GC SDA Denounced Anti-Catholic advertisements


Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia .... [Brenton Stacey/ANN Staff] The Seventh-day Adventist Church has distanced itself from anti-Roman Catholic advertisements that have appeared in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea newspapers.

The advertisements attacking the Pope and the United States were placed by lay members of the church and have prompted widespread negative reactions. The advertisements appeared in Auckland and Waikato community newspapers and in Papua New Guinea's Post-Courier.

These independent ministries "do not have [our] approval or support," reads a statement from the church in Papua New Guinea. The statement appeared in the Post-Courier after the newspaper published the advertisements, and apologized to "all of our brothers and sisters in Christ" for any pain they may have experienced.

"We recognize Protestants have incited bigotry and prejudice at times, but to blame past un-Christian acts on one denomination is not an accurate representation of history or Bible prophecy. No one can call >themselves authentic Christians if they fail to express love while teaching from the Bible."

It is "unfortunate" the advertisements "misled" readers, wrote Gavin Howie, associate secretary-treasurer for the church in North New Zealand, in a letter to the editor of the Auckland newspapers. "[The church] does not endorse the actions of the [lay groups]. ...[We] focus on enabling the community to understand, accept and enjoy the Christian message of God's love, which is freely offered to each individual through Jesus Christ." The minister of the church in Waikato wrote a similar letter to his newspapers.

Bob Howarth, managing director of South Pacific Post, publisher of the Post-Courier, says he will not accept any advertising from the lay groups in the future. "I apologize to you and your fellow Christians for the upset this caused, and I thank you for your tolerance and understanding," he writes in a letter to the church in Papua New Guinea.

"Adventists regard all men and women as equal in the sight of God," reads a statement released by the worldwide church in 1997. "We reject bigotry against any person, regardless of race, nationality or religious creed. ...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." [Source: Adventist News Network]