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Sabbath or Sunday Worship Part 2 Series

Religion: Sabbath or Sunday Worship Part 2- Justin Martyr

Many Christians of today believe and practice Sunday as their worship day. Perhaps this belief is rooted in the teachings of their parents during their childhood or may be learned from someone associated with Christianity in their adulthood. Sunday is the worship day for Christians though it was not taught by Jesus and the apostles. Others follow this as a tradition, except for those who believe that Saturday is their seventh day like the Adventists. The Sunday believers blindly attribute the origin of the Sunday worship to the apostles. Sabbath worship was never changed in the Bible. After the death of the apostles in the first century, new ideas were introduced into Christianity, such as the oneness of Christ became popular, the Jesus Only movement had overcome the teaching of the apostles, Paul’s teaching was adapted and the Jesus Only became the center among believers using John and Peter’s gospel for support.

The early church fathers such as Ignatius of Antioch, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, doctor of the church, and Justin Martyr discredited the Sabbath observance and Tertullian of Carthage in the 3rd century AD. During the 4th century, as Christianity grows in large numbers it became the dominant religion. A threat to the Roman empire could be the reason why Emperor Constantine decreed under the influence of the Catholic church to make it illegal to observe the  Sabbath as a rest day and became a working day. The decree made Christianity a legitimate religion and that stopped the persecutions of Christians. Converting Christians to Judaism (proselytes) became illegal.

Going back to the second century A. D, Justin Martyr’s First Apology Chapter 67 was a letter to Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius to defend the practice of the Christian faith. (English translation from Greek text) – Worship of the Christians made a way that Sunday is the weekly worship among Christians in Rome. The passage was made as a piece of evidence for weekly Sunday worship.

The passage reads as follows: “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs and exhorts to the imitation of these good things, then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying, Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And those who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succors the orphans and widows, and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds, and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.

But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world, and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn [Saturday]; and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them those things, which we have submitted for your consideration.”

God is all in all.

Bishop Joseph

Dr. Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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