Thursday, July 03, 2008

A rebuttal to Walter Veith's presentation on the SDA doctrine of the Sabbath (part 2)

[continued from here and here]

The presentation by Walter Veith suffers from many serious flaws in exegesis, argumentation and documentation, which we shall now look at.

FLAWS IN BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION

Eisegesis

As it can be seen from the previous point-by-point rebuttal, Veith commits atrocious eisegesis. About 3½ minutes into the video, and also 36+ minutes into the video, Veith quotes Dan. 7:25 to 'show' that the mark of the beast involves the changing of the times, and then leap from that to say that since the Saturday to Sunday change is a changing of the times, therefore worshipping on Sunday is the sign of the beast. First of all, it is eisegesis to say that Dan. 7:25 teaches that the mark of the beast involves the changing of the times. Dan. 7:25 actually teaches that the beast will think to change the times, but it does not say that that such an action is its mark. In point of fact, it can be easily seen that no mention of any mark or sign is made in the entire chapter of Dan. 7 at all, which goes to show that to say that the idea that Dan. 7:25 talks about the mark of the beast is something not supported by the text in any manner whatsoever. We will look further at the argumentation used by Veith on this passage later under its own section, but suffice it is to say now that it is totally fallacious.

Just over 22 minutes into the video, Veith 'finds' an 'astonishing insight' into the passage in the Decalogue regarding the Sabbath in Ex. 20:8-11. According to his eisegesis of the phrase "the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is", this phrase shows that this make the Law binding on all Mankind and therefore "Without the Sabbath, without that signature, the whole law becomes just another document with rules"!? Honestly, just writing that 'interpretation' down should be enough to show how utterly inane it is! That phrase is meant to show that the Sabbath commanded here is based on the type of the seventh day rest of the Creation week, and has nothing whatsoever to do with whether the Law is binding on anyone at all! One could very well likewise say that since the introduction to the Decalogue started off by saying that God is the one who had saved His people Israel from Egypt and bondage in Egypt, therefore the Decalogue is only binding on (former) slaves and only slaves from Egypt at that!

Further into the video at about the 1 hour 4 minutes mark, Veith tackles one of the problem text for Seventh-day sabbatarians: 1 Cor. 16:2, which is one of the proof-texts used to prove the Lord's Day being on the first day of the week. In an attempt to evade the clear teaching of this verse, he makes the amazing interpretation that such a collection was for each believer to store their gifts at their individual homes on Sunday since they can't do so on the Saturday Sabbath. Since 1 Cor. 16:2b states that such a collection is supposed to result in a collection being made when Paul arrived, and a consolidated collection is required later from each believer's homes if Veith's interpretation is indeed correct, Veith's interpretation would result in a direct contradiction in the texts of Scripture and is therefore invalidated. It is totally an exercise in futility to say that the consolidation happens on the Sabbath itself since such is not found in the text, goes against the clear meaning of the words in that verse and hence is eisegesis, not to mention that it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to ask believers to consolidate their own gifts in their homes. And we do know that the believers in Corinth do not live in communes but have their own houses. Veith's attempt of evading the clear teaching of 1 Cor. 16:2 is thus shown to be futile.

At 1 hour 3 minutes, the phrase 'breaking bread' in Acts 2:46 was explained away in an attempt to evade the clear teaching of the passage in Acts 20:7-11 which shows that Holy Communion was partaken by Paul, from the phrase 'had broken bread' in Acts 20:11. In Veith's 'interpretation', Acts 2:46 shows that the breaking of bread is actually supper, since it occurs daily. This is plainly ridiculous and without any basis at all, since there is nothing in the Scriptures against daily Holy Communion. In fact, the phrase 'breaking bread' and its derivatives are linked to the Lord's Supper since that very phrase is used to describe what happened at the first Lord's Supper instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ before He died (eg. Mt. 26:26 and especially 1 Cor. 10:16), so this makes Veith's eisegesis here totally inexcusable.

As a conclusion to this section, let us look at a less horrific twisting of Scripture, which many Sabbatarians use: Col. 2:16. Veith here puts forth the classic Sabbatarian interpretation, at the 1 hour 13 minutes mark, that Col. 2:16 refers only to the ceremonial Sabbaths, which in his reasoning is true since the other aspects of the Law placed in that passage are ceremonial aspects of the Law like eating, drinking and new moons. Firstly, however, this approach suffers from eisegesis in assuming that the Jews split the Law into three sections, which they do not. Such differentiation of the Law only applies when seen from a New Covenantal perspective, not from a rabbinic Judaist Old Covenant perspective, which I have mentioned more in detail in my article on the Christian Sabbath here, and therefore it is not applicable here. Secondly, the Greek term used here is sabbaton (σαββατων), which is the same plural Greek word used in passages such as Mt. 28:1, Lk. 416 to refer to A Sabbath day so there is no lexical reason for making it not refer also to normal weekly Sabbaths.

Hermeneutical principle:

Veith, as a Seventh Day Adventist, thinks like a Seventh Day Adventist, as they read the New Testament through Old Testament glasses. A cursory look will show that Seventh-Day Adventists use an essentially rabbinic Judaist interpretation of the Old Testament as a framework to interpret the teachings of the New Testament especially on their particular pet doctrines, instead of the orthodox method of interpreting the Old Testament in light of the full revelation of the New Covenant. This particular error permeates the entire presentation of Walter Veith, of which one notable example can be seen 46 minutes into the video, in which Veith uses Is. 58:13 in the Old Testament in an attempt to interpret what Rev. 1:10 means by the Lord's Day. This is of course also eisegesis, since the meaning of a particular phrase must be determined by the context, NOT by how other areas of the Bible utilize that particular word or phrase. [Even then, this error is particularly bad, since the phrases are not even the same — 'God's holy day' versus 'the Lord's day'.]

The error of interpreting the New Testament through rabbinic glasses can be particularly seen in their defence of their pet doctrines like the Seventh-Day Sabbath. Most definitely, they do not consistently use the same "logic" on the doctrine of Christ (Christology) like the Jews who deny the deity of Christ because they cannot fathom the idea of three persons in one God. This inconsistency is a sign therefore that the Seventh-Day Adventists are basing their pet doctrines on tradition, or to put it more bluntly, in an all-out bid to save the orthodox and prophetess status of Ellen G. White and fellow founder William Miller.

ARGUMENTATION ERRORS

Anti-Catholic bashing

Note: 'Anti-Catholic' and 'Anti-CatholISM' are two different things

This entire video is choked full of anti-Roman Catholic bashing, of which the definition of the term is that the organization and its people are attacked personally instead of criticism being based on facts. Certainly, we should be no friend of Roman Catholism since she preaches a false 'gospel', but Veith's attack on Roman Catholic and the Romanist Church borders on character assassination and the absurd, as if everything Rome does is calculated to destroy Christianity, maybe even to the extent that if the Pope call on governments to stop abortion it is also wrong because it is the Pope that is stating it!

An excellent example of such irrational hatred can be seen at 1 hour 11 minutes into the video, where Veith attacks Pope Gregory for changing the calendar during his reign (1582). Veith further states that the Pope decided to change the calendar because "it bothered him that the pasch [Passover] was not 100% aligned with the pagan feast of Istar", thus insinuating that the reason why Pope Gregory changed the calendar was because he wanted to celebrate a pagan feast! Such an insinuation is wicked and without any basis whatsoever. Pope Gregory changed the calendar because the stated year was drifting further and further away from the true yearly cycle such that days were lost as the years go by (The earth does not rotate around the sun in exactly 365.25 days btw). Such a change thus was for astronomical reasons as well as economic reasons. After all, a wrong date for sowing and harvesting of crops based on a faulty calendar may decrease or ruin the harvest.

Such character assassination is prevalent throughout Veith's presentation, and I suspect probably Seventh-Day Adventist literature as well. Such does not aid their case at all and in fact will backfire since there are no substantiation of these charges, which are based on the logical fallacy of Guilt by Association, which we shall discuss below. And everyone can notice such blatant ad-hominem when they see one even if they do not know the term for it, and would thus be turned off by it.

Fallacy of Guilt by association

Closely linked to the above fallacy of character assassination is the fallacy of Guilt by association. Just because a wicked person or organization says anything does not make it correct or wrong! For example, Hitler believed that 2+2=4, so does that mean that 2+2≠4, since Hitler believed that 2+2=4? Of course not! Yet such arguments are stated over and over in Veith's presentation, as if just because Roman Catholicism believes something means that thing must be wrong, and that only because Roman Catholicism is wrong.

A hilarious example is found 34 minutes into the video, whereby Veith attacks Sunday worship because Sunday is named after the Sun God. Judging by that same standard, Saturday worship should also be condemned because Saturday is named after Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture! Not to mention that Japanese SDAs would be guilty of worshipping the earth too since Saturday in Japanese is named after the soil/earth (土曜日)!

Fallacy of non-sequitur

This fallacy is repeated many times in Veith's presentation; the conclusions made by Veith just do not follow from his evidences. We can see this in his eisegesis of Dan. 7:25, in which it does not follow that just because the beast thinks to change the times mean that such a change is the mark of the beast. Also, even if that were so, that does not mean that worshiping on Sundays and not on Saturdays is a mark of the beast, for the text does not say that and he cannot know it is this change that God have in mind and not another change.

Another non-sequitur occurs 15 minutes into the video whereby Veith triumphantly states that the Sabbath is a sign for God's people (Ex. 31:17) and uses the Strong's Concordance of the Hebrew word for sign to show that this means that God's mark is the Sabbath and thus to 'change the Sabbath cf Dan. 7:25' is to remove God's mark in a sense. Veith here rips the entire verse out of context, takes out one word — 'sign', and then comes out with a theory based upon the Concordance's meaning of the term as it superimposes itself on the text of Scripture. He might as well just use the classic Greek lexicon BAGD while he's at it! It is pure eisegesis, not to mention that it does not follow at all that just because the Sabbath is a sign means it is THE sign.

Conspiracy theory/ Fear-mongering

Conspiracy theories are prevalent in the video, as we are told of Rome planning to subvert everyone to worship Ishtar among other such yarns. Other videos by Walter Veith have even more wild stories it seems. I guess we just need the Da Vinci Code gang to spice things up a bit more, together with the Illuminati of course.

Inconsistency

The first inconsistency is Veith's trusting of Roman Catholic (RC) sources as being truthful in what it say about Rome shifting the Sabbath to Sunday, while all the time attacking Roman Catholics and Roman Catholicism as evil, probably Satan Incarnate too. That surely reveals that he has an agenda in using such sources as being authoritative. For why would you utilize sources from a group that you are convinced as being wrong in a way that you depend on the truthfulness of such sources? For example, Veith's constant assertion that Rome changed the Sabbath to Sunday because of her inherent authority is taken to be true by Veith, yet why should do this since he thinks they are not only wrong but positively evil? If you think Roman Catholicism cannot be trusted, then why do you treat what she says as being authoritative?

The second inconsistency is with Veith selective obedience of the Law. He, along with the SDAs, seem to major on their pet topic only. Yet if they truly revere the Decalogue at the level they claim to revere it, then why did Veith violate the Second Commandment by showing pictures of Jesus Christ in the flesh about 33 minutes into the video? Is the Fourth Commandment only to be obeyed at all cost but not the others?

The most serious inconsistency with Veith and all those who claim that (Seventh-Day) Sabbath-keeping is a sign is that if that is true, then that shows their selective keeping of the Scriptures on this topic. Circumcision is considered a sign too (Gen. 17:11), and it was instituted even earlier than the Mosaic era during the time of Abraham. So why aren't Veith and the Seventh-Day Adventists (SDAs) not circumcising all their male children on the 8th day after birth? In fact, they do not even practice infant baptism! So using the same Sabbath-as-sign 'logic' that they use, Veith and the SDAs have already thrown away God's mark (of circumcision) since their inception, and have thus taken on the mark of the beast (since 'according' to Dan. 7:25, the changing from circumcision to baptism or perhaps to something else is a changing of the law)

DOCUMENTATION ERRORS

Veith cites many sources, of which many of them are hard to verify like the Catechismus Romanus. However, Veith attempts to stray into Protestant territory proper and once there he discredits himself because there it will be possible for me to verify his quotes.

About 51 minutes into the video, Veith makes a major blunder as he 'quotes' the Ausberg Confession of Faith through secondary sources in a bid to state that the Lutherans likewise believe that there is no reason that the Lord's Day (Sunday) be kept except by the Church's authority, as he has started his attempts to show that Protestants believe also that Sunday observance is not scriptural but ordained by the Church's authority. However, Veith makes his greatest blunder here and discredited whatever impression has has of being credible and objective. Here is what Veith quotes:

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

And here is what the Ausberg Confession actually teaches:

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

As it can be seen, Veith misquotes the Ausberg Confession, and his quote is at best a partial truth. Such an error casts a shadow over the quality of the other sources he quotes which I cannot check, especially since the Ausberg Confession is so readily available even online. Since he is supposed to a scholar, such an error (which is not even allowed in undergraduate courses) is clearly unforgiveable.

Veith continues on trying to prove his case: that the Protestants testify that it is the Church that founded the keeping of Sunday while abrogating the Sabbath. This he does through quoting of sources from a Presbyterian, a Congregationalist, a Baptist, a Methodist, and even an Anglican. I will let the Anglican and the Methodist pass, because the Anglican position historically is the path of the via media and thus they did not take an official view on various topics, of which the issue of the Sabbath and the Lord's Day was one of them. Methodism arose from within Anglicanism so they similarly did not take a position on this issue. Nevertheless, for the remaining groups, why did Veith not quote their official position but instead the writings of one minister (assuming he had quoted them correctly), as if the views of that person represented the denomination he is in? Furthermore, all of these people he quoted are not very well-known theologians in their particular denominations either. If he wants to quote a person, why can't he quote for example John Owen's view of the Sabbath and the Lord's Day to represent the Puritans (Presbyterians/ Congregationalist), or even Walter Chantry for Presbyterianism?

Regardless, let us look at the official doctrinal positions of the Presbyterians, Congregationalist and the Baptists on this particular issue of the Sabbath and the Lord's Day.

For the Presbyterians,

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

For the Congregationalists,

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

For the Baptists,

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
— 1689 LBCF, Chapter 22, Of Religious worship and the Sabbath Day, paragraph 7

As it can be seen, the creeds show the official doctrinal position of three Protestant historic denominations on the issue of the Sabbath and the Lord's Day, and all of them directly refute Veith's thesis regarding the so-called "Protestant Testimony".

It gets worse. At 53 minutes into the video, Veith trys to quote Eusebius Church Histoy / Ecclesiastical History from the Nicene Post-Nicene Fathers (NPNF) to show that the Sunday Sabbath is from the pagan religions. Since the entire material is online, I decided to verify the source and .... I cannot find this quote or anything like it at that particular book (5) and chapter (22), which in fact have as its title "The Bishops that were well known at this Time". I tried using the search engiene to scan for the words "ancient tradition" over the entire book but there is simply no record of such a passage being in Eusebius' Church History. It is therefore highly suspected that Veith gets this quote from a secondary source without checking. But regardless, the attempt to link Sunday worship with the pagan religions via Rome and Alexandra fails. Not to mention that such identification would still fall under the logical fallacy of Guilt by Association even if correct.

We can thus see that Veith's documentation is utterly horrendous and totally destroy his credability as a scholar. Not only does he misquotes and misrepresents the Ausberg Confession, he falsely attributes a statement to Eusebius' Church History. Also, he selectively quotes sources, with regards to the issue of the Protestant testimony, to prop up his thesis and therefore mislead others since the truth actually is contrary to his avowed thesis.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, it can be seen there are many serious scriptural, argumentation and documentaton errors in Walter Veith's 1½ hour presentation defending the SDA doctrine of the Seventh-Day Sabbath. The errors are in fact so serious and the argumentaton full of holes that the entire presentation has value only in showing us the typical arguments SDAs use to support their views.

And therefore to people who may be swayed by such presentation, I urge you to please not get caught up in the empty rhetoric by Walter Veith and other SDA apologists but instead logically analyze what they say and claim according to Scripture and proper documentation. Veith's presentation has been wighed and has been found wanting. In point of fact, his serious documentation errors has destroyed whatever credability he has with anyone who is serious in knowing the Truth.

10 comments:

blackreformingkid said...

Veith's exegesis is terribly flawed, as you have so keenly demonstrated thus far. The entire SDA theological system is built on two things - the prophethood of Ellen G. White and the Sabbath. With the those two lense, all SDAs read everything out of those glasses.

PuritanReformed said...

Doug,

yes, I have noticed that the one unquestionable authority the SDAs have is the prophetess status of Ellen G. White. Whatever she says is always correct, and all other doctrines and Scripture texts must be interpreted according to what she says. =)

Joel Tay said...

Hey. Walter Veith's Creation DVD series is not too bad when it comes to scientific evidence supporting a 6 24hour-day young-earth-creation.

PuritanReformed said...

Joel:

probably, but he is most definitely not trained in biblical studies, and makes a fool of himself in coming out with various conspiracy theories and defending SDA-ism

shui chong said...

Daniel,
I am interested in the official doctrinal positions of the Presbyterians, Congregationalist and the Baptists on the particular issue of the Sabbath and the Lord's Day. Could you please quote the Scripture verses that substantiate the official doctrine on the issue of the religious worship and the Sabbath Day.



How should I interpret the following verses:
-Mark 2:27,28 pertaining to the Lord's day
-Matthew 5:17-19, stating Christ'san command about changing the law (also Deut 4:2)

I would greatly appreciate your understanding of the Word of God in regard to the doctrinal position.

May the God of peace and His grace be with you,

S.C Tong

PuritanReformed said...

Shui Chong:

I have quoted the relevant parts of the reformed confessions wrt to the topic of the Sabbath. As for Scriptural proofs, you may wish to check out this website (http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html) which contains many of the Reformed creeds as well as the scriptural proofs which the framers of the creed had provided.

With regards to the verses, I do not exactly know where you are coming from. Mk. 2:27-28 talks about God making the Sabbath day rest for Man, not for us to add rules and regulations to burden ourselves and others to merit salvation so to speak. Mt. 5:17-19 is talking about the role of Jesus with regards to the Law, so again, I do not know where you are coming from in this.

You may further wish to check out my piece on the Sabbath issue here.

Unknown said...

Dude,

You are correct. Veith is an angry nut. I happen to believe Saturday is a good day on which to worship, however SDA's don't do Saturday Sabbath worshipers any favors! (of course Paul tells us not to pick on others' day of worship)

btw, check out a literal / lexical greek text on 1 Corinthians 16:2

(Concordant Literal Version)
CLV(i)16:2 On one of the sabbaths let each of you lay aside by himself in store that in which he should be prospered, that no collections may be occurring then, whenever I may come."

The book God's Eonian Purpose explains that translators took "one" and made it "first", and "sabbaths", and made it "day", to make "first Day"

Strong's G4521 = Sabbath
Strong's G3391 = One, (sometimes first, but if you look it up you'll find it is most often "one")

PuritanReformed said...

@Unknown:

1 Cor. 16:2
κατὰ μίαν σαββάτου ἕκαστος ὑμῶν παρ᾽ ἑαυτῷ τιθέτω θησαυρίζων ὅ τι ἐὰν εὐοδῶται, ἵνα μὴ ὅταν ἔλθω τότε λογεῖαι γίνωνται.

The phrase μίαν σαββάτου is idiomatic for "one from the Sabbath," as per Hebraistic usage. The genitive is a genitive of source.

Orlando Krippnerts said...

Hello Daniel,

this is Orlando. Thank you so very much for sharing your very detailed analysis and explanation of one of Walter Veith`s videos. I knew something was absolutely wrong with what he claims in the video but could not quite put my finger on it. As a lay person I do not have all the insights, just my gut feeling.

Daniel C said...

Hi Orlando,

you're welcome