The General Conference Seventh-day
Adventist Church Position
Adventist News Network
Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters
April 15, 1997
Statement on How Adventists View Roman Catholicism
Silver Spring, Maryland, USA ... [ANN] In response to inquiries from the church's various publics, as well as for media release purposes, the following statement on "How Seventh-Day Adventists View Roman Catholicism," was recorded on April 15, 1997, by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee(ADCOM) and released by the Office of the President, Robert S. Folkenberg:
"Seventh-day Adventists regard all men and women as equal in the sight of God. We reject bigotry against any person, regardless of race, nationality or religious creed. Further, we gladly acknowledge that sincere Christians may be found in other denominations, including Roman Catholicism, and we work in concert with all agencies and bodies that seek to relieve human suffering and to uplift Christ before the world.
Seventh-day Adventists seek to take a positive approach to other faiths. We do not see our task as primarily pointing out flaws in other denominations, but preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in the context of Christ's soon return.
The beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists are rooted in biblical apostolic teachings and thus share many essential tenets of Christianity in common with the followers of other Christian churches. However, we have a specific identity as a movement with a compelling message for Christians and non-Christians alike, as we communicate hope by focusing on the quality of life that is complete in Christ.
As Adventists relate to Roman Catholicism in particular, both the past and the future enter into our thinking. We cannot erase or ignore the historical record of serious intolerance and even persecution on the part of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic system of church governance, based on extra- biblical teachings such as papal primacy, resulted in severe abuses of religious freedom as the church was allied with the state.
Seventh-day Adventists are also convinced of the validity of our prophetic views, according to which humanity now lives close to the end of time. Adventists believe, on the basis of biblical predictions, that just prior to the second coming of Christ this earth will experience a period of unprecedented turmoil, with the seventh-day Sabbath as a focal point. In that context, we expect that world religions including the major Christian bodies as key players will align themselves with the forces in opposition to God and to the Sabbath. Once again the union of church and state will result in widespread religious oppression.
To blame past violations of Christian principles on one specific denomination is not an accurate representation of either history or the concerns of Bible prophecy. Were cognize that at times Protestants, including Seventh-day Adventists, have manifested prejudice and even bigotry. If in expression of what the Bible teaches Seventh-day Adventists fail to express love to those addressed, we do not exhibit authentic Christianity.
Adventists seek to be fair in dealing with others. Thus, while we remain aware of the historical record and continue to hold our views regarding end-time events, we recognize some positive changes in recent Catholicism, and stress the conviction that many Roman Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ."End of Seventh-day Adventist Church Official Statement
The Creation 7th Day
Adventist Church Position*Revelation 14:9-12
"(v.9) And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast [Romanism] and his image [Protestantism in compromise with Rome], and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,(v.10) The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:(v.11) And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast [Romanism] and his image [Protestantism in compromise with Rome], and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.(v.12) Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."The Great Controversy (page 50)
Satan once endeavored to form a compromise with Christ. He came to the Son of God in the wilderness of temptation, and showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, offered to give all into His hands if He would but acknowledge the supremacy of the prince of darkness. Christ rebuked the presumptuous tempter and forced him to depart. But Satan meets with greater success in presenting the same temptations to man. To secure worldly gains andhonors, the church was led to seek the favor and support of the great men of earth; and having thus rejected Christ, she was induced to yield allegiance to the representative of Satan--the bishop of Rome.The Great Controversy (pages 165, 166)
Earnest efforts were made to obtain Luther's consent to a compromise with Rome. Nobles and princes represented to him that if he persisted in setting up his own judgment against that of the church and the councils he would soonbe banished from the empire and would have no defense. To this appeal Luther answered: "The gospel of Christ cannot be preached without offense. . . . Why then should the fear or apprehension of danger separate me from the Lord, and from that divine word which alone is truth? No; I would rather give up my body, my blood, and my life."--D'Aubigne, b. 7, ch. 10.The Great Controversy (page 298)
Seeing the failure of his efforts to crush out the truth by persecution, Satan had again resorted to the plan of compromise which led to the great apostasy and the formation of the Church of Rome. He had induced Christians to ally themselves, not now with pagans, but with those who, by their devotion to the things of this world, had proved themselves to be as truly idolaters as were the worshipers of graven images. And the results of this union were no less pernicious now than in former ages; pride and extravagance were fostered under the guise of religion, and the churches became corrupted. Satan continued to pervert the doctrines of the Bible, and traditions that were to ruin millions were taking deep root. The church was upholding and defending these traditions, instead of contending for "the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Thus were degraded the principles for which the Reformers had done and suffered so much.The Signs of the Times (02-19-94)
Romanism the Religion of Human Nature
It is souls like Luther, Cranmer, Ridley, Hooper, and the thousands of noble men who were martyrs for the truth's sake, who are the true Protestants. They stood as faithful sentinels of truth, declaring that Protestantism is incapable of union with Romanism, but must be as far separated from the principles of the Papacy as is the east from the west. Such advocates of truth could no more harmonize with "the man of sin" than could Christ and his apostles. In earlier ages the righteous felt that it was impossible to affiliate with Rome, and, though their antagonism to this system of error was maintained at risk of property and life, yet they had courage to maintain their separation, and manfully struggled for the truth. Bible truth was dearer to them than wealth, honor, or even life itself. They could not endure to see the truth buried under a mass of superstition and lying sophistry. They took the word of God in their hands, and raised the standard of truth before the people, boldly declaring that which God had revealed unto them through diligent searching of the Bible. They died the cruelest of deaths for their fidelity to God, but by their blood they purchased for us liberties and privileges that many who claim to be Protestants are easily yielding up to the power of evil. But shall we yield up these dearly bought privileges? Shall we offer insult to the God of heaven, and, after he has freed us from the Romish yoke, again place ourselves in bondage to this antichristian power? Shall we prove our degeneracy by signing away our religious liberty, our right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience?Christian Service (page 160)
Religious Liberty: Threefold Persecuting Union
Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of Spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will before most in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of Spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience. (The Great Controversy, page 588.)Early Writings of Ellen G. White (page 225)
God raised up men to cry against the existing sins of the papal church and carry forward the Reformation. Satan sought to destroy these living witnesses; but the Lord made a hedge about them. Some, for the glory of His name, were permitted to seal with their blood the testimony they had borne; but there were other powerful men, like Luther and Melanchthon, who could best glorify God by living and exposing the sins of priests, popes, and kings. These trembled before the voice of Luther, and his fellow laborers. Through those chosen men, rays of light began to scatter the darkness, and very many joyfully received the light and walked in it. And when one witnesswas slain, two or more were raised up to take his place.Early Writings of Ellen G. White (page 214)
The people were wholly deceived. They were taught that the popes and priests were Christ's representatives, when in fact they were the representatives of Satan, and those who bowed to them worshiped Satan. The people called for the Bible; but the priests considered it dangerous to let them have it to read for themselves, lest they should become enlightened and expose the sins of their leaders. The people were taught to receive every word from these deceivers as from the mouth of God. They held that power over the mind which God alone should hold. If any dared to follow their own convictions, the same hate which Satan and the Jews exercised toward Jesus would be kindled against them, and those in authority would thirst for their blood.The Signs of the Times (02-19-94)
Romanism the Religion of Human Nature
The Lord has pronounced a curse upon those who take from or add to the Scriptures. The great I AM has decided what shall constitute the rule of faith and doctrine, and he has designed that the Bible shall be a household book. The church that holds to the word of God is irreconcilably separated from Rome. Protestants were once thus apart from this great church of apostasy, but they have approached more nearly to her, and are still in the path of reconciliation to the Church of Rome. Rome never changes. Her principles have not altered in the least. She has not lessened the breach between herself and Protestants; they have done all the advancing. But what does this argue for the Protestantism of this day? It is the rejection of Bible truth which makes men approach to infidelity. It is a backsliding church that lessens the distance between itself and the Papacy.
* The foregoing quotations are not to be considered the exhaustive list of statements to be posted in this comparison. If you have one to add,
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