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On January 19, 2006 Mr. Richard L. George of the Living Church of God wrote a lengthy letter to Messrs. Art Braidic and Dennis Fischer. His purpose was to debunk a book they co-authored entitled A Sabbath Test as well as to refute a split sermon they gave nearly 4 earlier on the issue of dining out on the Sabbath. At the conclusion of his letter Mr. George exhorted Fischer and Braidic to repent of this teaching and warned that there could be serious spiritual consequences if they declined. What he failed to do was to provide them with one credible reason to change their position on this critical issue. Instead he advanced an endless stream of arguments that were laced with huge distortions of the Biblical record as well as numerous misrepresentations of A Sabbath Test and its authors. Additionally, Mr. George constantly relied on hyperbole and gross exaggeration when advancing his position as well as when denigrating the case presented in A Sabbath Test. It was clear to us that the tone of his arguments became more agitated as each point was presented. Quite frankly he appeared to be thoroughly frustrated by the compelling arguments presented by Mr. Braidic and Mr. Fischer.
At the beginning of his letter Mr. George stated that his intent was to present his case in the spirit of "comity" and that his desire in this matter was to "search for the truth." He also proclaimed that he was not imputing motives on the part of A Sabbath Test or its authors. Later however, he repeatedly insulted them. He accused Fischer and Braidic of having "an ax to grind" and relying on "clever and plausible" false arguments in their teaching on this subject. At one point he referred to the reasoning of these men as a "subtle distortion" and their position a "slick misrepresentation."
Additionally, he chided them for being guilty of repeatedly relying on human reasoning when advancing their position, while at the same time asserting that he would never do such a thing. However, at one point in his letter Mr. George actually characterized restaurants as a type of "meal utility" much the same as one's electricity is a power utility. Furthermore, he proclaimed the Sabbath a "Pilgrimage feast" and as such afforded it the same consideration as God's annual holy days. However, in order to reconcile his Sabbath dining practices he also changed God's rules concerning Pilgrimage feasts.
Mr. George also proclaimed that dining out on the Sabbath was actually a "gift God gives to His people" because of the great joy they derive from it. Imagine the audacity of such a claim. Human reasoning? We think so. But above that, this man suggested that the source that inspired A Sabbath Test was none other than Satan the devil.
"Given all the considerations herein, a god who would throw people into the Fire Lake [a false assertion he attributes to A Sabbath Test] because they sincerely sought to obey Him by this means [dining out on the Sabbath] is unworthy of worship, which suggests where the inspiration for this view may really come from, whether you realize it or not."
At every turn Mr. George saw words that were clearly intended to be a source of hope and inspiration as words of dread. He saw the authors of A Sabbath Test's as the purveyors of bondage and legalism and those who believe their message as gullible and lacking his (Mr. George's) skills in "critical analysis." What he rejected was that A Sabbath Test is really about freedom and liberty and that it carries a message of profound respect for both God's Law and His people. A letter at the beginning of this remarkable book put it this way.
"As you proceed through each point, it is important to understand that the authors are not trying to judge God’s people. This booklet is not an attempt to condemn the wonderful community of believers who are called according to His purpose. Instead, it is written with the profound hope that these believers will carefully examine their approach to a day God Himself calls 'HOLY.'" (A Sabbath Test)
Why are We Doing This?
We at Blow the Trumpet have carefully read Mr. George’s letter and have done so with great interest. Additionally, we asked the authors of A Sabbath Test if we could respond. They consented. We made this request because we feel imminently qualified to weigh in on this subject. For starters, Blow the Trumpet has written prolifically on the issue of dining out on the Sabbath and understands all to well how the emotional dynamics of this debate can play out. And believe us, they can be very emotional.
But there is an even greater reason we feel compelled to once again lift up our voice and cry aloud. We have watched, as this generation of God’s people have become desensitized to the evils of this world. We have seen Sabbath afternoons become protracted socials (complete with secular games) disguised as acts of faith. We have seen members of God's church dine out on Friday evenings with business associates and unconverted friends and use the same arguments Mr. George makes when advancing his cause. After all Jesus ate with the unconverted on the Sabbath too. We have heard God’s people argue that they are entitled to spend this time doing things like the rest of the world does. Sadly, this is no longer a rare exception. It is becoming more the rule.
We are also keenly aware that the Sabbath has been a defining issue for God’s people down through the ages and its contamination has even provoked the Great Creator of Heaven and earth to execute His judgment on those He so deeply cares about. We at Blow the Trumpet are now convinced that we are perilously close to that point once again.
Additionally, we continue to be convinced that God’s Sabbath cries out to be heard on this issue. Furthermore, its voice will not passively accommodate those who think they can call the holy, "profane" and the profane, "holy." As you proceed through our response to Mr. George's numerous arguments, you will hear that voice thunder, and it will be blunt, to say the least. It will speak with clarity and conviction. It will expose the human reasoning woven throughout his points. And in the end you will see why the arguments presented by Mr. George are little more than a desperate attempt to defend the indefensible.
It is our understanding that Mr. George intends to publish his letter on the internet in order for it to be read by a larger audience. We encourage him to do so and will provide a link to it as soon as it is made available to us. Quite frankly we believe the letter may be a better rebuttal to his own argument than our response. This will become more clear as you proceed through our analysis of his points and how they stack up against the plain truth proclaimed in God’s word.
With this in mind it is important to understand that Blow the Trumpet bears no ill will toward Mr. George or anyone else who believes as he does. Quite frankly, we were once in his position ourselves. We once believed as he does. We made many of the same arguments he makes and possibly with the same passion. Our point is that we feel no moral superiority over him or those of like mind on this issue.
Furthermore, we realize that this has become one of the most incendiary issues in the Church today. Quite frankly, emotions run deep on this one. However, contrary to Mr. George's contention that the Sabbath Test controversy has caused division in the body of Christ, and for this reason alone should be terminated, we see it much differently. As this debate continues to capture the attention of God’s people, it is also revealing a clear spiritual state within the Church. Mr. George may find this hard to accept but we are absolutely convinced that God Himself is the force behind this storm. He is the one driving it and in so doing He is appealing to His Church to not be swayed by cunning arguments disguised as spiritual insight. It does not require a scholar to understand God's will on this point. Nor does it require an expert in "critical thinking." What it demands is honesty and an open mind. In reality God's will on this issue is quite simple and His word is very plain.
Whether he wants to believe it or not, the restaurant Mr. George contends adds so much delight to his Sabbath observance is actually engaging in sacrilege. It is profaning that which was made HOLY by none other than God Almighty. Despite this fact Mr. George, as well as a host of leaders in God’s Church, not only wink at this contempt for God’s law, they actually embrace it.
For the sake of our response we have arranged Mr. George's arguments into several categories. This was done for the purpose of clarity and not to manipulate his words. Each category begins with a brief introduction followed by Mr. George's position and our rebuttal. We have genuinely attempted to be honest in our presentation of his points. As a matter of fact, we quote them at great length. It is clear that he invested considerable time and energy in presenting them and we respect that very much. However, the arguments he presents in defense of purchasing the services of those who profane the Sabbath are not arguments at all, but rather an attempt to continue a practice that dishonors God and His Sabbath law.
As you read through our response you will notice that we employ a degree of “tongue in cheek” at times. This is not done to insult Mr. George but rather to illustrate how the logic of his argument could play out if one honestly examines what it is suggesting.
Additionally, because of the length of Mr. George's arguments we have decided to release our response in serial form over a period of approximately three weeks. The release date for future articles will be posted in the directory below. As each new installment is published we will identify additional future responses and their release dates. Therefore, those wishing to examine the entire series will need to follow up on this wing of our site.
Finally, we realize that God is the ultimate judge in this matter and we profoundly respect that fact. It is for this reason that we encourage you to read each argument carefully—on your knees would be a good place to start.
Blow the Trumpet
To access a particular argument click on the applicable title:
Jesus and Sabbath Breakers
Whose Servants are They?
Pardon the Interruption
The Sabbath and Pilgrimage Feasts
Abusing Levitical Privilege
Doing Good on the Sabbath
Insults and Accusations
Deception, Distortion and Misrepresentation
The Preparation Week
Preaching the Gospel
The Christmas Defense
A Cynic Cries Out
Pounding the Table
Pardon the Interruption II
King David and Restaurants
A Final Thought