I have no doubt that Ray Comfort is a sincere Christian and has no other agenda than to lead people to Jesus. I admire the zeal of Ray and his ministry, however there is an important Biblical truth involved here.
This is not ad hominem. It is ad veritas.
Ray Comfort of Living Waters ministry recently interviewed a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and produced the above YouTube video.
I posted a relatively long but innocuous and mildly-worded comment* (below) regarding my church’s position and my perspective on the Sabbath.
My comment was one of the last of a few hundred, however some time after I posted it the Comments were turned off, with no reason given.
As far back as I’ve checked, no other Living Waters videos have their comments turned off.
I can’t be certain however I strongly suspect that my comment might have been the cause or at least partly responsible. Was my argument too convincing? Too powerful? Were other Adventists posting powerful, convincing comments? Maybe.
Maybe, however, I’m completely mistaken. Maybe there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation.
In any event, the Living Waters move was highly unusual in my opinion.
Whatever the reason, the question remains: Why turn off the comments for this video only?
As to the video itself, I consider the arguments that Ray Comfort presented for his case against my church’s observance of the Biblical Sabbath (Saturday) require a response.
Adventists are often called legalists, mainly due to our observance of the Biblical Sabbath. I find it ironic that Ray employs and accentuates the moral law, the Ten Commandments, relatively far more than Adventists do, yet his ministry is not generally labeled as “legalistic”.
I’m neither theologian nor Biblical scholar, and you can google any number of in-depth studies and scholarly opinions re the Sabbath, however below are some brief responses to Ray’s assertions.
Of course we each need to make up our own mind, as led by God, through Bible study and prayer.
We shouldn’t take anyone’s word on such an important issue.
In the end, our relationship with God is personal and spiritual, and only the Holy Spirit can lead us to know the truth and be convicted of it in our heart.
Here is the main issue:
Ray clearly believes that the Ten Commandments still apply to us today and are the standard by which we are judged.
In his videos he regularly refers to Commandments 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Apparently, for Ray’s purposes, these are the most effective in making the point that his interview subjects are sinners destined for eternal hellfire in their current state.
I haven’t heard him refer to 1, 2, 10, however presumably he considers these just as applicable as the others.
Based on his own clear statements, however, Ray is saying that the fourth Commandment (alone) has changed, that it’s not the same Commandment that God wrote with His finger on tablets of stone.
For Ray, the other 9 Commandments are unchanged.
Is this a valid position?
Surely only God could change one of His Commandments (after all, He wrote them Himself), and surely He would clearly tell us in the Bible if He had done so.
Did God change the fourth Commandment?
For a broad, Biblical perspective go to sabbathtruth.com
In the video Ray lists and attempts to refute what he considers are the main points of evidence Adventists use to support the (Saturday) Sabbath, and then he adds a few further points:
*My original comment on the YouTube video:
“I was raised a (nominal) Anglican however I was firmly agnostic & sceptical of all things religious until several years ago when God converted me, I was born again, and I joined the Adventist church (a long and winding story).
What I know to be true is (and it’s also what my church teaches, notwithstanding how we are often misrepresented):
- we are saved by grace alone through faith alone.
- there is absolutely nothing we can do of ourselves to earn salvation; it is a gift.
The Adventist church adheres to the five Protestant “solas”:
Sola Scriptura - Scripture alone
The Bible is God's infallible Word, our highest authority, and our absolute standard of faith and practice.
Sola Fide - Faith alone
We are saved only by faith in Jesus Christ.
Sola Gratia - Grace alone
We are saved only by God's grace.
Sola Christus - Christ alone
Jesus is our Lord and Saviour; salvation is available only through Him.
Soli Deo Gloria - to the glory of God alone
Only God is to be glorified in our lives.
Now that I know God’s true character (agape), together with the big picture and broad narrative of our existence, God’s eternal law of love and liberty (the moral law i.e. the Ten Commandments) is a representation of His character and is indeed written on my heart, and the direction of my heart, with the Holy Spirit prompting my conscience as required (!), makes it a joy and a glorious freedom to obey, not a burden. It’s not about what I have to do, it’s about what I want to do.
(Yes, I stumble often, however I recover and keep walking with God as best I can. It’s the direction of the heart that matters to God).
Yes, the Biblical Sabbath is one of our identifying beliefs, however to me it is neither a chore nor an obligation but a beautiful symbol and reminder of
1. Our creation (Exo 20:11) and especially God’s motivation in creating us.
2. Our salvation (Deut 5:15).
Observing God’s Sabbath day (just as the other 9 commandments) is the opposite of legalism. It’s about abiding in Jesus, our Creator and our Saviour, on the day He blessed and sanctified.
It’s a delight.”
**Some comments from the Roman Catholic church concerning the Sabbath (Saturday):
"Sunday is our mark of authority..... The church is above the Bible, and this transference of sabbath observance is proof of that fact."
(The Catholic Record, London, Ontario, September 1, 1923.)
"If we would consult the Bible only, without Tradition, we ought, for instance, still to keep holy the Saturday with the Jews, instead of Sunday..."
(Deharbe’s Catechism, translated by Rev. John Fander, published by Schwartz, Kirwin & Fauss, 53 Park Place, New York, Sixth American Edition, Copyright 1912, 1919, 1924, page 81)
"Sunday...It is the law of the Catholic Church alone..."
(American Sentinel, June 1893)
“From this same Catholic Church you have accepted your Sunday, as the Lord’s day, she has handed down as a tradition; and the entire Protestant world has accepted it as tradition, for you have not an iota of Scripture to establish it. Therefore that which you have accepted as your rule of faith, inadequate as it of course is, as well as your Sunday, you have accepted on the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.”
(D.B. Ray, The Papal Controversy, 1892, p.179)
"The church...took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian Sunday.... The Sun was a foremost god with heathendom.... And thus the pagan Sunday, dedicated to Balder, became the Christian Sunday."
(Dr. William L. Gildea, The Catholic World , March, 1894)
"They [the Protestants] deem it their duty to keep the Sunday holy. Why? Because the Catholic Church tells them to do so. They have no other reason. ...The observance of Sunday thus comes to be an ecclesiastical law entirely distinct from the Divine law of Sabbath observance. …The author of the Sunday Law...is the Catholic Church."
(Walter Drum, Catholic priest, Ecclesiastical Review, February, 1914)
"The authority of the church could therefore not be bound to the authority of the Scriptures, because the Church had changed the Sabbath into Sunday, not by command of Christ, but by its own authority."
(Canon and Tradition, p. 263)
"The Roman Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days, as holy days.”
(Vincent Jo Kelly, Forbidden Sunday and Feast day Occupations, Catholic University Press, 1943, p. 2)
"Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did, happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. "The Day of the Lord" (dies domini) was chosen, not from any directions noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church’s sense of its own power. The day of resurrection, the day of Pentecost, fifty days later, came on the first day of the week. So this would be the new Sabbath. People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically become 7th Day Adventists, and keep Saturday holy."
(The Pastor’s page of The Sentinel, Saint Catherine Catholic Church, Algonac, Michigan, May 21, 1995)
"Sunday is a Catholic institution and its claim to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles..... From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first."
(Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August 1900)
"Question: Which is the Sabbath day?"
"Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath."
"Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?"
"Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 336) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."
(The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, by Peter Geiermann, 50)
"The civil authorities should be urged to cooperate with the church in maintaining and strengthening this public worship of God, and to support with their own authority the regulations set down by the church’s pastors. For it is only in this way that the faithful will understand why it is Sunday and not the Sabbath day that we now keep holy."
(Roman Catechism, 1985)
"A history of the problem shows that in some places, it was really only after some centuries that the Sabbath rest really was entirely abolished, and by that time the practice of observing a bodily rest on the Sunday had taken its place…It was the seventh day of the week which typified the rest of God after creation, and not the first day."
(Vincent Jo Kelly, Forbidden Sunday and Feast day Occupations, Catholic University Press, 1943, pp. 15, 22)
"Regarding the change from the observance of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday, I wish to draw your attention to the facts:
1) That Protestants, who accept the Bible as the only rule of faith and religion, should by all means go back to the observance of the Sabbath. The fact that they do not, but on the contrary observe the Sunday, stultifies them in the eyes of every thinking man.
2) We Catholics do not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith. Besides the Bible we have the living Church, the authority of the Church, as a rule to guide us. We say, this Church, instituted by Christ to teach and guide man through life, has the right to change the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament and hence, we accept her change of the Sabbath to Sunday. We frankly say, yes, the Church made this change, made this law, as she made many other laws, for instance, the Friday abstinence, the unmarried priesthood, the laws concerning mixed marriages, the regulation of Catholic marriages and a thousand other laws.
It is always somewhat laughable, to see the Protestant churches, in pulpit and legislation, demand the observance of Sunday, of which there is nothing in their Bible."
(Peter R. Kraemer, Catholic Church Extension Society, 1975, Chicago, Illinois)
“Nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or the apostles ordered the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy the Sabbath day, that is the seventh day of the week, Saturday. Today most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by the [Roman Catholic] Church outside the Bible.”
(Catholic Virginian, October 3, 1947)
“ ’Our Lord rose from the dead on the first day of the week’, Said Father Hourigan of the Jesuit Seminary. ’That is why the Church changed the day of obligation from the seventh day to the first day of the week. The Anglican and other Protestant denominations retained that tradition when the Reformation came along’.”
(Toronto Daily Star, October 26, 1949)
"I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church alone. The Bible says, ’Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.’ The Catholic Church says: ’No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.’ And lo! The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church."
(T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18, 1884)