Some Adventists and sabbatarians like to claim that the reformers knew that keeping the sabbath was biblical, but they kept Sunday instead because the Holy Spirit hadn’t led them to that light yet.
Other dishonest Adventists and sabbatarians like to quote Protestant “admissions” that there is no reason to observe Sunday and that the Bible teaches that we should be keeping the Saturday sabbath.
Well, here are some quotes from important reformers. They show that the reformers clearly understood that the weekly sabbath commandment from the Old Testament was abolished, and that they could keep any day that inspired them.
Again one can prove it from the third commandment that Moses does not pertain to Gentiles and Christians. For Paul and the New Testament abolish the sabbath, to show us that the sabbath was given to the Jews alone, for whom it is a stern commandment. The prophets referred to it too, that the sabbath of the Jews would be abolished. … For in the New Testament the sabbath is annihilated as regards the crude external observance, for every day is a holy day,” etc. … Now if anyone confronts you with Moses and his commandments, and wants to compel you to keep them, simply answer, “Go to the Jews with your Moses; I am no Jew. Do not entangle me with Moses. If I accept Moses in one respect, then I am obligated to keep the entire law.” For not one little period in Moses pertains to us.
— Martin Luther, “How Christians Should Regard Moses”; note that Luther counted the sabbath commandment as the third of the ten.
We find in our day in Moravia a foolish rabble folk that call themselves the Sabbathers. They contend that we must, according to the Jewish regulations and customs, keep the Sabbath; and perhaps they will yet in time lay a similar requirement for circumcision.
There are in Austria and Moravia, as it is reported to me, people at this time that in Jewish manner keep the Sabbath and compel circumcision. If these people come in contact with people that are not properly instructed in God’s Word, they will do great damage.
— Martin Luther, “Auslegung von 1. Mose” (Genesis), Schriften (Walch ed.), vol. 1, cols. 873, 1009-1010. [Quoted in Ministry Magazine]
Lutheranism from Luther’s time:
For those who judge that by the authority of the Church the observance of the Lord’s Day instead of the Sabbath-day was ordained as a thing necessary, do greatly err. Scripture has abrogated the Sabbath-day; for it teaches that, since the Gospel has been revealed, all the ceremonies of Moses can be omitted. And yet, because it was necessary to appoint a certain day, that the people might know when they ought to come together, it appears that the Church designated the Lord’s Day for this purpose; and this day seems to have been chosen all the more for this additional reason, that men might have an example of Christian liberty, and might know that the keeping neither of the Sabbath nor of any other day is necessary.
— Augsberg Confession, Article 28
First, with the seventh day of rest the Lord wished to give to the people of Israel an image of spiritual rest … there is no doubt that it ceased in Christ (Col. 2:17), Hence, though the sabbath is abrogated, it so happens among us that we still convene on certain days in order to hear the word of God.
— John Calvin, Instruction in Faith, section 8, “The Law of the Lord”
For the words of Christ are of themselves clear enough, when He says: the sabbath is made for man and not man for the sabbath. In a word, the sabbath and all time are subject to man, not man to the sabbath.
— Ulrich Zwingli, Liberty Respecting Food in Lent
And as for the sabbath, a great matter, we be lords over the sabbath; and may yet change it into the Monday, or any other day, as we see need; or may make every tenth day holy day only, if we see a cause why. We may make two every week, if it were expedient, and one not enough to teach the people. Neither was there any cause to change it from the Saturday, than to put difference between us and the Jews, and lest we should become servants unto the day, after their superstition. Neither needed we any holy day at all, if the people might be taught without it.
— William Tyndale, Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue, book 1, chapter 25).