His post got me thinking. One comment I hear occasionally is that the Church changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday. Typically the person saying this means the Roman Catholic or Constantinian church. Their intent is to criticize the church for departing from its Jewish roots in (supposed) Sabbath-keeping. I think Derek presents a solid case for Sunday worship being an early tradition among the Yeshua-followers.
However, I wonder about the accuracy of that statement I hear: "the Catholic Church changed the Sabbath" or "the Constantinian Church tried to change the Sabbath." I think these statements are inaccurate or misleading. I'd like to know whether I'm right!
Consider the following:
- As far as I know, "changing the date of the Sabbath" wasn't on the agenda at any of the historic church councils. "We worship on Sunday, not on Saturday" might have been, but not "We are changing the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday."
- While in English we call the seventh day "Saturday," in Spanish it is called "Sabado"--suggesting that perhaps in Spanish-speaking cultures, the Sabbath was always understood to be on Saturday or "Sabado," even if the the primary Christian worship service was on Sunday.
- I tried Googling for "When was Sunday first called the Sabbath?" The following quote seemed to pop up in several places across the 'net:
When was Sunday first called the "Sabbath"?
For many centuries, Christians were clear to distinguish between the Sabbath and Sunday (the Lord's Day), then ...Anyone have more facts? When did Christians begin referring to Sunday as "the Sabbath"?
[Heinrich] Bullinger had a high view of the law, and differed from Calvin regarding the Sabbath. For Bullinger, Sunday was to be observed the same way in principle that the Sabbath was, with Sunday actually becoming the Sabbath for the Christian. Calvin, on the other hand, held that Sunday is not the Sabbath. The Puritans would follow Bullinger on this point.
Leonard Pine www.wrs.edu/Materials for Web Site/Journals/3-2 20Aug-1996/Pine - Heinrich Bullinger.pdf (broken link!)
This seems to have happened about 1540 A.D., and was the start of the widespread naming of Sunday as the "Sabbath" in Christianity.