MORRISET, NSW - So now there are three Seventh Day Adventists in important positions in Papua New Guinea.
There’s new prime minister James Marape, chief justice Gibbs Salika and the parliamentary speaker Job Pomat.
Well I won't criticise them for their religious beliefs. Oh hell, I'll have a go anyway. And I feel somewhat qualified to pass judgement.
My great-grandfather was the first ordained SDA pastor in the Pacific and Australia. And both my grandad and dad were SDA pastors. That’s three generations before I arrived.
Great-grandfather received a testimony from Sister Ellen White, founder of the church and widely regarded amongst adherents as a prophet from God.
My grandmother had afternoon tea with Sr White at Sunnyside in Avondale in the late 1890s. The house still stands this day and is near where I live.
So I grew up in the SDA, and believe me it is no less open to charges of hypocrisy and procrastination than any other church.
Way back in the beginning, Ellen White loved oysters, forbidden by SDA dietary laws. My grandma was shocked to see Sr White tucking into a plateful when she had afternoon tea with her.
And my great- grand-dad (the first SDA pastor in Australia) got a scathing testimony from Sr White because he was seen hugging a female relative at a South Australia train station when she was leaving the family to tend her dying mother. The unjustified testimony was wholly based on gossip.
Then there was the time my grand-dad was pilloried for asking for SDA ministerial students to be exempted from military service during World War II. The request went all the way up to the federal minister, who ruled in his favour.
My father, Pastor Russell Kranz, was hauled before the SDA heresy committee for daring to suggest that people of other faiths could be saved. I remember this well. He was exonerated and went on to defend Lindy Chamberlain, which earned us death threats.
Dad’s primary life’s work was as a Seventh Day Adventist pastor and evangelist. For some years, he was in charge of communications for the church in Australasia and the South Pacific. He preached to many hundreds of people in Mt Hagen in the 1980s.
So yes, Papua New Guinea has some SDA leaders. But they are a pretty mixed bunch judging from my family's experience.