If the Sabbath is Saturday and it's known that the Roman Catholic Church changed the day week to worship from Saturday to Sunday, why then would Protestants continue to worship on Sunday? I understand that Protestantism is a large group - I believe all of the sub-denominations do this for the same reason. If there are different reasons per denomination, I'll either change the question or make a question for each Protestant Denomination.

Cardinal James Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers (Ayers Publishing, 1978)

But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.

John A. O'Brien, The Faith of Millions: the Credentials of the Catholic Religion Revised Edition (Our Sunday Visitor Publishing, 1974)

But since Saturday, not Sunday, is specified in the Bible, isn't it curious that non-Catholics, who claim to take their religion directly from the Bible and not from the Church, observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Yes, of course, it is inconsistent; but this change was made about fifteen centuries before Protestantism was born, and by that time the custom was universally observed. They have continued the custom even though it rests upon the authority of the Catholic Church and not upon and explicit text in the Bible. That observance remains as a reminder of the Mother Church from which the non-Catholic sects broke away—like a boy running away from home but still carrying in his pocket a picture of his mother or a lock of her hair.

  • I hope you are willing to source your quotes better than just naming the author and title. What page are those quotes on?
    – user900
    Jan 21, 2015 at 22:23
  • "it's known that the Roman Catholic Church changed the day week to worship from Saturday to Sunday" Where's your evidence for that?
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 22, 2015 at 2:17
  • I agree that I did not fully source that the Roman Catholic Church changed the date from Saturday to Sunday - I assumed that those who would answer this question would already have researched this (it's true). Similarly I do no source that the Bible is the rule and guide of Christianity - except for Catholicism. Jan 22, 2015 at 15:03

3 Answers 3


The choice of Sunday is traditional, but it is also harmonious with the Biblical account (emphasis added):

Acts 20:7 NASB
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.

1 Corinthians 16:2 (NASB)
On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.

Revelation 1:10 (NASB)
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and ...

There's a strong suggestion1 here that Sunday was day that the church met together. Because it was the day of Jesus' resurrection (Mt 28:1), it seems very sensible for the modern church to do this.

Also, bear in mind that there is no commandment from Jesus or the Biblical authors to worship or meet together on a particular day of the week. If one was not bound by the Law of Moses, why would it matter what day was chosen? Not all protestant groups believe that they are not bound, but of those who do, what compulsion would there be to worship on Saturday except for tradition and honor for the Jewish way?

1 In regards to the relevance and validity of including a passage about "the Lord's Day," I include the passage because is a possible example of Sunday having its own significance. It seems reasonable (though not the only conceivable reading) to understand this as Sunday because John used the word Sabbath nine times, never once referring to it as the Lord's day or giving it any other name. (The particular phrase doesn't appear anywhere else in the NT.) No other NT author referred to the Sabbath in any other way than the name already employed by the Jews. Revelation was presumably written later than his other writings, and so perhaps his understanding was better, or the phrase grew out of what was by that time established tradition (60-70 years after Jesus' death) of whatever day the Christians met together. To choose between the two most likely meanings, it seems to me that Sunday has a stronger case than Saturday.

  • The Lord's day is Saturday, not sunday
    – One Face
    Jan 22, 2015 at 3:25
  • Jesus says “Son is man is Lord also of Sabbath”
    – One Face
    Jan 22, 2015 at 5:28
  • In OT, “Seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God”, again, “If thou turn away thy foot from Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure in MY HOLY DAY... ”
    – One Face
    Jan 22, 2015 at 5:30
  • @CRags Being "Lord of the Sabbath" doesn't mean people gave the day a new/additional name. He is lord of all the other days, too.
    – mojo
    Jan 22, 2015 at 6:05
  • Well where do you find any evidence in the Bible telling that the Lord's day is first day?
    – One Face
    Jan 22, 2015 at 6:08

To put it simply, the Sabbath (as per Mosaic law is Friday Sundown to Saturday Sundown). It is written in Acts that readings were given on the first day of the week (Sunday) and the Catholic Church adopted this as the Sabbath. (Readings were probably given every other day as well!) The Sabbath was made for man to rest and for worship/prayer but we are not under the Law but grace, so what is in the heart is all important. I personally try to Observe The Old Sabbaths but like I said whatever ordinances we observe, as long as it is of faith is the main.

  • Agreed. I worship / pray / give thanks everyday as I believe most pious people do. It brings the question, "what does Saturday or Sunday really mean?" Jan 22, 2015 at 17:38
  • 1
    The Bible tells us to gather for edification/correction/charity and Justice. To be honest I struggle with a lot of modern church practises built on tradition with lots of lip service, filled with false teaching and vain babbling. When I was going through a rough time I had plenty of people say that they would pray for me but the general populous seemed more generous in charity. Says it all really.
    – user18300
    Jan 22, 2015 at 18:02
  • Agreed again and I feel the same way. While I understand that grace and not works is the "new deal" that doesn't mean we should not perform acts of charity directly (sending $1 in the plate is one thing, actually going and HELPING someone is another). I'd rather go cut the old lady's grass at the end of the street than to give money to pay someone else to do it. Jan 22, 2015 at 18:06
  • 1
    That is why I rufuse to be water baptized. To me doctrine is either by The Spirit or a lie. I cannot be baptized into a church that I only partly subscribe too. I yearn for a church that would call to me but although I am strong in the Lord I struggle with modern people pleasing indoctrination. If its the truth I want to hear it, even if it really hurts my feelings or I struggle with it. Truth is everything.
    – user18300
    Jan 22, 2015 at 18:15
  • If you love me keep my commandments
    – One Face
    Jan 23, 2015 at 2:46

The Roman Catholic Church did change the Sabbath from Seventh Day to the First Day.

This is taken from here:

Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday."

-- The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, 1951 printing, page 50.

Q. How prove you that the Church hath power to command feasts and holy days?
A. By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church."

-- Henry Tubervill, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, 1833, page 58.

There are many protestant groups who keep the True Seventh-Day Sabbath as the seventh day (saturday). The chief among them are Seventh-Day Adventists and Seventh-Day Baptists.

The reason for most protestants not keeping 7th day sabbath is that the truth about Sabbath was re-discovered much later than when the originators of the respective churches lived.

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30

Robinson’s Farewell Address to the Pilgrims upon their Departure from Holland, 1620. The Account by Edward Winslow in his “Hypocrisie Unmasked,” Printed in 1646:

And if God should reveal anything to us by any other instrument of his, to be as ready to receive it, as ever we were to receive any truth by his Ministry: For he was very confident the Lord had more truth and light yet to breake forth out of his holy Word. He took occasion also miserably to bewaile the state and condition of the Reformed churches, who were come to a period in Religion, and would goe no further then the instruments of their Reformation: As for example, the Lutherans they could not be drawne to goe beyond what Luther saw, for whatever part of God’s will he had further imparted and revealed to Calvin, they will rather die then embrace it. And so also, saith he, you see the Calvinists, they stick where he left them: A misery much to bee lamented; For though they were precious shining lights in their times, yet God had not revealed his whole will to them: And were they now living, saith hee, they would bee as ready and willing to embrace further [2] light, as that they had received. Here also he put us in mind of our Church-Covenant (at least that part of it) whereby wee promise and covenant with God and one with another, to receive whatsoever light or truth shall be made known to us from his written Word: but withall exhorted us to take heed what we received for truth, and well to examine and compare, and weigh it with other Scriptures of truth, before we received it; For, saith he, It is not possible the Christian world should come so lately out of such thick Antichristian darknesse, and that full perfection of knowledge should breake forth at once.

For the full speech see here.

  • "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Acts 17:30" <-------That scripture has nothing to do with the Sabbath. -1 for using scripture out of context.
    – user900
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:05
  • I added it in the context that because God does not hold a person unaccountable for what they did not know or what was not clearly presented to them, the church founders are not in fault
    – One Face
    Jan 22, 2015 at 15:07

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