Vol.XX No.XI Pg.7
January 1984

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

A Seventh Day Adventist says the Catholic Church changed the day for worship from 7th. to 1st., and gives quotes from Catholic books to prove it. Will you comment on this? RBT


The Baltimore Catechism, question 235, says in part, "The early Church changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday on the authority given to it by Christ. The New Testament makes no explicit mention that the Apostles changed the day of worship, but we know it from tradition."

To understand this one must realize that Catholicism teaches Christ founded a church to bring truth to men; that this church is under the authority of the Pope and bishops in communion with him; that the Apostles were the first bishops; and that the New Testament is a product of the above church. In their thinking, any mention in the New Testament of worship on the First Day (as in Acts 20:7) is proof the Catholic Church changed the day of worship. An Adventist who cites such "authority" is giving Catholicism undue credit.

The Emperor Constantine, in 312 AD claimed to have seen a flaming cross in the heavens, and his "conversion" dates from this time. Later he gave official legal sanction to "Christianity" and certain of its practices. This is a far cry from making Christianity or these practices. Worship on the First Day, like Christianity, existed long before Constantine's doubtful "conversion." The Catholics do not date the change from such a late date, but look back to the same records we use (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:2) for proof of the change. For example, if a Seventh Day Adventist should win the 84 Presidential election, and have enough clout in congress to make "blue laws" for Saturday — erasing Sunday as a legal holiday; would the Adventist say this President originated the 7th. as a day of worship? Of course not — and neither did 4th. century Catholicism originate Sunday as a day for worship.

Ignatius (30 to 107 AD) in his letter to the Magnesians (ch. 9) wrote of observing the Sabbath, but NOT after the Jewish manner. The shorter epistle reads, "no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day." The longer version adds, "the resurrection day...the eighth day." This was 200 years before Constantine.

Justin Martyr (114 to 165 AD) in his First Apology (ch. 67) says, "But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead." This was ca. 150 years before Constantine.

To these can be added both secular and religious writings that make the Adventist claim ridiculous. Mind you, we go to the New Testament for our authority regarding the First Day, but cite secular history to refute a false historical claim. Will the Adventist who cites Catholic sources, accept those sources for other claims of the Roman Catholic church? If not, why not?