“The Sabbath and the Sufficiency of Scripture” American Sentinel 10, 25, pp. 193, 194.

June 20, 1895

DOES the Bible contain all things necessary to salvation?

The consistent Protestant says, yes; the consistent Roman Catholic says, no.

It is around this point that the battle between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism has always been waged, and always will be waged, until the end of time.

When the papacy yields on this point, it yields all. It cannot exist as a system a moment after it surrenders this point. On the other hand, when Protestantism compromises itself on this point, it has compromised its very existence, and must perish.

It therefore follows that when Protestantism harbors an unscriptural doctrine it harbors a deadly foe. It gives aid and comfort to its life-long enemy, and commits treason against the cause it professes to serve.

Protestantism is harboring such an enemy in the Sunday-Sabbath, and Roman Catholics are using this fact to silence the voice of Protestantism. The Romanizing High-Church party in the Protestant Episcopal Church use it to silence the voice of their protesting brethren; Methodists use it to silence the Baptists’ plea for scriptural baptism. In fact, the greatest foe to a faithful return to scriptural doctrine and practice, is found in the Sunday-Sabbath.

To illustrate: Every Roman Catholic work which discusses the doctrine of the church, attempts to prove that the Bible does not contain all that is necessary to salvation. And every such work appeals to the Sunday-Sabbath, which all the popular Protestant churches observe, as proof of its claim.

Here are a few of the many examples:—

Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practice. Not to mention other examples, is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday, and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify…. We must therefore conclude that the Scriptures alone cannot be a sufficient guide and rule of faith…. because they do not contain all the truths necessary for salvation. [294]

The Protestants have no scripture for the measure of their day of rest,—that they abolish the observance of Saturday without warrant of Scripture,—that they substitute Sunday in its place without scriptural authority,—consequently, that for all this, they have only traditional authority. Yet Protestants would look upon a man who would do profane work after five o’clock on Sunday, or keep the Saturday and profane the first day, as a victim of perdition. Hence we must conclude, that the Scripture, which does not teach these things clearly, does not contain all necessary truths, and consequently, cannot be the only rule of faith. [295]

The keeping holy of Sunday is a thing absolutely necessary to salvation; and yet this is nowhere put down in the Bible; on the contrary, the Bible says: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8), which is Saturday, and not Sunday; therefore the Bible does not contain all things necessary to salvation, and consequently, cannot be a sufficient rule of faith. [296]

Not only is the Sunday-Sabbath used by Roman Catholics against the general by Roman Catholics against the general position of Protestantism on the sufficiency of Scripture, but it is used to justify every unscriptural doctrine and practice of their church. Every time a Sunday-keeping Protestant declares a certain Roman Catholic doctrine to be unscriptural, the Catholic kills the force of the protest by replying that Sunday-keeping is without scriptural warrant also. In fact, Roman Catholic children are taught in parochial schools to use this argument against the Protestant who protests against the multitude of fast days enjoined by that church. Here is an illustration from “A Doctrinal Catechism,” page 181:—

Q. In what manner can we show a Protestant that he speaks unreasonably against fasts and abstinences?

A. Asks him why he keeps Sunday, and not Saturday, as his day of rest, since he is unwilling either to fast or abstain. If he replies that the Scripture orders him to keep Sunday, but says nothing as to fasting or abstinence, tell him the Scripture speaks of Saturday or Sabbath, but gives no command anywhere regarding Sunday or the first day of the week. If then he neglects Saturday as a day of rest and holiness, and substitutes Sunday in its place, and this merely because such was the usage of the ancient church, should he not, if he wishes to act consistently, observe fasting and abstinence, because the ancient church so ordained?

And now we instance an illustration of how effectively this argument is used. The New York Observer, of January 24, 1895, assailed the Roman Catholic mass, as follows:—

There is not, in all the Word of God, a passage that can be quoted in favor of an early and fasting communion.

To this the Catholic Union and Times, of Buffalo, promptly replied:—

Neither is there a single text of scripture to authorize you to change the Lord’s day from the seventh to the first day of the week.

This shot from the Roman Catholic editor effectually silenced the Observer; not a word has been ventured in reply.

Not only do Roman Catholics use the Sunday-Sabbath tradition to silence Sunday-keeping Protestants, but Sunday-keeping Protestants use it against each other. Recently, the Examiner National Baptist and Christian Inquirer published the statement that the Roman custom of christening bells “is authorized by the very next verse to the one which commands the christening of babies.”

To this the New York Christian Advocate (Methodist), in its issue of April 25, quickly responded thus:—

Our Baptist friends would find great difficulty in finding a positive text in support of some of their beliefs. Without doubt there is no text commanding the christening of babies; now is there any commanding the substitution of the Lord’s day for the Sabbath.

As the short from the Catholic Union and Times silenced the Observer, so this shot from the Advocate silenced the Examiner. And thus it is seen how the Sunday-Sabbath dogma stands for tradition as against the sufficiency of Scripture, and is a shield in the hands of Roman Catholics to parry the scriptural blow of the Sunday-keeping Protestant; and in the hands of one Sunday-keeping Protestant his more scriptural Protestant neighbor. In short, the greatest barrier to-day to a return to primitive Bible truth is the inconsistent Protestant practice of hallowing [194] the unhallowed Sunday institution and of the decorating the God-hallowed Sabbath-day.

There are those who charge Seventh-day Adventists with exaggerating a non-essential, in faithfully observing the “Sabbath day according to the commandment.” But it is not a non-essential; it is a vital question. Upon it turns, as we have seen, the question of whether the Word of God contains the truth necessary to salvation or whether it does not; whether the claim of the Roman Catholic Church that tradition is essential to salvation is true or not; whether we will take the Bible, with the Saviour of the Bible, and his salvation which saves to the uttermost, or the tradition of the papacy with its traditional saviour which cannot save without the intervention of Mary, the saints, and the priests, and “millions of years” in the purifying flames of purgatory?

This is what Seventh-day Adventists are standing for; this is what they are suffering in prisons for; and this is what, God helping them, they are wiling to die to maintain. [194]

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