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Anne Van Tilburg wrote:

Hello everyone!

  • Could you please tell me where in the New Testament the Apostles changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday?

Thank you for answering my previous questions.

Yours in Christ.

Anne

  { Where in the New Testament did the Apostles change the Sabbath to Sunday? }

Bob replied:

Hi Anne,

You won't find it, because they didn't explicitly. There is evidence to suggest they celebrated the Lord's day in light of the day Jesus rose (Sunday), but as far as the official change goes, that was the later action of the Catholic Church. This is precisely one of the chief objections of those such as the Seventh Day Adventists.

In order to buy the rationale for change, you first have to buy the fact that the Church had the authority to make the change. Catholics believe that Christ himself gave his own authority to the Apostles, and that they in turn handed over that authority to those they appointed to continue Christ's own ministry (through the laying on of hands).

The Catholic Church, built on the Apostles and Peter, continues that leadership through Apostolic Succession. This is the only Church that has an unbroken line to Christ and his elect leadership (Peter being the chief apostle, and the Pope who continues his office). While there is the Orthodox church, which is still also authentically apostolic, it is separated from Rome for various reasons and over a number of issues.

This issue of the Lord's day is just one of several that clearly points to the many ironies and contradictions that all Christians, Protestant, and others face when they separate themselves from the Catholic Church. Often they will accept Catholic traditions, such as the Lord's day, without ever acknowledging that it wouldn't be as it is if it were not for the Catholic Church.

The Adventists are a prime example.

  • They use the Bible to point out what they hold to be scripturally true, but how did they get a Bible if not for the Catholic Church?

They will have to jump through many hoops to obfuscate the simple truth that the Catholic Church determined the Canon of the Bible. When they begin to argue about the method used for determining their canon, you must ask,

  • By whose authority did you determine this set of criteria?
  • And, how do you know this criteria is authentic?, etc.

At some point, every Christian facing real answers to the truth about Christ and his teaching will have to confront the Authority of the Catholic Church. It is the only Church that can withstand the ultimate scrutiny as to its authenticity.

Good Luck and God bless.

Bob Kirby

Eric replied:

Hi Anne,

To dovetail with what Bob said, let's look at the two places in Scripture which touch on Sunday worship.

1. Acts 20:7 | Acts 20:6-8 (in Context) | Acts 20 (Whole Chapter)

    Eutychus Raised From the Dead at Troas.

    On the *first* *day* of the *week* we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next *day*, kept on talking until midnight.

2. 1 Corinthians 16:2 | 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 | (in Context) | 1 Corinthians 16  | (Whole Chapter)

    The Collection for the Lord's People

    On the *first* *day* of every *week*, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.

In Acts 20:7, we have an explicit reference to the Eucharist (though some who really wanted
to be difficult could maintain that this was a simple meal, not worship; though since Paul spoke,
it would seem disingenuous). This is the most direct reference we have to Sunday worship.

In 1 Corinthians 16:2, there is a reference to a collection being taken on Sunday. Obviously,
it would make sense that you would take this during normal weekly worship, so this is indirect proof of Christians worshipping on Sunday.

Based on these texts it would be hard to argue that there was no Apostolic basis at all for Sunday worship.

Also, note that until 70 A.D., Jewish Christians continued going to synagogue on Saturdays.
At this time, Christianity was merely a Jewish sect and, if you recall, the big controversy was whether to admit Gentiles. It made sense then that they'd schedule Christian worship on Sunday.

Of course, this doesn't answer the question of whether the principles of the Sabbath (as opposed to worship) applied to the Lord's Day. To be honest, as it turns out, practicing the Sabbath is something that shifted between Sunday and Saturday throughout the history of the Church.
It didn't shift once universally and stay that way. The details are vague in my mind so I won't attempt to go into them. You see this more in the Eastern churches than the Western church.

Hope this helps!

Eric

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Anne,

See 1 Corinthians 16:2 and Acts 20:7 for evidence that early on they had made the switch from Saturday to Sunday.

Mary Ann

John replied:

Hi Anne,

To supplement what Bob said about authority, read Acts Chapter 15. During the Jerusalem Council it was the Church under Peter that made the decision that non-Jews didn't have to be circumcised to enter the Church. So we see that the Church had, and still has, the authority to do away with the Mosaic or Temple Law. Additionally, in Galatians we see Paul inferring that Baptism has replaced circumcision.

Beyond that, we must remember that in the beginning, the Church was predominantly comprised of Jews. In fact, Christians were called Nazarene's or The Way. They were considered a sect of Judaism by the other Jews and by everyone else. These early Christians would go to synagogue on Saturday with their Jewish neighbors and relatives, and attend a Sunday Liturgy with their Christian brethren.

Finally, as early as Acts Chapter 4, we see that believers met daily for the breaking of the Bread.

Hope this helps,

John

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