SUNDAY WORSHIP|MODERN AUTHORITIES

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA


Sunday, first day of the week; in Christianity, the Lord’s Day, the weekly memorial of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The practice of Christians gathering together for worship on Sunday dates back to apostolic times, but details of the actual development of the custom are not clear. Before the end of the 1st Century AD, the author of Revelation gave the first day its name of the “Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10). Saint Justin Martyr (c. 100-c. 165), philosopher and defender of the Christian faith, in his writings described the Christians gathered together for worship on the Lord’s Day: the gospels or the Old Testament was read, the presiding minister preached a sermon, and the group prayed together and celebrated the Lord’s Supper. The emperor Constantine (d. 337), a convert to Christianity, introduced the first civil legislation concerning Sunday in 321, when he decreed that all work should cease on Sunday, except that farmers could work if necessary. This law, aimed at providing time for worship, was followed later in the same century and in subsequent centuries by further restrictions on Sunday activities. (15th edition, vol. 11, pg. 392)
ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA: From the apostolic era to the present it has been customary for Christians to assemble for communal Sunday services… Civil laws requiring the observance of Sunday date back at least to Emperor Constantine the Great, who designated Sunday as a legal day of rest and worship in 321. This law, however was not specifically Christian, since Sunday was the day of the sun-god for pagans as well as the Lord’s day for Christians. While Constantine thus managed to please the two major religious groups in the Roman empire, numerous later law regulating behavior on Sunday have been avowedly Christian. (Sunday, 1988, pg. 21)
COLLIER’S ENCYCLOPEDIA: The New Testament contains clear evidence that from a very early period the first day of the week was observed by Christians as a day of assembly for “the breaking of bread” and perhaps for the collection of freewill offerings. (Acts xx:7 and 1 Corinth xvi:2). Justin Martyr in the middle of the second century describes how “on the day called Sunday” all town and country Christians assembled for instructions in holy writings, for prayer distribution of bread and wine, and the collection of alms. Tertullian declared that the Christians “made Sunday a day of joy, but for other reasons that to adore the sun which was not part of their religion. (Sunday, , 1985, pg. 632-633)
HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH: The celebration of the Lord’s Day in memory of the resurrection of Christ dates undoubtedly from the apostolic age. Nothing short of apostolic precedent can account for the universal religious observance in the churches of the second century. There is no dissenting voice. This custom is confirmed by the testimonies of the earliest post-apostolic writers, as Barnabas, Ignatius, and Justin Martyr. (Philip Schaff, , vol. 1, pg. 201-202)
HISTORY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH: Hence, the first day was already in the apostolic age honorably designated as “the Lord’s Day.” …it appears, therefore, from the New Testament itself, that Sunday was observed as a day of worship, and in special commemoration of the Resurrection, whereby the work of redemption was finished. The universal and uncontradicted Sunday observance in the second century can only be explained by the fact that it has its roots in apostolic practice. (Philip Schaff, , vol. 1, pg. 478-479)
NEW SCHAFF HERZOG ENCYCLOPEDIA: The earliest traces of the observance of the first day of the week in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection is found in the Pauline period of the Apostolic Age… Sunday was first regulated by civil authority in 321, under Constantine, directing that the day be hallowed and observed appropriately. (Sunday, pg. 145)



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“you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth” Jn 8:40

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