The Lord’s day is a term used only once in scripture. John the beloved declared, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Revelation ). In his famous encyclical Dies Domini, Pope John Paul II commenced with these words, "The Lord's Day - as Sunday was called from apostolic times." To many Protestants, this was an unexpected and much approved declaration from the pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants were not accustomed to hear such a declaration issuing forth from Roman Catholic sources, let alone from the supreme pontiff himself.
The issue of the apostolic origin of Sunday worship had often been a contentious one between Roman Catholics and Protestants. The pope used words that had issued forth previously almost exclusively from Protestant sources. It was not uncommon, especially during the 19th and early 20th centuries for Roman Catholics to challenge this declaration of Protestant authors. Indeed the Roman Catholic Church routinely denied any apostolic link to Sunday observance as the special day of Christian worship. Roman Catholic apologists declared that there was no Biblical nor apostolic link between Sunday observance and the early Christian church. Boldly, Roman Catholic theologians had claimed that the origin of the 1st day as the Christian’s Lord’s day had its source in a decision voted by the Council of Laodicea held in the 4th Century.
One prominent Roman catholic spokesman affirmed that the observance of Sunday as the Sabbath was a mark of authority of the Roman Church: “Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change [of the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday] was her act. And the act is the mark or her ecclesiastical power and authority in religious matters.” (C. F. Thomas, Chancellor of Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore in the 1890s, emphasis added)
Other Roman Catholic spokesmen have claimed that Protestants, by observing Sunday as the special day commemorating the resurrection, demonstrated that Protestants acknowledge the primacy and authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Thus many Protestant leaders, especially those close to the ecumenical process, were relieved to hear the Pope’s change of direction on this important topic.
In preparing this book the authors thoroughly researched the claims made in favour of the apostolic roots of the Lord's Day, Sunday. Their research challenges some of the most cherished beliefs of the Christian Church. This is a book that is essential reading for every seminary professor, every church pastor or priest, as well as every devout Christian. Its fascinating conclusions will challenge the thinking of, and in many cases will be received enthusiastically, by both laity and clergy alike.
Paperback: 318 pages
Publisher: Hartland Publications
ISBN 10: 0923309764
ISBN 13: 978-0923309763