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Holiness is not about the day of worship

Published:Monday | December 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM


I have been observing the debate about Sabbath-keeping for more than a year and would like to share my views based on historical documents.

By the mid-2nd century, Christianity had shifted from Jewish to Gentile and the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. All of this took place long before Christianity became the official state religion of Rome in the 4th century. It means that most, if not all the early church fathers met and worshipped on the first day of the week. They celebrated the risen Christ, not the exodus from Egypt.

The Seventh-day Adventists' legalistic and Jewish forms of Christianity are no more righteous or holier than the Gentile approach.

The earliest evidence of Sunday worship comes from a letter from Pliny the Younger to Emperor Trajan. Pliny the Younger, nephew of Pliny the Elder, told Emperor Trajan that Christians were in the habit of meeting on a fixed day before sunrise. While he did not specifically say Sunday, we will assume that he must have known that Jews met on Saturday, so here he was making a distinction between Christian and Jewish days of worship.

In 115 CE (current era) Ignatius, one of the apostolic fathers and bishop of Antioch, who was a student of the apostle John and appointed by Saint Peter, instructed Christians to reject anyone who preached the laws of Moses.

He saw Sunday worship as a form of Judaising. He praised those who didn't keep the Sabbath.

Justin the martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian and Barnabas all rejected the Sabbath and worshipped on Sunday.

Christians don't observe the Hebrew exodus from Egypt; they observe Christ's victory over the grave. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow and that is why Christians have been meeting on Sunday and observing the risen Christ from as early as the first century, after Jewish Christians were chased from Rome into the Gentile world.