Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

The Victorian Sunday

I saw this book (The rise and fall of the Victorian Sunday by John Wigley) in the Evangelical Library recently and brought it home to read. It is an academic study dealing with a huge influence on nineteenth century English life. It begins with the history of Sunday before the Victorian period before dealing with the period itself, which it argues was hugely influenced by English Sabbatarianism, an idea deeply rooted in history, as well as other factors.
Wrigley argues that the Anglican LDOS did not enjoy Sundays themselves and sought to stop others enjoying it too. This is a pejorative way to state the case but it is done with some justification as we survey various attempts to curb what was allowed and what was not allowed on a Sunday, especially when church services were taking place.
Among his surprising conclusions are that the Sabbatarians were not chiefly Nonconformists or part of the temperance movement. It was a movement rooted in Scripture but it is clear that many decisions made regarding Sunday laws are not easily traced back to that source. The claim that a desire to suppress Sunday entertainment rather than Sunday labour predominated in LDOS circles is probably a fair one.
The book deals with England only (appendices talk about Scotland and Wales) and carries the story on only as far as 1980. I am Sabbatarian rather than Dominical in my understanding but this book makes often uncomfortable reading and only strengthened my view that trying to impose Sabbath rules on the general populace is hard to justify or make work. 

3 comments:

David Gallie said...

May I ask what you mean when you say you are a Sabbatarian? Do you mean no TV on Sunday? No cooking or kitchen work on Sunday? No travelling on Sunday? If so, where and how do you draw the line?

Gary Brady said...

I simply meant that I think that the day ought to be kept special by worshipping God and avoiding work except for works of piety, mercy and necessity. So I generally avoid TV as it is likely to mean less time for worship; cooking and washing up are necessary activities; travelling is best avoided. The lines are a little blurred as what is necessary is open to debate. If we run out of milk or petrol we buy these things though ideally we would have thought ahead and not needed to do so.

David Gallie said...

Understood. Many thanks