A very good friend, Mark, has brought me to the end of my rope following years of exchange about Sabbath keeping. Both of us, having come through the Worldwide Church of God which, because of Jesuit infiltration, gave up the Sabbath (as well as some other doctrines), some continuing to keep it no longer by command but rather by tradition, and others splitting off into dozens of offshoots all doing their own thing.
Mark has read the Great Controversy, and more recently, perused the most comprehensive compilation by Gary Hullquist, but cannot be persuaded. I am mindful of the old saying that "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." And i am more conscious still that it is, after all, the work of the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to the mind and heart. Here are the latest comments from Mark:
I have not fully read the Sabbath book you gave me but have perused several areas. Much of what the doctor says is absolutely true and biblically founded as well as historically accurate. But he is a biased author striving to convince that keeping the Sabbath day remains in effect, for all people, even after the death of Jesus. In doing so, particularly explaining verses in the NT, he makes unfounded assumptions, and declares as facts his own beliefs. One's beliefs may or not be accurate. The author makes a forceful arguement that Paul kept the Sabbath. He uses that likely fact as proof then of the ongoing obligation. Here his lack of objectivity and his bias unfortunately are shown. Paul did keep the Sabbath when it suited his purpose, i.e. not to offend Jews he was seeking to show Christ to. But it was purposeful not obligational. In order to reach the minds and hearts of the Jewish people he was reaching out to, Paul had to keep the Sabbath and of course there was nothing inherently wrong with doing so, since he clearly did not believe keeping the Sabbath was necessary for salvation. Paul stated he would live however was necessary to reach hearts and minds of Jews or Gentiles, up to a point: not doing anything against God. It is clear in Acts and reinforced in Paul's writings that the words of the Jerusalem council to the Gentiles in the church set out clearly what would be required of them physically. Throughout the NT we read that the law cannot save, the law kills; only through Jesus and grace and mercy can anyone be saved. If anyone feels keeping the Sabbath honours God then by all means keep the Sabbath. But that person should not look down on those who don't choose to honour God in that way; that person should not feel superior for keeping the Sabbath. And that person should not believe, nor press or teach others, that keeping the Sabbath is necessary for salvation. As far as I know, no one has been saved by keeping the law - because no one can keep the law perfectly. If that is the case then striving to require people to obey that which can bring death but cannot bring eternal life is at best misguided effort. God be with you Michael...
Knowing fully that Mark may never understand nor accept the binding principle that the fourth commandment remains as applicable as do the remaining nine, knowing also that most true believers will themselves have friends and loved ones in the same boat, can anyone offer any suggestions which may prove to be helpful?
Of some comfort, perhaps, is the EGW quote from the GC "The results of the circulation of this book are not to be judged by what now appears. By reading it some souls will be aroused and will have courage to unite themselves at once with those who keep the commandments of God. But a much larger number of those who read it will not take their position until they see the very events taking place that are foretold in it. The fulfillment of some of the predictions will inspire faith that others will also come to pass, and when the earth is lightened with the glory of the Lord in the closing work, many souls will take their position on the commandments of God as a result of this agency."