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Congregation defends Sabbath in newspaper ad
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Congregation defends Sabbath in newspaper ad

BIG SANDY, Texas--The Church of God Big Sandy recently paid for an advertisement in The Big Sandy & Hawkins Journal (the local weekly newspaper for this East Texas town of 1,200 people) to correct misinformation about the Sabbath.

Although many congregations place ads in newspapers, this situation was a little different in that Big Sandy was once the principal Feast of Tabernacles site for the Radio Church of God (which later became the Worldwide Church of God) and is the former home of Ambassador University.

Dave Havir, pastor of the congregation, told The Journal the congregation's ad was the idea of Reg Killingley, a member of the congregation.

"Although the ad was submitted without a personal byline, Reg Killingley deserves the credit for it," Mr. Havir said. "He came up with the idea, he wrote the text, and he contacted the newspaper."

Mr. Havir also mentioned that Mr. Killingley sought suggestions from other members of the congregation before submitting it to the newspaper.

"Because Reg suggested that the name of the congregation be attached to the ad, he was diligent to have other eyes in the congregation review the ad and give their input," Mr. Havir said.

Mr. Killingley told The Journal he wanted the congregation to run an advertisement in response to an ad that had run the previous week in the same newspaper.

"A local pastor had submitted an ad expressing his views about the Sabbath, and I felt that a number of the statements in his ad were inaccurate," said Mr. Killingley. "While the author was undoubtedly sincere, I felt that our congregation had the opportunity to correct the errors and to frame the Sabbath in a positive light."

Here are some of the errors in the original ad that were corrected in the congregation's ad.

  • The first ad, placed by the pastor of a Protestant congregation in nearby Gladewater, Texas, said that the word Sabbath means "seven." The second ad pointed out that the word Sabbath means "rest."
  • The first ad said that Jewish ceremonial law declared the seventh day to be holy. The second ad said that God declared the seventh day to be holy.
  • The first ad said that Joshua's long day and Hezekiah's request for the shadow to move back 10 steps are proofs that a day was lost and that the Sabbath moved to Sunday. The first ad went on to mention computer verification of a lost day in history. The second ad said that those observations have no basis in fact.

Besides correcting these points, the congregation's ad was designed to show that Jesus kept the Sabbath and that He intended it to be a blessing to mankind.

The first ad ran April 26. The Big Sandy congregation's ad ran both May 3 and May 10.

The Big Sandy ad ran a second time because the newspaper had made an error in the ad on May 3. The publication corrected the error before the second printing. (Because of the error, the newspaper charged the congregation for only one insertion of the ad.)

After reviewing the success of placing this ad in support of the seventh-day Sabbath, the congregation decided to periodically submit other ads. The congregation formed a committee for this purpose.

Members of the committee are Mr. Havir, Mr. Killingley, Bernie Monsalvo of Gladewater, Don Walls of Big Sandy, John Warren of Big Sandy (chairman) and Karl Wilson of Tyler. The next ad ran on May 31 and focused on Pentecost, just before the feast day.

Besides appearing in the Big Sandy publication, the Pentecost ad also ran in the daily newspaper in nearby Tyler.

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