|How Seventh-day Adventists View Roman Catholicism
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
Seventh-day Adventists seek
to 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.
The beliefs of Seventh-day
Adventists are rooted in the 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. Our
compelling message for Christians and non-Christians alike is to 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 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. We recognize that at
times Protestants, including Seventh-day Adventists, have manifested prejudice
and even bigotry. If, in expounding on what the Bible teaches, Seventh-day
Adventists fail to express love to those addressed, we do not exhibit authentic
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.
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.