The church has historically been divided on the issue of the Sabbath. Many Jewish Christians in the first century desired to hold on to their Jewish traditions and festivals while not impressing them upon Gentile believers. There were also many Gentile Christians who regarded themselves as free from the Sabbath either because it was a strictly Jewish law, or they considered it only a shadow of a greater reality that is fulfilled in Christ.1 Both of these positions are evident in Paul’s letter to the Romans, and he discusses them in verses 14:5-6: “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord.”
Despite these differences, the church has uniformly always believed that it should practice congregational worship on Sunday, titled the Lord’s Day, rather than on the seventh-day Jewish Sabbath. Even the Christian Jews who desired to continue practicing the Sabbath would still practice congregational worship on the Lord’s Day. Sunday was called the Lord’s Day because it was the day in which Jesus’ resurrection occurred. The church has also historically believed that there was an eschatological fulfillment of the Sabbath. Though Christians may have differed concerning the extent of the Sabbath in this life, they all agreed that the Sabbath, in some way, pointed to a greater rest that was found in God.2
The proper understanding of the Sabbath for Christians is not a trivial matter. How one understands the Sabbath will serve as a microcosm of much larger issues pertaining to the nature of the worshipping community of Christ.3 Though the Lord’s Day being the day of worship has been the general practice of the church since the first century, there have been numerous groups or denominations throughout history that have sought to reinstate the Jewish Sabbath as the day of worship for Christians.
The Sabbath in Judaism
It is very difficult for Christians to come to a solid understanding of the role of the Sabbath in the Christian church without first understanding the role of the Sabbath in early Judaism. The commandment to keep the Sabbath was the fourth of the Ten Commandments (10 words) in Judaism. Drawing from creation, the fourth commandment was instituted by God as a means for providing his people with rest.4 In addition to rest, the Sabbath was also established to provide the Israelites with a day that could be devoted to worship. God was teaching his people to be dependent on him as he commanded every man, woman, child, and beast to rest on the Sabbath. This idea of dependency did not begin with the giving of the Ten Commandments, but was also demonstrated in Exodus 16:21-23.5 In Exodus 16:21-26, Moses tells the reader that God provided manna for the people six days a week, with twice as much on the sixth day. However, on the seventh day, God did not provide them with any food. This practice was meant to train the Jews in their dependence and faith in the Lord.
The Sabbath law was not only applied towards every seventh day of the week, it was also applied to every seventh year as well.6 The Sabbath principle includes a seventh-year rest for the land, which implies the necessity of allowing people, land, and even the nation’s economy to heal. No other gods in the ancient Near East gave Sabbaths to their followers.7Nahum Sarna in his Jewish commentary on Exodus writes,
The Sabbath is wholly an Israelite innovation. There is nothing analogous to it in the entire ancient Near Eastern world…the Sabbath is the sole exception to the otherwise universal practice of basing all the major units of time-months and seasons, as well as years-on the phase of the moon and solar cycle…This singularity, together with Creation as the basis for the institution, express the quintessential idea of Israel’s monotheism…8
The uniqueness of the Sabbath is important to understand as one transitions between considering the role of the Sabbath in Jewish practice to the role of the Sabbath in historical Christianity.
The Sabbath During the Apostolic Church
The apostles and even Christ himself considered the Sabbath an institution that pointed to something greater. Jesus states in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Any Jew who heard these words from Jesus would have immediately equated rest from work with the Sabbath. However, in Jesus’s words, we find him asserting that he is the full rest and not the Jewish Sabbath.
The apostle Paul also makes this clear in Colossians 2:16-17, “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” The apostle Paul encourages believers not to get preoccupied with festivals or Sabbath days. He acknowledges that Christ ordained these days, but the intent was never for them to be permanent. They were shadows of a greater reality, specifically Jesus himself. This is the truth that Paul is laboring to present throughout the entire letter. If a banner could be placed over the doorpost of the Colossian church, Paul would like it to say, “Christ is better.” As this text is considered in light of this, it is clear that Paul is trying to drive home the same reality that the writer of Hebrews is.
Hebrews 3:7-11 states:
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
Throughout the wanderings of Israel, the Promised Land was anticipated to be the place of rest awaiting them, a land free of slave labor and filled with “milk and honey” (Ex. 3:8). It was in this land that Israel was going to receive rest from their labors. It was also in this land that God would grant them a grace called the Sabbath day. There were other religions that practiced Sabbath days but “no precedent in the Ancient Near East exists for a seven-day cycle with the seventh day consistently set aside as a holy day.”9 Since the fall, God cursed work and labor to make it more strenuous. Due to this reality, labor was difficult and hard in the Ancient Near-East. However, God desired for the Israelites to stand out and so he not only led them into a land of rest, but he gave them a day of rest every week as well.
Hebrews 3:7-11 refers back “to the classic failure of Israel at Kadesh Barnea which led to their 40-year wondering in the wilderness.”10 The first generation of Israelites did not enter the rest in the Promise Land of Cannon or the Eschatological rest of the new heavens and the new earth.
Hebrews 3:12-4:7, carries the argument that if these current Jewish Christians return back to Judaism, like the Israelites of old, they should not expect to enter the rest of God. Their wandering, however, will not be like the wandering of the ancient Israelites in the physical desert. The wandering of these Jews would be an eternal wandering in a much worse desert. A desert that is heated by God’s wrath, a desert called hell.
The writer of Hebrews continues his understanding of the Sabbath in Hebrews 4:6-7:
Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”
The author appeals to the logic of Psalm 95 as he considers the eschatological significance of the rest of God. He considers the fact that David speaks of a current and future rest in Psalm 95:7 when he says “today.” The author’s logic is that David would not have said today if he was referring to the rest Joshua was bringing the people into in the land of Canaan. David obviously had another kind of rest in mind. The greatest evidence of this is that God is still saving sinners, he is still extending his grace to all those who repent. Therefore, since God is still offering his rest, and Israel already occupied the Land of Canaan, another rest must be in mind here. It is this “other” rest that the author of Hebrew will seek to explain. Ultimately, it is a rest that has eschatological fulfillment.
Hebrews 4:8-13 states:
For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two- edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrew 4:8-13 is full of typological significance that is easily missed in English translations. In the original Greek manuscripts, the names Joshua and Jesus are the same name. The NICNT Commentary on Hebrews states, “The parallel between the Old Testament ‘Jesus,’ who led his followers into the earthly Canaan, and Jesus the Son of God, who leads the heirs of the new covenant into their heavenly inheritance, is a prominent theme of early Christian typology.”11
Verse 10 is a critical verse, “for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” The author of Hebrews explains the nature of fulfillment concerning the rest of God in the Old Testament. As the people of God rested from their works on the seventh day, those in Christ rest from their works, which were done to try and please the Lord. Again, the word used in Genesis 2 for rest is more closely defined as ceased than literal rest. God did not rest after creation, he simply stopped creating. What this text is teaching is that the same way that God ceased from working and continued his rest in Trinitarian peace, Christians enter this state in part now and fully in the eschaton. This reality is expounded on more fully in Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer found in John 17. The meaning of this text must carry eschatology fulfillment because Jesus tells us that there will be great suffering for Christians on this side of eternity (Matt. 10:34). There is also much work to be done for the Christian pertaining to the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20). Jesus has also said that full rest comes in future glory (Rev. 21:4, Rev. 22:1-5).
The apostle John in his Revelation also presents a fulfillment view of the Sabbath. Revelation 21:1-4 states,
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Revelation 21:1-4 speaks about a coming day where the chaotic cosmos will finally experience peace or shalom. The idea of peace reigning rather than chaos can be found in the conclusion of the first verse where Paul writes, “and the sea was no more.” In the early churches’ mind, there would have been a clear understanding that the sea symbolized danger and chaos. In Revelation 20:14, hell is referred to as a lake of fire. Earlier in Revelation 20 the beast and the false prophet are thrown into a lake of fire, as well. Daniel 7:3 refers to a beast coming from the sea and even the Gospels reference how dangerous the sea could be in the midst of a storm.12 All of these realities lead to the idea that the absence of the sea here would bring the ideas of peace into the mind of the early readers. The text goes on to inform that the new Jerusalem would come down from the heavens in preparation for the great wedding day between Christ and his church. The most critical part of this passage that deals with the Sabbath is found in verse 3 and 4. God is going to once again dwell with people and in so doing, redeemed humanity will enter into the rest of God fully. The rest and peace that this passage is illustrating is a rest beyond anything Christians can experience prior to the eschaton. Revelation 21:4 tells us that this state of rest and peace will be such a state that there will be no crying, pain, death, nor mourning of any kind. The Apostolic Fathers clearly believed that this eschatological rest was the fulfillment of the Sabbath command.
The Sabbath in the Early Church
Though the early church did not unanimously agree on whether or not the Sabbath should be done away with completely, they did agree that Sunday should be the new day of worship. The early church supported this by appealing to Sunday as being the day in which Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Justin Martyr who lived from 100 AD-165 AD wrote:
“And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things … But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead…”13
They believed that the Jewish Sabbath was tied to the seventh day rest of God in Creation. However, they also believed that the seventh day rest of the Lord pointed to something greater than the Sabbath rest of Israel.
The first chapter of Genesis explains that creation was made in six days. On the first day, Yahweh spoke and said, “Let there be light” and there was light. Over the course of the next several days, God created the material world. God’s creation was complete on the sixth day as he created humanity. Mankind was made in the likeness of God with the intention of them operating as vice-regents of the Lord God. The first chapter of Genesis explains the creative work of God in bringing forth the material universe. The first and most critical text in understanding the Sabbath is Genesis 2:1-3.
Genesis 2:1-3 tells the reader that after completing his work of creation, God rested on the Seventh day. It is critical to recognize in this text that the rest that is being entered into is not being entered into by Adam or Eve but by God. Furthermore, the rest that describes the state of God is not the same kind of rest humans experience after a long day of work. The NIV Application Commentary Commentary states,
“In summary, the lexical information suggests that the seventh day is marked by God’s ceasing the work of the previous six days and by his setting into the stability of the cosmos he created, perhaps experiencing refreshment as he did so. By blessing it, he extends his favor to it.”14
From the first to the sixth day of creation, Scripture concludes the day by saying, “…and there was evening and there was morning.” In Genesis 2:1-3, as God enters his rest, there is no mention of the conclusion of the day. In the Jewish mind, evening and morning symbolized the beginning and completion of a day. This is omitted in Genesis 2 because the rest that God entered was not a temporal rest limited by a single day. Rather, God entered a perpetual state of rest. God re-entered the rest that he had experienced before beginning any act of work/creation. Once God’s work was done, all things were set according to his providence. With his creation complete, God rested from his active labors of creating.
This rest of God was not something intending to simply point to the later Sabbath day command though the Sabbath would operate as a symbol. The rest of God in Genesis 2:1-3 was an eschatological type whose anti-type is Christ whose rest is inaugurated at conversion and complete in glorification.15 The blessing of the seventh day and the sanctifying of it was never intended to be interpreted as a “setting apart for a Sabbath day”. The blessing and consecration of the seventh day rest of God was always meant to be interpreted in light of the reality that the seventh day marked the first day that God ceased from active work in creating and returned to Trinitarian rest in the midst of the created order. Prior to creation, the godhead communed in perfect unity and rest alone. After God spoke all things into creation, the rest and communing of God was now shared with the creaturely. The seventh day was truly a holy and blessed day because it pointed to a new order of things. The Creator had now created and extended his peace beyond Himself. Ignatius and many other church fathers believed that the Sabbath was a temporal institution that pointed beyond itself to this.
The Apostolic church father Ignatius of Antioch is an example of this belief as he writes to the Magnesians:
Be Not deceived with strange doctrines, Be not deceived with strange doctrines, nor with old fables, which are unprofitable. For if we still live according to the Jewish law, we acknowledge that we have not received grace. For the divinest prophets lived according to Christ Jesus. On this account also they were persecuted, being inspired by His grace to fully convince the unbelieving that there is one God, who has manifested Himself by Jesus Christ His Son, who is His eternal Word, not proceeding forth from silence, and who in all things pleased Him that sent him. If therefore, those who were conversant with the ancient Scriptures came to newness of hope…Let us therefore no longer keep the Sabbath after the Jewish manner…But let everyone keep the Sabbath after a spiritual manner, rejoicing in meditation on the law, not in relaxation of the body, admiring the workmanship of God, and not eating things prepared the day before, nor using lukewarm drinks, and walking within a prescribed space, nor finding delight in dancing and plaudits which have no sense in them. And after the observance of the Sabbath, let every friend of Christ keep the Lord’s Day a festival, the resurrection-day, the queen and chief of all the days [of the week]…On which our life both sprang up again, and the victory over death was obtained in Christ…”16
We can see from Ignatius’ letter that he, like Paul, had to write against Judaizers in the church. For Ignatius, a disciple of the Apostle John, enforcing the Jewish Sabbath was no different than enforcing other Old Testament Jewish laws upon the New Covenant people of God. This same idea, of worship taking place on Sunday is also seen in the Didache, a Christian document dated towards the end of the first century. In verse 14 it states, “On every Lord’s Day—his special day—come together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure.”17
Eusebius was an early Christian historian who lived in the 4th century. In his work Ecclesiastical History, he writes about the early churches’ practice concerning the Jewish Sabbath as well as other Jewish laws:
For that which the name indicates, that the Christian man, through the knowledge and the teaching of Christ, is distinguished for temperance and righteousness, for patience in life and manly virtue, and for a profession of piety toward the one and only God over all—all that was zealously practiced by them not less than by us. They did not care about circumcision of the body, neither do we. They did not care about observing Sabbaths, nor do we. They did not avoid certain kinds of food, neither did they regard the other distinctions which Moses first delivered to their posterity to be observed as symbols; nor do Christians of the present day do such things. But they also clearly knew the very Christ of God; for it has already been shown that he appeared unto Abraham, that he imparted revelations to Isaac, that he talked with Jacob, that he held converse with Moses and with the prophets that came after.18
The Sabbath During the Middle Ages
In the early Middle Ages, the Lord’s Day became a new Sabbath. This occurred due to two factors. First, the church began to see greater exegetical continuity between the Old and New Covenants. The second reason was due to ecclesiastical authority. The church considered the Lord’s Day as a divinely instituted day just like the Old Testament Sabbath. During this time the church also began to divide the Mosaic Law into three categories. The Mosaic Law was broken down into the civil, ceremonial, and moral laws. Though the early church considered the Sabbath a ceremonial law that was no longer binding, the church of the Middle Ages considered the Sabbath a moral law since it was placed within the Ten Commandments.19
The great theologian from the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas wrote:
The Jews kept holy the Sabbath in memory of the first creation; but Christ at His coming brought about a new creation. For by the first creation an earthly man was created, and by the second a heavenly man was formed: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision is worth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” [Gal 6:15]. This new creation is through grace, which came by the Resurrection: “That as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, so shall we also be in the likeness of His resurrection” [Rm 6:4-5]. And thus, because the Resurrection took place on Sunday, we celebrate that day, even as the Jews observed the Sabbath on account of the first creation.20
Thomas Aquinas believed that the Sabbath carried elements of both the ceremonial and the moral law. The Sabbath was ceremonial in that it was instituted as a reminder of God’s rest on the seventh day after creating the earth. He argued that Sunday was the new Sabbath as it commemorated the new creation. Secondly, Aquinas believed that the Sabbath is a moral law since it was placed within the Decalogue. Therefore, according to Aquinas, the Sabbath remains but is transferred to the Lord’s Day and is therefore obligatory.21
The Sabbath During the Reformation
Aquinas’ position on the Sabbath became the general staple up until the Reformation. For the Reformer John Calvin, the ceremonial aspects of the Sabbath command no longer applied to the Christian. Therefore, the day in which the Sabbath was practiced did not matter. However, Calvin did believe that the Sabbath was still morally binding and he describes its intent this way,
The Lord ordained a certain day on which his people might, under the tutelage of the law, practice constant meditation upon spiritual rest. And he assigned the seventh day, either because he foresaw that it would be sufficient; or that, by providing a model in his own example, he might better arouse the people; or at least point out to them that the Sabbath had no other purpose than to render them conformable to their Creator’s example. Which interpretation we accept makes little difference, provided we retain the mystery that is principally set forth: that of perpetual repose from our labors.22
Calvin saw the fulfillment of the Sabbath as a moral law, being found in spiritual meditation and rest. For Calvin, and ultimately the reformers, the Sabbath was much more of a spiritual fulfillment and the actual day in which it took place did not matter much. What mattered were the heart’s intent and the spiritual state of the believer. Calvin did not follow Aquinas’s idea that the Lord’s Day was a continuation of the Sabbath. Rather, Calvin went back and recaptured the early churches notion that the Sabbath was done away as a set day and the Lord’s Day was a separate institution built upon the Resurrection of Christ. Ultimately, Calvin saw the Sabbath as being fulfilled in Christ and the Lord’s Day being a day to worship and the eschatological hope that Christ’s resurrection brings. Calvin concludes his commentary on the Sabbath command by stating:
However, the ancients did not substitute the Lord’s Day for the Sabbath without careful discrimination. The purpose and fulfillment of that true rest, represented by the ancient Sabbath, lies in the Lord’s resurrection. Hence, by the very dat that bought the shadows to an end, Christians are warned not to cling to the shadow rite. Nor do I cling to the number “seven” so as to bind the church in subjection to it…We are to meditate throughout life upon an everlasting Sabbath rest from all our works, that the Lord may work in us without shadows.23
For Calvin, Christians are no longer obliged to keep a weekly day of rest; relaxation of that demand however should not be understood as abrogating the fourth commandment but as intensifying and elevating its demands.24 After some time, the Puritans re-adopted the idea of the Sabbath being binding upon Christians. Question 59 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism states:
Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?
From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath.25
Question 60 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism states:
How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?
The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.26
In the next post we will look at the most popular views of the Sabbath that are practiced currently. We will look at the Lord’s Day Sabbath (Sunday Sabbatarian) position, The 7th Day Adventist position, and the Sabbath as eschatalogical fulfillment position. In the third and fourth (final) post I will interact with the views exegetically. I hope to show the various weaknesses and strengths of each view and finally conclude with which view I believe is most faithful to Scripture. This article will be longest of the four.
You can read the full articles in the series by following the Links Below.
You can follow me on Twitter @KyleJamesHoward. Also, check out my podcast “Coram Deo Podcast” which focuses on issues concerning Biblical Counseling and Practical Theology. You can search for podcast on any major podcast catcher, listen on the web here, follow updates @CoramDeoPodcast, or just click the artwork below.
D A. Carson, ed., From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Investigation (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1999), 255.
Charles P. Arand, Perspectives On the Sabbath: 4 Views (Nashville, Tenn.: B & H Academic, 2011), 3.
Nahum M. Sarna, Exodus =: [shemot], The Jps Torah Commentary (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1991), np.
John H. Walton and general editor, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009), 23.
Hodges, Z. C. (1985). Hebrews. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck, Ed.) (Heb 3:7–11). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997), 109.
James M. Hamilton and Jr, Revelation: the Spirit Speaks to the Churches (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2012), 383.
Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A Cleveland Coxe, eds., Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.d. 325, vol. 1, The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994), 186.
11 John Walton, Genesis: from Biblical Text… to Contemporary Life (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2001), 147.
Hebrews 3-4 NASB
Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A Cleveland Coxe, eds., Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers Down to A.d. 325, vol. 1, The Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994), 62-63.
Joseph Lumpkin, The Didache: the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles: a Different Faith — a Different Salvation (Blountsville, AL: Fifth Estate, Incorporated, 2012), 95.
Alexander Roberts et al., eds., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Second Series (The Early Church Fathers, Second Series, So14), vol. 1, Eusebius: Church History, Life of Constantine the Great, and Oration in Praise of Constantine (Grand Rapids, MI: Hendrickson Pub, 1996), 87.
D A. Carson, ed., From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Investigation (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1999), 304-305.
Thomas Aquinas, The Explanation of The Ten Commandments, trans. Joseph B. Collins, (New York, 1939) Article 5.
D A. Carson, ed., From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Investigation (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1999), 306.
Jean Calvin, Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John Mcneill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, vol. 1, Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, [2001?]), 397.
Richard B. Gaffin, Calvin and the Sabbath (Fearn, Ross-shire: Mentor, 1998), 142.
Westminster Divines, The Westminster Shorter Catechism (2010), Question 59.
From a gang-member and professional rapper to a preacher and theologian, Kyle J. Howard has experienced Sovereign Grace and has dedicated his life to proclaiming it to others. Born into a multi-ethnic family of attorneys, Kyle was trained in rhetoric from an early age in preparation to one day take over the family law firm. However, when Kyle entered into his teen years, he rebelled against his family upbringing. At 15, Kyle became a member of a very violent gang known as the Crips. At 18, and shortly before signing a hip-hop recording contract, Kyle was radically converted to Christianity. Since then, Kyle has devoted his life to serving the church through the various gifts God has given him. Since 2012, Kyle has attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. At Southern, he has received an Associates in Biblical & Theological Studies, a Bachelors in Biblical Counseling, and is currently finishing up his Advanced Masters of Divinity in the field of Historical Theology. Kyle primarily serves the church as a Christian counselor and writer. Kyle provides a broad range of counseling services, but has begun focusing on providing soul care for Christians who are experiencing racial trauma. In his writing, Kyle has largely focused on issues concerning ethnic and racial reconciliation in the church. Along with counseling Christians struggling with trauma, Kyle has also begun coming alongside other counselors and majority culture churches and helping them cultivate ethnic and cultural sensitivity within their own counseling ministries. Kyle serves faithfully in his local church and has been married to his high school sweat heart (Vy) for ten years. They currently have three children. Kyle can be heard on his weekly podcast which is called the Coram Deo Podcast, read through his many articles at www.kylejhoward.com, or followed on Twitter @kylejameshoward.