Did the Pope or the Catholic church change the Sabbath to Sunday?

In my continuing conversation with my friend, he asked if the Council of Nicea can be trusted when they were the ones that changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

Two things I’d like to note:

1. The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine claims that The Roman Catholic church is responsible for “changing” the sanctity of Sabbath to Sunday. But that is not the case.. But when the Catholic church claims something, does not make it so.

First, it should be noted that the council of Nicea took place at AD 325. But there were early records of Christians fellowshipping on Sundays even before the council of Nicea.

THE EPISTLE OF BARNABAS about A.D. 100 – “Wherefore, also we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead.”

APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS: Church life in the 2nd Century: – “On the day of the resurrection of the Lord–that is, the Lord’s Day–assemble yourself together without fail, giving thanks to God and praising Him for those mercies God has bestowed upon you through Christ.”

IRENEAEUS: A.D. 155-202 – “The Mystery of the Lord’s Resurrection may not be celebrated on any other day than the Lord’s Day, and on this alone should we observe the breaking off of the Paschal Feast.”

These are just some of the many early records written by early church fathers indicating the practice of worshipping together on the first day of the week.

Secondly, we understand the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church — that they claim to be the final authority — therefore the “claiming” the “changing”. But it is worthy to note that they never named a Pope that ordered the change. And nowhere in church history that a Pope was known to have ordered this very important change. I am led to believe that the Roman Catholic church claimed the “change” of “worship day” from Saturday to Sunday without real basis to the claim.

Of course, I adhere to the New Covenant Theology, and by that, I mean that the day isn’t an issue to me anymore. Jesus is my Sabbath not Saturday nor Sunday. But that’s another story.

2. The Roman bishops — which would later lead the Roman Catholic Church — did not have jurisdiction over everyone else at the council during the convening of the Nicean council.. While the creed of the council was its central achievement, it was not the only thing that the bishops accomplished during their meeting. Twenty canons were presented dealing with various disciplinary issues within the church. Of most interest to us today was the sixth, which read as follows:

Let the ancient customs in Egypt, Libya, and Pentapolis prevail, that the Bishop of Alexandria have jurisdiction in all these, since the like is customary for the Bishop of Rome also. Likewise in Antioch and the other provinces, let the Churches retain their privileges.

Why is this important to note? Because this canon indicated that the Roman church is not in existence yet during the council contrary to charges popularized by Arians (on the issue of the Trinity) and Adventists (when charging the Roman Catholic church for moving the sanctity of the Sabbath to Sunday and changing the “arrangements” of the 10 Commandments). During that time, the Bishop of Rome was simply considered by the Nicene council as an ordinary member of the council. Therefore, we can conclude that the charge that the Trinity is a Roman Catholic concept “forced” by the Pope and that the Sabbath was moved by the Roman Catholic Church is simply isn’t true.

Conclusion: The council of Nicea simply legitimize and formalize what the early Christians had been doing. They were convening on Sundays already during that time. No “change” were made.

  • http://www.deebeedee.com/blog/ daniel

    Very informative, Arnold. Thanks!

  • http://www.deebeedee.com/blog/ daniel

    Very informative, Arnold. Thanks!

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