Lonely Port

Chapter 17

Others Agree

 Dr. E. R. Hiscox was a leading Baptist scholar and writer of three-quarters of a century ago. He wrote the well-known "Baptist Manual" which went through many printings. He was probably one of the best-known Baptist research and Biblical authorities of his time. On November 16, 1893, Dr. Hiscox presented the key-note address at a major church gathering, the Baptist Ministers' Convention, which met in New York City.

In his sermon, Dr. Hiscox said this to the assembled ministers of his church:

"There was and is a command to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will however be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject which I have studied for many years, I ask, where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament—absolutely not. There is no Scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week. .

"I wish to say that this Sabbath question, in this aspect of it, is the gravest and most perplexing question connected with Christian institutions which at present claims attention from Christian people," and the only reason that it is not a more disturbing element in Christian thought and in religious discussion is because the Christian world has settled down content on the conviction that somehow a transference has taken place at the beginning of Christian history.

"To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years' discussion with His disciples, often conversing with them upon the Sabbath question, discussing it in some of its various aspects, freeing it from its false [Jewish traditional] glosses, never alluded to any transference of the day; also, that during forty days of His resurrection life, no such thing was intimated. Nor, so far as we know, did the Spirit, which was given to bring to their remembrance all things whatsoever that He had said unto them, deal with this question. Nor yet did churches, counseling and instructing those founded, discuss or approach the subject.

"Of course I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of Paganism, and christened with the name of the sun-god, then adopted and sanctified by the Papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism." Dr. E. T. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual. From a photostatic copy of a notarized statement by Dr. Hiscox.

Leading pastors, writers and administrators of a wide range of the major Protestant denominations have recognized the truth that the Seventh-day Sabbath is the Bible Sabbath- and Sunday sacredness is not to be found anywhere in Scripture.

Here are a few of their statements. Many more could be given if we had the space:

British Congregationalists: "It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath ..The Sabbath was founded on a specific, divine command. We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday. .There is not a single line in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday." -Dr.R.W. Dale, The Ten Commandments, Hodderand Stoughton, page 106-107.

Protestant Episcopal: "Ques. —Is there any command in the New Testament to change the day of weekly rest from Saturday to Sunday?

"Ans. —None." Manual of Christian Doctrine, p. 127

Disciples of Christ: "Either the [Ten Commandment] Law remains in all its force, to the utmost extent of its literal requirements, or it is passed away with the Jewish ceremonies. If it yet exists, let us observe it according to law. And if it does not exist, let us abandon a mock observance of another day for it." Alexander Campbell, "Address to the Readers of the Christian Baptists, " part I, Feb. 2, 1824, pp. 44-45 [Campbell (1788-1866) was the founder of the Disciples of Christ Church].

American Congregationalists: "The current notion that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament." Dr. Lyman Abbott, in the Christian Union, June 26, 1890.

English Independent: "Sabbath in the Hebrew language signifies rest, and is the seventh day of the week, ..and it must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day." Charles Buck, A Theological Dictionary, art. "Sabbath," p. 403 [Buck (1771-1815) was a British Independent minister and author].

Methodist Episcopal: "The Sabbath instituted in the beginning, and confirmed again and again by Moses and the prophets, has never been abrogated. A part of the moral law, not a jot or tittle of its sanctity has been taken away." Bishop's Pastoral, 1874 edition.

Church of England: "The Lord's day did not succeed in the place of the [Bible] Sabbath, but the.. Lord's day was merely of ecclesiastical institution. It was not introduced by virtue of the fourth commandment, because they for almost three hundred years together kept that day which was in that commandment." Jeremy Taylor, The Rule of Conscience, 1851, pp. 456-548 [Dr. Taylor (1613-1667) was chaplain to the King of England, and later appointed a bishop and became president of a college in Wales].

Christian Church {Christian Connection}: "The Roman Church. .reversed the Fourth Commandment by doing away with the Sabbath of God's word, and instituting Sunday as a Holiday."-Nicholas Summerbell, History of the Christian Church, 3rd ed., 1873, p. 415 [Summerbell (1816-1889) was the president of Union Christian College in Indiana] .

Disciples of Christ: "There is no direct Scriptural authority for designating the first day 'the Lord's Day.' " Dr. D.H. Lucas, in the Christian Oracle, January 23,1890.

Protestant Episcopal: "The day is now changed from the seventh to the first day; ..but as we meet with no Scriptural direction for the change, we may conclude it was done by the authority of the church." The Protestant Episcopal Explanation of Catechism. "

Baptist: "The Scriptures nowhere call the first day of the week the Sabbath. .There is no Scriptural authority for so doing, nor of course any Scriptural obligation." The Watchman.

Episcopal: "The Sabbath was religiously observed in the Eastern church three hundred years and more after our Saviour's Passion [death].” Prof E. Brerewood of Gresham College, London, in a sermon.

Baptist: "There was and is a commandment to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath was not Sunday. It will, however, be readily said, 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." E. R, Hiscox, report of his sermon at the Baptist Ministers' Convention, in New York Examiner, November 16, 1893 [Dr. Hiscox was a well-known Baptist writer and author of their Baptist Manual] .

Presbyterian: "There is no word, no hint in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday. The observance of Ash Wednesday, or Lent, stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday. Into the rest of Sunday no Divine Law enters." Canon Eyton, in The Ten Commandments [Dr. Eyton was the Canon of Westminster in London].

Anglican: "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 we ob- serve many other things, not because the Bible, but because the church, has enjoined [commanded] it." Issac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism, Vol. 1, pp. 334, 336.

Methodist: "It is true that there is no positive command for infant baptism. Nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week. Many believe that Christ changed the Sabbath. But, from His own words, we see that He came for no such purpose. Those who believe that Jesus changed the Sabbath base it only on a supposition." Amos Binney, Theological Compendium, 1902 edition, pp. 180-181, 171 [Binney (1802-1878), Methodist minister and presiding elder, whose Compendium was published for forty years in many languages, also wrote a Methodist New Testament Commentary].

Southern Baptist: "There was never any formal or authoritative change from the Jewish Seventh Day Sabbath to the Christian First Day observance. .

"There are in the New Testament no commands, no prescriptions, no rules, no liturgies applying to the observance of the Lord's Day. .

"There is no organic [no actual] connection between the Hebrew Sabbath and the Christian Lord's Day. .It was only a short while until gentiles predominated in the [early church] Christian movement. They brought over the consciousness of various observances in the pagan religions, preeminently the worship of the sun-a sort of Sunday consciousness." William Owen Carver, Sabbath Observance, 1940, pp. 49, 52, 54 [Dr. Carver (1868-1954) was professor of comparative religion at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky] .

Episcopalian: "The observance of the first day instead of the seventh day rests on the testimony of the Catholic church, and the [Catholic] church alone." Hobart Church News, July 2, 1894.

Irish Methodist: "There is no intimation here that the Sabbath was done away, or that its moral use superseded, by the introduction of Christianity. I have shown elsewhere that, 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: is a command of perpetual obligation." Adam Clarke, The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Vol. 2, p. 524 [Clarke (1760-1832) was an Irish Wesleyan minister, writer, and three times Methodist conference president].

Southern Baptist: "As presented to us in the Scriptures the Sabbath was not the invention of any religious founder. It was not at first part of any system of religion, but an entirely independent institution. Very definitely it is presented in Genesis as the very first institution, inaugurated by the Creator Himself." W.O. Carver, Sabbath Observance, pp. 40-41 [Dr. Carver (1868-1954) was professor of comparative religion in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky] .

All this seems amazing to us. How could the heart of the Bible worship of the God of heaven (the worship of Him on His appointed worship day)—how could any mere mortals dare try to change it—and enforce such a change on everyone around them!

Why did not the Protestant Reformers of the Sixteenth Century bring us back to Sabbath keeping?

The truth is that they did not have a chance to make all of the needed reforms before Rome threw armies upon them for their destruction. But, even deeper: Why does not the Vatican confess this terrible change that they had Constantine instigate? Why do they not now lead out in bringing Christendom back to the Bible Sabbath?

At this point the plot thickens. For now we shall learn that, by their own admission, the change of the Sabbath to Sunday is the doctrinal basis upon which the Roman Catholic Church is built. It is the mark of her authority. She dare not change it—for to do so would be to yield that religious authority back to the God of the Sabbath.