Perry Noble, Pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC posted some controversial thoughts on Blue Laws, which in South Carolina restrict businesses from opening on Sundays. He is very passionate on the topic; Below are some exerpts on the subject:
I know I will take heat for this…but frankly I do not care. If you are a Christian then please hear me–it is ridiculous to think that sealing off options for people on Sunday’s will drive them to church! I say open the mall–open Wal-Mart…businesses do not scare me at all–BRING THEM ON! If NewSpring cannot provide more excitement than Wal Mart then we need to shut our doors! It’s up to the church to provide something worth coming to.
To be honest…this blue laws debate proves the hypocrisy of some Christians in our county. I mean, the same people that are yelling about stores being open on Sunday have NO problem when the county “temporarily” lifts the ban on blue laws during the Christmas season. Uh…WHAT THE HECK? If there is EVER a time to fight for the blue laws…shouldn’t it be Christmas? Uh…Jesus’ birthday!!! BUT…because it is convenient for many Christians to shop on Sunday during that time they say nothing
This whole thing is just stupid. Then there are the Christians who yell, “You should not work on Sunday!” I have two problems with that…I WORK ON SUNDAY…so does our entire staff. Like it or not–it takes WORK to make things happen around here.
And then (this BURNS ME UP) the same Christians that YELL about people NOT working on Sundays…what do they do when church is over? Answer: THEY GO OUT TO EAT!!! Uh…isn’t that forcing people to work on Sunday’s? HYPOCRITE…don’t you dare scream about people not working on Sunday’s and then go to a business that is open on Sunday and support it with your money!
NOW…I am ALL for a day of rest. God COMMANDS it in Scripture…if you will look at Exodus 20 the LONGEST of the ten commandments is the one about rest. BUT somehow I do not think that by this command that God meant that Christians are supposed to legislate morality and pass laws that force people to follow Him!
Jeff's Take: to be honest this is one of my biggest struggles in Christian retailing, not being able to be open on Sunday. Our Christian Bookstore is closed on Sundays. I have several customers (and some friends) that are adamant that we remain closed on Sundays. And I know the spiel, "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy". I hear you, I understand.
Jump to 2007. Here I am, as a Christian business, unable to open. Unlike South Carolina, Florida does not have "Blue laws", but I know if I open my business on Sunday it will receive persecution from Christians in the area. I've already seen it, as many Christians "boycott" the local Family Christian chain since they are open on Sunday. And I know the arguements...keep the Sabbath holy.
What I don't understand is isn't the Sabbath really Saturday? I'm no Biblical Scholar mind you. But isn't the seventh day really Saturday? Where does Sunday come in? Beyond that, though, a large (and growing) number of churches are offering a Saturday service. Many of my employees go to church on Saturday. If I was not on a church staff, Amy and I would attend our Saturday night church service. Does that make us any less "godly" or invalidate our spiritual experience because the service is not on the "cultural" definition of the Sabbath?
However, in Mark 3 Jesus healed on the Sabbath. He didn't "work" on a Sabbath, but he did minister. I believe the intent was not to prevent ministry, but to maintain a time to focus on God. "Which is lawful on the Sabbath? To do good and evil, or to save life or to kill?" Jesus ministered on the Sabbath. He basically slapped the religious leaders in the face. The intent is not to prevent ministry.
The thing that frustrates me the most is when I think of how much ministry we lose by not being open on Sundays. How many lives are out there that we lose impact? Who approaches our doorway, sees our "Closed" sign, and never comes back? If God gave us this ministry, are we being good stewards of it by closing our doors 14% of the time?
Understand me, though, I will never have the bookstore open on Sunday. It cannot happen. There are many Christians who would applaud our direction and support us. And there are some Christians who would make sure that the world knew were were sinning against God. For the reasons I shared, I don't believe it's a sin. I just hope that the ministry we "lose" are ones that God can afford. And I hope God forgives me for not using the gift He's given to it's fullest extent.