Why Is Church on Sunday?
There is a counterfeit, secularized, humanistic new church that has created doors to Jesus’ assembly and opened them for membership. A review of Christian church history indicates that the doors of the church were actually opened in 313 A.D. with the signing of the Edict of Milan. According to the online New Catholic Dictionary, the Edict was granted by the Emperors Constantine the Great in the West and Licinius in the East; it bestowed religious freedom throughout the Roman Empire and the proclamation permanently established religious toleration of Christianity. After more than two centuries of intense, intermittent persecution of Christians, many of whom were marked with particular cruelty and murdered for sport, the edict meant much more than toleration. There was also increased political pressure to recognize the growing ranks of converts due to the threat Christianity posed to the state government.
The Edict of Milan, marking the authoritative recognition of Christianity as an authentic religion, was a political agreement specifying the following by the Emperors: an end to Christian persecution and restoration their churches, cemeteries, and other property that the state had confiscated. Though the toleration was agreed upon jointly with Licinius, Constantine led the movement to bestow full freedom upon the church and to make Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. The Edict of Milan was signed because Constantine said that he had a vision that Christianity could give him victory on the battlefield. He put the Greek letters representing the first two letters for Christ, or Christos, on all of his soldiers’ shields and they triumphed in battle. Constantine then gave the Christian God the credit for the victory, declared Rome a Christian empire and became the official emperor of all of Rome.
Constantine the Great opened the doors of the Imperial Church in 323 AD and began the period that I refer to as “the doors of the church are open.” Many people consider this period of time the death of Christianity and the rise of the Christian religion because many, if not most, were “converted” by way of the sword. Sunday was declared a day of observance for worship, due in part to the beginnings of secular blending into the doctrine of Christianity. Prior to this time, Constantine was a solar henotheist, believing in one God, while not denying the existence of others. All work ceased on Sundays in the Roman Empire. Why? Because the doors of the church were now open. Roman citizens were fined and tortured for not “going to church” on Sunday. Philip Yancey has well said that “coziness between church and state is good for the state and bad for the church.”
The New Testament gathering of believers that had been meeting “every day in the temple and at home” (Acts 5:42) deteriorated to a Sunday-only, cathedral environment where church life became institutionalized and formal. Everybody who was anybody sought membership in the church again, primarily for sociological reasons. Those sincerely seeking the heart of God, along with social climbers seeking financial gain and status, desired membership in the Church and were admitted on equal footing. Ambitious, worldly, and unscrupulous men sought office in the church to gain social and political influence.
In the aftermath of the Edict of Milan, worldliness overtook spirituality in the church. Having a state church meant that the state controlled the church; spirituality did not influence the state. The doors of the church were mounted and swung wide open and every all were allowed entry, particularly if there were financial and political gains at stake, because the Emperor governed the church. God was no longer in charge of the church. God never opened those doors; Constantine opened them and Constantine governed them. This era initiated the paradigm of the church as a sociological phenomenon, which was something God never intended it to be. It was also the beginning of the church’s slide down the slippery slope of man-made religion; an institution with clear socialization goals mutated into an organism in which Christ’s original message of the Kingdom of God became subservient to the will of the State.