Pristine Grace

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Luther and Calvin on the Sabbath

by Martin Luther

Luther criticized the Sabbatarian Carlstadt and certain Anabaptists for their Judiazing of Sunday: "that if Sunday were anywhere made holy merely for the day's sake or its observance set on a Jewish foundation, 'then I order you to walk on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it, to do anything that shall remove this encroachment on Christian Liberty' " (p.17).

Calvin "regarded the external observance of the Sabbath rest as a Jewish ceremonial ordinance and no longer binding on Christians." He said of Sabbatarians that they "surpass the Jews three times over in a crass and carnal Sabbatarian superstition" (p.19).

For very practical reasons, Calvin wished to retain a stated rest day for rest and worship. "When Spirituals taunted Protestant as Judaizers for still keeping Sunday, Calvin replied that they celebrated it not scrupulously but 'as a remedy needed to keep order in the church.' " Solberg notes also that "in Calvin's Geneva, citizens were free to amuse themselves after Sunday worship, and they did so with military drill and bowling. Calvin himself bowled on Sunday and was buried on a Lord's Day afternoon" (p. 19).

Taken from REDEEM THE TIME THE PURITAN SABBATH IN EARLY AMERICA by Winton Solberg

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