The Lord's Day From Neither
Catholics Nor Pagans:

An Answer to Seventh-day Adventism on this Subject


By D. M. Canright



One of the chief arguments which Seventh-Day Adventists make against Sunday observance is this: They say that the pagan nations, especially the Romans, regarded Sunday as a holiday, or festival day: a day of worship of their heathen gods, particularly the sun, on every Sunday, hence Sun-day. When these pagans professed Christianity they gradually brought into the Church this pagan custom of a Sunday festival day. Then the apostate Roman Church adopted it from these heathens. So now we are keeping a pagan, papal day, hateful to God. Their literature against Sunday-keeping is largely based on this theory as fundamental. Their "History of the Sabbath " is saturated with this argument. It bristles in their tracts, pamphlets, books, and sermons everywhere and all the time. Their children and members believe it as firmly as they believe the Bible. Hence, they abominate Sunday observance and delight in showing contempt for it in every possible way. If they are wrong here the very bottom drops out of their anti-Sunday arguments.

Read a few of their assertions. Elder J. H. Waggoner says: "I only take it upon me to fully and clearly show that the Sunday has its origin as a day of regard and observance in paganism and the Papacy."

"I shall show that the authority, the name and the sacredness of Sunday are entirely of pagan origin." "Sunday is in every feature a heathen institution." (Replies to Canright, pp. 125, 126,133) Also "History of the Sabbath," 1912, page 315: "Sunday was indeed the wild solar holiday of all pagan times."

Scores of such statements are found in their works. By these assertions they frighten the common people into giving up Sunday, because they are not able to answer them. All such statements are absolutely untrue as the following evidence will abundantly prove.

I do not accuse the brethren of any intent to deceive in this matter. Till nearly the last years I was with them, I myself taught the same thing. This they now quote against me. I did not mean to be untruthful, but, without personal investigation for myself, simply followed our older authors. I know that the other ministers did the same, and their ministers and writers do the same now. Their quotations on this subject in their recent publications easily prove that. It is not intentional dishonesty, but a lack of a candid investigation of historical facts as they really are.

In my city there is a great Public Library, of 146,000 volumes, containing all up-to-date publications available. Each department has a clerk who will quickly bring any book or article on any subject wanted. Here I have found much contained in these pages. An editorial in a leading daily says:

"One of the outstanding features of modern life is the fact that specialized knowledge is always on tap for inquiring minds. The first fruits of research may be procured at any up-to-date and extensive library, such as the one which Grand Rapids is fortunate enough to possess."

Knowing that our great state and national institutions of learning maintain specialists in every line of know ledge, I decided to apply to them for information on this subject. These learned scholars would have no inducement to be one-sided or unfair. These specialists have every possible means of information at hand and devote a lifetime of study to their particular branch of knowledge. It is their business to furnish to inquirers the results of their research. Hence I drew up a list of questions fully covering every possible phase of this subject, as will be seen. I carefully avoided giving any intimation of my views, or of the use I wished to make of their replies, so as not in any way to influence their answers.

The world-renowned British Museum is the highest authority to which I could refer, so I will give this first. I quote my letter to them with their answer to each question one after the other.

Grand Rapids, Mich., Dec. 8, 1911
British Museum, Department of History, London, England.
Dear Sir: For the information of many who are deeply interested in this subject, would you kindly answer briefly the enclosed questions?


Here is the answer:

Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, British Museum, London, England
Dec. 21, 1911
Sir: I am commanded by the Assistant Keeper of Greek and Roman Antiquities to reply as follows to your questions on the ancient week:
Q. 1. Did the pagan Romans and Greeks ever have any regular weekly day of rest from secular work?
Ans. No.
Q. 2. Did they have any regular weekly festival day?
Ans. No.
Q. 3. Did they have any regular weekly day when they assembled for pagan worship?
Ans. No.
Q. 4. Did they have any special day of the week when individuals went to the temples to pray or make offerings?
Ans. No; both for Greeks and Romans the month was the unit and not the week. The Greek calendar varied in different states but the month was generally divided into three periods of ten days. The Romans reckoned from three fixed points in the month, the Kalend or first, the Nones fifth or seventh, the Ides thirteenth or fifteenth. These subdivisions in themselves had no religious significance. Also in the Roman calendars were nundinal, or market days, at periods of eight days, or, as the Romans reckoned time. On these days farm work, etc., stopped and citizens flocked into the town markets. To some extent this may be a regular stoppage of secular work.; but it had no religious significance, except that it was considered an evil omen when the nundinal coincided with other festival days, e. g., the: Nones. The nundinal period seems derived from a blundering reminiscence of a quarter of a lunar period, and there seems no connection with the later seven days' week (see below).
Q. 5. As Sunday was sacred to the Sun, Monday to the Moon, Saturday to Saturn, etc., were those supposed deities worshipped on their own particular days more than on any other days?
Ans. No; the old worship of the gods was disappearing when the seven-day week came about. The significance of the deities' names was astrological, not religious, e.g., if a person were born on Monday, the moon would influence his horoscope, but the moon was never an object of common worship.
Q. 6. When was our week of seven days first introduced into the Roman calendar?
Ans. There are traces in the literature of the late republic (first cent. B.C.) that the Romans used the week of seven days for astrological purposes, in connection with the many Eastern superstitions of the period. It was probably the third century, A.D. before the seven day week came into common use.
Q.7. From whom did the Romans learn the week of seven days?
Ans. From the Jews, alternately the Assyrians and Babylonians; the names were probably fixed by the Hellenistic Greeks.
Q. 8. Did the pagan Greeks ever adopt in common life, or in their calendar, the week of seven days?
Ans. No.
Q. 9. Did Apollo, the Sun god, either among the Romans or Greeks, have any special day on which he was worshipped with prayers or offerings more than on any other day?
Ans. There were certain set festivals at various temples; these were annual, not weekly.
Q. 10. Did the pagan reverence for Sunday have anything to do in influencing Christians to select that day as their rest day?
Ans. No; it can hardly be said that there was any special reverence for Sunday in pagan times (see answer to No. 5).
I am, sir,
Your obedient servant,


You see this historian gives an unqualified NO to all the questions. Notice particularly that the names of the days of the week were all only astrological, not religious. There was no religious sacredness attached to a day because it was named after some planet as Sun-day - Sun's day - or Mon-day, Moon's day, etc. The sun was not worshipped on Sunday, nor the moon on Monday, nor Saturn on Saturday, etc. Also notice carefully that Apollo was not worshipped on Sunday or on any weekday. His festival days were annual, not weekly, as Adventists have taught. Then note that there was no special reverence for Sunday in pagan times. Here again Adventists are proved to be entirely wrong. This again destroys all their contention that Sunday sacredness originated with pagans. The proof is abundant that no such thing was ever known among the pagan Romans or Greeks. Hence, Sunday-keeping, or Sunday sacredness, could not have originated with them.

Our next witness is from the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. This great institution of learning is supported by the United States Government. Here the highest qualified specialists in every line of knowledge are employed. Here they have access to every possible means of up-to-date information in the Library of Congress, etc. It will be seen that I addressed nearly the same questions to this learned body and that the answers are the same as from the British Museum:


Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. September 23, 1914
REV. D. M. CANRIGHT, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Dear Sir:
I have referred your letter of September 14th to Dr. I. M. Casonawicz, Assistant Curator of Old World Archeology, who furnishes the following replies to your several inquiries:
1. Did the pagan Romans and Greeks ever have any regular weekly day of rest from secular work?
Ans. No.
2. Did they ever have any weekly festival day?
Ans. No.
3. Did they have any regular weekly day when they assembled for pagan worship?
Ans. No.
4. When was our calendar of the week first introduced among the Romans and Greeks?
Ans. The division of the month into weeks was introduced into Rome from Egypt. The date is uncertain, but it was not earlier than the second century, A.D.
5. When was our calendar of the week first recognized in Roman law?
Ans. The earliest Sunday legislation was enacted under Constantine I, 321 A.D. No legislation of earlier date on the division of the month is known.
6. As each day of the week was dedicated to some god, as Sunday to the Sun, Monday to the Moon, Saturday to Saturn, etc., was each of these supposed deities worshipped on one particular day more than any other day?
Ans. No.
7. Did the pagan Romans have anyone special day in the week when individuals, if they chose, went to make prayers or offerings to their gods?
Ans. No.
8. Did Apollo have any special day in the week or month more than any other day when he was worshipped with prayers or offerings?
Ans. No.
Very truly yours,
R. RATHBORN, Assistant Sec. in charge of National Museum.


Here we have two of the most reliable witnesses in the world perfectly agreeing. If their testimony is worth anything, then Adventists must revise their theory that Sunday sacredness, or Sunday festivals, or Sunday rest days originated with pagans.

But here is another witness confirming the other two but giving the answer more in detail. Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., is the oldest and best known university in America. I addressed the same questions there. George F. Moore, professor of Ancient Roman and Greek History, furnished me the following complete account of all the Roman and Greek festivals. It completely destroys all claim for any pagan sacredness of Sunday.

Professor Moore wrote me as follows:


Divinity Ave., Cambridge, Mass., May 24, 1913
Dear Sir:
There are two seven-day weeks: the Jewish week, with a Sabbath on the seventh day; and the Astrological week, with days named after the sun, moon, and five planets, in our order determined by the theories of astrology, but without any day of rest. The combination of the two is Christian. The Astrological week first appears in Greek and Latin writings about the beginning of the Christian era. Its antecedents are unknown. It had no use in ordinary life. Abstinence from labor on the seventh day, or on one day in seven, is a distinctively Jewish institution. The edict of Constantine (321 A.D.) closing the courts on Sunday and prohibiting some kinds of labor on that day, is the first recognition of a seven-day week in Roman law. The ancient Romans had a market day every eight days, when the peasants came to town to market, but it was in no sense a day of rest. In the old Roman calendar there were many days w hen the courts were closed and other public and private business was not done. They had also many festivals on which the people left their ordinary occupation to take part in the celebrations, but these have no periodicity like that of the week.
Very truly yours,


In a second letter he says:


Dear Sir: In reply to your inquiries in your letter of November 23d, I would say:
1. The planetary week in which the days were named from their regents, Saturday, Sunday, etc., was an invention of the astrologers, probably in the second century, B.C., and has no relation to religion or influence upon it. Saturn, for example, was not worshipped on Saturday, nor Jupiter on Thursday. The festivals of the several gods were never weekly festivals, nor did they occur on days fixed by other divisions of the month, say the tenth day.
2. The religious calendars of the Greek cities were independent of one another and underwent many changes in the course of time. Our knowledge of these calendars is incomplete; only that of Athens is pretty fully known. The festivals fell in certain months, and on certain days of the month. Thus, at Athens, where the first month of the year, Hekabombaion, began at the new moon following the summer solstice (roughly corresponding, therefore, to our July), there was a festival of Apollo on the first (or on the seventh of the month). The great festival of Athena Polias, the prophetess of the city, was on the 28th. There were often festivals on the 12th (Kronia) and on the 16th (Synorkia). The second month had only one, rather insignificant, festival. In the third month, the 5th day was an All Souls' Day, a feast of the dead; a thanksgiving was observed on the 12th-15th; from the 16th to the 25th were the great Athena Elensinia, and so on. No particular days of the month were to be especially favored, either in general or for any individual god.
3. The Roman calendar is preserved only from a comparatively late time, when the worship of Greek and foreign deities was fully established. So far as the old Roman calendar can be reconstructed it appears that the Ides of every month were dedicated to Jupiter, who had, besides, festivals on the 23rd of April, 5th of July, 19th of August, 11th of October, 25th of December. The festivals of Mars occur chiefly in the month named after him, 1st, 14th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, also February 27th, October 15th and 19th. These examples may suffice to show that no principle determines the fixing of these days. It may be observed, however, that, as among many people, the solstices and equinoxes, which mark the seasons of the year, are recognized in the calendar. Also that all who have a calendar based on lunar months give some importance to the first appearance of the new moon, and often to the full moon also.
The festivals were public holidays, each with its own rites, and customs, sacrifices, processions, etc. The priests in Greece and Rome, speaking generally, officiated on these occasions only. The priest was a citizen, elected or chosen by lot, for a longer or shorter time (sometimes for life): in most cases he was not expected to demit his ordinary occupation.
A priesthood who were priests and nothing else, who spent their lives in the service of the temples, with daily offerings and liturgies came in only with foreign, chiefly Oriental, gods, like the Magna Mater.
Private persons went to the temples when they had occasion to offer prayers or sacrifices or to make vows, etc. There were no stated days for such visits-though some days were in some temples luckier than others, and there was nothing like a stated day for the assembling of a worshipping congregation except the festivals of the local calendar.
Yours very truly,


It will readily be seen that this is a valuable historical document covering in detail every phase of Roman and Greek festivals. A weekly Sunday festival was utterly unknown to either pagan nation.

No weekly worship or sacredness whatever attached to Sunday. Our Advent brethren, if candid, must abandon that theory.

To make surety doubly sure, I will introduce one more witness. It will be seen that all four fully agree in every item. This one is from Prof. W. H. Westerman, of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.


University of Wisconsin, Nov. 13, 1913
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Dear Sir:
I shall answer your questions briefly, and in the order in which you sent them.
1. The pagan Greeks and Romans never had a weekly day of rest.
2. They never had a weekly holiday or festival day.
3. They never had a special day in the week on which they made offerings or prayers to heathen gods. (Neither the pagan Greeks nor the Romans recognized a seven-day division or week division in the month.)
4. They made no offerings or prayers on Sunday to their gods any more than on other days.
5. The seven-day period of dividing the month or the week was never adopted into the calendar of the pagan Greeks. It appears in the Roman calendar after the time of Theodosius, or after 391 A.D., but the week, or seven-day period, first appears in Roman law in a constitution of Constantine, promulgated in 321 A.D. This appears in the Code of Justinian.
The seven-day division of the month, which is, of course from the stand point of the calendar, a pretty cumbersome method of division, comes from the ancient Hebrews, whose Sabbath, falling on every Saturday, early became a period of rest. The word, Sabbath, means, probably, the "divider." The early Christians, for example, Paul, did not think it necessary for the Christian communities to observe the Jewish Sabbath. Usually, however, they did observe it. In the first two centuries of our era they developed the custom of observing the Lord's Day with prayer and common meals, and out of this, and the Jewish day of rest, arose our practice of observing Sunday.
I have been very glad to be of service to you.
Sincerely yours,
December 18, 1914
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Dear Sir: I will again answer your questions in the order in which you asked them of me.
1. In the constitution of Constantine of A.D. 321, which spoke of the "venerable day of the sun," Constantine regards Sunday as venerable undoubtedly from the Christian standpoint. It had been so regarded by the Christians since the second century, as the day of the Resurrection. It would, therefore, be venerable to Constantine, who had already legalized the Christian religion. If it was in any way venerable or a holiday to the pagans, so far as my information goes, the pagans must have adopted the practice from the Christians.
2. Apollo was not worshipped on any stated day of the week or month more than any other.
3. I do not believe that there is any proof that the early Christians were led to observe Sunday by the example of any pagan worship upon that day. Indeed, I think Tertullian's statements, quoted by you, from Chapter XVI of his "Apology," goes to show that the pagans did not worship the sun upon that day, rather than the opposite.
Very sincerely yours,


The united testimony of these high authorities is decisive. Neither the pagan Romans nor the Greeks had any weekly day of rest from work, or any weekly festival, or any weekly day for worship. They made no use of a week of seven days for anything. Professor Moore says it had no use in common life. Notice further: The old astrological week of seven days had no rest day. The idea of a rest day once a week was unknown to the pagan Romans and Greeks till they learned it of the Jews and Christians centuries after Christ. The edict of Constantine, A.D. 321, was the very first time the week of seven days was recognized in Roman law. All history agrees in this and it is a decisive fact showing that, up to that date, the Romans had made no use of our week of seven days, hence, did not, and could not, have observed Sunday as a day of rest. There was no religious idea connected with the naming of the days from the planets, as Sunday from the sun, Monday from the moon, etc.

All four of these specialists in ancient history agree in answering these questions though neither one knew that they had been submitted to the others; yet all four exactly agree in every particular, though widely scattered, London, Washington, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin. Such a unanimous agreement would settle any question in a court of law.

I accidentally learned that J. W. Moncrieff, A.Y., D.D., Associate Professor of Church History, University of Chicago, had carefully studied Seventh-Day Adventism, especially on this subject. So I sent him this chapter for examination. He wrote me as follows:


University of Chicago,
May 13, 1915
I appreciate very much the privilege of reading the two chapters of your forthcoming book, and shall certainly want a copy of it when it is out. Seventy years ago, when Seventh-Day Adventism was born, when people possessed a very meager amount of information concerning the ancients, and when even the great Samuel Johnson's Dictionary contained the statement that "The division of time by weeks hath been universally observed in the world, not only amongst the civilized, but likewise among the most barbarous nations" (I quote from the edition of 1819), it was excusable in Seventh-Day Adventists to relate Sunday observance to pagan Roman Sunday observance. But in the last fifty years an enormous amount of research into antiquarian life has been accomplished by reliable, competent historians, and when, with one accord, they proclaim the previously held notion to be a myth, pure and simple, with no support in well-ascertained facts, it is high time some one is bringing these facts which are to be found in every recent standard encyclopedia in the articles on "Calendar" and "Week" to the minds of the uninformed who are confused by a doctrine wholly at variance with now ascertained historical fact. I have consulted sixteen encyclopedias and dictionaries, and they differ in no essential detail in their treatment of the subject.
Sincerely yours,


It will be seen this historian fully agrees with the four preceding ones. Having given special attention to this particular subject, his testimony is of great value in confirming the other.

I consulted a graduate of Michigan State University who has for four years made a specialty of teaching Roman history in the high school. I asked her if the Romans had any weekly rest day, or day of worship. She said, "No," and gave me "Roman Festivals," by Fowler, as her textbook. Two university professors referred me to this same book, so it is good authority. The Preface, page 7, says: "A week of eight days was introduced at an early period." Notice, it was eight days, not seven; and the eighth day was simply a market day, not a day of worship. A large number of festivals are fully described but there is in all the book no reference to any rest day, or day of worship, on Sunday. If there had been such a rest day, the author would certainly have named it.

The Romans, centuries after Christ, learned the week of seven days, partly from Egyptian astrology and partly from Christians and Jews. The "Standard Dictionary," Article "Week," says: "It was not, introduced into the Roman calendar till after the reign of Theodosius in the fourth century."

The "Universal Dictionary of the English Language," Article "Week," says: "During the early centuries of their history the Greeks and Romans had not the institution of the week."

Webster's Dictionary, Article "Week," says: "The week did not enter into the calendar of the Greeks, and was not introduced at Rome till after the reign of Theodosius."

Constantine had been dead over forty years before Theodosius began to reign. So at the time when Constantine issued his Sunday law, A.D. 321, his pagan subjects did not use the week of seven days, hence, could not have, kept the first day of our week till taught it by Christians and required by Constantine's law.

Prof. A. Rauschenbusch, of Rochester Theological Seminary, quotes Lotz thus: "It is a vain thing to attempt to prove that the Greeks and Romans had anything resembling the Sabbath. Such opinion is refuted even by this, that the Roman writers ridicule the Sabbath as something peculiar to the Jews. In proof he cites many passages from the Roman poets, and one from Tacitus. Seneca also condemned the Sabbath observance of the Jews as a waste of time by which a seventh part of life was lost." ("Saturday or Sunday," p. 83)

Herzog says: "No special religious celebration of anyone day of the week can be pointed out in anyone of the pagan religions" (Article "Sabbath").

The renowned Max Muller in "Chips from a German Work Shop," Vol. V, page 116, says: "It is well known that the names of the seven days of the week are derived from the names of the planets, and it is equally well known that in Europe the system of weeks and week days is comparatively of very modern origin. It was not a Greek, nor a Roman, nor a Hindu, but a Jewish or Babylonian invention."

The early Christian Father, Tertullian, A.D. 200, bears a decisive testimony that the pagans had no weekly festival, did not keep the Lord's Day with Christians. Reproving Christians for attending heathen feasts, he says: "Oh, truer fealty of the heathen to their own religion which taketh to itself no rite of the Christians. We are not afraid lest we be openly declared to be heathen! If thou must needs have some indulgence for the flesh too, thou hast it and thou hast not only as many days as they, but even more. For the heathen festival is on but one day in every year, thine upon every eighth day. Gather out the several solemn feasts of the heathen and set them out in order; they will not be able to make up a Pentecost." (Ante-Nicene Lib.," Vol. XI, pp. 162-163)

I notice that he says the heathen did not have a festival on the Lord's Day, nor on Pentecost, and that the heathen festivals came only "once a year" not every week, like the Christian Day. He says that all their feast days, if gathered together, would not be as much as Pentecost. This is decisive, that the heathen did not have a weekly festival day, nor did they have a festival on the same day the Christians did; viz., on the Lord's Day.

Johnson's "New Universal Encyclopedia," Article "Week," says: "The Greeks divided the month into periods of ten days, and the Romans gathered the days into periods of eight days; with both, the first day of a period was market day, on which country people came to town and stirred up both business and public life. The period of seven days, the week proper, was introduced to the Romans and Greeks, partly by Christianity, partly by Egyptian astronomy."

This demolishes the theory that keeping the first day of our Christian week came to Christians from the pagan Romans. Exactly the opposite is true. The Jew and Christians taught it to the pagan Romans.

Schaff, in his "Church History," says: "The pagan Romans paid no more regard to the Christian Sunday than to the Jewish Sabbath."

The "Encyclopedia Americana," Article "Week," says: "The Romans and Greeks each divided the months into periods, and were not acquainted with the week till a late period. The Romans had, however, for civil uses, as the arrangement of market days, a cycle of eight days, the ninth being the recurring one, instead of the eighth as with us."

I have before me a book of 160 pages, entitled, "Sunday is the Christian Sabbath, or Lord's Day," by M. H. MacLead, Pueblo, Colo. It is the most exhaustive and scholarly work I have yet found on the history of the Sunday question in the first four centuries. He carefully quotes a large number of high authorities showing that the pagan Romans and Greeks had no weekly day of rest or worship on any day of the week. On the subject of heathen rest days he says: "I have given it an uncompromising consideration. It was not without a study of the matter that I ventured even to myself a final and unchangeable denial of any truth in the claim." What the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, or other ancient nations believed or did has nothing to do with our question. It is claimed by Adventists that Sunday, as a day of rest and worship, came into the Church from pagan Rome. Hence, that is the only question to settle. The simple fact that Sunday was named from the sun, dedicated to the sun, or was sacred to the sun, does not furnish the slightest evidence that people ceased work on that day.

Every day in the week was named from some supposed deity and was sacred to that god. "The World's Standard Dictionary" says: "Monday, the day sacred to the moon." Did pagans worship the moon that day? Did they cease work that day? Saturday was Saturn's day, sacred to Saturn. Did they rest that day? So of all the days of the week. If they rested every day named after some god, when would they work? Sunday was no more sacred than any other day and pagans reverenced none.

So plain is the evidence on this subject that some of the best read Adventists have admitted that pagans did not rest from work on Sunday. Thus Elder J. H. Waggoner says of Constantine's Sunday law, A.D. 321: "Though the venerable day of the sun had long - very long - been venerated by them and their heathen ancestors, the idea of rest from worldly labor in his worship was entirely new." (Replies to Elder Canright, p. 130) Mark this confession, for it gives up the main pillar of their argument in their effort to prove that Sunday-keeping was taken from the pagans. The pagans never kept Sunday. It was a new idea to them when they were required to cease work that day! Where did they get that new idea? From the emperor who had just recently professed Christianity. He got it from his Christian brethren who had always kept it! See the folly of arguing that the pagans taught Christians to keep Sunday, when the pagans themselves had never kept it.

Here is another confession:

Elder L. R. Conradi, Seventh-Day Adventist, author of "History of the Sabbath," edition of 1912, in a letter to me dated Hamburg, February 9, 1914, says: "A weekly rest day from work and solely dedicated to divine worship was unknown in heathenism and only known among the people of Israel."

In answer to my question, "Did the pagan Romans keep Sunday as a religious day?" he says: "We never claimed that. The idea of keeping a day means, in the present age, resting from work and giving the time solely to worship. But this the pagans never did. They only made prayers to the sun-god and then followed their regular work."

Here we have two witnesses from Seventh-Day Adventists themselves, confessing that the pagans had no weekly day of rest from common work. Of course, they could say nothing else, for all history says the same. So then this point is settled beyond denial.

"Admissions in favor of truth from the ranks of its enemies constitute the highest kind of evidence."

These confessions from the two Adventist elders give up the question, as any candid person must see.

Elder Conradi, above quoted, says of the pagans: "They only made prayers to the sun-god and then followed their regular work." Here he assumes that the pagans made Sunday a special day of worship when they made prayers to the sun-god. He asserts that for which there is not a particle of proof. No prayers were made to the heathen gods on Sunday more than on Saturday or any other day. He cannot produce a scrap of proof for his assertion. The quotations given above from the historians of the several universities squarely deny what he asserts without any proof. Did all these pagans leave their homes every Sunday and go to their temples and offer prayers? No. They had no meetings whatever that day, nor on any other day of the week. On some special occasion, as a birthday, or recovery from sickness, or to avert some feared evil, or on some yearly festival, persons would go and offer incense or gifts to the gods. That was all. There was no regular day in the week for any offerings of gifts or prayers. The Adventists have invented a pagan Sunday of rest and worship which never existed.

No pagan nation today keeps Sunday. The great Chinese nation, numbering four hundred millions, keeps no day. Elder W. A. Westworth, Seventh-Day Adventist, in the Battle Creek, Mich., Daily Journal, May 18, 1914, says: "I have put in 15,000 miles in inland China visiting our stations. The Chinese have no week, nor any day of the week, kept as a weekly rest." The same is true of the Japanese, 67,000,000, the Koreans, the millions of pagans in Africa, etc. Then the Mohammedans, numbering 200,000,000, rest on Friday, and all work on Saturday and Sunday. They copied the idea of a weekly rest day from the Jews and Christians in the seventh century after Christ. India has a population of 315,000,000. They have no weekly rest day. The entire population of the earth is sixteen hundred millions. Of these only six hundred millions believe in the Bible and Christianity, and hence nominally respect Sunday. So ten hundred millions, nearly two-thirds of the people on the globe, have no regard for Sunday or Saturday and never had. All on this globe who now, or at any other time, have ever rested on Sunday have learned it from Christians. So Christians could never have learned it from pagans, for none of them ever kept Sunday.

The observers of the seventh day continually assert that Sunday with pagans was always a popular festival day, a day for religious assemblies and pagan worship, then of festivity or, perhaps, work, by some. The above testimony from numerous reliable authors squarely contradicts these assertions.

Listen now to the Adventists. Of Sunday they say: "They are assembly days at early morn, then given up to busy pleasure and to labor." "Many of his [Constantine's] pagan subjects reverenced the same day as a day of prayer in honor of the sun." Again: "The very effect of joining the pagans in their devotions on Sunday was to let down the bars which God had put up." (History of the Sabbath," edition 1912, pp. 373, 384,385, 363)

Here is another: "The bishops would very readily adopt the most popular heathen festival day [Sunday] in order to gain the favor of the pagans." "The observance of Sunday was itself the custom which was brought into the Church by converts from heathenism." "Sunday, the wild solar holiday of all pagan times." (Fathers of the Catholic Church, by E. J. Waggoner, pp. 324, 326, 328)

Here is one from a Seventh-Day Baptist, Rev. A. H. Lewis, in "History of the Sabbath and Sunday," page 70: "Sunday, already a festival among the heathen." "The sun's day had been a leading weekly pagan festival for many centuries" (page 521).

Elder Andrews in "Testimony of the Fathers," pages 26, 34, 43, says: "The Roman people observed a festival on the first day of the week." "The day commonly honored as a festival by the Romans."

These are only samples of what is repeated over and over by opposers of the Lord's Day. These assertions are made, not only without proof, but directly contrary to all reliable testimony, as we have quoted above. There was absolutely nothing of the kind with Romans or Greeks.

Elder Waggoner says: "Sunday is in every feature a heathen institution." (Replies to Canright, p. 133) Let us see.

What are the features of Sunday as kept by Christians?

  1. All secular work ceases.
  2. People dress up and go to church.
  3. A hymn is sung.
  4. Prayer is offered.
  5. Scriptures are read.
  6. A sermon is preached.
  7. A collection is taken.
  8. The Lord's Supper is celebrated.
  9. Benediction is pronounced.

These are the features of the Christian observance of Sunday. Waggoner says that in every feature it is pagan! How many of these features can be found in the pagan day? Absolutely not one. They did not even cease work that day as he himself says above. Is not his assertion recklessly untrue? Could the pagan Romans give to the Christians these features of Sunday observance when they themselves never had one of them? It is absurd. But Adventists believe and teach it as a fact while all reliable evidence shows that it is all absolutely untrue.

The strong, clear, united historical quotations given in this chapter prove, beyond denial, that the pagan Romans never had any religious regard for Sunday, never had the week of seven days in common life, or in their calendar, or in their civil or religious laws. The very first deference they ever paid to Sunday was in obedience to the law of Constantine the first Christian emperor.

Because one day was named Sunday, sun's day, and because the ancient Babylonians and others worshipped the sun, therefore Adventists always assume and assert that Sunday was specially devoted to the worship of the sun. Thus one writer says: "The worship of the sun is one of the oldest and most universal forms of idolatry, and Sunday was the special day honored by the sun worshipper." Another writer says: "The very name Sun- day is a standing witness that it was the day of sun worship." This is simply in the sound of names, nothing more, without any foundation, in fact.

This ready assumption is entirely groundless. Each day of the week was named from some planet: as Sunday from the sun, Monday from the moon, Saturday from Saturn, etc. The first hour of each day was supposed to be ruled over by the planet of that day. This was purely an astrological invention for civil purposes and had no religious significance whatever; no idea of worship was connected with the name of anyone of these days. Religious worship had nothing to do in naming the days. The idea was purely and only astrological. Thus Johnson's "New Universal Encyclopedia," Article "Week," says: "It was found as a civil institution in the very earliest times among the Hindus, Persians, Assyrians, and Egyptians. But the Jews were the only nation with which the week had a religious significance." So also the answers from the above quoted historians all agree that names of the days are purely astrological, not religious. Sun worship had no connection with Sunday whatever, no more than any other day.



Pliny's Letter - Barnabas - Teachings of the Apostles - Justin Martyr - Bardesanes - Clement - Tertullian - Origen - Apostolical Constitutions - Cyprian -Athanasius - Laodicea - Augustine - The Greek Church - Cyclopedias - The Jewish Sabbath not kept.

Robert K. Sanders, Founder and Editor of Truth or Fables, 1997–2012
Life Assurance Ministries assumed ownership of Truth or Fables in 2012
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