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    March 3, 1909

    “Church Federation—V. The Federation and the Sabbath” The Medical Missionary, 18, 9, pp. 167-170.

    ATJ

    ALONZO T. JONES

    IN respect of the Sabbath, the other blessed institution from Eden, the Federation of Churches goes astray equally as in respect to marriage. The Federation claims that Sunday is the Sabbath; and then upon this claims that Sunday as the Sabbath or rest day is a church-affair, which indeed is true as regards Sunday, and then the Federation wants to compel all who are not of the church to observe this day which is of the church. But if it be of the church, none but those who are of the church have any right to observe it, or could observe it even were they to try.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 167.1

    Yet here the church not only perverts God’s order, but reverses her own order as regards marriage. Marriage, as we have seen, being properly within the jurisdiction of the State, the church in claiming it forces herself over into the realm and jurisdiction of the State. With respect to the Sabbath or a day of rest, which never in any sense can be within the purview of the State, but pertains only to God, the church, in claiming it as hers, drags the State over into her realm to do by force of the State the office of the church in securing the observance of the church’s day.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 167.2

    But since the Sabbath, or a day of rest, as it is in truth, pertains solely to God and the individual, and belongs neither to the church nor to the State, the church in seeking to drag the State over into her place, seeks in reality to put both herself and the State in the place and jurisdiction of God. The Sabbath is “the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.” It is the Lord’s day; not the church’s day, nor the State’s day. “The Sabbath was made for man;” not for the church, nor for the State. Its observance is by the individual, and unto God alone; not unto the church nor unto the State.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 167.3

    The Sabbath and its observance lies wholly between the individual and God. Its observance is wholly by the individual unto God, and this through persuasion in the mind of the individual. And so it is written: “One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.” Romans 14:5, 6.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 167.4

    This scripture does not say that all days are alike; it only says that “one man” or “another, esteemeth every day alike”; and when he does this the matter is wholly between him and God, and he is responsible only to God for not esteeming one day above another as the Lord has ordained. All days are not alike. God has selected, and has reserved to Himself, and has distinguished, and set apart, this day, from all other days, as His own, and to be devoted to Him. This day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. It is the Lord’s day. This day is the seventh, as designated in the Fourth Commandments, and in the Scriptures throughout.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 167.5

    The observance of this day is wholly unto the Lord. Whosoever will regard the day regards it unto the Lord, or else there is no regard in it. The regard of the day pertains neither to the church nor to the State, but to the Lord only; and this by the individual, “one man,” and by this one man’s being “fully persuaded in his own mind”—not by force of statute, or police, or court, or prosecution of the State; not by decree, or canon, or creed, or resolution, or persecution, of the church; but only by persuasion in his own mind.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 167.6

    And the only office of the church in relation to the observance of a day is just what her office is with reference to everything else, just what her office is in the world; that is, to “persuade men”; to persuade men to be reconciled to God; to persuade men to believe in Christ and thus to know God; to persuade men to worship God; to persuade men to esteem the day which God has established and ordained; to persuade men to regard this day unto the Lord and to worship Him on that day according as He has ordained. And whosoever can not, and will not, be thus “persuaded in his own mind,” then his responsibility is solely to God, and not to the church nor to the State in any way or upon any ground or plea whatsoever.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 168.1

    Such is the Scripture ground and truth and teaching, as respects the observance of a day. But such is not the ground nor the teaching of the Federation of Churches as regards Sunday observance. Such is not the ground or the teaching of any single church composing the Federation as regards Sunday observance. From the beginning of the great apostasy immediately following the days of the apostles, when and by which Sunday was substituted for the Sabbath, the professed church has claimed governmental authority and has required that men shall render to her under force of her authority, that which is to be, and which can be, rendered only to God by persuasion and conviction from God in the mind of the individual.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 168.2

    In other words the church in all this time and by his procedure has put herself in the place of God, and by force of compact, creed, canon, and persecution, has required that men shall render to her what is due to God alone personally and direct from the individual in faith and conscience. And when the authority and force which thus she could muster proved insufficient, then she would seize upon the power and force of the State to make her will effective. And this Federation of Churches now, in this matter of the observance of a day, as in other things, is following strictly in, the steps of the original great apostasy.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 168.3

    In the report on “Sunday Observance” that was made and adopted in the Council, the Federation of Churches recognized in principle that the observance of a day is due to the Lord. For it said “we are first to remember that the proper observance of the Lord’s day is an obligation we owe to the Lord.” And yet instead of leaving people to observe the day to the Lord, this same Council advocates force and legislation by the State to compel people to observe the day to the State; or the rather thus to compel people by the State to observe the day unto the church, according to the will and direction of the church which she will have to dominate in and through the State. And thus after the example of the original great apostasy this Federation of Churches as the one united church, with herself in the seat of sovereignty, puts both the State and herself in the place of God to the people.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 168.4

    And to put herself in the place of God seems so natural to the Federation that, as indicated in the first article of this series, she seems totally oblivious of all thought of incongruity in it. For in the report on “Sunday Observance” the Federation sets forth this supremely arrogant statement:MEDM March 3, 1909, page 168.5

    “We have no objection to reading the commandment: “Remember that you keep holy one day in seven. Consecrate this day unto the Lord as the Lord’s. Let it be unlike other days. Sanctify it.’”MEDM March 3, 1909, page 168.6

    The Federation has “no objection to reading” the Fourth Commandment like that! Well, suppose that the Federation does “have no objection” to this; is that final? Does that settle the question for all time, and for all people, and in places in heaven and earth? Upon what ground can this Federation assume that because she has “no objection” to the reading of the Fourth Commandment in this astonishing way, it must necessarily follow that the Author of the Commandment, the Creator of heaven and earth, could have no objection to it? Upon what ground indeed, other than the over topping assumption that to this Federation there belongs authority to revise, to change, to set aside, the commandment and law of God; as she wills; and that because she has no objection to this, the Author of the Commandment, and the Fountain of law, can likewise and of necessity have no objection!MEDM March 3, 1909, page 168.7

    But this is all a grievous mistake; yes, an egregious, blundering, and sinful assumption. The Lord himself, the Author of this Commandment, and the Fountain of law, in His word has given His estimate of the church-combine which first assumed the prerogative and the authority to change His law, and thus to exalt herself above Him. And in this estimate He has used such expressions as “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” “the mystery of iniquity,” “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God”; speaking “great words against the most high,” and “wearing out the saints of the most high, and thinking to change times and the law” of the most high. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4; Daniel 7:25, R. V.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.1

    That is the estimate which God has put forever upon the church-combine that first assumed to deal so arrogantly with this same Commandment of His law. And upon what ground can it be supposed that He has changed His mind, or will change His estimate, relative to this new church-combine which has assumed precisely the same prerogative and authority in relation precisely to the same point of His holy law?MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.2

    Therefore, while this Federation may indeed “have no objection” to reading in this utterly false way that Commandment of the Law of God, yet it must ever be true that all those who will recognize God as God; and will respect Him in His place as God and his law as the law of God—that all these will most decidedly object to this Federation reading of the Commandment of God, or any other reading of it, that differs “one jot or one tittle” from the reading of that law precisely as worded by the voice of the Lord from heaven and twice written with his own blazing finger on tables of stone.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.3

    In addition to all this, error and blundering assumption of that statement of the Federated Council of Churches, it is worth noting that it is not true even as a statement the Federation. The Federation has officially said, “We have no objection to the reading of the Commandment: ‘Remember that you keep holy me day in the seven.’” But that statement is not true. The Federation does decidedly object, and in the proceedings of this council itself, it is demonstrated that she does decidedly object, to any such reading of that Commandment with reference to any other “one-seventh of our time,” or “one day in seven” than that particular “one-seventh of our time” or “one day in seven” that is marked by the specific limitations of Sunday.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.4

    This is demonstrated in the official proceedings of the late council itself. For when the report of which that statement is a part was under discussion, the following resolution was offered by a member of that council:MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.5

    “It is not our intention that anything shall be done to interfere with the convictions of those brethren represented with us in this council who conscientiously observe the seventh instead of the first day of the week as a day for rest and worship.”MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.6

    That resolution was offered by a member of the council who does not observe the seventh day as the Sabbath. As shown on its face, it was presented in behalf of those who do observe the seventh day as the Sabbath. And note the restriction: it relates only to “those brethren represented with us in this council, who conscientiously observe the seventh” day. In this the resolution pertains specifically to the Seventh-day Baptists. For the Seventh-day Baptist church is the only church in the Federation whose members observe the seventh day.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.7

    Instantly upon the presentation of the resolution there was manifested the most energetic protest and the most decided opposition, and from the most members, that was manifested on any or all of the questions or propositions that arose in the council from beginning to end. One exclaimed, “I trust that the resolution as proposed be not accepted.” Another, emphatically, “I hope that this resolution will be voted down.” Others, “It will not pass.” The gentleman who had offered the resolution got the floor and said:MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.8

    “I hope that this resolution as presented will pass. Let us remember that the brethren of the Seventh-day Baptist denomination are members of this council as are any other body. If we are going to observe brotherhood and Christian love, we are not going to clash because of the religious and conscientious conviction of brethren associated with us in this Council of Churches. These brethren (I do not myself sympathize with them in their belief) but I do respect their convictions. I do respect them for the fact that they are willing to sacrifice. I respect them for their willingness to stand firm and true to what they believe. While I fully sympathize with the spirit of the resolution already submitted (by the council), it does seem to me that we ought never in this council of churches to adopt such statement as shall even seem to conflict, without due explanation; and I fully believe that our brethren are equally united in this.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.1

    “This Federation of Churches shall be more and more acknowledged through-out the churches, and it is absolutely necessary that we be thoroughly fair with one another, that we be thoroughly brotherly with each other in all our relations.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.2

    “I believe that God looks smilingly upon this desire to be absolutely fair and just and brotherly to all represented in this Federation of Churches. I earnestly hope that this resolution will pass.”MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.3

    In addition to this, one of the regular Seventh-day Baptist delegates in the council expressed their evangelical faith, and their unity of purpose with the purpose of the council, and pleaded that there might be a practical manifestation of that “religious liberty” which had been proclaimed from the platform of the council. But pleas for the adoption of the resolution, pleas for fair and just and brotherly dealing, pleas for the practical recognition of the “religious liberty” that had been proclaimed, were all of no avail. The resolution disavowing “intention” to “interfere with the convictions of those ... who conscientiously observe the seventh instead of the first day of the week as a day for rest and worship,” was overwhelmingly rejected with loud and vigorous “No-o-o-o!!”MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.4

    By the decided action and the official record of the Federated Council of Churches, therefore, it is made perfectly plain and emphatic that the Council’s statement that they “have no objection” to their own proposed reading of the Commandment, “that you keep holy one day in seven” is not true,—except as that “one day in seven” is and shall be Sunday. It is thus demonstrated that the Federated Council of Churches will not allow anybody but themselves to read the Commandment the way that they have said; and that they themselves will read it that way only with reference strictly and specifically to Sunday.MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.5

    And by the whole record as made by the council itself, it is demonstrated that the Federal Council of Churches not only assumes place and prerogative and authority to revise and to change the law of the Most High, according to her own perverse will, but that she also denies the propriety and the right of any to observe that law as the Most High himself has spoken and written and commanded it. And than in this, how could she more fully show her spirit of independence of God?MEDM March 3, 1909, page 170.6

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