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Church Council denounces divisive sermons

The National Council of Churches will meet soon to discuss the fallout from a televised religious programme that has angered churches, political leaders as well as members of the public.

Council Secretary and a Church Minister, Reverend Maauga Motu, told the Samoa Observer that one of their objectives is to promote harmony between all churches.

This is why the criticism of other churches by the Samoa Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church (S.I.S.D.A.C.) Worldwide Leader Pastor Willie Papu goes against everything the Council stands for.

“It’s sad to see that churches and families through members of the public are starting to retaliate through this issue, which is not what we wanted and is against the original purpose of why we are Christians,” he said. 

“The purpose of this Council of Churches is to have a peaceful and harmonious relationship between churches but with what (Pastor) Papu is doing, he is clearly creating a controversy between the churches.”

According to Reverend Motu, church members of the N.C.C. have been asked to meet to discuss the issue with a date to be confirmed.

Looking back in retrospect at his 14-years as a Church Minister, Reverend Motu said it is not his style to use the pulpit to criticise other churches. 

“It’s just not in my style and I haven’t once used the opportunity to stand on the podium to preach about other churches and criticise them,” he added. “As long as we emphasise the father, son and the holy spirit in our messages, those are the main points.”

The S.I.S.D.A.C. is not a member of the N.C.C., though the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Samoa was a founding member of the Council, according to Reverend Motu. 

In an appeal to Pastor Papu, Reverend Motu said the S.I.S.D.A.C. leader should look at his own church’s relationship with God before looking at other churches, and emphasised that such behaviour of attacking other religions was common prior to the arrival of Christianity in Samoa.

“Pointing fingers when it comes to Christian beliefs of who is right or wrong about Christianity is the behaviour from way back before 1830 when the Christianity wasn’t brought to Samoa,” he added. 

Reverend Motu said one lesson he learnt from prominent Samoan church leader, former N.C.C. President Reverend Oka Fau’olo, is not to underestimate the religious knowledge of the congregation.

“He (Reverend Fauolo) once said, when you’re (church ministers) standing in front of the podium ready to preach, make sure you don’t underestimate the religious knowledge of the congregation towards you because they altogether have a better understanding than you ,” he said.

Consequently, he advised Pastor Papu to exercise caution and be mindful of what he says.

“The door (to N.C.C) is always open for the S.D.A or the S.I.D.A.C to enter and be a part of the council again anytime and we’d be so glad to welcome them back,” he added.

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