Is Move (To Sunday worship) By The SDA Church in Samoa a Convenient Compromise?
Does anyone have any comments on this decision, and the reason for it,due to the change in the dateline: (I am not taking a position just posting the article from a group called "Adventist_prophecy.)
The controversial decision by the SDA church administration in Samoa to worship on Sunday has drawn many letters on the issue from Seventh-day Adventists around the world.
Many are critical of the inconsistency in the position of the Samoa-Tokelau Mission by rejecting Saturday as the 7th day of the week following the Government’s decision for Samoa to align with Australia and New Zealand (west of the IDL), hence the reason for now worshipping on Sunday; and on the other hand accepting the new ‘working week’ from Monday to Friday.
Bloggers on WWW.SSnet.org (Sabbath School Network site) and www.spectrummagazine.orghave also raised an observation regarding a convenient compromise by the SDA church in Samoa should there be a Sunday Law.
“Can I flee to Samoa to avoid persecution when the worldwide Sunday law happens and at the same time keep my Sabbath with a clear conscience?”
“I wonder indeed if we can move to Samoa when the Sunday Laws come – and keep Sabbath on Sunday?”
Dr. Allen Sonter a respected Seventh-day Adventist educator and missionary from Australia who lived and worked in (Western) Samoa and Tonga for a number of years, and also worked in the SDA (CPUM) office for 6 years highlighted the complexity of the Samoa issue, “My work then involved crossing the date line frequently. In fact, I recall one 8-week period when I did not have two consecutive weeks of the same length. My weeks would be 7-days 8-days, 7-days 6-days, 7 days, 8 days, 6-day, 7-days. Sometimes the only flight we could get from Rarotonga to Auckland was on a Friday afternoon, so we would take off late Friday afternoon, cross the date line in the evening, and land in Auckland on Saturday night. Where did Sabbath go? I hated that flight, because I missed a Sabbath! Incidentally, I also missed my birthday one year, and Christmas day another year.”
“The Bible gives no instruction about how to handle the date-line issue, and it also says nothing about where on the surface of the earth the Sabbath begins and ends. Therefore, if God has not seen fit to make that issue clear, it is obviously not a matter that is vital to our salvation. Therefore, in seeking a solution to the issue we must look to underlying principles that govern our relationship to God and to our fellow believers.”
“The Sabbath is a sign of the fact that the LORD is our God (Ezekiel 20, 12, 20). Therefore in handling the date-line issue the basic principle that should guide our decision is that our keeping of the Sabbath should mark us as being loyal to God, as opposed to following a man-made day of rest. If the Adventist teaching about the mark of the beast being the false Sunday / Sabbath is true, then to worship on the Sunday (even though sunset to sunset instead of midnight to midnight) gives a mixed message in regard to our loyalty to God. To argue that Sunday in Tonga, and in the new-order (Western) Samoa, is really the seventh day of the week, is to mount an argument to which there is no definitive answer, because, as I noted earlier, the Bible is silent on the facts that are needed to prove one's point. Which solution to the issue most clearly applies the principle that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is a sign of our loyalty to God? When I was travelling frequently across the date-line,
“I recall that on one occasion in Tonga I was speaking with a delegation from the British government, and one senior officer said, "The Adventist church in Tonga has been very astute in getting around the strong Sunday legislation in Tonga by arguing that in Tonga the seventh day of the week is really Sunday." So from the point of view of an educated outsider looking at the situation in Tonga,
“I realize that if the church in (Western) Samoa were to change with the changing date-line, and worship on the new Saturday, that would constitute a de-facto admission that the Tongan church had made a mistake by deciding to keep Sunday in Tonga all these years, and that would be an embarrassment to the Tongan church. We must also realize that the church in American Samoa is affected by whatever decision is made.”
“Now, just to complicate things even further, another underlying principle comes into the picture. That is the principle that we are to consider the effects of our behavior on our fellow believers. Paul tells us that we are not to behave in a way that offends our brother who is weak in the faith (Romans 14: 13). If the church in (Western) Samoa were to change to the Saturday Sabbath in the new-order (Western) Samoa, they may seriously offend their fellow believers in Tonga, and will affect the members in American Samoa. So should the church in Tonga also change and start worshipping on Saturday? I do not know the answer to that, but what I do know is that the churches in both (Western) Samoa and American Samoa, as well as in Tonga, are in this together, and that the final decision should not be imposed by anyone else. I believe there should be a combined meeting of a wide representation of the Tongan and Samoan churches, with a small number of representatives from the NZP Union, the SPD, and the General Conference present to give counsel, but not to take part in the actual decision making process. The matter should be prayerfully discussed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit until a clear consensus among the believers is reached.”
“When consensus has been reached, the believers in (Western) Samoa alone must make the final decision about the Sabbath in (Western) Samoa. If a decision were to be reached to keep Saturday as the Sabbath in (Western) Samoa, Tongan representatives may wish to make some recommendation about the Sabbath in Tonga, which in turn would need to be handled by the believers in Tonga. Any attempt from the outside to impose a decision on the church in (Western) Samoa is likely to cause a split in the church.”
Just remember that we are Seventh Day Adventist. Not Saturday Adventist.
So did the decision to keep Sunday by STM & SPD theologians and administrators constitute an "attempt from the outside to impose a decision on the church in (Western) Samoa"?
We know it split the Church.
How do we feel, as a global SDA Church, about 300+ loyal Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa being locked out of their places of worship on Saturday by the leaders of their Church? Is Sunday enforcement really the mark of the beast?
Amen Aquila as you I can not see why they are having such a problem working out what day is the Sabbath.
The Bible tells us this: Romans 13:1 Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God’s appointment. 2Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged [in divine order]. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves [receiving the penalty due them]. 3 For civil authorities are not a terror to [people of] good conduct, but to [those of] bad behavior. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation. 4 For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, [you should dread him and] be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant to execute His wrath (punishment, vengeance) on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principle and for the sake of conscience. 6 For this same reason you pay taxes, for [the civil authorities] are official servants under God, devoting themselves to attending to this very service. 7 Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due. (AMP)
1Peter 2:13 Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 Or to governors as sent by him to bring vengeance (punishment, justice) to those who do wrong and to encourage those who do good service.(AMP)
I would think that by this we can see that the Government would be authorized by God to draw the dateline where it suits them.
The other point about this is what sort of test is it if you keep the Sabbath on Sunday. We know that in the final days the test will be are we keeping Gods Commandments or mans. The Devil is having his experiment here I believe.
As you say Aquila how can the church have any authority to place the date line, and as you say the Roman Church have taken such authority. Now we find the SDA church doing the same thing. Every day we see how the SDA church is becoming more and more like the Roman church.
Despite ‘consulting’ with Samoan Adventists, it is clear that the decision for Adventists to worship on the ‘new’ Sunday was made by the SPD. Samoan culture prevents those people challenging this decision by the “mother church”, which they innately respect. However there is understandably serious disquiet amongst the Samoans, in both the local and expatriate Adventist communities.
On a round planet a date line is unavoidable, and is arbitrarily located by man. It is therefore also unavoidable that Sabbath will be on a different day either side of that arbitrary line.
Whichever side of that man-made line an SDA is located, we demonstrate our loyalty to the Creator and our fidelity to the Sabbath Commandment by observing the seventh day in that context. And it is called Saturday in English speaking nations,
In moving the date line the Samoan government has not just changed the names of the days, as purported by the SPD. The Samoan government has moved the weekly cycle to the other side of the IDL. The first day is still Sunday and the seventh day is still Saturday. This is not just a man -imposed name change. It is a moving of the weekly cycle.
I believe that according to the previous post I made that the Samoan government has the right (God given right) to change the line as they find it necessary.
The primary principle and issue is that SDAs demonstrate their loyalty to the Creator and obedience to the Fourth Commandment by observing the 7th day as Sabbath – in whatever context or community they belong to – as distinct from those who follow Rome’s pagan day of worship.
The Sabbath is the obvious differentiation between Adventists and other Christian communities. That is the outward evidence of a true commandment keeper. The Samoan Adventist’s desire to demonstrate loyalty to the Creator has effectively been silenced.
How will the non-Adventist community now regard SDAs ? The focus of differentiation has now moved from the Sabbath, to the issue of the moving the IDL and which day is in fact the seventh day. The wider Samoan community has now embedded the IDL change, normalised their lives and moved on. The Adventist community however are resisting change for the wrong reasons and taking a position which is more about the IDL than about a Sabbath witness.
You made me smile then Aquila. But in a sense you are right, just as the Roman church they seem to find it extremely hard to admit a mistake. As I read the article in the record I see they are talking about an ambiguity. This comes from learned men with doctorates, as you may have seen. Newer once did they ask the question that I thought would be the first question you would ask. Who has the right by God's word to set the dateline. Newer once was the text in Romans 13 broached. I just wonder if there is more than hopeless scholarship behind this pathetic effort.