Will Catholics persecute Adventists for sabbath keeping?

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Seventh-day Adventists think that in the end times, they will be persecuted by Sunday-keeping Christians, and by Catholics in particular.  Why?  Because they think observing the weekly sabbath according to some, but not all, of the Old Testament sabbath laws, will be the test commandment, the test that shows they are the true followers of God.

Where in the Bible?

Where in the Bible?

Why is this nonsense?

We can divide the problem into several sub-problems – resting, worship, work, and whether these are enforced by law or not.

  • Resting in Sunday should not be a problem for Adventists – if it’s enforced rest, they can do push-ups in secret with their curtains closed. And they can watch TV or even do their accounts on Sundays in secret.
  • Enforced worship on Sunday should not be a problem – Ellen White said that they should devote Sundays to missionary work under such circumstances:

“The light given me by the Lord at a time when we were expecting just such a crisis as you seem to be approaching, was that when the people were moved by a power from beneath to enforce Sunday observance, Seventh-day Adventists were to show their wisdom by refraining from their ordinary work on that day, devoting it to missionary effort.”
– Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, Page 232

  • Enforced work on Saturdays would never be tolerated by anyone – it’s absurd.
  • Enforced lack of worship on Saturdays would be problematic for the Jews as well, and highly unlikely to succeed.  Catholics, who worship at Mass every day of the week, including Saturdays, wouldn’t tolerate this either.

Read more here:

National Sunday Law – Fact or Fiction? Chapter 5 – Is the National Sunday law a real threat?
National Sunday Law – RationalWiki
Dies Domini – Pope Saint John Paul II

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    • E.G. on June 21, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    Um. Yeah the Article is off. Check it
    “A corrupt union has been formed to tear down God’s memorial of creation—the seventh day, which He hallowed and blessed and gave to man to be a sign between God and His people, to be observed throughout their generations forever. A period is coming when everyone will take sides between the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, which the Lord has sanctified and blessed, and the spurious sabbath instituted by the man of sin. 14MR 91.2
    91.2
    An idol sabbath has been set up, as the golden image was set up in the plains of Dura. And as Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, issued a decree that all who would not bow down and worship this image should be killed, so a proclamation will be made that all who will not reverence the Sunday institution will be punished with imprisonment and death. Thus the Sabbath of the Lord is trampled underfoot. But the Lord has declared, “Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees, and write grievousness which they have prescribed” [Isaiah 10:1]. [Zephaniah 1:14-18; 2:1-3
    The Lord of heaven permits the world to choose whom they will have as ruler. Let all read carefully the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, for it concerns every human agent, great and small. Every human being must takesides, either for the true and living God, who has given to the world the memorial of creation in the Seventh-day Sabbath, or for a false sabbath, instituted by men who have exalted themselves above all that is called God or that is worshiped, who have taken upon themselves the attributes of Satan in oppressing the loyal and true who keep the commandments of God. This persecuting power will compel the worship of the beast by insisting on the observance of the sabbath he has instituted. Thus he blasphemes God, “sitting in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” [2 Thessalonians 2:4]. 14MR 91.4

    1. Thanks for your comment. Those two quotes from Ellen White don’t change the fact that the Adventist conspiracy theory just won’t happen. What she wrote there was wrong, and she didn’t understand the sabbath or what the Bible says about it.

      There is no idol sabbath. The sabbath was meant for Israel – it was never given to anyone else. It’s part of the Old Covenant. These links may help clarify that.

      The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 1
      The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 2
      The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 3

        • Johan on June 22, 2015 at 2:07 pm

        to: Stephen Korsman

        If you think it is part of the old Covenent, you’re a dispensationalist. This theology comes from a Jesuit called Manuel la Cunza. You probably do not the history of Jesuits and why their order was created. This theology you believe in was refined by Darby and eventually popularized by Scolfied (Scolfield Bible), funded by the Secret Six.

        This is not Protestant Theology. The Protestants believed in the ten commandments.

        Please study this more closely. Is there not maybe a chance that you might be wrong.

        1. Johan, dispensationalism is not the biblical distinction between the Old and New Covenants. The Bible makes that distinction, and says that the New Covenant is both different from and greater than the Old Covenant. God works with man in different ways – Heb 1:1-2. Don’t confuse this fact with the unscriptural biblical interpretation known as “dispensationalism” – I suggest you read Wikipedia’s entry on Dispensationalism to find out what it really means.

          I am not a dispensationalist. I do, however, believe the Bible when it says that the Old Covenant is not the New Covenant, that the New is better than the Old.

          Protestants believe the 10 Commandments, and Catholics believe the 10 Commandments. However, we don’t believe that they are the legal code of the current (New) covenant. Their underlying principles existed in all laws God has revealed.

          I recommend you read the links posted above in a previous comment, which I will post here as well:

          The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 1
          The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 2
          The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 3

    • Leonard on June 22, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    God created and blessed the Sabbath at creation before there ever was a Jew. The 10 Commandments, including the fourth, which is the Sabbath commandment, were always in existence. Evidence for that is found in the following.1. Gen 2:2-3
    And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
    KJV
    2. God gave the children of Israel manna and taught them how to observe the Sabbath before giving them the law at Mt. Sinai in Ex 20. Ex 16:25-26
    And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. God also gave them a miracle to drive the point home. He allowed them to gather one day,s supply for the first five days. They were to use it all and leave non over for the next day. If they did, the manna would bread worms. But on the Sixth day they were to gather enough for two days and prepare and keep part of it for food for the next day (the Sabbath)and it did not bread worms.
    Another evidence that the 10 commandments existed before Sinai was that fact that all humans from Adam to our time are guilty of sin. John wrote:1 John 3:4
    “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And Paul writes: Rom 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.” Therefore the law must have been in place at creation or no one would have been guilty of sin until the Hebrews received the law at mt. Sinai.
    According to scripture the Sabbath will be observed in the earth made new. Isa 66:22-23
    For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord.
    Therefore, your comment concerning the Sabbath being for the Jews only does not stand the Biblical test.
    The real question to be answered is: When and how did Sunday come into the Christian church as a day of worship? The Catholic church claims to have made that change. Taken from the Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine by Reverend Peter Giermann. “Question: Which is the Sabbath day? Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day. Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday? Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” – See more information on the change at: http://www.sabbathtruth.com/sabbath-history/how-the-sabbath-was-changed#sthash.KWOdpHoO.dpuf

      • Leonard on June 22, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      I noticed this at the top of my post after posting it. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Does that mean you edit my post before letting it be viewed? It will be interesting to see if you will allow a fair and open discussion.

      1. I do not edit comments. I generally review them for spam, and I try to comment on whatever the person has said. I may edit out foul language, or remove pictures of dancing cats. As for fair and open discussion, my time is limited, and I close the comments when I have repeated myself and it’s clear discussion is going nowhere. I’d also consider mass deletion of pending comments if volumes got out of control.

    1. Leonard, you’re right there – God blessed the sabbath at creation, and it was included in the 10 Commandments.

      However, you’re wrong on a number of other issues.

      The 10 Commandments were not always in existence. They were given to Moses at Sinai. Prior to that, their principles existed, but as a legal code, they did not.

      Deut 5:3 states that God did not make the Old Covenant known prior to Moses. Deut 4:13 has already told us that the 10 Commandments are the words of the Old Covenant.

      See this post, which goes into more detail: The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 1

    2. Leonard: you say that God gave Israel manna and taught them how to observe the sabbath. Yes he did. But that shows that they did not know or keep the sabbath before this time. He had to teach them. Neh 9:13-14 shows that God made the sabbath known to Israel. Why did he have to do that if they already knew of it?

      We’ve seen that the 10 Commandments, the words of the Old Covenant itself, date from Sinai. We’ve seen that it was at this time, and to Israel, that God revealed the sabbath. It’s a huge stretch to go from that to claiming that the sabbath law was binding on anyone other than Israel prior to the time of Moses.

      I’d recommend you read the following:

      Gen 2:2-3 – Did Adam keep the Sabbath?
      Exod 31/Deut 5/Neh 9/Ezek 20 – to whom was the Sabbath given, as a sign of what?

    3. Leonard: you mention Isa 66:22-23 as showing that the sabbath will be kept on the new earth. Unfortunately, the same passage shows that at the same end times, we will have the following:
      – animal sacrifices
      – a Levitical priesthood
      – observance of the new moon

      This shows that either a) the prophecy is set in terms that Israel would understand and identify with, or b) that it doesn’t refer to the end times, because God will not be giving us back the Levitical priesthood.

      If you claim that this passage shows we should keep the sabbath, then you must be consistent and claim that it shows we must keep the new moon. Do you keep the new moon?

      If “from one sabbath to another” means ON one sabbath and ON the next, then “from one new moon to another” must also mean ON one new moon and ON the next. But it doesn’t say that. From one sabbath to the next sabbath is a full seven day period of worship.

      Also, how will you measure days in heaven? Rev 21:25 and Rev 22:5 both tell us that there will be no night.

      I refer you to this article for more reading on this topic:
      Isaiah 66 – Sabbath keeping in heaven?

    4. Leonard: lastly, you claim that the Catholic Church claims to have changed the sabbath to Sunday, and you do what many Adventists do – you quote an unofficial opinion that doesn’t count as a real statement by the Catholic Church (and your website link goes on to quote more such statements.)

      For clearing up this matter, I’ll refer you to the following explanations:

      Constantine, the Papacy, and the real origins of Sunday

      And some more in the series:

      Who changed the Sabbath?
      Who changed the Sabbath: Adventist misquoting
      How to study Adventism and Catholicism – an example

      And a post about another quote at the site you referenced:

      Adventists abusing Socrates

      Misquoting or quoting out of context or quoting unofficial documentation is a common tactic among Adventist apologists, simply because there is nothing better.

    • George on June 23, 2015 at 5:11 am

    Read real Adventist literature before publishing misinformation as this article presents

    1. I have. This is what Adventists believe. They’ve told me personally.

    • Leonard on June 23, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Stephen,
    Thank you for your response to my post. I must admit that I looked at some of the reading that you suggested but not all. Time will not allow me to do so at this time.

    Some of what I did read showed scripture texts taken completely out of context. Here are some examples.
    The article refers to prophecies purported to teach an end coming to the Sabbath commandment. Example:Isa 1:13 “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.” Also: Hos 2:11 “I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.” These texts are similar to Col 2:16-17 …”Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Seventh Day Adventists would agree with you to a point. There were some sabbaths done away with when Jesus died on the cross. They are found in Lev 23. If I’m not mistaken there were seven annual feasts that were called sabbaths in that chapter. They were held on a specific day of the month, not a specific day of the week. There were 5 things listed in Col 2:14-16 Meat, drink, new moons, holy days and sabbath days. All of those things are found in Lev 23 as a part of the sacrificial system. The meat and drink mentioned there were to be offerings made by fire on those annual sabbath feast days. They were done away with because the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) offered Himself as a sacrifice once for all. There was no longer a need to offer those sacrifices any longer from that point forward because all those sacrifices was a part of the types and shadows which pointed to the time when Jesus would die once for all. Therefore the meat and drink offerings, the new moons, the holy days, which were annual sabbaths (plural) were done away with along with all the other elements of the old Mosaic sacrificial system. These had nothing to do with the Sabbath commandment (singular).
    This is why we find the Sabbath being observed by the church long after Jesus rose from the dead. The book of acts gives all kinds of references of Sabbath observance long after the new covenant was in place.
    Christ Himself made it plane that He had no intention of changing any part of the moral law (10 commandments) Matt 5:17-19
    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
    The key to understanding which sabbaths were done away with is found in 2:17 “Which are a shadow of things to come” Those annual sabbaths which were a part of that old system of types and shadows were done away with. The Sabbath of the moral law will never be changed. Jesus words are plain. Not one jot or tittle of the law will be changed until (heaven and earth pass.) Which refers to the second coming of Christ.

    The fourth beast of Daniel 7 is believed by many to be the roman empire. the ten horns are believed to be the 10 divisions of the Roman empire. (Europe) The little horn power that comes up among the ten horns, out of the head of the 4th beast (Rome) is believed to represent the Papal power which rose to power in Rome. That horn, according to verse 25 would THINK to change times and laws. The word THINK indicates they would attempt to change God’s law, but they could not. As I mentioned, the scripture texts used to convince the world that the Bible prophesied that there would be a change in the Sabbath commandment have been taken out of context. Since Jesus said the Law would and could not be changed. I will lovingly obey. After all He did say:John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

    One last point. I believe that there are many faithful Christians within the Catholic Church. You may be one of them. My prayer is that God will fulfill His promise to bring His faithful people into a unity of faith before probation closes for the people in this world. Therefore, for the record, I may disagree with you theologically, but I respect your right to disagree with me. Be assured that my prayers are ascending to the throne of grace in behalf of the Catholic people and all Christians of other faiths.

    1. Let’s look at Col 2:16-17 and Lev 23, and let’s add in Num 28-29.

      Lev 23:3 shows that this chapter includes the weekly sabbath.

      Num 28:9-10 shows that this chapter includes the weekly sabbath. It also lists the sacrifices as daily, weekly, monthly (new moon), yearly (the annual holy days.) Quite a parallel with Col 2:16-17, showing that the weekly sabbath is included there.

      Furthermore, in Col 2:16-17, “holy days” and “sabbaths” are used separately. I doubt Paul meant to say “annual sabbaths and annual sabbaths” there. He was talking about two different things – annual and weekly. There were only two types of sabbaths mentioned in the Old Testament – annual and weekly.

      So if the weekly sabbath is included in Col 2:16-17, then it must be a shadow of something. And it is – it’s a shadow of our rest in Christ. We no longer find our rest on the sabbath, we find it in Christ (Matt 11:28-29). The old creation ended on the sabbath, the new began on a Sunday. The sabbath pointed to Israel’s exodus from Egypt; Jesus rose on a Sunday, fulfilling the type and freeing us from the chains of sin.

      See Col 2:14-17 – does this refer to the 7th day Sabbath?

      Regarding the law being fulfilled – yes, it has been fulfilled – i.e. completed.

      Regarding the law being changed – it has been changed – Heb 7:12 says the law required a change. If you look at Luke 2:24, it refers to Leb 12:8 as the law of God. We no longer have to obey this law of God. Nothing has been removed from the Old Covenant law of God, but it is not binding on us.

      Heaven and earth passing away was a Jewish metaphor for the end of an age. This is reflected in Heb 9:26 – Jesus came at the end of an age. This was the change from the Old to New Covenants.

      Regarding Adventists – I believe too that there are true Christians within the Adventist church. And yes, we disagree theologically, but if you can say “I understand why you believe what you do, and how you reach your conclusions from the Bible” then I’ll be happy.

        • Leonard on June 23, 2015 at 3:32 pm

        I don’t deny that the seventh day Sabbath is mentioned in Lev. 23. That doesn’t prove that it was abolished. Col 2 says the sabbaths that were a shadow of things to come were the ones that were abolished. The seventh day Sabbath was not a shadow of anything. It is the 4th commandment in the moral law. The ceremonial sabbaths were the sabbaths that were used in the sacrificial system of types and shadows.

        Jesus said. Matt 5:17-18
        Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

        If Jesus believed what you are teaching He would have said. Think not that I am come to destroy the law but to do away with it. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? The problem professed Christians are having is with the word “fulfill”. In many minds fulfill means to meet the requirements and then do away with it. Jesus fulfilled the law by His life of obedience to it. He used none of His own divinity to do so. He accomplished it through the power of the Holy Spirit which He received at His baptism. In doing so He set an example for His people to follow. This fulfills God’s promise made in Ezek 36:27 “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

        The statement you made “Regarding the law being changed and I quote: – “it has been changed – Heb 7:12 says the law required a change. If you look at Luke 2:24, it refers to Leb 12:8 as the law of God. We no longer have to obey this law of God.” Your statement here makes no sense. John wrote: 1 John 3:4
        “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” If the law could be abolished there would be no need for Jesus to die for our sins. zJust abolish the law and no one is any longer in violation of it. If the law could be abolished there would be no such thing as sin because sin is the transgression of the law. If there were no law Satan’s rules would apply “Do what thou wilt is the whole of the law” (taken from The law of Thelema which was developed in the early 1900s by Satanist Aleister Crowley) If that were the case murder, adultery, stealing, etc. would no longer be considered sin.

        The law will never be done away with because it is a transcript of God’s character. In the old Covenant the law was written by God on stone. Written on stone signifies it perminance. under the new covenant it is written in the hearts and minds of God’s people signifying a character change. Heb 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them” This character change is performed by the creative power of God. He is restoring His people back into His (moral) image. He is fitting them for the mansions above that Jesus went to prepare for His people. For He said John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” In contrast to that John wrote: 1 John 2:4-6 “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

        You stated: “but if you can say “I understand why you believe what you do, and how you reach your conclusions from the Bible” then I’ll be happy.” I wish I could make you happy. But, I cannot state this because, as I have shown in my previous post, much of what you have used to prove your position has been scripture being wrested out of context. Much of it has been by using texts that seem to support your position when they are separated from their context which proves your position to be false.

        There are other problems with Catholic theology that also show a disregard for the scriptures such as the removal of the second commandment which states. Ex 20:4-6
        “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” Then the 10th commandment was divided into two commandments so that there would still be 10. Isn’t that evidence that whoever did that was being deceptive? I was raised Roman Catholic and remember well all the graven images in the church. I remember bowing to the image of Jesus on the cross before entering the pew. I now know that God would have his people to bow to the real Jesus not an image of Him made of stone or wood. That is idolatry. Why has that scripture been removed from the Catholic version of the Bible? Are men at liberty change the Word of God?

        I could go on and show many other un-scriptural practices by Catholics but I will refrain from doing so because I do not wish to make this appear as an attack upon your faith. I still have many family members and loved ones that are Catholic. I love them dearly. I respect their right to choose to worship according to their understanding. However, I do believe God would have Christians share their witness and point out error for the purpose of helping others come into a clearer understanding of God’s word.

        1. Col 2 lists the weekly sabbath as one of the sabbaths that has been abolished. That can be shown in several ways. One – the word “sabbaths” is used to describe a different thing to the annual “holy days”. Two – the parallel texts for holy day / new moon / sabbath all refer to the annual, monthly, and *weekly* observances.

          The weekly sabbath has clear aspects which can be classified as shadows, as I showed previously.

          The law issue – Adventists tend to confuse several things. The eternal moral law of God is one thing. A legal code expressing it is another. Both are called “law” in various places. The specific legal code expressing it under the Old Covenant is no longer binding under the New Covenant. The same eternal moral principles form the basis for both New Covenant and Old Covenant laws, but they are not the same legal code.

          Therefore, under the New Covenant, we may not murder, but we find our rest in Christ, and the sabbath belongs to the Old Covenant, as I have shown in the following:

          The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 1
          The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 2
          The Sabbath and the Old Covenant, part 3

        2. The issue of idolatry – God commanded that graven images be made for the temple and the ark of the covenant, and these were paraded in front of Israel for years. The prohibition was against the worship of them. Catholics do not worship statues or wood. Your past as a Catholic probably never included a proper understanding of this aspect of the Bible and Catholic practice, and perhaps you did worship statues and wood, but the Catholic Church is clear that that is wrong, and it was good that you stopped.

          See the following regarding this:

          Counting Commandments – over at the Biblical Research Institute (an Adventist defence of the Catholic numbering)
          The use of statues, pictures, and other icons in worship
          Just Who Did Change The Ten Commandments?

          They should clear things up regarding the false claim that the Catholic Church removed anything from the Bible.

    • Jeremy on June 23, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Thanks for this, Stephen. The discussions on Facebook (two places I can see) and here are an eye-opener. If you cant see them, its a pity, you would learn a lot about us and not in a pro-Adventist way. Im mostly a lurker watching these things and theyre helping me understand the Roman Catholic church. Your website has done wonders. I am not going to join your church any time soon, there are still too many differences but its helping me understand the Bible better. There are others of us who feel the same about Adventism and it helps some leave and others stay and fight for truth from within. Dont yet know what I will do. Some see the truth and some dont. Its all about Jesus and not about Sabbath and fear. I know my Catholic brothers and sisters wont be inventing some silly Sunday law. God bless. Jeremy

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I wish you well on your journey, remaining in or leaving Adventism. If you’re interested in Catholicism and understanding it, you’re welcome to e-mail and discuss things privately. I completely comprehend that it’s not an easy move to make, and going from Adventist to Catholic is a far bigger leap than just leaving Adventism, but I do encourage you to continue studying! I also have a Facebook group – see the details and rules near the top of the blog.

        • HWSager on November 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm

        [Stephen Korsman] I completely comprehend that it’s not an easy move to make, and going from Adventist to Catholic is a far bigger leap than just leaving Adventism, but I do encourage you to continue studying!

        Stephen, you are a blessing! I wish my fellow Adventists could be more objective and that they would be more charitable to Catholics. I have personally had many pleasant and meaningful interactions with genuine God-fearing, Jesus-loving Catholics that made me feel I was in real communion with them.

        1. Thanks :-)

    • HWSager on November 11, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Re “Will Catholics persecute Adventists for Sabbath keeping?”, I do have some very serious questions, though.

    Notwithstanding the unlikelihood of this occurrence, let’s suppose the “what if”. If the Vatican were actually to issue such a decree:

    1. Would many, or most Catholics, obediently follow it, do you think?
    2. Should Catholics follow it? Doctrinely, would they be obliged to follow it?
    3. What would you (Stephen Korsman) do? (Ouch, I know that’s tough.)

    I know these are very tough questions, but it’s something dead serious I’ve wondered about for several years already.

    1. 1. Most Catholics would not follow it. They would think it to be ridiculous. Half would not follow it because of it being ridiculous. The other half would not follow it because they don’t pay much attention anyway – the Church prohibits contraception and they ignore that. Amongst those who thought it ridiculous, there’d be a strong movement to have the pope silenced. This would include dozens of cardinals and bishops, thousands of priests, and millions of laity. The utter absurdity of it would cause people to trust Rome less, and to rethink everything Rome said and did in terms of how absurd it may or may not be.

      2a. Catholics should not follow it. It’s not an issue of faith or morals, but of practice, and nobody thinks the pope is infallible there. Authoritative, yes – he can issue instructions as to how the Mass is said, which version of the Bible is read during Mass, etc. People are obliged to follow sensible instructions. If the pope instructed everyone to use an umbrella when it wasn’t raining, nobody would stand for it. Nobody should. If the pope instructed everyone to be respectful at Mass, dress properly, pay attention, not dress up as clowns – everyone should obey, and in practice some do and some don’t.

      2b. It would depend on the extent of the decree. Virtually nobody would hand over Adventists to their local Jesuit, and there would be no local Jesuits to hand them over to because the Jesuits would be in the front lines telling the pope what to do. (We did once live in a world like that, but I think the last 200 years have been very different, especially today.) If the decree were to simply go to church on Sundays – people would do the same as they do today, but only the crackpots would try to herd Adventists (and Jews and Muslims etc) to Sunday Mass. If the decree included not working on Sundays, people would follow, and rightly so. If the decree were to persecute those who did work on Sundays – see points 1 and 2a above. If the decree were to prevent people worshipping on Saturdays, it would mean a) that they themselves had to stop, and b) it would destroy a practice of attending Mass every first Saturday of the month, which is internationally practiced and will not be stopped without riots.

      2c. Doctrinally … I think I covered that partly in 2a. A general principle in Catholicism is that legitimate instructions should be followed. If the pope decreed that abortion were permissible, nobody would be obliged to follow his instructions, and in fact they’d be obliged not to.

      3. I would go with the above, and be very worried about the pope’s mental health, the intelligence of his advisers, and I’d pray for a better pope to follow.

        • HWSager on November 12, 2015 at 3:12 pm

        Wow, that was a fantastically thorough, thoughtful, and enlightening answer, including all the sub-questions I had in mind but was too tired to write. I thank you very much, dear brother Stephen in Christ.

        I sure wish that this kind of dialogue were presented to the Adventist Church for some perspective.

    2. I should add that the possibility of a pope issuing ridiculous and heretical instructions, and what the Catholic people should do, has been a significant issue of concern and discussion for centuries. We’ve had extremely few actual scares though.

        • HWSager on November 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm

        An interesting and honest further insight. Thanks. I love objectivity and honesty, including intellectual honesty, even when actual beliefs can differ.

        • HWSager on November 12, 2015 at 3:36 pm

        By the way, my full name is Hartmut W Sager, but I used my standard userID HWSager here. And yes, that’s German, which I speak, read, and write, despite living in Canada since age 3.

        1. Pleased to meet you :-) Friendly Adventists are rare in my internet life.

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