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Hi Folks,

I received this from Brother Edwin Puni yesterday

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Talofa from Samoa,

 

We are 24 hours away before the opening of a special weekend program organised by the Sabbath Keepers Network (SKN) in conjunction with the 3 centres of sabbathkeepers in Samoa. The program is to support SDA youths who continue to keep the seventh-day Sabbath on Saturday in Samoa.

 

Last Sunday the leaders met to finalise the program. It was so enlightening to see their excitement to have this opportunity for the youths and for those that have recently returned to Sabbath keeping to meet and fellowship with other sabbathkeepers. It was the first time to meet Logoi Patea Mariner who is truly a warrior of the Lord, representing the sabbathkeepers from Savaii with Filo and Lele. Logoi and Filo are part of the new group at Salelavalu.

 

To ensure that all youths can attend, we decided on the camp fee of 2 taro and a coconut for each camper while seeking financial assistance. As of Sunday, we only had $600 from two individual donations, a sack of rice and a box of box of chicken pieces but we knew God promised that he will provide if we are faithful and true. Since we have received 6 donations from overseas.

 

Yesterday, I was blessed with this reading which summarises the ‘commitment and courage’ of the sabbathkeepers in Samoa.  

 

Commitment and Courage (Written by Bob & Debby Gass) Wednesday, 29 August 2012

'Rise up...take courage and do it.' Ezra 10:4 NIV

 

“Terry Fox ran across Canada and raised $24 million dollars to fight cancer. What's amazing is that he did it with one leg; cancer had taken the other. He planned to run forty kilometres each day but because of severe headaches, snow and icy roads, after a month he'd only managed to struggle about twelve kilometres a day. So why did he keep going? Because the purpose in his heart was stronger than the pain in his body. They could amputate his leg, but not his spirit!”
“Commitment is a willingness to do whatever it takes; it's a promise to yourself, from which you refuse to back down. There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested you do it only when it's convenient, but when you're committed you accept no excuses - only results. Only you can decide whether the rewards are worth the effort, for there are trade-offs. You can't have a healthy body and live on junk food. A guaranteed salary is nonexistent when you start your own business. Mindless hours of watching television and straight A's are a rare combination.”
“Commitment means paying your dues. It also means disregarding your critics. Jesus did that. 'But Jesus ignored their comments and said..."Don't be afraid. Just trust Me"' (Mark 5:36 TLB). Ralph Waldo Emerson said: 'Whatever course you decide upon, there will always be someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”

It is expensive to travel many miles to worship every Sabbath because they are no longer welcomed at their local SDA church. The scorn and being ridiculed by people that they share the same faith is a daily occurrence. Yesterday, a letter from the STM was presented to the Samatau village council informing the village authority that SDAs in Samoa now worship on Sunday. The village council have not made a decision on whether to ban the sabbathkeepers who are worshipping at Samatau including families from Fasitootai and Faleasiu-uta.

 

With your help, the faith of the sabbathekeepers will continue to grow despite the many obstacles they are facing. If you haven’t put though your donation, we pray that you will make it in the next few hours......

 

Alofa atu,

 

Pa’u ****

 

****Update Le'auva'a-uta church first SDA church to be re-opened for Sabbath services (November 3) pictures-please click on the blue writing.

 

1%20-%20SSSK%20Report%20%23%204%20%28Part%201%29%20-%20Leauvaa%20Opening%20%283%20Nov%202012%29-2.pdf

 

1%20-%20SSSK%20Report%20%23%204%20%28Part%202%29%20-%20Leauvaa%20Opening%20%283%20Nov%202012%29-1.pdf

 

November 15th -see 3 attachements

 

November 17th -7 PDFs - click on the green lines.

1%20-%20SSSK%20Report%20%23%206%20-%20Nonu%20Maiava%27s%20Family%20Service%20%2814-11-12%29.pdf

 

1%20-%20SSSK%20Report%20%23%206%20-%20Nonu%20Maiava%27s%20Funeral%20Service%20%2815-11-12%29.pdf

 

1%20-%20SSSK%20Report%20%23%206%20-%20Tribute%20to%20Pr.%20Nonu%20Maiava.pdf

 

1%20-%20SSSK%20Report%20%23%207%20-%20Leauvaa%20Centre%20%2817-11-12%29.pdf

 

1%20-%20SSSK%20Report%20%23%207%20-%20Lighthouse%20Centre%20%2817-11-12%29.pdf

 

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1%20-%20SKN%20-%20Savaii%20Outreach%20%28Fundraising%29%20Report%20%23%203.pdf

 

December 5th

1%20-%20SSSK%20Report%20%23%208%20-%20Leauvaa%20and%20Lighthouse%20%2824-11-12%29.pdf

December 26th

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1%20-%20SSSK%20Report%20%23%209%20-%20Leauvaa%20and%20Lighthouse%20%281-12-12%29.pdf

January 10th 2013

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February 15th 2013

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I  think the concept of what they are trying to do is AWESOME!  I would however, like to see our leaders stop acting like beggars and do better planning --before the event!  Too often the appearance is we serve a God who is last minute and broke:  We don't!  Our God is a God of order and owns everything!  When people do this, it is a bad reflection on the SDA Church, the LORD, and in this case (can be) an embarassment for our young people.

Let's get it together, Church!

The Bible says "seventh day"....God did not name them for a reason, possibly even for such a time as this.  I respect both convictions in this paradox and simply pray the Holy Spirit will guide the heart of the individual decisions in this matter.

Talofa All,

 

Returning to the cold (New Zealand) after 2 weeks in tropical Samoa is a challenge; partly to blame for the lack of communication and updates from my end. There was also a deliberate decision on my part after the Teuila Youth Sabbath apart from thanking the donors, to “be still and know” that He is God!

 

It’s human nature for many of us to be disappointed with the way the church leadership is handling the Samoa Sabbath issue. It follows the uncertainty leading up to and contradicting reports from the SPD 2nd August meeting.

 

Many of you have seen the letter from STM President (see attachment) dated 16th July, unsigned, that was given to SDA churches in Samoa accusing eventpolynesia.com to be the source of dishonest and misleading reporting; it also names Pa’u (Edwin Puni) as part of the management. The letter categorically states the following decision being made at the 2nd August meeting:

1.       The meeting reaffirmed and reconfirmed the decision by STM whereby Sunday, the seventh-day after the IDL change is now the Sabbath.

2.       The world leadership have reconfirmed their strong support as it is in line with the church guidelines already prepared and established to deal with Governments making changes to the IDL as in the case of Samoa that affects time, dates and the Sabbath, such guidelines are based on the Bible.

3.       A reconciliation will take place between Samoa ministers in New Zealand and Australia and local ministers; if there is a rift because of the Sabbath issue.

4.       Discussion of the Sabbath issue will not be part of the reconciliation as the church have already made a decision; but only if to support the decision.

5.       All pastors overseas and locally must understand and be clear of the basis of the decision by the church regarding the Sabbath. Understanding is important in order to support the decision, and helps towards the enlightenment of church members on the issue.

6.       There will be opportunities for further sharing and discussions on the internet to help understand the matter.

 

A letter handed to the Samatau village council (attached) last month with the intention to ban those keeping the Sabbath on Saturday also emphatically states that the above decisions were made at the SPD meeting.

 

Pa’u will be writing to the STM President in the coming week as information that Pa’u have contradicts with what is said in the 2 letters, further questioning the credibility of the officer and integrity of the church leadership.

 

As much as we want to see this impasses come to an end with Samoa and the Pacific returning to Sabbath keeping, we should trust God by allowing His will to be done at His own time. For those leaders that have made up their mind to support Sunday worship in Samoa and those that now worship on Sunday, only God’s spirit can change their hearts.

 

This email is to inform everyone that Pa’u & SKN have scaled down its involvement in the following key areas:

·         Raising Awareness: SKN reports from Samoa and dissemination of information about the Samoa Sabbath dilemma in the last 9 months no doubt played a major role in bringing the issue to the attention of the church leadership and worldwide members, and in informing the public. I still have 6 outstanding reports and photos to share ......

·         Samoa Leadership: A major undertaking by SKN since the Sabbath dilemma to support the few faithful in Samoa was to provide leadership for the sabbathkeepers and organising programs in the absence of pastoral care. It has been the vision of SKN to build local leadership to take over. Following 3 meetings (May, July & September) initiated by SKN with leaders and senior reps of sabbathkeepers from 18 churches, handing over local collective coordination is now complete with the formalisation of a local ‘leadership group’.

 

Only God knows the future, but the damage to date will take years for the SDA church in Samoa to recover from:

·         Declining Membership: While sabbathkeepers continue to be SDA members, the greatest loss is with the growing number that no longer see any differentiation between the seventh-day Sabbath and Sunday worship (honouring the resurrection) and now return to their old churches or no longer go to church. Some have now joined SISDAC.

·         Huge drop in tithe and offerings: Apart from the declining membership and sabbathkeepers continue to give their tithe and offerings to the STM, circular activities and shopping on Saturday leaves little for title and offering. Expect restructuring in the next few months with job losses in 2013 ..........

·         Evangelism: Evangelism in Samoa and to some extend to American Samoa is no longer effective despite attempt by the SPD to put a different spin to the key church fundamentals affected by the Sunday worship decision.

·         The Tonga precedent: Sunday Sabbath in Tonga is wrong in light of information that has now surfaced. For Kiribati, then Wallis & Futuna and now Samoa to follow for the sake of the church being ‘consistent’ is very wrong. (James 4:17) “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

 

Having being to Samoa about 5 times now since the IDL change, I got to witness God’s blessings on the faithful sabbathkeepers despite the ridicule and the many difficulties they are facing. I’m sure God is allowing it to happen for a reason; finding real meaning to Isaiah 55:9, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”.

 

Alofa atu,

 

Pa’u ****

 

1 - SKG1 - Photo (Samoa IDL) SK Samatau.jpg

 

 

 

 

Malo All,

 

We have disturbing news of talk of registering a movement in Samoa, although this view had been raised before by a few of the sabbathkeepers. The reality in Samoa is that some of the sabbathkeepers will continue to push this issue, simply to start another breakaway group like the SISDAC regardless of what the justification is.

 

Before I left Samoa 3 weeks ago, I again met with my family at Samatau reaffirming our stand to remain SDAs who are sabbathkeepers. This is the group who made a staunch stand for  God by opening the church at Samatau on Sabbath 31st December 2011 (see photo) for the world to know. I have also been in contact with my family at Puapua and reaffirm the same stand. I have spoken with family members that are worshipping at the Lighthouse and they hold the same stand.  

 

Today I continue to stand with my families at Samatau, Puapua and those family members worshipping at the Lighthouse who are siding with the Lord; the primary reason for setting up the SKN. It is also important to know that the majority of my families in Samoa have sided with the STM and worship on Sunday.

 

We already have casualty with confirmation from Savaii that Patea and his family of 48 at Salelavalu have now joined SISDAC since returning from our Teuila combined Sabbath on the 1st September. In hindsight, its a personal choice and I do not think it’s the last of a continuous push by some to register themselves as a movement.

 

It is also important to note that not everyone of the sabbathkeepers in Samoa is part of any propose ‘off shoot’ movement. I met with members of the ‘ground’ leadership’ before I left and made my view very clear that I do not support the registering of any ‘off shoot’ movement and will not be part of it should it happen.

 

As you all may recall in my ongoing correspondences, my commitment to support the call to return to true Sabbath keeping in Samoa is because I honour God above men. But more so when my family in Samoa are directly affected spiritually, physically and mentally by this STM decision.

 

Let me share my morning watch today by Bob & Debby Gass: When You Can't Understand, Trust God (Thursday, 27 September 2012): 'Trust in the Lord...' Proverbs 3:5 NKJV

 

The Bible says, 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths' (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV). But what if your path leads through pain, pressure and problems? John the Baptist's did. He didn't deserve imprisonment. After all, he was the forerunner of Christ and the voice of God in the community. Plus, he was Jesus' cousin. So he sent Jesus a message asking, 'Are you really the Messiah, or should we keep looking?' Paraphrased: 'Lord, if I'm in Your will, how come I'm in this situation?' It's a question motivated by unfulfilled expectations.

 

We think, 'Lord, I've obeyed You, how come things aren't working out for me?' And it feels worse when you've faithfully served Him. Writing about her daughter's death, Meg Woodson says, 'I'll never forget those shrill, piercing...screams; that the God who could have helped, looked down on this young woman who was devoted to Him...and decided to sit on His hands and let her death top the horror charts.' Talk about unmet expectations! Jesus could have saved John, but He didn't. Instead He sent back word: 'Don't worry, everything's on target, the Kingdom is being built. You did your job well' (Matthew 11:4-5 paraphrase). It probably wasn't the answer John hoped for. He was looking for solutions to temporal problems while Jesus was busy establishing an eternal Kingdom.

 

So next time God doesn't seem to meet your expectations, it's not that He doesn't care; it's that He sees the big picture and He's handling issues you can't even begin to comprehend. So trust Him!

 

I understand the frustration and also the huge expectations that some of the sabbathkeepers are going though. When I was asked at the sabbathkeepers leaders meeting in July, my answer was “Be still and know that I (He) is God”. Today, I add “'Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

 

Alofa atu,

 

Pa’u ****

1 - Fono (2-09-12) - Pr. Sioeli Puni closing meeting with prayer.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

03/10/2012
Samoa Saturday Sabbath Keepers (SSSK) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
(Mafutaga Tausi Sapati Aso Toonai i Samoa a le Ekalesia Aso Fitu o le Toe Afio Mai)

UPDATE # 1
Here are some of the main developments concerning the Samoa Saturday Sabbath Keepers (SSSK)
as at 30 September 2012.

1 On 2 September 2012, the SSSK appointed a Steering Committee to steer the future course for the fellowship and to plan and organise activities for the collective good of its members.

2 This action became necessary because the Samoa, American Samoa and Tokelau Mission (STM) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has formally abandoned and refused to provide any pastoral or other church related services to the SSSK who are also members of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church which STM is part of. STM has done this because it cannot accept
the SSSK choosing to continue (after the Samoa IDL re-alignment in December 2011) to keep God’s Sabbath according to God’s instructions which are also reiterated by the SDA world Church in its Church Manual. That is, God’s Sabbath is on the 7th day of the week from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

3 In addition, the Steering Committee through its authorised officers will be the official collective voice of the SSSK with regards to communications and dialogue with STM, Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM), the South Pacific Division (SPD), the General Conference (GC) and others in
relation to the current Sabbath dilemma in Samoa and related issues.

4 The SSSK acknowledge with uttermost gratitude the continuing support from various overseas forums, groups, network and individuals including: Sabbath School Net (SSNet), Seventh-day Sabbath Issues (SSI), Adventist Sabbath Issues (ASI), Sabbath Keepers Network (SKN), eventpolynesia.com, overseas Samoan Pastors and Ministers (OSPM), former and current non Samoan expatriate Missionaries to the South Pacific, Scholars and all other concerned
individuals.

5 The Steering Committee met for the first time on Sunday, 30 September 2012. Some of the key outcomes from this meeting include:

(a) The Collective Name/Identity for Saturday Sabbath Keepers in Samoa will now be Samoa Saturday Sabbath Keepers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In Samoan, it is Mafutaga Tausi Sapati Aso Toonai i Samoa a le Ekalesia Aso Fitu o le Toe Afio Mai. These may seem rather lengthy. However, the Committee ensured that the identity of the Saturday Sabbath Keepers in Samoa is clear and unambiguous in its name. In addition, the fact that SSSK continue to be official members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church should be clearly reflected in its full name as well.

(b) Our Purpose: To demonstrate our love and respect for God by obeying all His instructions including the Sabbath on the 7th day of the week from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. In addition, to comply with the same instructions reiterated by the General Conference in Session as recorded in the Church Manual and in the Exposition of the Church’s Fundamental Beliefs authored by the General Conference.

(c) Our Mission: To play our part to the best of our abilities to spread the Gospel (including God’s instructions concerning the Sabbath) to hasten His return so we can enjoy Heaven and the New Earth with our Almighty God.

(d) Our Goal: To assist reunite all Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa in obeying God and the General Conference in Session by keeping God’s Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday.

(e) The Purpose, Mission and Goal will guide the SSSK in their future endeavors and activities.

(f) The main challenges from within the SSSK at present are the issues of whether to become an independently registered entity and whether to withhold all tithing and offerings payable to the SDA church through the local Mission (SASTM).

(g) On one hand, the main reasons advanced in support of forming an independently registered entity and to withhold tithing and offerings stem from the fact that while tithes and apportionment of offering are given to the Church in obedience to God’s instructions and SDA polices, yet the local Mission leadership, some local church pastors and a number of Sunday Sabbath Keepers are constantly taking actions to: frustrate the Saturday Sabbath Keepers from observing the Sabbath on Saturday according to their well-considered decisions and convictions; refusal to provide any pastoral and other church related services; and even becoming very unchristian and hostile in what they do
to SSSK; etc.

(h) On the other hand, a large number of Saturday Sabbath Keepers are sounding caution with regards to the group being registered as an independent entity and withholding tithing and offering payable to the Church because certain crucial and fundamental issues as well as many significant and serious implications should be first well understood and appreciated before a collective decision is made to withhold all tithes and go independent from the organised global Church. In addition, the SSSK as a collective group has not previously had any significant and meaningful dialogue with the Mission, Union, Division and General Conference with regards to the Sabbath dilemma in Samoa and related issues. Therefore, patience should be exercised and allow time for the dialogue and other legitimate process to take place.

(i) Accordingly, except as stated in (j) below, the SSSK in the main will not be registered as an independent entity at this stage. They will continue to remain members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. With regards to tithing and offerings, each person will decide on those matters according to their understanding of Biblical principles (which has been very well explained many times to all SSSK) and their personal relationship with the Lord.

(j) The Committee was informed that a multi-cultural group will be formed, registered and will withhold tithing. The Steering Committee fully supports the establishment of a multicultural group for the benefit of those who do not understand Samoan or prefer to be members of this group through which they serve and worship God. With regards to this group being registered as an independent entity, the Committee after much discussion and serious consideration left the matter to the group to do so if they wish. In connection
with tithing, all Sabbath Keepers are given the opportunity to express their personal conviction as noted in (i) above.

(k) A group of about 40 or so adults and children from the Salelavalu Mission church in Savai’i made a stand for God’s Sabbath (Saturday, the 7th day of the week), left the Mission Church a couple of months ago and joined the SSSKs in Savai’i for a few weeks. The group has moved on to join the Samoan Independent Seventh-day Adventist Church (SISDAC) which also keeps the Sabbath on Saturday. Apart from this occurrence, each of the leaders from the three (3) centers (Pu’apu’a, Samatau and Lighthouse) reported that notwithstanding the tough challenges their respective centers continue to encounter from time to time, their members have remained faithful to
Sabbath keeping and have stayed loyal to the cause. No one is known to have
abandoned keeping the Sabbath on Saturday and returned to worship on Sunday. To the contrary, there are new persons joining the SSSK almost every Sabbath particularly at the Lighthouse. There were also additions to the Samatau group in September.

(l) All official releases and communications from the Steering Committee (representing all SSSK in the SDA Church) will be from Emoni T Tesese and Fuaoa Tia Collins (Communication Officers) in consultation with the Chairperson (Fuimaono E Rimoni)

Talofa may God bless you living in nz and seeing how many are faithful in keeping Sunday and white Sunday traditions it is good that sabbath keeping is encouraged, there are many sabbath keeping Samoan churches here in the northland. La Fa amanuia ele Atua!

October 16, 2012
A Pastoral Letter to Samoan Congregations in the South Pacific Division
Mo le aufaigaluega pele a le Atua, Talofa lava,


I greet you in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I am writing out of my deep respect for you as
the people of God and as members of the Church of God with its special identity and purpose in the last days
of earth’s history. I am thankful to God for the commitment and missionary zeal of the members of the Church
family who are of Samoan heritage in the South Pacific Division. You are in my prayers constantly.
For some time I have been considering writing a pastoral letter to you with respect to issues for the Seventhday
Adventist Church that have arisen subsequent to the decision of the Samoan Government to alter the
position of the date line. I know many of you have been deeply affected in some way by what has happened. I
know that in many cases healing is needed so that the Church can move forward in harmony and unity.
I am now writing the letter as a pastor of this Church and as one who has special responsibilities as the
President of the South Pacific Division. Thus, while the letter is written from my heart as a pastor, it also
carries with it the authority of our wider Church. The South Pacific Division, through its duly appointed
Executive Committee and those who have been elected to positions of administration, are designated by the
General Conference with the responsibility for the work of the Church in this part of the world. This letter
which you now have is intended to be read by all Seventh-day Adventist churches and members of Samoan
heritage. It is written in English, but I hope that it will be translated into Samoan. I am praying that the same
spirit of respect and trust will be conveyed in translation as is intended in the English version.


For at least seven years this issue has been studied. The study was accompanied by a great deal of prayer. In
fact, the Church was praying and studying the issue as it affected other nations before it emerged in Samoa
last year. The principles were very thoroughly canvassed. I would hope that all who seem to be so forthright
in their opinions have taken the same prayerful care and time to become as familiar with all aspects of the
case as have the members of the Executive Committee of the Samoa Tokelau Mission and the members of the
Biblical Research Committee of the South Pacific Division. Unfortunately, I have observed that many have
spoken who have an exceedingly superficial understanding of the breadth of the issue. That has not been
helpful. On the other hand, there have been those who have spoken considering the issue from many
perspectives, and who have shown a great deal of wisdom and a love for the Church.


It is important to affirm that the Church does not have many “Sabbaths”. It observes just one Sabbath. That
Sabbath is the one that was given as a special gift to the human family in Eden and which all are called to
“remember” in the fourth of the Ten Commandments. The fact that God’s people are specially called to
“remember the Sabbath day” indicates that God anticipated there would be challenges to the integrity of the
Sabbath as the “seventh day”: the special period of 24-hour time which God “sanctified” and “blessed”. The
history of the world has demonstrated that such is exactly what has occurred over and over again. And now
we are faced with what may well be, at the present time, the most difficult and unique test in the global
Church family. In the face of this challenge it is our privilege and responsibility to “remember” the seventh day
as the “Sabbath of the Lord”.


The Church respects the right of governments to determine the positioning of the date line relative to their
particular country. It understands that governments can and do make changes which impact on the
sequencing, numbering and naming of the days of the week. However, the Seventh-day Adventist Church
believes that when it comes to Sabbath observance, it is not the role of any government or secular agency to
determine when and how the members of the Seventh-day Adventist church will observe the Sabbath. That is
an ecclesiastical matter based on the Church’s understanding of Scripture. The Sabbath as the seventh day of
the week is vitally important to all Seventh-day Adventists, and insofar as God set aside the Sabbath as holy
and sanctified time, Seventh-day Adventists are particular about the sacredness and timing of the Sabbath.


With respect to Sabbath observance around a changing date line, very earnest study has taken place and there
have been good collegial interchanges on many occasions. As a result of those interchanges, greater clarity
has been achieved. However, some still have questions about some aspects of our practice. To assist those
who wish to study more deeply into the subject, the South Pacific Division has placed on its website a number
of responses to questions and observations that have been made about the change that has occurred in
Samoa. There are also references to the situation in other nations that are close by Samoa. Those responses
can be found at www.adventist.org.au On the web page you will find a heading: “Supporting the Church in
Samoa”. Under that heading you will be able to click on a number of papers. As I write this letter (October 16,
2012) there are twelve short papers which address specific issues.

They are as follows:
1. Why the Church Decided As It Did
2. The Background to the Change
3. The Seventh Day
4. Theological Aspects of Sabbath Observance
5. The Time of the Sabbath Determined by the Sun on the Land, Not by the Movements of Any
Individual Person
6. An Overview of the Reasons for the Practice of Sabbath Observance as Adopted in Samoa,
Tonga, Wallis and Futuna and the Eastern Islands of Kiribati
7. The Sabbath: Variable or Absolute
8. The Role of the Church in Determination of Matters of Theology and Practice
9. Sabbath Observance and the Church Manual
10. Some Biblical Perspectives on the Mark of the Beast and the Seal of God and a Changing Date
Line
11. A Letter from a Lay Person Living in Samoa
12. A Map of the Pacific showing the Position of the Countries around the 180th Meridian.
The longer papers which are on the web page at the present time are as follows:
1. The Change of Day in Samoa – Pastor David Hay
2. Merritt Kellogg – Pastor David Hay
3. The Seventh Day in Samoa – Pastor Ray Coombe


In addition, the report of the Biblical Research Committee, accepted by the South Pacific Division Executive
Committee approximately five years ago and presented to the Biblical Research Institute of the General
Conference shortly thereafter, can also be found.
We will continue to add papers to this list. These papers will support the decision of the Church and our
people in Samoa who are coping with this issue.


We are calling all our Samoan congregations and churches to be united in accepting the decision that has been
made and move forward. Yes, it does indeed feel very strange to be worshipping on the day now called
Sunday in Samoa. We wish circumstances were different. But it is absolutely vital that we:
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work but
the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.


Broadly speaking, there are two factors which compel us to call on all to unite together. First, because in
making the decision, the members of the Executive Committee of the Samoa Tokelau Mission studied and
believed that the decision they made is the correct decision. Second, the decision was made through the due
processes of the Seventh-day Adventist Church by the executive body which is assigned by the Church the
responsibility to make such decisions. Let me explain a little more.


1. The Correct Decision
The Executive Committee of the Samoa Tokelau Mission spent a considerable amount of time working
through the issue, and after much prayer and considerable study made a decision. The committee
made the decision that the Church in Samoa would continue to observe the Sabbath on exactly the
same physical period of 24 hours on which the Church had been worshipping since the arrival of the
Seventh-day Adventist Church in Samoa—the seventh day Sabbath. That 24-hour period as
determined by the sequence of sunsets had been and continued to be sacred for the people of God.
They believed that God had historically directed the Church to worship on the day that was in fact the
seventh day, and that in the continuing providence of God they would continue to observe that same
day as the Sabbath. They believed that the 24-hour period of time which had always been sacred to
their forebears and the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Samoa should continue to be
held sacred, even though the earthly name of that 24-hour period of time had changed and was now
called Sunday. They did not accept that having worshipped on one Sabbath, it was appropriate to
count only six days and then call that day Sabbath. They believed that the essential character as
determined by the rotation of the earth could not change. Summarised, (as recently expressed by
one of the leading lay persons in Samoa in a letter to myself): “The Church should keep the seventh
day Sabbath at all times according to the 4th Commandment. It is NOT the Saturday Sabbath as many
have argued NOR is it Sunday Sabbath, but the Seventh Day Sabbath.


The decision of the Executive Committee of the Samoa Tokelau Mission is supported by the study of
the Biblical Research Committee of the South Pacific Division. That study was done with reference
particularly to the practice of Sabbath observance in Tonga where our people have had to grapple for
over 100 years with issues very much the same as those now in Samoa.


2. The Correct Process
The Executive Committee of the Samoa Tokelau Mission is the body elected by the Church in Samoa
to make decisions with respect to the governance of the Church and its affairs in Samoa. It does so in
consultation with the Trans-Pacific Union Mission. The working policy of the South Pacific Division of
the Seventh-day Adventist Church states:


Between sessions of the mission, the executive committee shall have administrative
power to manage the affairs of the mission, with authority to employ personnel as
may be necessary to execute its work effectively, to grant and withdraw licences or
credentials as are within its power, and may remove, for cause any person elected or
appointed at a mission session or by the executive committee.


It is the Executive Committee which is empowered to make decisions with respect to the practices of
the Church in Samoa. This is exactly what happened in this case. In doing so it consulted with the
Trans-Pacific Union Mission and the South Pacific Division and that is entirely appropriate. A decision
such as this cannot be made by other individual members who are not part of the executive
committee, and it certainly cannot be made by persons who do not have their membership in Samoa.
If church leaders were to permit this ecclesiastical rule of the Church to be broken, the Church would
soon find itself in total confusion, with no one knowing by whose authority decisions are made. The
lines of authority are clear in the Church. The decisions of the session in establishing the executive
committee are to be upheld. The Church cannot allow a small minority who may not agree with a
decision to think it can override due process. And it cannot allow pressure from elsewhere to
overturn due process.


I have spoken very plainly here. But those who would seek to diminish the work of the executive
committee or think that they as individuals have all the truth on this matter, need to know that they
do not speak for the Church and do not have the support of the Church if this is how they choose to
conduct themselves.


While I recognise that there may be some who continue to grapple with the issue and may still need to find
resolution in their own mind, I am now writing to you, after much thought and prayer, to request your support
of the decision of the Executive Committee of the Samoa Mission with respect to the practice of Sabbath
observance in Samoa. In Jesus’ name I ask any who may be struggling, do not separate yourself from your
Church family but come together in worship of our God. Please continue to study and to read. I refer you
again to the material that has been placed on the South Pacific Division website. The office of the Field
Secretary of the South Pacific Division is committed to work to assist those who are still working through the
issues in their mind. A Bible Conference on the biblical and practical aspects of the issue is planned and we are
working towards an appropriate process of reconciliation where there have been differences. Now I am asking
that those who have another view demonstrate your allegiance to God and the Church we love and do not
continue to destabilise the Church by indiscriminately circulating viewpoints that do not represent the position
of the Church.


We have continued discussion for almost a year now. It is time to move forward. This decision, though a
difficult one, has the support of the wider Church. I have spoken with the President and the Officers of the
General Conference. They concur with us that this is a difficult matter. But they are very clear that this is a
matter which the due processes in the entities in the South Pacific Division must resolve. We have their
support as they have our support.


Let me in conclusion clearly summarise what I have said.


1. The global Seventh-day Adventist Church upholds and supports the decision of the Samoa Tokelau
Executive Committee to continue to worship on the day which in the sequence of the days of the
week according to the setting and rising of the sun over Samoa has been, and is, the seventh day,
even though that day is for the time being called Sunday.


2. I call all members to cease using the term Saturday Sabbath in Samoa as if in some way those who
observe Saturday as the Sabbath in Samoa have the truth and all others are in error. That line of
reasoning is not supported by the Bible, by the Church, and those who use that terminology are not
supported by the Church.


3. I invite those with questions on specific aspects of the issue to consult the web page of the South
Pacific Division at www.adventist.org.au If there are specific issues that are not addressed there,
suggestions may be made to the Field Secretary of the Division.


4. I pray that we will be able to move forward together having determined that we are not going to let
anything destroy our commitment to our God and His truth, nor divert us from the great commission
given by Christ Himself.


In the name of our Lord and Saviour.
Pastor Barry D Oliver
President

AN OPEN LETTER TO DR BARRY OLIVER
24 October 2012


Dear Brother Oliver,
We have received a copy of your letter to Samoan Congregations in the South Pacific Division dated October
16, 2012.


We make the following observations:
We appreciate your pastoral concern for the Samoan congregations and we share that concern.


A Parable
Seven boys, Adam, Billy, Kaleb, Colin, Gavin, Hugh & Ian, were playing hopscotch, each taking his turn in
that sequence. Hugh had to leave the game briefly, so Ian took his next turn, continuing the sequence with six
boys. When Hugh came back, he took his turn after Gavin and before Ian, the same as before, and the game
continued in the original sequence.


Q. Because Ian took Hugh's turn when he was absent, did any of the boys' names change?
A. Our answer is no, but we are sure you would agree.


Since Saturday took Friday's turn after the dateline realignment, then Friday resumed it's place in the
sequence after Thursday the following week, how could any of the day names have changed?
A. They didn't (To share the answers in this comprehension test is not cheating, its brotherhood).

A Global Issue
The Sabbath in the Pacific is a far wider problem than just the Samoan congregations you address. It affects
the world-wide SDA Church in its effort to preach present truth. The conflict among Seventh-day Adventists
in the Pacific is because two different days are being called the seventh-day Sabbath and both groups
practice accordingly.


Withstanding Authority
Your October 16 letter says nothing new but only confirms the presuppositions and false premises on which
the SPD have based their recommendation to worship on Sunday, known officially as the first day of the
week (not the seventh) by the Samoan government. Three times you assert that the name of a day has been
changed in Samoa. Therefore we are duty bound to continue to expose the fallacies in those statements.
We are loyal supporters of the organized Seventh-day Adventist Church by way of regular attendance and
stewardship, supporting the church at all levels. However it has become necessary to withstand the executive
authority of your administration, because of the above recommendation, in the same way that Azariah the
priest and eighty others withstood the executive authority of Uzziah, the king (2 Chr 26:1-18). Jesus also
often withstood the executive authority of the church in His time. We want to do this respectfully, but
decisively.


The Seventh-day Sabbath
The commandment which Seventh-day Adventists believe signifies the worship of the Creator says,
“Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” not “remember the one-in-seven-day-sequence to keep it holy.”
The one-in-seven-day-sequence could be observed by remembering any one of the seven days, therefore any
day of the week could be the seventh day if it was determined by the one-in-seven-day-sequence formula.
This is what your people in Samoa have done. The seventh-day Sabbath precedes the seven-day-sequence
because it completes it. It is the seventh-day Sabbath that determines the one-in-seven-day-sequence, not the
one-in-seven-day-sequence that determines the seventh-day Sabbath. This may seem to be only a semantic
difference but it is a vital difference because we are experiencing the two different outcomes in Samoa as a
result.


For the purpose of our discussion “the seventh day” is the personal name of the day. That is like the surname
on its “birth certificate” and “passport.” Of course it is known by another name, Saturday in English. That
gives the day dignity and traceability in such circumstances as a dateline realignment. This is the day God
blessed and sanctified. The day He told us to remember. There is no record of God blessing and sanctifying
the one-in-seven-day-sequence.


Evidence that the sacredness of the seventh-day Sabbath is different from that of the one-in-seven-daysequence
is that we have two groups in Samoa. One group won't break the seventh-day Sabbath because they
know it by its name. The other group have broken away from the seventh-day Sabbath in order to keep the
one-in-seven-day-sequence because they don't know either day by their names. There are seventh-day and
first-day Sabbath-keepers who know their Sabbaths by name and both accept the effect of a realignment of
the dateline, whereas your group of people won't accept that effect because they hold more sacred a one-inseven-day-sequence.


The Samoan government say that Sunday is the name of the first day of the week in their nation, but you say
that Sunday is the “earthly name” of the seventh day. This is one of the many fallacies that have been devised
to support the recommendation and practise of Sunday-keeping by Seventh-day Adventists in the Pacific.

Prayer
You quote prayer-life as a guarantor of the SPD position. What right have you to cast a shadow of doubt on
the prayer-life of those who oppose the SPD view? With the greatest respect, the truthfulness and objectivity
of your answers should reflect prayer-life, rather than using prayer-life to establish the truthfulness and
objectivity of your answers.


The fallacies that SPD keep repeating are disgraceful and should be disassociated from prayer-life.

For example, you said:
“It is important to affirm that the Church does not have many “Sabbaths”. It observes just one Sabbath.”
This statement is deceptive because the dispute is not about “many Sabbaths,” it is a conflict between
only two Sabbaths, the true Sabbath and the false Sabbath (Saturday and Sunday in English).

You assert that:
“the earthly name of that 24-hour period of time had changed and was now called Sunday”
Who changed it and how did it change? It didn't change itself. The Samoan government didn't do it as
previously claimed by the SPD. We maintain that the “earthly” name of the 24-hour period of time
held sacred by the pioneers and forebears of Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa has not changed and is
still called Saturday.

You said:
“. . .with respect to Sabbath observance around a changing date line”

This statement is deceptive because it asserts that the dateline is continually changing making it
unreliable in determining the Sabbath. We are not discussing a changing dateline, we are talking about
a changed dateline, and we must only deal with the facts of today. Today is a gift, that is why it is called
the present. There is no room to determine the Sabbath of today by speculating on what might happen
in the future.

You said:
“I know many of you have been deeply affected in some way by what has happened. I know that in many
cases healing is needed so that the Church can move forward in harmony and unity.”

Another deceptive statement, when you know full well that the church can only move forward in
harmony and unity when we are all worshipping on the same day, but you expect this to be on Sunday
in Samoa and other Pacific nations, on the basis of an unbiblical, arbitrary decision by the SPD. We
see no sympathy or compassion in the statement above because of the content of the rest of your letter
which rules out Saturday as the day of worship.

You said:
“Thus, while the letter is written from my heart as a pastor, it also carries with it the authority of our wider
Church.

The authority to worship on Sunday is not yours to give. It is outside the scope of being a pastor or a
president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church because it is contrary to our belief and practise worldwide.

You said:
“This letter which you now have is intended to be read by all Seventh-day Adventist churches and members
of Samoan heritage.”

The keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath amongst Seventh-day Adventists doesn't carry with it an
ethnic option to worship on Sunday, the first day of the week.

You said:
“The fact that God’s people are specially called to “remember the Sabbath day” indicates that God
anticipated there would be challenges to the integrity of the Sabbath as the “seventh day”: the special period
of 24-hour time which God “sanctified” and “blessed”. The history of the world has demonstrated that such
is exactly what has occurred over and over again. And now we are faced with what may well be, at the
present time, the most difficult and unique test in the global Church family. In the face of this challenge it is
our privilege and responsibility to “remember” the seventh day as the “Sabbath of the Lord””.

This statement shows your readers that you clearly understand the problem facing the church, then
you exploit the confidence of your readers in yourself to recommend the first-day Sabbath to our
people in Samoa as though you had faithfully taken all factors into consideration. We insist that,
though you may have considered it, you have not accepted the fact that the Samoan government did
not change the names of any of the days of the week.

You said:
“The Church respects the right of governments to determine the positioning of the date line relative to their
particular country. It understands that governments can and do make changes which impact on the
sequencing, numbering and naming of the days of the week. However, the Seventh-day Adventist Church
believes that when it comes to Sabbath observance, it is not the role of any government or secular agency to
determine when and how the members of the Seventh-day Adventist church will observe the Sabbath. That is
an ecclesiastical matter based on the Church’s understanding of Scripture. The Sabbath as the seventh day of
the week is vitally important to all Seventh-day Adventists, and insofar as God set aside the Sabbath as holy
and sanctified time, Seventh-day Adventists are particular about the sacredness and timing of the Sabbath.”

The Church respects the right of governments to determine the positioning of the dateline relative to
their particular country, so why does the South Pacific Division, contrary to the Church, reject the
effect of the realignment in the case of Samoa? How can you speak for the church and say that,
“governments can and do make changes that impact on the sequencing, numbering and naming of the
days of the week,” when the opposite is true? The Samoan government, in the process of redrawing the
dateline, carefully disassociated itself from any interference in religious practise. The South Pacific
Division and Adventists in Samoa who, of their own free will, worship on Sunday, are the only ones to
make these statements. Seventh-day Adventists who worship on Saturday are content with the
government's action and non-interference in their worship arrangements. So are Sunday-keepers of
other faiths.

You said:
“Yes, it does indeed feel very strange to be worshipping on the day now called Sunday in Samoa.”
This strange feeling is felt by the world-wide membership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It not
only feels very strange but is unacceptable. It would have felt less strange for the people affected to
have accepted the skipping the 30 December 2011 and continue to worship on Saturday, the seventhday
Sabbath. Sunday has never been called anything else but Sunday and it has not transformed itself
into Saturday in Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Wallis & Futuna.

You said:
“They believed that God had historically directed the Church to worship on the day that was in fact the
seventh day, and that in the continuing providence of God they would continue to observe that same day as
the Sabbath. They believed that the 24-hour period of time which had always been sacred to their forebears
and the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Samoa should continue to be held sacred, even
though the earthly name of that 24-hour period of time had changed and was now called Sunday. They did
not accept that having worshipped on one Sabbath, it was appropriate to count only six days and then call
that day Sabbath. They believed that the essential character as determined by the rotation of the earth could
not change.”

It is inappropriate for you to speak for the pioneers, or put words in their mouths, when they are not
dealing with our present-day situation. We could well speculate that they would have accepted the
realignment, as some of our members in Samoa have. The pioneers did what was correct in their day,
let's do what is correct in our day. We both have the same ancestry.

Our faith in God and loyalty to the Seventh-day Adventist Church are only strengthened by the faulty
reasoning given by our SPD leaders for Sunday worship by Seventh-day Adventists. Laodicea, as prophesied,
is truly wretched, poor, blind and naked. This is a most graphic fulfilment. However the bottom line is still
that the church needs to repent and return to the God who loves us.

Your adding documents to the library on the SPD website may keep people occupied, but it will not help
them appreciate or accept a dateline realignment, when all the documents are based on the fallacy of calendar
change and renaming of days. It certainly won't help unify the Church.

We will continue, as we see the need, to help people accept the realignment, by way of further writing, as
time and material become available. We also want to encourage those in Samoa who are worshipping, with
no support from the Church, on the universally accepted seventh-day Sabbath, Saturday.
Yours faithfully,
Robert Vincent - Dargaville
John Wallace - Whangarei
NNZ

http://sabbathissues.org/

quoting from the President of the South Pacific Division:
 
"2. I call all members to cease using the term Saturday Sabbath in Samoa as if in some way those who observe Saturday as the Sabbath in Samoa have the truth and all others are in error. That line of reasoning is not supported by the Bible, by the Church, and those who use that terminology are not supported by the Church." {emphasis supplied}
============================

Apparently, "that line of reasoning" IS supported by the Church:

 

SDA Fundamental Beliefs: Sabbath -"The Observance of the Sabbath"  states "The Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday evening and ends at sunset Saturday evening (see Gen 1:5, cf Mark 1:32" page 263 Seventh day Adventist Believe ..27 A Biblical Exposition of Fundamental Doctrines

 

" I call all members to cease using the term Saturday Sabbath in Samoa as if in some way those who observe Saturday as the Sabbath in Samoa have the truth and all others are in error" -

Again, referring to Pastor Oliver's quote it would appear that either:

"truth" is relative,

or,

that the "true" Seventh day Sabbath can not be discovered.

Let us consider the following quotes from the Spirit of Prophecy:

Elder Bates was resting upon Saturday, the seventh day of the week, and he urged it upon our attention as the true Sabbath. I did not feel its importance, and thought that he erred in dwelling upon the fourth commandment more than upon the other nine. {Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen White 85.3}

But the Lord gave me a view of the heavenly sanctuary. The temple of God was open in heaven, and I was shown the ark of God covered with the mercy seat. Two angels stood one at either end of the ark, with their wings spread over the mercy seat, and their faces turned toward it. This my accompanying angel informed me represented all the heavenly host looking with reverential awe toward the law of God, which had been written by the finger of God. {CET 85.4}

Jesus raised the cover of the ark, and I beheld the tables of stone on which the ten commandments were written. I was amazed as I saw the fourth commandment in the very center of the ten precepts, with a soft halo of light encircling it. Said the angel, “It is the only one of the ten which defines the living God who created the heavens and the earth and all things that are therein.” {CET 85.5}
When the foundations of the earth were laid, then was also laid the foundation of the Sabbath. I was shown that if the true Sabbath had been kept, there would never have been an infidel or an atheist. The observance of the Sabbath would have preserved the world from idolatry. {CET 86.1}

The fourth commandment has been trampled upon, therefore we are called upon to repair the breach in the law and plead for the desecrated Sabbath. The man of sin, who exalted himself above God, and thought to change times and laws, brought about the change of the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week. In doing this he made a breach in the law of God. Just prior to the great day of God, a message is sent forth to warn the people to come back to their allegiance to the law of God, which anti-christ has broken down. Attention must be called to the breach in the law, by precept and example. {CET 86.2}

I was shown that the precious promises of Isaiah 58:12-14 apply to those who labor for the restoration of the true Sabbath. {CET 87.1}
I was shown that the third angel proclaiming the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus,1 represents the people who receive this message, and raise the voice of warning to the world to keep the commandments of God and His law as the apple of the eye; and that in response to this warning, many would embrace the Sabbath of the Lord. {CET 87.2}

Another quote:

Roman Catholics acknowledge that the change of the Sabbath was made by their church, and declare that Protestants by observing the Sunday are recognizing her power. In the Catholic Catechism of Christian Religion, in answer to a question as to the day to be observed in obedience to the fourth commandment, this statement is made: “During the old law, Saturday was the day sanctified; but the church, instructed by Jesus Christ, and directed by the Spirit of God, has substituted Sunday for Saturday; so now we sanctify the first, not the seventh day. Sunday means, and now is, the day of the Lord.” {The Great Controversy  447.4}

As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers cite “the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; ... because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin.”—Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, page 58. What then is the change of the Sabbath, but the sign, or mark, of the authority of the Roman Church—“the mark of the beast”? {GC 448.1}

The Roman Church has not relinquished her claim to supremacy; and when the world and the Protestant churches accept a sabbath of her creating, while they reject the Bible Sabbath, they virtually admit this assumption. They may claim the authority of tradition and of the Fathers for the change; but in so doing they ignore the very principle which separates them from Rome—that “the Bible, and the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants.” The papist can see that they are deceiving themselves, willingly closing their eyes to the facts in the case. As the movement for Sunday enforcement gains favor, he rejoices, feeling assured that it will eventually bring the whole Protestant world under the banner of Rome. {GC 448.2}


Another quote:

The temptation will come. If you keep the Sabbath, the very day the fourth commandment has specified, you shall have to give up this source of gain. You shall have to close your business on Saturday, the busiest and most profitable day in the week. And when you hesitate to comply with a plain “Thus saith the Lord,” because you will lose profit, and riches will not increase unto you, you continue in disobedience to God and bow the knee to Satan as he tempted Christ to do. {17MR 79.3}
 
{emphasis supplied}

Respectfully, I wonder whether Pastor Oliver would take issue with the above quotes provided.

Many Thanks
Meta

Good question!

I will be writing to Pastor Oliver and have already sent this response to those involved with the issue.

 

Many thanks

Meta

"A reasonable question arises here"

Yes, Brother Ronald...using your own words

 

"Would you like to write and ask him?" (Grin!)

 

Many thanks

Meta

 

       

Thank you for letting me know!

 

Many thanks

Meta

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