Protestant Beliefs

about Sunday and the Seventh-day Sabbath

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Protestant Beliefs

AMERICAN CONGREGATIONALIST
"The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament." Dr. Layman Abbot, in the Christian Union, June 26, 1890.

ANGLICAN
"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 to keep the first day... The reason why we keep the first day of the week holy instead 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." Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism, pages 334, 336.


BAPTIST
“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 of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, where can 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 Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week.” Dr. E. T. Hiscox, author of the ‘Baptist Manual’.

"To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years' discussion with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question, discussing it in some of its various aspects, freeing it from its false [Jewish traditional] glosses, never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during the forty days of 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 things whatsoever that He had said unto them, deal with this question. Nor yet did the inspired apostles, in preaching the gospel, founding churches, counseling and instructing 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 other sources. 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." Dr. E. T. Hiscox, report of his sermon at the Baptist Minister's Convention, in 'New York Examiner,' November 16, 1893

"The Scriptures nowhere call the first day of the week the Sabbath. . .There is no Scriptural authority for so doing, nor of course, any Scriptural obligation." The Watchman.

"We believe that the law of God is the eternal and unchangeable rule of His moral government."-"Baptist Church Manual," Art. 12.

"There was never any formal or authoritative change from the Jewish seventh-day Sabbath to the Christian first-day observance." -WILLIAM OWEN CARVER, "The Lord's Day in Our Day," page 49.

"There is nothing in Scripture that requires us to keep Sunday rather than Saturday as a holy day." Harold Lindsell (editor), Christianity Today, Nov. 5, 1976

BAPTIST (SOUTHERN)

“The sacred name of the Seventh day is Sabbath. This fact is too clear to require argument [Exodus 20:10 quoted]… on this point the plain teaching of the Word has been admitted in all ages… Not once did the disciples apply the Sabbath law to the first day of the week, -- that folly was left for a later age, nor did they pretend that the first day supplanted the seventh.” Joseph Hudson Taylor, ‘The Sabbatic Question’, p. 14-17, 41.

"The first four commandments set forth man's obligations directly toward God.... But when we keep the first four commandments, we are likely to keep the other six. . . . The fourth commandment sets forth God's claim on man's time and thought.... The six days of labour and the rest on the Sabbath are to be maintained as a witness to God's toil and rest in the creation. . . . No one of the ten words is of merely racial significance.... The Sabbath was established originally (long before Moses) in no special connection with the Hebrews, but as an institution for all mankind, in commemoration of God's rest after the six days of creation. It was designed for all the descendants of Adam."-Adult Quarterly, Southern Baptist Convention series, Aug. 15, 1937.

BRETHREN

"With the views of the law and the Sabbath we once held ... and which are still held by perhaps the great majority of the most earnest Christians, we confess that we could not answer Adventists. What is more, neither before or since have I heard or read what would conclusively answer an Adventist in his Scriptural contention that the Seventh day is the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10). It is not 'one day in seven' as some put it, but 'the seventh day according to the commandment.' " Words of Truth and Grace, p. 281.

CHURCH OF CHRIST

"But we do not find any direct command from God, or instruction from the risen Christ, or admonition from the early apostles, that the first day is to be substituted for the seventh day Sabbath." "Let us be clear on this point. Though to the Christian 'that day, the first day of the week' is the most memorable of all days ... there is no command or warrant in the New Testament for observing it as a holy day." "The Roman Church selected the first day of the week in honour of the resurrection of Christ. ..." Bible Standard, May, 1916, Auckland, New Zealand.

"... If the fourth command is binding upon us Gentiles by all means keep it. But let those who demand a strict observance of the Sabbath remember that the seventh day is the ONLY sabbath day commanded, and God never repealed that command. If you would keep the Sabbath, keep it; but Sunday is not the Sabbath. The argument of the 'Seventh-day Adventists' is on one point unassailable. It is the Seventh day not the first day that the command refers to." G. Alridge, Editor, The Bible Standard, April, 1916.

"There is no direct Scriptural authority for designating the first day the Lord's day."-DR. D. H. LUCAS, Christian Oracle, Jan. 23, 1890.

"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 entire Scriptures. It is also an error to talk about the change of the Sabbath. There never was any change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation of such a change."-"First-Day Observance," pages 17, 19.

"It has reversed the fourth commandment by doing away with the Sabbath of God's Word, and instituting Sunday as a holiday." DR. N. SUMMERBELL, "History of the Christian Church," Third Edition, page 4I5.

"To command...men...to observe...the Lord's day...is contrary to the gospel." - "Memoirs of Alexander Campbell," Vol. 1, page 528.

"It is clearly proved that the pastors of the churches have struck out one of God's ten words, which, not only in the Old Testament, but in all revelation, are the most emphatically regarded as the synopsis of all religion and morality."-ALEXANDER CAMPBELL, "Debate With Purcell," page 214.

"I do not believe that the Lord's day came in the room of the Jewish Sabbath, or that the Sabbath was changed from the seventh to the first day, for this plain reason, where there is no testimony, there can be no faith. Now there is no testimony in all the oracles of heaven that the Sabbath was changed, or that the Lord's day came in the room of it."-ALEXANDER CAMPBELL, Washington Reporter, Oct. 8, 1821.

CHURCH OF ENGLAND
"Many people think that Sunday is the Sabbath. But neither in the New Testament nor in the early church is there anything to suggest that we have any right to transfer the observance of the seventh day of the week to the first. The Sabbath was and is Saturday and not Sunday, and if it were binding on us then we should observe it on that day, and on no other." Rev. Lionel Beere, All-Saints Church, Ponsonby, N.Z. in Church and People, Sept. 1, 1947.

"Nowhere in the Bible is it laid down that worship should be done on Sunday. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. ...! That is Saturday." P. Carrington, Archbishop of Quebec, Oct. 27, 1949; cited in Prophetic Signs, p 12.

"The observance of the first instead of the seventh day rests on the testimony of the church, and the church alone." Hobart Church News, July 2, 1894; cited in Prophetic Signs, p 14.

"Where are we told in Scripture that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the Seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day. The reason why we keep the first day holy instead of the seventh is for the same reason that we observe many things, not because the Bible, but because the Church, has enjoined them." Rev. Isaac Williams, Ser. on Catechism, p. 334.

"The seventh day, the commandment says, is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. No kind of arithmetic, no kind of almanac, can make seven equal one, nor the seventh mean the first, nor Saturday mean Sunday. ... The fact is that we are all Sabbath breakers, every one of us." Rev. Geo. Hodges.

"Not any ecclesiastical writer of the first three centuries attributed the origin of Sunday observance either to Christ or to His apostles."-SIR WILLIAM DOMVILLE, "Examination of the Six Texts," pages 6, 7. (Supplement).

"There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about ab­staining from work on Sunday. . . . Into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters…, The observance of Ash Wednesday or Lent stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday." -CANON EYTON, 'The Ten Commandments," pages 52, 63, 65.

"Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday? None."-"Manual of Christian Doctrine," page 127.

"The Lord's day did not succeed in the place of the Sabbath....The Lord's day was merely an ecclesiastical institution. It was not introduced by virtue of the fourth commandment, because for almost three hundred years together they kept that day which was in that commandment...The primitive Christians did all manner of works upon the Lord's day, even in times of persecution, when they are the strictest observers of all the divine commandments; but in this they knew there was none."-BISHOP JEREMY TAYLOR, "Ductor Dubitantium," Part I, Book II, Chap. 2, Rule 6. Sec. 51, 59.

"Sunday being the day on which the Gentiles solemnly adore that planet and called it Sunday, partly from its influence on that day especially, and partly in respect to its divine body (as they conceived it), the Christians thought fit to keep the same day and the same name of it, that they might not appear causelessly peevish, and by that means hinder the conversion of the Gentiles, and bring a greater prejudice than might be otherwise taken against the gospel."-T. M. MORER, "Dialogues on the Lord's Day," pages 22, 23.

"The Puritan idea was historically unhappy. It made Sun­day into the Sabbath day. Even educated people call Sunday the Sabbath. Even clergymen do."

"But, unless my reckoning is all wrong, the Sabbath day lasts twenty-four hours from six o'clock on Friday evening. It gives over, therefore, before we come to Sunday. If you suggest to a Sabbatarian that he ought to observe the Sabbath on the proper day, you arouse no enthusiasm. He at once replies that the day, not the principle, has been changed. But changed by whom? There is no injunction in the whole of the New Testament to Christians to change the Sabbath into Sunday.' - D. MORSE­BOYCOTT, Daily Herald, London, Feb. 26, 1931.

"The Christian church made no formal, but a gradual and almost unconscious transference of the one day to the other."- F.W. FARRAR, D.D., "The Voice From Sinai," page 167.

"Take which you will, either of the Fathers or the moderns, and we shall find no Lord's day instituted by any apostolical man­date; no Sabbath set on foot by them upon the first day of the week."-PETER HEYLYN, "History of the Sabbath," page 410.

"Merely to denounce the tendency to secularise Sunday is as futile as it is easy. What we want is to find some principle, to which as Christians we can appeal, and on which we can base both our conduct and our advice. We turn to the New Testament, and we look in vain for any authoritative rule. There is no recorded word of Christ, there is no word of any of the apostles, which tells how we should keep Sunday, or indeed that we should keep it at all. It is disappointing, for it would make our task much easier if we could point to a definite rule, which left us no option but simple obedience or disobedience. . . . There is no rule for Sunday observance, either in Scripture or history."-DR. STEPHEN, Bishop of Newcastle, N.S.W., in an address reported in the Newcastle Morning Herald, May 14, 1924.

CONGREGATIONAL
"The Christian Sabbath' [Sunday] is not in the Scripture, and was not by the primitive [early Christian] church called the Sabbath." Timothy Dwight, Theology, sermon 107, 1818 ed., Vol. IV, p49 Note: Timothy Dwight (1752-1817) was president of Yale University from 1795-1817.

"It is quite clear that, however rigidly or devoutly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath ... The Sabbath was founded on a specific divine command. We can plead no such command for the obligation to observe Sunday ... There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday." Dr. Dale, The Ten Commandments, pp. 106, 107.

"It must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day." Buck's Theological Dictionary page 403.

"There is no command in the Bible requiring us to observe the first day of the week as the Christian Sabbath."-ORIN FOWLER, A.M., "Mode and Subjects of Baptism."

"The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament."-DR. LYMAN ABBOTT, Christian Union, Jan. 18, 1882.

CHRISTIAN CHURCH

"I do not believe that the Lord's day came in the room of the Jewish Sabbath, or that the Sabbath was changed from the seventh to the first day, for this plain reason, where there is no testimony, there can be no faith. Now there is no testimony in all the oracles of heaven that the Sabbath is changed, or that the Lord’s Day came in the room of it." Alexander Campbell, in The Reporter, October 8, 1921

"It has reversed the fourth commandment by doing away with the Sabbath of God's Word, and instituting Sunday as a holiday." - Dr. N. Summerbell, History of the Christian Church, Third Edition, p. 415

DISCIPLES OF CHRIST
"There is no direct scriptural authority for designating the first day the Lord's day." - Dr. D. H. Lucas, Christian Oracle, Jan. 23, 1890.

"The first day of the week is commonly called the Sabbath. This is a mistake. The Sabbath of the Bible was the day just preceeding the first day of the week. The first day of the week is never called the Sabbath anywhere in the entire Scriptures. It is also an error to talk about the change of the Sabbath. There never was any change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation of such a change." First-Day Observance, pp. 17, 19.

EPISCOPALIAN

"We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church of Christ." Bishop Symour, Why We keep Sunday.

"The Bible commandment says on the seventh-day thou shalt rest. That is Saturday. Nowhere in the Bible is it laid down that worship should be done on Sunday." Phillip Carrington, quoted in Toronto Daily Star, Oct 26, 1949 [Carrington (1892-), Anglican archbishop of Quebec, spoke the above in a message on this subject delivered to a packed assembly of clergymen. It was widely reported at the time in the news media].

LUTHERAN

"The observance of the Lord's Day (Sunday) is founded not on any command of God, but on the authority of the Church." Augsburg Confession of Faith.

"They [the Catholics] allege the Sabbath changed into Sunday, the Lord's day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it appears, neither is there any example more boasted of than the changing of the Sabbath day. Great, say they, is the power and authority of the church, since it dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments." -Augsburg Confession of Faith, Art. 28, par. 9.

"They [Roman Catholics] allege the change of the Sabbath into the Lord's day, as it seemeth, to the Decalogue [the ten commandments]; and they have no example more in their mouths than they change of the Sabbath. They will needs have the Church's power to be very great, because it hath dispensed with the precept of the Decalogue." The Augsburg Confession, 1530 A.D. (Lutheran), part 2, art 7, in Philip Schaff, the Creeds of Christiandom, 4th Edition, vol 3, p64 [this important statement was made by the Lutherans and written by Melanchthon, only thirteen years after Luther nailed his theses to the door and began the Reformation].

"For up to this day mankind has absolutely trifled with the original and most special revelation of the Holy God, the ten words written upon the tables of the Law from Sinai."-"Crown Theological Library," page I78.

"The Christians in the ancient church very soon distinguished the first day of the week, Sunday; however, not as a Sabbath, but as an assembly day of the church, to study the Word of God together, and to celebrate the ordinances one with another: without a shadow of doubt, this took place as early as the first part of the second century."-Bishop GRIMELUND, "History of the Sabbath," page 60.

"The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance."- AUGUSTUS NEANDER, "History of the Christian Religion and Church," Vol. 1, page 186.

"I wonder exceedingly how it came to be imputed to me that I should reject the law of Ten Commandments...Whosoever abrogates the law must of necessity abrogate sin also."-MARTIN LUTHER, Spiritual Antichrist," pages 71, 72.

"We have seen how gradually the impression of the Jewish Sabbath faded from the mind of the Christian church, and how completely the newer thought underlying the observance of the first day took possession of the church. We have seen that the Christian of the first three centuries never confused one with the other, but for a time celebrated both." The Sunday Problem, a study book by the Lutheran Church (1923) p.36

"But they err in teaching that Sunday has taken the place of the Old Testament Sabbath and therefore must be kept as the seventh day had to be kept by the children of Israel .... These churches err in their teaching, for scripture has in no way ordained the first day of the week in place of the Sabbath. There is simply no law in the New Testament to that effect" John Theodore Mueller, Sabbath or Sunday, pp.15, 16

LUTHERAN FREE CHURCH
“For when there could not be produced one solitary place in the Holy Scriptures which testified that either the Lord Himself or the apostles had ordered such a transfer of the Sabbath to Sunday, then it was not easy to answer the question: Who has transferred the Sabbath, and who has the right to do it?” George Sverdrup, ‘A New Day.

METHODIST
"This 'handwriting of ordinances' our Lord did blot out, take away, and nail to His cross. (Colossians 2: 14.) But the moral law contained in the Ten Commandments, and enforced by the prophets, He did not take away.... The moral law stands on an entirely different foundation from the ceremonial or ritual law. ...Every part of this law must remain in force upon all mankind and in all ages."-JOHN WESLEY, "Sermons on Several Occasions," 2-Vol. Edition, Vol. I, pages 221, 222.

"No Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral."-"Methodist Church Discipline," (I904), page 23.

"The Sabbath was made for MAN; not for the Hebrews, but for all men."-E.O. HAVEN, "Pillars of Truth," page 88.

"The reason we observe the first day instead of the seventh is based on no positive command. One will search the Scriptures in vain for authority for changing from the seventh day to the first. The early Christians began to worship on the first day of the week because Jesus rose from the dead on that day. By and by, this day of worship was made also a day of rest, a legal holiday. This took place in the year 321.

"The reason we observe the first day instead of the seventh is based on no positive command. One will search the Scriptures in vain for authority for changing from the seventh day to the first... Our Christian Sabbath, therefore, is not a matter of positive command. It is a gift of the church... "-CLOVIS G. CHAPPELL, "Ten Rules for Living," page 61.

"Sabbath in the Hebrew language signifies rest, and is the seventh day of the week... and it must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day." Charles Buck, A Theological Dictionary, "Sabbath"

"In the days of very long ago the people of the world began to give names to everything, and they turned the sounds of the lips into words, so that the lips could speak a thought. In those days the people worshipped the sun because many words were made to tell of many thoughts about many things. The people became Christians and were ruled by an emperor whose name was Constantine. This emperor made Sunday the Christian Sabbath, because of the blessing of light and heat which came from the sun. So our Sunday is a sun-day, isn't it?"-Sunday School Advocate, Dec. 31, 1921.

"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 to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never can be broken... Every part of this 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 relation to each other."-JOHN WESLEY, "Sermons on Several Occasions," Vol. I, Sermon XXV.

“It is true that there is no positive command for infant baptism. Nor is there any for the keeping of the first day of the week. Many believe that Christ changed the Sabbath. 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.” Amos Binney, ‘Theological Compendium’, p. 180-181

"The Sabbath instituted in the beginning, and confirmed again and again by Moses and the prophets, has never been abrogated. A part of the moral law, not a jot or a tittle of its sanctity has been taken away." New York Herald 1874, on the Methodist Episcopal Bishops Pastoral 1874

PRESBYTERIAN
"The Christian Sabbath (Sunday) is not in the Scriptures, and was not by the primitive church called the Sabbath." Dwight's Theology, Vol. 14, p. 401.

"A further argument for the perpetuity of the Sabbath we have in Matthew 24:20, Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter neither on the Sabbath day. But the final destruction of Jerusalem was after the Christian dispensation was fully set up (AD 70). Yet it is plainly implied in these words of the Lord that even then Christians were bound to strict observation of the Sabbath." Works of Jonathon Edwards, (Presby.) Vol. 4, p. 621.

"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." JOHN CALVIN, "Commentary on a Harmony of the Gospels," Vol. 1, page 277.

"God instituted the Sabbath at the creation of man, setting apart the seventh day for the purpose, and imposed its observance as a universal and perpetual moral obligation upon the race." ­American Presbyterian Board of Publication, Tract No. 175.

"The observance of the seventh-day Sabbath did not cease till it was abolished after the [Roman] empire became Christian," ­American Presbyterian Board of Publication, Tract No. 118.

"The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that not only in regard to the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator who gave it. Neither doth Christ in the gospel in any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation." "Westminster Confession of Faith," Chap. 19, Art. 5.

"The Sabbath is a part of the Decalogue-the Ten Commandments. This alone for ever settles the question as to the perpetuity of the institution ... Until, therefore, it can be shown that the whole moral law has been repealed, the Sabbath will stand...The teaching of Christ confirms the perpetuity of the Sabbath."- T.C. BLAKE, D.D., "Theology Condensed," pages 474, 475.

"Sunday being the first day of which the Gentiles solemnly adored that planet and called it Sunday, partly from its influence on that day especially, and partly in respect to its divine body (as they conceived it) the Christians thought fit to keep the same day and the same name of it, that they might not appear carelessly peevish, and by that means hinder the conversion of the Gentiles, and bring a greater prejudice that might be otherwise taken against the gospel" T.M. Morer, Dialogues on the Lord's Day

"There is no word, no hint in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday. The observance of Ash Wednesday, or Lent, stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday. Into the rest of Sunday no Divine Law enters." Canon Eyton, in The Ten Commandments.

"Some have tried to build the observance of Sunday upon Apostolic command, whereas the Apostles gave no command on the matter at all.... The truth is, so soon as we appeal to the litera scripta [literal writing] of the Bible, the Sabbatarians have the best of the argument." The Christian at Work, April 19, 1883, and Jan. 1884

PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL
“The day is now changed from the seventh to the first day... but as we meet with no Scriptural direction for the change, we may conclude it was done by the authority of the church.” ‘Explanation of Catechism


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