The Lord's Day From Neither
Catholics Nor Pagans:
An Answer to Seventh-day Adventism on this Subject
By D. M. Canright
“I try to put myself in the place of the man who does not know all the things that I know.” —Pres. Woodrow Wilson.
“We also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses” —Hebrews 12:1.
One of the chief things which Seventh-Day Adventists urge the most strongly is that the observance of Sunday originated with the pagan Romans, thence was brought into the Roman Church and then the Pope, or the Papacy, imposed this upon the entire Christian world. Hence Sunday is only a pagan, papal day. They assert this so strongly and so repeatedly, that un- informed people are frightened into giving up the Lord's Day and accepting instead the Jewish Sabbath. It is a subject on which people are generally not posted. Even those who are intelligent and well read on general topics know little, or nothing, on this particular subject, while the common people know absolutely nothing about it. To learn the real facts in the case requires much careful research in the history of both Church and State through several centuries of the early Church. Few people have the time, or the means at hand, or the interest to do all this. Even educated ministers in general have never given the subject much thought, because they have had no occasion to do so. Hence, when suddenly required to meet Adventists on this question, they are unprepared, nor do they have the necessary authorities at hand to quickly look it up. So the strong assertions of the Adventists often go unanswered. In an ordinary audience of several hundred there would not be one person who would know how the pagan Romans regarded Sunday, or whether the Papacy ever had anything to do with it or not. Hence, they are easily misled. I do not mean to accuse the Adventists of purposely deceiving. I myself taught that way for many years while with them. I accepted what our own "History of the Sabbath" said, and quoted it as conclusive. It was long before I saw how one-sided it was.
In this present book both ministers and common people will have the facts in concise and handy form for ready reference with the testimony of the most reliable and unbiased authorities given in their own words. I made several typewritten copies of the manuscript and sent them to five well-informed ministers, requesting each one to spare no criticism nor pass over any questionable point. Together they gave me valuable help and eliminated some nonessentials. They also added much of value which I had not found myself. All these I gladly accepted.
Rev. John J. Husted, Congregationalist, had been familiar with Adventists for fifty years. Rev. O. W. Van Osdell, D.D., Baptist, had met their arguments often. Rev. M. H. McLeod, Presbyterian, has published a written discussion with a prominent defender of Adventism.
Rev. W. H. Phelps, Methodist, had been for seven years pastor of the M. E. Church in Battle Creek, Mich., and was at the time in a discussion with the Adventist's pastor. Hence, all were well qualified to judge of the matter in my manuscript. Read their commendations on a previous page.
Then I selected a Seventh-Day Adventist minister, one of the most critical students in their ranks. He kindly consented to criticize my manuscripts. He did a thorough job, cutting out, or adding words and sentences, or pointing out what he thought were objectionable statements. I gladly accepted nearly all the criticisms he made and omitted some things which he questioned. I greatly valued his review of the work. I did not expect him to agree with all my conclusions nor recommend the book. He could not do this and remain a Seventh-Day Adventist. His criticisms were all made in a friendly tone, showing that a kindliness of spirit is not all on one side.
For myself, after thorough research, I am profoundly satisfied that the Christian Church has been right in observing the Lord's Day. I have written this work with constant prayer that I might be fair and kind in my statements. I have a high regard for my Advent brethren, and the most kindly feeling towards them.
I know they are sincere, but am sure they are mistaken in their views about the Sabbath and the Lord's Day. Their widespread and aggressive agitation of these subjects will result in a better understanding of these questions.
This book is not written to convert Adventists, but to defend our own faith. If they would let our members alone, we would say nothing; but we would be recreant to our duty if we kept still while they publicly denounce us as pagans and papists and then go from house to house among our Christian members with their literature and Bible readings to proselyte them to their erroneous views.
The future of Seventh-Day Adventism - what will it be? This is a conundrum. Apparently two insurmountable difficulties lie before them in the near future.
First. They are now, 1915, putting tremendous emphasis on their claim that the end must, and will, come in the generation beginning in 1844, now seventy-one years in the past. They say they are now" finishing the work," "just entering the port." It creates great enthusiasm, large gifts, and big sacrifices. But if the generation passes, if a few decades come and go, then what? Yes, then what? Must not a sad catastrophe follow?
Second. From the beginning, they have claimed that their "Message" is to gather out just the 144,000 of Rev. 7:1-4; 14:1-5. Then the end will come. But they now have 122,000. As they are gaining now, two or three years more will complete the number wanted. Then what? Suppose, after a few years, they number 200,000, or 56,000 more than wanted, then what? Yes, then what?
Third. Another issue confronts them: A younger generation is arising in the Church, better educated, more intelligent, more cultured, and more tolerant towards other Churches. These are steadily, but surely, adopting the manners and methods of the older Churches. These young men are beginning quietly to discount Mrs. White, and do a little independent thinking for themselves.
Will these be strong enough to leaven the body, or will they split the Church on some new issue now that Mrs. White is dead?
After I left them, naturally, my Advent brethren expected that the frown of God would follow me for opposing their "message." Hence ever since it is reported among them that I have become a physical and mental wreck, poverty poor, in despair spiritually, etc. But the fact is that at the age of seventy-five I am in perfect health, have the same strong faith and hope in God as ever. Financially am better off than ever before. As to my mental conditions let these pages answer.
I have outlived nearly all the Advent ministers who labored with me. Elder White died at the early age of sixty; one of my age, with whom I labored, died some years ago insane; another companion-laborer was killed in the cars; another was drowned; and many more died very young. Had any of this happened to me it would have been reported as the judgment of God. Then my remarkable preservation and prosperity should be accredited to God's blessing. I firmly believe it that way.
Every page of this work has been written with earnest prayer that the tender spirit of the Master may breathe through it all. None of us is infallible. All are liable to make mistakes. Hence, we need to be charitable towards those who have the misfortune to be misled.
Next: Chapter 1—SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISM—WHAT? WHENCE? WHITHER?
Origin with Millerism in 1844 - Sincere - Mrs. White their prophetess - Set Oct. 22.1844 for the end - Contradicted Christ - Ten mistakes - Endorse Millerism - Call Churches Babylon - Probation ended in 1844 - Adopt Jewish Sabbath - Proselyte - Exclusive - Church and state to unite - Predict triumph - The harm it does.