Reformation to Restoration!
by Christine Egbert
Strangely, many fans of the Reformers, who dared to stand against what at that time and for 12 Centuries had been considered “mainstream Christianity”, rant against those of us today who are contending for biblical faith. Endeavoring to live by Scripture alone, we Restorers are called to repair the breach enacted by a Roman Emperor, in the 4th century. We are NOT seeking to REFORM, but to RESTORE Lord YHVH’s Ancient Paths and walk in them. (Jer 6:16)
In today’s article, I will return to that period of history known as the Protestant Reformation. But in this article, instead of telling you about those reformers who simply sought to reform (change) many of the Roman Catholic Church’s unbiblical doctrines (while retaining others the ones they liked), I will tell you about “the remnant”, people you have probably never heard of, but should have.
Many Were 7th Day Sabbath Keepers
In the late 1800s, Dr. Samuel Kohn, the chief Rabbi of Budapest, Hungry, documented their existence. His documentation was translated into English by T. McElwain and B. Rook and included in their book Sabbatarians in Transylvania, Christian Churches of God, published in Australia in 1998.
Here is an excerpt from pages 10-11
“Already around the year 1530 Sabbatarians emerged in Bohemia… (they) also arose, soon thereafter in Silesia, Poland and Russia…where they were frequently confused with the Jews in the second half of this century and remain until today. We meet similar sects around 1545 among the Quakers in England. Several leaders and preachers of the Puritans, imbued with the Old Testament spirit, likewise raised the issue of reinstating the day of rest from Sunday to Saturday…”
In England, Stephen Mumford and his family had attended the Bell Lane Church of God, (7th Day Sabbath keepers). But without like-minded believers with which to fellowship in New Port, Rhode Island, these Pilgrims attended the First Baptist Church … on Sundays. But each Saturday, at home, they kept the Sabbath.
Then, over time, having shared their convictions with members of this Sunday church, five Baptists believers left with the Mumfords to established the first official 7th Day Sabbath keeping congregation in the colonies on December 23, 1671.
By 1691, they’d gained a total of 40 members, from which generated new congregations. The first was in Hopkinton, then later in Piscataway and Shrewsbury, New Jersey. And by the late 1700, the congregation in Hopkinton had grown to nearly 1,000 Sabbath-keeping members.
REFORMERS AND CHRISTMAS
These are historical facts that inquiring minds should know. The December 23, 1966 issue of US News and World Report ran an article about Christmas. Nothing strange there, you’re probably thinking. After all, it was their December issue, and you would be right.
Only this particular seasonal salute contained a bit of history of which even today’s most well-read Sabbath keepers probably aren’t aware. I certainly wasn’t until doing research for this article.
An Excerpt That Made Me Say, “Wow!”
“…the earliest Christians simply weren’t interested in celebrating the Nativity…They ‘viewed birthday celebrations as heathen’. The third-century church father, Origen, a Catholic declared it was a sin to even think of keeping Christ’s birthday ‘as though he were a king or a pharaoh’.”
The Catholic Encyclopedia published in 1913 A.D. writes: “…Origen, glancing perhaps at the discreditable imperial Natalitia, asserts (in Lev. Hom. viii in Migne, P.G., XII, 495) that in the Scriptures sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday. Arnobius (VII, 32 in P.L., V, 1264)
SCOTTISH CHURCH/ CHRISTMAS AND EASTER
In Knox, Works, Vol. vi, pp. 547-48.
“The position of the Scottish Church was reaffirmed in 1566. Theodore Beza wrote to Knox, requesting Scottish approval for the Second Helvetic Confession (1566). The General Assembly in Scotland replied with a letter of general approval. Nevertheless, the Assembly could scarcely refrain from mentioning, with regard to what is written in the 24th chapter of the aforesaid Confession concerning the “festival of our Lord’s nativity, … passion, resurrection, ascension, …that these festivals [Christmas & Easter] at the present time obtain no place among us; for we dare not religiously celebrate any other feast-day than what the divine oracles prescribed.”
John Knox’s History of the Reformers:
“That God’s word damns your ceremonies, it is evident; for the plain and straight commandment of God is, “Not that thing which appears good in thy eyes, shalt thou do to the Lord thy God, but what the Lord thy God has commanded thee, that do thou: add nothing to it; diminish nothing from it!” Now unless that ye are able to prove that God has commanded your ceremonies [ Christmas & Easter], this his former commandment will damn both you and them.” (Ed. by William Croft Dickinson; New York: Philosophical Library, 1950), Vol. 1, p. 91
CHRISTMAS AND EASTER BANNED IN SCOTLAND
David Calderwood [1575-1650], representing the Scottish ministries, asserted in reference to Christmas and Easter: “The Judaical days [ Yah’s Biblical Feast Days] had once that honor, as to be appointed by God Himself; but the anniversary days appointed by men [Christmas & Easter] have not like honor. This opinion of Christ’s nativity on the 25th day of December was bred at Rome.”
David Calderwood goes on: “Nay, let us utter the truth, December-Christmas is a just imitation of the December-Saturnalia of the ethnic [heathen] Romans, and so used as if Bacchus [another name for the sun god], and not Christ, were the God of Christians.”
In 1647, the Puritans who had recently gained power in the English Parliament abolished Christmas and Easter. Here is an excerpt from that piece of legislation:
“For as much as the feast of the nativity of Christ, Easter, and other festivals, commonly called holy days, have been here-to-fore superstitiously used and observed; be it ordained that the said feasts, and all other festivals commonly called holy days be no longer observed as festivals.”
WHAT HAPPENED IN AMERICA?
In America, the Puritan movement also prevailed. In 1896, Puritan professor of history at Princeton Seminary, Samuel Miller, wrote “the Scriptures were the only infallible rule of faith and practice, and no rite or ceremony ought to have a place in the public worship of God, which is not warranted in Scripture. Not only does the celebration of non-biblical holidays lack a scriptural foundation, but the scriptures positively discount it.” [Miller, pgs. 65, 74]
The famous Charles Spurgeon, in a sermon preached on December 24th, 1871, declared:
“We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas: first, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or English; and secondly, because we find no scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior; and, consequently, it’s observance is a superstition, because not of divine authority.” [C. H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 1871, pg. 697]
Here is an interesting excerpt from a book published in 1973, titled Presbyterians in the South.
“There was no recognition of either Christmas or Easter in any of the Protestant churches, except the Episcopal and Lutheran. For a full generation after the Civil War, the religious journals of the South mentioned Christmas only to observe that there was no reason to believe that Jesus was actually born on December 25th; it was not recognized as a day of any religious significance in the Presbyterian Church” (Ernest Trice Thompson, Presbyterians In the South, 1973, Vol. 2, pg. 434)
NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN
These are only a few of the stories—history is littered with them—which prove that “ours” is not a new move of God. Lord YHVH has always had a remnant. So as we contend for the Faith that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3), may we never forget that great cloud of witnesses who have gone before. As we set before us the initiator and perfecter of faith, Yeshua, let us rid ourselves of every weight and entangling sin, so that we may run our race with endurance. (Heb 12:1-2)