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Seventh-day   Adventist Church

Official Statements

(Please go to for more statements and much more) Hymnal Music

Homosexuality Religious Freedom
AIDS   Pornography
Drugs The Environment
Gambling Homelessness and Poverty
Marriage Activities With Elements of Competition
Racism Abuse and Family Violence


Seventh-day Adventist Position Statement on Homosexuality  

The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes that every human being is valuable in the sight of God, and we seek to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus. We also believe that by God's grace and through the encouragement of the community of faith, an individual may live in harmony with the principles of God's Word.

Seventh-day Adventists believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. The Scriptures declare: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24, NIV). Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden (Lev. 20:7-21; Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). Jesus Christ reaffirmed the divine creation intent: "'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?" So they are no longer two, but one'" (Matt. 19:4-6, NIV). For these reasons Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.

Seventh-day Adventists endeavor to follow the instruction and example of Jesus. He affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people, while differentiating His love for sinners from His clear teaching about sinful practices.

This statement was voted during the Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee on Sunday, October 3, 1999 in Silver Spring, Maryland.

A Statement on Abuse and Family Violence  

Seventh-day Adventists affirm the dignity and worth of each human being and decry all forms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and family violence.

We recognize the global extent of this problem and the serious, long-term effects upon the lives of all involved. We believe that Christians must respond to abuse and family violence both within the church and in the community. We take seriously reports of abuse and violence and have highlighted these issues for discussion at this international assembly. We believe that to remain indifferent and unresponsive is to condone, perpetuate, and potentially extend such behavior.

We accept our responsibility to cooperate with other professional services, to listen and care for those suffering from abuse and family violence, to highlight the injustices, and to speak out in defense of victims. We will help persons in need to identify and access the range of available professional services.

When changed attitudes and behavior open possibilities for forgiveness and new beginnings, we will provide a ministry of reconciliation. We will assist families in grief over relationships that cannot be restored. We will address the spiritual questions confronting abused persons, seeking to understand the origins of abuse and family violence and developing better ways of preventing the recurring cycle.

This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee (ADCOM) and was released by the Office of the President, Robert S. Folkenberg, at the General Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 29-July 8, 1995.

Statement on AIDS  

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and associated conditions are spreading rapidly around the world. On the basis of statistical studies it is estimated that in the near future, in many countries of the world, every church congregation numbering 100 or more will include at least one member who has a friend or relative with AIDS.

AIDS is transmitted through two major sources: sexual intimacy with an infected person, and introduction of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) contaminated blood into the body either through injections with unsterile needles and syringes or through contaminated blood products. AIDS can be prevented by avoiding sexual contact before marriage and maintaining a faithful monogamous relationship with an uninfected person in marriage, and by avoiding the use of unsterile needles for injections and assuring the safety of blood products.

Adventists are committed to education for prevention of AIDS. For many years Adventists have fought against the circulation, sale, and use of drugs, and continue to do so. Adventist support sex education that includes the concept that human sexuality is God's gift to humanity. Biblical sexuality clearly limits sexual relationships to one's spouse and excludes promiscuous and all other sexual relationships and the consequent increased exposure to HIV.

The Christlike response to AIDS must be personal — compassionate, helpful, and redemptive. Just as Jesus cared about those with leprosy, the feared communicable disease of His day, His followers today will care for those with AIDS. James advised, "What good is there in your saying to them, ‘God bless you! Keep warm and eat well!"—if you don't give them the necessities of life?" (James 2:16, TEV).

This public statement was released by the General Conference president, Neal C. Wilson, after consultation with the 16 world vice presidents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, on July 5, 1990, at the General Conference session in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Activities With Elements of Competition: Perspective and Analysis  


The Seventh-day Adventist Church and its various organizations, in their concern about competition and rivalries, wish to clarify their position and to recommend certain guidelines for activities which may involve competition. These proposals are intended to give direction and guidance to individual members, churches, conferences, and institutions of the Church from the perspective of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.

 God's Plan

1) A Better Way. The ideal is cooperation and unity in God's Church, as illustrated in I Cor 12:12-31, where the parts of the Church, as symbolized by the parts of the body, work together for the good of the whole. There is sympathetic cooperation; there is no rivalry.

2) God's Plan for His Work. "Character-building is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings; and never before was its diligent study so important as now . . . Never before were young men and young women confronted by perils so great as confront them today . . . God's plan of life has a place for every human being. Each is to improve his talents to the utmost; and faithfulness in doing this, be the gifts few or many, entitles one to honor. In God's plan there is no place for selfish rivalry" (Ed 225, 226).

 A Balanced Approach to Life

Seventh-day Adventists believe that man is an integrated being whose physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs are interrelated and interdependent. They are concerned with the total development of each individual, feeling that every person needs consistent and appropriately planned physical exercise. To meet this need, at the turn of the century, Seventh-day Adventist institutions, generally located in rural areas, offered ample opportunities for physical exercise.

Today institutions operate in ever more crowded environs with shrinking opportunities for useful work as a means of recreation. In addition to this shift from a rural to an urban society, occupations demanding physical activity have decreased, tensions have multiplied, and leisure time is increasingly dominated by sedentary entertainment such as radio, television, and movies. In order to compensate for these changes, a carefully balanced approach to physical activity must be encouraged in the Church's schools, churches, and other institutions.

In any church or school situation involving organized physical activities, the results can be beneficial if the following ideals prevail: cooperativeness, helpfulness, selflessness, a cordial spirit, playing for enjoyment rather than only to win, and observing the rules in spirit and not merely in letter.

"Recreation, when true to its name, re-creation, tends to strengthen and build up" (Ed 207). It will not foster selfishness, rivalry, hostility, strife, love of dominance, love of pleasure, or unwholesome excitement.

Effective leadership will take the responsibility for achieving these objectives.

 Purposes and Goals for Church Activities

All the programs and activities of the Church should contribute to the development of a Christ-like character and effective witnessing. They shall foster the attainment of the following:

1) The full development of Christian love and unselfish consideration of others (1 Cor 13).

2) Mutual respect and fellowship among believers, as illustrated in the figure of the church body as a unit (1 Cor 12).

3) Emancipation from selfish rivalry and the development of the higher experience of cooperative endeavor.

4) The development of a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

5) Provision for and implementation of wholesome social relationships.

6) Inspiration for and direction toward the acceptable worship of God.

7) The encouragement of individuals to work toward the highest and best of which they are capable in all worthy pursuits.

8) Activation of the enormous human resources of the Church for soul-winning.

Any activities which frustrate these basic goals shall be rejected.

Specific Situations

In keeping with the foregoing statements of purpose, the following are recommended to minimize the use of rivalrous competition as a motivational tool within the Church:

1) Exposure to commercialized, highly competitive activities shall not be encouraged.

2) Satisfying alternative activities which avoid unwholesome competitive involvement shall be sought.

3) In the development of incentives for individual action, participation, and personal advancement in the work of the Church, the program shall be so structured that individuals will relate to a standard of performance rather than to a system which involves interpersonal, interchurch, and interinstitutional rivalry.

4) While giving recognition to the efforts or achievements of individuals or groups, it is important that it shall be done in such a manner as to give God the glory for the success of the endeavor rather than to foster glorification of individuals.

5) A program or activity shall be arranged to provide some level of success for every individual, helping to preserve individuality, identity, personality, and constant dependence on God. Each participant shall receive some degree of recognition. Any such recognition shall avoid extravagance and extreme differences.

6) In recognizing achievement, consideration shall be given to improving the recipient's efficiency and effectiveness in the work of the Lord.

7) Statistical reporting involving growth in membership or financial matters shall be used to encourage good works and not as tools expressive of rivalrous attitudes which are created to facilitate the efficiency of organizations.

8) Internal school grading procedures shall reflect the personal growth and development of the individual student and his mastery of the essential requirements of his discipline rather than his relative standing alongside peers.

9) Any activity that restricts potential success to the few shall

a. Be discontinued, or

b. Be limited to temporary combinations in recreational settings, or

c. Be used as necessary aids to help identify basic skills needed for entry into a particular profession, e.g., aptitude tests or requirements for entrance to a professional school.

10) The construction and the expansion of church buildings and institutional plants shall be for the purposes of need and function, with due consideration for good taste, aesthetic requirements, and simplicity of architectural beauty. All attempts to erect buildings which will excel or rival buildings of sister institutions and conferences shall be considered as incompatible with Seventh-day Adventist ideals.

"Never are we to rely upon worldly recognition and rank. Never are we, in the establishment of institutions, to try to compete with worldly institutions in size or splendor. We shall gain the victory, not by erecting massive buildings, in rivalry . . . but by cherishing a Christlike spirit—a spirit of meekness and lowliness" (7T 100).

11) Since rivalry and many selfish attitudes can originate in the home, it is imperative that parents cultivate in their children attitudes which will avoid a pattern of selfish rivalry in later life.

Church-Sponsored Activities With Elements of Competition

Standards of achievement and the pressures resulting therefrom shall not be confused with destructive rivalry. It is recognized that in all areas of church activity there may be standards of achievement set by organizations and controlling committees. The above guidelines shall be applied to all the activities and programs of the Church, conferences, and institutions, such as the following:

1) Campaigns

2) Contests: College Bowl, Pathfinder, oratorical, Bible quiz, debates

3) Recreation, including athletic programs

4) Grading systems*

5) Scholarships, academic honors

6) Striving after position

7) Design, style, and dimensions of buildings

8) Achieving church goals.

Controlling Motivational Programs

Because enlightened leadership is essential in implementing and controlling motivational programs, the following observations are apropos:

1) Leadership. In selecting leaders for church programs, the following qualifications shall be emphasized:

a. Spirituality, dedication, experience, and ability to organize.

b. The capability of commanding the respect of students and other leaders and maintaining the proper authority and discipline.

c. Commitment to the purpose and goals stated in this statement.

d. The ability to challenge and inspire participants to take part enthusiastically in realizing the goals projected herein.

e. Knowledge about activities in which they are involved and of the implications thereof-physical, mental, spiritual, and social.

2) Safeguards and Controls. Experience has demonstrated the necessity of establishing adequate safeguards and controls in church activity.

Implementation includes the following:

a. Obtaining and using acceptable equipment and facilities with all appropriate safety precautions.

b. Planning for the transportation of church groups under the guidance and direction of responsible adults.

c. Respecting the Sabbath by refraining from travel related to secular activities and, so far as possible, religious activities.

d. Securing sufficient insurance protection for participants and equipment including transportation.

e. Safeguarding the health and safety of touring groups by refraining, as far as possible, from night-time travel, irregular meals, and poor housing arrangements.

Organized Physical and Recreational Activities

1) Objectives of Physical Activities.

a. To improve the physical development and the body function of the participant.

b. To develop the individual's neuromuscular control in the fundamental movements, overall body mechanics, and basic skill in activities which harmonize with the principles outlined in this statement.

c. To eliminate defects that can be corrected and improve the general physical condition of the person insofar as these may be influenced by a properly designed exercise program.

d. To achieve mental and intellectual development by the use of strategy, decision under pressure, and organization of thought necessary to function successfully.

e. To develop the character to include self-discipline, self-reliance, emotional control, respect for the rights of others, and moral and ethical conduct based on Christian ideals.

f. To provide proper physical experiences and recognition of achievement that will contribute to self-discovery, emotional stability, and cooperative social relationships.

g. To develop the spiritual qualities and social traits that make up a good citizen with Christian morals and ethics to guide in human relationships.

h. To develop recreational skills that have a beneficial function as activities for leisure time throughout life.

I. To develop safety and self-defense skills that will increase the capacity for protecting oneself and assisting others in daily activities and in emergencies. Training in the martial arts and physical activities which emphasize aggressiveness and competitiveness are to be avoided.

j. To develop an awareness of the aesthetic values inherent in physical and recreational activities.

k. To promote a love for nature and the out-of-doors and a realization of the contributions one can make toward living a happier, more abundant life.

l. To aid in the development of a philosophy of life that includes proper attitudes and practices in regard to the care of one's body. This balanced approach to physical, mental, spiritual, and social development has been and may be promoted through such activities as the following:

1. Outdoor recreation and nature activities such as swimming, cycling, horsemanship, skiing, canoeing, gymnastics, gardening, hiking, camping, rock collecting, scuba diving, spelunking, and other recreations.

2. Avocations such as ceramics, rock-cutting, auto mechanics, agriculture, woodwork, leather craft, sculpture, and photography.

3. Formally organized and properly directed intramural programs involving participation of all team members desiring to take part.

Intramural and Recreational Activities

Intramural means "within walls," and such activities are confined to and among individuals of each specific church, school, or institution. When properly conducted, they will develop character, physical fitness, and wholesome group interaction. To ensure the wholesome benefits that may be derived from an organized program of intramural and recreational activities, the following objectives are recommended:

1) A committee of representative leaders and participants should be established to plan and control organized recreational activities in any church, school, or institution.

2) Directors of physical activities should be aware of the participants' need for a balanced program which should include recreation from sources other than organized sports.

3) Appropriate classification of participants should be established on such factors as physical size, age, and skills, and provision should be made to include all who wish to participate.

4) Care should be taken to provide adequate equipment and facilities in the interest of health and safety.

5) Participant and spectator orientation to the philosophy and objectives stated in this statement should be requisite to organized physical activities.

6) Excesses in team and crowd reaction should be avoided and qualified officials should be in charge to ensure a wholesome spirit of participation.

7) Team participants should be rotated periodically to de-emphasize rivalry.

Interschool Sports

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is opposed to interschool league play (commonly known as varsity athletics) in its educational system. The major rationale for this is:

1) The inherent hazards of competitive rivalry have the potential to be exaggerated in inter-organizational events; and

2) The commitments of time, personnel, and finances are usually disproportionate to the number of individuals able to participate.


1) Christians should function with the highest motives in their quest for athletic excellence.

2) Occasional friendship games or matches involving institutions at joint social gatherings are not classified as inter-mural or interschool athletics.

3) All people have talents—some more, some less. God expects faithfulness in service regardless of talents or pay (Matt 20:1-16). Even though talents are distributed differently, God expects individuals to develop what they have to the best of their ability; and they will be given responsibility according to their faithfulness. The Scriptures remind us, "Whatever you are doing, put your whole heart into it, as if you were doing it for the Lord and not for men, knowing that there is a Master who will give you your heritage as a reward for your service" (Col 3:23, NEB).


* It is recognized that in many educational systems, promotion from one level of education to another is based on scoring high marks in competitive examinations. Admission to professional and graduate schools, necessary in preparation for certain vocations, is granted to those who excel above their peers in such examinations or by the achievement of high grades in classes. Also success in many crowded vocations can be achieved only by performing at a higher level than others. Since some aspects of competition are inherent to modern life, the genuine Christian will minimize these as much as possible. It is hoped that the guidelines herein stated will be helpful in eradicating the selfish rivalry or unwholesome competition which is detrimental to the development of Christian character.

This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee at the Annual Council session in Nairobi, Kenya, October 7, 1988.

A Statement on Drugs  

The Seventh-day Adventist Church urges every individual and every nation to cooperate in stamping out the worldwide drug epidemic that undermines the social structure of nations and on the individual level often kills its victims or leads them into lives of crime.

Seventh-day Adventists believe the Bible teaches that each human body is a "temple of the living God," which should be cared for intelligently (2 Cor. 6:15-17).

The church's Bible-based Fundamental Belief No. 21 states, "Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible. ... Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them. ... Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness."

For vibrant living, Seventh-day Adventists urge everyone to follow a lifestyle that avoids tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, and the misuse of drugs.

This public statement was released by the General Conference president, Neal C. Wilson, after consultation with the 16 world vice presidents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, June 1985, at the General Conference session in New Orleans, Louisiana.

A Statement on the Environment  

Seventh-day Adventists believe that humankind was created in the image of God, thus representing God as His stewards, to rule the natural environment in a faithful and fruitful way.

Unfortunately, corruption and exploitation have been brought into the management of the human domain of responsibility. Increasingly men and women have been involved in a megalomaniacal destruction of the earth's resources, resulting in widespread suffering, environmental disarray, and the threat of climate change. While scientific research needs to continue, it is clear from the accumulated evidence that the increasing emission of destructive gasses, the depletion of the protective mantel of ozone, the massive destruction of the American forests, and the so-called greenhouse effect, are all threatening the earth's eco-system.

These problems are largely due to human selfishness and the egocentric pursuit of getting more and more through ever-increasing production, unlimited consumption and depletion of nonrenewable resources. The ecological crisis is rooted in humankind's greed and refusal to practice good and faithful stewardship within the divine boundaries of creation.

Seventh-day Adventists advocate a simple, wholesome lifestyle, where people do not step on the treadmill of unbridled consumerism, goods-getting, and production of waste. We call for respect of creation, restraint in the use of the world's resources, reevaluation of one's needs, and reaffirmation of the dignity of created life.

This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee (ADCOM) and was released by the Office of the President, Robert S. Folkenberg, at the General Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 29-July 8, 1995.

A Seventh-day Adventist Statement on Gambling  

Gambling-defined as a paid game of chance-increasingly impacts more and more people all over the world. The concept of winning at the expense of others has become a modern curse. Society pays the escalating cost of associated crime, victim support, and family breakdown which erodes the quality of life. Seventh-day Adventists have consistently opposed gambling as it is incompatible with Christian principles. It is not an appropriate form of entertainment or a legitimate means of raising funds.

Gambling violates Christian principles of stewardship. God identifies work as the appropriate method for gaining material benefit; not the playing of a game of chance while dreaming to gain at the expense of others. Gambling has a massive impact on society. Financial costs result from crime committed to pay for the gambling habit, increased policing, and legal expenses, as well as associated crimes involving drugs and prostitution. Gambling does not generate income; rather it takes from those who often can ill afford to lose and gives to a few winners, the greatest winner of course being the gambling operator. The idea that gambling operations can have a positive economic benefit is an illusion. In addition, gambling violates the Christian sense of responsibility for family, neighbors, the needy, and the Church.1

Gambling creates false hopes. The gambling dream of "winning big" replaces true hope with a false dream of a statistically-improbable chance of winning. Christians are not to put their hope in wealth. The Christian hope in a glorious future promised by God is "sure and certain"- unlike and opposite to the gambling dream. The great gain that the Bible points to is "godliness with contentment."2

Gambling is addictive. The addictive quality of gambling is clearly incompatible with a Christian lifestyle. The Church seeks to help, not blame, those suffering from gambling or other addictions. Christians recognize that they are responsible before God for their resources and lifestyle.3

The Seventh-day Adventist Church organization does not condone raffles or lotteries to raise funds and it urges members not to participate in any such activities, however well- intentioned. Neither does the Church condone state-sponsored gambling. The Seventh-day Adventist Church calls on all authorities to prevent the ever-increasing availability of gambling with its damaging effects on individuals and society.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church rejects gambling as defined above and will not solicit nor accept funding that is clearly derived from gambling.

  1.  1 Thess. 4:11; Gen 3:19; Matt 19:21; Acts 9:36; 2 Cor 9:8, 9
  2. 1 Tim 6:17; Heb 11:1; 1 Tim 6:6
  3. 1 Cor 6:19, 20


This statement was voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee (ADCOM), for release at the time of the General Conference Session in Toronto, Canada, June 29-July 9, 2000.

Homelessness and Poverty  

In a world ravaged by sin, the bitter fruits of greed, war, and ignorance are multiplying. Even in so called "affluent societies" the homelessness and the poor are growing populations. More than 10,000 people starve to death every day. Two billion more are malnourished, and thousands more go blind annually because of dietary deficiency. Approximately two-thirds of the world's population remains caught in a cycle of hunger-sickness-death.

There are some who bear liability for their condition, but the majority of these individuals and families are destituted by political, economic, cultural, or social events largely beyond their control.

Historically, those in such circumstances have found succor and advocacy in the hearts of the followers of Jesus Christ. Caring institutions are in many cases begun by the church and later assumed by government agencies, or vice versa. These agencies, aside from any ideological altruism, reflect society's recognition that it is in its own best interest to deal compassionately with the less fortunate.

Social scientists tell us that a number of ills find fertile ground in the conditions of poverty. Feelings of hopelessness, alienation, envy and resentment often lead to antisocial attitudes and behavior. Then society is left to pay for the after-effects of such ills through its courts, prisons, and welfare systems. Poverty and misfortune as such do not cause crime and provide no excuse for it. But when the claims of compassion are denied, discouragement, and even resentment are likely to follow.

The claims upon the Christian's compassion are not ill-founded. They do not spring from any legal or even social contract theory, but from the clear teaching of scripture: "He has showed you, O man, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 7:8 RSV)

The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is precious to Seventh-day Adventists. We see our responsibility in this chapter as those raised up to be "The repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in" (verse 12).

The call is to restore and "to loose the bands of wickedness ... to deal thy bread to the hungry ... bring the poor that are cast out to thy house ... when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him" (verses 6, 7). So as repairers of the breach, we are to restore and care for the poor. If we carry out the principles of the law of God in acts of mercy and love, we will represent the character of God to the world.

In effecting Christ's ministry today, we must do as He did, and not only preach the gospel to the poor, but heal the sick, feed the hungry, and raise the downcast (see Luke 4:18, 19; Matt. 14:14). But verse 16 explains that it was so that "they need not go away." Christ's own example is determinative for His followers.

In Christ's response to Judas' feigned concern for the poor: "For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me" (Matt.26:11 RSV), we are reminded that it is the "Living Bread" that people most desperately need. However, we also recognize the inseparables between the physical and the spiritual. By supporting those church and public policies that relieve suffering, and by individual and united efforts of compassion, we augment that very spiritual endeavor.

This public statement was released by the General Conference president, Neal C. Wilson, after consultation with the 16 world vice presidents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, on July 5, 1990, at the General Conference session in Indianapolis, Indiana.

An Affirmation of Marriage  

Issues related to marriage can be seen in their true light only as they are viewed against the background of the divine ideal for marriage. Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus Christ to be both monogamous and heterosexual, a lifelong union of loving companionship between a man and a woman. In the culmination of His creative activity, God fashioned humankind as male and female in His own image; and He instituted marriage, a covenant-based union of the two genders physically, emotionally, and spiritually, spoken of in Scripture as "one flesh."

Arising from the diversity of the two human genders, the oneness of marriage images in a singular way the unity within diversity of the Godhead. Throughout Scripture, the heterosexual union in marriage is elevated as a symbol of the bond between Deity and humanity. It is a human witness to God's self-giving love and covenant with His people. The harmonious affiliation of a man and a woman in marriage provides a microcosm of social unity that is time-honored as a core ingredient of stable societies. Further, the Creator intended married sexuality not only to serve a unitive purpose, but to provide for the propagation and perpetuation of the human family. In the divine purpose, procreation springs from and is entwined with the same process whereby husband and wife may find joy, pleasure and physical completeness. It is to a husband and wife whose love has enabled them to know each other in a deep sexual bond that a child may be entrusted. Their child is a living embodiment of their oneness. The growing child thrives in the atmosphere of married love and unity in which he or she was conceived and has the benefit of a relationship with each of the natural parents.

The monogamous union in marriage of a man and a woman is affirmed as the divinely ordained foundation of the family and social life and the only morally appropriate locus of genital or related intimate sexual expression. However, the estate of marriage is not God's only plan for the meeting of human relational needs or for knowing the experience of family. Singleness and the friendship of singles are within the divine design as well. The companionship and support of friends looms in importance in both biblical testaments. The fellowship of the Church, the household of God, is available to all regardless of their married state. Scripture, however, places a solid demarcation socially and sexually between such friendship relations and marriage.

To this biblical view of marriage the Seventh-day Adventist Church adheres without reservation, believing that any lowering of this high view is to that extent a lowering of the heavenly ideal. Because marriage has been corrupted by sin, the purity and beauty of marriage as it was designed by God needs to be restored. Through an appreciation of the redemptive work of Christ and the work of His Spirit in human hearts, the original purpose of marriage may be recovered and the delightful and wholesome experience of marriage realized by a man and a woman who join their lives in the marriage covenant.

 This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee (ADCOM) on April 23, 1996.

A Statement on Pornography  

Diverse courts and cultures may debate the definitions and consequences of pornography (the literature of sexual deviance), but on the basis of eternal principles, Seventh-day Adventists of whatever culture deem pornography to be destructive, demeaning, desensitizing, and exploitative.

It is destructive to marital relationships, thus subverting God's design that husband and wife cleave so closely to each other that they become, symbolically, "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).

It is demeaning, defining a woman (and in some instances a man) not as a spiritual-mental-physical whole, but as a one-dimensional and disposable sex-object, thus depriving her of the worth and the respect that are her due and right as a daughter of God.

It is desensitizing to the viewer/reader, callousing the conscience and "perverting the perception," thus producing a "depraved person" (Romans 1:22. 28, NEB).

It is exploitative, pandering to prurience, and basally abusive, thus contrary to the Golden rule, which insists that one treat others as one wishes to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Particularly offensive is child pornography. Said Jesus: "If anyone leads astray even one child who believes in me, he would be better off thrown into the depths of the sea with a millstone hung around his neck!" (See Matthew 18:6).

Though Norman Cousins may not have said it in Biblical language, he has perceptively written: "The trouble with this wide open pornography . . . is not that it corrupts but that it desensitizes; not that it unleashes the passions but that it cripples the emotions; not that it encourages a mature attitude, but that it is a reversion to infantile obsessions; not that it removes the blinders, but that it distorts the view. Prowess is proclaimed but love is denied. What we have is not liberation but dehumanization."—Saturday Review of Literature, Sept. 20, 1975.

A society plagued by plunging standards of decency, increasing child prostitution, teenage pregnancies, sexual assaults on women and children, drug-damaged mentalities, and organized crime can ill afford pornography's contribution to these evils.

Wise, indeed, is the counsel of Christianity's first great theologian: "If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good" (Philippians 4:8, 9, Phillips). This is advice that all Christians would do well to heed.

 This public statement was released by the General Conference president, Neal C. Wilson, after consultation with the 16 world vice presidents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, on July 5, 1990, at the General Conference session in Indianapolis, Indiana.

A Statement on Racism  

One of the odious evils of our day is racism, the belief or practice that views or treats certain racial groups as inferior and therefore justifiably the object of domination, discrimination, and segregation.

While the sin of racism is an age-old phenomenon based on ignorance, fear, estrangement, and false pride, some of its ugliest manifestations have taken place in our time. Racism and irrational prejudices operate in a vicious circle. Racism is among the worst of ingrained prejudices that characterize sinful human beings. Its consequences are generally more devastating because racism easily becomes permanently institutionalized and legalized and in its extreme manifestations can lead to systematic persecution and even genocide.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church deplores all forms of racism, including the political policy of apartheid with its enforced segregation and legalized discrimination.

Seventh-day Adventists want to be faithful to the reconciling ministry assigned to the Christian church. As a worldwide community of faith, the Seventh-day Adventist Church wishes to witness to and exhibit in her own ranks the unity and love that transcend racial differences and overcome past alienation between races.

Scripture plainly teaches that every person was created in the image of God, who "made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26). Racial discrimination is an offense against our fellow human beings, who were created in God's image. In Christ "there is neither Jew nor Greek" (Gal. 3:28). Therefore, racism is really a heresy and in essence a form of idolatry, for it limits the fatherhood of God by denying the brotherhood of all mankind and by exalting the superiority of one's own race.

The standard for Seventh-day Adventist Christians is acknowledged in the church's Bible-based Fundamental Belief No. 13, "Unity in the Body of Christ." Here it is pointed out: "In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation."

Any other approach destroys the heart of the Christian gospel.

This public statement was released by the General Conference president, Neal C. Wilson, after consultation with the 16 world vice presidents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, on June 27, 1985, at the General Conference session in New Orleans, Louisiana.

A Statement on Religious Freedom  

For more than a century Seventh-day Adventists have been active promoters of religious freedom. We recognize the need to champion freedom of conscience and religion as a fundamental human right, in harmony with the instruments of the United Nations.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a presence in 209 countries. With some exceptions, however, Adventists constitute a religious minority, and have at times been subject to restrictions and discrimination. Consequently, they have felt it necessary to stand up for human rights.

As loyal citizens, Adventists believe they have the right to freedom of religion, subject to the equal rights of others. This implies the freedom to meet for instruction and worship, to worship on the seventh day of the week (Saturday), and to disseminate religious views by public preaching, or through the media. This freedom further includes the right to change one's religion, as well as to respectfully invite others to do so. Every person has a right to demand consideration whenever conscience does not allow the performance of certain public duties, such as requiring the bearing of arms. Whenever churches are given access to public media, Adventists should in all fairness be included.

We will continue to cooperate and network with others to defend the religious liberty of all people, including those with whom we may disagree.

 This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee (ADCOM) and was released by the Office of the President, Robert S. Folkenberg, at the General Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 29-July 8, 1995.