The Christian and The Sabbath

Dr. Sam Waldron and Dr. Richard Barcellos discuss Tom Wells’ book, “The Christian and The Sabbath”.
Please read Dr. Barcellos’ comments on the MCTS Blog.



  1. johntjeffery · May 13, 2014

    Dr. Richard Barcellos (between 11 and 17 seconds into the video), speaking to Dr. Sam Waldron, “I know you haven’t read it. I haven’t read the whole thing. I’m about halfway through chapter two…” I wonder how these two gentlemen would feel about someone critiquing one of their works publicly after admitting that they had not read it? Was it too voluminous (141 pp.)? Was it not worth reading? If so, then why bother to produce the video critique? Were they too busy to read all 141 pages prior to producing this video, but not too busy to do the video itself? Quite frankly, if they either disrespect Tom Well’s and/or his views that much, or are that hasty in their rush to judgment of his publication, then I prefer to return the favor, and stop listening 17 seconds into the video. This is, in my humble opinion, unfair and unworthy of Christian leaders who have a reputation as scholars. Apparently later (that same year? the video appears to be undated other than “3 years ago”) in the Reformed Baptist Theological Review, Dr. Barcellos wrote a two part review article (7:1, Jan. 2010, pp. 81-93; and 7:2, Jul 2010, pp. 131-149) encompassing 33 pages. I would humbly suggest that they got the cart before the horse. Have whatever offline discussions you need to engage in, publish the review, then do your online interview, but do all of this after having done the honorable, respectful, and scholarly thing by at least reading the publication.

    • jm · May 14, 2014

      Hey John,

      Barcellos, Waldron and Wells are friends who have had continual dialogue on the subject. They know each other well and well enough to comment. I think that was also mentioned in the video. Still, I agree with Wells. I think it’s important to understand the Sunday Sabbatarian position before arguing against it so I thought the video for the benefit of the readers and myself.

      Peace brother,


      • johntjeffery · May 14, 2014

        jm: Yes, I was aware of their friendly relationships, and appreciate your reasons for posting it with which I agree. However, I stand by my criticisms, and feel that they should have been embarrassed over their admission enough to remove, or perhaps remake, the video interview.

      • jm · May 14, 2014

        Hey Brother, you will be happy to know he is following up his criticism and posted 5 articles on his blog for the first 5 chapters…and will continue to do so until finished.

      • johntjeffery · May 14, 2014

        jm: Thanks for the link. Hopefully some of those who watch their videos (or read the transcript) will not leave it at that, but will actually give Tom Wells a read!

  2. irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 13, 2014

    I have found no better expression and teaching on the Sabbath day, than the note from Exodus 20: 8, in the NIV Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible, with Richard Pratt, as General Editor. “The underlying idea in the word “sabbath” is that which completes a sequence . The seventh day is that which completes and perfects a series of days (Ge 1:1-2;3). It was the day on which Israel was to remember her place within God’s purposes for creation (v. 11; Gen. 2: 1-3). The Sabbath became the sign of the Sinai covenant (31: 13), as circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 17: 11). In Deuteronomy 5: 12-15 the Sabbath functioned as a reminder that God’s covenant people were saved from physical bondage unto rest. The Sabbath is a type of the rest Christ brings (Mt 11: 28; Col. 2: 16-17; Heb. 4: 1-13). See WCF 21. 7; 21. 8; WLC 117, 121; WSC 60.”

    • jm · May 14, 2014

      Excellent note.

      I recently contacted the editors of the Spirit of the Reformation Bible to see if they were going to re-release the Bible with a more conservative translation and they responded that it was hired work and did not own the copyright. Too bad. I would have loved to own it just for the chain references and confessional info.



      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 14, 2014

        Yes, I have an old black genuine/top grain leather of the SRB (2003), and the old NIV ’84 ain’t so bad, better than the New Living! But I have the latter too, in the NLT Study Bible, the scholars at Tyndale appear to be pretty good overall. And my wife likes and reads the latter also. But yes, I tend to the more literal “cognitive equivalence” translations!

      • johntjeffery · May 14, 2014

        irishanglican: Off topic to be sure, but you may be interested in a study I did on Acts 12:25 in which I concluded to my pleasant surprise that the NLT was the only translation that provided a reasonable solution based on sound principles of textual criticism and translation. FYI: Dr. Carson was one of the three scholars who worked on Acts for the NLT, but I suspect that Dr. Bock (who worked on Luke) may have had some influence on their decision here! Anyway, I posted my study on the church blog site at This is also available as a MS Word document if you would rather have it that way.

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 15, 2014

        Thanks John, when I get some real time I will look at it, (Acts 12: 25). I of course like Bock in places. As I noted, there are some good people who worked on the NLT, but I am just generally a word for word guy! And I read my Greek NT in the A.M. for my devotions! But generally, I read and study from the NASB Up-date, 95. But I also like the general reading nature of the ESV. But heck, I even have the newer NIV’12! So I read just about all of them, even the NRSV sometimes. But yes, always the KJV and the newer brother NKJV. The latter I actually give away for those that want to begin to memorize Holy Scripture! The cadence and beauty of the “Jimmy” is still there!

        Btw your “chapel” reminds me of many of the “Open” Brethren Chapels, in both the UK or Britain, as the US! My great-gram was an Irish PB. (Kelly Brethren, then later she went with the Open). I have of course a very special place for ‘the Brethren’! I love most their hymnology! And both JND, as William Kelly did translations of their own, Mr. Darby the whole Bible of course (which I have). And too, Kelly did the whole NT, (which I have also, in hardback). We don’t have men like these today, both scholars to some degree, but much more.. spiritual men! Btw, one of my blessings, was to meet and chat with F.F. Bruce before he died, we met in the great Manchester library (J.R.) after he retired. And yes, we chatted about “Brethrenism”! 😉

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 15, 2014

        *Make that the NIV’11, I always forget 12 or 11?

      • johntjeffery · May 15, 2014

        I think you told me about getting to sit down and chat with FFB just to make me jealous! Moments like those are to be treasured! What a privilege!

        On translations, I like to read the New English Bible from time to time, and value the Modern Language Bible, AKA The New Berkeley Version. They had a great translation team that included S. Lewis Johnson and many others, but never got the promotion outside of the scholarly world. It is still in print though, and I was able to get some copies recently for folks here for less than $10 (USA).

        On Wayside Gospel Chapel: I am really not sure where the charter members and trustees got the name from back in 1973. There are some Brethren chapels of the same name, including one in Canada. I attempted to correspond with them about this a few years ago, but must have been “closed” out! 🙂 I have friends and relatives who are brethren, and enjoy studying their history, and reading their writings. I have a nice leather bound Darby translation of the Scriptures. I think I may have sided with Newton though, so Darby and I would probably not have got along well.

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 21, 2014

        @John: It still amazes me that there has yet to be a critical and historical bio of John Nelson Darby! Quite an Anglo-Irish Christian, scholar, and too a very interior Christian. But surely a man of his time! And yes, quite too the early father of so-called Modern Dispensationalism! But, as Ryrie shows, he had a few who set some kind of path before him! The French Pierre Poiret, whose work l’Economie Divine was translated into English and published in London in 6 vol., in 1713. And also John Edwards (Calvinist minster of the CoE), as also Isaac Watts, scheme. But Darby’s prophetic, with other PB’s and other Christians that “National Israel” would come back into their land in unbelief, was simply “Biblical”! And even now there are many more Messianic Jews in Israel these days, some will no doubt create the line for the Jewish Remnant! My belief at least!

        The New English Bible was I believe the first real effort at a so-called dynamic-equivalence in translation. It had some good people also, C.H. Dodd (Convener), R.V.G. Tasker, T.W. Manson, C.F.D. Moule, G.D. Kilpatrick, for the NT. And H.H. Rowley for the Old. It has some good renderings, and some poor ones, however. But old T.S. Eliot sure did not like it! But he was a more High Church Anglican of course. I like the translation there of Phil. 2: 5-11 myself!

        Yes, “Bethernism” is basically spent, sadly, but this is the course of the whole church in modernity and now postmodernity! Always and only a “remnant” of God’s people remain, especially in this time of Gentile Apostasy. I still believe, as ‘the Brethren’, that Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy, is his Last Will & Testament!

      • johntjeffery · May 21, 2014

        @irishanglican – I would not think that the Brethren are “basically spent”, especially the “Open Brethren”, at least here in the USA. I have friends in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana with active congregations, and am in touch with publishing houses that seem to be doing well. For publishers see for example Gospel Folio Press at,and Believers Bookshelf at For the Assemblies in North America see

      • jm · May 21, 2014

        The closed Brethren are very active in my area. They hold outdoor tent meetings, hand out tracks, etc. They do come off cultish with the strict dress codes for ladies…you know, the fancy hats.

      • johntjeffery · May 21, 2014

        That first link should have been

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 21, 2014

        I was speaking “spent” as the best and formative of their history. I too have some friends in both the “Kelly” Brethren, and the Open. But sadly, they, ‘the Brethren’ are not what they were, or used to be! I have noted that some appear to be rather Arminian in doctrine and theology these days also. I spoke some time back at an American Open Chapel, and afterward a few brothers nicely said I was too “Calvinistic”, as to the doctrine of grace, for their tastes. I said I am a classic Anglican, and noted Article XVII, Of Predestination and Election, with of course Scripture. And of course they said that was Creedal! And I said yes, but hopefully biblical also! 😉 One brother did say I was rather “eclectic”, since I was Pre-Mill and dispensational friendly as a Calvinist, though my Post-trib was wrong. And I said we shall see in the end? 🙂

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 21, 2014

        Btw, but yes, I surely do believe this so-called dispensation and economy will end in basic Gentile Apostasy, save for the remnant of God’s grace, in both the Church and Israel! This is the essence of Matt. 24!

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 21, 2014

        And it is here that I would come close to J.N. Darby’s position of the “ruin” of the visible and historic church at the end of the age! Thus, as Paul’s revelation in 2 Tim. 2: 20-21, the church age will end with the church in basic “dishonor”, and “dishonorable use”! Chapter 3 also shows the nature of this church, (2 Tim. 3: 5, etc.)

    • johntjeffery · May 14, 2014

      It is noteworthy that the author of this note recognized that:

      1. The Sabbath was the “sign of the Sinai covenant”; and,

      2. “The Sabbath is a type of the rest Christ brings”.

      The significance of these admissions is:

      1. The seventh day Sabbath is the sign of a covenant no longer in force (Eph. 2:15; 2 Cor. 3:13; Col. 2:14).

      We must ask, therefore,

      1) “What covenant is the basis for our relationship to God?”

      We may also ask the correlative questions,

      2) “Why would we be required to observe a day that is the sign of a covenant no longer in force, and that we therefore are not under the administration of?”

      3) “Is it any more reasonable to demand observance of the Sabbath under the New Covenant than of the sign of the Abrahamic covenant, i.e. circumcision?”

      2. It is precisely as a type or a shadow that the Sabbath is dealt with in the New Testament as something the Church under the New Covenant is prohibited from being in subjection to (Col. 2:16-17; Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 4:9-11).

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 15, 2014

        @John: You have blown the door off the hinges! 😉 Right-on! And yet, our Messianic Christian friends, as the Messianic Jews, stand more like the transitional place we see in the Book of Acts, don’t they. And even of course some Reformed, with their so-called Christian “Sabbath”. And then of course Roman Catholicism, as many EO too, are a “Judaization” to say the least!

      • johntjeffery · May 15, 2014

        @irishanglican: regarding the falsely so-called “Christian” Sabbath – It boggles my mind when folks can speak out of one side of their mouth concerning “eternal moral law”, and not a jot or a tittle passing away until heaven and earth do, and out of the other side of their mouth “the day changed and the principle retained” (A. A. Hodge)!!!

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 21, 2014

        Aye John, that’s some kind of “exegesis” (so-called) there! And btw, I think of Hodge’s debate with John Williamson Nevin, on the Lord’s Supper… Princeton verse Mercersburg! And of course the more conservative-looking Princeton won! But of course Calvin’s own view of the Holy Eucharist was NOT Hodge’s, not even close! One can see this today, i.e. the great lack of the spiritual, biblical and theological place of the Lord’s Supper in the general Reformed, or perhaps I should say the Presbyterians! Though I am aware of the FV movemant, the “Federal Vision”, which of course as an Anglican I am somewhat closer to! Though I do believe in the Federal view of “righteousness”!

        *See: The book: The Mystical Presence, A Vindication Of The Reformed Or Calvinistic Doctrine Of The Holy Eucharist, by John Williamson Nevin! (My copy, Wipf and Stock, 2000) Also, D.G. Hart’s book/bio: John Williamson Nevin, High Church Calvinist, (P&R 2005), was a nice read!

    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 21, 2014

      @jm: I believe in the Pauline doctrine of the “head covering”, very biblical! (1 Cor. 11:2-16) I don’t see how the so-called modern Evangelical Church’s miss this?

      • jm · May 21, 2014

        …do any Anglicans wear head coverings?

      • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 22, 2014

        Yes, I have seen some High Church Anglican types with some women covered, but it is not a major affair however. Of course some conservative and traditional Catholic women still wear “coverings”. It’s simply “biblical”, though of course not popular today!

      • johntjeffery · May 23, 2014

        So do I, and I preach it as such from 1 Cor. 11. How they miss it is by attempts to render it cultural despite the 3-fold indicators in context that render this attempt exegetically warrantless. Anytime we are dealing with the Scriptures, and conclude that something does not apply to us we better be sure that we are on very good ground. There is no exegetical or contextual ground for any such conclusion on this issue in 1 Cor. 11:2-16.

        Here are a couple of my points from a sermon on this passage preached in 2010:

        I. The Sign of Headship (11:4-6)
        1. The Sign of the Uncovered head (11:4)
        Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head
        What does “uncovered” mean?
        2. The Sign of the Covered head (11:5-6)
        [5] But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered
        dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
        [6] For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn:
        but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
        What is the “covering”? What is required here?
        cp. vv. 7, 10
        contrast vs. 15 with vv. 5-6 trans. as if “shaved” = “uncovered”
        What is on your head?
        Many, if not most, of those who teach this passage relegate this requirement to the culture of the First Century. Which culture? Jewish culture, where the men to this day pray and teach with their heads covered? Gentile culture where both men and women do so with their heads uncovered? Both were very much present in the extremely diverse culture of Corinth which was like the New York City of its day as a “melting pot” of the Mediterranean world. 
        II. The Bases for the Sign of Headship (11:7-16)
        1. The Creation Order (11:7-9)
        [7] For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.
        [8] For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.
        [9] Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.
        Genesis 1:26-27
        Genesis 5:1
        Genesis 9:6
        Genesis 2:18
        Genesis 2:21-23
        1 Tim. 2:13
        Proverbs 12:4
        This is not about culture or legalism!
        2. The Angels (11:10)
        [10] For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
        Consider the cherubim and the seraphim in the Temple, and above the Throne in Glory!
        This is not about culture, it is not culturally relative, and neither is it an example of legalism!
        3. The Sovereignty of God (11:11-12)
        [11] Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman,
        neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.
        [12] For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman;
        but all things of God.
        Galatians 3:28
        2 Cor. 5:18
        Romans 11:36
        This is not a cultural issue! This is not a legalistic requirement!
        4. The Natural Order (11:13-15)
        [13] Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
        [14] Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
        [15] But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.
        What is long hair? When is hair to be considered short?
        Answer the question for yourselves, judge in yourselves.
        Either you know the answer to these questions, or the Bible is wrong!
        5. The Universal Teaching in the Churches (11:16)
        [16] But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom,
        neither the churches of God.
        1 Cor. 7:17
        1 Tim. 6:3-4
        2 Thes. 1:4
        1 Thes. 2:14
        1 Cor. 10:32
        There is no other option! This does not vary church by church, or cultural situation by cultural situation. It is the same no matter where you go, or when you live!

        And, yes, there are ladies here who wear head coverings!

  3. johntjeffery · May 14, 2014

    irishanglican: Thank you for directing my attention to that note. It expresses something that many fail to understand, and deny in practice. May I attempt to return the favor by passing something along to you that you may find useful if you are not already aware of it?

    Heidelberg Catechism, Lords Day 38
    Q103: What does God require in the fourth Commandment?
    A103: In the first place, God wills that the ministry of the Gospel and schools be maintained,[1] and that I, especially on the day of rest, diligently attend church [2] to learn the Word of God,[3] to use the holy sacraments,[4] to call publicly upon the Lord,[5] and to give Christian alms.[6] In the second place, that all the days of my life I rest from my evil works, allow the Lord to work in me by His Spirit, and thus begin in this life the everlasting sabbath.[7]
    1. Titus. 1:5; I Tim. 3:14 15; 4:13 14; 5:17; I Cor. 9:11, 13 14
    2. II Tim. 2:2, 15; Psa. 40:10 11; 68:26; Acts 2:42, 46
    3. I Cor. 14:19, 29, 31
    4. I Cor. 11:33
    5. I Tim. 2:1 2, 8 10; I Cor. 14:16
    6. I Cor. 16:2
    7. Isa. 66:23; Gal. 6:6; Acts 20:7; Heb. 4:9 10

    I am indebted to Andrew T. Lincoln for drawing my attention to this worthy expression of the New Testament teaching concerning the Sabbath. See his article, “Sabbath Rest, and Eschatology in the New Testament” in From Sabbath to Lords Day: A Biblical, Historical and Theological Investigation, ed. D. A. Carson (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1999), pp. 216-217 – “…the theology of the New Testament writers in relation to the Sabbath rest and the Lords Day did not include the transference of the rest of the seventh day to rest on the first day. From the perspective of their theology perhaps the best exposition of what the injunction to rest of the fourth commandment now means for the believer remains that of the Heidelberg Catechism….Such a theology suggests that as Christian believers meet together on the Lords Day, they will commemorate the true Sabbath rest Christ has brought through His death and resurrection, and under the Word of God and through mutual exhortation, they will be encouraged to continue in this rest so that their participation in its eschatological fullness will be assured.”

    • irishanglican ~ Fr. Robert · May 14, 2014

      Yes, John, that’s about the way I see it also! “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, to whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” (Heb. 4: 9-10, ESV)

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