Archive for the 'Sunday worship' Category

Sunday or Saturday worship for Christians?

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

(courtesy Google public domain)

By Spencer D Gear

I asked a Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) on a Christian Forum: ‘According to SDA doctrine, will I, a person who worships on the first day of the week, be annihilated in the lake of fire?[1]

Why would I ask this? I had a very good reason. It was because of this SDA teaching:

The beast described in Revelation 13:1-10 is the church-state union that dominated the Christian world for many centuries and was described by Paul as the “man of sin” (2 Thess. 2:2-4) and by Daniel as the “little horn” (Dan. 7:8, 20-25; 8:9-12, KJV). The image of the beast represents that form of apostate religion that will be developed when churches, having lost the true spirit of the Reformation, shall unite with the state to enforce their teachings on others. In uniting church and state they will have become a perfect image to the beast—the apostate church that persecuted for 1260 years. Hence the name image of the beast.

The third angel’s message proclaims the most solemn and fearful warning in the Bible. It reveals that those who submit to human authority in earth’s final crisis will worship the beast and his image rather than God. During this final conflict two distinct classes will develop. One class will advocate a gospel of human devisings and will worship the beast and his image, bringing upon themselves the most grievous judgments. The other class, in marked contrast, will live by the true gospel and “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:9, 12). The final issue involves true and false worship, the true and the false gospel. When this issue is clearly brought before the world, those who reject God’s memorial of creatorship—the Bible Sabbath—choosing to worship and honor Sunday in the full knowledge that it is not God’s appointed day of worship, will receive the “mark of the beast.” This mark is a mark of rebellion; the beast claims its change of the day of worship shows its authority even over God’s law (Ministerial Association General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 1988:167).

His response was consistent with this teaching on ‘The remnant and its mission’:

NO. No one has the ‘mark of the beast’ yet.  When the time comes for it to become law, then the mark will be seen. and then, yes, Heb. 6;23 comes into effect.  When people are given a choice between wordhipping (sic) God on His Holy sabbath day and the ‘venerable day of the sun’, God then can see who is on His side and who is not. Read your Bible. How many days did God set aside for Holy Purposes?  One.  Just who said that people should only worship on sun day?  As Peter said, “it is better to worship God than man.”

Acts 5:29.  For more thought, just what day did Jesus worship God on? On what day did HE go to church?[2]

My response was:[3]

This is another example of how the SDAs invent theology. This is what is wrong about your theology of the Sabbath:

1. Lord’s Day Sunday and not Sabbath

Christian historian, the late Martin Hengel, wrote of “the transfer of the celebration of divine worship from the sabbath to the Lord’s day, which is already demonstrable in Paul, is a partial analogy” (2000:119). Hengel particularly referred to 1 Cor. 16:2; Acts 20:7ff; Rev. 1:10 to support this claim (Hengel 2000:281, n. 481).

These verses do not state in any way that indicate that these early Christians were meeting and worshipping on the wrong day of the week. Not a word of your SDA theology is mentioned:

1 Cor. 16:2: ‘On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come’ (ESV).

Acts 20:7: ‘On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight’ (ESV).

Rev. 1:10: ‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet’ (ESV).

Christians are not to observe days and even sabbath days according to the following Scriptures: Romans 14:5ff, Galatians 4:9-11; 5:1-15 and Col. 2:16-17. These Scriptures indicate that your song and dance about Sabbath-keeping is contrary to these biblical injunctions.

Therefore, the SDA church is promoting error in its exaltation of Saturday Sabbath worship.

Here is some historical information about Lord’s Day, Sunday, worship:

In the early second century vague references to observing the “Lord’s Day”–Sunday–began to appear. Then the voices for Sunday worship grew more strident. Ignatius of Asia Minor and Barnabas of Alexandria both condemned Sabbath-keeping. Although considered Gnostic heresy, Marcion’s anti-Sabbath views were widely promulgated throughout the churches. By 150, Justin Martyr clearly indicated that the day of the sun was the day of rest for Christians. Sunday worship had become a widely accepted practice among these people who professed to follow Christ (“What did the early church Believe and Preach after Jesus’ death?” Available from: http://www.biblestudy.org/basicart/early-christianity1.html).

See the article,Is the Sabbath required for Christians?

‘There is a series of articles on the www by Bob Deffinbaugh that refutes the promotion of the Sabbath for Christians and supports the view that New Covenant believers meet for worship on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day. See:

  1. The Great Sabbath Controversy“;
  2. The Lord of the Sabbath“;
  3. The Meaning of the Sabbath“;
  4. The Sabbath Controversy in the Gospels“;
  5. Super-Sabbath: Israel’s Land and its Lord“;
  6. The Sabbath in Apostolic Preaching and Practice.

2. Predictable response

The SDA Harold’s reply was unsurprising:

>>1 Cor. 16:2: “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.”>>

What day of the work week do you have the most money to spare? Mine is usually the first day. That is what Paul is telling them. Notice that there is no mention of worship, church, God or anything else religious.

>>Acts 20:7: “On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.”>>

Put that in context and what you have is a going away party for Paul. Again, no mention of worship,, church, God or anything else religious. Back in Acts two, the Apostles were mentioned as breaking bread DAILY.  We do, too. We usually eat two meals a day in our house.  That is what ‘breaking bread’ means. To eat.

>>Rev. 1:10: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet”>>

What day was that?  Let’s look at who wrote it.  John was Jesus ‘beloved’ apostle. So, what day would that apostle be in the Spirit?  What does the Bible call the ‘Lord’s day’? In mine, it is ALWAYS the Sabbath of the forth commandment.  Who is “Lord of the Sabbath”?  Jesus Christ. What was the Sabbath made for?  Man.  Who has the authority to change ANY of God’s holy ten commandments?

When you can honestly read and answer those points, you will probably have to agree that the Seventh Day Sabbath is STILL the seventh day Sabbath of the forth commandment.  No where in my Bible is there any mention of change to another day. Up until the third century AD, most Christians were still keeping The Lord’s’ day, the Sabbath. It wasn’t until Rome took control of all chuches (sic) that the change began.  Do a little history of the church and see for yourself.[4]

3. Refutation of substance

That is the kind of denial that Harold, the adamant, unchangeable, SDA gets into: ‘No where in my Bible is there any mention of change to another day’. My response was pointed: This is a lie. I provided him with 3 Scriptures (see above and below) that demonstrate that the first century church met, not on the Saturday Sabbath, but on the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, Sunday. Why? That was the day of the Lord’s resurrection and the apostles taught and affirmed that the Christian church would celebrate this by meeting for worship, Lord’s supper, and teaching on the first day of the week.

This was my comeback:[5]

Your attempts to rationalise against 1 Cor 16:2; Acts 20:7 and Rev 1:10 do not work.

Your points against Sunday (first day of the week; Lord’s Day) worship by the church of the first and continuing centuries have been refuted over and over.

D M Canright (1840-1919;courtesy Ellen White Exposed) See also D M Canright (Wikipedia)

One to the best refutations of your SDA anti-Sunday worship view is by a Christian minister who was associated with the SDAs for a number of year. I’m writing of Rev D M Canright (1916), The complete testimony of the early fathers: Proving the universal observance of Sunday in the first centuries (online).

Rev Canright begins on p. 5 with ’80 facts about Sunday keeping’. They annihilate Harold’s SDA views with biblical exegesis and historical evidence from the early church.

No matter how the SDA tried to defend his position, Canright’s facts refuted his view. And what is the basis for his refutation of the SDA views? The Scriptures! These 64 pages by Canright (1916) send the SDA Sabbatarian theology packing – on the authority of Scripture as practised by the first century church and the early church fathers.

Canright was an SDA for many years and he demonstrated that Lord’s Day, first day of the week, worship by the church did not begin with the pagans or the Roman Catholic Church, but with the apostles. See also his book, D M Canright (1915), The Lord’s Day from neither Catholics nor pagans.

The origin of worship on the Lord’s Day, first day of the week, Sunday, can be accounted for on one ground and one ground alone – the apostles made the change to honour Christ’s physical, miraculous resurrection from the dead. We are no longer under the Old Covenant and its sabbatical teaching about worship. We are under the New Covenant, thanks to Christ’s passion-resurrection.

For Harold the SDA and the SDA denomination to want to remain under the Old Covenant’s form of Sabbatarian worship is to fly in the face of the New Testament evidence. The demonstration is that the church of the first century, thanks to the teaching of the NT by the apostles, met on the first day of the week to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

4. An SDA retort to an evangelical Protestant

How do you think Harold, the SDA promoter would respond to the above information? Here it is, word-for-word:

>>Your points against Sunday (first day of the week; Lord’s Day) worship by the church of the first and continuing centuries have been refuted over and over. >>[6]

In what Bible?  Your futile attempts to show that anyone worshipped on sun day in the Bible falls far short of convincing anyone.  You have three examples of somone (sic) meeting on the sun day. You try to twist them into days of worship. It just ins’t (sic) there.  You are attempting to cover up for the RCC who claims, loudly, that THEY changed the day from the 7th to the 1st. So, who are you going to obey?

I don’t know who pointed you to Canright, but he was ejected from the church shortly after he started his tirade.  No one in our church calls himself ‘reverand’ (sic).  No one.  The only articles in the Bible having anything to do with what day of the week we keep as Sabbath are the only ones we use.  Anyone can go outside that Bible and find all sorts of excuses to keep from obeying God. Lets start at the beginning:

Genesis 2:2,3  “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3  And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

Go through the rest of the Bible and find me one other day that God has blessed and set aside for Holy Purposes. Remember, stick to the Bible.
Next:

Exodus 20:8, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

Ever wonder why that is the only commandment that begins with the word, “REMEMBER”?  Could it be that God knew that most of the ‘so called’ Christian world would forget it? Or at least try to forget?
Next:

Ezekiel 20:12, “Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them.”
I put that one in there just to show you WHOSE Sabbath we are talking about.  Do you KNOW who sanctifies YOU?

Finally:
Mark 7:27, “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28  Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”

So, do you still insist that sun day is the Lord’s day?  Where is your Biblical proof???

There are hundreds more texts that show what day God has given us for His Sabbath.  These were enough to convince me.[7]

5. An evangelical Protestant rejects SDA false  doctrine

Here is my reply as a Protestant evangelical who upholds the authority of Scripture:[8]

<<In what Bible?  Your futile attempts to show that anyone worshipped on sun day in the Bible falls far short of convincing anyone.>>[9]

Not in the SDA eisegesis Bible! I read it in the real Bible, whether it be KJV, ESV or NIV. Sunday, first day of the week, Lord’s Day worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2; Rev 1:10) is a direct result of the teaching of the apostles in the NT and it is based on the fact that Jesus’ resurrection was on the first day of the week and NOT the last day of the week.

What is eisegesis? It’s a technical word from the theological discipline of hermeneutics (biblical interpretation). ‘Eisegesis is the substitution of the authority of the interpreter for the authority of the original writer’ (Mickelsen 1963:158). Simply put: Eisegesis is reading one’s own meaning into a text. So in the case of the SDAs and Harold they have read their own meaning into Revelation 13:1-10 when it is not there. See the article, ‘Exegesis or Eisegesis’. ‘Ex’ is from the Greek preposition, ‘ek’, which means ‘out of’ and ‘eis’ is the Greek preposition, ‘eis’, which means ‘into’. So exegesis is obtaining the meaning out of the text, based on the intent of the original author. To the contrary, eisegesis is the interpreter reading his/her own meaning into the text. Michael Houdmann provides this definition that eisegesis ‘is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants’ (Houdmann 2013).

This is what happens when the SDA church (with Harold, the SDA’s support) invents meaning in Scripture. Let’s take a read of SDA official doctrine in their official teaching (Chapter 12: The Remnant and its Mission):

The beast described in Revelation 13:1-10 is the church-state union that dominated the Christian world for many centuries and was described by Paul as the “man of sin” (2 Thess. 2:2-4) and by Daniel as the “little horn” (Dan. 7:8, 20-25; 8:9-12, KJV). The image of the beast represents that form of apostate religion that will be developed when churches, having lost the true spirit of the Reformation, shall unite with the state to enforce their teachings on others. In uniting church and state they will have become a perfect image to the beast—the apostate church that persecuted for 1260 years. Hence the name image of the beast.

The third angel’s message proclaims the most solemn and fearful warning in the Bible. It reveals that those who submit to human authority in earth’s final crisis will worship the beast and his image rather than God. During this final conflict two distinct classes will develop. One class will advocate a gospel of human devisings and will worship the beast and his image, bringing upon themselves the most grievous judgments. The other class, in marked contrast, will live by the true gospel and “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:9, 12). The final issue involves true and false worship, the true and the false gospel. When this issue is clearly brought before the world, those who reject God’s memorial of creatorship—the Bible Sabbath—choosing to worship and honor Sunday in the full knowledge that it is not God’s appointed day of worship, will receive the “mark of the beast.” This mark is a mark of rebellion; the beast claims its change of the day of worship shows its authority even over God’s law (Ministerial Association General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 1988:167, emphasis added).

This is an invention by the SDAs, imposed on Revelation 13:1-10. There is NOT ONE SINGLE WORD in those 10 verses that mentions Sunday observers as false worshippers. This is an example of SDA eisegesis, which is an interpretation imposed on the text. It is an invention by the SDAs and Harold, the SDA, the audacity to ask me: ‘In what Bible?’ At least my Bible is the KJV, ESV, NIV or any other committee translation. It is not an SDA invented bible. Harold’s objection was: ‘I don’t know who pointed you to Canright, but he was ejected from the church shortly after he started his tirade.  No one in our church calls himself ‘reverand’ (sic).  No one’.

My response was that I am a researcher who is currently writing a PhD dissertation (dissertation-only in the British system), so I’m capable of discovering that Mr Canright was an SDA pastor and member for 28 years. He exposed the false teaching of the SDAs in regard to Sabbath worship and other SDA doctrines, by appealing to Scripture. I gave the SDA promoter links to his books where he gave the biblical evidence. Yes – BIBLICAL EVIDENCE. This evidence is from the Bible and not from SDA eisegesis.

And have a guess what? Canright became a Baptist pastor when he saw the false teaching of the SDAs and exposed them in his writings. D M Canright was an SDA pastor for 22 years before leaving the denomination. There are biographical details about him here: D M Canright.

How the SDA official doctrine imposes on the meaning of Revelation 13:1-10 to get the ‘mark of the beast’ for Sunday worshippers is an example of how the SDA denomination invents its own theology. In the teaching from official sources (see above), I have given an example of how it created doctrine outside of the Bible and then imposed it on Revelation 13:1-10.

Of course, Ellen White also invented a false view of the atonement with her ‘Investigative Judgement’ ideology, a view that is found nowhere in the Bible.[10]

But the SDA on a Christian Forum insists on living under the OT regime and without taking into account the passion-resurrection of Jesus. This is seen in his comments:

Mark 7:27  “And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28  Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”

So, do you still insist that sun day is the Lord’s day?  Where is your Biblical proof???
There are hundreds more texts that show what day God has given us for His Sabbath.  These were enough to convince me.

When will this SDA get it? Matthew 7:27-28 is PRE Jesus’ resurrection. It refers to the Old Covenant, which is where he wants to live as an SDA promoter. His denomination invents a meaning of Revelation 13:1-10 that is not in the text. He wants to live under the Old Covenant (Matt 7:27-28) when the passion-resurrection of Jesus created a New Covenant for NT believers.

Yet he has the audacity to ask me: ‘In what Bible?’

It is time that the SDA, Harold, got back to the Bible, instead of peddling his SDA eisegesis on a Christian Forum.

6. The SDA failure as Bible scholars

Seventh-Day Adventist Church logo.svg

(Image courtesy Wikipedia)

I do not find the SDAs to be good Bible scholars in certain areas where they have serious theological blind spots. These are some examples:

  1. Their promotion of the Sabbath. For a refutation, see,The Sabbath & Sunday‘;
  2. Their teaching on soul sleep. Here is my expose of their teaching: Soul Sleep: A Refutation;
  3. They also have other false teaching about what happens at death that I have addressed in my article: Refutation of Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine of what happens at death;
  4. Their view of the atonement is unorthodox in ‘The Investigative Judgment’. The atonement was incomplete at the cross. See, ‘Investigative judgment made simple‘, by Robert K Sanders. My response to this false doctrine is HERE; see alsoSeventh-day Adventism Teaches That Jesus’ Blood Defiles‘;
  5. Their error about the thief on the cross that I address in: Did the thief on the cross go to Paradise at death – with Jesus?
  6. Etc.

Works consulted

Canright, D M 1915. The Lord’s Day from neither Catholics nor pagans (online). New York: Fleming H Revell Company. Open Library, available at: https://openlibrary.org/books/OL22885651M/The_Lord%27s_day_from_neither_Catholics_nor_pagans (Accessed 15 December 2013).

Canright, D M 1916, The complete testimony of the early fathers: Proving the universal observance of Sunday in the first centuries (online). New York: Fleming H Revell Company. Available at: http://www.exadventist.com/Portals/0/Repository/Complete%20Testimony%20of%20the%20Early%20Fathers%20by%20DM%20Canright.pdf (Accessed 15 December 2013).

Hengel, M 2000. transl J Bowden. The four Gospels and the one Gospel of Jesus Christ: An investigation of the collection and origin of the canonical Gospels,. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International.

Houdmann, S M 2013. What is the difference between exegesis and eisegesis (online)? GotQuestions?org, available at: http://www.gotquestions.org/exegesis-eisegesis.html (Accessed 16 December 2013).

Mickelsen, A B 1963. Interpreting the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Ministerial Association General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 1988. Seventh-Day Adventists believe. At Issue (online). Hagerstown, Maryland :Review and Herald Publishing Association. Available at: http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/books/27/index.htm (Accessed 15 December 2013).

Notes:


[1] Christian Fellowship Forum, The Fellowship Hall, ‘Acknowledging of the truth!’, ozspen #141, 13 December 2013. Available at: http://community.compuserve.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?tsn=136&nav=messages&webtag=ws-fellowship&tid=122530 (Accessed 15 December 2013).

[2] Ibid., Harold #145.

[3] Ibid., ozspen #148.

[4] Ibid., Harold #156.

[5] Ibid., ozspen #162.

[6] This is a quote from my post at: ibid., ozspen #162.

[7] Ibid., Harold #170.

[8] Ibid., ozspen #172.

[9] I am citing Harold from ibid., Harold #170.

[10] See: ‘Seventh-day Adventism Teaches That Jesus’ Blood Defiles‘.

 

Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 14 April 2016..