Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Friday, October 23, 2009

Waldenses and the Seventh day Sabbath and Adventists

Through a recent comment discussion over on Atoday.com my interest was peaked about one of the long lasting myths of Adventism. Here is what some of our Pioneers presented as history:


Ellen White, The Great Controversy 1888


The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. (See Appendix.) Hundreds of years before the Reformation they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution. They declared the Church of Rome to be the apostate Babylon of the Apocalypse, and at the peril of their lives they stood up to resist her corruptions. While, under the pressure of long-continued persecution, some compromised their faith, little by little yielding its distinctive principles, others held fast the truth. Through ages of darkness and apostasy there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome, who rejected image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath. Under the fiercest tempests of opposition they maintained their faith. Though gashed by the Savoyard spear, and scorched by the Romish fagot, they stood unflinchingly for God’s word and His honor.


J.N.Andrews History of the Sabbath and first day of the week


Uses the quote below from the Eccl. Hist, of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont, pp. 168, 169 With this preface:


That the Cathari did retain and observe the ancient Sabbath, is certified by their Romish adversaries. Dr. Allix quotes a Roman Catholic author of the twelfth century concerning three sorts of heretics,—the Cathari, the Passagii, and the Arnoldistae. Allix says of this Romish writer that,—


Some remarks upon the ecclesiastical history of the ancient churches of Piedmont

By Pierre Allix Google books pages 168-172 plain text:


He lays it down also as one of their opinions, "That the Law of Moses is to be kept according to” the letter, and that the keeping of the Sabbath, " Circumcision, and other legal observances, ought “to take place. They hold also, that Christ the "Son of God is not equal with the Father, and that” the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, these three” Persons, are not one God and one substance; and, " as a surplus to these their errors, they judge and “condemn all the doctors of the Church, and uni" versally the whole Roman Church. Now, since “they endeavour to defend this their error by testimonies drawn from the New Testament and Prophets, I shall, with assistance of the grace of” Christ, stop their mouths, as David did Goliah's, “with their own sword."


This is the quote we frequently read by those who put forth that the Waldenses kept alive the seventh day Sabbath. But we should consider what the author states about the person he is quoting. Notice the last couple of sentences are about the person who he quotes above, the person Andrews is referencing as an authority:


We ought to make this observation with respect to those authors, who in the twelfth century have made mention of the Cathari with this kind of confusion. itai. sacr. Ughellus tells us, in the Life of Galdinus, Arch' p' ' bishop of Milan, that after he had persecuted them, during the eight or nine years of his episcopacy, he died in the year 1173, by his over-vehement preaching against them. Ripamontius, in his History of Milan, gives us the sermon of Galdinus against the Cathari, whom he calls Manichees and Arians. But an indifferent judgment will be able to discover, that that piece is of Ripamontius's own forging, and consequently deserves no credit at all.


D'Achery has published the writing of an author, who pretends to discover the doctrine of the Cathari, of which he had been surely informed by the conversion of one Bonacursus to the Roman faith, who had been one of their Bishops, and had abjured their doctrine. This author makes three sorts of heretics, the Cathari, the Passagii, and the Arnoldistse, whose doctrines he refutes: but a wise reader will easily discern a great deal either of ignorance or malice in this author. (found in the first full paragraph of the above link for pages 168-172 text)


Not high praise for the person who we find often quoted as if it was the scholarly author of Eccl. Hist, of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont. Of course if we read more of Andrews we will see his does use other sources maybe some are better, but overall our knowledge of history has gotten better not worse since the 1800’s and we don’t find this idea about the Waldenses as seventh day Sabbath keepers in our scholarly modern histories. In fact the Waldensian church denies the seventh day Sabbath keeper idea. You can read about it Official response of the Waldesian Church in Italy about SDA claim which concludes by saying:


Therefore, the Waldensians did not keep the Sabbath (in the sense of Saturday instead of Sunday) and were not guardians of the "Sabbath Truth” as somebody calls it. The Waldensians never followed the Seventh-day Adventist’s Sabbath but they followed more Paul in Romans 14,5-8.

We can therefore say very clearly that the Waldensians were not Seventh-day Sabbath keepers and they were not persecuted for keeping Saturday as the Sabbath! Thy were persecuted, [from 1532 (when they joined the Reformation - Angrogna Synod) to 1848 (when they received religious freedom)], because of their Reformed-Calvinistic faith in Christ.


A good loyal Adventist would no doubt counter that they are not talking about during and after the Reformation but earlier in the 1100-1300’s when they were not really what we now term Waldensians. In which case that may be that there were some groups who did continued to observe the Jewish Sabbath, but they are not the Waldensians. That is the point.


For those, most of you know doubt, who won’t be going to check out the links to Google books let me give you the paragraph above the quote so often used by those who quote from of Eccl. Hist, of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont, though I will cut out the part Latin:


He accuseth some of these Cathari of maintaining doctrines that are plain Manicheism ; but then he jumbles others with them that are pure Arianism, and others again which seem to have been defended by the Paterines. I shall pass by those doctrines that are wholly Manichean, as, that the Devil created the elements; that he made Adam; that the old Law was given by the Devil, &c. as also those that are Arian, as, that Jesus Christ is not equal with the Father. It is evident, that amongst these he has mingled some which were maintained by the Paterines, who were enemies to the Romish idolatry: …That the " cross is the mark of the beast, whereof we read in " the Revelation, and the abomination standing in " the holy place. They say that blessed Pope " Sylvester was the Antichrist, of whom mention is " made in the Epistles of St. Paul, as being the " son of perdition, who extols himself, above every " thing that is called God; for, from that time, they " say, the Church perished." We see clearly from this passage, that he confounds the Paterines, or Waldenses, with the Manichees, that having been an opinion of the Waldenses, and not of the Manichees, as the Papists themselves own.


You have got to love Google books, how else would one expect to find such an old reference as Some remarks upon the ecclesiastical history of the ancient churches of Piedmont By Pierre Allix 1821

3 comments:

Bulworth said...

"The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. (See Appendix.) Hundreds of years before the Reformation they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue."

I wonder what language the Waldensians spoke? Did they themselves do the translating or did they simply possess someone's else's translation? I wonder if the translations the Waldensians had were from the Latin, which were translations from the Greek and Hebrew, or some other language.

Yes, a rather simplistic account we received from the GC.

Jay Uzoma Jayshapzy said...

I agree that
The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples ofEuropeto obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. (See Appendix.) Hundreds of years before the Reformation they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution. They declared the Church of Rome to be the apostateBabylonof the Apocalypse, and at the peril of their lives they stood up to resist her corruptions. While, under the pressure of long-continued persecution, some compromised their faith, little by little yielding its distinctive principles, others held fast the truth. Through ages of darkness and apostasy there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy ofRome, who rejected image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath. Under the fiercest tempests of opposition they maintained their faith. Though gashed by the Savoyard spear, and scorched by the Romish fagot, they stood unflinchingly for God’s word and His honor.

Ron Corson said...

It is nice that you agree with it but the question is whether that is historically true or not.