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The Great Saturday or Sunday Sabbath Debate #3

Cathy writes:

The Didache (Constitutions of the Holy Apostles) written in 70 AD:

“But every Lord’s day, gather yourselves together and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned” (Didache 14).

“And on the day of our Lord’s resurrection, which is the Lord’s day, meet more diligently, sending praise to God that made the universe by Jesus, and sent Him to us, and condescended to let Him suffer, and raised Him from the dead. Otherwise what apology will he make to God who does not assemble on that day to hear the saving word concerning the resurrection…?” (Didache, Vol. 7).

“And how can he be other than an adversary to God, who takes pains about temporary things night and day, but takes no care of things eternal? Who takes care of washings and temporary food every day, but does not take care of those that endure forever? How can such a one even now avoid hearing that word of the Lord, ‘The Gentiles are justified more than you’ as He says, by way of reproach, to Jerusalem, ‘Sodom is justified rather than thou.’ For if the Gentiles every day, when they arise from sleep, run to their idols to worship them, and before all their work and all their labors do first of all pray to them, and in their feasts and in their solemnities do not keep away, but attend upon them; and not only those upon the place, but those living far distant do the same; and in their public shows all come together, as into a synagogue: in the same manner those which are vainly called Jews, when they have worked six days, on the seventh day rest, and come together in their synagogue, never leaving or neglecting either rest from labor or assembling together… If, therefore, those who are not saved frequently assemble together for such purposes as do not profit them, what apology wilt thou make to the Lord God who forsakes his Church, not imitating so much as the heathen, but by such, thy absence grows slothful, or turns apostate or acts wickedness? To whom the Lord says to Jeremiah, ‘Ye have not kept My ordinances; nay, you have not walked according to the ordinance of the heathen and you have in a manner exceeded them… How, therefore, will anyone make his apology who has despised or absented himself from the church of God?” (Didache, Vol. 7).

“…every Lord’s day, hold your solemn assemblies, and rejoice: for he will be guilty of sin who fasts on the Lord’s day, being the day of the resurrection…” (Didache, Vol. 7).

“On the day of the resurrection of the Lord, that is, the Lord’s day, assemble yourselves together, without fail, giving thanks to God, and praising Him for those mercies God has bestowed upon you through Christ, and has delivered you from ignorance, error, and bondage, that your sacrifice may be unspotted, and acceptable to God, who has said concerning His universal Church: ‘In every place shall incense and a pure sacrifice be offered unto me; for I am a great King, saith the Lord Almighty, and my name is wonderful among the heathen,’ [Malachi 1:11, 14]” (Didache, Vol. 7).

Lou writes:

I will comment on your references of Sunday-keeping before 100 AD. Your first reference to Sunday-keeping before 100 AD is the Didache. Unfortunately, the last ten volumes of the Didache is a most unreliable source. The first six volumes are recognized as containing the binding force of the Word of God, the rest (from which you gather your information) is the work of human compilation and contrivance. The Didache is, properly speaking, the first six chapters and no more.

Father Joe responds:

Good work, Cathy, you answered Lou’s challenge and he had to tell a fable to escape the trap he made for himself!

Turning to Lou, since its teachings ring as heretical to your SDA ears, you join the likes of F. E. Vokes in saying that the DIDACHE must be later fiction.

Sorry, Lou, I do not know who told you that the DIDACHE was a counterfeit, but you were misled. Cathy is again right on target. While there is an evolutionary character to the work, its style, language, etc. all point to its authenticity in its various sections. Fragments of the DIDACHE have been found in Latin, Coptic, Georgian, and Greek (particularly of the DOCTRINA that you oppose).

The DIDACHE TON DODEKA APOSTOLON is universally held as a first century Syrian document dated around 60 AD to 70 AD. That means that it was not written long after St. Paul’s letters and about the same time period as our Gospels. It has sixteen chapters in total. The first six that you hold in high regard deal with the “Way of Life” and the “Way of Death.” Chapters seven through ten deal with liturgical affairs like baptism, fasts, and the Eucharist. You reject these chapters, not because they reflect a different hand or a later date (which is not true) but because you find their content offensive. The fact that Christians could be involved with such “Catholic” things during the “living memory” period after Jesus puts your every dissent into question. You would be more consistent and honest to spurn the entire work. Chapters eleven through fifteen cover church laws and discipline, including THE PROPER KEEPING OF THE LORD’S DAY (Sunday) and the election of bishops. Chapter sixteen prophesies the Lord’s return WITH ALL THE SAINTS (oops! I guess they were not sleeping after all). Cathy was brilliant in mentioning this document. It undermines every misconception and lie (even if inadvertent) that you might conjure up.

The DIDACHE was well known in the early Church. There are even references to some of the parts you disavow. It influenced the APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTIONS and was promoted by St. Athanasius. It also includes the earliest known Church condemnation of abortion.

Since this document is authentic, Cathy has successfully answered your challenge to give testimony prior to 100 AD in favor of Sunday worship over the Saturday synagogue service (see first post). You need to respond intelligently, without subterfuge to the texts she gives you.

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