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This fact is, perhaps, the greatest embarrassment of all times to Seventh-day Adventists. Bacchiocchi's book, From Saturday to Sunday, Dr. Bacchiocchi concedes AD as the latest date for the universal abandonment of Sabbath-keeping by Christians.
This date is at least years before there was a Roman Catholic Church or a pope. Canright's research which proved from a wealth of scholarly sources that Christians began abandoning the Sabbath before AD, that Sabbath abandonment was wide-spread by AD, and had become universal not long after that.
By the time Dr. Bacchiocchi wrote From Sabbath to Sunday, historians had dated the Didache, which documents Christians worshiping on the first day of the week to as early as 50 AD and no later than AD.
More accurately, the Didache is a collection of the first Christian writings, and the section of the document that mentions Christians meeting on the first day of the week to worship God is believed by researchers to be around 70 AD. American scholars seem convinced that this section was probably written between 50 and 70 AD, whereas European scholars tend to think 70 AD to AD.
Human experience shows us that it takes some highly significant events and a certain amount of time to influence a large group of people to change deeply ingrained behaviors. If Christian writers were discussing the meeting of Christians on Sunday to worship God by 70 AD, it is evident that there would have to have been a process already under way to get a significant number of Christians to abandon the Sabbath for Sunday.
It is significant to note that St. Paul wrote his last epistle in 63 AD and was martyred somewhere between 64 and 67 AD. Please study the Wikipedia articles on St. Paul and the Didache for support of these facts.
What then needs to be taken into consideration is that the Gentile Christians never did, as a group, embrace the Sabbath to begin with, and that the Jewish Christians after one or two generations are the ones who were truly abandoning the last vestiges of the old covenant in favor of the new.
For Bacchiocchi's theory to have credibility, he must prove two things beyond reasonable doubt. First, he must demonstrate that sun worship was popular enough in the Roman Empire between and AD to potentially have influenced Christianity in the choice of a day of worship on the basis of a perceived need for commonality.
Second, he must provide adequate evidence to show a high degree of probability that it actually DID influence Christianity in this manner.
The more incredible any available theory is, the greater demand there is for one's arguments to be strong. In view of the extreme difficulties he has in supporting the first of these two requirements and a total lack of any solid evidence for the second requirement, logic requires us to give careful consideration to any other available theory.
The Pauline Theory—the concept that Christians abandoned Sabbath keeping as a result of following Paul's counsels in Colossians 2: The command is followed. The Council of Jerusalem determines that circumcision is not to be required of the new Gentile converts, and the Sabbath and the law cannot be kept without circumcision.
Sabbath abandonment in Christianity appears to have happened about as rapidly as one could expect Paul's writings to be copied and distributed to all the Churches in the Roman Empire.
Bacchiocchi's book, Sabbath under CrossfireDr. Bacchiocchi spends nearly an entire chapter discussing the possibility that this sun cult or that sun cult was popular between 70 and AD, but there is no consensus among his sources.
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