Catholic and Protestant Confessions About Sunday
vast majority of Christian churches today teach the observance of
Sunday, the first day of the week, as a time for rest and worship.
Yet it is generally known and freely admitted that the early Christians
observed the seventh day as the Sabbath. How did this change come
reveals that it was decades after the death of the apostles that a
politico-religious system repudiated the Sabbath of Scripture and
substituted the observance of the first day of the week. The following
quotations, all from Roman Catholic sources, freely acknowledge that
there is no Biblical authority for the observance of Sunday, that
it was the Roman Church that changed the Sabbath to the first day
of the week.
In the second portion of this booklet are quotations from Protestants.
Undoubtedly all of these noted clergymen, scholars, and writers kept
Sunday, but they all frankly admit that there is no Biblical authority
for a first-day sabbath.
ROMAN CATHOLIC CONFESSIONS
1- James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of our Fathers,
88th ed., pp. 89.
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
2- Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism 3rd
ed., p. 174.
"Question: Have you any other way of proving that the Church
has power to institute festivals of precept?
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
3- John Laux, A Course in Religion for Catholic High Schools
and Academies (1 936), vol. 1, P. 51.
"Some theologians have held that God likewise directly determined
the Sunday as the day of worship in the New Law, that He Himself has
explicitly substituted the Sunday for the Sabbath. But this theory
is now entirely abandoned. It is now commonly held that God simply
gave His Church the power to set aside whatever day or days she would
deem suitable as Holy Days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day
of the week, and in the course of time added other days as holy days."
4- Daniel Ferres, ed., Manual of Christian Doctrine
(1916), p. 67.
"Question: How prove you that the Church
hath power to command feasts and holy days?
By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants
allow of, and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping
Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same
5- James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore (1877-1921), in
a signed letter.
"Is Saturday the seventh day according to the Bible and the Ten
Commandments? I answer yes. Is Sunday the first day of the week and
did the Church change the seventh day - Saturday- for Sunday, the
first day? I answer yes. Did Christ change the day'? I answer no!
"Faithfully yours, J. Card. Gibbons"
6- The Catholic Mirror, official publication
of James Cardinal Gibbons, Sept. 23, 1893.
"The Catholic Church, . . . by virtue of her divine mission,
changed the day from Saturday to Sunday."
7- Catholic Virginian Oct. 3, 1947, p. 9,
art. "To Tell You the Truth."
"For example, nowhere in the Bible do we find that Christ or
the Apostles ordered that the Sabbath be changed from Saturday to
Sunday. We have the commandment of God given to Moses to keep holy
the Sabbath day, that is the 7th day of the week, Saturday. Today
most Christians keep Sunday because it has been revealed to us by
the [Roman Catholic] church outside the Bible."
8-Peter Geiermann, C.S.S.R., The Converts Catechism of
Catholic Doctrine (1957), p. 50.
"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 transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."
9- Martin J. Scott, Things Catholics Are Asked About
(1927), p. 136.
"Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that worship should be changed
from Saturday to Sunday .... Now the Church ... instituted, by God's
authority, Sunday as the day of worship. This same Church, by the
same divine authority, taught the doctrine of Purgatory long before
the Bible was made. We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory
as we have for Sunday."
10- Peter R. Kraemer, Catholic Church Extension Society
(1975), Chicago, Illinois.
"Regarding the change from the observance of the Jewish Sabbath
to the Christian Sunday, I wish to draw your attention to the facts:
"It is always somewhat laughable, to see the Protestant churches,
in pulpit and legislation, demand the observance of Sunday, of which
there is nothing in their Bible."
11-T. Enright, C.S.S.R., in a lecture at Hartford, Kansas, Feb. 18,
"I have repeatedly offered $1,000 to anyone who can prove to
me from the Bible alone that I am bound to keep Sunday holy. There
is no such law in the Bible. It is a law of the holy Catholic Church
alone. The Bible says, 'Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.'
The Catholic Church says: 'No. By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath
day and command you to keep holy the first day of the week.' And lo!
The entire civilized world bows down in a reverent obedience to the
command of the holy Catholic Church."
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.
1- 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."
2- 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."
3- 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."
4- Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, a paper read before a New York ministers'
conference, Nov. 13, 1893, reported in New York Examiner, Nov. 16,
"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
"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!"
5- William Owen Carver, The Lord's Day in Our Day,
"There was never any formal or authoritative change from the
Jewish seventh-daySabbath to the Christian first-day observance."
6- 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."
7- 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
8- 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.'
9- 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."
10- The Sunday Problem, a study book of
the United Lutheran Church (1923), p. 36.
"We have seen how gradually the impression of the Jewish sabbath
faded from the mind of the Christian Church, and how completely the
newer thought underlying the observance of the first day took possession
of the church. We have seen that the Christians of the first three
centuries never confused one with the other, but for a time celebrated
11- Augsburg Confession of Faith art. 28;
written by Melanchthon, approved by Martin Luther, 1530; as published
in The Book of Concord of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
Henry Jacobs, ed. (1 91 1), p. 63.
"They [Roman Catholics] refer to the Sabbath Day, as having been
changed into the Lord's Day, contrary to the Decalogue, as it seems.
Neither is there any example whereof they make more than concerning
the changing of the Sabbath Day. Great, say they, is the power of
the Church, since it has dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments!"
12- Dr. Augustus Neander, The History of the Christian
Religion and Church Henry John Rose, tr. (1843), p.
"The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always
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
13- John Theodore Mueller, Sabbath or Sunday,
pp. 15, 16.
"But they err in teaching that Sunday has taken the place of
the Old Testament Sabbath and therefore must be kept as the seventh
day had to be kept by the children of Israel .... These churches err
in their teaching, for Scripture has in no way ordained the first
day of the week in place of the Sabbath. There is simply no law in
the New Testament to that effect."
14- Harris Franklin Rall, Christian Advocate,
July 2, 1942, p. 26.
the matter of Sunday. There are indications in the New Testament as
to how the church came to keep the first day of the week as its day
of worship, but there is no passage telling Christians to keep that
day, or to transfer the Jewish Sabbath to that day."
Wesley, The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, A.M.,
John Emory, ed. (New York: Eaton & Mains), Sermon 25, vol. 1,
"But, the moral law contained in the ten commandments, and enforced
by the prophets, he [Christ] did not take away. It was not the design
of his coming to revoke any part of this. This is a law which never
can be broken .... Every part of this law must remain in force upon
all mankind, and in all ages; as not depending either on time or place,
or any other circumstances liable to change, but on the nature of
God and the nature of man, and their unchangeable relation to each
Dwight L. Moody
16- D. L. Moody, Weighed and Wanting (Fleming
H. Revell Co.: New York), pp. 47, 48.
The Sabbath was binding in Eden, and it has been in force ever since.
This fourth commandment begins with the word 'remember,' showing that
the Sabbath already existed when God Wrote the law on the tables of
stone at Sinai. How can men claim that this one commandment has been
done away with when they will admit that the other nine are still
17- T. C. Blake, D.D., Theology Condensed,
is a part of the decalogue - the Ten Commandments. This
alone forever settles the question as to the perpetuity of the institution
. . . . Until, therefore, it can be shown that the whole moral law
has been repealed, the Sabbath will stand . . . . The teaching of
Christ confirms the perpetuity of the Sabbath."
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