From Sabbath to Sunday—How the Early Church Forsook the Sabbath for Sunday Worship

Purpose of This Study

The study of how the early (post-apostolic) church turned away from a Torah-centric orientation and embraced the theology that is now the skeletal framework of modern mainstream Christianity is a complex and difficult one, since we have to look back 2000 years to review scanty historical data. Different researchers will view the same tiny amount of documentation that remains from that era and arrive at different conclusions. The final analysis is often determined by the theological glasses the scholar is wearing and thus viewing the data from. Those who start with a pro-Torah penchant or even bias versus an anti-Torah bias will likely come to different conclusions.

Suffice it to say, the brief study that follows will in no way do justice to the subject of how the early church turned Sabbath to Sunday. Our goal is merely to introduce the reader to a different point of view than they have commonly heard in the mainstream church. In this study, we will have achieved our goal if we can gently persuade the reader at least to have an open mind, and to prove all things to see if they are true, and, perhaps, they will, at least, consider the idea that some long-held and institutionalized mainstream Christian beliefs may be more fiction than fact.

Christian Tradition With Regard to Sunday

Why the mainstream church embraces Sunday over Sabbath observance can be summarized succinctly as follows:

The celebration of the Lord’s Day [Sunday] in memory of the resurrection of Christ dates undoubtedly from the apostolic age. Nothing short of apostolic precedent can account for [its] universal religious observance in the churches of the second century. There is no dissenting voice. This custom is confirmed by testimonies of the earliest post-apostolic writers, as Barnabas, Ingnatius and Justin Martyr… (History of the Christian Church, vol 2, pp. 201–202, by Philip Schaff).

In his book, Our Father Abraham, Christian scholar Marvin Wilson takes a more moderated approach when discussing the issue of the early church’s switch from Sabbath to Sunday. He admits the existence of tension between the Jews and Gentile believers over adherence to the Torah making a move from Sabbath to Sunday “exceedingly difficult, if not virtually impossible.” Potential Jewish converts to Christianity, he notes, would have been suspect of any faith that would abandon the Torah (law of Moses) or the Jewishness of one’s past (Ibid., pp. 79–80). Unlike some of his more dogmatic scholarly colleagues, Wilson admits that it is not known when the early church began Sunday worship. He seems to concede to some possible allusions to Sunday worship in the New Testament (NT) by citing several of the scriptures that Christians perennially use to “prove” Sunday observance in the primitive (apostolic) church (e.g., Acts 20:71 Cor 16:2), but he’s reluctant to see these as a clear apostolic mandate for a switch from Sabbath to Sunday. He admits that the Acts 20 passage may be a reference to the Saturday evening (Heb. havdallah or Motza’ei-Shabbat) service, which was, in reality, simply an extension of the regular daily Sabbath service into the evening (Ibid., p. 80).

Our approach to analyzing the subject of when Sunday worship began in the Christian church will be somewhat different than the conventional method of sabbatarians to simply refute the arguments Sunday-keepers make in favor of Sunday worship by quoting NT verses that may suggest a Sunday replacement of the Sabbath. This approach, though seemingly a valid one, ignores the proverbial elephant in the room. That “elephant” is the undeniable pro-Torah views and practices of Yeshua and his apostles, which, when considered, makes their changing Sabbath to Sunday observance a highly incongruent if not an impossible proposition without making the Word of Elohim to lie and the apostles to be lying hypocrites.

To continue reading go here: https://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2015/02/01/from-sabbath-to-sunday/

 

2 thoughts on “From Sabbath to Sunday—How the Early Church Forsook the Sabbath for Sunday Worship

  1. So on May 14, 2020(no coincidence that’s the anniversary of the birth of the nation of Israel) the pope will convene with whichever world leaders agree to attend his “meeting” in an effort to curb global warming while promoting the “global village” idea to educate our children and to rest on sunday-here we go folks, the NWO is fast appearing.

    • Don’t the Moslems rest on Friday? Wonder how he’s going to convince the world’s more than one billion Islamists to do this? Moreover, how many Roman Catholics actually rest on Sunday? I’ve never met any. Sounds like a tall order on the pope’s part.

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