The Truth About Seventh-day Adventists


by William H. Branson




FINDING in previous chapters that the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments was never changed by divine authority, and yet knowing that most of the religious world today keep the first day of the week instead of the original seventh day, we are led to inquire, Who did change the Sabbath? How has this change been brought about? If the change was not made by Christ or His apostles, by whose authority was it made?

Seventh-day Adventists, since their rise, have claimed that the change was made by the great apostasy which headed up in Rome, through councils, prelates, and popes. This Mr. Canright stoutly denies. He first claims very vehemently that the change was made by the apostles. This he reiterates over and over in one of his last books, The Lord's Day, published in 1915. (See pages 83, 89-99.)

This error we have already completely answered. We have in a previous chapter studied every verse in the New Testament where the first day of the week is mentioned, and have found that not once is it called the Sabbath, the Lord's day, a holy day, or a day of rest. There is absolutely no mention of Sunday sacredness in all the New Testament. There is no suggestion from either Christ or the apostles that it was to take the place of the seventh day Sabbath.

We are clearly told in the Gospels that the Sabbath comes between the sixth and the first days of the week (see Luke 23:5456; 24:1); therefore it is the seventh day. We find Luke talking about the Sabbath according to the commandment, and stating that the followers of Jesus kept it even after Christ's crucifixion. (See Luke 23:56.) Thus this companion of Paul, who wrote at least twenty-eight years after the cross, does not recognize any change as having taken place.

Mark declares that when the first day of the week comes, the Sabbath is past. (See Mark 16.) This shows that Mark also did not recognize any change in the Sabbath obligation. John in Revelation 1:10 speaks of the Lord's day, but he does not hint that he was referring to Sunday. He merely says the Lord's .day, and both Jesus and inspired writers insist that the Lord's day is the original Sabbath. 

Thus through Isaiah, God calls it `My holy day. Isaiah. 58:13. And Jesus declared, The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath. Mark 2:28. Can such a statement be produced in support Of a Sunday Lord's day? Absolutely not. If it had been there Mr. Canright would have found it. The Word of God is not divided against itself. It is not yea and nay, but yea and amen; that is, it is a harmonious whole. (See 2 Corinthians 1:19,20.) When it declares in one lace that one day is the Lord's day, it does not contradict it in some other place and substitute another Lord's day. Therefore no Sunday Lord's day is to be found in Scripture.

But Mr. Canright himself reveals the fact that he as conscious of this weakness in his argument. He quotes from a Catholic author in support of the theory that the apostles changed the day, and yet he had formerly said:

In commemoration of Christ's resurrection, the church observes Sunday. The observance does not rest on any positive law, of which there is no trace. The Lord's Day, p. 93.

So here we have the confession of utter failure. There is no trace of a law for Sunday keeping in Holy Scripture. It does not therefore rest on divine authority, and we must of necessity look elsewhere to ascertain its origin.


Upon utterly failing to prove the theory that the apostles changed the Sabbath, Mr. Canright moves to an entirely new platform and boldly declares:

Sunday observance originated with the Eastern or Greek Church, not with Rome in the West ... .. The proof of this is abundant. Ibid., p. 165.

And again:

All the first witnesses for the Lord's day were not Romans, but Greeks living in the East. Ibid., p. 167.

Now this is certainly a most important admission. Mr. Canright made it in an attempt to disprove the claim that the Roman Church changed the day, but he has proved too much. In fact, he has given his case entirely away. Seventh-day Adventists have always claimed that the Sabbath was changed by human and not divine authority, and here we have a full admission of this fact by Mr. Canright. The only difference now left between his position and that of the Seventh-day Adventists is that he tries to differentiate between actions of the churches in the East and those in the West. He claims that it was not the church at Rome or any of the Western Catholic churches that did the changing of the Sabbath, but that it was the Greek Catholic churches in the East. So says Mr. Canright.

Suppose for the moment that we admit this sharp distinction between the actions of these branches of the early Catholic Church. That the Greek Catholic Church in the East was entirely responsible for the change. What have we now? Why, in Sunday we have a Greek Catholic Sabbath instead of a Roman Catholic Sabbath. And may we inquire what advantage we have thus gained? Is a Greek Catholic Sabbath better in any particular than a Roman Catholic Sabbath? Did the churches in the East have greater authority to tamper with God's law than the churches in the West? How is this? So long as the change was not made on Scriptural authority, but by human organizations after the days of Christ and His apostles. What binding claim can this new Sunday rest day have upon Christians, even if it did come from the Greeks instead of the Romans? The really important consideration is that it originated with man, and not with God. But let us note the dilemma in which Mr. Canright has placed himself. Says he:

The change was made by the apostles. Ibid., p. 83.

Then he says:

Sunday observance originated with the Eastern, or Greek, Church, not with Rome in the West. Ibid., p. 165.

Now we ask, How can both of these statements be true? If the change were made by the apostles, how could Sunday observance have originated with the Greeks? Were the twelve apostles Greeks? Not one of them. They were all Galilean Jews. It was not until after every ordinance of the Christian church had been instituted and placed in order; not until the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, which ratified the new covenant; not, in fact, until Pentecost that the gospel began to be proclaimed to the Greeks and other Gentile nations. In fact, Mr. Canright refers to Pentecost to show that the Greeks heard the gospel on that occasion, and carried it to the countries in the East. (See The Lord's Day, by D. M. Canright, p. 166.)

But what has this to do with the Sabbath? The early 'church was already established, its laws and ordinances were fixed, it had been given its commission to go. . . . teach all nations, and the teaching was to lead people to observe all things whatsoever I [Jesus] have commanded you. Matthew 28:19,20. The commands had been given, and with Peter's sermon on Pentecost the apostolic church, under the endowment of the Holy Spirit, entered upon its Heaven appointed task of world evangelism. Any change of laws or ordinances after that would be invalid. It had not been left for Gentile converts of later centuries to make the rules and laws of the church, but Christ had carefully attended to all this Himself, and had given His disciples full instruction as to what to teach. Concerning the Ten Commandments, He had said to them':

It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail; and whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Luke 16:17; Matthew 5:19. This, then, included the Sabbath and all, every tittle. This is as though Jesus had said that not so much as the dot of an I or the cross of a T was to fail or be changed. And the disciples are commanded to both do and teach them. Thus the commission given by our Lord to the church to teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, included the teaching of the whole Ten Commandments. Any subsequent change in the Sabbath, by either Greek or Roman therefore in no way alter our obligation to keep the original Sabbath of creation.

Let us carefully note Mr. Canright's statement already quoted:

All the first witnesses for the Lord's day were not Romans, but Greeks living in the East. These were Barnabas, Justin Martyr, Dionysius, Clement, Anatolius, Origen, Usebius, etc. - The Lord's Day, p. 167.

Let the reader carefully note this candid admission. But by does he not cite Christ, Paul, Peter, James, John, Matthew, and the other apostles and New Testament writers, as the first witnesses for the Lord's day? Simply because the apostles knew nothing of a Sunday Lord's Day, and therefore could not bear witness to it. No such thing as substituting Sunday for Saturday, the original seventh-day Sabbath, had been thought of in their day. All is change followed later, in the wake of the apostasy which engulfed Christendom during the Middle Ages, and Mr. Canright here frankly admits that he has to turn to the church Fathers of these medieval times, when the church had departed from the apostolic faith, to find the witnesses for his Sunday Lord's day. But Mr. Canright's witnesses have come on the stand a few centuries late, and their testimony cannot be admitted as evidence by the true disciple of Christ.


It is some time subsequent to the time of the apostles that we must look for the change from Sabbath to Sunday observance. We must find it in history, since it cannot be found in Scripture. As the canon of Scripture closes with the Revelation, we are left without any record whatsoever of a change. It had not therefore taken place up to that time. It was altogether a later development, and came in as a perversion of the teachings of Christ and the apostles.

The first recorded instance of religious meetings being held by some of the Christian churches on Sunday, which has any claim to be considered genuine, is mentioned by Justin Martyr, AD. 140, when some Christians met and read the writings of the apostles Justin does not, however, even intimate that this day had any divine authority, either from Christ or from His apostles. Nor was it kept as a day of rest. It was about this time, however, that the great apostasy began to develop, which was foretold by the apostle

Paul in the following scriptures:

I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Acts 20:29, 30.


The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

And yet again:

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped. So that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember you not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? . . . For the mystery of iniquity does already work. 2 Thessalonians 23-7.

This apostasy, which was already working in Paul's day, soon began to play havoc with the church. The pagan Romans who nominally accepted Christianity, generally remained unchanged at heart, and in a short time they began to remodel the religion of the apostles. The Baptist historian Robinson says:

Toward the latter end of the second century, most of the churches assumed a new form; the first simplicity disappeared; and insensibly, as the old disciples retired to their graves, their children came forward, and new-molded the cause.- Ecciesiastical Researches, chap. 6, p. 51.

It was a number of centuries, however, before the Sabbath began to be superseded by Sunday as a day of rest from labor. On this point the historian Coleman says: Down even to the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath was continued in the Christian church. Ancient Christianity Exemplified, chap. 26, sec. 2, p. 527.

In the same chapter he also says:

During the early ages of the church, it [Sunday] was ever entitled 'the Sabbath,' this word being confined to the seventh day of the week.

Dr. T. H. Morer (Church of England) also makes this statement:

The primitive Christians had a great veneration for the Sabbath, and spent the day in devotion and sermons. And it is not to be doubted that they derived this practice from the apostles themselves, as appears by several scriptures to that purpose. - Dialogues on the Lord's Day, p. 189.

H. C. Haggtveit (Lutheran) bears the following testimony:

For the first five centuries of the church there is no mention of any transfer or change of the Sabbath to the first day of the week. Church History, p. 79.

Neander, one of the greatest of church historians, says:

The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was only a human ordinance; and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a divine command 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, vol. 1, p. 186.


Early in the Christian Era a new form of heathen worship sprang up and spread rapidly throughout the then Gentile world. It was known as Mithraism, and had to do with the worship of the sun as did other forms of heathenism; but its philosophy was more fascinating than the more crude form of paganism, and made a pretense of holding up high standards of morality. This new heathenism soon captured the Caesars, invaded the Roman armies and the centers of learning, and was embraced by the higher classes of society.

Alexandria and Rome soon became important Mithran centers, and, in fact, history records that in the middle of the third century Mithraism seemed on the verge of becoming the universal religion, and that' it became the greatest antagonist of Christianity. Some of the peculiar doctrines enunciated by its priests were the immortality of the soul, the use of bell and candle, holy water and communion; sanctification of Sunday and the 25th of December.-Encyclopedia Britannica (11th ed.), art. Mithras.

The devotees of Mithra held Sunday sacred because Mithra was identified with the 'invincible sun.'" Letter to C. P. Bollman from W. de C. Ravenel, administrative assistant to the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C., quoted in Sunday, p. 3.

Franz Cumont, Ph.D., LL.D., speaking of Mithraists, says :

They held Sunday sacred, and celebrated the birth of the Sun on the 25th of December.- The Mysteries of Mithra (1910), pp. 190, 191.

There soon set in a life-and-death struggle between Mithraism and Christianity, and since apostasy was already rife in the Christian church, it was only a short step further for her leaders to agree upon a compromise. Many of these leaders had themselves come into the church as converts from Mithraism, and still had a certain veneration for the sun and those institutions held sacred to it. It was therefore agreed by them that, in order to facilitate the conversion of the heathen, and thus advance the cause Of Christ over that of Mithra, they would incorporate many of the teachings and institutions of Mithraism into the church, and among these was the Sunday festival.

On this point we have the following striking testimony of the Catholic World, published in 1894:

The church took the pagan philosophy and made it the buckler of faith against the heathen. She took the pagan Roman Pantheon, temple of all the gods, and made it sacred to all the martyrs; so it stands to this day. She took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian Sunday. She took the pagan Easter and made it the feast we celebrate during this season. . . .

The sun was a foremost god with heathendom. . . . There is, in truth, something royal, kingly about the sun making it a fit emblem of Jesus, the Sun of justice. Hence the church in these countries would seem to have said, 'Keep that old pagan name. It shall remain consecrated, sanctified.' And thus the pagan Sunday, dedicated to Balder [the god of light and peace], became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus.- Vol. 58, no. 348, March, 1894, p. 809.

With the celebration of Sunday came the worship toward the cast in the early morning hour, at the rising of the sun, and Christianity came so nearly to resemble the religion of the heathen world that many of its adherents were no longer able to distinguish between the two. Dr. Franz Cumont tells us in the following passage how that which should have been rendered to God was now often rendered to the dazzling sun:

On the other hand, the ecclesiastical writers . . . contrasted the 'Sun of justice' with the 'invincible sun,' and consented to see in the dazzling orb which illuminated man a symbol of Christ, 'the light of the world.' Should we be astonished if the multitudes of devotees failed always to observe the subtle distinctions of the doctors, and if in obedience to a pagan custom they rendered to the radiant star of the day the homage which orthodoxy reserved for God? In the fifth century, not only heretics, but even faithful followers were still wont to bow their heads toward its dazzling disc as it rose above the horizon, and to murmur the prayer, 'Have mercy on us.' -Mysteries of Mithra, p. 193.

Christianity finally came to look just like paganism. Yaustus, a pagan of the fourth century, in speaking to the Christians, declared:

You celebrate the solemn festivals of the Gentiles.... 'and as to their manners, those you have retained without any ,alteration. Nothing distinguishes you from the pagans except that you hold your assemblies apart from them. - Faustus (a non-Christian) to St. Augustine (4th Century), cited in History of the Intellectual Development of Europe, J. WILLIAM DRAPER, M.D., LL.D., vol. 1, p. 310.

The Christian church made no formal but a gradual and almost unconscious transference of the one day to the other. ARCHDEACON F. W. FARRAR, The Voice From Sinai (1892), p. 167.

Dr. Peter Heylyn (Church of England):

It was near 900 years from our Savior's birth, if not ,quite so much, before restraint of husbandry on this day, had been first thought of in the East; and probably being thus retrained, did find no more obedience there, than it had done before in the Western parts. History of the Sabbath, part 2, chap. 5, par. 6. Bishop Grimelund of Norway:

Now, summing up what history teaches regarding the origin of Sunday and the development of the doctrine about Sunday, then this is the sum: It is not the apostles, not the early Christians, nor the councils of the ancient church which have imprinted the name and stamp of the Sabbath upon the Sunday, but it is the Church of the Middle Ages and its scholastic teachers. - Sondagens Historie, p. 37.


Thus a gradual change from Sabbath observance to Sunday observance came in after the first centuries of the Christian Era had passed, especially among the Western churches. The more the pagan world came to favor Christianity, and the further removed the church became from the influence of the apostolic example of the first century, the more Sunday observance and the other heathen festivals prevailed. This change, covering centuries, was greatly helped by Constantine's civil law of 321 in favor of the first day of the week, which banned work on that day in the cities, and commanded the people to rest on the venerable day of the sun. This famous decree said nothing about the Lord's day, but was promulgated apparently for the purpose of finally establishing a heathen festival. This law of Constantine's is quoted in the old

Chambers's Encyclopedia, in its article Sabbath, as follows:

'Let all judges, inhabitants of the cities, and artificers, rest on the venerable day of the sun. But in the country, husbandmen may freely and lawfully apply to the business of agriculture; since it often happens that the-sowing of corn and the planting of vines cannot be so advantageously performed on any other day.'

But it was not until the year 538 that abstinence from agricultural labor was recommended, rather than enjoined, by an ecclesiastical authority (the third Council of Orleans), and this expressly that people might have more leisure to go to church and say their prayers.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica we read:

The earliest recognition of the observance of Sunday as a legal duty is a constitution of Constantine in 321 AD., enacting that all courts of justice, inhabitants of towns, and workshops were to be at rest on Sunday (venerabili die solis), with an exception in favor of those engaged in agricultural labor. - Article Sunday, vol. 26 (11th ed.), p. 95.

This, then, is admittedly the very first law for the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, and it is made, not by the Lord from heaven, our, one and only Lawgiver, but by Emperor Constantine, who was of questionable character, and whose sympathies were more with paganism than with Christianity. Even this was not an ecclesiastical law of the church at that time, but merely a civil law made by the ruling emperor, and it was made in the fourth century after Christ, too late, it seems to us, to deserve any recognition from Christians as establishing a Christian institution which they are bound, under penalty of sin, to recognize; and, besides, it comes from a very questionable source. The fact seems to be that Constantine's law for Sunday observance was not made for the purpose of favoring and establishing a Christian day of worship at all, but to enforce a pagan festival upon Christians and pagans alike, Mr. Canright's argument to the contrary notwithstanding. Thus his law, instead of commanding rest upon the Lord's day, commands it on the venerable day of the sun. He did not recognize Sunday as a Christian ordinance, but as a day sacred to the sun-god worshipped by the pagan world. It was the holy day of Mithraism, the great rival of Christianity. His law, therefore, was not for the purpose of enforcing Christianity on the pagans under his jurisdiction but for enforcing the new paganism upon the Christians.

In his book The Lords Day, Mr. Canright makes a, long, labored effort to prove that Constantine had become a Christian convert some years before the promulgation of this famous Sunday law, and that he was therefore enforcing Sunday rest as a Christian ordinance, and not as a heathen festival. Now there is one difficulty here. When Constantine made his law, it was to the effect that people were to rest on the venerable day of the sun, not on the Sunday-Lord's day. Does this indicate that he was enforcing a Christian Sabbath? The answer is clear. The emperor was enjoining upon Christians and pagans alike the festival of the sun-god, and was thereby legalizing sun worship and making it a civil crime for Christians to work on Sunday, as thousands were still doing up to this time. It was an effort to enforce heathen practices upon the Christian church.

Mr. Canright admits that when Constantine made his famous Sunday law, he was still ordering that sacrifices be made to pagan gods, and that he had pagan rites performed for himself, but asserts that he was doing this, not from choice, but to avoid a rebellion among his pagan subjects. (See The Lords Day, by D. M. Canright, p. 197.) But how can it be demonstrated that this was his motive? The admitted fact is that he was still a heathen, and that when he made a law enforcing Sunday rest, he chose a pagan title for the day, boldly calling it the venerable day of the sun, not the day of the Son, or Lord.

As to whether Constantine was here seeking to enforce a heathen or Christian festival, Professor Webster makes the following pertinent statement:

This legislation by Constantine probably bore no relation to Christianity; it appears, on the contrary, that the emperor, in his capacity of Pontifex Maximus, was only adding the day of the sun, the worship of which was then firmly established in the Roman Empire, to the other festival days of the sacred calendar.' PROF. HUTTON WEBSTER, PH.D. (University of Nebraska), Rest Days, p. 122.

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. - Ibid., p. 270.

Dean Stanley declares:

The retention of the old pagan name 'Dies Solis,' or 'Sunday,' for the weekly Christian festival, is, in great measure, owing to the union of pagan and Christian sentiment with which the first day of the week was recommended by Constantine to his subjects, pagan and Christian alike, as the 'venerable day of the sun.' . . . It was his mode of harmonizing the discordant religions of the empire under one common institution. - ARTHUR PENIMYN STANURY, D.D., Lectures on the History of the Eastern 'Church, lecture 6, par. 15, p. 184.

And from Philip Schaff we quote:

The Sunday law of Constantine must not be overrated. . . . There is no reference whatever in his law either to the fourth commandment or to the resurrection of Christ. Besides, he expressly exempted the country districts, where paganism still prevailed, from the prohibition of labor. . . . Christians and pagans had been accustomed to festival rests; Constantine made these rests to synchronize, and gave the preference to Sunday. - PHILIP SCHAFF, History of the Christian Church, Third Period, chap. 7, sec. 75 (vol. 3, p. 380).

But suppose Constantine had been a Christian when he made his Sunday law, and that he did it to establish a Christian Sabbath. Would that prove anything for its sacredness? Was this Roman emperor, who, according to Mr. Canright, was still sacrificing to heathen deities, a suitable founder of the Christian religion? Was he among the prophets called of God to deliver His oracles to His people? Was his authority above that of Christ and the apostles? Does God's rest day require such props to hold it up? Is not this very effort thus to bolster up the Sunday rest day an admission of the weakness of the claims made for it?

If a single, text of Scripture in favor of Sunday observance could have been found, how totally unnecessary would be all this effort to prove Constantine to have been a great benefactor to the Christian church! The Sabbath law is found in the Word of God. Failing to find a Sunday law there, Mr. Canright resorts to the edict of a half Christian, half pagan emperor, of the fourth century. The Sabbath was given at creation, spoken by God on Sinai, observed by patriarchs and prophets, and kept by Christ and the apostles to the very close of New Testament times. Sunday came in later. The earliest trace Mr. Canright can find of it is in the second century.

People in that century were saying the apostles changed it, but they offered no proof. No word of Christ or apostle is ever quoted by them on this point. The testimony of Scripture is silent on the subject of Sunday sacredness not a word about it. There is not an instance of observance. Had there been such a word spoken, Mr. Canright would certainly have built his argument upon it, instead of trying to bolster it up with this Sunday law of Constantine, who he admits was still head of the heathen religion when his Sunday law was enacted. Mr. Canright cites certain texts where he thinks perhaps Sunday is alluded to, but later frankly admits that they do not furnish a real record of a change. For such a record he has to go to his Christian-heathen emperor, Constantine, and there too he is disappointed, because this man, unfortunately, referred to Sunday by using its pagan name instead of calling it the Lord's day. It seems to us that Mr. Canright's Lord's day argument is built upon a sandy foundation.

We believe that the above historical quotations constitute a complete answer to Mr. Canright's declaration that the pagans did not regard Sunday as a festival on which they worshiped the sun-god. The first day of the week as known throughout the pagan world as the sun's day. 'The name given to it was Dies Solis, or the day of the sun, sacred to the sun-god. The Religious Encyclopedia says:

The Ancient Saxons called it by this name, because upon it they worshipped the sun.

According to this, the title originated in heathen idolatry. Do authorities agree upon this? Yes; there is not recognized author in all the rounds of history or literature who dissents from this. Turning to Webster's New International Dictionary we find this definition:

Sunday: so named because anciently dedicated to the Sun or its worship.

These authorities give an ancient origin to the name. Constantine was not the originator of the title which he gave to the day. Dr. T. H. Morer, of the church of England, says:

'It is not to be denied but [that] we borrow the name of is day from the ancient Greeks and Romans, and we low that the old Egyptians worshipped the sun, and as a standing memorial of their veneration, dedicated this day to him. - Dialogues on the Lord's Day.

Thus it is shown that Constantine probably had no thought of enforcing respect for a Christian institution by s famous Sunday law, but rather a very ancient heathen festival, which was then beginning to compete strongly with the Christian Sabbath (Saturday). This resulted from the influence of paganism upon the Christian church. Of the popularity of sun worship at Rome at that time, and the consequent influence this had on the Christian religion, the following historical quotations will testify:

Sun worship, however, became increasingly popular at Rome in the second and third centuries A. D. The sun god of Emesa in Syria-Deus Sol invictus Elagabalus - was exalted above the older gods of Rome by the emperor Marcus Aurelius, A. D. 217, taking the name Elagabalus]. Who, as his priest, was identified with the object of his worship. In spite of the disgust inspired by the excesses of the boy priest, an impulse was given to the spread of a kind of 'solar pantheism,' which embraced by a process of syncretism the various Oriental religions and was made the chief worship of the state by Aurelian. STUART JONES, Companion to Roman History, p. 302.

Milman says:

It was openly asserted that the worship of the sun, under his name of Elagabalus, was to supersede all other worship. -HENRY HART MILMAN, The History of Christianity, book 2, chap. 8, par. 22.

Prof. Hutton Webster calls Sunday a pagan institution which was engrafted onto Christianity:

The early Christians had at first adopted the Jewish seven-day week, with its numbered week days, but by the close of the third century A. D. this began to give way to the planetary week; and in the fourth and fifth centuries the pagan designations became generally accepted in the western half of Christendom. The use of the planetary names by Christians attests the growing influence of astrological speculations introduced by converts from paganism. . . . During these same centuries the spread of Oriental solar worship, especially that of 'Mithra,' in the, Roman world, had already led to the substitution by pagans of dies Solis for dies Saturni, as the first day of the planetary week. . . . Thus gradually a pagan institution was engrafted on Christianity.- PROF. HUTTON WEBSTER, Rest Days, pp. 220,221.

We now quote in this connection an amazing confession by Pr. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual, in which he also admits that Sunday came into the church from paganism.

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, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism! -DR. EDWARD T. Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, in a paper read before a New York City Ministers' Conference, held in New York City, Nov. 13, 1893.

On this point Mr. Canright, as an Adventist writing in 1885, before he had renounced his faith in the Bible Sabbath, truly said:

Now it is a very common error to suppose that a practice which is very old, and can be traced back to somewhere near the apostolic church, must be correct. But this is an evident mistake, for apostasy commenced so early that there is no safety in accepting tradition on any subject. Our only safety is the Scriptures themselves. Protestants claim to rely wholly on this authority, leaving tradition to Catholics; and yet, on this subject, as well as some others, they follow Rome, because the Bible gives them no help....

Now the question arises, Just when did the practice of Sunday keeping commence? No one can tell exactly. Why? If the change had been made by divine authority, we could put our finger on the exact point, and show where it was done. But, like all error, its introduction was gradual. You cannot follow a river into the ocean, and put your finger down and say, There, just at that spot the fresh water stops and the salt water begins. Neither can you tell where Sabbath keeping stopped and Sunday observance began, as there was a gradual mingling of truth and error.

You will hear men say with all confidence that, while the seventh day was kept to the crucifixion, the practice of the church since then has been unanimous in keeping the first day. I do not see how a man can be honest and say this, unless he is very ignorant, as the most trustworthy historians . . . testify to the contrary. . . .

When it [Sunday] was introduced, it did not come in as a Sabbath. Look at the word itself, 'Sunday.' Webster defines it as 'so-called, because this day was anciently dedicated to the sun; ' and the North British Review styles it 'the wild solar holiday of all pagan times.' Now, how did it creep into the church? I'll tell you how. When the early Christians evangelized the heathen tribes, they would do to the head, or chief, and labor with him to convince him of the superiority of the Christian religion. If he became convinced, he would command his entire tribe to be baptized. They were pagans, and had kept Sunday as a festival in honor of one of their gods, the sun; and when they outwardly accepted Christianity, they kept up their observance of Sunday, which gradually supplanted the Lord's Sabbath. And while some of these might have been soundly converted, there is evidence to show that though the Sabbath was kept, Sunday was also observed as a kind of holiday, but with no idea of sacredness attached to it. . . .

And so we might trace the history down through the first centuries. The observance of Sunday, introduced as a holiday, or festival, gradually assumed more importance as a rival of God's Sabbath, until, by the influx of half-converted pagans into the church, bringing with them their solar holiday, it began to supplant its divinely appointed rival.... It was not until the Council of Orleans, 538 A. D., that Sunday labor in the country was prohibited, and thus, as Dr. Paley remarked, it became 'an institution of the church,' and of that church into whose hands the saints, times, and laws were to be given for 1260 years; and it may be something more than a coincidence that 538 A. D. was the beginning of that period.- D. M. CANRIGHT, Tabernacle Lectures, Lecture Ten, pp. 76-83.

J. N. Andrews, author of The History of the Sabbath, tells us how Constantine was really responsible for laying the foundations of the Papacy. We quote two paragraphs from him:

Bower minutely details the order of the hierarchy, its divisions, and the orders of its officers, as established by Constantine, making it an ecclesiastical government closely modeled after the civil. Although the exarchs and metropolitan bishops were over all-the bishops in their dioceses and provinces, there was no one bishop over all. Yet it was declared by the Council of Nice that the primacy should rest in the bishop of Rome, in honor of that city. The title was then an empty one, except in the honor of the name; but it became fruitful both of dignity and power. The bishop of Rome soon became the representative of the faith of the church. To be in harmony with Rome was to be orthodox; disagreement with Rome was heresy. . . .

A certain writer well observed that Constantine would have proved himself a noble ruler if he had rested with the acts of toleration of Christianity. But he followed this up with acts of intolerance against all Christians but those Who happened to enjoy his favor, who composed that party which could best serve the interests of the empire. This party, of course, was represented by the bishop of Rome; for it would have been absurd to think of best serving the empire by conferring the primacy on any bishop but that of the 'imperial city. It was Constantine who convened the Council ,of Nice, where the famous creed of the church was formed.

Thus was laid the foundation of the Papacy, or papal hierarchy. Replies to Elder Canright's Attacks on Seventh day Adventists (1895), pp. 148, 149.


It was not long after Constantine's civil law for Sunday observance was promulgated until the church, through its councils, bishops, and popes, began to make religious laws in favor of Sunday. The church was by now in an almost complete state of apostasy. The rites and ceremonies of the pagan religions had almost wholly taken the place of the commands of God and the ordinances of the New Testament. The doctrine of the conscious state of the dead, witchcraft, spiritism, sprinkling for baptism, infant baptism, etc., were being embraced. Soon the mass was substituted for the Lord's supper. Mary for Jesus, as mediator between God and man; human priests usurped the position of Christ as our High Priest; the confessional was established; and the Papacy was well under way, though it had not yet reached the zenith of its power. The crowning act in all this apostasy was the changing of the Sabbath, substituting by church authority the pagan festival of Sunday for the Christian Sabbath, Saturday. This the church began to enforce by edict. The first ecclesiastical law for Sunday observance recorded in history is that of the Council of Laodicea, held about the year 364. The pronouncement of the council was:

Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [Sabbath, original], but shall work on that day; but the Lord'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 from Christ. RT. REV. CHARLES JOSEPH HEFELE, D.D., A History of the Church Councils, book 6, sec. 93, canon 29 (vol. 2, p. '316).

The canons of this council were adopted by the churches, and have always been accepted as Catholic. This was a church council, an ecclesiastical congress. What it did was representative of the Catholic Church. Did it do anything toward changing the Sabbath? It did. It required Christians to rest on the Lord's day, meaning Sunday, and prohibited them from resting on the Bible Sabbath (Saturday), under penalty of being accursed of Christ. Than this the church could pronounce no severer penalty. The command of the council was absolute. People were peremptorily ordered to rest on Sunday and to work on Saturday. The very fact that the order was given proves beyond all possible doubt that at least a large section of the Christian church still kept the Bible Sabbath, Saturday, and this canon (29) of Laodicea was given in an effort to change this practice, or in other words, to change the Sabbath.

Mr. Canright the Baptist says:

'We have given plenty of proof that Sunday was observed by all Christians as early at least as 140 A. D., or nearly two 'hundred years before even the foundation of the Papacy was 'laid. The Lord's Day, p. 221.  

Does it not, then, strike the reader as passing strange that a church council held in AD. 364 should be making laws to enforce upon its members a custom which had been .universally observed by them for over two hundred years? Why should the Council of Laodicea have wasted time legislating about people's keeping the Sabbath when no one had kept it Since AD. 140?

In order to get over this point, Mr. Canright is forced to admit that there were those who were still keeping the Sabbath, but he brands them as heretics, and tries to make it appear that they were a small minority. (See The Lord's Day, p. 217.)

But we have only the statement of Mr. Canright himself that the Sabbath observers were the real heretics and were in the minority. We have already furnished abundant proof that the Sabbath was still observed very largely by the church, but that through the influence of thousands of converts from paganism, its sanctity was now diminishing and the day of the sun was rapidly supplanting it. The fact, however, which even Mr. Canright must admit, that there were Christians even in the fourth century who still persisted in the observance of the Sabbath and who had to be suppressed in this matter by an action of a church council, entirely disproves his statement that Sunday was observed by all Christians as early at AD. 140. It also further proves that the then Christian world had no clear knowledge of any change having been made in the Sabbath by divine command. Nor does the Laodicean Council invoke a command of Christ or the apostles when it thus takes its first action favoring Sunday observance, but it issues the command purely on its own authority.

It was therefore the voice of a church in apostasy, influenced by the multitudes who had newly come to her from the heathen world and whose sympathies were still largely with the tenets of their former religion, who thus promulgated the first ecclesiastical law for Sunday keeping. They made no claim whatsoever that their enforcement of Sunday was in any way based on Scriptural authority. Whether it was or was not in harmony with Biblical testimony seems not to have concerned them in the least. They had set out to reform the Christian religion, and the former heathen festival of Sunday was to become the new Sabbath rest. That was all.

Now this one action of one Catholic council would not have been sufficient completely to reverse the practices of the entire church in all parts of the world where the Sabbath was still kept, but it did constitute the first official utterance by the church in that direction, and instead of repudiating what was done at Laodicea, later councils have invariably upheld it. The sixty four articles adopted by that council are today practically a part of the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church. It was the churches in the West - Rome, Alexandria, etc. that took the lead in swinging entirely over from Sabbath to Sunday observance, and as Rome rose in power and prestige among the churches, she began a relentless effort to enforce this new doctrine in all the churches. On this point we have the testimony of Sozomen and Socrates. Sozomen says:

The people of Constantinople, and of several other cities, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the next day; which custom is never observed at Rome, or at Alexandria. SOZOMEN, Ecclesiastical History, from A. D., 324-440, book 7, chap. 19, p. 355.

Socrates was born about AD. 380, and lived during the time when the first attempts were made by the Bishop of Rome to suppress the Sabbath. He had traveled over a considerable part of Christendom, and spoke of the church in general from personal knowledge. He said:

Almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath of every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient traditions, refuse to do this.- SOCRATES, Ecclesiastical History, book 5, chap. 22, p. 404.

It was the church at Rome, therefore, that took the lead in authoritatively substituting the papal Sunday for the Christian Sabbath. Many of the churches in the East, however, soon followed its example. At the Laodicean Council began the long struggle to enforce its observance upon all. Thereafter everything was done that Christian emperors, kings, popes, councils, and synods could do to swing all the churches, both east and west, into line, to uphold the canon of Laodicea, and to add to the sanctity of the day of the sun.

Charlemagne did more, perhaps, than any other emperor to make this part of the faith of the church effective, and in his first decree he referred directly to this canon of the Council of Laodicea. But it required repeated councils, actions, bulls, and encyclicals of the bishops and popes finally to establish the change. Yes, more still, it required bitter persecution, and a large number of those who refused to surrender their observance of the true Sabbath upon the mere authority of the church, had the privilege of sealing their faith with the blood of martyrdom.

In the time of Constantine, Bishop Sylvester ordained that Sunday should be called the Lord's day. Pope Leo I, of the fifth century, in his letter No. 19, written to the bishop of Alexandria, commanded that even the consecration of priests should be performed on Sunday instead of the Sabbath, setting forth reasons why Sunday was the more fitting day for this sacred work. We quote the following passage from this letter, which has become famous in religious literature:

For this reason you will observe the apostolic institutions in a devout and commendable way, when you observe this rule in the ordination of priests, in the churches over which the Lord has made you overseer. Namely, that the one to be ordained receives the consecration solely and only on the day of the resurrection of the Lord, which, as you know, begins from the evening of the Sabbath, and is made sacred by so many divine mysteries, that whatever of greater prominence was commanded by the Lord, took place on this exalted day. On this day the world had its beginning; on it, through the resurrection of Christ, death found its end and life its beginning [9 Decret. cf. D. LXXV. c. 5]; on it the apostles received their commission from the Lord to proclaim the gospel to all nations, and to dispense to the entire world the sacrament of the regeneration. On it, as the holy evangelist John testifies, the Lord, after He had joined the assembled disciples by closed doors, breathed upon them and said: 'Receive you the Holy Ghost. Who so ever sins you remit, they are remitted unto them,; and who so ever sins you retain, they are retained.' On this day, finally, came the Holy Spirit, which the Lord had promised to the apostles in order that we might recognize, as it were, inculcated and taught by a divine [heavenly] rule, that we are 'to undertake on that day the mysteries of the priestly consecration, on which all gifts and graces were imparted. Leo's Letters, from Letters of the Popes, No. 9 (German edition).

The first religious council to urge refraining from labor in the rural districts in the Western Empire was that of Orleans, AD. 538, and the reason given for this was that it might be possible for the people to attend the services of the church on that day. There was no such specific law covering this point in the Eastern Empire until the decree of Emperor Leo VI, called the philosopher, near the close of the ninth century. From this decree we quote the following passage:

We ordain, according to the true meaning of the Holy Ghost, and of the apostles thereby directed, that on

the sacred day [meaning Sunday] wherein our own integrity was restored, all do rest and surcease labor; that neither husbandmen nor other on that day put their hands to forbidden works.- Quoted in The Literature of the Sabbath Question, by ROBERT COX, Vol. 1, p. 422.

Bishop Skat Rordam, of Denmark, clearly states that the change was made by the church under the Roman pope, its head. Note the following from his pen:

As to when and how it became customary to keep the first day of the week the New Testament gives us no information. . . .

The first law about it was given by Constantine the Great, who in the year 321 ordained that all civil and shop work should cease in the cities, but agricultural labor in the country was allowed. . . . But no one thought of basing this command to rest from labor on the third [fourth] commandment before the latter half of the sixth century. From that time on, little by little, it became the established doctrine of the church which was in force all through the Middle Ages during the 'Dark Ages of the Church,' that 'the holy church and its teachers,' or the bishops with the Roman pope at their head, as the vicar of Christ and His apostles on earth, had transferred the Old Testament Sabbath with its glory and sanctity over to the first day of the week.- P. TAANING, Report of the Second Ecclesiastical Meeting in Kopenhagen, Sept. 13-15, 1887 (Kopenhagen, 1887), pp. 40, 41.


But is it correct to say that the Sabbath was changed by the popes? Was it not rather by church councils and the edicts of emperors? Mr. Canright scoffs at the idea, and tauntingly asks, Which pope? We reply that the actions of any council or any member of councils could not have established the canon law of the church without the full approval of the bishops and popes. Had the Council of Laodicea not later been, either officially or otherwise, approved by the church hierarchy, its canons never could have been taken almost bodily into the canon law and preserved there until the present day. To make any doctrine really Catholic it must have the approval of the popes.

The pope is not only a man elevated by vote of the cardinals to be the visible head of the Catholic Church, but he is the very embodiment of the whole papal system, the name itself being derived from the office. 'Papal, of or pertaining to the pope. WEBSTER. It follows that what the Papacy does the pope does; and the acts of the Papacy may very properly be attributed to the pope. When we speak of Pharaoh as the oppressor of the children of Israel, we do not think of any particular ruler; in fact, we have every reason to believe that there was more than one. We think rather of the whole government of Egypt represented by Pharaoh. Similarly, when we speak of the pope, we do not necessarily think of one particular pope, but of the whole order of popes, and of the organization represented by the popes. On this point we have the following terse statements bf the Catholic historian Hefele:

The decrees of the ancient ecumenical councils were confirmed by the emperors and by the popes; those of the later councils by the popes alone.- REV. CHARLES JOSEPH HEFELE, D.D., A History of the Church Councils, to AD. 25 (first volume), p.. 42.

We see from these considerations of what value the sanction of the Pope is to the decrees of a council. Until the Pope has sanctioned these decrees, the assembly of bishops which formed them cannot pretend to the authority belonging to an ecumenical council, however great a number of bishops may compose it; for there cannot he an ecumenical council without union with the Pope.

This sanction of the Pope is also necessary for insuring infallibility to the decisions of the council. According to Catholic doctrine, this prerogative can be claimed only for the decisions of ecumenical councils, and only for their decisions in rebus fidei et morum [in matters of faith and morals], not for purely disciplinary decrees. Ibid., p. 52.

From another Catholic source we quote the following amazing declarations:

The [the Pope] is not subject to them [the canons of the church], because he is competent to modify or to annul them when he holds this to be best for the church. - The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 12, art. Pope, p. 268.

The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but as it were God, and the vicar of God. . . .

The Pope by reason of the excellence of his supreme dignity is called bishop of bishops. . . .

He is likewise bishop of the universal church.

He is likewise the divine monarch and supreme emperor, and king of kings.

Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions.

Moreover the superiority and the power of the Roman Pontiff by no means pertain only to heavenly things, to earthly things, and to things under the earth, but are even over angels, than whom he is greater.

So that if it were possible that the angels might err in the faith, or might think contrary to the faith, they could he judged and excommunicated by the Pope.

For he is of so great dignity and power that he forms one and the same tribunal with Christ.

So that whatever the Pope does, seems to proceed from the mouth of God, as according to most doctors, etc.

The Pope is as it were God on earth, sole sovereign of the faithful of Christ, chief king of kings, having plenitude of power, to whom has been entrusted by the omnipotent God, direction not only of the earthly but also of the heavenly kingdom.

The Pope is of so great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even divine laws. - Extracts from Ferraris's Ecclesiastical Dictionary (R.C.), art. 'Pope.

The full title of this work is 'Prompta Bibliotheca canonica, juridica, moralis, theologica nec non ascetica, polemica, rubricistica, historica.' There have been various editions of this book since the first was published in 1746, the, latest one being issued from Rome in 1899 at the Press of Propaganda. This shows that this work still has the approval of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and the Catholic Encyclopedia (Vol. VI, p. 48) speaks of it as a veritable cyclopedia of religious knowledge' and 'a precious mine of information.' It is therefore legitimate to conclude that the, statements in this work represent the current Roman Catholic view concerning the power and authority of the Pope. Note on the above quotation by the editors of the Source Book for Bible Students, Review and Herald Pub Assn., Washington, D.C.

Thus it is clear that any number of actions taken by church councils regarding Sunday observance, or anything else, for that matter, could not have become accepted canon of the Roman Catholic Church without the full approval of the popes. Had they been displeased with any of these, they had the full authority to alter them at will. Now is the action of the Council of Laodicea regarding the change of the Sabbath recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a binding obligation, and does the Roman Catholic Church recognize that the action involved a literal change of the Sabbath? For reply we quote the following from a recent Roman Catholic Catechism:

Question. Which is the Sabbath day?

Answer. Saturday is the Sabbath day.

Question. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

Answer. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (336 A. D.), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.-REV. PETER GE1ERMANN, C.S.S.R.,

The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (2d ed., 1910), p. 50. (This work received the apostolic blessing of Pope Pius X, Jan. 25, 1910.)

Note that this catechism received the blessing of Pope Pius X, which indicates that he approved and endorsed all its teachings.

Now, we believe that we have offered conclusive proof on three very important points:

1. Sunday observance originated in heathenism.

2. Sunday observance as a Christian ordinance is wholly a Catholic institution.

3. The change was made from Saturday to Sunday by actions of church councils, bulls issued by the popes, laws promulgated by Catholic emperors, and by the approval of popes of the various council proceedings.  

We unhesitatingly reiterate, therefore, that Sunday is a papal festival, borrowed from paganism, and that the original Sabbath was changed by the church councils and the popes. The church could not have done it without the approval and blessing of the popes, and this was given in the most active 'manner, as we have already seen. Thus Mr. Canright's challenge to Seventh-day Adventists that the popes did not change the Sabbath is effectually answered.


Now, to all this agree the words of the Bible prophets, for this whole matter is clearly foretold by them. In Daniel 7:25 the prediction is made that an apostate power, represented in the prophecy by a 1ittle horn, would attempt to change God's times and laws. He shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

This power was to continue forty-two months, or one thousand two hundred sixty days. (Revelation 13:5; 12) A day for a year, according to Biblical interpretation of prophetic time, gives us 1260 years during which this power would hold sway in the world. There is general agreement among students of prophecy that this power is papal Rome. The papal supremacy was fully established in 538 (the very year the Council of Orleans made its famous edict that people. in the rural communities should not work, but attend church on Sunday) and received its deadly wound in 1798 (see Revelation 13), after a period of just 1260 years.

During this time the special efforts of this power were to be directed against the Most High. He would speak great words against the Most High, 'Wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws evidently the laws of the Most High, as the change of human laws would not be worthy of notice in prophecy nor peculiar to this power.

Now, the law of the Most High contains ten distinct precepts. Nine of these precepts are acknowledged by all Protestant Christians to be binding. The other one, the fourth, is in dispute, and strange to say, it is the only one that relates in any way to time. It commands the observance of a specific day in each week, because that day is declared to be holy, and to belong to the Lord God. The first three commands and the last six are silent on the subject of time, but the fourth is based on it. It deals with God's time, commanding man to remember it and not desecrate it by secular labor.

The prophecy asserts that this apostate power will seek to change times and laws, and the only way God's law could be altered so far as to affect God's time would be by a change in the Sabbath command. Here, then, is a definite charge made by God Himself through His prophets that this little-horn power, the Papacy, would attempt to change His Sabbath. But does the Catholic Church admit responsibility for having changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

When an individual is charged with a crime (as God here charges the Papacy), the case is greatly strengthened if he makes a confession. When a defendant admits his own guilt, further testimony is scarcely necessary. Let us, then, bring leading representatives of this church onto the stand and hear their testimony on this point. In a Catholic work called Abridgment of Christian Doctrine, page 58, is the following:

Question.- How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?

Answer.- By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday.

We have this further testimony:

Question.- Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?

Answer.- Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her, she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.- Doctrinal Catechism, p. 174.

Another catechism, The Catholic Christian Instructed, 1 page 209, says:

Question. What warrant have you for keeping the Sunday, preferably to the ancient Sabbath, which was Saturday?

Answer. We have for it the authority of the Catholic Church, and apostolic tradition.

Question. Does the Scripture anywhere command the Sunday to be kept for the Sabbath?

Answer. The Scripture commands us to hear the church, . . . but the Scripture does not in particular mention this change of the Sabbath.

On page 15 of volume 4 of Clifton Tracts (Catholic), in an article on A Question for All Bible Christians, this question is thus dealt with:

We Catholics, then, have precisely the same authority for keeping Sunday holy, instead of Saturday, as we have for every other article of our creed; namely, the authority of the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. Whereas, you who are Protestants have really no authority for it whatever, for there is no authority for it in the Bible, and you will not allow that there can be authority for it anywhere else. Both you and we do, in fact, follow tradition in this matter. But we follow it, believing it to be a part of God's word, and the church to be its divinely appointed guardian and interpreter; you follow it, denouncing it all the time as a fallible and treacherous guide, which often makes the commandment of God of none effect. 

Cardinal Gibbons, in his book Faith of Our Fathers, edition of 1893, page 111, says: You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.

Thus it will be seen that the Roman Church deliberately confesses to the crime of tampering with the divine law in changing the observance of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. History as clearly and definitely testifies that the charge is true. And thus the Roman Church stands before the world convicted by her own testimony of laying impious hands upon the Sabbath of the Lord, and tearing from its place in the very heart of the law of God, the fourth commandment, substituting instead a spurious and counterfeit Sabbath, which is no Sabbath at all, since it rests solely on the traditions of that church, and not in any sense upon the Word of God.

But let it be noticed, the Roman Church is more consistent in the observance of Sunday than are the Protestant churches. As was shown in the preceding chapter, the Roman Church does not base its teachings on the Bible alone, but on the Bible and tradition, holding that tradition is the safer guide of the two. But the Protestant belief is that the Bible and the Bible alone is the foundation of true faith. The Sunday institution can be found only in tradition. It cannot be found in the Bible. It is evident, therefore, that the Protestant churches, in observing Sunday, have left the true ground and basis of Protestantism, and are following the Roman Church in accepting a doctrine and practice which are not founded on the Bible.


Do the Protestant churches admit that there is no Bible authority for observing Sunday instead of Saturday?

For reply, we offer the following testimony of some of their historians and leaders of religious thought: The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh is absolutely without authority.' - LYMAN ABBOTT, in an editorial in the Christian Union, June 26, 1890.

And 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 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.- REV. ISAAC WILLIAMS, B.D., Plain Sermons on the Catechism (Church of England), vol. 1, pp. 334-336.

There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will be said, however, 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.

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 present claims attention from Christian people; and the only reason that it is not a more disturbing element in Christian thought and in religious discussions, is because the 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' intercourse with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question, discussing it in some of its various aspects, freeing it from its false glosses, never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during 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, counselling and instructing those founded, discuss or approach this subject. - DR. EDWARD T. Hiscox, author of The Baptist Manual, in a paper read before a New York Ministers' Conference, held November 13, 1893.  

Pr. N. Summerbell:

The Roman Church had totally apostatized. It reversed the fourth commandment by doing away with the Sabbath of God's word, and instituting Sunday as a holiday. -History of the Christian Church, pp. 417, 418.


As to whether or not the Catholic Church claims that the act of changing the Sabbath to Sunday is a mark, or sign, of her power in religious matters, it is necessary for the reader only to review so me of the quotations from Catholic authors already cited. Let us note again the first two that were given:  You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify. - Faith of Our Fathers, p. 111.

Question. How prove you that the church bath power to command feasts and holy days?  

Answer. By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday. Abridgment of Christian Doctrine, p. 58.

Here the change of the Sabbath is definitely set forth a mark of authority. The act is a mark of her ecclesiastical power. Her power to command feasts, etc., proved by what she did to the Sabbath. Therefore, when seventh-day Adventists refer to Sunday keeping as the 'mark of the Papacy, or of the beast of Revelation 13, which represents the papal church, they are only agreeing with what the Catholics claim for themselves.

Mr. Canright in his defense of a Sunday Sabbath wrote:

''This Advent mark of the beast is an absurdity and only scarecrow. Don't be frightened. The Lord's Day, p. 239.

But let it be carefully noted that against this mark God has sent to men the most fearful warning that is to be found in the Scriptures:

The third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same hall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb. Revelation 14:9, 10.

There will be a company of people on earth when Jesus comes who will have gotten the victory over this apostate power, spoken of under the symbol of a beast, and also over his mark. Instead of drinking of the wine of God's wrath, they will be transported to the kingdom of our God, where John, in holy vision, saw them and heard them singing the song of the redeemed:

I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on' the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints. Revelation 15:2, 3.

The sincere wish of the author is that in the day of God every reader of this volume may be found numbered among that glad, triumphant company.