The Relevancy of the Fourth Commandment: The Need for a Biblical Worldview

 

INTRODUCTION

This is the second article in a series entitled, The Relevancy of the Fourth Commandment. The series seeks to address issues that have been raised in dialogues with Christians concerning the Seventh-day Sabbath doctrine. The first article in this series, The Relevancy of the Fourth Commandment: An Introduction to Contemporary Issues Concerning the Seventh-day Sabbath, not only presents the issues that are to be explored, but also calls for improvement, patience, and care in the communication of the doctrine.

The Seventh-day Sabbath doctrine, as is espoused by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, has long been viewed by many in the wider Christian community as a needless teaching promoted by those who emphasize a justification by works gospel. Even those who admit that it may have some relevance for the modern Christian are quickly discouraged from putting it into practice when they realize the large amount of change it will bring to their weekly routines.

This article hopes to address this issue by presenting parts of scripture that will aid in the creation of a biblical worldview[1]. Of course, the immediate concern for non-Adventist readers is that they believe they already possess a biblical worldview. If this is indeed the case (and I believe whole-heartedly that there are many non-Adventist Christians who are true followers of Christ), then they can’t justify their reluctance to follow the Sabbath commandment by saying, “I don’t want to,” or “it will bring too much change in my life.” Their hesitancy should be base on its lack of biblical support. In other words, if you are a Christian and you are not going to follow the Sabbath commandment, let it be because you have studied the material from scripture and have not been convinced of its’ relevance in this present age.

The following consists of some foundational beliefs for building a biblical worldview. Seeing that this is not a comprehensive treatment (and the fact that I’m not a theologian), further study will be necessary for one to become fully immersed into a biblical worldview.

FOUNDATIONAL BELIEFS FOR BUILDING A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW

The Bible as Inspired by God

Essential to building a biblical worldview is the belief that the Bible, Old and New Testaments (66 books[2]), is inspired by God.[3] In other words, God called those who wrote the text of the Bible to do so. He allowed what is written to be written and saw to it that it would be beneficial to all who read. The Bible reveals God’s character, His will, and His role (past, present, and future) in the history of the world.[4]

Scripture testifies of its own origin. It is in Paul’s final council to Timothy that we find one of the most definitive statements concerning the Bible’s origin: “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16[5]). This statement denies any claims that many have made about the Bible simply being literature placed together by a group of conspirators interested in controlling the masses. Contrary to such thinking, the Bible came not through “the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21).

This essential belief doesn’t arrive at the same time or the same way for every person. Being raised in a Christian home doesn’t mean that one will be a Bible believer. What it does do is provide earlier exposure to the God of the Bible. It’s not about when one is exposed, it is about what one does with what is exposed when it is exposed. That is truly what is essential when it comes to Christianity.

Guide to Life

If one believes that the Bible is inspired by God, then the next logical step in a thought system is to believe that what is written is beneficial. Once it is clear in the mind that the Bible is a product that was brought about through the will and control of the Divine, then acceptance of its teachings will be based on whether an individual desire to follow the God of the Bible. Believing that the Bible is inspired does not necessarily mean that the believer will automatically submit to its teachings. Some may choose not to follow certain parts knowing full well that it is written, within their ability to do so, and relevant—Lucifer was in heaven when he rebelled (Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:12-18; Rev. 12:4-9[6]).

Belief in the inspiration of the Bible makes it easier to believe in its claims concerning the tools contain in there for aiding one to navigate through life. The psalmist says it best: “your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Ps. 119:105). The implication is that things in this world are dark and unclear and therefore we need a navigation system that will prevent us from stumbling. Although “stumbling” may seem like an insignificant word, it may result in no injuries, minor scratches, or even death. Sometimes it is not what you stumble over, but what you stumble into that is the problem.

THE BIBLICAL NARRATIVE

Beneficial towards the grasping of a biblical worldview is a familiarity with the biblical narrative. The more one reads the more a grander of the history of God’s works through the earth is understood. A tentative layout of such a narrative can be as the following (each person is encouraged to develop their own):

  • The Beginning
    • Creation
    • The Fall
    • The Flood
    • Restoration
  • God’s People Israel:
    • The History of the Patriarchs
    • The History of Israel
      • History of Wandering Israel
      • History of Monarchical Israel (and Judah)
    • Captivity
    • The Return
  • Jesus Christ:
    • His Birth
    • His Life and Teachings
    • His Death, Resurrection, and Ascension
    • Post-Ascension Descriptions of Jesus’ Ministry
  • Post-Jesus NT History and the Eschaton
    • The History of Paul and the early followers of Jesus
    • New Testament Counsels for Daily Living
    • New Testament Descriptions of the Eschaton (the end) and Eternity

CONCLUSION

Without going into too much detail, one can take this broad look at the Bible and discover major themes in all of these sections. Looking at the big picture can help with understanding why certain particulars are necessary. Thus a good opening step for those seeking to view the world and history as the Bible describes it, is for them to take in a broad look at how the Bible lays out that history.

Perhaps it can be stated that God loved and therefore created. When His creation turned their back to Him, the same love that brought about their Genesis, not only anticipated their rebellion, but also provided a way for them to return, to be “at one” with Him. This love brought God to the cross, where He offered Himself as sacrifice so that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV). This same God is coming back to restore mankind to how it ought to be.


[1] That is to say, in this context, a different way of looking at life in general. A way that is base on how the Bible looks at the world: creation, journey, and end. God must be seen as the being that is worthy of one’s complete attention.

[2] Excluding the 15 apocryphal books: The First Book of Esdras (also known as Third Esdras); The Second Book of Esdras (also known as Fourth Esdras); Tobit; Judith; Additions to the Book of Esther; The Wisdom of Solomon; Ecclesiasticus (as known as the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach); Baruch; The Letter of Jeremiah; The prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Young Men; Susanna; Bel and the Dragon; The prayer of Manasseh; The first Book of Maccabees; and The Second Book of Maccabees.

[3] See Seventh-day Adventists Believe: An Exposition of the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventy-day Adventist Church (Boise, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2005), 11-21.

[4] Although this statement on the Bible’s revelation concerning God is rather broad, I hope that it suffice for the time being.

[5] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures in this article are taken from the New International Version.

[6] I’m using Rev. 12:4-9 purely for illustrative purposes, as in to describe who was on what side of the war. I believe that Rev. 12:4-9 is not a reference to the original casting out, but rather to the one that occurred after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.

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