National Sunday Law: Fact or Fiction? 2nd Edition
Does it Really Matter?
By Dirk Anderson, 2022
After reading the previous six chapters are you beginning to get a sense of just how improbable the whole Sunday law scenario is? Following are seven solid reasons to reject this teaching:
1. It originated from a biased source
Should a person believe everything a smiling salesman tells them? Of course not! Why? Common sense tells you to be wary of believing the words of a person who may hold a personal bias regarding that subject. Because they have something to gain, they may exaggerate or employ other forms of subtle deceit in order to convince you to buy their product.
Consider Joseph Bates. Besides being an inept Bible scholar, Bates had an inflamed personal bias against the mainstream Protestant churches. After the bitter disappointment of 1844, this retired sea captain was searching for some way to condemn the Christian denominations and prop up his own prophetic theory that the door of salvation was shut against them for their crime of rejecting William Miller's false teachings. Bates' strong personal bias against the Protestant churches is evidenced throughout his writing, where he labels those churches as "Babylon" and uses other derogatory language against them. Should it be any surprise to anyone that he opened his Bible and "discovered" that Sunday-keeping was the Mark of the Beast? Was this man really a true Bible scholar? Or was he twisting Bible verses out-of-context to prove his own personal prejudices? Can the source of this doctrine be trusted?
2. The story keeps changing
Should a person trust someone who keeps changing their story? When the National Sunday Law teaching was first proposed by Ellen White, the Seventh-day Adventists did not think that Christians needed any special prompting to pass the Sunday law. After Christian attempts to enact a Sunday law failed in the late 1800s and they abandoned their efforts, the SDA storyline began to change. It was then proposed that a crisis would occur, and the law would be passed amidst a "stupendous crisis." When even this appeared unlikely, the story changed once again. Now it was proposed that Satan himself would masquerade as Jesus in order to convince world leaders they needed to kill people who go to church on Saturday. Over time, as it becomes more and more evident a Sunday-law will never be passed, the tale becomes more bizarre and outlandish.
3. Sunday-keepers have little interest in the issue
There is very little interest in establishing Sunday laws even amongst the most ardent Sunday-keepers. Even among the very few who are most passionate to enact laws, they have little interest in persecuting Sabbath-keepers or even preventing them from worshipping on Sabbath. They merely want laws declaring Sunday as a religious day of rest. The truth is, the opposite has been happening for decades. Most existing Sunday laws are being repealed. This is happening because in the modern church, most Sunday-keepers regard the Sabbath-Sunday issue as irrelevant. The legalistic attitude of keeping Sunday as a "Sabbath" is rapidly fading among Sunday-keepers. Many Sunday-keepers regard Sunday worship as an hour of worship versus a day of worship. Most Sunday-keepers are comfortable with the idea of going to church in the morning and spending the rest of the day as they please. They enjoy the convenience of having stores, sports stadiums, restaurants and theaters open on Sunday afternoon. Modern Sunday-keepers simply do not regard Sunday with the same legalistic constraints as the Christians of the nineteenth century. Furthermore, there is no evidence that Sunday-keeping Christians have the least inclination to persecute Sabbath-keepers over their day of worship. Most Christians today would be appalled at the very thought of persecuting another Christian to death over a doctrinal issue.
4. Sunday-keepers do not have the political power to pass a Sunday law
The landscape of the United States has changed to the extent that it would be virtually impossible to pass a Sunday law over the objections of Jews, Muslims, secularists, homosexuals, and Sabbath-keeping Christians. These groups have become increasingly powerful in a post-Christian world where mainstream Christianity has been on a downward trend for decades. Sunday-keeping Christians have neither the political power nor the will to pass a Sunday law, as is evidenced by an unbroken string of dismal failures to keep the vestiges of Christianity alive in American society.
5. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever said it was a "test"
Seventh-day Adventists insist the Sabbath-Sunday issue will be a "final test" even though it is impossible to believe Jesus and the Apostles would be silent on such a profound issue. If the final climatic battle between good and evil, the war to end all wars, is to be fought over the Sabbath, then why did Jesus and the Apostles ignore the issue entirely? It has been claimed that the day of worship is so significant that it determines who has the Mark of the Beast and who has the Seal of God. However, Paul said that what holy day a person worships on should never be an issue to separate believers (Romans 14).
6. Their own prophet says it's okay to worship on Sunday!
Seventh-day Adventists claim they are going to be put to death for not worshipping on Sunday even though their own prophet said God was "pleased" if they held religious meetings and performed missionary work on Sunday. If God is pleased by such activity, then why do Baptists and Methodists receive the Mark of the Beast for holding religious meetings and doing missionary work on Sunday? If both SDAs and non-SDAs are holding religious meetings and doing missionary work on Sunday, how are authorities going to be able to determine who is breaking the National Sunday Law?
7. It is economically impossible
Imagine the chaos that would result from such a law. Businesses and factories would have to be shut down on Sunday. The United States would suffer irreparable economic harm. The reduction in work hours would probably drive many businesses to move overseas. Imagine a U.S. police force that can barely keep up with chasing real criminals, trying to cope with forcing the 150 million people who do not worship on Sunday to start worshipping on Sunday! Imagine a U.S. prison system, that is already filled to the brim, trying to handle millions upon millions of new prisoners. Imagine the terrible economic impact of taking millions of hard-working individuals out of the work-force, putting them in prison, where they must be clothed and fed by tax-payers. The economic and social impact of this scenario would probably bankrupt the United States, both financially and morally.
Is this teaching dangerous?
After considering all of the evidence presented, some might say that while it is true that a Sunday law appears extremely unlikely, what is the danger of believing such a teaching? What harm could possibly come from it? The truth is, it is always harmful to believe a falsehood about Bible prophecy. Seventh-day Adventists, of all the people on the earth, should be able to understand how dangerous it is! Look what happened in 1844! Perhaps as many as 50,000 people were deluded by a fanatical leader into believing that Christ was returning in 1844. That delusion led to financial ruin, destruction of families, bitter disappointment, and in a few instances, even suicide. Is it dangerous to believe a false teaching? You bet it is! Was it dangerous for the Branch Davidians of Waco, Texas, to believe the delusional teachings of their leader David Koresh? Many paid for that mistake with their lives.
Teachings such as the National Sunday Law are deceptive. They take the focus off of the real issues of Christianity, and the real persecutions that are taking place around the world. Instead, they focus the attention upon future events that are unlikely to ever take place. While other Christians are following Christ's command to take the gospel into all the world, a number of Seventh-day Adventists spend their time and effort trying to convince other Christians that a Sunday law is going to be passed and they need to start keeping the Sabbath in order to be one of the remnant that is saved when Christ returns. One SDA pastor spends his time traveling around the world, visiting SDA churches in order to share with people the "bad news" about coming Sunday laws. This type of activity is not only a complete waste of time and effort, but it is also a direct disobedience of Christ's command for Christians to take the "good news" of salvation—not the "bad news" of fear—into all the world (Mark 16:15).
Teachings such as the National Sunday Law are dangerous. Since Seventh-day Adventists falsely believe that a Sunday law will be passed before Jesus returns, there is always the danger that some will delay preparing their hearts for Christ's return because they think to themselves, "Well, the Sunday law is still years away, so I do not have to worry yet about getting my life in harmony with God's pattern right now." Humans have a tendency to procrastinate. Seventh-day Adventists are being lulled to sleep by a false sense of security. While they are putting Christ's return years into the future after a National Sunday Law is passed by the U.S. Congress, Christ may decide to return far sooner than they anticipated.
Teachings such as the National Sunday Law are divisive. Rather than promote love and understanding between those of different faiths, these teachings create fear and suspicion. How can a Seventh-day Adventist have fellowship with a Sunday-keeper whom they suspect is secretly planning to pass laws to torture and kill them? This false doctrine divides by creating an artificial adversarial relationship between Sabbath-keepers and Sunday-keepers. No cult can survive long with an "enemy." The SDA "enemy" is not the world; rather, it is the non-SDA denominations. Sadly, the SDA sect has made out all Sunday-keeping churches to be the enemy. This promotes hatred and suspicion amongst believers, not love and peace.
The National Sunday Law serves only one purpose. It generates fear. No cult can survive long without fear. The time has come for the SDA Corporation to face the facts and admit that a National Sunday Law is no longer feasible or even meaningful. It is time for them to turn away from this unscriptural teaching and turn away from fear. It is time for SDA evangelists to stop using fear tactics to persuade people to join their sect. Many people become Sabbath-keepers for reasons other than fear. Giving up the Sunday law teaching does not mean Seventh-day Adventists must give up Sabbath-keeping or any of their other odd doctrines. It simply means that they are willing to take a second look at Bible prophecy and admit that perhaps the future may not unfold in the exact manner that their pioneers had predicted. It is time Seventh-day Adventists stop preaching terror. It is time for them to bury their past hatred of Sunday-keepers and join wholeheartedly with their Sunday-keeping brothers and sisters in fulfilling Christ's Great Commission to take the gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ into all the world.
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