The Change of the Sabbath


Council of Laodicea

What did this great Catholic Church now do, when they saw the Sabbath once more gaining some of its former sanctity, and an interest in it reviving? They held a great council at Laodicea, and, among other things, passed a decree that Christians should not rest on the seventh day Sabbath, and pronounced a curse upon all who should do so. We present the following statements of eminent authors on this point. ChSa 90.1

Mr. James, in addressing the University of Oxford, used this language- ChSa 90.2

“When the practice of keeping Saturday Sabbaths, which had become so general at the close of this century, was evidently gaining ground in the Eastern church, a decree was passed in the council held in Laodicea [A. D. 364]. That members of the church should not rest from work on the Sabbath day, like Jews, but should labor on that day, and preferring in honor the Lord’s day. Then, if it be in their power, should rest from work as Christians.”-Sermons on the Sacraments and Sabbath, pp. 122, 123. ChSa 90.3

Prynne thus testifies: ChSa 90.4

“It is certain that Christ himself, his apostles, and the primitive Christians for some good space of time, did constantly observe the seventh-day Sabbath.... the Evangelists and St. Luke in the Acts ever styling it the Sabbath day.... and making mention of its ...solemnization by the apostles and other Christians.... it being still solemnized by many Christians after the apostles’ times, even till the Council of Laodicea, as ecclesiastical writers and the twenty-ninth canon of that council testify, which runs thus: ‘Because Christians ought not to Judaize and to rest in the Sabbath, but to work in that day (which many did refuse at that time to do). But preferring in honor the Lord’s day (there being then a great controversy among Christians which of these two days ...should have precedency), if they desired to rest, they should do this as ChSa 90.5

Christians. Wherefore if they shall be found to Judaize, let them be accursed from Christ.’ ...The seventh-day Sabbath was ...solemnized by Christ, the apostles, and primitive Christians, till the Laodicean Council did in a manner quite abolish the observation of it.... The Council of Laodicea ...first settled the observation of the Lord’s day, and prohibited ...the keeping of the Jewish Sabbath under an anathema.”-Dissertation on the Lord’s Day Sabbath, PP. 33, 34, 44, ed. 1633. ChSa 91.1

We also quote from an old English writer, John Ley: ChSa 91.2

“From the apostle’s time until the Council of Laodicea, which was about the year 364, the holy observation of the Jews’ Sabbath continued, as may be proved out of many authors; yea, notwithstanding the decree of that council against it.”-Sunday a Sabbath, p. 163, ed. 1640. ChSa 91.3

From this time onward the general disregard of the ancient Sabbath was a foregone conclusion. It did continue, as we shall show, in some localities where the Catholic Church had not the power to abolish it. But the influence of that church was so great, its jurisdiction so extensive, its hatred to the Sabbath of the Lord so bitter, and its efforts in behalf of the Sunday Sabbath so active, that for centuries the ancient Sabbath made but little figure among Christian communities. We charge plainly and squarely upon the corruption of that Christianity which developed into the Roman Catholic Church, the change of the Sabbath, and the abolition of the ancient Sabbath of the Lord, contrary to the practice of the church of Jesus Christ. The influences which hastened this result dwelt in Rome itself in a special sense, far more than in other sections. The bishops of Rome manifested their enmity against the Sabbath far more than those of any other city. ChSa 91.4