The proper name of the Lord's Day is not Sunday

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NaphtaliPress

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Someone who is not on the board objected to someone's use of the term Sunday in common discussion here. In response I thought I'd post what James Durham has to say as far as the parameters on this. I think we should use the Scripture given name Lord's Day amongst the community of believers. Sunday may be used in a civil and otherwise pagan and unbelieving context. See Durham's comments below, from his Commentary on Revelation, chapter one, lecture four. Note that as much as there is a given name in Scripture for the first day of the week, there is also a broader principle from approved example of speaking in a culture so as to be understood.
...II. The name that the Lord’s Day gets....
II. For the second, seeing it gets this name to be called the Lord’s day, it may be questioned here concerning our manner of speaking of days, calling the Lord’s Day Sunday, the next day after it Monday, etc., which has the first rise from superstition, if not from idolatry, some of them being attributed to planets, as Sunday and Monday; some of them to idols, as Thursday, etc. But to speak to the thing itself, look to the primitive times, we will find Sunday called the Lord’s Day, and the days of the week by the first, second, third, etc. But the names of days, being like the names of places and months, folks must speak of them as they are in use, and scripture warrants us so to do. Acts 17:22, Paul is said to stand in the midst of Mars hill. Acts 28:11 speaks of a ship, whose sign was Castor and Pollux. So, March, January, July and August, are from the idols Mars and Janus, or derived from men that appropriate more than ordinary to themselves. And though it was ordinary to Christians in the primitive times to call this day the Lord’s day among themselves, yet when they had dealing with the Jews, they called it the Sabbath, and when they had dealing with the heathen, they called it the Sunday. And so, though it be best to speak of days as scripture names them, yet it is agreeable with scripture to design or denominate them as they are in use among a people, especially where no superstitious use is in naming of them.​
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
I read that extract recently in the Revelation commentary and thought it provided some much needed good sense to the folly of those who are righteous overmuch.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
For me it has become habit to speak of the Lord's Day when in conversation with other Christians (Sabbath-keeping or no). In other settings I call it Sunday.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
I read that extract recently in the Revelation commentary and thought it provided some much needed good sense to the folly of those who are righteous overmuch.

It can get a bit awkward when out in the world however today the problem amongst Christians isn't that they are too righteous in avoiding the use of the term "sunday". Quite the opposite. I don't see that this should be much of an issue. How often in non-Christian contexts do we need to refer specifically to the first day of the week?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
It can get a bit awkward when out in the world however today the problem amongst Christians isn't that they are too righteous in avoiding the use of the term "sunday". Quite the opposite. I don't see that this should be much of an issue. How often in non-Christian contexts do we need to refer specifically to the first day of the week?

To assert that it is a sin to use the word Sunday is being righteous overmuch. What are you going to do if someone asks you on what day do we observe the Sabbath in the New Testament?
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
I didn't say it was a sin. I said that amongst Christians today the use of the word sunday is rife and that is what we should be focusing on as a more pressing problem. It is rare that I have to specifically refer to the first day of the week by a name when talking with non-Christians so I would see focusing on that aspect as of secondary importance.

If someone asked me that question I would say the first day of the week.
 

My Pilgrim Way

Puritan Board Freshman
It can get a bit awkward when out in the world however today the problem amongst Christians isn't that they are too righteous in avoiding the use of the term "sunday". Quite the opposite. I don't see that this should be much of an issue. How often in non-Christian contexts do we need to refer specifically to the first day of the week?
I read that extract recently in the Revelation commentary and thought it provided some much needed good sense to the folly of those who are righteous overmuch.
I know a family that avoids saying Sunday, and in fact, calls the days of the week first day, second day, etc. Of course, they have decided the sabbbath is still on the seventh day, speak the Hebrew names of God, Jesus, observe Passover with foot washing, don't eat pork or shellfish, and disagree with other commonly held interpretations of scripture.

It's very sad for me as they took up this position after coming out of dispensational teaching when I began explaining reformed teaching on the sabbath. It is also very awkward, and we avoid conversation about Saturday/Sunday. Oddly, they are not Hebrew Roots.

As an aside and personal irritation, most calendars start on Monday and it's surprising how many people think that is the first day of the week and then there's the weekend (no work).
 

scottmaciver

Puritan Board Sophomore
That's very interesting Chris. Can you provide the Durham reference?

Someone who is not on the board objected to someone's use of the term Sunday in common discussion here. In response I thought I'd post what James Durham has to say as far as the parameters on this. I think we should use the Scripture given name Lord's Day amongst the community of believers. Sunday may be used in a civil and otherwise pagan and unbelieving context. See Durham's comments below, from his Commentary on Revelation, chapter one, lecture four. Note that as much as there is a given name in Scripture for the first day of the week, there is also a broader principle from approved example of speaking in a culture so as to be understood.
...II. The name that the Lord’s Day gets....
II. For the second, seeing it gets this name to be called the Lord’s day, it may be questioned here concerning our manner of speaking of days, calling the Lord’s Day Sunday, the next day after it Monday, etc., which has the first rise from superstition, if not from idolatry, some of them being attributed to planets, as Sunday and Monday; some of them to idols, as Thursday, etc. But to speak to the thing itself, look to the primitive times, we will find Sunday called the Lord’s Day, and the days of the week by the first, second, third, etc. But the names of days, being like the names of places and months, folks must speak of them as they are in use, and scripture warrants us so to do. Acts 17:22, Paul is said to stand in the midst of Mars hill. Acts 28:11 speaks of a ship, whose sign was Castor and Pollux. So, March, January, July and August, are from the idols Mars and Janus, or derived from men that appropriate more than ordinary to themselves. And though it was ordinary to Christians in the primitive times to call this day the Lord’s day among themselves, yet when they had dealing with the Jews, they called it the Sabbath, and when they had dealing with the heathen, they called it the Sunday. And so, though it be best to speak of days as scripture names them, yet it is agreeable with scripture to design or denominate them as they are in use among a people, especially where no superstitious use is in naming of them.​
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
This is a new one. Was this something you were taught as a child, or did you come to do this later?

When I moved to my present chuch and learnt these things. I do all I can in conversation to avoid using the terms "sunday". However, at times, it's almost impossible not to use it (with non-Christians). We should avoid using it as much as possible though.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
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That's very interesting Chris. Can you provide the Durham reference?
It is chapter one, lecture 4, the second doctrine toward the end. Pagination depends on what edition you have. In the hopefully forthcoming NPSE edition (vol. 1 on chps 1-3) it is page 81 (projected 504pp, and this just the first three chapters!). https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/naphtalipress/james-durham-a-commentary-on-revelation-13-504pp there's a plan b if the goal is not reached but pledging means I can easily contact those that were interested.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
We should avoid using it as much as possible though.

Why?
I often use "Lord's Day" or "Sabbath" and that's certainly appropriate but "first day of the week" is used in Scripture so it's not exclusive. If it has to do with pagan naming, then we'd better rename all the other days of the week too.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
Why?
I often use "Lord's Day" or "Sabbath" and that's certainly appropriate but "first day of the week" is used in Scripture so it's not exclusive. If it has to do with pagan naming, then we'd better rename all the other days of the week too.

"First day of the week" is certainly an acceptable description (because it is the first day). However Christians, at least, should refer to it by the names specially given it by Scripture: Sabbath and Lord's Day. Because it is a day set apart for the worship of God and spiritual meditation. "sunday" should be avoided because that is a pagan name and we have names specially given to this day in Scripture so we certainly shouldn't call it by a pagan name.

It is unfortunate that the other days of the week have the names they do. However they are in a different category since Scripture does not give special names for these days. When Scripture is silent then the common names for the days would seem to be acceptable; when Scripture is not silent then we should use the names it gives and no others.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Christians, at least, should refer to it by the names specially given it by Scripture..."sunday" should be avoided because that is a pagan name...when Scripture is not silent then we should use the names it gives and no others.

I just get wary when the word "should" is used when there is no clear command in Scripture. Perhaps there is godly wisdom in doing it but "should" implies a lot more than that.

I can't recall offhand any English or Scottish Puritan who said it was wrong to use "Sunday", even if they recommended other names. The quote from Durham in the OP seems wise to me.
 

My Pilgrim Way

Puritan Board Freshman
I just get wary when the word "should" is used when there is no clear command in Scripture. Perhaps there is godly wisdom in doing it but "should" implies a lot more than that.

I can't recall offhand any English or Scottish Puritan who said it was wrong to use "Sunday", even if they recommended other names. The quote from Durham in the OP seems wise to me.
I've recently read a book of a woman's journal from the 1800's. She referred to it as Sacrament Day. Just an interesting tidbit of info.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
"sunday" should be avoided because that is a pagan name and we have names specially given to this day in Scripture so we certainly shouldn't call it by a pagan name.
It is unfortunate that the other days of the week have the names they do.
It's not just the days of the week, it's the months, too. We have two pagan religions, Germanic and Roman to contend with in our calendars!

Or do we? How many people think of Wodin on Wednesday? Surely it ought to count for something that nobody at all, really, gives any thought to the origin of "January" or "Sunday". They are names and no more.

I've thought about this a fair bit concerning pretended holy-days. I don't like to use the names Christmas and Easter because of what they mean to people.

Christmas is associated with all manner of false religion. I think Yule is a safer word. Even though that name has its origin in Germanic pagan religion, the only thing it calls to mind today is a log.

Easter is an obsure Old English pagan name. But that is not my reason for avoiding the term. I avoid it because I do not with to make it seem as though I consent to such idolatrous religion as one would encounter today in many churches.

If someone says, "Happy Easter!" I might reply with, "Enjoy your weekend."
However they are in a different category since Scripture does not give special names for these days. When Scripture is silent then the common names for the days would seem to be acceptable; when Scripture is not silent then we should use the names it gives and no others.
Interesting. Whence do you draw this principle? Surely you are aware that the nation of Israel had a calendar with non-pagan names for the months? It would seem that you are constraining yourself to use the Hebrew calendar.
 

Henry Hall

Puritan Board Freshman
Psalm 2 says to kiss the Son, not kiss the Sun. I would rather err on the side of being perceived as weird than being broken to pieces like a potter’s vessel.
How has avoiding being perceived as weird been working out for us?
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
Psalm 2 says to kiss the Son, not kiss the Sun. I would rather err on the side of being perceived as weird than being broken to pieces like a potter’s vessel.
How has avoiding being perceived as weird been working out for us?
What? Are you suggesting that those who use the word "Sunday" are worshipping the Sun? Otherwise I can't make much sense of what you are saying.

And it has nothing to do with being perceived as weird. It has everything to do with being "righteous overmuch". (See @Reformed Covenanter's post above.) You even appear to suggest that those who say "Sunday" are in danger of judgment.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
An original Covenanter (James Durham):

And though it was ordinary to Christians in the primitive times to call this day the Lord’s day among themselves, yet when they had dealing with the Jews, they called it the Sabbath, and when they had dealing with the heathen, they called it the Sunday.

A neo-Covenanter:

Psalm 2 says to kiss the Son, not kiss the Sun. I would rather err on the side of being perceived as weird than being broken to pieces like a potter’s vessel.
How has avoiding being perceived as weird been working out for us?

Does anyone spot the difference?
 

kainos01

Puritan Board Senior
As Durham notes of the early church vis-a-vis the name of the day, "when dealing with the heathen, they called it the Sunday." Thus, merely to employ the word has historical precedent.

E.g., Justin Martyr, Weekly Worship of the Christians:

And we afterwards continually remind each other of these things. And the wealthy among us help the needy; and we always keep together; and for all things wherewith we are supplied, we bless the Maker of all through His Son Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Ghost. And on the day called Sunday (τῇ τοῦ ῾Ηλίου λεγομένη ἡμέρᾳ), all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.viii.ii.lxvii.html
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
It's not just the days of the week, it's the months, too. We have two pagan religions, Germanic and Roman to contend with in our calendars!

Or do we? How many people think of Wodin on Wednesday? Surely it ought to count for something that nobody at all, really, gives any thought to the origin of "January" or "Sunday". They are names and no more.

I've thought about this a fair bit concerning pretended holy-days. I don't like to use the names Christmas and Easter because of what they mean to people.

Christmas is associated with all manner of false religion. I think Yule is a safer word. Even though that name has its origin in Germanic pagan religion, the only thing it calls to mind today is a log.

Easter is an obsure Old English pagan name. But that is not my reason for avoiding the term. I avoid it because I do not with to make it seem as though I consent to such idolatrous religion as one would encounter today in many churches.

If someone says, "Happy Easter!" I might reply with, "Enjoy your weekend."

Interesting. Whence do you draw this principle? Surely you are aware that the nation of Israel had a calendar with non-pagan names for the months? It would seem that you are constraining yourself to use the Hebrew calendar.

An original Covenanter (James Durham):



A neo-Covenanter:



Does anyone spot the difference?

I think this from the Confession would establish such a principle:

" and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed." WCF I:VI

The names of the days and months, to me, fall under the category of those things which are common to societies and for the orderly functioning of daily life we must submit to. Unless we have Scriptural injunction otherwise. Here we do: we have two names specifically given to the first day of the week in Scripture. We should use them instead of the clearly pagan "sunday". And surely there is no other name of day as explicitly pagan as "sunday".

I said from the outset that when dealing with non-Christians the use of the word "sunday" might be necessary. However, as I also said, how often is this the case? One would have thought that the great majority of the times a Christian refers to the first day would be in conversation with other Christians in which case there should be no reticence in using the Biblical names. Why we're arguing over a point which should only be applicable in a small minority of cases is beyond me.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
Why we're arguing over a point which should only be applicable in a small minority of cases is beyond me.

Because while we reformed love God’s Law we must guard against the charge of legalism, which often gets wrongly lodged at fellow Christians who view the 10 Commandments as eternally binding. We actually want to urge people to see the beauty of what God actually requires vs. the often added man-made preferences. The James Durham quote hits the nail on the head!:detective:
 
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NaphtaliPress

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I think we are mostly agreed that Durham's comment is sound that the Lord's Day should be the preferred use in Christian discourse, such as in discourse between believers like on the PB. Let conscience guide how often the common name is necessary out in the world or when a stand must be made for the proper name. Saying it can never be used is the righteous overmuch some are resisting. Note that Durham alludes to the point of no superstition. This is a key point often overlooked in George Gillespie's argument for removing monuments of idolatry, which factors in such things as common names for the week days and months, which having no religious use, are not encompassed in what he discusses. This is such an important argument, that I put the full section from the critical edition of English Popish Ceremonies online: http://www.naphtali.com/articles/ge...n-the-rule-for-purging-monuments-of-idolatry/
 
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