Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist Historian Refuted
Bacchiocchi boasts being the first non-Catholic to graduate from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. (A Roman Catholic institution) It is interesting that Bacchiocchi chose to have his work so strongly associated with an institution the Seventh-day Adventist church views as "The beast of Revelation". Of course the reason is obvious. It is critical to the Seventh-day Adventist church that they establish that the Roman Catholic Pope changed the sabbath as Ellen G. White, the Adventist's in-house "inspired prophet" stated. So Bacchiocchi desperately needs to establish that the Pope did change the sabbath to Sunday because without this link, White is proven a false prophet. Coupled with the Catholic Church's delight to have a Protestant "prove" that the Catholic church had universal power in 140 A.D. is a "marriage made in heaven"!!! It is interesting that the Seventh-day Adventist church condemns almost every other claim the Roman Catholic church makes, EXCEPT for the changing of the sabbath to Sunday!
Bacchiocchi teaches Christians changed the Sabbath in 135AD:
Samuele Bacchiocchi, the Seventh-day Adventist's top scholar wrote in an E-mail message to the "Free Catholic Mailing List" email@example.com on 8 Feb 1997 and said: "I differ from Ellen White, for example, on the origin of Sunday. She teaches that in the first centuries all Christians observed the Sabbath and it was largely through the efforts of Constantine that Sundaykeeping was adopted by many Christians in the fourth century. My research shows otherwise. If you read my essay HOW DID SUNDAYKEEPING BEGIN? which summarizes my dissertation, you will notice that I place the origin of Sundaykeeping by the time of the Emperor Hadrian, in A. D. 135."
Today, Adventist's have contradicted their inspired founder E.G. White who claimed the pope changed the sabbbath. argument (corrected the inspired prophet) Listen to what Seventh-day Adventists now teach in their public "Revelation Seminars":
The False claim that Roman Catholic Pope changed the sabbath from Saturday to Sunday is refuted!
Three wrong guesses, you're out!
The so called "inspired prophet" Ellen White originally claimed the Pope started "Sunday worship" White later changed her mind and said the Emperor Constantine introduced "Sunday worship" in 325 AD. Today, Adventists blame the interaction of Sunday worship on Christians in 135 AD and not the Pope or Constantine!
Guess #1: the Pope introduced Sunday worship.
The Roman Catholic Pope DID NOT change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday as Sabbath keepers falsely teach. Yes Catholics do claim they changed the Sabbath, but they also claim that Peter was the first pope! Sabbath Keepers reject the Catholic claim that Peter was the first pope, so they are in grave error for accepting the Catholic claim that the pope changed the Sabbath to Sunday!
Guess #2: It was Constantine in 325 AD.
Constantine (325 AD) DID NOT change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday as Sabbath keepers falsely teach. Christians never kept the Sabbath from the apostolic age (33 AD) through the time of Constantine (325AD). Constantine merely made the first "Sunday closure law", since it had already been the day Christians worship for 300 years!
Today's guess #3:Christians in 135 AD.
The historical claims of Samuele Bacchiocchi, Seventh-day Adventist, refuted. Bacchiocchi is likely the top Seventh-day Adventist historian in the world. His search for the origin of "first day worship" has led him to reject the traditional position of his church, and his founding prophet, Ellen G. White who claimed "Sunday keeping" began with Constantine in 325 AD. His view, which is increasingly being adopted by the Seventh-day Adventist church, is that Christians in 135 AD were first to worship on the first day of the week.
The truth:Apostles in 33 AD introduced Sunday worship.
In addition to Acts 20:7 and 1 Cor 16:1-2, click here for irrefutable historical proof!
Samuele Bacchiocchi refuted
A. "From Sabbath To Lord's Day"By D.A. Carson Editor; R.J. Bauckham, author Pages 270-273 (This book is a thorough and brilliant refutation of Bacchiocchi's speculations.)
"A number of scholars have in the past argued that Christian Sunday observance originated in the second century. The most recent and fullest version of this thesis is that of S. Bacchiocchi. We have referred to some aspects of his argument in chapter 8, but we must here debate his principal contentions with regard to the second century. His thesis depends on four main arguments:"
Bacchiocchi's first argument refuted:
"(1) Sunday could not have originated in Palestinian Jewish Christianity since Jewish Christians in Palestine continued to keep the Sabbath. This argument depends on Bacchiocchi's assumption that Sunday originated as a Christian Sabbath, a day of worship and rest, and therefore an alternative to the Jewish Sabbath. We have argued above that this assumption is invalid and that there is reason to suppose that Christian worship on Sunday goes back to early Palestinian Christianity not as alternative but as additional to the observance of the Jewish Sabbath. Those Ebionites who, according to Eusebius, observed both the Sabbath and Sunday may well represent the practice of the early Palestinian church. Those others who, in Eusebius' time did not worship on Sunday may have been the descendants of groups that abandoned the distinctively Christian Sunday worship in the period after A.D. 70 when Palestinian Jewish Christians came under great pressure from the synagogues to conform on pain of excommunication."
Bacchiocchi's second argument refuted:
"(2) Bacchiocchi's second argument is that the substitution of Sunday for the Sabbath occurred in the early second century as a result of antiJewish feeling in the church Roman antiSemitism here combined with the desire of Christians to distinguish themselves from Jews in view of the Emperor Hadrian's antagonism to Jews and Jewish practices. This desire to differentiate Christianity from Judaism Bacchiocchi traces in Ignatius, PseudoBarnabas and Justin, and finds to have been especially prominent in the church at Rome. Accordingly it is in Rome that he locates the origin of Christian Sunday observance along with the origin of the Sunday Easter (in place of the Passover) and of the practice of fasting on the Sabbath, which was intended to prevent Christians from venerating the Sabbath and to enhance the status of Sunday."
"In his description of the "antiJudaism of differentiation" in second century Christianity, Bacchiocchi has highlighted an important factor in secondcentury Christian attitudes to the Sabbath, to which we have already drawn attention. It was no doubt a complex phenomenon, incorporating the Pauline theological concern for the freedom of Gentile Christians from the law, along with the desire for the practical advantages of dissociation from Judaism in the eyes of the Roman authorities, and also an element of sheer antiSemitism, which was rife in the Roman world. These factors certainly inspired some secondcentury Christian writers to speak of the Jewish Sabbath with contempt. It is, however, important to add that in the controversy with Gnosticism catholic Christianity refused to abandon its continuity with the Old Testament. Marcion's distinction between the evil God of the Jews, who gave the Sabbath commandment, and the Christian God revealed in Jesus was repudiated by the church."
"AntiJudaism played its part in second century Christian polemic against Jewish Sabbath observance, but it does not follow that it motivated the introduction of Christian Sunday worship. For we have already argued that Sunday worship dates back to the first century, while few secondcentury writers compare and contrast the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sunday. Derogatory discussions of the Jewish Sabbath do not usually refer to the Christian Sunday. If Sunday were a recent substitute for the Jewish Sabbath, we should expect far more discussion of the superiority of Sunday to the Sabbath."
Bacchiocchi's third argument refuted:
"(3) Bacchiocchi argues that the successful substitution of Sunday for the Sabbath in the secondcentury church can be explained by the primacy of the church of Rome. It was the preeminent authority of the bishop of Rome that influenced the entire church to adopt this new practice."
"This is probably the weakest of Bacchiocchi's arguments, but it is essential to his thesis. Only this assertion of the primacy of Rome can begin to explain how a custom originating in the early second century could have become as universal in the Christian church as Sunday worship did."
"Against Bacchiocchi's argument, it must be said that the evidence he presents for the authority of the church of Rome in the second century is not convincing. The church of Rome had great prestige, but the kind of jurisdictional authority his thesis presupposes is anachronistic in the second century. No church of that period had sufficient authority to change the weekly day of worship throughout Christendom. Furthermore, Bacchiocchi's other two examples of liturgical change in the second century, the Sunday Easter and fasting on the Sabbath, do not, as he thinks, support his ease, but rather highlight its weakness. Whether or not Bacchiocchi is correct in locating the origin of the Sunday Easter in early secondcentury Rome, it is quite clear that the see of Rome did not have the authority to impose it on the rest of the church. It was not until the end of the second century that bishop Victor of Rome attempted to convert the Quartodeciman churches to the observance of the Sunday Easter, and his attempt encountered stubborn resistance in Asia. Similarly, the church of Rome was singularly unsuccessful in promoting the practice of fasting on the Sabbath. As Bacchiocchi himself admits, as late as the fifth century it was still confined to the church of Rome itself and a few other western churches. Both in the case of the Sunday Easter and in the case of the Sabbath fast, the surviving historical records indicate considerable debate and controversy in the churches."
"It therefore seems extremely unlikely that already in the early second century the authority of the Roman see was such that it could impose Sunday worship throughout the church' superseding a universal practice of Sabbath observance handed clown from the apostles, without leaving any trace of controversy or resistance in the historical records. Bacchiocchi's own comparison with the Sunday Easter and the Sabbath fast shows up the difficulty of his explanation of the origins of Sunday worship. Like all attempts to date the origins of Sunday worship in the second century, it fails to account for the universality of the custom. Unlike the Sunday Easter and the Sabbath fast, Sunday worship was never, so far as the evidence goes, disputed. There is no record of any Christian group (except the extreme party of the Ebionites that did not observe Sunday, either in the second century or in later centuries of the patristic era."
Bacchiocchi's fourth argument refuted:
"(4) Bacchiocchi argues that the reason why the church of Rome adopted Sunday as the Christian day of worship, instead of the Sabbath, was that the pagan day of the sun, in the planetary week, had already gained special significance in pagan sun cults, and by adopting this day Christians were able to exploit the symbolism of God or Christ as sun or light, which was already present in their own religious tradition."
"Bacchiocchi here underestimates the resistance to pagan customs in secondcentury Christianity. The desire for differentiation from paganism had deeper Christian roots than the secondcentury desire for differentiation from Judaism. It is true that, from Justin onwards, the Fathers exploited the symbolism of the pagan title "Sunday," but to have actually adopted the pagan day as the Christian day of worship because it was prominent in the pagan sun cults would have been a very bold step indeed. ~29 Even if the church of Rome had taken this step, it becomes even more inexplicable that the rest of the church followed suit without argument."
"Again Bacchiocchi provides a parallel; the celebration of Christmas on 25 December derived from the sun cult and was promoted by the church of Rome. But this parallel comes from the postConstantinian church when pagan influence on Christian custom was certainly increasing, and we should notice that the church of Rome was not successful in imposing this innovation universally throughout the eastern churches."
"We conclude that, while Bacchiocchi has usefully stressed the importance of antiJudaism in secondcentury opposition to Sabbath observance, he has not demonstrated the second-century origins of the Christian Lord's Day. As we have shown in chapter 8) Christian Sunday worship did not originate as the Christian replacement for the Jewish Sabbath, but as the new, specifically Christian day of worship even before the Gentile mission and before the church's differentiation from Judaism. As such it was already normal Christian practice at the beginning of the second century."
"We are not here concerned with the detail of Sunday worship, but the theory that justified the practice. Second century writers were conscious that Sunday is the day of the Lord's resurrection and made this the principal basis of Sunday observance. For Ignatius, as we have seen, it was Jesus' resurrection from the dead on Sunday that gave Sunday its value as the distinctive mark of Christianity over against Judaism."
B. "Encyclopedia of early Christianity"
By Editor, Everett Ferguson, Sunday, p873, (Ferguson is a world authority on early Christian writings)
"(1) the pagan day of the sun (although there was a day named for the sun, a day that assumed special importance in the cult of Mithras, there remains no evidence of a Sunday celebration in paganism);"
"(2) an anti-Judaic reaction by Gentile Christians in the second century, aided by the pagan solar theology (this hypothesis has difficulties with the New Testament evidence and the consistent evidence of later sources);"
"(3) Jewish sectarian influences represented by the solar calendar followed at Qumran (speculative, for a specific link is lacking);"
"(4) the Jewish Sabbath extended into the first day by Christians meeting on the Sabbath and then "breaking bread" together in the evening (natural enough, but the first evidence points to a Sunday evening rather than a Sabbath evening meeting by Christians)."
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