Retrieving and Articulating Liberative Aspects of the Sabbath Doctrine in Context of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Africa
Keywords:Sabbath, Seventh-day adventist, Retrieving, Liberative mission, Destitution, Mission theology
The crisis in Adventism in South Africa is that eschatology has been an escape wagon from liberative mission, or at best, an optional, even disposable aspect of the gospel. This attitude or understanding of seeing everything in the future with no connection to the present has caused Adventists to shun social, political and cultural responsibilities. This article explicates and advocates the position that Adventists must explore the broader message and liberative meaning, purpose and function of the Sabbath. As a re-interpretation of the traditional, legalistic understanding of the doctrine of the Sabbath, the model proposed locates the Sabbath at the centre of a radically liberative mission to the poor. It argues that rest, as a mark of wholeness, must be realised in those aspects of human life that the Sabbath addresses; and that theology is not averse to liberative mission. Any theology which claims to be a biblical theology must link its understanding of the gospel to social concern. Therefore, this article aims to retrieve and biblically articulate aspects of the Sabbath doctrine. Adventists cannot be persuaded to operate meaningfully in responding to the millennial hopes of the poor outside of formal recognition of the potency of the Sabbath as a time of deliverance or liberation of people from social, emotional, political and material consequences of sin. Thus, in the following sub-themes the broader liberative message and meaningful aspects of the Sabbath will be explored. The universality of the Sabbath will touch on the following: the Sabbath as a time for release from labour, from oppressive life, indeed a time to embrace even justice and mercy. The Sabbath entails an inclusive mission, God’s dominion-free order in a world impacted by violent engagement with oppressive powers; Sabbath as missionary in its nature will also be explicated.
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