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Agostinho Jorge wrote:

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I am a Catholic born Christian living in Mozambique.

My parents were Catholic until they found, what they call, infallible truth in the (SDA) Seventh Day Adventist church. They are very passionate about this truth as well. At times, my father sits down with us and teaches us with a Bible. He also teaches other neighbors and friends of ours.

He has now convinced many of our Catholic friends to change religions. I have managed to resist him for a long time but it is becoming unbearable. All that my father says comes exactly from the Bible. He tells me that Sunday is not a day of worship but Saturday is and that I can read the Bible by myself. He uses the Bible, and only the Bible, to justify his teachings. On top of that, he uses only the verses that conveniently fit his agenda.

I love the Catholic Church but he tells me that it is the religion of the devil and that the Pope will persecute and kill the Sabbath (Saturday) keepers.

  • What should I do:
    • confront my father, or
    • leave my Catholic faith?

Yours faithfully,

Agostinho

  { Should I confront and resist my Seventh Day Adventist father or leave my Catholic faith? }

Eric replied:

Hi Agostinho,

I have news for you: There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Christian sects that are able to present a convincing case that what they say comes exactly from the Bible contradicts what other similar-believing sects say.

The Bible is the most distorted text in all of history and it is not that hard to make it say whatever you want it to say, if you select verses carefully enough, so don't be deceived by what your father says. Calm down and realize that it only appears that what he says, is what the Bible teaches. If you study the Scriptures more deeply, in the context of history and Christian tradition, you will see it in a much different light.

You said:
He tells me that Sunday is not a day of worship but Saturday is and that I can read the Bible by myself.

Saturday is the day the Jews worshiped, to be sure. It is not the day that Christians worship however. You can read this for yourself in the Bible. In Acts 20:7 the disciples were gathered together to break bread — to celebrate the Eucharist in other words —on the first day of the week. In 1 Corinthians 16:2, there is a reference to a collection on the first day of the week, and it would only make sense that this would occur when they met together. An early Christian martyr, St. Justin Martyr, described Christian worship in the mid 2nd century, and he too testifies that worship was on Sunday so it's not as cut and dried as they are making it out to be.

And what about Colossians 2:16: "Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day"? Did they ever tell you that one?

You said:
He uses the Bible, and only the Bible, to justify his teachings. On top of that, he uses only the verses that conveniently fit his agenda.

Let's first get rid of this notion that justifying things from the Bible alone is somehow better. Here are some verses he won't tell you about:

"Hold fast to the traditions which you received, whether by word of mouth or by letter"

(2 Thessalonians 2:15).

"Watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned."

(Romans 16:17)

"Keep away from every brother who does not live according to the teaching you received from us."

(2 Thessalonians 3:6)

"The grass withers and the flowers fail, but the word of the Lord stands forever. And this is the word that was preached to you."

( 1 Peter 1:25)

"Earnestly contend for the faith once for all entrusted to the saints."

(Jude 3)

"Church of the living God", "which is [] the pillar and foundation of the truth."

(1 Timothy 3:15).

"And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe."

(1 Thessalonians 2:13)

I have probably five times as many similar verses. The point of them is that Sacred Tradition — that which was preached by the Apostles and handed down to the saints — is equally authoritative to Scripture. The Gospel was chiefly an oral message in the early church. Not surprising given the expense of books and the dismal levels of literacy. You will not find a single reference in Scripture to the Word of God being written down — it is, and we believe it, but we believe it by Tradition.

You will find more references to the oral proclamation of the Gospel than to the written Scriptures. Now, this is not to disparage the Scriptures, but to highlight the absurdity of the idea that we have to only justify what we believe from Scripture alone. This idea was invented in the Reformation and has no prior history.

You said:
I love the Catholic Church but he tells me that it is the religion of the devil and that the Pope will persecute and kill the Sabbath (Saturday) keepers.

  • What should I do:
    • confront my father, or
    • leave my Catholic faith?

Learn your faith and study both the Scriptures and history with Catholics, not just SDA folk.
My first recommendation is that you sit down and read the New Testament start to finish. Get a Catholic study guide if you can. Ideally you should read the Old Testament too but that's far more formidable and I don't want you to avoid reading anything for fear of reading all of it. Go to:

The St. Paul Center For Biblical Theology, Scott Hahn

where there are free online courses you can take and other resources. The other thing you need to do is study history.

"To be immersed in history is to cease to be Protestant."

Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman.

Study the early church and you will see that they believed everything that's essential to Catholicism.

The notion that the Pope will persecute and kill Sabbath keepers is purely a product of an overactive imagination.

  • If the Pope hasn't done this in two hundred years, why would he do it now?
  • Is there any solid evidence that the Pope has prepared to do this, or is this is just one of thousands of kooky self-deluded religious groups?

Besides our site, you can find a wealth of information about Seventh-Day Adventism from Catholic Answers, searching for "Adventist", such as this article:

This shows, for one thing, that the observation of the Sabbath was abolished, according to
St. Paul.

Hope this helps,

Eric

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Agostinho--

In addition to Eric's stalwart and stellar reply, I would encourage you, Agostinho, to pray heartily for your father and all the people he is affecting, and to pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit for yourself.

Ask Mary to protect you from these assaults of the evil one and to help you obtain deliverance from the Lord for all those captive to error. God does not expect us to have all the answers.
He just expects us to remain faithful and to love. Seek out the Blessed Sacrament, and find your strength and light there.

Hope this helps,

Mary Ann
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