From Sabbath to Sunday: The Bacchiocchi Agenda

Which "Sabbath" Does He Truly Support?

     From Sabbath to Sunday, Divine Rest for Human Restlessness, The Sabbath in the New Testament, The Sabbath Under Crossfire--these are some of the many books authored by Samuele Bacchiocchi, the purported Seventh Day Adventist scholar, which have received great accolades from many "Church of God" organizations for their apparent defense of the seventh day Sabbath.  A deeper examination of his books though actually reveals his ecumenical concern--not concern for the Scriptural Sabbath, but for a Sabbath--be it the last, or the first day of the week.

     The following quote is from Bacchiocchi, as posted on his website "Biblical Perspectives" [bold face emphasis mine throughout article ~bh]:

     "I grew up as a Seventh-day Adventist in Rome, Italy, a stone-throw from the Vatican wall in the days when considerable hostility existed against religious minorities. I vividly remember the ridicule and rejection I experienced, especially for honoring the Savior on the Sabbath. For example, my classmates called me "Il Giudeo–the Jew," or "L'eretico-the heretic" because I would not attend school on Saturday and would not play soccer with them on that day.

     These painful experiences instilled within me the desire to know more about which is God's Holy Day and how should it be observed by Christians today. As a teenager I would have never imagined that the Lord would one day make it possible for me to research and publish my dissertation at the most prestigious Jesuit University in the world, the Pontifical Gregorian University, founded by Ignatius Loyola [founder the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits)~bh] himself, over 450 years ago.

     The idea of attending the Gregoriana was suggested to me by a beloved Catholic priest, Father Ravasio, whom I came to know in Ethiopia where I was serving as a missionary. One day I told him that I had been accepted at Yale for a doctoral program in Church History. He replied: "Sam you are a Roman and should go to study at the Gregoriana." How can I? I replied. Surely they will never accept a heretic like me. "Don't say that!" he said. "After Vatican II you are no longer a heretic. You are a separated brother.  If you apply, you stand a good chance to be accepted."  I followed his advice.

     Truly I can say that though I was accepted as a "Separated Brother," I was treated as a real Christian brother. I treasure the pleasant memories of the five years I spent at the Gregoriana. The professor who directed my dissertation, Father Vincenzo Monachino, S. J., [Society of Jesus--that is, he is a Jesuit ~bh] is brilliant, godly and open minded. At first he was reluctant to allow me to investigate the origin of Sundaykeeping, because he had worked on the same subject for the previous two years with a Jesuit priest C. S. Mosna, who also wrote his dissertation on the history of Sunday during the first four centuries (STORIA DELLA DOMENICA --HISTORY OF SUNDAY). When he noticed my keen interest he graciously approved my proposal and spent many hours with me reexamining the Biblical and historical data. It takes a great scholar to be willing to reconsider one's conclusions. Prof. Monachino was such a scholar whom I will respect for the rest of my life.

     My dissertation FROM SABBATH TO SUNDAY was first published in 1977 by the Pontifical Gregorian University Press with the official Catholic imprimatur (approval). Since then it has been reprinted 13 times in English and has been translated in a dozen of languages. The French translation was done by two Belgian Benedictine monks as a labor of love and published by a Catholic press in Paris." [this info is quite similar to that which he included in the book itself (p.5) ~bh]

     "Since Dr. Bacchiocchi seems intent on pushing his books based upon the fact that he has an imprimatur on one of them [From Sabbath to Sunday ~bh], it is important to know what the word imprimatur means. Simply stated, it means that there is nothing in the book that is contrary to the teaching of the [Catholic ~bh] Church." (Ed Faulk, Usenet Catholic Newsgroup message, December 15, 1997)

     Merriam Webster's dictionary defines imprimatur as follows:

" im*pri*ma*tur (noun)  [New Latin, let it be printed, from imprimere to print, from Latin, to imprint, impress -- more at IMPRESS] First appeared 1640

1 a : a license to print or publish esp. by Roman Catholic episcopal authority

b : approval of a publication under circumstances of official censorship



c : a mark of approval or distinction "

     One must ask themselves, if this book truly proves and advocates Seventh Day Sabbath, why would it receive this Catholic imprimatur, and yet further, why would Sunday keeping monks translate his work "as a labor of love" if it disproved or went against what they stand for?  Recall the hatred that the Catholic Church has had for the Seventh Day Sabbath throughout history.

     Let us further examine this book:

     "How can the pressing problem of the secularization of the Lord's day be resolved?" (Samuele Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday, back cover).

     How can the "secularization" of a secular day (Sunday) be seen as a "pressing problem" that needs be "resolved"--especially by a professing Seventh Day Sabbath observer??

     "Should Sunday be viewed as the hour of worship rather than the holy day of rest to the Lord?" (ibid, p.303).

     Should it be viewed by anyone, especially one who claims to be a 7th day Sabbatarian, as either one of these??

     "To find the answer to these questions, Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi spent five years at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, examining the most ancient available documents. The results of this investigation are presented in From Sabbath to Sunday." (ibid, back cover)

     Notice carefully the reason for this book: "To find the answer to these questions..."  Which questions?  One of them is "How can the pressing problem of the secularization of the Lord's day be resolved?"

     This fact of seeking a Sabbath basis for Sunday as being the purpose for his research and writing of From Sabbath to Sunday is bore out further in the following quote:

     "To accomplish a sound theological reappraisal of Sunday it is necessary to investigate its Biblical basis and its historical genesis. On the other hand, the many studies on this topic, though excellent, have not given a fully satisfactory answer because of the lack of consideration of some of those factors which in the Church of the first centuries contributed to the concrete genesis and development of a day of worship different than the Jewish Sabbath."

     "On account of this, the new work of Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi is to be welcomed."

     "We gladly mention that the thesis that Bacchiocchi defends regarding the birth-place of Sunday worship: for him this rose not in the primitive Church of Jerusalem, well-known for its profound attachment to the Jewish religious traditions, but rather in the Church of Rome."

     "The event of Christ's resurrection on that day, had naturally signifigance importance."

     "The strict scientific orientation of the work does not prevent the author from revealing his profound religious and ecumenic concern. Conscious that the history of salvation knows not fractures but continuity, he [Bacchiocchi] finds in the rediscovery of the religious values of the Biblical Sabbath, a help to restore to the Lord's Day its ancient sacred character. This is in reality the exhortation that already in the fourth century the bishops addressed to the believers, namely to spend Sunday not in outings or watching shows, but rather to sanctify it by assisting at the eucharistic celebration and by doing acts of mercy (St. Ambrose, Exam. III, 1, 1.)."

     "Rome, June 29th, 1977, VINCENZO MONACHINO, S.J. Chairman of Church History Department, Pontifical Gregorian University." (From Sabbath to Sunday, pp.7,8) [This is from the "brilliant, godly and open minded" Jesuit which directed Bacchiocchi's study and writing of this subject]

     Some more on this, from Samuele himself:  "Many well-meaning Christians view Sunday observance as the hour of worship rather than as the holy day of the Lord. Having fulfilled their worship obligations, many will in good conscience spend the rest of their Sunday time either engaged in making money or in seeking pleasure." (ibid, p.10)

     "Some people, concerned by this widespread profanation of the Lord's day, are urging for a civil legislation that would outlaw all activities not compatible with the spirit of Sunday. To make such legislation agreeable even to non-Christians, sometimes appeal is made to the pressing need of preserving natural resources. One day of total rest for man and machines would help safeguard both our power resources and the precarious environment. Social or ecological needs, however, while they may encourage resting on Sunday, can hardly induce a worshipful attitude." (ibid, p.10).

     As noted above, Bacchiocchi is one of these very people who are "concerned by this widespread profanation of the Lord's day."  He therefore makes these very appeals himself in his book, Divine Rest For Human Restlessness, chapter VI, part IV The Sabbath as Service to our Habitat, pp. 204-214 (ecological appeal), and chapter VII Good News of Divine Rest for Human Restlessness, pp. 217-226 (social appeal).

     "Might not more hopeful results be expected from educating our Christian communities to understand both the Biblical meaning and experience of God's 'holy day'?" (From Sabbath to Sunday, p.11)  [Is this not exactly what the Jesuit Vincenzo Monachino (quoted above) stated was Bacchiocchi's purpose for this investigation?  To provide understanding for how to keep Sunday from being "profaned" by looking into the Scriptural Sabbath.  Recall: "he {Bacchiocchi} finds in the rediscovery of the religious values of the Biblical Sabbath, a help to restore to the Lord's Day its ancient sacred character."]

     "In introducing our study we posed several vital questions: What are the Biblical and historical reasons for Sunday-keeping? Can Sunday be regarded as the legitimate replacement of the Sabbath? Can the fourth commandment be rightly invoked to enjoin Sunday observance? Should Sunday be viewed as the hour of worship rather than the holy day of rest to the Lord? We stated at the outset that to answer these questions, and solve the pressing problem of the widespread profanation of Sunday, it is indispensable to ascertain both the Biblical basis and the historical genesis of this festivity." (ibid, p.303)

     "Our study has shown (we hope persuasively) that the adoption of Sunday observance in place of the Sabbath did not occur in the primitive Church of Jerusalem by virtue of the authority of Christ or of the Apostles, but rather took place several decades later, seemingly in the Church of Rome, solicited by external circumstances." (ibid, p.309)

     "On what ground then can Sunday rest be defended? Mosna finds a 'fundamental reason' in the fact that the Church 'influenced Constantine's decision to make Sunday a day of rest for the whole empire, and this undoubtedly in order to give to the Lord's day a preeminent place above the other days.' Therefore, Mosna argues that the Church 'can claim the honor of having granted man a pause to his work every seven days.' This explanation harmonizes well with the traditional claim that Sunday observance 'is purely a creation of the Catholic Church.' But if Sunday rest is an ecclesiastical-imperial institution, how can it be enjoined upon Christians as a divine precept? What valid ground can this provide to enable theologians to reassess the meaning and function of the Lord's day for Christians today? One can hardly hope to cope with the widespread profanation of the Lord's day, merely by invoking ecclesiastical authority without providing an adequate theological rationale." (ibid, pp.312-313)

     Samuele continues as such: "Should we then conclude that Sunday is to be regarded as the hour of worship rather then the holy day of rest to the Lord? Apparently it is toward this direction that some Christian churches are moving." (ibid, p.313)

     "To say the least, this interpretation not only reduces the obligation of the Lord's day to the attendance of a church service, but it even accomodates the social and recreational priorities of modern Christians. Does this view of the Lord's day as the hour of worship reflect correctly the Biblical teaching of the sanctification of the Sabbath, accomplished by renouncing the utilitarian use of its time? Hardly so." (ibid, pp 315-316).

     "Does this proposal contribute to solving or to compounding the problems associated with Sunday observance in our time? Does not this provide Christians with a rational justification for spending most of their Sunday time in either making money or in seeking pleasure? Is this what Sunday observance is all about? To divorce worship from rest, regarding the latter as non-essential to Sunday observance, it means to misunderstand the meaning of the Biblical commandment which ordains the consecration not of a weekly hour of worship but of a whole day of interruption of work out of respect for God. Undoubtedly for some Christians the reduction of Sunday observance to an hour of worship is unacceptable, but our study has shown that both the historical genesis and the thelogical basis of Sunday observance offer little help to encourage the consecration of the total Sunday time to the Lord." (ibid, p.317)

     "Is there a way out of this predictament? The proposal which we are about to submit may at first appear radical to some, but if it were accepted by Christians at large it could indeed revitalize both the worship and the real content of the Lord's day. Since our study has shown that Sunday observance lacks the Biblical authority and the theological basis necessary to justify the total consecration of its time to the Lord, we believe that such an objective can be more readily acheived by educating our Christian communities to understand the Biblical and apostolic meaning and obligation of the seventh-day Sabbath." (ibid, p.318). [Please note that he is not suggesting that all "Christians" begin to keep the seventh day Sabbath, but rather, that they get educated as to the meaning and obligation of it, and apply it to Sunday.]

     "Sabbath observance in this cosmic age can well be for modern man the fitting expression of a cosmic faith...a faith that would treat the Lord's Day as God's holy day rather than as a holiday." (ibid, p.321) [Again, the Sabbath observance he is speaking of is NOT to occur on the seventh day, but rather on the "Lord's Day" (i.e., sunday)].

     The following are some "scholars' " comments on Samuele's books. Please, when you read their words, take notice that they are Catholics:

     "The warning has gone out, Sunday is in trouble....In order to gain a much needed perspective on this issue, a practical and worthwhile reading of FROM SABBATH TO SUNDAY is needed."

Thomas G. Simmons, Director



     "DIVINE REST FOR HUMAN RESTLESSNESS invites every reader to a penetrating and suggestive analysis of the tradition and significance of Sabbath keeping."

Most Reverend Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin


     Richard Nickels, of Giving and Sharing, & the Bible Sabbath Association,  gave the following review of Bacchiocchi's God’s Festivals in Scripture and History :

     "More than one intelligent, well-educated Sabbath-keeper has mentioned to me that they think Samuele Bacchiocchi is a Jesuit. They have presented no proof for this assertion, and as a result, I place such accusations in the category of malicious gossip....Nevertheless, there are a number of disturbing tendencies that have come to light with the publication of Bacchiocchi's books on the Holy Days.

(1) He is more of a salesman than a scholar. The shoddy work on his first book on the Holy Days is ample proof that he rushed to make a commercial deadline, rather than carefully doing his research.

(2) Time and again, he says that the Bible alone doesn't tell us much of how to keep the Holy Days, and thus he turns to church tradition. Although he stops short of saying that church tradition is above the Bible, by citing and supporting extra-Biblical customs, he elevates these traditions above the Bible.

(3) He lauds and honors Catholic "fathers," even well-known enemies of the true faith, such Origen, Jerome, and Augustine. He acts as if Patrick of Ireland, Columba, Vigilantius Leo, and heroes of the Sabbath-keeping Church of the East did not exist. I care little what Catholic fathers said, but I would be interested in learning more of what Sabbath-keeping church leaders said about the Holy Days.

(4) He liberally quotes from apocryphal sources, as authoritative guides, that prescribe our Christian practices of today, such as his support for a Passover vigil, so-called Lord's Supper, and agape feast.

(5) At times he seems to be purposely ambiguous, even contradictory. He sometimes takes stands on several sides of the same issue, and rarely speaks plainly. [Nickels notes many of such instances, such as the following: "On page 169, Bacchiocchi agrees with Alfred Edersheim, Josephus, and Philo, on the Sivan 6 date for Pentecost. Yet later on, on page 233, he agrees with a Sunday Pentecost. He was either in a hurry to publish his book, or he purposely straddled the fence."]

(6) He ignores plain Bible commands, or minimizes them, and instead concentrates on what men say about the Bible.

     What is the common denominator of these tendencies of Bacchiocchi? They are traits of the Jesuits! Jesuits believe and practice that the end justifies the means. The Jesuit-led Council of Trent, the touchstone for Catholic success over Protestantism, upheld the Catholic dogma that tradition is above Scripture. Jesuit techniques include the eradication of all history about 'heretics,' the ascendancy of the Apocrypha and translations such as the Vulgate Bible, based on the corrupt Vaticanus and Sinaiticus texts, supported by Origen and Jerome. The Catholic Church in general, and Jesuits in particular, ignore plain Bible commands so as to uphold their anti-Biblical traditions.

     Rene Fulop-Miller says of the Jesuits, 'In actual fact, the Jesuit casuists [reasoners about what is right or wrong] deal with two forms of permissible deception: that of 'amphibology' and that of reservatio mentalis. 'Amphibology' is nothing else than the employment of ambiguous terms calculated to mislead the questioner; 'mental reservation' consists in answering a question, not with a direct lie, but in such a way that the truth is partly suppressed, certain words being formulated mentally but not expressed orally,' (cited in Facts of Faith, page 281[by Christian Edwardson]). Dr. Bacchiocchi is so steeped in the study of the Catholic Church early fathers that he cannot help himself from thinking like them. Truly, you become what you read!...I am not accusing him of being a Jesuit. But, I am warning others to reject Bacchiocchi’s Jesuit tendencies. After thoughtful consideration, we will not continue to recommend his books on the Holy Days. We do, indeed, recommend books even if we do not agree with the author on every point. But the tone of Bacchiocchi’s books on the Holy Days, is, in my opinion, Catholic rather than Biblical, and that is something that I will not support." (Richard Nickels, Giving and Sharing newsletter review of Samuele Bacchiocchi's God’s Festivals in Scripture and History)

From Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary :

"Jesuit ...1 : a member of the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius Loyala in 1534 and devoted to missionary and educational work 2 : one given to intrigue or equivocation"

"intrigue ... 1 : a secret scheme"

"equivocate ... 1 : to use equivocal language especially with intent to deceive 2 : to avoid committing oneself in what one says- synonym see LIE"

"equivocal ... 1 a : subject to two or more interpretations and usually used to mislead or confuse"

J.I. Rodale, The Synomym Finder :

"equivocate ... doubletalk ... talk out of both sides of one's mouth"

William Lutz, Double-Speak :

"Doublespeak is not a slip of the tongue, or language used out of ignorance, but is instead a very conscious use of language as a weapon or tool by those in power to achieve their ends at our expense." (p. xii)

"Doublespeak enables speaker and listener, writer and reader, to hold two opposing ideas in their minds at the same time and believe in both of them." (p. 9)

     "Andrews University, the Seventh-Day Adventist world headquarters where Samuele Bacchiocchi is a professor, has been so heavily infiltrated with ecumenical theologians that its yearbook has used illustrations of nuns, priests, and people giving the papal sign." [John Osborne and Bob Trefz (independent Seventh Day Adventists), Jesuit Agenda for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, video tape, 1992].

     The above cited SDA minister, Bob Trefz, reportedly wrote a letter to a Church of God member which stated:  "I know Bacchiocchi. He is doing the very work that one would expect from a Jesuit. Of course he was trained at the highest Jesuit University in the world...Bacchiocchi is best friends with the leaders of the Lord's Day Alliance--the premier organization pushing for a National Sunday Law.  Bacchiocchi arranged for the Lord's Day Alliance to come to Andrews University where the SDA theological seminary is located.  We believe he is pushing the Jesuit Agenda." [Bacchiocchi actually had the head of the Lord's Day Alliance, Dr. James P. Wesberry, write the forward to his book Rest For Human Restlessness--bh].

     This man, Samuele Bacchiocchi, is supported by many "Church of God" organizations, and defended by (including against allegations that he is a Jesuit) Ron Dart of Christian Educational Ministries. You have just read of the "fruits" of Bacchiocchi, whom Ron refers to as "one of the strongest advocates of sincere Sabbath observance in the world." (Understanding Deception, point 6, Ron Dart).  Do you agree with him?  Just which "sabbath" is being advocated?

Author: Brian Hoeck

For more on ecumenical and Jesuit agendas, access:

Ecumenical Movement     NLP: Jesuit Mind Tricks    Jesuit Oath


©1998 Truth On The Web Ministries: All the articles originated by Kenneth Hoeck or Brian Hoeck may be freely distributed or mirrored as long as presented in their entirety, attributed to Truth on The Web, and that proper author credit is given.