Protestant Confessions About the Sabbath (Part 1 of 2)
Protestant theologians and preachers from a wide spectrum of denominations have been quite candid in admitting that there is no Biblical authority for observing Sunday as a sabbath.
Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism , vol. 1, pp.334, 336.
“And where are we told in the Scriptures 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.”
Canon Eyton, The Ten Commandments , pp. 52, 63, 65.
“There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday …. into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters…. The observance of Ash Wednesday or Lent stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday.”
Bishop Seymour, Why We Keep Sunday .
“We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy Catholic Church.”
Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, a paper read before a New York ministers’ conference, Nov. 13, 1893, reported in New York Examiner , Nov.16, 1893.
“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.
“To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years’ intercourse with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question . . . never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated.
“Of course, I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history . . . . But what a pity it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!”
William Owen Carver, The Lord’s Day in Our Day , p. 49.
“There was never any formal or authoritative change from the Jewish seventh-day Sabbath to the Christian first-day observance.”
Dr. R. W. Dale, The Ten Commandments (New York: Eaton &Mains), p. 127-129.
“ . . . it is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath – . . ‘Me Sabbath was founded on a specific Divine command. We can plead no such command for the obligation to observe Sunday …. There is not a single sentence in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday.”
Timothy Dwight, Theology: Explained and Defended (1823), Ser. 107, vol. 3, p. 258.
“ . . . the Christian Sabbath [Sunday] is not in the Scriptures, and was not by the primitive Church called the Sabbath.”
Disciples of Christ
Alexander Campbell, The Christian Baptist, Feb. 2, 1824,vol. 1. no. 7, p. 164.
“‘But,’ say some, ‘it was changed from the seventh to the first day.’ Where? when? and by whom? No man can tell. No; it never was changed, nor could it be, unless creation was to be gone through again: for the reason assigned must be changed before the observance, or respect to the reason, can be changed! It is all old wives’ fables to talk of the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day. If it be changed, it was that august personage changed it who changes times and laws ex officio – I think his name is Doctor Antichrist.’
First Day Observance , pp. 17, 19.
“The first day of the week is commonly called the Sabbath. This is a mistake. The Sabbath of the Bible was the day just preceding the first day of the week. The first day of the week is never called the Sabbath anywhere in the entire Scriptures. It is also an error to talk about the change of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. There is not in any place in the Bible any intimation of such a change.”