The above post has been making the rounds on Facebook and it made some big assumptions so rather than blindly agreeing with it I thought I’d write a few thoughts of my own.
I was born and raised in a Christian denomination called Seventh-day Adventists and from the day I took my first breath, a weekly tradition that was tightly tied to Gods approval of me was keeping the Sabbath day holy, on Saturday. On Friday we cleaned the house and by sundown Friday night instrumental music was playing and our behavior was closely guarded. From the music we listened to, to the games we played, to the things we talked about, every detail of this 24 hour span was carefully crafted to exclude any secular influence. Every effort was made to free the day of work and protect peace, love, and harmony and of course, church attendance. It was beautiful and you might think it quite strange that I’ve stopped. I would like to give you three reasons why I no longer go to church on Saturday.
Reason One - Gods Word
It’s true that there has always been significance in taking a regular break from work, a rest day. From creation, to the time of Jesus and ever since then, there has always been a tradition of a holy day and it’s been very good. In biblical times this Sabbath was celebrated on the seventh day of the week, a tradition that came from the Levitical law. Most Adventists believe that this law was set apart from the rest and even though most of the Levitical law does not need to be kept, this one is different. It is one that we are still bound to. I was shocked about seven years ago when I realized that there is no divine mandate that sets this command apart from the rest. The only place where the idea that we are still bound to Levitical law is found in Adventist extra-biblical literature which over the past ten years, has lost what little credibility I ever gave it. While I see that the Bible, and God as well, holds value for a weekly day of rest, it’s just too much of a stretch to conclude that He cares or bestows a special blessing on those who care, which day of the week it happens on. There are huge flaws in a doctrine that supports one week day of worship or a specific day to be in God’s presence. If Saturday is your day of worship, that leads to a not so subtle mindset that at sundown on Saturday, you should cease from worshipping and carry on with life outside of the presence of God you were in on Saturday. I choose to seek the presence of God on every day of the week and worship Him every moment of every day. I will still take a rest day. Maybe Sunday, maybe Saturday, maybe Wednesday. I will still go to church. I found one I really like. God is moving there. They meet on Sunday.
Reason Two - Love
I understand that God loves me. There is this mysterious thing about this love, I can’t do anything to make Him love me more and nothing I can do to make Him love me less. He doesn’t even require that I love Him back. I am no theologian, but I sense that there are vast realms of Gods love that I could spend eternity exploring but never find the ends. While standing in His love, it seems so incredibly silly to think that Gods love or favor could ever hinge on me behaving a certain way on a certain day of the week. This is a carefully guarded Adventist belief that even our salvation is dependent on the fact that we “keep the Sabbath.” They word it in special ways to make it seem less like heresy, but it’s the truth. I know because I spent the last 27 years steeped in the Adventist sub-culture. But I’ve heard that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Freedom from Pharisaical rules and trite regulations.
Reason Three - Experience
Above, I admitted that I am no theologian. I’ll add to that by saying that I don’t know any of the biblical languages and I have no formal training in the bible. But here’s what I do have: a life with God. He speaks to me. Through the bible, through nature, science, art, the people around me. He interacts with me. The Holy Spirit has complete access to every part of me. He has convicted me and and asked me to do many things. Not once has He asked me to keep Saturday as my Sabbath. I have tried taking a day of rest on days other than Saturday and received just as much of the blessing that Adventists boast of. I have also purposefully introduced non Adventist habits into my Saturday such as shopping, home projects, movies, secular music, and bacon and God has yet to erase my name from the book of life.
So those are three reasons why I no longer go to church on Saturday. If you like attending church on Saturday, I think that’s awesome, but I sure hope it’s not because you feel obligated or because you think Gods affection or your salvation are in any way tied to it. I also hope you can appreciate a perspective different from the one you may have grown up with. I think it’s unhealthy for any community to create a doctrine and then parrot it back to each other over the years without ever having an open dialog about it. That’s a recipe for bad religion at best, a cult at worst.
Embrace diversity - take a Sabbath on Tuesday