CATHOLICISM IN THE BAPTISMAL VOWS–2005

THE NEW 2005 ALTERNATIVE SDA BAPTISMAL VOW

In 2005 at the General Conference in St. Louis, the SDA church dramatically reduced the number of vows in an Alternative Baptismal Vow to three.

These new vows are given here:

1. Do you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, and do you desire to live your life in a saving relationship with Him?
2. Do you accept the teachings of the Bible as expressed in the Statement of Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and do you pledge by God’s grace to live your life in harmony with these teachings?

3. Do you desire to be baptized as a public expression of your belief in Jesus Christ, to be accepted into the fellowship of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and to support the Church and its mission as a faithful steward by your personal influence, tithes and offerings, and a life of service?

A FIRST

For the first time candidates were invited to vow to merely accept the Scriptures as interpreted in the Twenty-eight Fundamentals. This is credalism of the worst order for it destroys the Word of God as the basis of our faith, placing the vote of faulted delegates above that of God’s inspired Word.

This vow in no wise differs from the Roman Catholic position on the Scriptures.

The Roman Catholic position upon Scripture was well set forth by Johann Adam Moehler, D.D. (1796-1838), German Roman Catholic priest and Professor of Church History at Türbingen, the same German Theological Seminary where the current pope, Benedict XVI, once taught, and where current SDA President Jan Paulsen once studied.

This theologian stated:
“The main question, which we have now to answer, is this: how doth man attain to possession of the true doctrine of Christ; or, to express ourselves in a more general, and at once more accurate manner, how doth man obtain a clear knowledge of the institute of salvation, proffered in Christ Jesus? The Protestant says, by searching Holy Writ, which is infallible: the Catholic, on the other hand, replies, by the Church, in which alone man arrives at the true understanding of Holy Writ.” (John Adam Moehler, Symbolism, trans, by James Burton Robertson [5th ed.; London: Gibbings & Company, 1906], p. 277).

Here we see that Dr. Moehler correctly identified the difference between the genuine Protestant view of Scripture, upheld by every FAITHFUL Seventh-day Adventist, and Roman Catholicism.

The new Seventh-day Adventist Baptismal Vow No. 2, has forthrightly discarded the Protestant view of Scripture and adopted the Roman Catholic position which, as we have seen, holds that it is:
“by the Church, in which alone man arrives at the true understanding of Holy Writ.” (Ibid).

THE COUNCIL OF TRENT, TRADITION, AND SUNDAY SACREDNESS

The Council of Trent (1545-1563) was one of the most important events in the history of the Catholic Church. Few know that the haggling over tradition in the Catholic faith dominated the `Council of Trent.’ Protestants were making a powerful attack on the papal beliefs—specifically because those beliefs were based on Tradition. But the arguments against the Catholic position were quickly silenced when the archbishop of Reggio, Gaspar del Fosso made a speech that put the use of Tradition above the Bible on a foundation that no one could attack. No one could say a word for almost 300 years—until the Seventh-day Adventist church was born and began to preach the Third Angel’s Message of Rev. 14:9-12.
His speech on January 18, 1562 decided the entire future course of Catholicism. First, he reasoned that the Church of Rome was founded on Tradition; and the Church and its beliefs would soon perish without it. Then he gave his punch line:

“The Protestants claim to stand upon the written word only; they profess to hold the Scriptures alone as the standard of faith. They justify their revolt by the plea that the Church has apostatized from the written word and follows tradition. Now the Protestant’s claim that they stand upon the written word alone is not true. Their profession of holding the Scriptures alone as the standard of faith is false. Proof … The written word explicitly enjoins the observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath. They do not observe the seventh day, but reject it. If they truly hold the Scriptures alone as the standard, they would be observing the seventh day as it is enjoined in the Scripture throughout. Yet they not only reject the observance of the Sabbath as enjoined in the written word, but they have adopted, and do practice, the observance of Sunday, for which they have only the tradition of the (Catholic) Church. Consequently, the claim of Scripture alone as the standard fails and the doctrine of ‘Scripture and tradition as essential’ is fully established, the Protestants themselves being Judges.” [ J. H. Holtzman, published in Ludwigsburg, Germany, in 1859, page 263, and Archbishop of Reggio’s address in the 17th session of the Council of Trent, Jan. 18, 1562, in Mansi SC, Vol. 33, cols. 529, 530. Latin.]
There was no getting around this, for the Protestants’ own statement of faith — the Augsburg Confession, 1530 — had clearly admitted that “the observation of the Lord’s day” had been appointed by “the Church” only. [See the proceedings of the Council; Augsburg Confession; and Encyclopedia Britannica, article “Trent, Council of.”]
It is obvious today that Protestants observe Sunday because for many centuries they had been part of the Roman Catholic Church and had observed the commandment of that church to keep Sunday holy.
A Catholic historian explains: “At the last opening session on the 18th of January, 1562, their last scruple was set aside; the Archbishop of Reggio made a speech in which he openly declared that tradition stood above Scripture. The authority of the church had changed the Sabbath into Sunday, not by the command of Christ but by its own authority. With this act the last illusion was destroyed, and it was declared that tradition does not signify antiquity, but continual inspiration.” [Holtzman, J.H., Canon and Tradition, p. 263.]
That morning, del Fosso made it clear that Sunday sacredness was the pivotal proof of the entire doctrinal structure of Catholicism and Catholic doctrine. His speech settled the matter. The tone of the gathering changed. Never again, in the councils of Rome, would a question be raised in regard to the supreme authority of papal Tradition. The fact that Rome had changed God’s Sabbath to the papal Sunday, and Protestants carefully obeyed the papacy in this matter, was the “proof” needed to forever establish Rome’s authority.

By referring the candidate for baptism to the 28 Statements of belief, the SDA Church has incorporated Tradition into its Baptismal Vows. This is a step toward Rome. Because the use of tradition is based on Sunday keeping, the next step for the SDA church will be to show the proof for its use of tradition—the keeping of Sunday.

We call on the General Conference to repent of this action that puts tradition, the word of man—an errant creed—above the Word of God.