Church of God, Carmichael, CA

The Sabbath

and the Lord's Day

H. M. Riggle, 1928

[Original Page Numbers]

The Pope and the Sabbath


Council of Laodicea, A. D. 364, as the exact place where and time when the pope made the change. Adventists of late accept Waggoner's position. The twenty ninth canon of that council reads thus: "Christians ought not to Judaize and to rest in the Sabbath, but to work in that day; but preferring the Lord's Day, should rest, if possible, as Christians. Wherefore if they shall be found to Judaize, let them be accursed from Christ." On this Waggoner says, "Now if anyone can imagine what would be changing the Sabbath, if this is not, I would be extremely happy to learn what it could be." As a thorough refutation of the Adventists' position on this important point, I quote the following facts and able arguments from Seventh day Adventist Renuonced:

  "1. If the Sabbath was changed to Sunday by the pope right here, as he affirms, then certainly it was not changed before nor after nor at any other place. So if this fails their whole cause is lost. Let the reader mark the importance of this fact.

  "2. He admits what every scholar knows, that till after the time of Constantine the bishop of Rome had no 'authority whatever above the other bishops' and so could not have changed the Sabbath before that time. He says: 'It was Constantine himself that laid the foundation of the papacy.'—Replies to Elder Canright, (page 148). Surely the papacy did not exist before its foundation was laid.

  "3. He admits, as above, that Constantine did nothing to change the Sabbath.

  "4. But we have abundantly proved in preceding pages that all Christians long before this date were unanimous in observing the Lord's Day. This one simple fact proves the utter absurdity of the claim that it was changed at Laodicea, A. D. 364, or by the papacy at any time.

  "5. In the year 324, or just forty years before the Council of Laodicea, Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, Palestine, wrote his celebrated history of Christianity. He had every possible opportunity to know what Christians did throughout the world. He says: 'And all things whatsoever it was the duty to do on the Sabbath, these we have transferred to the Lord's Day as more honorable than the Jewish Sabbath.'—Quoted in Sabbath Manual (page 127) [155]

  "That is the way the Sabbath and Sunday stood forty years before Laodicea. They did not keep the Sabbath, but did keep the Lord's Day . . . How much truth, then, can there be in the position that the Sabbath was changed to Sunday by the pope forty years later? Shame on such attempts to pervert the truth. But let us look at the real facts about the Council of Laodicea. Seventh day Adventists claim two things, viz., that the Sabbath was changed by the Roman church, and that it was done by the authority of the pope. Then they select Laodicea as the place and time. But—

  "1. Laodicea is not Rome. It is situated in Asia Minor over one thousand miles east of Rome. It was in Asia, not in Europe. It was an Eastern, not a Western town, an Oriental, not a Latin city.

  "2. It was a Greek, not a Roman city.

  "3. The pope of Rome did not attend this Council at Laodicea, A. D. 364. Does Waggoner claim that he did? No, he does not dare to.

  "4. The pope did not attend, nor did he send a legate or a delegate or anyone to represent him. In fact, neither the Roman Catholic Church, nor the pope had anything to do with the council in any way, shape, or manner. It was held without even their knowledge or consent.

  "5. At this early date, A. D. 364, the popes, or rather bishops of Rome, had no authority over other bishops. It was two hundred years later before they were invested with authority over all the churches. Even then their authority was stoutly resisted for centuries in the East where this council was held. See Bowers History of Popes, or any church history.

  "6. Liberius was bishop of Rome at the time of this council at Laodicea. He was degraded from his office, banished, and treated with the utmost contempt. Bower says that in order to end his exile, Liberius 'wrote in a most submissive and cringing style to the eastern Bishops.'— History of the Popes (vol. 1, p. 64). And this was the pope who changed the Sabbath at a council of these same Eastern bishops, one thousand miles away, which he never attended! [156]

  "7. The council of Laodicea was only a local council, a small, unimportant affair, and not a general council at all.... The general councils are: 1. That at Nice, A. D. 325. 2. That at Constantinople, A. D. 381. 3. That at Ephesus, A. D. 431, etc. See the list in Johnson's Cyclopedia, or any history. Bower in his extensive work, the History of the Popes, gives an account of all the general councils, the important local councils, and all with which Rome or the popes had to do, but does not even mention this one at Laodicea.... 'This council is not even mentioned by Mosheim, Milner, Ruter, Reeves, Socrates, Sozomen, nor by four other historians on my table.' McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia says: 'Thirty two bishops were present from different provinces in Asia.' All bishops of the Eastern church, not one from the Roman church! And yet this was the time and place when and where the Roman church and the pope changed the Sabbath.

  "8. Now think of it: this little local council of thirtytwo bishops revolutionizes the whole world on the keeping of the Sabbath!

  "9. The fact is that this council simply regulated in this locality an already long established institution, the Lord's Day, just the same as council after council did afterwards.... The Lord's Day had been kept by the church hundreds of years before the council of Laodicea mentioned it.

  "10. The church of Laodicea where this council was held was raised up by Paul himself.... It was one of the seven churches to which John wrote (Rev. 3:14). Hence it is certain that it was well instructed and grounded in the doctrines of the apostles. Between Paul and this council, that is, A. D. 270, Anatolius was bishop of Laodicea. He wrote: "Our regard for the Lord's resurrection, which took place on the Lord's Day, will lead us to celebrate it on the same principle' (Canon 16). Here we have that church keeping Sunday one hundred years before this council.

  "11. Finally, if the Council of Laodicea changed the Sabbath, as Adventists say, then it was changed by the Greek church instead of the Roman church) changed by the Eastern churches over which Rome had no authority; [157]


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