“I Stand Corrected!”
The admission was remarkable and refreshing. But why are Americans so ignorant of the Bible?
When one of the richest and most powerful people in the world publicly admits to being wrong and says, “I stand corrected,” you tend to take notice. A few years ago I heard such a confession on one of television’s most popular shows in the United States.
The host was interviewing a young Hollywood film executive, DeVon Franklin, and they engaged in some interesting discussion about how one can hold to his religious convictions while working in such a secular environment. But when he disclosed he observed the seventh-day Sabbath and explained that meant abstaining from work from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, now that was a revelation!
“I learned,” the clearly amazed host said, “… all these years I thought the Sabbath was Sunday. I’ve been going to church. We say, ‘Worship on the Sabbath,’ … And you corrected me. You said, ‘No, Sunday is the first day of the week; Sabbath is Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.’ I stand corrected.”
This remarkable admission was made by none other than Oprah Winfrey. How unusual and refreshing to hear such a powerful person openly and willingly admit her ignorance!
TV and Big Macs vs. Commandments
But it raised a basic question: Why didn’t she know? That question’s not for Oprah, but for those responsible for our religious education. Why aren’t people—especially churchgoers—being taught the truth by their religious mentors and guides about something as important as “which day is the Sabbath of the Bible?” After all, it’s one of the 10 Commandments!
This is evidence of author Stephen Prothero’s observation that “Americans are both deeply religious and profoundly ignorant about religion,” including the most basic areas.
For example, Kelton Research’s 2007 survey of 1,000 Americans found that while 43 percent knew that Peter and Bobby were characters on the old Brady Bunch TV show, only 34 percent could recall “remember the Sabbath” as one of the commandments. Eighty percent could name “two all-beef patties” as the main ingredient of a Big Mac, but only 60 percent knew “thou shalt not kill” was one of the 10 Commandments!
It’s doubtful people in other countries would fare much better.
Does it even matter?
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy,” God said. Jesus remembered the Sabbath. The apostles remembered the Sabbath. The New Testament Church remembered the Sabbath. And not only did they remember the day, they remembered the part about keeping it holy!
So how did we move from such common knowledge then to such ignorance today? How did mainstream Christianity’s day of worship shift from Saturday to Sunday? Did God change it, or did humans? Did God say it wasn’t important anymore, or did humans? Does it even matter?
Well, consider this: Does it matter if a human, even a religious leader, proclaims, “Listen, everyone, I’m changing the Fourth Commandment. Never mind that God gave it. Never mind that He instituted it at creation. Never mind that we have no scriptural or biblical authority to do so. We’re just changing it!”
Actually, that’s what happened! Does that matter to you? More important, does it matter to God?
Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” We’re devoting major space in this edition to examine what the Sabbath means for your life and your relationship with God—because, yes, it matters.
The truth about the Sabbath is pretty amazing. Oprah Winfrey was big enough to listen and learn, and even admit, “I stand corrected.” What about you? Once you stand corrected, what are you willing to do about it?
And, if like Oprah, you didn’t know that Saturday was the Sabbath of the Bible, maybe it will make you wonder, “What else is in the Bible that I haven’t been told about?” It’s a question worth pursuing!