By Reagan Malumo
THIS article is written with the sole purpose of enlightening the nation, correcting error and setting the nation on to the right path of righteousness. For the word of God, “is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (1 Timothy 2:16-17).
Over the past few weeks, we have seen newspaper articles by some writers commenting on religious matters, as well as lodging irrelevant attacks on Seventh-day Adventist Christians who worship on Saturdays.
As Adventists, we are not known for sparking controversial debates on issues that would derail peace in our nation, but at the same time it will be unjust to keep silent without correcting the wrong impressions created by people regarding our denomination or religious beliefs.
We only give glory and honour to God alone and have no time to gain pride before our fellow men, for we are all servants before God.
On behalf of the Adventist family in Namibia, I therefore write this article not as a means to parade our church for any form of unnecessary recognition and argument, but rather as a platform to voice our dissatisfaction over erroneous media articles generated by some of our brothers and sisters from other denominations, especially those worshiping on Sundays. This article is therefore written in love without any intention to harm our fellow Christian believers.
To begin with, allow me to state boldly and clearly that Adventist Christians have been suffering silently at the hands of other denominations, government institutions and other private entities.
Despite Namibia’s constitutional guarantee for freedom of religion, some brothers and sisters at the helm of these institutions have bent their mind to error at the expense of scriptural truth, and choose to subject Adventist Christians to serious spiritual torture. Some of these institutions tend to deliberately extend their working days to Saturday, thus compelling Adventist believers to work on Saturdays and in the process break their sacred religious beliefs that we hold in high esteem.
Our children in public schools are forced to attend classes or write exams on Saturdays and those who resist such arrangements have oftentimes been forced to repeat courses, while in the process exposing them to huge financial losses. A more practical example happened to the writer of this article when I was called to attend job interviews at the Polytechnic of Namibia towards the end of 2011.
Even though I could see that my skills and experience were far much better than what the position required, judging from the questions and job description for that position, one of the panelists vehemently asked a strange question after quickly scanning through my curriculum vitae. He asked, “I can see here in your CV that you have indicated that you are an Adventist. How will you be able to work with us, because we are already facing problems with Adventists refusing to work or write exams on Saturdays?”
I replied to the panel that I am an Adventist and that Saturday is a day I go to church and worship. Just before I could complete my explanation, he interjected right away and said, “then you are disqualified, we cannot take you for this position because we have graduations and other work that we do on Saturdays.”
Even though the chairperson of the interview had to jump to my rescue by cautioning the panel not to ask such questions, I could already sense that the atmosphere automatically disqualified me from the race and indeed it happened as such.
To set it on record, we could as well argue that over the past years, more than 18 000 Adventist believers in Namibia were being denied their rights to vote, because some of the election dates were being scheduled to take place on Saturday while Adventists are at church.
As Adventists we uphold to submit to leadership authority as the Bible commands us to do, but not in situations where the leadership principles and styles contradict our religious belief system. We cannot therefore compromise our religious beliefs at the expense of politics, thus it would be counterproductive to think that we would leave our worship services to go line up at voting places.
This is not to say politics is bad, but at least it has to be done in a way that is accommodative to all religious practices. As Christians, we all know that Christianity is not about pleasing people, but rather doing what God approves.
For the Bible simply puts it clearly, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
All these bad practices are brought about by serious ignorance or rather misrepresentation of what Adventist belief is all about. Therefore, to set things right, I have no fear to say that as Adventist Christians, we pride ourselves in gathering and worshipping God every Sabbath day, a day that confirms to us that our heavenly God is the creator of the universe and all that is in it. “For in six days God created the universe and all that is in it and on the Seventh day God rested.
Because of this, God blessed the Seventh day and sanctified it,” (Genesis 2:1-3). God has therefore given us the Sabbath day as a memorial of creation. On it, every human being created in His image must come to remembrance that God is the creator and thus deserves to be given all the glory and reverence for his creative efforts.
Rejecting to keep the Sabbath day holy is therefore an outright rejection of God as a creator, and befits one to rather be called a pagan rather than a Christian.
It is also because of this that God chose to inscribe the Sabbath as one of the commandments among the Ten Commandments.
Commandment number four in Exodus 20:8 tells us why we should keep the Sabbath day holy. If any man breaks one of God’s commandments, including this fourth commandment therefore commits sin, because the Bible defines sin as “the transgression of the law of God”, (1 John 3:3).
This truth is naked before the entire universe. As a commandment-keeping church, Adventists throughout the world therefore, hold fast to this doctrine with high regard. We also uphold to teach it throughout the universe without apology. For the Bible says, “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to the whole world as a witness unto all nations, then the end shall come” (Matthew 24:14).
It is therefore expedient upon anyone who wants to convince us otherwise to produce scriptural evidence supporting the observance of Sunday as a day of worship or rather produce scriptures that refute the Seventh day – Sabbath, as a day of worship. The Bible also proves to us that even in heaven, God’s people will be worshiping him on the Sabbath (Seventh Day of the week) instead of Sunday (Sixth Day of the week).
Isaiah 66:22-23 says, “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.”
As Christians we do not just fabricate words to suit our understanding in order to convince people, but we use the Bible as our manual to direct the nation. If we do not speak according to the word of God, then there is no truth in us, for the “word of God is truth”.
Also as Christians we should know that Jesus Christ is our example that is why the word Christian is derived from the name Christ.
However, no one from all those worshiping on Sunday can ever prove to us that Jesus Christ ever stood in the church or synagogue to worship or read the scripture to people on a Sunday, but rather the Bible says “as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read” (Luke 4:16). If one reads the book of Acts, one will also understand that this was also the custom of his disciples.
The Bible therefore warns us to desist from teaching man made tradition. History has it on good record also that the observance of Sunday as a day of worship was instituted by human beings, not God. A reference from one of the Roman Catholic or Vatican Writings reads as follow.
“Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church (Roman Catholic Church) ever did happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday... not from any directions noted in Scriptures, but from the Church’s (Roman Catholic) sense of its own power.... People who think that the scripture should be the sole authority should logically become Seventh-day Adventists and keep Saturday holy.”(St Catherine Catholic Church, Sentinel, May 21, 1995).
According to the statement above, the Vatican agrees to have used its power to change the observance of Saturday (Sabbath) to Sunday. But the question that should rise to someone’s mind is, who gave the Vatican (Catholic Church) the authority to do that if God himself says “I am God, I change not”? Whose commandments should people follow, God’s commandment or the commandments from Popes, Priests, Bishops, Reverends or Pastors?
I therefore want to conclude by reminding my fellow Christians that the Bible cautions us never to follow “man made traditions”.
We can therefore not afford to exchange our salvation with traditions created by human beings by following a bandwagon of believers who are following error. God bless all those who will choose to make a proper choice after reading this article.