Ecclesiasticus 4:28

"Fight to the death for truth, and the Lord God will war on your side."

Ora pro nobis,

Most Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Francis de Sales, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Dominic. Amen.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Response to CQ--The Lord's Day

Here is the chapter from "Be Careful of Protestant Teachings" that makes me most sure that this group is actually Seventh Day Adventist, since worshipping on Saturday as opposed to Sunday is a defining characteristic of the Seventh Day Adventists (hence their name). However, it's also the chapter that almost explicitly has claiming to be Catholic! This is most bizarre!

Anyway, I can hardly fathom the need to argue the point of Sunday Worship, but here we go.

As usual, my words are in white, and those of will be blue.

Chapter 6: Be Careful of Protestant Teachings
The Lord's Day

Central to Christian worship is the Lord's day. This is a special day of rest from secular pursuits and a day of special worship to God. The keeping of the Lord's day as holy has been all but lost to most Protestants.

Sadly, this could equally be said of Catholics as well (and, for that matter, I'm sure it could be said of adherents to CatholicQuest's unnamed affiliation--so I'm not sure what relevance this point has, especially since it has nothing at all to do with the question of Saturday or Sunday).

Up until the twentieth century almost all sincere Protestants refrained from all secular work and pleasure giving the day to public worship and study of God's Word.

Up until the 20th Century, all Protestants also believed that Birth Control was sinful, as well.

This sentence also seems to be overstating the zeal for the Sabbath that is necessary: "refrained from all secular work and pleasure...". The Sabbath is a day of rest, and rest is pleasurable (at least to me)--or is it "sacred pleasure"? Either way, restricting it so narrowly seems to me to be just the Pharisaical attitude toward the Sabbath that Jesus Himself condemned.

For centuries the first day of the week, Sunday, has been acknowledged as the Lord's day, the day of special worship by Protestants.

And for about 1500 years before Protestantism, it was acknowledged as the Lord's day, the day of special worship by Catholics!

But in this custom there is a great dilemma. There is not the slightest evidence in Holy Scripture that the first day of the week is the Lord's day.

If, as this group keeps insisting on, they are trying to poke holes in Protestantism's claim to follow Sola Scriptura, then they could make a case. However, if they are advising us to follow Sola Scriptura (as they have also been doing throughout) in order to tell us to worship on Saturday instead, they again demonstrate that they are indeed not Catholic, since we do not adhere to that rule of faith.

The common starting point for declaring the Lord's day to be Sunday is in the book of Revelation.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet (Revelation 1:10).
It was several years later that John the Revelator wrote the gospel of John.

Well, I guess that depends on who you ask. I personally hold that The Gospel of John was written before Revelation. So that's a moot point.

The surprising thing is that he, in depicting the resurrection of Jesus, does not refer to Sunday as the Lord's day. Rather, well over fifty years after the crucifixion, he refers to it simply as "The first day."
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre (John 20:1).
And? The reason Christians worship on Sunday (the first day of the week) instead of Saturday is precisely that--it's when Jesus rose from the dead! Catholics view every Sunday of the year as a mini Easter celebration!

The other three gospel writers did exactly the same.
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre (Matthew 28:1).

And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun (Mark 16:2).

And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them (Luke 23:56;24:1).
Again, their narrative record is irrelevant to when we worship--except to indicate that our worship is on Sunday because that's the day of the Resurrection. The fact that they didn't refer to "the first day" as "the Lord's day" is irrelevant. Notably, they didn't refer to the sabbath as "the Lord's day" in any of those passages, either.

We cannot find any statement by Paul or the other New Testament writers that the Sabbath day had changed from pre-Christian times.

This is just patently false:
On the first day of the week we met for the breaking of bread. Paul was due to leave the next day, and he preached a sermon that went on until the middle of the night...Then he went back upstairs where he broke the bread and ate and carried on talking until he left at daybreak (Acts 20:7, 11).
The "breaking of bread" in the book of Acts is a reference to the celebration of the Eucharist, and a shorthand way of saying they were having Church worship. Compare this with accounts of the Church at the beginning of Acts:
These remained faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers ...Each day, with one heart, they regularly went to the Temple but met in their houses for the breaking of bread (2:42, 46a).
Notably, the very birthday of the Church was on a Sunday: Pentecost Sunday (Acts 2:1), which was celebrated 50 days after Passover (that's 7 sabbaths plus a day if you're counting).

In 1 Corinthians 16:2, Paul instructs the church to gather their collections to aid the church in Jerusalem on "the first day of the week." Why? Probably because he knew it was the primary day for celebrating the Eucharist, and most people would be there. (Notably, in the Catholic Church today, even though we have daily Mass, we still only take up the collection on Sunday!) Therefore, we see that the Mass was celebrated on Sunday (indeed, in the early Church, just as today, it was celebrated every day). Thus saying that there is no biblical evidence for it is false.

Jesus made Himself plain on this matter.
Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath (Mark 2:28).
Here's what those in the Hermeneutics community call "eisegesis", or "reading into Scripture." When Jesus is talking about being Lord of the Sabbath, He isn't there affirming that we should worship Him on the Sabbath, or even primarily on the Sabbath. He's saying that the Sabbath belongs to Him rather than He being ruled by it. The Pharisees were complaining that He was "doing work" on the Sabbath, and He was justifying Himself. This passage cannot be taken in any way to be saying what wants it to say.

Immediately preceding this declaration Jesus declared that the Sabbath was not made for the Jews, but for man (humankind).
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27).
This again is more eisegesis, because in this passage, Jesus is nowhere contrasting the Jews with all men, but rather is saying that the Sabbath was instituted to benefit humanity, not humanity created to be slaves to the Sabbath day.

Not only did Paul regularly worship in the synagogues, he took his converts there.
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures (Acts 17:2).

And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks (Acts 18:4).
If excels at any one thing, it's pulling verses out of context. Paul's custom to visit the Synagogue on the Sabbath was not simply to worship, but primarily to preach the Gospel of Christ to the Jews there. So why did he always go on the Sabbath? That should be evident--because the Jews would be there! Paul always went to the Jews first, and when they rejected the Gospel, then he would turn to the Gentiles.

If these verses prove the necessity of worshipping on Saturday, then they also demonstrate the necessity of Synagogue worship with the Jews. I wonder if that's's practice?

The Sabbath commandment also identified the Sabbath as the Lord's day.
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God . . . (Exodus 20:10).
There is no scriptural validation for the claim that the Lord's day is the first day of the week, for neither Christ nor His disciples declared that a change of the day had occurred.

Yes, in the Old Covenant, the Sabbath was indeed the Lord's Day. However, the Psalmist said, "This is the day which Yahweh has made, a day for us to rejoice and be glad" (Psalm 118:24). He does not specify what day that was. However, in the two verses preceeding v. 24, he utters a prophecy of the Messiah often quoted in the New Testament:
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
This is Yahweh's doing,
and we marvel at it.
This is the day which Yahweh has made,
a day for us to rejoice and be glad.
Thus, the "day" is the day when God made the stone rejected by the builders into the Chief Cornerstone. On what day was this? The Cornerstone was rejected on Good Friday, in the Crucifixion. But God raised Him up on Easter Sunday. This is the day which the Lord has made, a day for us to rejoice and be glad!

Further, in Romans 14, St. Paul directly addresses the issue of special days of religious observance:
Give a welcome to anyone whose faith is not strong, but do not get into arguments about doubtful points...And who are you, to sit in judgement over somebody else's servant? Whether he deserves to be upheld or to fall is for his own master to decide; and he shall be upheld, for the Lord has power to uphold him. One person thinks that some days are holier than others, and another thinks them all equal. Let each of them be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who makes special observance on a particular day observes it in honour of the Lord (Romans 1, 4-6a, emphasis mine).
It is evident from Paul's thought here that a) we shouldn't even be debating this point (!), and b) that he seems to think that the "weaker believer" is the one reserving a particular day as holy, whereas strong believers (of whom we assume Paul counts himself) holds days all equal in Christian liberty!

Hence, whether we worship on Saturday, Sunday, or every day is not as important as the fact that we worship!

Jesus was a faithful and regular Sabbath keeper.
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read (Luke 4:16).
Jesus was also a faithful Jew, who fulfilled Jewish laws and practices. Ironically, though, Jesus' "sabbath-keeping" was one of the most frequently attacked practices of His--in that nobody seemed to think that He did keep the Sabbath!

We also know that the seventh-day Sabbath will be kept by the redeemed saints.
And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord (Isaiah 66:23).
Actually, this verse causes one to wonder about the literacy level of The fact is, this verse says not that in the Messianic age, Christians will keep the Sabbath, but rather, that in the Messianic Age, Christians will worship constantly, from one new moon to the next, and from one sabbath to the next! The fact is, it is the Catholic Church that fulfills this prophecy--we hold mass every day, and it's been said that there is never a moment throughout the world when Mass is not being celebrated!

We can be sure that the Sabbath day was not changed from the seventh day of the week to the first day of the week (from Saturday to Sunday) because, for many centuries after the resurrection of Jesus, the seventh-day Sabbath was faithfully kept by Christians.

I'd like to know what it is that bases this statement on! The fact is that right away Christians began to worship on Sunday, as we'll see in greater detail below. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia's article, Sunday worship became the norm in Apostolic times. Further, the Didache mentions celebrating mass on "The Lord's Day." St. Ignatius in Epistle ad Magnes distinguishes between the Lord's Day and the Sabbath: "no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord's Day, on which also Our Life rose again." The epistle of Barnabas also says, "Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day [i.e. the first of the week] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead." As such, we plainly see that right from the start, Sunday worship was the norm.

It is a shock to some Protestants to realize that Sunday was the counterfeit worship day of paganism, which acknowledged the deity of the sun. The counterfeit day of worship originated in Babylon, and through Babylon it came into Roman paganism, and eventually found its way into Christianity.

Just as in the last chapter, here is engaging in Genetic Fallacy. Moreover, their alleged history is wrong, as well, as naming the first day of the week for the Sun comes to us from ancient Egypt, not Babylon! However, what a particular group did on a particular day of the week has no bearing to Christian worship. We do not, after all, worship on Sunday because we're mimicking the pagans' sun worship, but because Jesus, the "sun of justice" (Malachi 3:20), rose again, "with healing in His rays."

The Christians in the nations of Eastern Asia did not accept Sunday sacredness, for they were protected from Western Christian influence by the Muslim power in the Middle East.

Protected by Muslim power?! Try "persecuted" by Muslim power! Even so, from the above quotes, we know that this simply is not the case, and I really have to wonder where CQ gets its "Facts."

Neither did the Ethiopian Christians keep Sunday, because they also were protected from the Western Christianity by the Muslim control of North Africa. It took many centuries before Christendom, even in Europe, accepted Sunday sacredness. In Spain and England Sunday sacredness was not accepted until the seventh century, and in Wales and Scotland, in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Protestants who proclaim their acknowledgment of the lordship and sovereignty of Christ have failed to realize that the keeping of the Sabbath is the greatest acknowledgment of this lordship and sovereignty, for He is Lord of the Sabbath.

This is flat out wrong. Historical texts demonstrate that within the first three centuries, Christians uniformly worshipped on Sunday. The only argument was over just how rigorous would the following of Sabbath laws be for Christians--which was also decided much earlier than would indicate! Again, I refer you to the Catholic Encyclopedia's article on Sunday.

Many Protestant leaders have acknowledged the truth of the Roman Catholic claims.

Catholic claims?! This group is claiming to be Catholic here, and making claims that are contrary to that of Catholic history! No Catholic teaches that we must observe a Saturday Sabbath!
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.... Where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament--absolutely not (Edward T. Hiscox, Source Book, pp. 513-514). [Baptist]
I have demonstrated where from the New Testament we justify our Sunday worship. And further, the Tradition of the Church has been unanimous on this issue.
Centuries of the Christian Era passed away before Sunday was observed by the Christian church as the Sabbath. History does not furnish us with a single proof or indication that it was at any time so observed previous to the Sabbatical edict of Constantine in A.D. 321 (Sir William Domville, The Sabbath Or an Examination of the Six Texts, p. 291). [Church of England]
This is utterly foolish, and incredibly easy to refute. Not only did all the texts mentioned above (Didache, St. Ignatius' Ep. ad Magnes, and the Epistle of Barnabas) all teach Sunday Worship, and were all written before Constantine's edict, here, in no uncertain terms, are the words of St. Justin Martyr, from his "Apology", written between AD 153-155:
On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or the country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits. When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonished and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers for ourselves...and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation. When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and for a considerable time he gives thanks that we have been judged worthy of these gifts. When he has conducted the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: "Amen." When he who presides has given thanks and all the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the "eucharisted" bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent (Apology, 1:65-67).
Here then is proof incontrovertable that Mass was primarily celebrated on Sunday, from a text 170 years before Constantine's Sabbatical Edict.

Now it is strange that most Protestants continue to keep the first day of the week and they claim sola scriptura--that is they are following the Bible alone.

There is, as shown, biblical warrant for Sunday worship. But then, as Catholics, that doesn't matter, since we don't subscribe to sola scriptura anyway.

Before the return of Jesus, all faithful Christians will return to Sabbath keeping. The Sabbath commandment alone begins with the word "Remember" because God knew that to a large extent the true Sabbath would be forgotten. From where did Sunday keeping come? History is very plain. The Babylonian pagans kept Sunday as their holy day as did the Roman pagans. As paganism began to embrace the Christian church, the Sabbath was replaced by the pagan counterfeit sabbath--Sunday.

Again, this genetic fallacy is irrelevant to Christianity's Sunday Worship, since our worship is in honour of Christ's Resurrection (which was on a Sunday), and not some pagan holy day.

There are those who argue that the day of worship does not really matter so long as one day in seven is observed.

St. Paul seemed to think so (Romans 14 again).

But when one acknowledges that Satan has a counterfeit for every truth of God, and that the pagan day of worship is Sunday, then no such simplistic answer can be entertained.

This is again absurd. If Jesus had not risen on a Sunday, then maybe there might be something to this! However, because of Jesus' resurrection, there can be no question of ulterior motive in worshipping on Sunday! If anything, Jesus' resurrection once and for all destroys the pagan gods worshipped on that day, and we have the added celebration of that fact to keep in mind in our worship of Him!

As we come to the close of this earth's history, God provides a clarion call for all of His faithful people to acknowledge His creatorship, lordship, sanctification and sovereignty by keeping holy the seventh day of the week. According to biblical principles, that Sabbath is kept from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.
It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath (Leviticus 23:32).
On the ninth day? Wait a minute! I thought the Sabbath was the seventh day! Oh! I see! Leviticus 23:32 isn't talking about the Sabbath at all, but the day of expiation! It's good that CQ can actually quote scriptures that have anything at all to do with what they're saying!

In one of the last messages that will be given to the world there is a call to come back to the worship of the Creator. This is the call that God is making to all earnest Christians today.
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters (Revelation 14:7).
The Sabbath memorializes creation. Sunday is the pagan counterfeit. Let us all join together in acknowledging the One who created and redeemed us and will take all the faithful to live with Him for eternity.

This passage from Revelation again has nothing to do with Saturday or Sunday worship! Sunday is not a pagan counterfeit--it is the Day of our Lord's Resurrection! This whole chapter of's study of 'Protestant' teachings is woefully inaccurate and unnecessary!

Let us worship God together with His Whole Church throughout the world, always! Particularly, on Sunday.

God bless.

(Category: The Church: Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus--The Church and other Christian denominations)

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