Confessions of Sunday Keepers
Concerning the Sabbath
The following Quotes are compiled by C. Gary Hullquest, M.D.
We believe the Scriptures teach that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government; that it is holy, just, and good; and that the inability which the Scriptures ascribe to fallen men to fulfill its precepts arises entirely from their love of sin; to deliver them from which, and to restorethem through a Mediator to unfeigned obedience to the holy law, is one greatend of the gospel, and of the means of grace connected with the establishmentof the visible church.” New Hampshire Confession of Faith, Article 12, quoted in O.C.S. WALLACE, What Baptists Believe (1934), p. 79.
“To prove that the Ten Commandments are binding, let any person read them,one by one, and ask his own conscience as he reads, whether it would be any sinto break them. Is this, or any part of it, the liberty of the gospel? Every conscience that is not seared as with a hot iron must answer these questions inthe negative... The lawgiver and the Savior were one; and believers must be ofone mind with the former as well as with the latter; but if we depreciate the law which Christ delighted to honor, and deny our obligations to obey it, how arewe of His mind? Rather are we not of that mind which is enmity against God,which is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be?... If the law benot a rule of conduct to believers, and a perfect rule too, they are under no rule;or, which is the same thing, are lawless. But if so, they commit no sin; forwhere no law is there is no transgression; and in this case they have no sins to confess, either to God or to one another; nor do they stand in need of Christ asan advocate with the Father, nor of daily forgiveness through His blood. Thus itis, by disowning the law, men utterly subvert the gospel. Believers, therefore,instead of being freed from obligation to obey it, are under greater obligation todo so than any men in the world. To be exempt from this is to be without law,and of course without sin; in which case we might do without a Savior, which isutterly subversive of all religion.’ American Baptist Publication Society Tract No, 64, Pages 2-6.
Charles Spurgeon: “Jesus did not come to change the law, but He came to explain it, and that veryfact shows that it remains; for there is no need to explain that which is abrogated... By thus explaining the law He confirmed it; He could not havemeant to abolish it, or He would not have needed to expound it... That the Master did not come to alter the law is clear, because after having embodied itin His life, He willingly gave Himself up to bear its penalty, though He had never broken it, bearing the penalty for us, even as it is written, ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us.’... If the law had demanded more of us than it ought to have done, would the Lord Jesus haverendered to it the penalty which resulted from its too severe demands? I am sureHe would not. But because the law asked only what it ought to ask, namely,perfect obedience, and exacted of the transgressor only what it ought to exact,namely, death as the penalty for sin—death under divine wrath—therefore theSavior went to the tree, and there bore our sins, and purged them once for all.”Perpetuity of the Law of God, Sermon May 21, 1882, Pages 4-7.
Methodists: “Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites,does not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity bereceived in any common-wealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoeveris free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.” Constitution of the Methodist Episcopal Church, “Articles of Religion,’ Art. 6, in Methodist Episcopal Church Doctrines and Discipline (1928), p.7.
John Wesley: “The moral law contained in the ten commandments, and enforced by the prophets, He [Christ] did not take away. It was not the design of His coming torevoke any part of this. This is the law which never can be broken, which “stands fast as the faithful witness in heaven,’ The moral law stands on an entirely different foundation from the ceremonial or ritual law.... Every part ofthe law must remain in force upon all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change,but on the nature of God and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relationto each other.” Wesley, John, On the Sermon on the Mount, Discourse 6, Sermons on Several Occasions (1810), pp. 75, 76.
Uriah Smith & James White
“There are plainly two kinds of laws: one class binding on man before he fell,regulating his duty to God, and to his fellowmen; the other class, growing out ofthe changed condition of man after he had fallen and the plan of salvation hadbeen introduced. If man had never fallen, it would have been his duty just thesame to render supreme honor to God, and to deal justly with his fellowmen.But if he had never fallen, there never would have been any laws regulatingceremonies, sacrifices, offerings, baptism, the Lord’s supper, etc. These all grow out of man’s necessities in consequence of his fall. The first may be called original or primary laws; and they are, in the very nature of things, immutableand eternal; the others are derived, secondary or typical laws, and are temporary and changeable.” The Biblical Institute, White, James, Smith, Uriah, 1878 reprint 2000 by TEACH Services, 352 pages, pp. 118-119.
Methodist Episcopal: “Ques. What does God require of man?Ans. Obedience to His revealed will. Ques. What is the rule of our obedience? Ans. The moral law. Ques. Where is the moral law given?Ans. In the ten commandments. Ques. Are all Christians under obligation to keep the law?Ans. Yes.” CatechismNumber 2, pp 38, 43; Number 1, p.18.
Presbyterian: “The moral law does forever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to theobedience thereof; and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, butalso in respect of the authority of God the Creator who gave it. Neither doesChrist in the gospel in any way dissolve, but much strengthen, this obligation.”The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, Chapter 19, sec. 5, (1896), pp.88, 89.
“The laws of the Jews are commonly divided into moral, ceremonial, and judicial. The moral laws are such as grow out of the nature of things, which cannot, therefore, be changed—such as the duty of loving God and Hiscreatures. These cannot be abolished, as it can never be made right to hate God,or to hate our fellow men. Of this kind are the ten commandments; and these our Savior has neither abolished nor superseded.” Albert Barnes, Notes, Explanatory and Practical, on the Gospels (1860 edition), Vol. 1, p. 65.
John Calvin: “We must not imagine that the coming of Christ has freed us from the authority of the law; for it is the eternal rule of a devout and holy life, and must, therefore, be as unchangeable as the justice of God, which it embraced, is constant and uniform.” Commentary on a Harmony of the Gospels, 1845 Translation by William Pringle, Volume I, p. 277.
“The law sustained no diminution of its authority, but ought always to receivefrom us the same veneration and obedience.” The Institutes of the Christian Religion, (1536) ii. 7, sec. 15.
“The law of God is and must of necessity be unchangeable and eternal.” Dwight, Timothy, Theology, Vol. IV, p. 120.
“Through the atonement of Christ more honor is done to the law, and consequently the law is more established, than if the law had been literallyexecuted, and all mankind had been condemned. Whatever tends most to the honor of the law, tends most to establish its authority.” Jonathan Edwards, Works of Jonathan Edwards, Edition of 1842, Vol. 11, p. 369. [president of Princeton University]
Dwight L. Moody: “Now men may cavil as much as they like about other parts of the Bible, but Ihave never met an honest man that found fault with the ten commandments. infidels may mock the Lawgiver and reject Him who has delivered us from thecurse of the law, but they can’t help admitting that the commandments are right.Renan said that they are for all nations, and will remain the commandments ofGod during all the centuries.”
“The people must be made to understand that the ten commandments are still binding, and that there is a penalty attached to their violation.” “The commandments of God given to Moses in the mount at Horeb are as binding today as ever they have been since the time when they were proclaimed in the hearing of the people. The Jews said the law was not given in Palestine (whichbelonged to Israel), but in the wilderness, because the law was for all nations.”“Jesus never condemned the law and the prophets, but He did condemn thosewho did not obey Him. Because He gave new commandments, it does notfollow that He abolished the old. Christ’s explanation of them made them all themore searching.” Weighed and Wanting, (Fleming H. Revell Co: New York, 1898) Pages 11, 16, 15.
“23. How many kinds of laws did God give in the Old Testament? Three kinds:
1. The ceremonial church law; 2. The civil law; 3. The moral law. “24. Which of these laws is still in force? The moral law, which is contained in the ten commandments. “25. Cannot this law be abolished? No; because it is founded on God’s holy and righteous nature.” Epitome of Pontoppidan’s Explanation of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism (1935), pp. 6, 7.
“I wonder exceedingly how it came to be imputed to me that I should reject thelaw of ten commandments.... Can anyone think that sin exists where there is no law? Whoever abrogates the law, must of necessity abrogate sin also,” Luther,Against the Antinomians, Translated from Luther’s Works (Weimar ed.), vol. 50, pp. 470, 471.
“He who destroys the doctrine of the law, destroys at the same time politicaland social order. If you eject the law from the church, there will no longer beany sin recognized as such in the world; for the gospel only defines and punishes sin by reference to the law.” Michelet, M., Life of Luther v. 4, Hazlitt’s translation (2d edition: London, 1856), p. 315.
Protestants in more recent times continue to acknowledge the Biblical support forthe seventh day Sabbath. Now let’s explore a review of Sabbath observance by systems.
Anglican/EpiscopalJohn Milton: “The reason for which the [Sabbath] command [of Exodus 20:8-11] was originally given, —namely, as a memorial of God’s having rested from theCreation of the World—cannot be transferred from the seventh day to the first;nor can any new motive be substituted in its place, whether the resurrection ofour Lord or any other—without [first in Scripture receiving) the sanction of adivine commandment...
For if we under the gospel are to regulate the time of our public worship by theprescriptions of the Decalogue—it will be far safer to observe the seventh day,according to the express commandment of God, than on the authority of merehuman conjecture to adopt the first day of the week].” A Posthumous Treatise on the Christian Doctrine, bk. 2, chap. 7 [(1608-1674) the most famous poet ofEnglish literature, and author of Paradise Lost]
“Take which you will, either the Fathers or the moderns, and we shall find no Lord’s Day instituted by any apostolical mandate, no Sabbath set on foot bythem on the first day of the week”
“Neither did he (Jesus), or his disciples, ordain another Sabbath in the place ofthis, as if they had intended only to shift the day; and to transfer this honor tosome other time. Their doctrine and their practice are directly contrary, to sonew a fancy. It is true, that in some tract of time, the Church in honor of hisresurrection, did set apart that day on the which he rose, to holy exercises: butthis upon their own authority, and without warrant from above, that we can hearof; more then the general warrant which God gave his Church, that all things in it be done decently, and in comely order.” History of the Sabbath(1636, London) Part 2, Ch.2, p.7
“And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all?We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded tokeep the first day... The reason why we keep the first day of the week holyinstead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many other things,not because the Bible, but because the church has enjoined it.” Plain Sermons on the Catechism, (1882) vol. 1, pp.334, 336.
Canon Richard Eyton
“There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about abstaining from workon Sunday...into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters...The observance ofAsh Wednesday or Lent stands exactly on the same footing as the observance ofSunday.” The Ten Commandments, (1894, Westminster) pp. 52, 63, 65.
George Franklin Seymour, S.T.D., LL.D.
“We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturdayto Sunday, on the authority of the one holy, catholic, apostolic Church of Christ.” (Bishop 1877-1906) Why We Keep Sunday, Article 12.
William E. Gladstone
“The seventh day of the week has been deposed from its title to obligatory religious observance, and its prerogative has been carried over to the first underno direct precept of Scripture.” Later Gleanings, p. 342 [(1809-1898) leadingBritish statesman, four times prime minister, member of Parliament for 62 years]
“The Bible commandment says on the seventh-day thou shalt rest. That isSaturday. Nowhere in the Bible is it laid down that worship should be done on Sunday.” Toronto Daily Star, Oct 26, 1949 [Anglican archbishop of Quebec speaking to an assembly of clergymen]
“The Lord’s day did not succeed in the place of the [Bible] Sabbath, but the... Lord’s day was merely of ecclesiastical institution. It was not introduced byvirtue of the fourth commandment, because they for almost three hundred years together kept that day which was in that commandment.” The Rule of Conscience, 1851, pp. 456-548 [(1613-1667) chaplain to the King of England,bishop and president of a Welsh college]
Frederic William Farrar
“The Christian Church made no formal, but a gradual and almost unconscioustransference of the day to the other.” The Voice from Sinai, p. 167 [(1831-1903) Anglican clergyman, dean of Canterbury]
Hobart Church News, July 2, 1894. “The observance of the first day instead of the seventh day rests on the testimony of the Catholic church, and the [Catholic] church alone.”
Episcopal Explanation of the Catechism
“The day is now changed from the seventh to the first day...but as we meet withno Scriptural direction for the change, we may conclude it was done by theauthority of the church.”
BaptistDr. Edward T. Hiscox “There was and is a command to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will however be readily said, and with some show oftriumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the Seventh to the First day ofthe week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiringinformation on the subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, wherecan the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament— absolutely not. There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbathinstitution from the Seventh to the First day of the week...
“I wish to say that this Sabbath question, in this aspect of it, is the gravest and most perplexing question connected with Christian institutions which at presentclaims attention from Christian people; and the only reason that it is not a moredisturbing element in Christian thought and in religious discussion is becausethe Christian world has settled down content on the conviction that somehow a transference has taken place at the beginning of Christian history.
“To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years’ discussion withHis disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question, discussingit in some of its various aspects, freeing it from it’s false [Jewish traditional]glosses, never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during forty daysof His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated. Nor, so far as we know,did the Spirit, which was given to bring to their remembrance all thingswhatsoever that He had said unto them, deal with this question. Nor yet did theinspired apostles, in preaching the gospel, founding churches, counseling andinstructing those founded, discuss or approach the subject.
“Of course I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and othersources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of Paganism, and christened with the name of the sun-god, then adopted and sanctified by the Papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism.” [New York ministers’ conference, Nov. 13, 1893, reported in New York Examiner, Nov. 16, 1893]
William Owen Carver
“There was never any formal or authoritative change from the Jewish seventh-day Sabbath to the Christian first-day observance.”
“There are in the New Testament no commands, no prescriptions, no rules, noliturgies applying to the observance of the Lord’s Day....
“There is no organic [no actual] connection between the Hebrew Sabbath and the Christian Lord’s Day... It was only a short while until gentiles predominatedin the [early church] Christian movement. They brought over the consciousnessof various observances in the pagan religions, pre-eminently the worship of thesun—a sort of Sunday consciousness.” The Lord’s Day in Our Day, 1940, pp. 49, 52, 54. [(1868-1954) professor of comparative religion at the SouthernBaptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky]
Joseph Judson Taylor
“Before the giving of the law from Sinai the obligation of the Sabbath was understood. When some of the people went out [four chapters before Sinai] to get manna, God said unto Moses: ‘How long refuse ye to keep MyCommandments and My Laws? The Lord hath given you the Sabbath, thereforeHe hath given you on the sixth day bread enough for two days’ [Ex. 16].Indeed, it may be questioned if the Law given through Moses on tables of stonedisclosed any new truth… The fourth commandment does not institute a Sabbath, nor does it sanctify a day; it simply writes the Sabbath among theimmutable things of God.”
“Not once did [the disciples) apply the Sabbath law to the first day of theweek—that folly was left for a later age, nor did they pretend that the first day supplanted the seventh.”
“The sacred name of the seventh day is Sabbath. This fact is too clear to requireargument [Exodus 20:10, quoted]...On this point the plain teaching of the Wordhas been admitted in all ages...” The Sabbatic Question, 1914, pp. 14-17, 22, 24,
41. [(1885-1930) vice-president of the Home Mission Board, Southern BaptistConvention]
CongregationalistDr, R. W. Dale “...it is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, weare not keeping the Sabbath... The Sabbath was founded on a specific Divinecommand. We can plead no such command for the obligation to observe Sunday... There is not a single line in the New Testament to suggest that weincur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday.” The Ten Commandments (New York: Eaton & Mains), pp. 127-129 or (Hodder & Stoughton), p. 106-107.
“A further argument for the perpetuity of the Sabbath we have in Matthew24:20, ‘Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.’Christ is here speaking of the flight of the apostles and other Christians out ofJerusalem and Judea, just before their final destruction, as is manifest by thewhole context, and especially by the 16th verse: ‘Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.’ But the final destruction of Jerusalem was after the dissolution of the Jewish constitution, and after the Christian dispensation was fully set up. Yet it is plainly implied in these words of the Lord, that eventhen Christians were bound to a strict observance of the Sabbath.” The Works of President Edwards, Worcester edition, 1844-1848, vol. IV, pp. 621-622.
Dr. Lyman Abbott
“The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted thefirst day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament.” Christian Union, June 26, 1890
“..the Christian Sabbath [Sunday] is not in the Scriptures, and was not by theprimitive Church called the Sabbath.” Theology: Explained and Defended(1823), Sermon 107, vol. 3, p. 258. [(1752-1817) president of Yale University 1795-1817]
Disciples of ChristAlexander Campbell“Now there is no testimony in all the oracles of heaven that the Sabbath ischanged, or that the Lord’s Day came in the room of it.” Quoted in The Reporter, Washington, Pennsylvania, October 8, 1921
“If it [the Ten commandments] yet exist, let us observe it...And if it does notexist, let us abandon a mock observance of another day for it. ‘But,’ say some,‘it was changed from the seventh to the first day.’ Where? when? and bywhom?—No, it never was changed, nor could it be, unless creation was to begone through again: for the reason assigned [in Genesis 2:1-3] must be changed before the observance or respect to the reason, can be changed. It is all old wives’ fables to talk of the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day. If it be changed, it was that august personage changed it who changestimes and laws ex officio. I think his name is ‘Doctor Antichrist.’ ” The Christian Baptist, February 2, 1824, vol. 1, no. 7
“Either the [Ten Commandment] Law remains in all its force, to the utmost extent of its literal requirements, or it is passed away with the Jewish ceremonies. If it yet exists, let us observe it according to law. And if it does notexist, let us abandon a mock observance of another day for it.” Address to the Readers of the Christian Baptists, part 1, Feb. 2, 1824, pp. 44-45
“The first day of the week is commonly called the Sabbath. This is a mistake.The Sabbath of the Bible was the day just preceding the first day of the week.The first day of the week is never called the Sabbath anywhere in the entireScriptures. It is also an error to talk about the change of the Sabbath fromSaturday to Sunday. There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation ofsuch a change.” First Day Observance, pp. 17, 19. [(1788-1866) Irish Protestant founded in America the Disciples of Christ Church also founder andpresident of Bethany College]
Dr. D. H. Lucas
“There is no direct Scriptural authority for designating the first day ‘the Lord’sDay.’ ” Christian Oracle, January 23, 1890.
Lutheran Martin Luther “God blessed the Sabbath and sanctified it to Himself. It is moreover to be remarked that God did this to no other creature. God did not sanctify to Himselfthe heaven nor the earth nor any ether creature. But God did sanctify to Himselfthe seventh day... The Sabbath therefore has, from the beginning of the world,been set apart for the worship of God.” Commentary on Genesis, Vol. 1, Comment on Gen. 2:3, pp. 138-139 [(1483-1546) leader of the great Sixteenth Century Reformation]
“We have seen how gradually the impression of the Jewish Sabbath faded fromthe mind of the Christian Church, and how completely the newer thoughtunderlying the observance of the first day took possession of the church. Wehave seen that the Christians of the first three centuries never confused one with the other, but for a time celebrated both.” The Sunday Problem, (1923), p. 36, a study book of the United Lutheran Church.
Augsburg Confession of Faith
“They [Roman Catholics] refer to the Sabbath Day, as having been changed intothe Lord’s Day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it seems. Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning the changing of the Sabbath Day. Great, say they, is the power of the Church, since it has dispensed with oneof the Ten Commandments.” Article 28 written by Melanchthon, approved by Martin Luther, 1530; The Book of Concord of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Henry Jacobs, editor (1911), p. 63. Also in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christiandom, 4th Edition, vol. 3, p. 64.
“They [the Catholics] allege the change of the Sabbath into the Lord’s day, as itseemeth, to the Decalogue [the Ten Commandments]; and they have no example more in their mouths than the change of the Sabbath. They will needshave the church’s power to be very great, because it hath dispensed with aprecept of the Decalogue?’ Part 2, Article 7 [written only thirteen years afterLuther nailed up his theses to start the Reformation].
“The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a humanordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a Divinecommand in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic Church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.” The History of the Christian Religion and Church, Henry John Rose, translator (1843), p. 186.
John Theodore Mueller
“But they err in teaching that Sunday has taken the place of the Old TestamentSabbath and therefore must be kept as the seventh day had to be kept by thechildren of Israel... These churches err in their teaching, for Scripture has in noway ordained the first day of the week in place of the Sabbath. There is simplyno law in the New Testament to that effect.” Sabbath or Sunday, pp. 15, 16. [(1885-1949) Professor of Saint Louis Seminary.]
Andreas Rudolf Karlstadt
“When servants have worked six days, they should have the seventh day free.God says without distinction, ‘Remember that you observe the seventh day’...Concerning Sunday it is known that men have instituted it... It is clear however,that you should celebrate the seventh day.” Concerning the Sabbath and Commanded Holidays, 1524, chap. 4, pp. 23-24 [(1480-1541) joined Luther atWittenberg in 1517 when the German Reformation began and taught the BibleSabbath]
“The taking over of Sunday by the early Christians is, to my mind, an exceedingly important symptom that the early church was directly influencedby a spirit which does not originate in the gospel, nor in the Old Testament, but in a religious system foreign to it.” Zum Religions-geschichtl Verständnis des Neuen Testaments, 1903 p. 76.
Lutheran Free Church George Sverdrup“For when there could not be produced one solitary place in the Holy Scriptureswhich testified that either the Lord Himself or the apostles had ordered such atransfer of the Sabbath to Sunday, then it was not easy to answer the question.Who has transferred the Sabbath, and who has had the right to do it?” En Ny Dag (A New Day), in Sondagen og dens Halligholdelse (Sunday and its Observance), 1879 [(1848-1907) Norwegian-born founder of the Lutheran FreeChurch and principal of the Augsburg Seminary, Minnesota)
Methodist Harris Franklin Rall “Take the matter of Sunday. There are indications in the New Testament as tohow the church came to keep the first day of the week as its day of worship, butthere is no passage telling Christians to keep that day, or to transfer the JewishSabbath to that day.” Christian Advocate, July 2, 1942, p.26.
“But, the moral law contained in the ten commandments, and enforced by theprophets, he [Christ] did not take away. It was not the design of his coming torevoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken... Every part ofthis law must remain in force upon all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place, or any other circumstances liable to change,but on the nature of God and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relationto each other.” The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M., John Emory, ed. (New York: Eaton & Mains), Sermon 25, vol. 1, p. 221.
“There is no intimation here that the Sabbath was done away, or that its moral use superseded, by the introduction of Christianity. I have shown elsewhere that, ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,’ is a command of perpetual obligation.” The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Vol. 2,
p. 524 [(1760-1832) Irish Wesleyan minister, writer, and three times Methodistconference president]
“It is true that there is no positive command for infant baptism. Nor is there anyfor keeping holy the first day of the week. Many believe that Christ changed theSabbath. But, from His own words, we see that He came for no such purpose.Those who believe that Jesus changed the Sabbath base it only on a supposition.” Theological Compendium, 1902 edition, pp. 180-181, 171 [(18021878), Methodist minister and presiding elder, also wrote a Methodist NewTestament Commentary]
“If we had no other passage than of Genesis 2:3, there would be no difficulty indeducing from it a precept for the universal observance of the Sabbath to bedevoted to God, as holy time, by all of that race for whom the earth and its nature were specially prepared. The first men must have known it. The words‘He hallowed it,’ can have no meaning otherwise. They would be a blank unlessin reference to some who were required to keep it holy.” Translator’s note onGen. 2:3, in John Peter Lange’s, A Commentary: Genesis, 1868, p. 197 [(18021877) ancient language and literature professor at Union College and NewYork City University]
Harris Franklin Rall
“Take the matter of Sunday. There are indications in the new testament as to how the church came to keep the first day of the week as its day of worship, butthere is no passage telling Christians to keep that day or to transfer the JewishSabbath to that day.” Christian Advocate, July 2, 1942, p.26
Dwight L Moody
“The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since. Thisfourth commandment begins with the word ‘remember,’ showing that theSabbath already existed when God wrote the law on the tables of stone at Sinai.How can men claim that this one commandment has been done away with whenthey will admit that the other nine are still binding?”
“I honestly believe that this commandment [the Sabbath commandment] is just asbinding today as it ever was. I have talked with men who have said that it has beenabrogated [abolished], but they have never been able to point to any place in theBible where God repealed it. When Christ was on earth, He did nothing to set itaside; He freed it from the traces under which the scribes and Pharisees had put it,and gave it its true place. ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath’ [Mark 2:27]. It is just as practicable and as necessary for men today as it ever was—in fact, more than ever, because we live in such an intense age.”Weighed and Wanting (Fleming H. Revell Co.: New York), pp. 47, 48. [(18371899) the most famous evangelist of his time, founder of the Moody Bible Institute]
T. C. Blake, D.D.
“The Sabbath is a part of the Decalogue—the Ten Commandments. This aloneforever settles the question as to the perpetuity of the institution...Until, therefore, it can be shown that the whole moral law has been repealed, theSabbath will stand...The teaching of Christ confirms the perpetuity of the Sabbath,” Theology Condensed, pp. 474, 475.
Dr. Archibald Hodge
“God instituted the Sabbath at the creation of man, setting apart the seventh day for that purpose, and imposed its observance as a universal and perpetual moral obligation upon the race.” Tract No. 175, Presbyterian Board of Publication, pp.3-4
“For the permanency of the Sabbath, however, we might argue its place in theDecalogue, where it stands enshrined on a tablet that is immutable and everlasting.” Sermons, 1817, vol. 1, pp. 51-52.
William Dool Killen
“In the interval between the days of the apostles and the conversion of Constantine, the Christian commonwealth changed its aspect. The Bishop ofRome—a personage unknown to the writers of the New Testament—meanwhilerose into prominence, and at length took precedence of all other churchmen.Rites and ceremonies of which neither Paul nor Peter ever heard, crept silently into use, and then claimed the rank of divine institution.”
“The Great Teacher never intimated that the Sabbath was a ceremonial ordinance to cease with the Mosaic ritual. It was instituted when our first parents were in Paradise; and the precept enjoining its remembrance, being aportion of the Decalogue, is of perpetual obligation. Hence, instead of regardingit as a merely Jewish institution, Christ declares that it was made for MAN or,in other words, that it was designed for the benefit of the whole human family.Instead of anticipating its extinction along with the ceremonial law, He speaksof its existence after the downfall of Jerusalem [in A.D. 70, 39 years after thecrucifixion]. When He announces the calamities connected with the ruin of theholy city, He instructs His followers to pray that the urgency of the catastrophemay not deprive them of the comfort of the Sabbath rest. ‘Pray ye,’ said He, ‘that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath-day.’ ” Matt. 24:20 The Ancient Church, 1883, xv-xvi pp. 188-189 [professor of ecclesiastical history in the (Protestant) Irish Assembly’s College in Belfast, Ireland]
Others Sir William Dornville “Centuries of the Christian era passed away before Sunday was observed by theChristian church as a sabbath. History does not furnish us with a single proof or indication that it was at any time so observed previous to the sabbatical edict ofConstantine in A.D. 321.” The Sabbath: or an Examination of Six Texts, vol.1, p. 291.
“The Roman Church...reversed the Fourth Commandment by doing away withthe Sabbath of God’s word, and instituting Sunday as a holiday.” History of the Christian Church, 3rd ed., 1873, p. 415 [(1816-1889) president of Union Christian College, Indiana]
“The seventh-day Sabbath was solemnized [i.e. observed] by Christ, theApostles and the primitive Christians—until the Council of Laodicea did, in amanner, quite abolish the observance of it. The Council (AD. 364) first settled the observance of the Lord’s Day.”
“It is certain that Christ Himself, His apostles, and the primitive Christians forsome good space of time, did constantly observe the Seventh-day Sabbath.”“Dissertations on the Lord’s Day.” page 33. [17th century Puritan]
“Sabbath in the Hebrew language signifies rest, and is the seventh day of theweek…and it must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day.” A Theological Dictionary, art. “Sabbath,” p. 403 [(1771-l815) was a British Independent minister and author]
Henry Morehouse Taber
“Why will not Christian people investigate and find out for themselves (whichthey easily can), that the keeping of Sunday as a ‘holy Sabbath day,’ is wholly without warrant?
“I challenge any priest or minister of the Christian religion, to show me theslightest authority for the religious observance of Sunday. And, if such cannotbe shown by them, why is it that they are constantly preaching about Sunday asa holy day? Are they not open to the suspicion of imposing upon the confidenceand credulity of their hearers? Surely they are deliberately and knowingly practicing deception upon those who look to them for candor and for truth,unless they can give satisfactory reasons for teaching that Sunday is a sacredday. There never was, and is not now, any such ‘satisfactory reasons.’ No student of the Bible has ever brought to light a single verse, line or word, which can, by any possibility, be construed into a warrant for the religious observanceof Sunday.” Faith or Fact, 1897, p. 114 [(1825-1897) American Businessman,banker, religious liberal, and promoter of public educational buildings]
“Quotations from the writings of the ‘Church Fathers,’ and others familiar withChurch history, support this statement, and include the names of Tertullian,Eusebius, Ireneus, Victorinus, Theodoretus, Origen, Chrysostom, Jerome, Luther, Melanchthon, Zwingle, Knox, Tyndale, Grotius, Neander, Mosheim,Heylyn, Frith, Milton, Priestly, [and] Domwille. John Calvin had so little respect for the day that he could be found playing bowls most any Sunday.
“The claim that Sunday takes the place of Saturday, and that because the Jewswere supposed to be commanded to keep the SEVENTH day of the week holy,THEREFORE that the FIRST day of the week should be so kept by Christians,—is so utterly absurd as to be hardly worth considering.”
“Here is the church of Christ, called out of Roman Catholicism in the sixteenth century to take its stand on “the Bible and the Bible only,” professing loyalty to God’s Book, loyalty to God’s law, loyalty to God’s Sabbath, loyalty to allGod’s truth, and yet still observing a day that the Bible never once commands tobe kept, and altogether discarding the day the Bible declares to he holy.” Haynes, Carlyle B., From Sabbath to Sunday, p. 37
Historians John Dowling“There is scarcely anything which strikes the mind of the careful student ofancient ecclesiastical history with greater surprise than the comparatively early period at which many of the corruptions of Christianity, which are embodied in the Roman system, took their rise; yet it is not to be supposed that when the first originators of many of these unscriptural notions and practices planted thosegerms of corruption, they anticipated or even imagined they would ever growinto such a vast and hideous system of superstition and error as is that of popery.” History of Romanism, 13th Edition, p. 65.
“It would be an error to attribute [‘the sanctification of Sunday’] to a definitedecision of the Apostles. There is no such decision mentioned in the Apostolicdocuments [the New Testament].” A History of the Commandments of the Church, 1915, p. 23.
McClintock and Strong
“It must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning thefirst day.” Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. 9, p. 196.
William D. Killen
“Rites and ceremonies, of which neither Paul nor Peter ever heard, crept silently into use, and then claimed the rank of divine institutions. [Church] officers forwhom the primitive disciples could have found no place, and titles which tothem would have been altogether unintelligible, began to challenge attention,and to be named apostolic.” The Ancient Church, p. xvi.
“Until well into the second century [a hundred years after Christ] we do not find the slightest indication in our sources that Christians marked Sunday by any kindof abstention from work.” Sunday: The History of the Day of Rest and Worship inthe Earliest Centuries of the Christian Church, Philadelphia, 1968, p. 157.
“The ancient Sabbath did remain and was observed...by the Christians of theEastern Church [in the area near Palestine] above three hundred years after ourSavior’s death.” A Learned Treatise of the Sabbath, Oxford: 1630, p. 77.
Walter Woodburn Hyde
“Remains of the struggle [between the religion of Christianity and the religion of Mithraism] are found in two institutions adopted from its rival byChristianity in the fourth century, the two Mithraic sacred days: December 25,‘dies natalis soils’ [birthday of the sun], as the birthday of Jesus,—and Sunday,‘the venerable day of the Sun,’ as Constantine called it in his edict of 321.” Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire, 1946, p. 6o.
p. 257.“Modern Christians who talk of keeping Sunday as a ‘holy’ day, as in the still extant ‘Blue Laws,’ of colonial America, should know that as a ‘holy’ day ofrest and cessation from labor and amusements Sunday was unknown to Jesus...It formed no tenant [teaching] of the primitive church and became ‘sacred’ only in the course of time. Outside the church its observance was legalized for the Roman Empire through a series of decrees starting with thefamous one of Constantine in 321, an edict due to his political and social ideas.”
p. 261.“This [Constantine’s Sunday decree of March 321] is the ‘parent’ Sunday law making it a day of rest and release from labor. For from that time to the presentthere have been decrees about the observance of Sunday which have profoundlyinfluenced European and American society. When the Church became a part ofState under the Christian emperors, Sunday observance was enforced by civil statutes, and later when the Empire was past, the Church in the hands of thepapacy enforced it by ecclesiastical and also by civil enactments.”
Wilhelm Augustus Johann Neander
“The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals was always only a humanordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a Divinecommand in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic church, totransfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.” The History of the Christian Religion and Church, 1843, p. 186.
William L. Gildea
“The [Catholic] Church took the pagan buckler of faith against the heathen. Shetook the pagan Roman Pantheon [the Roman], temple to all the gods, and madeit sacred to all the martyrs; so it stands to this day. She took the pagan Sundayand made it the Christian Sunday...The Sun was a foremost god withheathendom. Balder the beautiful: the White God, the old Scandinavians called him. The sun has worshipers at this very hour in Persia and other lands...Hencethe Church would seem to have said, ‘Keep that old pagan name. It shall remainconsecrated, sanctified.’ And thus the pagan Sunday, dedicated to Balder, became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus. The sun is a fitting emblem ofJesus. The Fathers often compared Jesus to the sun; as they compared Mary tothe moon.” “Paschale Gaudium,” in The Catholic World, p. 58, March 1894.
“The Church made a sacred day of Sunday...largely because it was the weeklyfestival of the sun;—for it was a definite Christian policy to take over the pagan festivals endeared to the people by tradition, and give them a Christian significance.” The Paganism in Our Christianity, 1928, p. 145.
M. E. Walsh
“Is it not strange that Sunday is almost universally observed when the SacredWritings do not endorse it? Satan, the great counterfeiter, worked through the‘mystery of iniquity’ to introduce a counterfeit Sabbath to take the place of thetrue Sabbath. Sunday stands side by side with Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday,Holy (or Maundy) Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Whitsunday, Corpus Christi, Assumption Day, All Soul’s Day, Christmas Day, and a host of otherecclesiastical feast days too numerous to mention. This array of RomanCatholic feasts and fast days are all man made. None of them bears the divinecredentials of the Author of the Inspired Word.”
A. R. Fausset
“Sun worship was the earliest idolatry.” Fausset Bible Dictionary, Zondervan, 1984, p. 666.
Gaston H. Halsberge
“Sun worship was one of the oldest components of the Roman religion.” The Cult of Sol Invictus, 1972, p. 26.
Franz F. V. M. Cummont
“ ‘Babylon, the mother of harlots,’ derived much of her teaching from pagan Rome and thence from Babylon. Sun worship—that led her to Sunday keeping,—was one of those choice bits of paganism that sprang originally from the heathenlore of ancient Babylon: The solar theology of the ‘Chaldeans’ had a decisive effect upon the final development of Semitic paganism... [It led to their] seeingthe sun the directing power of the cosmic system. All the Baals were thence forward turned into suns; the sun itself being the mover of the other stars—like it eternal and ‘unconquerable’... Such was the final form reached by the religion ofthe pagan Semites, and following them, by that of the Romans...when they raised‘Sol Invictus’ [the Invincible Sun] to the rank of supreme divinity in the empire.”Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans, p. 55
“When Christianity conquered Rome, the ecclesiastical structure of the pagan church, the title and the vestments of the ‘pontifex maximus,’ the worship to the‘Great Mother’ goddess and a multitude of comforting divinities...the joy orsolemnity of old festivals, and the pageantry of immemorial ceremony, passedlike material blood into the new religion—and captive Rome conquered herconqueror. The reins and skills of government were handed down by a dying empire to a virile papacy.” Caesar and Christ, p. 672.
H. G. Guiness
“The power of the Caesars lived again in the universal dominion of the popes.”
Joseph Faa Di Bruno
“Like two sacred rivers flowing from paradise, the Bible and divine Tradition contain the Word of God, the precious gems of revealed truth. Though thesetwo divine streams are in themselves, on account of their divine origin, of equal sacredness, and are both full of revealed truths, still, of the two, Tradition [thesayings of popes and councils] is to us more clear and safe.” Catholic Belief, 1884, p. 33.
Chamber’s Encyclopedia, article, “Sabbath”
“Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the Sabbatical observance of that day is known to have been ordained, is the edictof Constantine, A.D. 321.”
The First Sunday Law of Constantine I (reigned 306-337): “On the VenerableDay of the Sun [‘Venerable die Solis’—the sacred day of the Sun] let themagistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. Inthe country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfullycontinue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not sosuitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the propermoment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost—given the 7thday of March [A.D. 321], Crispus and Constanstine being consuls each of themfor the second time.” Codex Justianianus, lib. 3, tit. 12,3; trans. in History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380.
“As far as I know, there is no verse which specifies that Sunday is the day forChristians to observe the Sabbath,” professor of biblical interpretation at DukeUniversity Divinity School in North Carolina.
Vincent J, Kelly
“Constantine’s decree marked the beginning of a long, though intermittentseries of imperial decrees in support of Sunday rest.” Forbidden Sunday and Feast-Day Occupations, 1943, p. 29
H. G. Heggtveit
“Constantine labored at this time untiringly to unite the worshipers of the old and the new into one religion. All his laws and contrivances are aimed at promoting this amalgamation of means melt together a purified heathenism and a moderated Christianity... Of all his blending and melting together of Christianity and heathenism, none is more easy to see through than this making of his Sunday law: The Christians worshiped their Christ, the heathen their sun-god [so they should now be combined].” Illustreret Kirkehistorie, 1895, p. 202.
“If every Sunday is to be observed by Christians on account of the resurrection,then every Sabbath on account of the burial is to be regarded in execration[cursing] of the Jews,” quoted by S. R. E. Humbert, “Adversus Graecorum Calumnias,” in J. P. Migne, Patroiogie, p. 143 [pope (314-337 AD) when Constantine I was Emperor]
“All things whatsoever that were prescribed for the [Bible] Sabbath, we havetransferred them to the Lord’s day, as being more authoritative and more highlyregarded and first in rank, and more honorable than the Jewish Sabbath.” quotedin J. P. Migne, Patrologie, p. 23, 1169-1172 [Eusebius of Caesarea was a high-ranking Catholic leader during Constantine’s lifetime].
E. M. Chalmers
“As we have already noted, excepting for the Roman and Alexandrian Christians, the majority of Christians were observing the seventh-day Sabbath atleast as late as the middle of the fifth century [AD. 450]. The Roman and Alexandrian Christians were among those converted from heathenism. Theybegan observing Sunday as a merry religious festival in honor of the Lord’sresurrection, about the latter half of the second century A.D. However, they did not try to teach that the Lord or His apostles commanded it. In fact, no ecclesiastical writer before Eusebius of Caesarea in the fourth century evensuggested that either Christ or His apostles instituted the observance of the first day of the week.
“These Gentile Christians of Rome and Alexandria began calling the first day ofthe week ‘the Lord’s day.’ This was not difficult for the pagans of the RomanEmpire who were steeped in sun worship to accept, because they [the pagans]referred to their sun-god as their ‘Lord.’ ” How Sunday Came into the Christian Church, p. 3.
“Although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the sabbath every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and atRome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this.” Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, chap. 22 [written shortly after A.D. 439, 100 years after Constantine’s Sunday Law]
“The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is neverobserved at Rome or at Alexandria.” Ecclesiastical History, vii, 19, in A Select
Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, Vol. 2, p. 390 [soon after A.D. 415]
“Down even to the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath wascontinued in the Christian church, but with a rigor and solemnity graduallydiminishing until it was wholly discontinued.” Ancient Christianity Exemplified in the Private, Domestic, Social and Civil Life of the Primitive Church, chap. 26, sec. 2, 1853, p. 527.
A History of the Councils of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 316.
“Constantine’s [five Sunday Law] decrees marked the beginning of a long though intermittent series of imperial decrees in support of Sunday rest.”
“What began, however, as a pagan ordinance, ended as a Christian regulation;and a long series of imperial decrees, during the fourth, fifth, and sixth, centuries, enjoined with increasing stringency abstinence from labor on Sunday.” Rest Days, pp. 122-123, 270.
Council of Laodicea, c. AD. 337, Canon 29
“Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [in the original: ‘sabbato’—shall not be idle on the Sabbath], but shall work on that day; but theLord’s day they shall especially honor, and as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall be shut out [‘anathema,’ excommunicated] from Christ.” quoted in C. J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 316. [the first Sunday Law decree of a Christian council, about 16 years after Constantine’s first Sunday Law of AD. 321]
Priest Vincent J. Kelly
“The keeping of the Sunday rest arose from the custom of the people and theconstitution of the [Catholic] Church... Tertullian was probably the first to referto a cessation of affairs on the Sunday; the Council of Laodicea issued the first counciliar legislation for that day; Constantine I issued the first civil legislation.” Forbidden Sunday and Feast-Day Occupations, p. 203 [a thesis presented to the Catholic University of America].
James T Ringgold
“About 590, Pope Gregory, in a letter to the Roman people, denounced as theprophets of Antichrist those who maintained that work ought not to be done on the seventh day.” The Law of Sunday, p. 267.
Martin J Scott
“Now the [Catholic] Church... instituted, by God’s authority, Sunday as the dayof worship. The same Church, by the same divine authority, taught the doctrineof Purgatory... We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory as we havefor Sunday.” Things Catholics Are Asked about, 1927, p. 236.
Apostasy John Dowling“There is scarcely anything which strikes the mind of the careful student ofancient ecclesiastical history with greater surprise than the comparatively early period at which many of the corruptions of Christianity, which are embodied in the Romish system, took their rise; yet it is not to be supposed that when thefirst originators of many of these unscriptural notions and practices plantedthose germs of corruption, they anticipated or even imagined they would ever grow into such a vast and hideous system of superstition and error, as is that ofpopery... Each of the great corruptions of the latter ages took its rise in a mannerwhich it would be harsh to say was deserving of strong reprehension... The worship of images, the invocation of saints, and the superstition of relics, werebut expansions of the natural feelings of veneration and affection cherished toward the memory of those who had suffered and died for the truth.” History ofRomanism: From the Earliest Corruptions of Christianity to the Present Time, Book ii. chap. i. sect. 1 (Edward Walker: New York), 1845.
Whitaker, Treacher and Arnot
“In Justin Martyr’s time, within fifty years of the apostolic age, the cup wasmixed with water, and a portion of the elements sent to the absent. The bread,which at first was sent only to the sick, was, in the time of Tertullian and Cyprian, carried home by the people and locked up as a divine treasure for their private use. At this time, too, the ordinance of the supper was given to infants ofthe tenderest age, and was styled the sacrifice of the body of Christ. The customof praying for the dead, Tertullian states, was common in the second century,and became the universal practice of the following ages; so that it came in thefourth century to be reckoned a kind of heresy to deny the efficacy of it. By thistime the invocation of saints, the superstitious use of images, of the sign of thecross, and of consecrated oil, were become established practices, and pretended miracles were confidently adduced in proof of their supposed efficacy. Thus didthat mystery of iniquity, which was already working in the time of the apostles,speedily after their departure, spread its corruptions among the professors ofChristianity.” The Modern Sabbath Examined, London: 1832, pp. 123, 124.
Rose’s Neander p. 184.
“And yet, perhaps, religious, images made their way from domestic life into the churches, as early as the end of the third century; and the walls of the churches were painted in the same way.”
Roger Williams 1671
The first Sabbatarian church in America was established in Rhode Island in 1671 by Roger Williams who had been banished from the Massachusetts colony, in 1636. Charged with not keeping the Sabbath, Williams observed thatthere was no scriptural support for “abolishing the 7th day.” Instead he indictedhis critics: “You know yourselves do not keep the Sabbath, that is the 7th day.”
Williams, an outspoken antagonist of the Puritan theocracy in Massachusetts,founded a safe haven in the wilderness, a refuge for the oppressed of all creeds, a “shelter to persons distressed for conscience” on land purchased from the natives which he named “Providence.”
Notably, he also introduced the Biblically based practice of baptism by immersion. LeRoy E. Froom. The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers. The Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1946, p. 48-50.
In the past century we have witnessed a dramatic change in the Sabbath reviewof systems. From a system-wide support of the seventh-day by most protestantchurches we now witness their rejection of not only the Lord’s original day ofrest but the Ten Commandment as well.
“...never before in the history of Christianity has the Sabbath been attacked bythose who previously had championed its observance.” Bacchiocchi, The Sabbath Under Crossfire, Chapter 3.