Monday, June 30, 2008

A rebuttal to Walter Veith's presentation on the SDA doctrine of the Sabbath (part 1)

[continued from here]

As I have finished the foundational presentation of what the Scriptures say about the Law and about the Sabbath in light of the fullness of Christ's revelation, it is time to tackle head-on Seventh Day Adventist and Creationist Walter Veith's presentation on the Sabbath, which at about 1½ hours long is embedded in my friend Isaiah's post which precipitated this entire discussion in the first place. The video it seems is part of the Total Onslaught series made by the SDA-affiliated Amazing Discoveries, and can be found here:

It can be seen that Walter Veith makes many claims and quotes in this 1½ hour presentation of his, and therefore we would analyze the various things he has said according to Scripture (for the Bible quotes) and according to historical theology and documentation (for the literature sources).

Since the video covers a lot of ground, I think it would be good if a brief point-by-point rebuttal of some of the things claimed by Veith in this video is put forth first, before systematically address the various errors in it, and thus in Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine regarding the Sabbath.


Brief rebuttal of Walter Veith's message

02:02 The Beast is a political entity? Probably, but not proven

03:30 Where in Dan. 7:25 is the Sabbath mentioned?

04:54 Evolution theory denies 6 days because otherwise they would be in trouble with violating the Sabbath?!

09:58 “The devil was angry that He [God] created Man?” Really? Where is that stated in Scripture? Since after 6 days, the Lord pronounces His creation to be very good, doesn’t this not mean that either Satan was not created after 6 days, or that he hadn’t fell yet?

12:26 Sabbaths were given as a sign to Israel (Eze. 20:12,20) of the Old Covenant. In Heb. 4, we can see the ceremonial [ie sign] of the Sabbath has been fulfilled in the eternal rest bought by our Lord Jesus Christ for us who believe.

13:35 Ex. 31:13, 16 is talking about the Sabbath as a sign of the Old Covenant with Israel.

15:15 “God’s mark is the Sabbath”? Classic case of eisegesis; of importing concepts anachronistically from other parts of the Scriptures instead of reading and interpreting the texts in context

15:56 “God has a sign, and it is the Sabbath”. Being circumcised also is called a sign (Gen. 17:11), so why aren’t you using the same logic on circumcision? SDAs do not practice circumcision, nor do they baptize their babies, so why the inconsistency of selectively obeying the Law? (See their belief statement here http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html)

22:25 [Using Ex. 20:8-11] “Without the Sabbath, without that signature, the whole law becomes just another document with rules”? Why should we adopt such an obvious eisegesis which discard the entire context and reads contemporary concepts into this passage?

33:03 For someone who talks so much about keeping God’s law, violating the second commandment sure does come easy.

34:40 Sunday is so called because this day is dedicated to the Sun, and this is supposed to mean something? This is just mere nomenclature, not that Sunday was chosen because it was dedicated to the sun. In the same way, in Japanese, every day is named after an element, and Saturday is named after the earth (土曜日) so does this imply that since the Jewish Sabbath is on a Saturday, therefore it is dedicated as a day of venerating the earth?

36:20 Where in Dan. 7:25 is mention made of the Sabbath?

41:24 Just because RCism claim to be the one transferring the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday does not make it so. RCism lies about many things, so why do you trust them on this one?

43:15 “Satan has attacked the Sabbath because it is the Seal of God” Ipse dixit! Petitio principii!

44:35 Just because the RC claim to have the power to change the Sabbath does not make it so, nor does it mean that history happens as she claims it to be.

45:25 As an aside, how are we supposed to validate the wild claims by SDA apologists like this one? Where can one get a copy of the Catechismus Romanus?

46:00 Anachronistic eisegesis! Reading of Is. 58:13 into Rev. 1:10!

47:06- 47:21 Again, why should we care what the RCs claim? And they say in error that Scripture does not so state. True, Scripture is not explicit on the shift, but it does state it as a matter of fact.

49:20 Who cares what the Roman heretics say? Let us look to Scripture for guidance instead.

51:08 Great mistake of Walter Veith! Never venture into our territory! According to him, the Lutheran Ausberg Confession states that

The observance of the Lord’s Day (Sunday) is founded not on any command of God, but on the authority of the church

– The Ausberg Confession, as quoted in Catholic Sabbath Manual, part 2, chapter 10, and then quoted by Walter Veith

Well, this is actually what the Ausberg Confession says about the Sabbath:

For those who judge that by the authority of the Church the observance of the Lord's Day instead of the Sabbath-day was ordained as a thing necessary, do greatly err. Scripture has abrogated the Sabbath-day; for it teaches that, since the Gospel has been revealed, all the ceremonies of Moses can be omitted. And yet, because it was necessary to appoint a certain day, that the people might know when they ought to come together, it appears that the Church designated the Lord's Day for this purpose; and this day seems to have been chosen all the more for this additional reason, that men might have an example of Christian liberty, and might know that the keeping neither of the Sabbath nor of any other day is necessary.

(The Ausberg Confession, Article XXVIII: Of Ecclesiastical Power, Paragraph 18)

Walter Veith has here misquoted the Ausberg Confession to make it say what it does not say!

51:26 Why does Veith not quote from the Westminster Standards instead rather than the writing of an ordinary Presbyterian minister? Is it rather because their stand does not actually prove his position?

This is what the Westminster Confession of Faith says about the Sabbath

As it is of the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in his Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him: which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which in Scripture is called the Lord's Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath (WCF, Chapter XXI: On Religious worship and the Sabbath-day, paragraph 7)

Again, this contradicts his (mis)representation of their teachings

52:05 Again, why not look at their [the Congregationalists] confessional standards instead, which is the Savoy Declaration of Faith and Order of 1658? It is stated

As it is of the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time by God's appointment be set apart for the worship of God; so by his Word in a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a Sabbath to be kept holy unto him; which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which in Scripture is called the Lord's Day, and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished (The Savoy Declaration, Chapter 22: On Religious worship and the Sabbath-day, paragraph 7)

This thus contradicts his (mis)representation of their teachings.

52:44 Is this an Anabaptist minister? This is what the 2nd London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, similar to the Westminster Confession of Faith, says:

As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God's appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he has particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord's Day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished (LBCF, Chapter 22, Of Religious worship and the Sabbath Day, paragraph 7)

53:41 Assuming this is a correct quotation, it is still a reading into the ancient texts what the word ‘Sabbath’ refers to, so all the rest about Alexandria and Rome are just plain speculation.

58:45 The women did not know of the change, but of course, since Christianity has not yet started then.

1:03:00 So he admitted that it was after the Sabbath that the Christians gathered to have Communion? Doesn’t this undercut the entire argument he is advancing of Sabbath being the day to worship God? And so what even if he was traveling on Sunday, the Christian Sabbath? Most certainly, he is not chained to a legalistic observance of it!

1:03:20 Acts 2:46 tell us about the special custom of the early Jerusalem church which is not normative for believers, so to interpret this is mere supper together is wrong. They were in actual fact having daily communion.

1:04:14 Why does he like to use obscure Bible renderings such as the NEB and the Weymoth translation, unless he is choosing those translations because they support his thesis [like Rick Warren]?

1:04:42 If they store them at home, then there still needs to be a collection, unless Paul himself goes house to house to collect them, so such is an eisegesis of the text.

1:11:12 The Pope changed the calendar because of astronomical reasons, NOT for doctrinal reasons!

1:11:37 – 1:12-10 “… not aligned with the pagan feast of Istar” Mere speculation! And bearing false witness too. There was war because of the change in calendar? Which war? Even if there was a war, how do you know that it is truly because of the change in calendar and not for some other political reason?

1:13:24 And how does he know that Col. 2:16 refers only to the ceremonial Sabbaths? In context, the meaning is plain enough! The Greek similarly supports the traditional exegesis of the passage.

1:15:27 According to Veith, ceremonial sabbaths are linked to the sanctuary service (!), which is a distinctly SDA heretical doctrine.

1:17:00-25 The reason why Paul did so is because he was ministering to Jews and therefore need to do so on a Jewish Sabbath! And the reason why the whole city came to hear Paul on a Sabbath is not because they were hallowing the Sabbath so to speak, but because they know Paul was preaching in a synagogue, and synagogues are only active on Saturdays!

1:17-50- 1:18:00 Promoting salvation by obedience?

1:20:10 There will be something [ie new moon celebration] that will be kept in heaven as well?!!! Eisegesis!


With this done, let us look systematically at the major errors of Veith's presentation.

2 comments:

denise said...

hello this is denise :)

i am not really in Agape in the Uk, just a student in a Christian Union! But like we get a lot of training and resources from them :)

you have a cool blog, sometimes very cheem (not a bad thing)

PuritanReformed said...

Hello Denise,

welcome to my blog. Ya, you are not the only who says my blog is very cheem. haha :P

With regards to Agape, I went for the one and only mission trip to London, UK (they were testing it out in 2004) where I came to know more about Agape and how they operate within UK. Also, later in the first half of 2005 I spend 6 months in SEP (Student Exchange Program) in King's College London. So I sortof know a bit of the relation between Agape and the CUs there. Geoff Shave was the Campus Director then as I recall.

You have an interesting blog too, btw. haha...