Caption: First SDA church in Samoa at Lalovaea.
Seventh-day Adventists are adamant that “on the seventh day God rested” according to scripture. But deciding which day of the week is the seventh-day in Samoa continues to divide the church.
However, recent public statements made by Elder Ted Wilson the president of the church in the world is seen as a clear message by members in Samoa who continue to worship on Saturday. Not so for the majority of church members who have since the 2011 IDL change now worship on Sunday.
In his article “Called to proclaim Messages of Life” published on the 14th September and circulated to Adventists globally, president Ted Wilson repeatedly referred to the seventh-day Sabbath by the name of the day, Saturday, without making an exception for Tonga, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna, and now Samoa who are at odds with the rest of the SDA worldwide church by worshipping on Sunday.
The current confusion with the SDA day of worship in Samoa is a result of the local administration’s decision based on the assumption that the Samoa Government changed the calendar and renamed the days with Sunday now the seventh day of the week.
On the TVNZ program Tagata Pasefika last year, Pastor Uili Solofa, president of the church in Samoa, American Samoa and Tokelau stated that “now in Samoa, the seventh-day falls on Sunday.” A similar statement was published in the Samoa Observer 1st July last year saying, “The practical result in terms of Sabbath keeping is that Sunday not Saturday has become the seventh day of the week.”
This claim is untrue according to an official statement from the Government Press Secretariat’s office last year, “There has been no change in the first day of the week for Samoa, it remains at Sunday.”
The matter has divided the SDA church not only in Samoa where a minority continues to worship on Saturday, but church members around the world who have called on Elder Wilson to reverse the actions by local administration so that Saturday, the seventh-day Sabbath, is kept in Samoa instead of Sunday.
The General Conference of the church headed by Elder Ted Wilson had since referred the Samoa Sabbath issue to the South Pacific Division of the church to study.
After twenty months without any solution, is it divine or did president Ted Wilson had the Samoa confusion in mind when he made the clear statement “Saturday, the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week”?
In a written statement in Samoan, Pastor Uili Solofa wrote, “The majority of church leaders, worshippers and villages (in Samoa) are not saying they are happy that Seventh-day Adventists are keeping Sunday, instead what they are saying is that – we are going to keep the Sabbath of the Seventh-day Adventist church; praise God!”
In a separate correspondence, Pastor Uili Solofa wrote, “You have to know that all the other Christian religions in Samoa have publicly testified that they have moved to keep the seventh–day Sabbath of the Bible.”
Such statement by leaders of other Christian denominations in Samoa had never been verified.
The statement by the local SDA church administration however that Sunday is the ‘seventh-day’ in Samoa today contradicts the belief of Christian churches who worship on Sunday being the first day of the week to commemorate the day of Jesus’ resurrection.
The president of the SDA world church in his article does acknowledge “Other churches indicate that they worship on Sunday as a memorial of Christ’s resurrection”.