With a 2014 publication date, this 30 page booklet by a Canadian lawyer reviews the earliest literature that pertains to the practice of Christian worship and their attitudes about the relationship between the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day. Without naming Seventh day Adventists in particular, the research was conducted in order to verify the claim that a mass apostasy occurred during 249-251 CE when Christians allegedly abandoned two centuries of Sabbath-keeping in favor of Sunday assembly during the rule of Constantine.
The historical resources are readily available to anyone who desires to conduct original research, and the author provides helpful advice to that end, as well as his bibliography.
Rather than simply cite the church fathers in chronological order, Brattston arranges them in eight brief chapters that answer specific questions or advance certain observations. These are:
- Christians were essentially unified in Sunday worship.
- The Sabbath was not moved to Sunday
- They generally believed the Sabbath was abolished, like circumcision.
- Sabbath-keeping was often discouraged.
- The fourth commandment was never cited in ethical lists.
- The apostles preached on the Sabbath in order to make converts.
- The Lord’s Day differed from the Sabbath, yet encouraged spiritual activities.
- Christians worked on Sunday and studied Scriptures throughout the week.
This succinct booklet is worth getting for the bibliography alone. His expanded list of citations demonstrates some ambiguity and changes in perspectives with some of the church fathers, so the author is not merely “cherry-picking” to skew history in his favor. The commentary is brief, sometimes awkward, but his thoroughness and level-headed approach adds another voice of reason to this ongoing debate.