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The Reformation and the Sabbath

The Reformation and the Sabbath
As the Reformation began to spread throughout Europe and as the Bible was translated into common languages, people began to discover the Sabbath truth. Reformers such as Calvin, Knox, and Luther recognized that Sunday observance was based on traditions rather than on Scripture. However, the perceived connection between the Jews and the seventh-day Sabbath kept them from completely embracing the biblical Sabbath.

Andres Carlstadt, a controversial character in Germany during the Reformation and an associate of Martin Luther, became a devout Sabbath keeper. He was well versed in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and taught the paramount authority of the Scriptures above tradition. The 16th-century historian D’Aubigné said about Carlstadt, “Endowed with great powers of mind he sacrificed to his convictions fame, station, country, and even his bread.”

Luther and Carlstadt were educated within the Catholic system. Yet as they studied the Scriptures, they recognized serious errors in the church and desired to bring reformation. However, church leaders rejected their ideas and urged them to recant.

Luther was more cautious in making changes in church traditions. He agured that if something is not expressly forbidden in the Scriptures, then it did not need to be condemned. Carlstadt, however, maintained, “We are bound to the Bible, and no one may decide after the thoughts of his own heart.”

After a time, Carlstadt and Luther parted ways. Carlstadt moved to Switzerland, where he continued to preach and teach. His enemies condemned his strong belief in the relevance of the Old Testament and accused him of “Judaizing.” Still, as the Reformation continued, groups of Sabbathkeeping believers across Europe and Russia began to form and grow. Many of the leaders came from a long line of ancient Sabbathkeeping churches and found a ready audience among those who were searching for spiritual truth.

Today we are surrounded by many competing voices about the Sabbath, but the Scriptures are still the foundation of our faith; thus, we can know with certainty that the Sabbath is still God’s holy day. Click here for a free resource to share with your friends about the blessing and restoration we find each week in the Sabbath.