The Sabbath Under Crossfire:
A Look At Recent Developments
Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.
Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University
Sabbatarians in Eastern Europe.On August 1992 I received a letter from Robert Kisiel, president of the Polish Brethren Unity Church, inviting me to attend a meeting of 1,500 leaders of congregations in Western Ukraine on November 1, 1992. In his letter, Kiesel writes: "During this meeting our brethren are going to discuss the basic topic of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity in order to establish a new Sabbathkeeping Church of God. . . . I hope you can find time to come to this meeting as one of the best Western Sabbath theologians and help us in the process of the creation of the new Church."
Kisiel's letter and invitation was sent to me through Dr. Przemyslaw Waliszewski, a scientist in the Department of Cancer Biology of The Cleveland and Clinic Foundation, an internationally known cancer research center. In his accompanying letter, Prof. Waliszewski (a non-SDA) urged me to accept the invitation and asked permission to translate my Sabbath books into Polish and Russian. On such short notice and with such limited information about the actual location of the meeting, it was impossible for me to attend. My absence from the meeting does not detract from the fact that 1500 leaders of Polish Unity Brethren Church in Poland and Western Ukraine came together to establish a new Sabbathkeeping Church of God.
This fragmentary report has served to show that while some are attacking the Sabbath, other are rediscovering it meaning and blessings for their lives. The Sabbath has been under the constant crossfire of controversy in Christian history, undoubtedly because it affects the quality of Christian living more than any other Biblical institution. Satan knows that if he can lead the people to ignore the Lord on the Sabbath day, ultimately they will ignore God every day of their lives.
We have seen that today the Sabbath is being attacked today not only by Sundaykeepers, but also by former Sabbathkeepers. These renewed attacks against the Sabbath coming from different quarters have not damaged the Sabbath, but have impoverished the many people who have chosen to ignore God's Holy Day. Contrary to what some claim, the Sabbath is not in crisis, because it is a divine institution and God is never in crisis. Instead, the crisis affects countless Christians who have been deprived of the physical, mental, and spiritual renewal the Sabbath is designed to provide them.
In the midst of this controversy it is reassuring to know that there are many Christians who are rediscovering the Sabbath as God's gift to the human family. These Christians are discovering that the values of the Sabbath, as a day for spiritual, physical, moral, and social renewal, are essential for revitalizing the religious experience of millions of Christians today.
Kontakty z Profesorem Bacchiocchi, wybitnym teologiem adwentystycznym i erudytą, wspominamy niezwykle sympatycznie. Profesor, dowiedziawszy się o organizowanej Konferencji, której celem było ukonstytuowanie się nowego Kościoła sabatariańskiego na Ukrainie Zachodniej, gotów był porzucić wszystkie obowiązki, aby wziąć udział w tym niezwykłym wydarzeniu. Jako ekspert, zajmujący się naukowo problematyką szabatu w tradycji chrystiańskiej i chrześcijańskiej, uznał okoliczność powstania Jednoty Braci Polskich w XVI wieku, a następnie jej reaktywacji w chrystiańskiej postaci w wieku XX za fakt na tyle niezwykły, iż opisał całe zdarzenie w jednej ze swoich najnowszych książek.