Sunday, February 18, 2018

Subversive Sabbath by A J Swoboda

Most Christians don't give much thought to keeping Sabbath. It is one of the Ten Commandments. We certainly would not kill or covet, but keep the Sabbath? Swoboda reminds us it is a gift from God. Receiving a gift is one thing but knowing how to use it properly is something else.

I am impressed with Swoboda's heart felt desire to see Christians keep Sabbath. It is a holy time, he says, and it reminds us that all time is God's. The Sabbath rest was experienced in Eden before the Fall so it is not part of the curse. God created Adam and Eve to need a day of rest, even in their perfect state.

I appreciate the many insights in this book. Vacation is not something we find in the Bible. “Because if we kept a weekly Sabbath, we would not need vacation.” (18) Swoboda doesn't even want us to think about work on our Sabbath. The prohibition of work on the Sabbath allows us to center on being rather than doing. (34)

Swoboda also writes about keeping Jubilee and how that would change society. “When the church embraces the Sabbath, our society will change.” (107) Our not keeping Sabbath has an effect on creation. “Creation will simply not work the way it is created to.” (126)

Swoboda's is a convincing argument. His theology is sound. I like it when I see a business closed on Sunday. Because Swoboda is a pastor, they keep Sabbath on Wednesday. Each Christian would need to determine how and when to keep Sabbath but this book gives a solid foundation and many good ideas.

Swoboda's writing style is academic. This would be a good book for pastors and teachers. I am not sure the average layman would appreciate the extensive theological discussion the book contains. There are Questions for Reflection included at the end of each chapter. This book could be used as a small group study for thinking Christians.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

A J Swoboda (PhD, University of Birmingham) pastors Theophilus Church in urban Portland, Oregon. He is executive director of the Seminary Stewardship Alliance and teaches biblical studies, theology and church history at Portland Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the award-winning author or editor of nine books and speaks regularly at conferences, retreats, churches, and seminars. You can find out more at

Brazos Press, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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