April 15, 2019
/ Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
/ Deena Bartel-Wagner, Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, Seventh-day Adventist World Church
The official position that advocates non-combatancy was the focus of the two-day Seventh-day Adventists and Military-related Service Conference at the General Conference Headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. “Traditionally, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has advocated a non-combatant status,” says Mario E. Ceballos, Director/Endorser, General Conference World Service Organization and Director, General Conference Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries. “Union and Division World Service Organization leaders must understand the church’s position to meet the needs of members within their regions. Although the denomination recommends non-combatancy, we will still provide pastoral care and religious resources to support the spiritual well-being of Seventh-day Adventists serving in uniform.”
The current position, voted at the 1954 General Conference Session and reaffirmed by action taken at the 1972 Annual Council of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists held 14 – 29 October in Mexico City, Mexico, reads:
Genuine Christianity manifests itself in good citizenship and loyalty to civil government. The breaking out of war among men in no way alters the Christian’s supreme allegiance and responsibility to God or modifies their obligation to practice their beliefs and put God first.
This partnership with God through Jesus Christ who came into this world not to destroy men’s lives but to save them causes Seventh-day Adventists to advocate a noncombatant position, following their divine Master in not taking human life, but rendering all possible service to save it. As they accept the obligation of citizenship as well as its benefits, their loyalty to government requires them willingly to serve the state in any noncombatant capacity, civil or military, in war or peace, in uniform or out of it, which will contribute to saving life, asking only that they may serve in those capacities which do not violate their conscientious convictions.