CG7 on Holy Days, Birthdays, & “Other Days”

The September 2007  Bible Advocate magazine by the Church of God (7th Day) Denver contained the below editorial by the editor, Calvin Burrell:

Beyond Sabbath

Fifty-seven delegates representing twenty-three member nations of the International Ministerial Congress sit with me in a crowded hotel conference room as I begin this writing in early July.  Their fraternal discussion to advance our global mission mixes with my editorial thoughts, but I write on so you can have this BA by August’s end.

An item of study for this congress in Kansas is titled “Other Days.”  It’s on our agenda because among seventh-day churches around the world are those who also observe one or more of the following:  birthdays, wedding anniversaries, national holidays, Mother’s and Father’s days, thanksgiving days, days of fasting, annual Hebrew festivals of Leviticus 23, and more. 

This study reflects on our freedom in Christ for such celebrations and on our attitude toward those whose celebrations do not exactly match our own.  Some Christians observe more days than we, and some less.

While not for official action here, this topic is being presented simply to stimulate thought and study.  The delegates’ response suggests that they understand Paul’s counsel in Romans 14 regarding such doubtful issues – those not settled in Scripture:  “One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike” (v. 5a).

Based on the gospel of Christ and the liberty it brings, the congress seems to say we are free to observe or not observe days according to personal persuasion (vv. 3-13).  Lest this liberty be abused, however, they note these provisions for celebrating “other days”:

    1. Celebrations may not violate clear Bible teaching (v.22b).
    2. They must be done in faith, not as a legal requirement (vv.18, 22a, 23).
    3. Observers and non-observers alike should take care not to offend others by their freedom, nor to impose their convictions upon others (vv.15-21).

This CoG7 congress continues its firm commitment to the weekly Sabbath of Scripture.  Beyond Sabbath, the tolerance of Romans 14 to regard other days – or not – is accepted:  “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore” (v. 13).  In my opinion, this demonstrates Christian maturity and increases our opportunities to work in concert with more of God’s people on the planet.  What do you think?

               – Calvin Burrell

What do I think?  I think that WCG and CG7 have taken the same approach on certain doctrines that they believe are controversial–and that is to attempt to accept two sides of some issues (WCG demonstrated this fairly recently–please see the post WCG Announces 35 Beliefs Book).  But I am pleased that CG7 is now, almost officially, more accepting of God’s Holy Days.

Unlike Elder Burrell, I think that the Holy Days are NOT the subject of Romans 14 and that the weekly Sabbath AND the biblical Holy Days have essentially the same type of support in the New Testament–as well as in early Christian history.

While the Bible does allow for the observance of national holidays, I think that those in CG7 need to read and heed what the Bible shows and observe the biblical Holy Days and NOT celebrate birthdays.

Below are several articles of related interest:

Church of God, Seventh Day: History and Teachings Nearly all COG’s I am aware of trace their history through this group. Whaid Rose is the president of the largest CG7 group (Denver). Do you know much about them?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D.
The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Do they matter? Most say they must, but act like they do not. This article contains some history about the Church of God (sometimes referred to as the continuation of Primitive Christianity) over the past 2000 years.
Is There “An Annual Worship Calendar” In the Bible? This paper provides a biblical and historical critique of several articles, including one by WCG which states that this should be a local decision. Also you can click here for the calendar of Holy Days.
Passover and the Early Church Did the early Christians observe Passover? What did Jesus and Paul teach?
Melito’s Homily on the Passover This is one of the earliest Christian writings about the Passover. This also includes what Apollinaris wrote on the Passover as well.
Should Christians Keep the Days of Unleavened Bread? Do they have any use or meaning now? This article supplies some biblical answers.
UCG and Its Unleavened Bread Study Paper What does the Bible say about eating unleavened bread for seven days? What has UCG officially said about it?
Pentecost: Is it more than Acts 2? Many “Christians” somewhat observe Pentecost. Do they know what it means? It is also called the Feast of Harvest, the Feast of Weeks, and the day of firstfruits.
Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? Did they? Did Jesus?
The Book of Life and the Feast of Trumpets? Are they related? Is so how? If not, where not?
The Day of Atonement–Its Christian Significance The Jews call it Yom Kippur, Christians “The Day of Atonement”. Does it have any relevance for Christians today?
The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today’s Christians?
Holy Days This is a listing of the biblical holy days through 2012, with their Roman calendar dates.
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church?

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