Seventh-day Adventists’ ecumenical controversies

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Mike Gendron had the following in his March 2020 newsletter:

A historical “Ecumenical Charter” was signed by Seventh-day Adventists, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans, Evangelicals and Methodists on January 25th, in Bologna, Italy. The charter says that “the most important task of the Churches is to proclaim the Gospel together through word and action, for the salvation of all human beings. (Gendron M. Catholics Seek Unity with SDA’s and Evangelicals. Proclaiming the Gospel newsletter, March 2020)

He also linked to the following article:

Seventh-day Adventists, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals Sign a Historic ‘Ecumenical Charter’ that Affirms Faith in ‘One, Holy, Catholic Apostolic Church’

The document that was signed is a pledge of commitment to each other. Adventists pledged a commitment to Rome, and Rome reciprocated that commitment. Make no mistake. The churches that signed this document promised to uphold the principles of the Ecumenical Charter which includes affirming an allegiance to each other.

• The Ecumenical Charter declares that the church is “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” and therefore the “inescapable ecumenical task consists in making visible this unity.”

• The Ecumenical Charter declares that the churches are “called together in the unity of faith.”

• The Ecumenical Charter calls for the “visible unity of the Church of Jesus Christ in the one faith and in witness and in common service.”

• The Ecumenical Charter says that “the most important task of the Churches is to proclaim the Gospel together through word and action, for the salvation of all human beings.”

• The Ecumenical Charter states that the purpose of this document is to “to avoid harmful competition and the danger of new divisions.”

• The Ecumenical Charter recognizes “the spiritual gifts of the different Christian traditions” and appeals to every church to “welcome each other’s gifts.”

• The Ecumenical Charter laments the “painful sign of the division still existing between many Christian Churches” which according to them is due to the “lack of Eucharistic sharing.”

• The Ecumenical Charter encourages “ecumenical celebrations, common songs and prayers.”

The Ecumenical Charter was signed on the final day of the 2020 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. A 17-minute sermon was given by Seventh-day Adventist Pastor Giovanni Caccamo to commemorate the ecumenical signing ceremony. [1] Pastor Giovanni Caccamo is the former Secretary of the Italian Union of Seventh-day Adventist Churches.  …

There is a long history of ecumenism in Italy, and those responsible for this are at the highest levels of leadership in the church. …

Pastor Stefano Paris is the President of the Italian Union of Seventh-day Adventist Churches. He is the top Adventist leader in Italy. [6] [7] Not only does Pastor Stefano Paris oversee the churches throughout Italy, he is also a leading participant in the ecumenical movement.

Pastor Stefano Paris was featured in the 2019 Brochure advertising the 2019 United Nations Interfaith Harmony Week. When you look at the brochure you realize that the President of the Italian Union of SDA Churches is part of the “Interfaith Table of Rome!” …

The ecumenical crisis in Italy goes even higher than President Stefano Paris. Ted Wilson, President of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, was in Rome with President Stefano Paris in 2018. Ted Wilson addressed specifically the ecumenical movement. …

In the above video Ted Wilson says we should not engage in the ecumenical movement or compromise our faith. But then he says that we must be in the “forefront” of making friends by being friendly with the leaders of other churches. These two statements are problematic when considering the current ecumenical crisis in Adventism.

Signing this Ecumenical Charter was not simply expressing friendship; it was entering into an ecumenical confederacy with the other churches. We have a major problem because we can’t seem to distinguish between being friendly and entering into ecumenical partnerships with Rome. Every time church leaders get admonished for engaging in ecumenism they respond with a reassuring smile and say, “No, that was not ecumenism, we were just being friendly.” 02/20/20

Now, it should be noted that the Inter-European Division of the SDA church denounced the signing, and issued the following press release:

Press release EUD: “Charta Ecumenica di Bologna”

Press release EUD: "Charta Ecumenica di Bologna"

Statement on the position of the Inter-European Division on the involvement of an Italian Seventh-day Adventist Pastor in the signing of the Ecumenical Charter of the Council of the Christian Churches of Bologna.

February 24, 2020 | CD-EUDNews.

Bern, February 23, 2020 [CD-EUDNEWS].  On Saturday, 25 January the pastor of a local church congregation in Italy signed a joint declaration with other faith groups which, while focused on respectful dialogue among and between different religious denominations, contained some statements which run counter to Seventh-day Adventist principles regarding inter-church relations.

The administration of the Inter-European Division (EUD) disapproves the signing of the ecumenical charter, and reaffirms its position concerning the involvement of church entities and representatives in ecumenical endeavours.

As a result, the EUD Officers wish to clarify the involvement of Seventh-day Adventist Pastors and Leaders in meetings and events with representatives of other religious bodies.

The EUD encourages all its entities to abide by and offer education on the valuable principles that are contained in the Bible, in the writings of Ellen G. White and the various documents and statements produced by the Adventist Church concerning our relationship with other religions and denominations. We confirm that:

1.    The Adventist Church favours dialogue and cordial relationships of mutual respect and understanding with other religious confessions, at all levels of church organization.
2.    We are fully convinced and strongly defend that freedom of conscience and religious liberty is a right inherent to all human beings, not as something that we claim only for us, but as a right to be granted to all, even to those who think differently from us.
3.    Dialogue and mutual understanding however, do not mean however agreeing with the others, just for the sake of securing cordial relationships.
4.    Our fundamental beliefs have been carefully and painstakingly built on the sure foundation of the Bible. These statements of faith define our identity as a church and should always be kept as our hallmark.
5.    As representatives of Adventist Church, we should clearly speak on behalf of the community that we represent. Thus, we should not negotiate or compromise regarding anything that goes against the principles of our Church and its fundamental beliefs.
For further explanations, please consult the declarations and statements below.

We appreciate the statement of the Adventist Italian Union published on January 31. This clearly demonstrated that the event in Bologna does not change the official position of Adventist Church in Italy.

Statement of the Italian Union of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Dear sisters and brothers, we are aware of the discomfort, uneasiness and disappointment that has arisen from the news concerning an ecumenical event in which the Adventist Pastor Giovanni Caccamo took part and during which he signed a document entitled “Charta Ecumenica di Bologna”.

This event and the signing of the document do not represent the position of the Italian Union. As officers of the Italian Union, we were not aware of this programme which was a local initiative of the pastor of Bologna. We express our regret for the situation generated.

As officers and leaders of the church, we appreciate and support all initiatives that allow us to witness our faith with respect and friendship. It is our intention to ensure that our voice can be heard in every meeting, both ecumenical and otherwise, so that our faith can be shared with others.

However, we distance ourselves from any statement that undermines our evangelistic freedom or that leads us to conform to decisions made by others under the direction of one church. We cannot and will not recognize the authority of that church over our choices.

Therefore, even though the signed document may have good intentions as a whole, and despite the fact that we recognise the good intentions that inspired it – to establish a peaceful and respectful dialogue among and with the different religious denominations in the area – in some parts it does not reflect the official position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Aware of this, we distance ourselves from this document.

May the Lord help us to be good witnesses of the Faith and Grace received in Christ, knowing that our mission must never be conditioned by any earthly organization or power.

The Seventh-day Adventist Italian Union officers.

(Statement on the position of the Inter-European Division on the involvement of an Italian Seventh-day Adventist Pastor in the signing of the Ecumenical Charter of the Council of the Christian Churches of Bologna. Press release EUD: “Charta Ecumenica di Bologna”. February 24, 2020)

It looks like some SDAs want to get closer to Rome, while some want to get as close to the compromise line as possible.

Officially, “Seventh-day Adventists … stress the conviction that many Roman Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ” (How Seventh-day Adventists View Roman Catholicism. This statement 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).

Ultimately, more and more churches will notice that the Orthodox, Anglicans, Evangelicals and Methodists also signed that ‘Ecumenical Charter,’ and they do not have massive protests because of it.

This will, among other things, result in outlawing keeping the Sabbath in Europe and likely in most places throughout the world (see also Persecutions by Church and State).

I would simply add that I believe that the SDA church has already compromised too much with the world as it simply does not hold certain biblically-accurate beliefs that some of its early founders and some associated with it held.

My prayer is for all, including the SDAs, to seek the truth, change, and hold to “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).

Some items of related interest may include:

SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The genuine Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White. Did Ellen White make prophetic errors? Did Ellen White make false prophecies? Ted N. C. Wilson spoke on the SDAs striving to be the “remnant church,” but what do the related scriptures actually teach? Here is a version in the Spanish language: SDA/COG Diferencias: La bestia de dos cuernos de Apocalipsis y 666. Here is a sermon in the English language: CCOG and SDA differences and similarities.
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was celebrated as his birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity? A sermon video from Vatican City is titled Church of Rome, Mithras, and Isis?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. Several related sermon are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History, The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character, The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon, and How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? See also World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are? Here is a link to a related sermon: Eastern Orthodox 40+ Similar Beliefs to the CCOG.
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer. There is also a YouTube video sermon you can watch: The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.
The Sabbath in the Early Church and Abroad Was the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath observed by the apostolic and post-apostolic Church? Here is a related sermon video The Christian Sabbath and How and Why to Keep It.
The Christian Sabbath. This is a series of articles from the Catholic Mirror essentially proving that the biblical Sabbath was Saturday, that the Lord’s day in Revelation 1 is not a reference to Sunday, that the Church of Rome implemented Sunday, and that nearly all Protestants followed Rome. Here is a link to a related sermon: Catholic teachings on the Sabbath, Sunday, and Protestantism.
Early Sabbath Keeping in North America When did Europeans first keep the Sabbath in North America? Did the pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower keep Saturday or Sunday?
How to Observe the Sabbath How should you keep the Sabbath? This is an old article by Raymond Cole, with updated information for the 21st century.
Can You Keep Your Job, Get Your Degree, and Keep the Sabbath? This article has some information on that. Here is a link to a related video titled: Can you keep the Sabbath and your job? What about college?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and three video sermonette are also available:  Pope Francis signs ‘one world religion’ document! and The Chrislam Cross and the Interfaith Movement and Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Freemasonry and the Destruction of Rome? What is Freemasonry? What about ties to the Illuminati? Could they be involved in the fulfillment of prophecy? Here is a link to a related sermon: Freemasonry, Armageddon, and Rome.
COGwriter Position on Other Churches and Religions What is the fate of those who do not know Christ? What about those who profess Christ outside the Church of God?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.


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