:12; cf. Deut 5:14). Though resident aliens were not allowed to worship, they were charged to obey the Sabbath command to rest on the Sabbath. The reason for this is that physical rest points to spiritual rest. The structure of physical rest God had for ancient Israel, as it does for modern man, surely includes a social dimension. As Pipa says,

A greater portion of industrial activity, however, could shut down on the Lord’s Day. What would be the economical and environmental benefits if they did? Think of the extended life-span of expensive machinery, fewer repairs, and less pollution in the air and water….as God teaches us how to structure His day socially, He includes those outside the church.[23]

For the non-covenant resident aliens, Sabbath rest was merely physical rest with mere social implications. However, for the people of God Sabbath rest pointed beyond to spiritual rest. As it was for the Old Testament church, it is now for the New Testament church— resting is a covenant sign of grace.[24] As Pipa says, “All true Sabbath-keeping begins by our actively resting in God alone for our salvation.”[25] In short, the Sabbath is both a redemptive and creation ordinance, both promising eternal-life. Before the Fall, the promise of eternal life was under the covenant of works. Adam was promised eternal life, suspended on the condition of perfect obedience. If Adam had not fallen into sin, he would have entered into that eternal rest without passing through death. As Pipa says, “God, by resting on the seventh day, pictured the promise rest; so his rest was a type of our eternal rest.”[26] In short, before the Fall under the covenant of works the Sabbath promised eternal life conditioned by Adam’s obedience; after the Fall the Sabbath pledged eternal life, pledged and provided by Christ, the second Adam (1 Cor. 15:45-49). Piper says,

For the Israelites the Sabbath sign pointed in two directions: backwards, reminding them of God as Creator who after the Fall had promised salvation through a Redeemer; and forwards, reminding them that they were to wait in faith for the promised Savior.[27]

As our Confession affirms, because the Sabbath pointed forward to the redeeming work of the Messiah the only change that took place regarding the Decalogue was not the obligation to rest one day out of seven. That obligation is unchanged. It’s unchanged because of the correct understanding that the Decalogue (including the fourth commandment) summarizes the moral law, an eternal and transcended moral norm based in the very character of God. Thomas Shepard argues that the fourth commandment is a moral law, not just positive. He argues that the fourth commandment is “a law more strictly and specially moral, which concerns the manner of all men…may be thus described; viz., it is such a law, which is therefore commanded, because it is good, and is not therefore good merely because it is commanded.”[28] In short, a rightly ordered society is first based upon that which is morally or inherently good and right.[29] This means the fourth commandment is first and foremost a moral law of rest, viz., one day out of seven. What makes it moral is God. God is the moral exemplar. Just as God worked six days, man is to work (i.e., the Dominion Mandate) six days. And just as God rested on the seventh day, man is to rest (i.e. the Sabbath) on the seventh day.

Some have argued that the Sabbath is not a moral law, because of the New Testament shift from last day of the week to the first day of the week, from the Sabbath to the Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day. Case in point is Craig Blomberg. He says,

The view that the Sabbath is binding on Christians rests on no explicit text in the NT or early Christian literature. It is surpassingly strange that a supposedly central Christian religious duty depends on the interpretation of an OT text. Rather than seeing a continuing validity of the Sabbath, which was changed from Saturday to Sunday, whether legitimately by the apostles in the first century or illegitimately by the church in the second (or by Constantine in the fourth), it is better to see the Sabbath command as a part of the superseded Mosaic institution and the Lord’s day as a different type of day, a day of assembly and worship.[30]

Blomberg argues that the Sabbath command is part of the Mosaic institution superseded, superseded along with the Temple, sacrifices, the priesthood, etc., that it’s part of the ceremonial law, types and shadows given to the Old Testament church to point to and terminates with Christ. Pipa accuses Blomberg of spiritualizing the Sabbath. He says,

Furthermore, at the end of the day, Dr. Blomberg has so spiritualized the Sabbath commandment that he leaves no biblical warrant for weekly worship and basically is antinomian when is comes to the regulation of public worship or it’s requirement for the saints of God.[31]

I won’t speak to the issue of antinomianism. (I do not believe Blomberg is antinomian when it comes to the regulation of public worship). However, I do see the merit of the accusation that Blomberg spiritualizes the Sabbath. He spiritualizes the Sabbath by relegating it to a type and shadow. Who is correct—Shepard or Blomberg? Martin correctly observes that there were “ceremonial aspects of Sabbath observance specified in the larger body of the Law of Moses.”[32] But this is true of the third commandment. Case in point is Leviticus 22:17-30. Profaning the holy name of God (which is a moral violation of the third commandment) has attached to it temporary, provisional, ceremonial prohibitions and a requirement. What are these? The forbidding of offering blemished animals; forbidding offering an animal less than eight days old; forbidding offering a mother and her young on the same day; and requiring thanks offerings to be eaten on the same day that it’s offered—these are discrete positive/ceremonial laws attached to the moral law of the third commandment. Violating these seemingly discrete ceremonial laws instantiates the violation of the third commandment (e.g., Lev. 22:31-33). The same is true for ceremonial regulations regarding the fourth commandment.[33] As previously quoted from the Confession, what is ceremonial or provisional about the fourth commandment is not the “appointed one day out of seven,” but the “last day of the week being abolished.” Martin says, “Indeed, unless the fourth commandment is a moral precept, there is simply no accounting for its presence in the Decalogue.”[34] In short, as Murray notes,

…the fourth commandment itself is an element of that basic law which was distinguished from all else in the Mosaic revelation by being inscribed on two tables of stone. The fourth commandment belongs to all that is distinctive and characteristic of that summary of human obligation set forth in the Decalogue. It would require the most conclusive evidence to establish the thesis that the fourth commandment is in a different category from the other nine…. a position equal to that of the fifth or the seventh or the tenth.[35]

Pipa’s accusation that Blomberg spiritualizes the fourth commandment is well founded and such spiritualization of the whole of the fourth commandment is an unfounded assertion of the Futurist perspective of the Sabbath.

However, what about the change of the Sabbath from the last day of the week to the first day of the week, i.e. the Christian Sabbath or Lord’s Day? Some contend that there is nothing in the New Testament that prescribes or even suggests that Sunday was the day chosen to commemorate our Lord’s resurrection.[36] It is true that there is no biblical command to change the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week.[37] But that does not mean that the day was not changed. As Martin notes, nowhere in Scripture is there an explicit command establishing the office of deacon; yet, later in the life of the church this ministry was a standing office (cf. 1 Tim. 3:8-13).[38] The same goes for the change of day. There is no explicit command, but there is precedent set by the apostolic church, a precedent which established the rule for generations of Christians. How else are we to make sense out of the author of Hebrews’ assertion that “there remains a keeping of a Sabbath for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9)? What weekly Sabbath? The only weekly Sabbath evinced in the Apostolic church is the Lord’s Day!


End Notes

[1] Alan Cairns, Dictionary of Theological Terms, First ed., s.v. “Regulative Principle of Worship.”

[2] Frank J. Smith, “What Is Worship,” in Worship in the Presence of God, 2nd ed, ed. Frank J. Smith and David C. Lachman (Fellsmere: Reformation Media and Press, 2006), 17.

[3] Horton Davies, The Worship of the English Puritans (Morgan: Soli Deo Gloria, 1997), 15.

[4] Hughes Oliphant Old, Worship: Reformed According to Scripture, 2nd ed (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 28. More will be said on this subject below.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid., 29.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] R.J. Gore., Covenantal Worship: Reconsidering the Puritan Regulative Principle (Phillipsburg, N.J: Presbyterian And Reformed, 2002), 199.

[11] Ibid., pp.100-110.

[12] Ibid., Pp.100-110. T. David Gordon, “The Westminster Assembly’s Unworkable And Unscriptural View Of Worship?,” Westminster Theological Journal 65, (2003, January 01): 346-46.

[13] Ibid., 347.

[14] Skip MacCarty et al, Perspectives On The Sabbath, ed. Christopher John Donato (Nashville, TN: B&​h Publishing Group, 2011), Pp. 1-8.

[15] Joseph A. Pipa, The Lord’s Day, 5th ed (Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 2018).

[16] Ibid., 33.

[17] Ibid., 16.

[18] Ibid., Pp.,19-22.

[19] Ibid., Pp.,19-22/​Robert Paul Martin, The Christian Sabbath: Its Redemptive-Historical Foundation, Present Obligation, and Practical Observance (Montville, New Jersey: Trinity Pulpit Press, 2015), 191-200.

[20] Ibid., Pp., 201-222.

[21] John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life (Phillipsburg, NJ: P &​ R, 2008), 523-524.

[22] Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview (Eugene, OR: Wipf And Stock, 2006).

[23] Pipa, The Lord’s Day, Pp., 49-50.

[24] Ibid., 53.

[25] Ibid., 23.

[26] Ibid., 31.

[27] Ibid., 59.

[28] Thomas Shepherd, The Works of Thomas Shepherd, Theses Sabbaticae, (Boston: Doctrinal Track And Book Society, 1853), 3: 29-30.

[29] Nicholas Wolterstorff, Justice: Rights and Wrongs, ed. First Edition (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2010). Wolterstorff argues that particular rights are primarily subjective, rather objective. The latter’s locus of conceptualization centers around objective “justice qua right order;” the former revolves around the idea of subjectivity: “justice qua inherent rights,” i.e., rights that inhere within humans qua humans. Basically, he argues that there are only two ways to understand primary justice: justice qua right order or justice qua inherent rights. Wolterstorff makes a convincing counter-narrative over-and-against the secular regime’s grand narrative. Contrary to the grand narrative—a narrative that recounts the story of the origin of justice qua inherent rights as a product of Nominalism, or the Enlightenment— Wolterstorff advances another story. He makes the case that justice qua inherent rights is not the product of the Enlightenment or even a product of Nominalism, but ultimately a product of the Biblical Judeo-Christian tradition, that is, both the Old and New Testaments. Wolterstorff’s argument exposes the weakness of the secular regime’s narrative (secular protagonists) and anti-secular regime’s narrative (antagonists of rights). Wolterstorff’s argument nullifies the intellectual main stream’s argument, wrenching the moral discourse of justice qua inherent rights from the exclusive purview of secularists and those who dismiss rights in favor for justice qua right order instead.


[30] Skip MacCarty et al, Perspectives On The Sabbath, Pp. 351-52.

[31] Ibid., 387.

[32] Martin, The Christian Sabbath, pg. 97.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Ibid., 101.

[35] John Murray, The Collective Writings of John Murray, vol. 1, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1976), p. 207.

[36] Samuele Bacchiocchi, “How It Came About: From Saturday To Sunday,” Biblical Archeology Review 4, no. 3 (1978): 32.

[37] Martin, The Christian Sabbath, 273.

[38] Ibid., 274.

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