Well, that was quick (part 2)

18 Dec

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I met some Seventh-Day Adventist friends. About the same time, a friend in the States recommended the book Sabbath in Christ by Dale Ratzlaff, who, it turns out, is a former Seventh-Day Adventist pastor and is now a Reformed evangelical. As the timing of the two events was very close, I was delighted to purchase Sabbath in Christ in Kindle format and have now finished the book. I found it to be the clearest, most comprehensive, and Christ-exalting material I have ever read on the subject of the sabbath (and the covenants, generally) and cannot recommend the book highly enough. The book is gracious to every perspective such that even if you disagree with parts of his theology, I think you will find it very carefully reasoned and his gospel clarity heart-warming. Even though many of the ideas in the book were not new to me, I found myself rejoicing anew in the gospel, sharpening my thinking, seeing new parallels and contrasts in Scripture that I had never before noticed, and generally having a good time in the Word while reading 🙂

Prior to reading Sabbath in Christ, I read one of Dale’s other books, Truth Led Me Out, which is the story of how he gradually gained clarity regarding God’s free and sovereign grace in salvation, the finished work of Christ on the cross, and the righteousness of Christ which is imputed to believers. Chapter 5, entitled Gospel Clarity, is a brilliant and exhilarating exposition of the first chapters of Romans and is worth the price of the book. As he gained clarity on these topics, he realized that he could no longer function within the Seventh-Day Adventists, although he clearly believes that many within know the Truth but are afraid to speak out. I found his insights both fascinating and painfully familiar as I identified with his process of self-questioning, the tendency of church organizations to conserve cherished creeds above and beyond Scripture, and sadly, the ultimate loss of friends and fellowship over doctrinal issues.

But back to Peru, I was tickled to discover that Sabbath in Christ is available in Spanish. The Seventh-Day Adventists have been very successful in Latin America and as such, hundreds of thousands are held captive by faulty teaching on the Mosaic Law (including dietary restrictions) and live in fear of leaving the SDA because they believe that their organization is the only true church as they alone observe the seventh day sabbath. Curiously, the Spanish language itself lends itself to their cause as the word for the seventh day of the week is sábado. When I contacted Dale, he put me in touch with a Peruvian connection in Florida, who in turn connected me with Pastor Lopez in Lima (where I am this week!) who has 1,000 copies of the book on hand! I was able to purchase 20 copies of the paperback Sábado en Cristo to take back to Arequipa with me and have already given the first away to the hotel bellman whom I observed reading his Bible during a quiet time last night. I had a short but sweet meeting with Pastor Lopez, who graciously drove across town to meet me, and was excited to learn that they are having a conference in July to celebrate the five solas of the Reformation. I have also offered to help Dale put Sábado en Cristo into Kindle format to make it more discoverable online.

With every passing week, I understand more of why I’m here.

5 Responses to “Well, that was quick (part 2)”

  1. lorinczpete December 18, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    What do you think about these folks? http://www.sabbatismos.com/#sthash.h5OiExL2.x2TrCLRB.dpbs

  2. Debra Mucci December 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

    An encouraging benison.

  3. michael CHANDLER December 20, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Very interesting! I’m going to the Kindle bookstore for this book. The Lutherans have long held that Christ is the believer’s sabbath and I have always believed that He is our ultimate rest. I think that is why Sunday is the special day of worship as it honors our true Sabbath. As far as carrying over the restrictions of the Mosaic law for the Lord’s day, I’m having second thoughts. Moral law principles, yes, but they can be carried too far so as to take the focus off of Christ which is the error of every 7th day group.

    We are studying JC Ryle’s Holiness in SS. I have a hard copy text. Pastor Jim reads from an electronic copy often verbatim many of Ryle’s texts. The electronic copy does update some works but is usually the same as the hardcopy. Now in several instances where Ryle has listed particular sins of the “church”, Pastor Jim has always omitted sabbath when reading the list. I mean to ask him of this. Did the electronic text omit the term or did he omit? Very few folks at RBCL refer to Sunday as sabbath. The Lord’s day is often spoken.

    I look forward to reading this book. Thanks for the tip!

    Love, Dad

  4. Dawn December 22, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    That is great David. Thanks for the tips on the books they sound great. We will have to read them! May God continue to bless all your efforts!

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