The Difference a Day Makes

by Oliver Archer (Grantham, UK: Stanborough Press, 2022).

Carl McRoy is the North American Division Literature Ministries director.

In The Difference a Day Makes, Oliver Archer attempts to introduce the newly initiated and reorient some of us longtime believers to the Sabbath as a day of belonging, not just a fundamental belief. Further implied in the title is an answer to variations of the “So what?” questions: “So what if God created the world in six days?” “So what if the Sabbath is the seventh day (Saturday) and not the first day (Sunday)?” “What difference do any of these biblical proofs mean for me today?”

Archer takes us beyond mere commandment keeping to explore the fundamentally relational aspect of the Sabbath day. Why did God make the Sabbath? Why did He design us with a need to rest? What is His plan for the Sabbath in our lives, and has it ever changed? Why do some people worship on the first day of the week while others worship on the seventh? Does the day on which we worship matter to God? What does the Bible say about it? And how might worshipping God according to His plan for our lives affect our relationship with Christ?

These types of questions are addressed by showing how the Sabbath restores rest and relationships, how it is an expression of love and faithfulness and a sign of eternal peace and security, how it shows that we are followers of Jesus and confirms the new covenant rather than contradicting it, how it builds faith in the word of God, and how it is somehow related to Wonder Bread.

Archer reminds us that when God made the Sabbath for humankind, He did not give Adam a dogmatic proposition to read, remember, and regurgitate. God designed the difference-making day to be experienced more than exposited. Rather than argue this point, Archer demonstrates it through his use of biblical narratives and modern, true-to-life stories. Rather than tell you about what God did on day six of Creation week, Archer invites you to feel the awe and curiosity of Adam’s first day of consciousness.

Just because Archer employs an easy reading style does not mean The Difference a Day Makes is a fluffy serving of verbal cotton candy. The book has plenty of allusions to and quotations from various philosophical and theological voices, yet it relays those concepts in an accessible and appetizing manner for everyday people who get mental indigestion from works like Rene Descartes’ Meditationes de Prima Philosophia.

Because some common scriptural questions that readers may have do not fit into the story-oriented body of the book, Archer has an appendix with concise explanations, followed by a scriptural index as a quick reference guide to the topic.

If I were currently serving as a pastor in a local church, The Difference a Day Makes would be in our rotation of gifts to go in our welcome bags for visitors and for members to share with friends, family, and neighbors.

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Carl McRoy is the North American Division Literature Ministries director.

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