Many folks have contacted Spectrum regarding the "Samoa dilemma." In short, due to an international date line shift to align the island business with New Zealand and Australia, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Samoa has chosen to stick with a strict interpretation of "seven days" and not leap forward with the rest of their community. As a result, Sabbath will fall on Sunday because Sunday is now the seventh day. Their official statement explains:
Sunday worship will continue uninterrupted for the majority even though Sunday will have moved from the first day of the week to the seventh and last day. For those like Seventh Day Adventists, who observe the Biblical Sabbath however, the change will present challenges because of the longstanding association of Saturday with the seventh day.
As its name suggests, one of the distinguishing marks of the Seventh Day Adventist faith is its observance of the Biblical Sabbath, which according to scriptures, is on the seventh day of the week: “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God had created and made” [Genesis 2: 2,3] At present, the seventh day of the week falls on Saturday like everywhere else.
When Samoa repositions the International Date Line on the 29th December as planned, it will also reallocate the days of the week so that the seventh day of the week in Samoa will now fall on Sunday instead of Saturday as usual.
This means that Adventists in Samoa and the three atolls of Tokelau will not be as distinct from others Christians. Oh, and they will be worshipping on Sunday (i.e., the Mark of the Beast), which seems to be the crux of the controversy filling the inboxes of the faithful. Some folks seem to be very concerned about the authenticity of these new Seventh-day Sunday-keeping Adventists. I'm not so sure much of the church can even handle this level of abstraction. We can't even have an informed conversation about the basic science of origins or gender. Now physics? Will our church's flagship now publish some op-eds questioning the relativity of time and the social construction of the temporal? It looks like www.EducateTime.edu is available.
The numbering of the weekly cycle from day one to day seven remains as before but the names of the days will change. Accordingly, and in line with Biblical command on the subject, the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Samoa will continue to observe the biblical Sabbath on the seventh day of the weekly cycle, irrespective of the change of name to Sunday.
The naming of the days of the week of the pagan Gods is a relatively recent human invention after all. The Biblical records of creation refers only to the following, “and the evening and the morning were the first day…. “And the evening and the morning were the second day.” This formula of recording the days of the week repeat itself until the seventh day when the Lord then rested from all his labour. (Genesis: 1: 8-31, 2:1-3).
In arriving at this potentially challenging decision for the average church followers, the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Samoa has taken every opportunity to consult its membership at home as well as the churches global family. . . . Monday will be the first day of the week, with the seventh day falling on the Sunday. For the Seventh Day Adventist, faithful in Samoa, Sunday will coincide with the biblical Sabbath and therefore, the day of worship as commanded by scripture.
Happy New Year? Controversy commence!
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3681