16. Isn’t the SDA Church anti-Catholic and doesn’t this make it a cult?

No and no. The SDA Church might reasonably be characterised as anti-Papal or anti-Vatican, but it is certainly not anti-Catholic.  This is perhaps a slight but very important difference.
As noted elsewhere, the SDA Church is a champion of religious liberty, having founded the International Religious Liberty Organisation.  Therefore, Adventists reject any form of bigotry towards Roman Catholics:
“Adventists seek to be fair in dealing with others and stress the conviction that many Roman Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ.
Seventh-day Adventists regard all people as equal in the sight of God. We reject bigotry against any person, regardless of race, nationality, or religious creed. We also acknowledge that sincere Christians exist in other denominations, including Roman Catholicism, and we cooperate with all agencies and bodies that seek to relieve human suffering and to uplift Christ before the world.
Seventh-day Adventists take a positive approach to other faiths. Our primary task is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the context of Christ's soon return, not to point out flaws in other denominations.”
However, Adventists are distinctively Protestant.  Thus, in accordance with longstanding Protestant views and practices, Adventists reject any claims by Roman Catholic leaders to Apostolic Succession, Papal Infallibility, Sacred Tradition or the right of the Pope to claim leadership over all Christendom.  As officially noted by the General Conference of the SDA Church:
“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.” (emphasis added)
In practice, Adventists probably view the Pope and Vatican in much the same way as a large portion of today’s one billion Roman Catholic members.  For example, every time a Catholic uses contraception in contravention of the Papal edict Familiaris Consortio, and research suggests a very large number do (if not a majority), he or she is in effect adopting a similar Protestant-like position. See:

15 comments:

  1. I think the other point to note is that in terms of eschatological (end-time) beliefs about the Papacy, we are not talking about the Catholic Church as exists now but the Catholic Church that will exist in some unknown time in the future - perhaps even hundreds or thousands of years.

    Even when prophecy comes true, it tends to come true in ways that people didn't expect. For example, the Pharisees knew that Elijah would return before the Messiah came. They were correct, but failed to realise that the prophecy was actually fulfilled by John the Baptist.

    The same principle is important when Christians try to make statements about other groups or individuals.

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  2. Excuse me, but I see something very different. Local SDA churches in Maryland/DC area are promoting a group called Mountain Media Ministries that are publishing an anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic screed from Samuel Morse and other anti-Catholic articles.

    You can see this on their website at:
    http://mountainmediaministries.org/virtuemart/51.html

    You can also see anti-Catholic articles on their website at:
    http://mountainmediaministries.org/end-times/end-time-articles/index.php

    These events scheduled for October 1 and 2 will take place 10 miles from our nation's capital at the Olney SDA Church in Olney, MD as well as at the Captial Brazilian SDA Temple in Highland, MD.
    http://www.olneysda.org/

    I think there needs to be an explanation as to what these anti-Catholic sentiments are about. We live in a free nation that promotes religious liberty for all.

    Perhaps you should give them a call.

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  3. I had a look at the Mountain Media Ministries as requested and it just appears to be just another blog out of the millions that are swirling around the internet. I couldn’t see that this ministry is endorsed by or has anything to do with the official SDA Church? Seems to be just another crackpot to me and perhaps linked to the Patriot Movement?

    Sorry, I can’t speak to what local SDA Churches in Maryland/DC areas are supposedly doing or not doing. I also cannot verify whether what you say is true or not, and whether this ministry is officially endorsed by those Churches or just certain individual members? Could involve individual Adventists but I am 100% sure it would not be supported by the official SDA Church or majority of Adventists for that matter.

    I also note the Mountain Ministry website has many anti-Federal Gov and anti-Obama articles, and I support both (as does many Adventists, including Adventist members of Congress for both parties).

    I note you say this Mountain Ministry is also anti-immigrant. I am pretty sure the World SDA Church would not support that, given the Church is actually biggest in number in both Latin America and Africa! In fact, SDA Fundamental beliefs upholds anti-racism, noting at fundamental belief #14:

    14. Unity in the Body of Christ:
    The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us.

    It is important to recognise that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is actually a very broad Church with a diverse theological spectrum. In fact, because we don’t have a very centralised or authoritarian structure, frankly crazy people are free to say what they like. Such theological tolerance is hardly consistent with the characteristics of an all-powerful, central cult.

    One should realise there is very big difference between what the official SDA Church believes and teaches, verses what individual SDA local churches and individuals might believe and teach. There are extremists in every religion, and the SDA Church is no different. Please don’t try to judge 20 million Adventists by the actions of a few crazies in America. If you really wanted, I could show you other websites made by other Adventists that are just as crazy and in all honesty embarrass me with much shame for their stupidity and ignorance.

    In short, I don’t deny many individual Adventists might be anti-Catholic (as distinct from just anti-Papal in the Protestant tradition), but that is frankly because they are ignorant of Adventist theology and history. Please don’t tarnish me with the same brush!

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    1. Excuse me, but to know just how anti-Catholic the SDA are, I suggest going to an SDA bookstore, or tape ministry, or listen to their broadcasts. If that's not conspiracy theory against Catholics, and especially the Jesuits, you have to tell me what is. Or you may just google "Whore of Babylon, Antichrist, Vatican" - and where do you end up? You guessed it: SDA sites - and I don't mean fringe sites or blogs. Why deny the obvious?

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    2. There certainly is a fringe wing of Adventism obsessed with conspiracy theories and Jesuits. There are also a number of ex-SDA break-away groups who especially promote this. Not all (not most) Adventists do - that is the important point.

      In fact the authors of this site have a special site dedicated to combating such groups. See 'Sevy Taliban: Ex-Adventist Cults'.

      You can't paint all Adventists and our websites s bad anti-Catholics when some of us have established whole websites dedicated to combating those ideas.

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  4. I think you'll find many (if not the majority) of Roman Catholics are anti-Papal these days. Just look at all the molestation scandals and closet homosexuality amongst the clergy (including Cardinal of Scottland). In all that, the real 'Christians' are the nuns. And look at how the nuns were treated by the Bishops and Curia of the Vatican.

    SDAs are right in their anti-Papal beliefs. They stand with the Nuns of America in those views.

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  5. I think a brief look at the celebrating masses on the day of the election of the new pope proves how utterly mistaken your statement is. So many nuns cheering on St. Peter's Square. So if these nuns are anti-papal, I must say they found a very strange of showing their anti-papal beliefs. But let me guess - sure they were all actors. Had to be. Otherwise your claim would be wrong, and that cannot be.

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    1. I think now you are the one making generalisations. I assume you were not following when the Bishops of the Vatican cracked down on the Nuns of America:

      http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/story/2012-04-18/american-nuns-vatican/54396560/1

      I am not saying every nun hates the Pope - that would be riddiculous. I am saying many practicing and faithful Roman Catholics disagree with the Pope and Vatican, and in practice (if not in word also) disobey its teachings - which are meant to be infallible.

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  6. A person, nun or otherwise could not be a faithful practicing Catholic whilst disagreeing with Catholic teaching, that would be a contradiction in terms which is why those nuns are in trouble.

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    1. That's the point. There are a whole host of nuns that don't in practice follow the teachings of the Catholic Church, which is why they were censured by the Vatican. As for Roman Catholic laity, the vast majority, especially in the Developed World, use condoms in violation of official Church teaching. So getting back to the topic, Adventists (as Protestants) would not have anything to 'protest' (the origin of the word Protestant) against these 'rebellious' nuns or the Catholic laity. It is the Papal hierarchy that we 'protest' against because we don't recognise the Pope's authority through the doctrine of Apostolic Succession.

      To say one does not recognise the authority of the Pope does not make someone 'anti-Catholic' in the sense of being against the 1 billion Catholic people. That is the point trying to be made.

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  7. There is a difference between "protesting" against the papal hierarchy and argueing that the Pope is the Antichrist, and Rome is his empire. Again, why deny the obvious?
    Catholics deny that Ellen G. White was a Prophet, and there's ample evidence of plagiarism in her writings, which does not exactly suggest credibility. Still, while perhaps anti-White, they do not therefore think she was the Antichrist. Just deluded or perhaps a fraud.

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  8. In the end of days(any day now) the Roman Catholics will rise with corrupt leaders such as judges and government officials and hunt torture and kill us. We are very anti-catholic, we just don't admit it. This author is in some sick denial.

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  10. If one doubts the anti-Catholic bigotry of large swaths of the Adventist community - then you could check out one very popular Adventist preacher Doug Batchelor. Here's his FB page for a sample: https://www.facebook.com/dougbatchelor
    Also - this article itself is not free from serious and gratuitous bias against the RCC - "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" OK - there was persecution in various places and times. But that is not the experience of the majority of nominal billion Catholics today. So what's the point? Also - You may see "Papal primacy" as "extra-biblical" but there are non-Catholics scholars who have thoughtfully written otherwise. And, again - mention of persecution - where does one see Catholicism aligned with the state today... persecuting the populations? We no longer live in the Middle Ages, where BOTH Catholic and Protestant leaders did their share of persecution.

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