Seventh Day Adventist Church of Tonga
The Seventh-day Adventist Church of Tonga or Siasi ʻAhofitu is a church in Tonga. Seventh-day Adventist missionaries first arrived in Tonga in 1891 from America. They continued to observe Western Hemisphere time, worshiping on Saturday (Sabbath) which was locally called Sunday according to Eastern Hemisphere reckoning. Although the Meridian Conference in Washington in 1884 had established the Prime Meridian at Greenwich, and subsequently the International Date Line (IDL) was on occasions drawn to the west of Tonga along the 180th meridian, Tonga chose to remain in Eastern Hemisphere time and so the IDL bends around Tonga. This means that Adventists have always observed seventh-day Sabbath on Sunday in Tonga. They claim that since the International Dateline was positioned around Tonga for commercial purposes it doesn't affect their true Sabbath worship, believing that Sunday in Tonga is actually the seventh day of the Western Hemisphere. They also claim Monday is the first day of the week. Normally Sunday is identified as the first day of the week. Until recently the SDA church of Tonga was unique among Seventh-day Adventist churches to celebrate Sabbath on Sunday. However, further changes to the International Dateline in Kiribati (1995) and Samoa (2011) mean that Seventh-day Adventists in the Line & Phoenix group and in Samoa also observe Sabbath on what is now called Sunday. Again they argue that this is consistent with observing what is the true seventh day of the western hemisphere, east of the 180th meridian.
The SDA Church of Tonga has been criticized by members elsewhere for worshiping on Sunday instead of Saturday. According to Seventh-day Adventist eschatology there will one day be an enforcement of Sunday sacredness and this Sunday enforcement is identified as the "mark of the beast". The majority of Seventh-day Adventist members believe that Sunday is the false Sabbath and must be avoided, therefore they have criticized the SDA Church of Tonga for this misleading practice.
- http://adventist.org.au/about_adventists/history/adventism_in_the_south_pacific/tonga__and__niue. Tonga & Niue. Retrieved 2011-3-6
- Seventh-day Adventist theology#Sunday law. Seventh-day Adventist Theology. Retrieved 2011-3-6
- http://www.sabbathtruth.com/faq/advanced-topics/the-sabbath-and-the-mark-of-the-beast.aspx. The Sabbath and The Mark of the Beast. Retrieved 2013-3-6
- http://www.sabbathtruth.com/faq/advanced-topics/the-day-of-the-sun.aspx. The day of the Sun. Retrieved 2013-3-6
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