Eleanor L. Hall Memorial


Eleanor Louise Hall
June 13, 1939 – March 29, 2024

Welcome to Eleanor Louise Hall’s memorial page. I (Greg) have included lots of little snippets about my mom here. You can leave a message, or a memory, at the bottom of the page. The family would enjoy hearing from you.

The Larry Hall Family – (from left: Nate, Greg, Lisa, Jake, Larry (2017), Eleanor (2024) & Jodi (2020)

The memorial for Eleanor was held on 4/20/24 at 11:00am in the Cedar Hall at Salem Alliance Church in Salem, Oregon.

Two days before Easter, on Good Friday, Eleanor went home to be with the Lord. She was sleeping peacefully when she passed away. She was 84 years old.

Eleanor was born in Newberg, Oregon to parents Harland and Ethel Bixby.

She graduated from Newberg High School in the class of 1957. She always enjoyed listening to the song, “The Class of ’57” by the Statler Brothers. I always found the song a little depressing. If you’ve not heard it… give it a listen sometime and imagine Eleanor singing along.

She attended Seattle Pacific College where she went on her first date. It was with a man named Larry. They instantly fell in love and married shortly after her graduation. Eleanor taught elementary school in Seattle a few years before starting a family.

Eleanor was an excellent wife and mother… but she may have been an even better elementary school teacher. In 1995 Eleanor was awarded the City of Keizer’s “Service in Education’ Award’. Within the family we would often referred to this as “The Best Teacher in the World” award. 

Eleanor deeply loved God, family, and friends. She enjoyed her Sunday morning “Celebration” class at Salem Alliance Church, and enjoyed a weekly Bible study with many of those same people.

Here is some fun video footage of Eleanor…

Eleanor says… You Can’t See Me!
For years Eleanor hated getting her picture taken and would often cover her face. These are just a few of the dozens of pictures we don’t have of her.

Eleanor on Youtube:
When my book launched last year, I ask mom if I could record a promotional video with her. She agreed. That morning she got dressed up and put on lipstick for the filming.

Eleanor on Podcasts:
In March of 2023, I interviewed mom for part of an episode of my podcast. I was using my birthday (the actual day I was born) as an illustration. Since didn’t remember any details of that particular day… I asked mom a few questions about her experience. She played along wonderfully. I’ve cued up her interview in the following link.

She is survived by her brother, Marvin, sister-in-law, Judi, her son Greg, daughter-in-law Lisa, grandsons Jacob and Nathan several cousins, nephews, and extended family.

Eleanor was preceded in death by her brother Bobby, Father Harland, Mother Ethel, husband Larry…

and daughter Jodi.

This is the picture slide show for Eleanor shown at her memorial service.

REST API: The Little Known “After Pentecost Instruction” of Hebrews

In the world of computers, REST API stands for Representational State Transfer Application Programming Interface. It is an architectural style and a set of principles for designing networked applications. In web development, REST is widely used to create efficient APIs that enable communication between different software systems.

However, when it comes to the concept of REST in the Bible, it takes on a different meaning. While many studies focus on the Old Testament’s teachings on rest or Jesus’ interactions with the idea, not many delve into the API (After Pentecost Instruction) given regarding rest.

Understanding the instruction about REST after the events of Pentecost in Acts 2 is important as that event marks the birth of the modern church. The instructions given before this event were for a world that couldn’t fully comprehend the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of the Messiah. As the Messiah, Jesus is the ultimate provider of true rest. Therefore, studying the New Testament’s “REST API” would be the ideal conclusion to a comprehensive study on the topic.

Continue reading

Jesus and the Jubilee: Exploring His Interaction and Fulfillment of Prophecy in Luke 4

The Year of Jubilee, also known as the Jubilee Year, is an important concept found in the Old Testament of the Bible, specifically in the book of Leviticus. It was a special year that occurred every 50 years in the agricultural and social life of the ancient Israelites. The Jubilee Year was designed to provide a time of restoration, redemption, and liberation for the people of Israel.

The Year of Jubilee was intended to bring about social justice and economic equality among the Israelites. It served as a reminder that the land and resources ultimately belonged to God and that the Israelites were stewards of them.

During the Jubilee Year, all land that had been sold or transferred since the previous Jubilee was returned to its original owners. The purpose was to ensure that families did not permanently lose their ancestral lands and to prevent the concentration of wealth in a few hands. In addition to the restoration of land, all debts were to be canceled during the Jubilee Year. Israelites who had fallen into debt bondage or servitude due to poverty were set free, allowing for a fresh start and a release from financial burden. The Jubilee Year also included a sabbatical rest for the land, similar to the weekly Sabbath. Agricultural activities, such as planting and harvesting, were to cease, allowing the land to regenerate and recover.

The Year of Jubilee reinforced the principles of social justice, compassion, and concern for the less fortunate within the community. It promoted the idea of communal solidarity, where the community as a whole shared the responsibility for the welfare of its members. The Jubilee Year was seen as a time of spiritual renewal and a reminder of God’s faithfulness to His covenant with the Israelites. It symbolized liberation, freedom, and the restoration of relationships, both with God and with fellow human beings.

It is important to note that while the concept of the Jubilee Year is found in the Old Testament, there is limited historical evidence of its actual observance in ancient Israel. Nonetheless, the idea of the Year of Jubilee continues to inspire discussions on social justice, economic equity, and the responsibilities of societies towards their members.

In Luke 4:16-21, there is a significant interaction between Jesus and the concept of the Jubilee Year. This passage describes an episode early in Jesus’ ministry when he returned to his hometown of Nazareth and went to the synagogue to teach.

Reading from the Scroll of Isaiah: Jesus was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, and he unrolled it to the portion that contained a prophecy about the Messiah. He found the passage that read: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19; quoting Isaiah 61:1-2).

Identifying Himself as the Fulfillment: After reading the passage, Jesus declared that the prophecy was fulfilled in their hearing. By associating himself with this messianic prophecy, Jesus was claiming to be the long-awaited Messiah who would bring about the fulfillment of God’s promises, including the proclamation of the year of the Lord’s favor or the Jubilee Year.

Jesus’ identification with the Jubilee Year emphasized his mission of liberation, restoration, and redemption. b. He came to bring spiritual freedom, healing, and release from all forms of bondage, whether physical, social, or spiritual. c. Jesus’ ministry challenged the prevailing social and economic structures, calling for justice, compassion, and equality, which resonated with the underlying principles of the Jubilee Year.

By associating himself with the proclamation of the year of the Lord’s favor, Jesus conveyed his role as the Messiah who would bring about the ultimate fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan. He preached a message of liberation and restoration, both in the spiritual and social realms, in alignment with the underlying principles of the Jubilee Year. This declaration served as a foundation for Jesus’ ministry and his mission to bring salvation to all people.

Exploring the Influence of Plato on C.S. Lewis’ Christianity

C.S. Lewis, a renowned Christian writer and apologist, incorporated various philosophical and theological influences into his understanding of Christianity. One significant influence on Lewis’s thought was the philosophy of Plato. Here are some aspects of Lewis’s Christianity that can be seen as having Platonic elements:

  1. Dualism: Plato’s philosophy posits a distinction between the physical world (the realm of appearances) and the ideal world of Forms or Ideas. Similarly, Lewis embraced a form of dualism in his theological views. He believed in a clear distinction between the material world and the spiritual realm, emphasizing the existence of a transcendent reality beyond the physical.
  2. Transcendence and Idealism: Both Plato and Lewis emphasized the existence of a higher reality or transcendent realm. Plato’s Forms were seen as perfect, unchanging ideals that served as the true essence behind the imperfect physical manifestations. Similarly, Lewis portrayed God as the ultimate reality and the source of all perfection, with the physical world being a shadow or reflection of that divine reality.
  3. Hierarchy of Being: Plato’s philosophy includes a hierarchical view of reality, with different levels of existence ranging from the lowest physical realm to the highest realm of the Forms. Lewis drew upon this idea in his writings, particularly in his book “The Great Divorce,” where he depicted a hierarchical structure of existence and portrayed the journey toward God as an ascent through different levels of being.
  4. Soul and Immortality: Plato’s philosophy emphasized the immortality of the soul, which Lewis also embraced. Lewis believed in the eternal nature of the soul and its capacity for a personal relationship with God beyond the confines of the physical world.
  5. Intellectual and Rational Approach: Plato valued reason and intellectual pursuit as a means to discover truth and understand the ultimate reality. Lewis, who himself was a scholar and intellectual, also emphasized the importance of reason and rationality in his apologetic works, arguing for the compatibility of faith and reason.

It is worth noting that while Lewis incorporated Platonic elements into his Christianity, his theological views were not solely based on Platonism. He also drew from other philosophical traditions, such as Aristotelianism and the writings of medieval Christian thinkers. Lewis synthesized various ideas and concepts to develop his unique perspective on Christianity.

Understanding the Concept of Being Made in the Image of God

The concept of being made in the image of God is a crucial idea found in various religious traditions. This belief suggests that human beings have a unique dignity and worth as they reflect specific aspects of God’s nature. In episode 75 of the Rethinking Scripture Podcast, we discuss and dissect some different views on what it means to be made in the image of God, as embraced by a few prominent theologians.

S. Joshua Swamidass, a Christian theologian and scientist, suggests that the concept of being made in the image of God can be grouped into three main approaches: substantive, relational, and functional views. The substantive view highlights specific attributes, such as rationality and creativity, that reflect God’s nature. The relational view emphasizes the idea of humans participating in a unique relationship with God and other human beings. Meanwhile, the functional view sees humans fulfilling a specific purpose or function in God’s creation.

John H. Walton, an Old Testament scholar, argues that understanding the ancient Near Eastern context is crucial in comprehending the concept of being made in the image of God. He notes that the ancient Israelites believed that physical idols represented a god’s power and authority. Thus, the image of God would have been understood in this context as a representation of God’s authority and power. The ancient Israelites would have understood that being made in God’s image meant they had a mandate to serve as stewards of God’s creation.

Gregory Beale, a New Testament scholar, frames idolatry and image bearing in terms of the human tendency to reflect the values and priorities of what we worship. Beale posits that when humans turn away from God and worship idols, they become conformed to the image of the idol and its values instead of reflecting God’s image. In this sense, idolatry involves a distortion of the image of God within us.

Understanding the concept of being made in the image of God is crucial for Christians and non-Christians alike. As we grapple with what it means to reflect God’s image in the world, we must seek to embody His values and priorities and fulfill our mandate as stewards of His creation.

Exploring Ancient Cosmology: How It Impacts Our Experience of Rest and Sabbath”

The term “Cosmos” refers to an orderly universe, and modern scientific advancements have greatly contributed to our understanding of its enormity and the Earth’s unique position within it. However, the perception of the cosmos has changed dramatically over time, even within our recent history.

When it comes to interpreting ancient cosmology from the Bible, scholars suggest understanding it within its ancient Near Eastern cultural context. On episode 73 of the Rethinking Scripture Podcast, we explore how ancient cosmology impacts our experience of sabbath rest.

John H. Walton, an Old Testament scholar, has extensively studied ancient Near Eastern cosmology, specifically the cosmology of the Israelites in the biblical era. He argues that their understanding of the cosmos was vastly different from modern scientific cosmology and should not be interpreted as such.

In ancient cultures, including the Israelites, the cosmos was seen as a functional and ordered system rather than a material one. Ancient cosmology focused on the functions and roles of various elements in the cosmos, rather than their physical composition.

According to Walton, the biblical creation account in Genesis 1 can be understood in light of this ancient cosmology. It is important not to read modern scientific concepts into ancient cosmology, but rather to understand it on its own terms.

Similarly, divine rest is a concept deeply rooted in ancient Near Eastern culture. Genesis 2:2-3 describes divine rest not as God taking a break or being exhausted after creating the world. In ancient Near Eastern culture, the building of a temple was seen as an act of creation, and once the temple was completed, the deity would take up residence in it.

When the Bible speaks of God resting on the seventh day, it suggests that God has taken up his residence in the cosmic temple he has just created. Furthermore, the Hebrew word used for “rest” in Genesis 2:2-3 is “shabat,” related to the word “sabbath.” This suggests that the concept of divine rest is closely linked to the idea of the sabbath, a day of physical rest and worship in ancient Israelite culture.

Introducing Michael S. Heiser and His Unseen Realm

In episode 70 of the Rethinking Scripture Podcast. I take the whole episode to memorialize the passing of the theologian and scholar, Dr. Michael S. Heiser. In 2020, Heiser was diagnosed with an aggressive case of Pancreatic cancer. On Feb 15, 2023 he turned 60, and five days later he transitioned to experience the unseen realm he wrote so much about.

“As you all know, when I pass, I will join the family of God and his council, to which all of us as believers presently belong but ‘not yet’ in its fullness. This is what awaits me, and I am glad. We will see each other in the future in unimaginably glorious ways.”Michael S. Heiser – Facebook message from January 22, 2023

Dr. Heiser was a Christian author and biblical Old Testament scholar whose area of expertise was the nature of the spiritual realm, specifically the ANE worldview of the Divine Council and the spiritual order’s hierarchy. He was a scholar-in-residence at Faithlife Corporation (the makers of Logos Bible Software) until 2019. He had his own podcast, The Naked Bible, and a non-profit ministry called Miqlat that is dedicated to the creation and distribution of his content. Heiser very graciously continued his craft until the end. Jan 7 was his last podcast episode.https://player.simplecast.com/ba3ffaf1-aaa1-4548-a7e9-899e666e4eb3?dark=false

My only brush with Dr. Heiser was in November of 2011 when I was in Bellingham, Washington for a Logos Bible Software training (interestingly led by Morris Proctor who lost his battle with cancer on January 23… just four weeks before Heiser’s passing. That’s a lot of loss within the Logos Bible Software community in a very short time.

While in Bellingham I was able to take a tour of the Logos Headquarters and it was on that tour that I met Dr. Heiser. I recognized him because he had recorded a set of videos I had purchased to help in my study of Biblical Hebrew. We said hello to each other… and that was it. Very uneventful. That was a full four years before he really became well known for his biblical scholarship.

He began the podcast in January of 2015. His last episode was Jan 7, 2023. That’s eight years and 458 episodes. That’s an average of just over 57 episodes every year. But Heiser wasn’t just a podcaster. During those same eight years, he came out with several books. Here are some titles that helped put him on people’s radar.

  • The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible (2015)
  • Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches about the Unseen World – And Why It Matters (2015)
  • Reversing Hermon: Enoch, The Watchers & The Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ (2017)
  • Angels: What the Bible Really Says about God’s Heavenly Host (2017)
  • Demons: What the Bible Really Says About the Powers of Darkness (2000)

Dr. Heiser’s Divine Council worldview is a theological perspective that he developed through his study of the Old Testament and the ancient Near Eastern culture and literature that influenced it. Heiser argues that the God of the Bible is not alone, but rather is the head of a council of divine beings who serve as his heavenly court. These divine beings are referred to in the Hebrew Bible as “sons of God” (bene ha’elohim) or “gods” (elohim).

According to Heiser, the Divine Council was a common concept in the ancient Near Eastern world, and the biblical authors assumed their readers would be familiar with it. He suggests that references to the Divine Council can be found throughout the Old Testament, including in the creation account, the Psalms, and the prophecies of Isaiah and Ezekiel.

Heiser argues that the Divine Council serves as a framework for understanding the spiritual realm, the relationship between God and humanity, and the role of Jesus Christ in the salvation of humankind. He suggests that the Divine Council worldview can help Christians understand the biblical doctrine of the Trinity and the nature of Christ as both fully God and fully human.

Overall, Heiser’s Divine Council worldview offers a unique perspective on the spiritual realm and the biblical narrative, and has gained a following among scholars and laypeople alike.

Not everyone accepts Heiser’s Divine Council worldview as the correct way to understand reality. The Divine Council worldview is a relatively recent theological concept, and it has not been universally accepted by scholars or the wider Christian community.

My Top 5 Favorite Episodes of the Naked Bible Podcast

#5 – Episode 434 – The Epistle of Jude Part 3 – 1 hour 3 min

This episode is an example of how the stories from the book of 1st Enoch are closely related to some parts of the biblical text. The watchers (the sons of God from Genesis 6), and the angels that sinned.

#4 – Episode 103 – Moses and the Bronze Serpent – 1 hour 13 min

This is just a solid example of how Heiser approached and relentlessly pursued the biblical text. You may have heard how Moses lifted up a bronze serpent in the wilderness from your reading of John 3:14-15. But, you may be unaware where that story is in the old testament. You might also assume that this probably has something to do with the serpent imagery from the Garden of Eden. If that describes you… then you need to spend 1 hour and 13 minutes of your life getting all these things straightened out.

#3 – Episode 138 – What Day was Jesus Born? – 1 hour 40 min – 
This episode corresponds to Reversing Hermon – Chapter 4
Michael Heiser Blog Post: September 11, Happy Birthday to Jesus

This quote if from the above mentioned blog post:
“Many readers will know that I believe the actual birthdate of Jesus was Sept 11, 3 BC. This isn’t based on any original research of my own. Rather, it is based on the work of E. L. Martin’s The Star that Astonished the World (which can be read for free). Most academics are unaware of Martin’s research because he wasn’t a member of the biblical studies guild. Others reject it out of hand because of Martin’s involvement with the old Worldwide Church of God. The quality of one’s research, however, doesn’t depend on having a PhD in biblical studies or whether one is doctrinally correct in all areas. I don’t buy Martin’s views on other things, but I find his work on the birth of the messiah persuasive (and it has a long history of endorsement in planetariums).”

#2 – Episode 159 – Noah’s Nakedness, The Sin of Ham, and the Curse of Canaan – 48 minutes

In this episode Heiser interacts with Bergsma and Walker’s 2005 Journal article:
John Sietze Bergsma, H., Scott Walker. (2005). Noah’s Nakedness and the Curse on Canaan (Genesis 9:20–27)Journal of Biblical Literature124-26.

This from the introduction of the above mentioned article: 
“The compressed, elusive narrative of Gen 9:20–27 has been an exegetical puzzle since antiquity. The terseness of the account, with its inexplicable features and subtle hints of sexual transgression, has left generations of readers and scholars feeling that there is more to the story than the narrator has made explicit. As many have pointed out, interpretive debates generally revolve around two interrelated questions: (1) the nature of Ham’s offense (why would Ham’s “seeing” Noah’s nakedness merit a curse?), and (2) the rationale for Canaan’s punishment (if Ham was the perpetrator, why was Canaan cursed?).”

“Exegetes since antiquity have identified Ham’s deed as either voyeurism, castration, or paternal incest. This last explanation seems to be enjoying a revival of popularity in some recent scholarship. This article will argue for a fourth possible explanation of Ham’s deed: maternal incest, which simultaneously explains the gravity of Ham’s offense and the rationale for the cursing of Canaan, who is the fruit of the illicit union. The full case for this view has never been adequately presented, and it is particularly apropos to do so now, given the increasing interest in the theory of paternal incest.”

#1 – Episode 86 – The Head Covering of 1 Corinthians 11:13-15 – 58 minutes
This episode corresponds to Reversing Hermon – Chapter 8

In this episode Heiser interacts with Martin’s article: 
Martin, T. W. (2004). Paul’s Argument from Nature for the Veil in 1 Corinthians 11:13–15: A Testicle instead of a Head CoveringJournal of Biblical Literature123, 75.

This Heiser’s description from the show notes: 
“The topic for this episode is the controversial head covering reference in 1 Cor. 11:13-15. The discussion summarizes the material discussed in a scholarly journal article published in 2004 by Dr. Troy Martin entitled, “Paul’s Argument from Nature for the Veil in 1 Cor. 11:13-15: A Testicle instead of a Head Covering” (Journal of Biblical Literature 123:1 [2004]: 75-84). Martin summarizes his approach as follows: “This article interprets Paul’s argument from nature in 1 Cor. 11:13-15 against the background of ancient physiology. The Greek and Roman medical texts provide useful information for interpreting not only Paul’s letters but also other NT texts.” The article (and the author’s subsequent responses to criticism, also published in academic literature) presents a compelling case and is, to Dr. Heiser’s knowledge, the only approach that provides a coherent explanation as to why the head covering warnings are important, in the words of Paul “because of the angels” (1 Cor. 11:10). This warning ultimately takes readers back to the incident with the Watchers (sons of God) in Gen. 6:1-4. One of Martin’s concluding application thoughts is also important: “Since the physiological conceptions of the body have changed, however, no physiological reason remains for continuing the practice of covering women’s heads in public worship, and many Christian communities reasonably abandon this practice.” In other words, Paul’s rationale for what he says here is no longer coherent today — but his teaching points are (modesty, sexual fidelity). As such, wearing veils (in church or elsewhere) is a conscience issue, not a point of doctrine. The nature of this material is overtly sexual, so this episode is for adult listeners.”

If you’re not familiar with Dr. Heiser’s work, these five podcast episodes will give you a great introduction. It will be more than worth your time to give them a listen.

This is how Dr. Heiser finished his January 22nd Facebook post:
“I know this news is depressing, but you should all know, I will die happy to have served the Lord and you all in the ways I have. God has been very good to us, gifting me in discernible ways and, I think just as importantly, given me a heart for the lay community—all of you. I desired nothing more than to empower all of you to study Scripture more deeply, to unlock the Bible for you in ways inaccessible to all but scholars. This brought me a special joy.”

My prayers go out to those close to Dr. Heiser. He will be greatly missed by many.

How Is the Sabbath Misunderstood?

The observance of the Sabbath as a day of rest and worship, has a long and complex history in America. The Puritans who settled in New England in the 1600s were known for their strict observance of the Sabbath, and laws were enacted to enforce Sabbath-keeping. During the colonial period, the dominant form of Christianity was Congregationalism and the Sabbath was strictly observed. With the Great Awakening in the 1700s, a more relaxed attitude towards the Sabbath emerged, and the revivalist movement led by figures such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield encouraged a more joyful and less legalistic approach to Sabbath-keeping.

In the 19th century, Sabbath observance became a matter of controversy as the country became more industrialized and Sunday labor became more common. The growth of immigrant populations, particularly Irish and Catholic immigrants, added to the diversity of Sabbath-keeping practices in America.

In the 20th century, the rise of leisure time and the decline of religious observance led to a further relaxation of the strict observance of the Sabbath, but for many Americans it remains an important concept, especially in more conservative and religious communities.The specific practices and customs associated with observing the Sabbath can also vary depending on whether one follows the Jewish, Christian, or another religious tradition.

The Bible teaches the importance of rest, both physically and spiritually. In the book of Genesis, God “rested” on the seventh day after giving structure and order to the cosmos (Genesis 1:1-2:3). In Exodus 20:8-11 (and Deuteronomy 5:12-15), the fourth of the Ten Commandments states that every seventh-day should be a day of rest, in remembrance of day when God rested. Many people think this is all the Old Testament has to say on the topic. But there is much more to the concept of sabbath rest.

In the New Testament, in Hebrews 3-4, the author writes about a “rest” that remains for the people of God and encourages believers to strive to enter that rest. This is often misunderstood by Christians to be a reference to spiritual rest in God, which comes from faith in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross. But the author of Hebrews is writing to believers who have already come to faith, and suggests “rest” isn’t automatically triggered by an initial faith experience.

Overall, the Bible emphasizes the importance of taking time for rest and worship, both for physical and spiritual renewal. But what if we’ve misunderstood some of the basic constructs of this concept. The Bible presents a fully developed and robust theology of biblical rest. Modern day believers often truncate the whole theology into just one or two of its parts. What if true sabbath rest isn’t at all what we think it is?

If that’s true… then it might be time to rethink rest.

Why Should We Look Beyond the Sabbath’s Shadow?

I spent most of 2016… and some of 2017… completing the “Major Project” for my Doctor of Ministry degree. Attached is a copy of my doctoral work, Beyond the Sabbath’s Shadow: A Biblical Understanding and Application of Godly Rest. If you were hoping for more detail than the Rethinking Rest material affords, you might find that in this project.

You can download a free PDF copy here: Beyond the Sabbath’s Shadow – Gregory D. Hall

How Culture Confuses the Puzzle of the Sabbath

I’m wondering how you ended up at this website reading a post about “rest”. Of all the things people are reading about these days, what caused you to stop here just now? I suppose there are lots of reasons one might have but what are those reasons for you?

Whatever your motivation, I’m guessing you wouldn’t refuse if someone offered you a satisfying recipe for rest and a compelling argument to rethink what it means. The Bible studies and ideas I’ve presented on RethinkingRest.com are representative of why I have completely changed the way I approach rest. Not only have my definitions of “rest” changed, but the practical application isn’t the same either. 

And it’s not what you are thinking. This site isn’t one that will try to settle arguments about what day the Sabbath is or what activities are approved and which should be avoided on such a day. You’ll find this to be a completely different perspective on the topic. It will be a refreshing break from the tired Sabbath discussions that seem to have occupied a generation of evangelicals. 

I grew up in the middle of those discussions. 

I also grew up playing baseball. There was a strong Little League tradition in our small community. One of the years I was in middle school (in the early 1980’s), our local high-school baseball team made it to the playoffs. Most of the post-season games that year were played on week days after school, but the championship game happened to be scheduled for a Saturday afternoon. Normally this is a great idea. It allows teams and families time to travel. 

That particular year, one of the best pitchers on the team (and his family) consistently observed a 7th-Day Sabbath. Their family took Saturdays off from many of their normal weekday activities for religious purposes. As the team kept winning their playoff games, I remember there being great conversation in the community about whether the star pitcher would choose to play if they made it to the championship game.

They did keep winning… and they qualified to play that Saturday afternoon. After much discussion (and I’m assuming prayerful consideration as well)… the pitcher decided to play in the title game. Even though they lost a close one-run contest, the conversation surrounding the decision to play, or not, made an early impact on me.

That baseball season was just a couple years after the movie Chariots of Fire won four Academy Awards (including Best Picture).  For those who haven’t seen it, Chariots of Fire is a film based on the true story of two British Olympic athletes in the 1924 games. In the movie one of the athletes, Eric Liddell, is favored to win the 100-meter race. Liddell is a devout religious man and He refuses to run in a qualifying heat because it is held on Sunday. 

Though I was young at the time, I remember being somewhat confused about how many different ideas and practices there were regarding this sacred concept. One athlete refuses to run on Sunday, another doesn’t know if he should play baseball on Saturday. These ambiguities, and many others like them, have lead to a general state of confusion for many. It is common for followers of Jesus to second guess what the sabbath is and how they should respond to it. 

I think we can all agree, biblical rest is a confusing topic. I grew up attending church, and one might think church attendance would have brought more clarity to the topic, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. On the contrary, it was in the church that I found great diversity in how people thought about biblical rest. Most assumed rest was simply one variation or another of observing the Sabbath (the fourth commandment). For years that’s what I assumed too.

For me, early confusion about the topic lead to apathy and eventually, even though I remained a believer in Christ, I lost interest in the Sabbath. It was later in life, while in my Master’s program, that I began to re-engage with the topic. It was in a Bible class, studying the book of Hebrews, that I began to ask new questions about biblical rest. It is those questions, and the answers that followed, that lead to a surprising discovery, a greater understanding, and the desire to write about this topic.

I invite you to dive in with me and discover why it is we should be rethinking what we think we know about rest.