The Synod of Dort’s Deliverance on the Sabbath

We speak with Daniel R. Hyde. Rev. Hyde is pastor of Oceanside URC in Oceanside, California. He has written an article examining the Synod of Dort’s doctrine of the Sabbath, titled “Regulae de Observatione Sabbathi: The Synod of Dort’s (1618–19) Deliverance on the Sabbath.” Originally written for The Puritan Reformed Journal, you can now find it on pages 173–184 of The Confessional Presbyterian Journal, Issue 12 (2016).

Books by Danny Hyde

Books on the Sabbath

Non-Sabbatarian Position:

  • Sunday by Willy Rordorf (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1968). This is a fantastic resource on the patristic doctrine and observance of the Lord’s Day.
  • From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical, Historical and Theological Investigation, ed. D. A. Carson (Wipf & Stock Pub, 2000). Richard Bauckham’s articles in this volume are excellent.

Sabbatarian Position:

  • The Confessional Presbyterian Journal, Issue 12 (2016)
  • Calvin and the Sabbath by Richard Gaffin (Mentor, 1998). Gaffin’s positive defense of the Sabbath is superb.
  • The True Doctrine of the Sabbath by Nicholas Bownde (Reformation Heritage, 2015).

Participants: , , ,

Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

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Glen Clary

3 years ago

This is why I assumed Dort required an evening service. The evening prayers (64) may not be referring to the Lord’s Day.

64. Since the evening prayers are in many places found to be fruitful, each church following this practice shall do what it deems to be most edifying. But whenever there is the desire to eliminate them, this shall not take place without the judgment of classis, together with that of the authority for the Reformed religion.

68. Ministers shall on each Lord’s Day, ordinarily in the afternoon sermons, briefly explain the sum of Christian doctrine contained in the catechism which at present is accepted in the Netherlands Churches in such a way that it may be completed annually, following the division of the catechism itself made for that purpose.


3 years ago

This was a helpful post. It may, however, prove beneficial to have a follow-up discussion on some practical matters. It is helpful that (1) we don’t get so lost in the weeds that we miss the big picture, and (2) we don’t approach the topic first asking “So what am I not allowed to do…” Thinking of the day like a Father’s Day – a day of worship – with a view to eternity is so helpful.

However, I would greatly benefit from hearing your train of thought as you think through various practical issues that might arise. Here are three scenarios I usually get from people who love God and just want to please Him on His day.

First, what do you say to the couple who, after a day filled with private, family, and corporate worship – both morning and evening – sit down together after the kids are asleep and wonder if they would be in sin to restfully watch thirty minutes of television before bed?

Second, how would you advise a family filled with young, energetic children? Can light recreation be a form of Sabbath rest-taking (in the service of worship) for children? Playing with toys, going to the park, or, if the weather is inclement, watching a cartoon could be things that either allow the child to exhaust his or her energy or to settle him or her down a bit, thus gearing them up for attending the evening service.

Finally, what advice have you for the youth pastor who meets with high schoolers each Sunday night? Should he avoid recreation and games, or can he, for example, take the youth group outside to toss Frisbee or a football after the lesson for group building?



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