Saturday, 28 March 2015

The teaching of the Shorter Catechism on the Fourth Commandment

The following questions and answers are taken from Thomas Vincent's work 'The Shorter Catechism explained from Scripture' and cover questions fifty seven to sixty two in the Shorter Catechism. These questions deal with the fourth commandment and help us to understand what the Word of God teaches on the issue of Sabbath observance. Vincent's work may been produced over 300 years ago, yet it is still has much relevance and is helpful to our understanding of how God's Sabbath is to be sanctified.

LVII. Ques. Which is the fourth commandment?

Ans. The fourth commandment is, "Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, and hallowed it."

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Northern Ireland v The Lord's Day

On 29th March the Northern Ireland football team will play their first ever home international on a Sunday with a European Championship qualifier against Finland. Whilst there have been several occasions in the past where Northern Ireland have played games abroad on the Lord's Day (including the 1982 World Cup where Glentoran winger Johnny Jameson would not play in the Sunday game against France), this will be the first occasion that international football has taken place at Windsor Park on a Sunday. Although this is a sad development it is hardly a surprising one as respect for the Lord's Day has been in rapid decline for many years, not only among the unsaved, but also among professed believers.

The Irish Football Association have stated that the scheduling of this game is beyond their control as the fixture dates are dictated by UEFA, and this may well be the case, however the lifting of the IFA's ban on Sunday football in 2007 cannot be ignored. Either way it is a matter about which Christians in Ulster should be grieved as it is further evidence of declining biblical standards in our land. The event does however also call us to consider our own attitude to the Lord's Day and contemplate how we have sought to keep it holy. It is clear that Northern Ireland as a whole is more and more rejecting the setting apart of one day in seven as holy to the Lord, the question is whether Christians have actually contributed to this decline.