Sunday Worship as an Apologetic Argument


Hi all,

I started this in a reply to another post, but felt it may be worth further discussion. The issue, from a Catholic perspective is whether a Protestant who worships on Sunday has adequate biblical warrant to abandon the Sabbath, which was ordained by God in the OT, or are they (as they are in other issues like the canon of scripture) relying on an authoritative tradition of the Catholic Church. I have seen this argument occasionally in older Catholic apologetic materials, but not that I can remember from current apologetics ministries, such as Catholic Answers.

The scriptures commonly quoted are:

Acts 20:7 And on the first day of the week, when we were
gathered together to break bread, Paul {began} talking to
them, intending to depart the next day, and he prolonged his
message until midnight.

1 Cor. 16:2 On the first day of every week let each one of
you put aside and save, as he may prosper, that no
collections be made when I come.

Rom. 14:5 One man regards one day above another, another
regards every day {alike.} Let each man be fully convinced
in his own mind.

Col. 2:16 Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard
to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon
or a Sabbath day–

Heb. 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is
the habit of some, but encouraging {one another}; and all
the more, as you see the day drawing near.

Seventh Day Adventist responses to these scriptures can be found here:

From another Sabbatarian website:
*…Revelation 1:10, where John said, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day…” Some believe this means John was worshiping on Sunday and had the vision on that day. …
If this were referring to a day of the week, we would have to conclude that John meant the seventh day, since Jesus Christ said He was the “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28), not some other day of the week.

However, the context of John’s vision shows that John wasn’t referring to a day of the week at all. Instead, he wrote that the vision transported him into the future time the Bible elsewhere calls the “day of the Lord,” “day of the Lord Jesus Christ” or “day of Christ” (Jeremiah 46:10; Acts 2:20; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10). *

It still seems to me you can make a strong (but misguided) solo (not sola) scriptura case for Sunday worship being an extra-biblical tradition that should be put on the same footing as the Church’s Marian doctrines. The argument can be enhanced by contrasting the relative silence of the NT on changing the Sabbath day with the explicit revocation of the requirement for circumcision. Surely the Apostles would have had an equally difficult struggle with the Sabbath, which was ordained by God in Genesis and part of the Ten Commandments.


It’s possible to make a “strong” case for most doctrinal traditions in the protestant faith. If I listen exclusively to Baptist doctrine for several years, most of it will likely make perfect sense.

Our problem lies just in that the Bible is not a doctrinal treatsie, and while most doctrines are rooted in the written Word, we still need a firm visible authority who can accurately divide the written Word without error. Most sola and even solo scriptura folk have a hard time recognzing that.


The how do we explain the unanimous testimony of the pre-Nicene Church Fathers, who all worshipped on Sunday?

Why wasn’t it so obvious to them that the New Testament mandated Saturday worship.

The whole argument is really stupid. The way that we number our days weeks is a purely human convention. Sunday could just as well be the seventh day of the week, as much as Saturday can. For that matter, so can Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.


This is covered on the website:

The apostles made a conscious decision to end the Jewish practice of celebrating the Sabbath (Saturday) and to begin celebrating the Lord’s Day (Sunday), in the same way they decided that circumcision was no longer necessary.

This reflects the authority of the (Catholic) church to change practices that would have been observed by Our Lord during his earthly lifetime.

Obama Excoriates Republican Obsession With The Term ‘Radical Islam’

Again, I am not arguing against Sunday worship. Are the respondants reading the post? The question is whether a Protestant who rejects all Sacred Tradition (I know not all Prots do) and who worships on Sunday has adequate biblical warrant to abandon the Sabbath, which was ordained by God in the OT, or are they (as they are in other issues like the canon of scripture) relying on an authoritative tradition of the Catholic Church. And is this a good apologetic arguement or is there a stronger scriptural case for Sunday worship that would allow them to easily refute it.


[quote=bwv 1080]Again, I am not arguing against Sunday worship. Are the respondants reading the post? The question is whether a Protestant who rejects all Sacred Tradition (I know not all Prots do) and who worships on Sunday has adequate biblical warrant to abandon the Sabbath, which was ordained by God in the OT, or are they (as they are in other issues like the canon of scripture) relying on an authoritative tradition of the Catholic Church. And is this a good apologetic arguement or is there a stronger scriptural case for Sunday worship that would allow them to easily refute it.

You are saying that the Sabbath should be kept as in the OT?



[quote=JoaoMachado]You are saying that the Sabbath should be kept as in the OT?


No, I am saying that any Protestant who worships on Sunday is recognizing an authoritative tradition of the Catholc church, as I believe the NT is not clear on the matter.


[quote=bwv 1080]No, I am saying that any Protestant who worships on Sunday is recognizing an authoritative tradition of the Catholc church, as I believe the NT is not clear on the matter.

I see what you mean, but it was never an issue up until the about 250-300 years ago just shortly after the printing press shows up.

We have a shortage of vocations to the Priesthood, but no shortage of Vocations to the Papacy.:smiley:



It seems clear enough that everyone is in agreement with the fact that:

  1. The Sabbath was established in Genesis on the Seventh Day when God hollowed it.

  2. The Sabbath was kept by everyone, including Christ, up until the disciples at least.

Ge 2:2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

Ex 20:9-11; 31:17; De 5:14; Heb 4:4

We should therefore discuss at this point forward what the bible has to say about it. There are several things to bring out that we must take an objective look at:

  1. The verses stating anything about the first day of the week, (sunday or the “lords day”) in the new testiment only.

  2. Anything discussing the fact that Christ or His disciples kept the Sabbath (seventh day) after the death of Christ.

In regards to number 2:

If one states that the Sabbath (seventh day) was done away with at the moment of Christ’s death on the cross then this passage would seem to put to rest whether or not the Sabbath (seventh day) was kept by Christ’s disciples.

It is common knowledge that Christ went to the cross and died on a Friday, thus we have good Friday. I believe there is no arguement from anyone there. Christ rose from the dead on Sunday which all will agree. With that in mind consider these passages:

Luke 23:

52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before.

(this is just after Christ’s death… a man that bought a tomb for himself donated it to Christ instead. We are still talking about Friday here).

54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.

(this verse says that on Friday, the Sabbath drew near)

55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.

56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

In the other gosphels it states that the women were going to anoint his body on friday but had not enough time to do so because of the Sabbath. Now when they rested the Sabbath (saturday) they went back on Sunday to annoint his body for burial but noticed Jesus was gone from his tomb.

Here in John:

Joh 19:42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.

Joh 20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

The same thing is said. They laid Jesus to burial on the Sixth day, Friday, the preperation day. After Sabbath, on Sunday, they returned to find Jesus missing.

So one thing is clear. Right after the death of Christ, the disciples kept the Sabbath. If any change was made it would had to be authorized by someone after the fact. But where in the bible is there any passages which states the day was changed after the Sabbath kept right after the death of Christ? You won’t find it.

Now to adress the issue of the verses in the new testiment that indicate the “Lord’s day” being the Sabbath:

… refer to next post



•Acts 20:7: “And upon the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.”

Wrong interpretation—The common idea is that Paul was holding a Sunday worship service.

Proper explanation—Note that the word “day” is italicized in the King James Version, meaning it was added by translators. The phrase should properly read, “And upon the first of the…” The word “week” in the Greek is Sabbaton, or Sabbath, Strong’s Greek Dictionary. In Word Studies in the New Testament, M.R. Vincent notes, “The noun Sabbath is often used after numerals in the signification of a week” (Acts 20:7 note). The Greek text behind this phrase, therefore, literally reads “And upon the first of the Sabbaths.”

First for what? The verse refers to the first weekly Sabbath in the seven-Sabbath (seven-week) count to Pentecost. Paul was moved to give a message on this day. This occurred following a regular meal that the disciples had enjoyed on a weekly Sabbath, not Sunday.


•1Corinthians 16:2: “And upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as Elohim has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”

Wrong interpretation—Paul is telling the Corinthians to pass the collection plate at church on Sunday.

Proper explanation—In reality, this passsage is speaking of coming to the aid of Judean brethren who were suffering from personal distress, perhaps because of famine (see Acts 11:27-30). Notice the preceding verse, where Paul’s subject is established. He calls it a “collection for the saints,” not for “church,” and he has already given orders to the Assemblies in Galatia to help out the brethren in their plight.

He tells the Corinthians to store the gatherings (Greek logia) beginning with the first of the week (again, “day” is italicized and was added by translators). Paul wanted them to prepare the gifts beforehand “that there be no gatherings when I come.”

In verse 3 he says he will send approved men to take the goods to Jerusalem. If this were just a monetary offering, it would take no more than one man to deliver it to Jerusalem. These, however, were laborious gatherings of foodstuffs and other essentials that were to be collected and made ready on the first of the week so that Paul could dispatch it all when he arrived.




• Revelation 1:10: “I was in the spirit on the L-rd’s day, and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet…”

Wrong interpretation—The term “L-rd’s day” refers to Sunday (and Sunday worship).

Proper explanation—The phrases “L-rd’s day” and “day of the L-rd” refer specifically to the day of Yahshua’s return at the final trumpet sound announcing His Second Coming. Nowhere in the Bible is there any reference to Sunday in connection with these phrases. The only passage in the Bible where the specific term “L-rd’s day” is found is here in Revelation 1:10, where it defines the day of Yahshua’s return at the trumpet sound and the awesome events that surround it.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance lists a total of 20 passages containing the words “day of the L-rd.” In each of them we find reference to the dreadful, end-time day of the Savior’s return to destroy the wicked on this earth. In none of them is any mention made to Sunday or its worship. An example is Zephaniah 1:14-15, 17: “The great day of the Yahweh (L-rd) is near, it is near, and hastes greatly, even the voice of the day of the L-rd: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness…And I will bring distress upon men…”

Amos 5:18 warns those who desire and look forward to the day of Yahweh (the L-rd), saying that it is a day of darkness and not light. Paul writes in 1Thessalonians 5:2 that the day of Yahweh will come as a thief in the night. Joel 2:31 calls it “the great and terrible day of Yahweh.” Each instance speaks of the Second Coming of Yahshua. It is the exact opposite of a day of quiet, enjoyable, Sabbath rest!

Now we will deal with three passages most often cited to say that a Sabbath day is no longer necessary today.


• Romans 14:5: “One man esteems one day above another: another esteems every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

Wrong interpretation—Whether to keep any day as a Sabbath is up to each individual.

Proper explanation—A good example of taking a passage out of context is this verse. Paul is not speaking about the Sabbath at all but about fasting. The other subject of the chapter is vegetarianism (see verses 2-3). He writes, “For one believes that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eats herbs.” Then in verse 3 Paul admonishes that eating or not eating is up to the individual. The Bible in Basic English translates verse 3 this way: “Let not him who takes food have a low opinion of him who does not: and let not him who does not take food be a judge of him who does; for he has [Elohim’s] approval.”

The issue of keeping a Sabbath of rest does not even enter into this passage. What is being discussed in verse 5 is the practice of some who choose one day over another to fast. The next verse (6) shows that some people placed one day over another in their devotion to fasting. (“He that eats, eats to Yahweh, for He gives Yahweh thanks.”) The problem was, some in the Assembly at Rome were being judged for doing so. Paul entreats us not to judge one another regarding eating or not eating, v. 13.

The summation of the chapter is in verses 20-21: “For meat destroy not the work of [Elohim]. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eats with offence. It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.” Nothing in this entire chapter speaks of observing a Sabbath day.



• Galatians 4:9-11: “But now, after that you have known Elohim, or rather are known of Elohim, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.”

Wrong interpretation—Yahweh has freed us from such observances as the Sabbath and Feasts, which are so much bondage.

Proper explanation—Paul is addressing a people here who had been converted to the knowledge of Yahweh. Who were these Galatians? Their name derives from “Gaul,” being a Celtic people from the area of ancient France and Belgium. These superstitious pagans had settled this region of Asia Minor and Paul was apparently the first to bring the truth of the Evangel to them. Now that they have been converted, they know Yahweh and He knows them, Paul writes.

But Paul is concerned that some of them are going back (“turn again”) to their old, superstitious worship, which he calls “weak and beggarly elements,” verse 3. These Galatians were being indoctrinated by Judaizers and no doubt were confused. The Judaizers had come among them teaching physical circumcision and other rituals of the law, which Paul had said are not necessary for salvation. (Paul addresses those holding the Judaizers’ doctrine in Acts 4:21.) As a result of their bewilderment, some were returning to their heathen worship of the mother deity Agdistis and perhaps sacrificing humans again, as well as observing their own days, months, times, and years in place of Yahweh’s commanded observances. Notice that Paul’s comment in verse 10 refers back to verse 8: “Howbeit when you knew not Elohim, you did service unto them which by nature are no mighty ones.”

Clearly, these people were returning to their old, idolatrous worship before they knew the true Yahweh. In no way is Paul bringing the Sabbath and Feasts of Yahweh into play, which are nowhere referred to as “days, months, times and years” in the Scriptures. Paul is concerned that he may have wasted his time converting these people if they go back to their former worship, verse 11. One translation renders the phrase, “turn you again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto you desire again to be in bondage” as “back to the weak and helpless elemental false gods, whose slaves you want to be once more” (The New Testament: A New Translation).

Paul is not teaching the Galatians to reject the Sabbath, because he himself observed this commanded day of worship (Acts 13:42-44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4). He also observed the annual Feasts (Acts 18:21; 20:6, 16).



• Colossians 2:14, 16: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his stake…Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Messiah.”

Wrong interpretation—The laws, including the Sabbath, were nailed to the tree and the decision to keep any day holy is up to you; no one should judge you for doing so.

Proper explanation—Verse 14: When Yahshua was nailed to the tree, He brought an end to the Old Covenant system of animal sacrifices and ritual. Along with that were added laws the Jews imposed to make the law even more strict. We see this in verses 21-22: “Touch not; taste not; handle not; which are all to perish with the using; after the commandments and doctrines of men.” These were not Yahweh’s laws but man’s. We see this in the phrase “handwriting of ordinances.” Ordinances is the Greek dogma, meaning man-made rules and decrees. These were handwritten additions to the law meant to cause a further separation between Jew and Gentile. Four other passages use dogma and in each they refer to a man-made law or decree (see Luke 2:1; Acts 16:4; Acts 17:7, Eph. 2:15).

The question is, were Yahweh’s laws “against us”? On the contrary! Deuteronomy 10:12-13 says His laws are for our good! Psalm 19:7 tells us that the law is perfect and even converts the soul. Yahshua tells us that if we love Him we will keep His commandments, John 14:15. Paul confirms that the law is holy and just and good, Romans 7:12.

Verse 16: When Paul converted the people to the way of Yahweh, he taught them Yahweh’s laws, including the Feasts and Sabbath, which he kept as well. As happens today, people who had no understanding were criticizing the Colossian brethren for keeping these days commanded in the Scriptures. So Paul admonishes them to let “no man” judge them. As the Greek indicates, the term “no man” means any outsider. Paul tells them not to let anyone outside the faith criticize them for what they do. And that includes what they ate, which was in compliance with the clean food laws of Leviticus 11.

Notice the italicized word is—“but the body is of Messiah.” Italicizing means the translators added the word is to try to make the passage clearer. But they made it worse. Without the word is, the passage suddenly becomes clear. Paul was saying, don’t let outsiders judge you about your obedience, but only the Body of Messiah should be allowed to discern these things.

to save me time I borrowed the above (pertaining to explaining the verses in question) from the following site:

I do not necessarily agree with anything else on this website because I have not checked out the rest of what they have to say. But the above passages do a good job describing the common misconceptions about those passages


A protestant has not more reason to worship on Saturday than Sunday. Even protestants recognize that the Jewish Law was abolished with Christ, as was the Old Covenant. Therefore, the most we could say is that scripture does not mandate them to worship on either day.


slow down turbo :wink: I disagree with statement # 1 and possibly statement #2. :slight_smile: You have posted way to much to respond to… pick a verse and lets discuss them one at a time rather than in 4-5 posts at a time. Also, try to refrain from copying from materials off the web, it is much more genuine (In my opinion) if you come up with the answers yourself, and you will probably learn a lot more. I know I do.


Again there is no mention of the Sabbath being changed from Saturday to Sunday.

Here are some quotes of who and why it was changed:

“The church…took the pagan Sunday and made it the Christian Sunday… The Sun was a foremost god with heathendom… And thus the pagan Sunday, dedicated to Balder, became the Christian Sunday.” Dr. William L. Gildea, The Catholic World , March, 1894.

“What began, however, as a pagan ordinance, ended as a Christian regulation; and a long series of imperial decrees, during the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries, enjoined with increasing stringency abstinence from labour on Sunday.”—Hutton Webster, Rest Days , p. 270.

“The Roman Church…reversed the Fourth Commandment by doing away with the Sabbath of God’s word, and instituting Sunday as a holiday.” Nicolas Summerbell, History of the Christian Church , 3rd edition, 1873, p. 415.

“The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her Divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.”—The Catholic Mirror , September 23, 1893.

“The Sunday, as a day of the week set apart for the obligatory public worship of Almighty God…is purely a creation of the Catholic Church. It is…not governed by the enactments of the Mosaic law. It is part and parcel of the system of the Catholic Church.”—John Gilmary Shea, The American Catholic Quarterly Review , January, 1883.

"Q. Which is the Sabbath day?

A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.

Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."—Peter Geiermann, The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine (1957 ed.), p. 50.

The “Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine” has been stamped with the seal of the papacy, making it official church doctrine. I’m not sure about the rest of the quotes regarding Catholic doctrine or statements.


ROTFL… (thinking to himself… not the obscure quotes again) The converts Catechism is not official church doctrine. The official Church catechism can be found at the Web Page of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Basically, quotes from sources such as this have about as much authority to us… well… as the newspaper. ANYONE can write a catechism, and get a stamp of imprimatur, this does no make it correct, it merely gives permission to print.

However, having said that, the OFFICIAL Catholic catechism does indeed agree that the Sabbath is Saturday.

Basically I am saying… who cares what the quotes say… these books do not hold authority over anyone and are not what we base our belief on.


Were people worshiping on Sunday before the pope changed it?

Probably so.

Why and on what authority?

We can deduce this: It’s not on the authority of the bible. It’s also not on the authority of the disciples, as they clearly kept the Seventh-day Holy throughout the new testiment. I don’t know why at this point they chose to keep Sunday instead of Saturday. We do know it was a very small minority. Because all of the Christians during the time of Constastine were keeping Saturday, thus the reason why he tried to initially institute the change to incorperate the pagan religion worshiping the sun god.

Sorry about the length of my posts. I hope you all have time to read it through. I do not include anything else at this point for the sake of length but there is more.

God Bless


If that is indeed true, please forgive me. I am the last person to want to mis-use any churches sayings. I retract that statement (if what you say is correct) and offer yours in its place… which still says the same thing.

God Bless!


What pope changed it? (this is akin to asking, “Have you quit beating your wife yet?” it kind of begs the question) We admit the Catholic Church changed it… but no one mentioned a pope did they?

First we need to answer the question of who changed it…

We can clearly deduce this? Have you studied positions other than your own? Because nearly all Christianity disagrees with you? Do you feel that is because we are ignorant of scripture? I just wonder why you feel it is so easily deduced, yet we don’t believe it?

We do? Pray tell where you learned this?

THEY WERE??? Please provide us some primary sources on this…

It WAS?? Funny he didnt mention that? Where did you learn that?

No worries… :slight_smile:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit