Book Review: The Sabbath Complete: And the Ascendency of First-Day Worship by Terrence D. O’Hare

Book cover

Introduction: O’Hare is a dentist (!) who wanted a more thorough look at the Sabbath/Lord’s Day debate. His book is a look at the biblical, historical, and theological evidence.

The Good: Like any good presbyterian, O’Hare retains the distinctions within the OT law (i.e., ceremonial, civil, moral). He also has a heavy emphasis on retaining weekly Lord’s Day gathering and worship (xii). His research is very thorough and his writing is lucid and precise. Also, he includes an impressive and helpful bibliography as well as several charts in the appendix that graphically illustrate his conclusions.

The Bad: He has a strong distinction between the Sabbath and Lord’s Day; indeed, “the sabbath belongs to the Jews and the Jews the sabbath” (341). Besides this hard, even dispensational-like, disjunction between the Sabbath and Lord’s Day, he classifies the Sabbath commandment as a ceremonial law that is fulfilled in Christ (xii).

Overall: This is probably the best treatment of the Sabbath/Lord’s Day issues that has come out since Carson’s work, From Sabbath to Lord’s Daywhich remains the standard in the field. Indeed, I think O’Hare’s work stands just behind Carson’s in terms of depth and scholarship; they are quite similar, except that Carson’s book rejects the tri–fold distinction of the Law. While I ultimately disagree with his conclusion, this book will have to be interacted with by anyone entering into the Sabbath/Lord’s Day debate. I recommend it.


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