Olli Dürr

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Protestant churches: Sunday service instead of Sabbath – Why?

Denkmal in Wittenberg


The Protestant churches claim to have only Scripture as the only template for their widespread faith. From this perspective, the question arose as to why these institutions observe the traditional Sunday of the Church of Rome and not the biblical Sabbath on Saturday. Where does justification lie, or what knowledge do the churches actually have?

Sunday service is “normal”

Almost all Protestant or evangelical churches observe Sunday as the special day for worshiping God. Sunday worship is obligatory. “It has always been this way” and “the apostles met on the first day of the week” are among the most regular explanations for why Sunday is kept as a special day of rest and remembrance. Another popular justification is the first day as the resurrection day of Jesus Christ after His crucifixion. In fact, Jesus Christ awoke from death and left His tomb on the first day of the week, but does this justify disregarding the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week?

The Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517 initially targeted the commercial sale of indulgences, not the principle of indulgences directly. His primary concern was the church leader’s unspeakable greed for profit in order to finance his ambitious building plans in Rome. More oddities arose within Catholic teaching, and the more deeply Martin Luther studied the Word of God, the more deviations from Roman traditions came to light.

10 Commandments
The 10 Commandments written in stone are unchangeable

The Sabbath commandment given by God, i.e. the seventh day of the week, today Saturday, was easy to understand and clear at all times. Already established in the course of creation, the people of Israel remembered it while still in captivity in Egypt, and finally presented it to Moses as the Fourth Commandment on one of the stone tablets.

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work;“, as in Exodus 20:8-10. A verse that, in addition to Martin Luther, a number of other reformers also came across. There are also dozens of other memories and references in the Old and New Testaments (Info).

However, most churches observe Sunday instead of Saturday. The question here was whether they don’t know better, are fully aware of it and ignore it, or are simply relying on a long-held tradition today, as the Roman Catholic Church had already done for many centuries.

The Roman Catholic Church provided the template

At some point, for some reason, the Sabbath observed by the people of Israel, the Judeans, the apostles and also Jesus Christ must have been moved to the first day of the week on the seventh day of the week. The observance of Sunday, which was still referred to as the “Lord’s Day”, was already practiced during the lifetime of the apostles.

Sun Basilica Vatican
Roman Church in all its ‘grandeur’

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.“, so Paul’s warning in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. In fact, there were two centers in which the first “Christian” influenced communities stuck to the previous tradition of observing Sunday, while all other Jewish communities and new Christians continued to observe the biblical Sabbath. One of the centers was Alexandria, Egypt and the “sustainable” second center was Rome.

The capital of the Roman Empire was also the capital of the practiced Mithraism. The first day of the week plays an important role as the honorary day of “sol invictus” (“invincible sun”). In 321, Emperor Constantine, then also Pontifex Maximus, designated Sunday “in honor of the sun” as a legal holiday to be observed. Of course, the Bishop of Rome did not protest because the sanctification of Sunday was entirely in his spirit. It didn’t take long until the church in Rome established Sunday observance as church law.

No secrecy at all

The Roman Catholic Church makes no secret of having moved the biblical Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. The church even defends this process because it is proof of its authority (Info). A corresponding reference can be found in “Catholic Encyclopedia”, Vol. 4, page 153:

Catholic Encyclopedia
Catholic Encyclopedia Vol 4 Page 153

The Church, on the other hand, after changing the day of rest from the Jewish Sabbath, or seventh day of the week, to the first, made the Third Commandment refer to Sunday as the dy to be kept holy as the Lord’s Day. The Council of Trent condemns those who deny that teh Ten Commandments are binding on Christians.

The transfer of the biblical Sabbath to Sunday by the Roman Catholic Church based on an official decree took place at the Council of Laodicea around 364/365 AD. Canon 29 says:
Christians must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ.

The church declared the biblical Sabbath to be the “Jewish Sabbath” and defined the Sunday celebrated in its place as the “Lord’s Day.” (Info). A simple recipe. New names are given in order to justify one’s own, arbitrary concerns in this way. However, it remains a pure appearance and by no means a reality.

Penalties threatened after the Synod of Toulouse

The Church of Rome provided further evidence of its actual “quality” during the Synod of Toulouse (1163 AD) with the following statement:
The bishops and priests take care and to forbid under pain of excommunication, every person from presuming to give reception or at least assistance to the followers of this heresy, which first began in the country of Tholouse, whenever they shall be discovered, neither were they to have any dealings with them in buying or selling; that being so deprived of the common assistance of life, they might be compelled to repent of the evil of their way. Whosoever shall dare to contravene this order, let them be excommunicated, as a partner with them in guilt. As many of them as can be found let them be imprisoed by the catholic princes and punished with the forfeiture of all their substance.”

What stands out in this regulation is the threatened consequence of no longer being allowed to buy and sell. A measure that will come back to humanity as part of the “Mark of the Beast”. (Info).

Persecution and extermination of Sabbath keepers

This dictate of the Church prompted King Ildenfonsus of Aragon to decree in 1194 AD. to drive out all Waldensians. The Waldensians still observed the biblical Sabbath. The beginning of an unprecedented persecution of Christians who “merely” wanted to adhere to the teachings of the Gospel. The papacy condemned the Waldensians as heretics and initiated a genocide that lasted until the 15th century.

In Toulouse, France, the Waldensians were massacred in 1251 because of their resistance to the Roman Church. A measure initiated by the Roman Catholic Church as part of its broader fight against the biblical Sabbath (Info).

Reformers knew the Sabbath well

Monument in Wittenberg
Reformers held fast to Sunday

Martin Luther, the 16th century reformer, knew about the biblical Sabbath. This knowledge can be attributed to him simply because, in addition to his professorship in theology, he also translated the entire Bible into German. Every single word of the Bible came before his eyes. Nevertheless, the Evangelical or Protestant churches that emerged from the originally unplanned secession maintained the sanctification of Sunday.

Were all the denominations that emerged from the Reformation in an unconscious error of ignorance regarding Sabbath and Sunday? This may well be true today, since the Gospel is understood in the context of ecumenism only as a “book of the boundless, all-forgiving love of God”. The laws (commandments) have been abolished, or at least non-binding.

In the 10 Commandments taught by the Catholic and Protestant Churches, the word “Sabbath” no longer appears, but is formulated as a “holiday” or, if very cheeky, directly as “Sunday”. Just as the 10 commandments of God are presented mutilated anyway (Info).

The main denominations, however, were well aware of the Roman Catholic Church’s arbitrary change of the biblical Sabbath to Sunday. This is proven by their own statements.

The Baptists

“There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday […] There is no Scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh day to the first day of the week.
Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, New York Ministers Conference, November 13, 1893. Hiscox is the author of the standard work in the Baptist Church, the Baptist Manual.

The Episcopalians

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 Anglicans

“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
Reverent Lionel Beere, Church and People, September 1, 1947

Reverend Philip Carrington, Anglican Archbishop of Quebec, sent local clergymen into a huddle today by saying outright that there was nothing to support Sunday being kept holy. Carrington definitely told a church meeting in this city of straightlaced protestantism that tradition, not the Bible, had made Sunday the day of worship.
Toronto Daily Star, October 26, 1949

The Congregationalists

It is quite clear that however rigidly or devoutly we spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath […] There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday.
Dr. R.W. Dale, The Ten Commandments, page 100

The Methodists

Take the matter of Sunday… there is no passage telling Christians to keep that day, or to transfer the Jewish Sabbath to that day.
H.F. Rall, Christian Advocate, July 2, 1942

The Presbyterians

A change of the day to be observed from the last day of the week to the first. There is no record, no express command, authorizing this change.
N.L. Rice, The Christian Sabbath, page 60

The Lutherans

“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(!), Catholic Sabbath Manual, part 2, section 10

This statement in the Augsburg Confession has enormous weight. Formulated in 1530 and essentially laying the foundation stone for the Reformation that really began at that time. Article 28 (Ecclesiastical Power) states:
And one mentions the Sabbath, which was apparently replaced by Sunday, contrary to the wording of the Ten Commandments. No example is thrown into the debate more often than the change in the Sabbath: it is claimed that the Church must have great power because it could even repeal one of the Ten Commandments.
But we teach this question: The bishops have no power to decide anything that is contrary to the gospel.

Just a few lines later, the quasi “birth defect” of this Reformation, which was never complete, becomes apparent. Although the arrogance of the Roman Church is given a further rebuff, the Fourth Commandment (Sabbath Commandment) is simply declared to be a ceremonial law, even though it is written in stone with the other nine commandments.

It is wrong to think that Sunday observance has taken the place of the Sabbath by virtue of church authority. It is the Scriptures that abolished the Sabbath, not the Church. Because the Gospel has now become apparent, all of Moses’ ceremonial laws can be omitted.

Inconsistency becomes a step forward

Soccer game
Inconsistency pass for the church of Rome

When it comes to the gospel, there are not many reasons to believe that the Roman Catholic Church is right. For their secretly practiced Mithraism, the worship of the solar day is only logical (Info). But when it comes to their commentary on the practice of the former Protestant churches, the church was spot on.

The Bible clearly says, “Keep the Sabbath holy,” but the Roman Catholic Church says, “No!” And the many denominations within the Reformation churches do the same. Of all people, the Lutherans in the “area of ​​reform development” were already in the error at the time of their creation, believing that the ceremonial laws that had been abolished also affected the Sabbath commandment. Circumcision was also a ceremonial commandment. Was this regulation ever found on one of the two stone tablets? Nor is there a single sacrificial or offering ceremony found on the tablets of the law. The Fourth Commandment, the commandment of the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, is included very prominently.

Church of Rome is also right

This only half-hearted Reformation, due to the lack of consistency in rejecting any tradition of the Church of Rome and stubbornly following the Gospel, was already predicted by Jesus Christ to John for writing in the Book of Revelation. For the community of Sardis, Jesus Christ not only proclaimed praise, but above all also rebuke (Info). “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.“, as in Revelation 3:1-2. Not exactly flattering, but certainly justified.

This imperfection of the Reformation was obvious and also the big sore point that will take revenge until the “end of all things”. This inconsistency was reason enough for Monsignor Louis Segar to say something quite right in “Plain Talk about the Protestantism of Today”, page 213:
The observance of Sunday by Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the Catholic Church.

“Papal recognition”

Pope Pius XI also explained on May 22, 1934 how he assessed Protestants’ observance of Sunday:
We also say that of all Protestans, the Seventh-day Adventist are the only gropu that reason correctly and are consistent with their teachings. It is always somewhat laughable to see the Protestant Churches, in pulpit and legislature, demand the observance of Sunday, of which there is nothing in the Bible.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church observes the biblical Sabbath.

Mistakes of the Reformation are the target

When the Roman Catholic Church had the opportunity to expose or ridicule the (formerly) Protestant churches in some way, it did so extensively.

In his speech given at the Council of Trent on January 18, 1562, Archbishop Reggio identified a sore point for the reformers. “Sola scriptura” (“Scripture alone”) is one of the guidelines formulated by Protestants (Info). Reggio dealt with this:

Their profession of holding the Scripture alone as the standard of faith, is false. PROOF: The written Word explicitly enjoins the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. They do not observe the seventh day, but reject it. If they do truly hold the Scripture alone as their standard, they would be observing the seventh day as is enjoined in the Scripture thoughout.

Yet they not only reject the observance of the Sabbath enjoined in the written Word, but they have adopted and do practice the observance of Sunday, for which they have only the tradition of the Church. Consequently the claim of ‘Scripture alone as the standard,’ fails; and the doctrine of ‘Scripture and tradition’ as essential, is fully established, the Protestants themselves being judges.“.
J.H. Holtzman, Canon and Tradition, 1859, page 263

Sunday in focus

What has been a given in Germany since the Weimar era will soon be implemented throughout the world. The special observance of the first day of the week, Sunday. The reasons explained for this are different. For believing Christians it is just the “normal” Sunday service and for atheists and followers of other religions it is nature conservation through a “climate lockdown”. Bottom line, it doesn’t matter.

Instead of the once Protestant and evangelical churches turning back to the insights of their own pioneers within the church, let alone the actually written Word of God, it will be these churches of all people that will demand Sunday with all their might.

The pressure on politicians to pass appropriate legislation will be as great as that which the High Council put on Pontius Pilate to put Jesus Christ on the cross. Always acting somewhat in the background, the controlling mother church Rome, like Herodia, who demanded the head of John the Baptist through the influence of her daughter. Once again it was a state power, Herod Antipas, who carried out the wish.

Long too late to turn back

Book of Revelation
Only a few open prophecies left

The train has long since left for the once Protestant churches. As for people, so also for the institutions that still call themselves Protestant. By breaking away from the Roman Catholic Church, they had thrown out the evil spirit and put their house in order to some extent.

The “Man of Sin” has been identified throughout and named as such (Info). But the tidy house was emptied again. This once decorated house is now completely full again. Occupied by unclean spirits and hated birds (Revelation 18:2), up to the ceiling.

It is too late to turn back. It’s just a matter of what path the fulfillment of the few prophecies in the Bible that are still open will take. Babylon has long since been formed and is rushing towards the climax of history (Info).

Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Matthew 12:44-45

Bible verses from King James Version

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