Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.


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and why we reject the many perversions of the Scriptures, including those so beloved of many neo-evangelicals at present such as ESV & NKJV.

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Monday, 11 April 2011

Sunday Trading laws consultation

Here is the submission I made with respect to the consultation regarding Sunday Trading laws which closed on Friday.

Dear Sir/Madam
I wish to take part in the consultation regarding Sunday Trading hours. I do so on behalf of the congregation of Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church and also I believe I reflect the views of many evangelical Christians within the Newtownabbey area who are not members or attenders of the Free Presbyterian Church but attend other evangelical churches.
 

We do not want to see any extension or relaxation made to the Sunday Trading hours. We hold to this position because of a number of spiritual and practical convictions.
 



1. The Holy Scriptures teach that we are all to remember the sabbath day to keep it holy, Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Six days are given by God for labour, work, recreation and shopping. One day of the week is to be a sabbath which is given over to the worship of God. Civil authorities have a duty before God to uphold His moral law. We would therefore call upon you to refuse any call to relax the present trading laws.

2. Society loses out by not observing a Sabbath day. Not only spiritually where there is a failure to attend to spiritual matters, but socially as well. Due to our nature we need a day of rest from these secular employments and activities. There is a human cost in failing to observe the Sabbath.

One writer put it like this: 
Our bodies are seven-day clocks and they need to be wound up, and if they are not wound up they run down into the grave. No man can continuously break the Sabbath and keep his physical and mental health.

William Wilberforce had this to say:
Oh what a blessed day is the Sabbath, which allows us a precious interval wherein to pause, to come out from the thickets of worldly concerns and give ourselves up to heavenly and spiritual concerns. Observation and my own experience have convinced me that there is a special blessing on a right employment of these intervals. Oh what a blessing is Sunday, interposed between the waves of worldly business like the divine path of the Israelites through Jordan. There is nothing in which I would recommend you to be more strictly conscientious than in keeping the Sabbath holy. By this I mean not only abstaining from all becoming sports and common business, but from consuming time in frivolous conversations, paying or receiving visits, which among relations often leads to a sad waste of this precious day. I can truly declare that to me the Sabbath has been invaluable.

Mr Gladstone, the well known British Prime Minister, said on one occasion:
Tell me what the young men of England are doing on Sunday and I will tell you what the future of England will be. The religious observance of the Sabbath is a main prop of the religious character of the country. From a moral, social and physical point of view, the observance of the Sabbath is a duty of absolute consequence.

Sir Robert Peel, another Prime Minister, said:
I never knew a man escape failure, in either body or mind, who worked seven days a week.

3. Any relaxation of the Sunday trading laws is a false economy. Much is made in this consultation paper about boost[ing] the local economy, benefit[ing] the tourism industry and support[ing] the regeneration of town and city centres.

How can this be? There is not extra money to be spent just because it is Sunday. Not unless we are encouraging people to spend money they don't have and go into debt. The same money will have to be spread over a wider period of time. If people spend more money shopping on Sunday they will spend less Monday to Saturday. Surely this is obvious. With extended opening hours there will follow all the resultant extra staff costs and other running costs for any business. This is not going to help the economy. It is going to harm it by creating extra costs for the same level of return. It is plainly a false economy.


4. The religious liberty of employees will be greatly infringed. Pressure will be brought to bear on those who because of religious convictions do not want to work on the Lord's day. With any relaxation of the law then Sunday will be treated more and more as an ordinary day. Employees whose religious convictions about working on a Sunday will find it harder to obtain and retain employment. Today's Sunday shoppers will be tomorrow's Sunday workers.

5. We do not want to see any relaxation of Bookmakers opening hours. This society has enough problems with gambling addiction without giving even greater opportunities for people to waste their money. Many a family will be dismayed to think that the one day of respite they have with a loved one visiting the bookies has been taken away.

6. We wish to highlight the inbuilt bias of the consultation. There is not sufficient width to the choices in the online response for evangelical Christians to indicate a desire for the present Sunday trading hours to be tightened and not relaxed. This we believe to be wrong.

Precedence has been set for this when in December 2009 the German Constitutional court ruled that shops in Berlin were to fall into line with the law institutionalising Sunday as a day of rest and religious contemplation as contained in Germany’s Basic Law. If this can be done in modern day Germany why can it not be a choice in Northern Ireland. It is one which many would chose. 

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