Bible Sabbath Association

Bible Sabbath Association
   The Bible Sabbath Association is the largest North American fellowship of believers in Sabbatarianism, the belief that the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) is the proper day for Christians to set aside for worship, rather than the more commonly observed Sunday. Sabbatarianism remains a significant and growing minority opinion within the Protestant community.
   The idea was brought to America and introduced to the Baptists in the 1660s by Stephen Mumford. It was found exclusively among Baptists until the middle of the 19th century, when Ellen G. White, the founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA), proposed it to the Adventists who had survived the Great Disappointment when Christ did not return in 1844. The issue split the Adventist movement, but White's following emerged as the most successful segment. In the 20th century, more than half of all Sabbatarian Christians around the world were members of the SDA.
   One group of Adventists who accepted Sabbatarianism but not the particular revelations of Ellen White formed the Church of God (Seventh Day). Through the 20th century, this relatively small group splintered in more than a dozen factions, one of which, the Worldwide Church of God, emerged as the second-largest Sabbatarian Adventist group, though far smaller than the SDA. A number of Sabbatarian Church of God congregations regrouped around a second idea, the importance of calling God by his correct name. These churches collectively constituted the Sacred Name movement.
   By 1940, there were several dozen Sabbatarian groups, almost all of Baptist or Adventist origin. In 1943, people affiliated with the smaller groups founded the Bible Sabbath Association (BSA) to provide mutual support. They tried to change the laws found in many Western nations (including the united States) that restricted commerce on Sunday, and to end discrimination against Sabbatarians (especially people who refused to work on Saturday).
   Since that time, many Sabbath laws have been repealed or modified for Sabbatarians, though the fight to end Sabbath discrimination continues. In recent decades, Christians outside of the Adventist lineage have accepted Sabbatarianism, including several splinters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
   The BSA has set as its goal to unite "all believers in the Bible Sabbath, regardless of sect, creed or denomination for the sole purpose of spreading knowledge of, belief in, and observance of God's Holy Day." While primarily operating in the United States, there are now member churches around the world. At the beginning of the 21st century, BSA reported some 400 Sabbatarian groups with some 1,600 congregations. BSA headquarters are in Gillette, Wyoming. It publishes The Sabbath Sentinel bimonthly.
   Further reading:
   ■ Bible Sabbath Association. Available online. URL: http://www.biblesabbath.org
   ■ George Dellinger, A History of the Sabbath Resurrection Doctrine (Westfield, N.J.: Sabbath Research Center, 1982)
   ■ Directory of Sabbath-Observing Groups (Fairview, Okla.: Bible Sabbath Association, revised periodically)
   ■ Carlyle B. Haynes, From Sabbath to Sunday (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing, 1928).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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