Think you’re ready to engage Seventh-day Adventists on the question of Sabbath observance? Be careful you don’t step into a minefield.
Before arguing about the Sabbath, Evangelicals should first clarify the nature of the Mosaic Law and its relationship to Christians today. At issue are fundamental questions about the scope of the law, its purpose in the new covenant, and whether we can distinguish between those aspects that are morally binding (eternal) and those that are not. Adventists have persuasive answers to these questions. Indeed, my own thesis is that evangelicals who contend for the continuity of the Mosaic Law in whole or in part and, at the same time, argue for the discontinuity of the Sabbath command, lack biblical support and face an almost intractable consistency problem. Conversely, evangelicals who argue for discontinuity—namely, that within the context of salvation history, the entire Mosaic Law is fulfilled in Christ and thus has no direct claim on the believer—provide a biblically sound foundation for addressing the Sabbath question.
If the Mosaic Law remains binding for New Testament believers, what pressing question must evangelicals face head-on? What view of the Mosaic Law gives evangelicals the best foundation for addressing the Sabbath question? Why?
Scott Klusendorf is president of Life Training Institute and holds an M.A. in Christian apologetics from Biola University. His feature article in which this post is based appears in the Volume 34, No. 2 issue of the Christian Research Journal (a 6-issue subscription is $39.50). Or give a gift subscription.