Origin of Sunday Observance --S by Straw, Walter E

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Did Sunday keeping begin with Jesus and His disciples as some tell us, or did it not? The only way we can find out is to go back and consider the evidence.
If Christ and His disciples did not command Sunday keeping, the problem is to find out when Sunday did begin to be observed regularly as a day of worship. Our source material in this field is somewhat limited, and this increases our problem. I have proceeded by dealing with each period separately, beginning with the apostles.

Origin of Sunday Observance --S

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For a great many centuries Sunday has been considered a day of rest by the Christian nations of the world. And today this idea is not only held by Christian nations, but is penetrating beyond them into the great heathen countries as well. Of course the day is not thought of in the same way by all these people. Some think of it as a day set apart by Jesus and the disciples for religious service and worship, while others think of it only as a convenient time for rest and recreation. But all these people recognize it—either consciously or unconsciously—as a day different in some way from the other six days of the week.
Whence the origin of this special day? The history of this we shall endeavor to trace. To some, this may seem a simple task and a matter that is already well settled; yet it is not so easy as it might seem at first. If we had some definite and direct statement from Jesus or the disciples concerning its origin and importance, our task would be very much easier. But since we have no such statement, and must, therefore, rely upon inferences and indirect statements and possibilities, it can readily be seen that the task is not an easy one.
The great mass of mankind take it for granted that our day of rest had its origin with Jesus or His disciples, and that in some way they set a special stamp of approval upon it. This attitude is very similar to that taken toward most other things of life. Our activities are based more upon custom and precedent than upon reason and evidence. Many of our religious icons are based upon opinions held by our forefathers. We have accepted them because our relatives and associates have done so before us, and not because they are based upon evidence that we ourselves have acquired. Did Sunday keeping begin with Jesus and His disciples as some tell us, or did it not? The only way we can find out is to go back and consider the evidence.
If Christ and His disciples did not command Sunday keeping, the problem is to find out when Sunday did begin to be observed regularly as a day of worship. Our source material in this field is somewhat limited, and this increases our problem. I have proceeded by dealing with each period separately, beginning with the apostles, and then following on through their immediate successors. We must recognize that custom and practice change with time. For this reason we should keep the different periods separated, and study carefully what actually took place at each step of the way. I have, therefore, considered the statements of each of the Fathers in the light of the times and circumstances in which he lived. This will give the reader an opportunity to learn for himself just what occurred during the first few centuries.
These findings are the result of several years of research in the literature of the early centuries of the Christian Era. The historical facts and the conclusion have been submitted to and approved by the history department of one of the leading American universities.

Additional Information

Author Straw, Walter E
Publisher Review & Herald Publishing Association
Pages 118
Edition 1st
Binding Paper Back
Condition A+
Dustjacket No
Table of Contents

Preface
1 Did Gentile Converts Keep the Sabbath?
2 What Was Done Away by Christ?
3 Sunday in the Early Church
4 The Lord's Day
5 Gnosticism
6 Sunday at Alexandria in the Second Century
7 Sunday in Asia in the Second Century
8 Events and Changes in the Second Century
9 Sunday in the Third Century
10 Sunday in the Fourth Century
11 Pagan and Christian Rituals
12 Heathen Customs and the Church
13 How Sunday Came Into the Church
Appendix -The Epistles of Ignatius
References

Copyright 1975
Year Printed 1975

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