Justin Martyr described Christians worshiping on Sunday twice in his first apology.

And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place

But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly.

This document cannot be dated any later than 165 since the author died at 165.

In the great controversy Ellen G White claims that for at least the first 2 hundred years, Sunday worship was unheard of by Christians.

In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians

Ellen G White's and Justin Martyr's account of Christian history clearly contradict each other. How do Seventh-day Adventists respond to Justin Martyr's claims?

  • 1
    Not true Christians?
    – SLM
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 18:39
  • 4
    I don't think that the writings of the Church Fathers is considered anyway meaningful or relevant by Adventists, since it is not Scriptural. Will be interested in the answers.
    – guest37
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 2:45

3 Answers 3


While I don't believe that there is a standard response from the Adventist church on this. One scholar has proposed that the appendix in which this statement was written, was a forgery, and added after the death of Martyr.

You can refer to the article here.

Adventist would argue that regardless of the contradiction that Sabbath is a biblical concept that has no scriptural evidence that it has been changed to Sunday.


You refer to the book The Great Controversy. Here is a sentence from pp. 446, 447.

It was in behalf of the Sunday that popery first asserted its arrogant claims (see Appendix); and its first resort to the power of the state was to compel the observance of Sunday as “the Lord’s day.”

The first half of this sentence refers to Bishop Victor I attempting to excommunicate the church of the East because all those Christians refused to remember Christ's resurrection on Easter Sunday. The date of that attempt would be around 190 AD. And thus the very source you referred to does acknowledge that there were efforts by the bishop of Rome to force Sunday on others by around 190 AD.

An early step in the replacement of the Bible Sabbath with Sunday was the honoring of Easter Sunday. The eastern practice of remembering the resurrection on Nisan 14 was at variance with this.

Note that Justin Martyr was opposed to the idea of resting from work on Sunday. So even if his Sunday worship passage wasn't a forgery, it doesn't help much to advance the idea that Sunday had already replaced the Sabbath by his time as the way to fulfill the 4th commandment. That did not happen, it seems to me, until the 6th century.

So the best that the passage from Justin, if authentic, can be used for is to show that some professed Christians in his day had gotten to the point where they no longer believed the Pauline concepts that (a) by the law is the knowledge of sin, and (b) the believer should not "continue in sin."

And yet Justin's writings on the Sabbath issue can also be used to show that significant numbers of Christians in his day were still keeping the Bible Sabbath. If that had not been the case, he would never have said he didn't like Sabbath-keeping Christians telling him that he needed to keep the Sabbath.


Ok, I'll try to answer this.

In the great controversy Ellen G White claims that for at least the first 2 hundred years, Sunday worship was unheard of by Christians.

That is not what she wrote. Adventists also make no such claim. In fact, Adventists recognize the existence of Sun Worship (and hence Sunday) since ancient Egyptian times, also present in the Babylonian and Persian culture, even reaching religions such as Zoroatrism.

In 1977 Samuele Bacchiocchi (a Seventh-day Adventist author and theologian) published From Sabbath to Sunday, documenting the historical transition from the Saturday Sabbath to Sunday in the early Christian church due to social, pagan and political factors, and also the decline of standards for the day. Prior to his work, Seventh-day Adventists had focused on the role played by either the Pope, or by Roman Emperor Constantine I in the transition from Sabbath to Sunday, with Constantine's law declaring Sunday as a day of rest for those not involved in farming work. Subsequent to Bacchiocchi's work, Adventists have emphasized that the shift from Sabbath to Sunday was a more gradual process.

  • "Adventists recognize the existence of Sun Worship (and hence Sunday)" You must to be consistent recognize that Saturnday is no better. Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 13:56
  • We do not deny that there was worship of other deities on other days of the week. But you should not confuse Saturday with Sabbath. Commented Nov 18, 2019 at 23:46
  • But the Sabbath fell on Saturday. It's just that neither Saturday nor Sunday mean anything to Christians or Jews qua days named after pagan gods, because Jews and Christians have no acknowledgement or care of pagan gods in their religion. The objection to the day being a day which pagans viewed as significant, is therefore insignificant for either day of the week. Commented Nov 19, 2019 at 16:00

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