Obeying Roger Goodell or Jesus the Lord? You Make the Call!

Apparently churches stopped having Superbowl viewing parties because the NFL told them too. Apparently Roger Goodell has changed his mind. It’s deeply ironic that churches have been obeying Roger but those same congregations won’t obey their Lord. Why didn’t Jesus think of issuing a command regarding Sundays? Oh wait, he did. It’s called the Fourth Commandment:

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (Exod 20:8-11).

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42).

No time for SB parties there. Not only has the visible, institutional church no business confusing Christ with culture, if they are attending to the Lord’s Day properly, they have no time. To quote Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire, “The Sabbath’s not a day for playing football.” The Christian Sabbath is a day for rest and renewal by the means of grace.

If the “evangelicals” want to sell their birthright in the interests of competing with the local sports bar, that’s up to them (God’s law isn’t going to hinder them anyway) but congregations that confess the Westminster Confession or the Heidelberg Catechism, who have held such parties, should repent in sackcloth and ashes for desecrating the Lord’s Day that was consecrated by the resurrection of the Lord of the Sabbath. They should also repent for sending the message to their congregants that cheesy entertainment/evangelism/church growth tricks are more important than the means of grace.

One of the great tragedies about this reversal of NFL policy is that congregations all across the USA, even some that are nominally Reformed, will once again gather to hold SB parties and that will the only time that they will be gathering on a Lord’s Day evening in the sanctuary.

Hang on, I’m getting a word from the Lord. He says that he realizes that Roger has decided to allow churches to hold SP parties again, but he says that he hasn’t changed his mind. He’s still opposed to SB parties, but he’s happy meet with them twice every Sunday. He’s still willing to wash their feet, if they have time for him.

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  1. Amen, Dr. Clark! I remember Dr. Godfrey mentioning in class how there is a disturbing correspondence between a decline of Sabbath-keeping in America and the rise of the NFL starting in the 1950’s. Coincidence? I think not.

  2. As someone who has not even owned a tv for years let me remind us all that we are not merely a culture who has ‘bowed’ to the big screen, nor have only sold out to the NFL. These are merely two outlets of the problem that lies within; (and that is a semicolon for Dr. Clark) simply excuses to run from the true Saboath and the Saboath Giver.
    The bigger problem at hand in this issue is that the Church has not clearly defined itself as Other. It blends right in with Common.
    Let us hope and pray that Churches preach the Word truthfully for this alone has the power to captivate hearts and draw us away from our toys as we battle with sin.

    But as a question for Dr. Clark, since you cited the Fourth, how does this apply to things like going out to eat immediately after Church? What about the service industry on Sundays: mall, movie theaters, Ice cream for the kids &tc? I would love to hear you opinion.

  3. Hi Red,

    Seems to me that service workers fall under the “man servant” and maidservant” categories. I struggle with this when I’m on the road. Staying in hotels more or less necessitates doing things I wouldn’t otherwise do.

    In ordinary circumstances I cannot see why folks cannot prepare food on Saturday so that Mom can rest on the Sabbath along with everyone else. I don’t see how, ordinarily, it is possible to justify enslaving people in restaurants. I’ve complained about this before. I gave a lecture on this a couple of years ago as part of the annual faculty conference. Having been a dishwasher in a restaurant, I know that Sunday after church is THE BUSIEST time in the biz. Evangelicals enslaved me so that I couldn’t worship the Savior whom they wanted me to a “personal relationship.” How could I invite him into my heart at their altar calls when I was preparing the kitchen to wash their dishes after church?

  4. Amen, Dr. Clark.

    “Evangelicals enslaved me so that I couldn’t worship the Savior whom they wanted me to a “personal relationship.” How could I invite him into my heart at their altar calls when I was preparing the kitchen to wash their dishes after church?”

    /me feels the breath of fresh air.
    (I grew up SBC Arminian, then I started believing the Bible.)

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