Homosexuality, Gambling, Racism, Euthanasia and other official statements of the SDA church

Adventist Youth (AY)
Summary
This program will give excerpts of seven official statements of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and facilitate their discussion through a panel.
Program Aim
The program aims to inform the congregation of some of the official statements and what the church believes.
Scripture References
1 Peter 3:15
Theme Song(s)
The Church Has One Foundation - 348
Program Audience
Preparations and resources

Form a panel of your pastor, elders, and knowledgeable individuals to answer questions from the congregation. You could also invite a representative from your local Conference or Mission.

Give the panel members the topics of the specific statements that you will be discussing in advance so that they can be prepared to contribute.

Seventh-Day Adventist Church Official Statements.

The seventh day Adventist Church from time to time, will release statements regarding specific incidents or issues affecting the society or the global Church. The Church finds it necessary to articulate our understanding of specific essential topics in light of our understanding of biblical values and teachings. The Church sometimes makes a statement on issues where there is no clear consensus among its members or if there is ambiguity on how to best deal with a situation from a biblical perspective. 
It is then recommended that our churches use these statements as guidelines when dealing with these issues in our local congregations and communities.
Many of the positions have been considered controversial, and there have also been calls for the Church to take an official position on other seemingly pressing issues.
Today we will take a look at 7 of the official SDA statements and discuss their impact on our local Church and communities.

The following are excerpts from each statement. Many of the statements are extensive and would not fit well within the time limit of the program. These excerpts are what we considered to be the significant points from the respective statements.
To view the full statement and all the other official statements from the Church. Please visit https://www.adventist.org/beliefs/statements/

Our first official statement is 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. Racism is based on ignorance, fear, estrangement, and false pride; some of its ugliest manifestations have taken place in our time.

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

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). 
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."

 

Care for the Dying

Developments in modern medicine have added to the complexity of decisions about care for the dying. In times past, little could be done to extend human life. But the power of today's medicine to forestall death has generated difficult moral and ethical questions. What constraints does Christian faith place upon the use of such power? When should the goal of postponing the moment of death give way to the goal of alleviating pain at the end of life? Who may appropriately make these decisions? What limits, if any, should Christian love place on actions designed to end human suffering?

It has become common to discuss such questions under the heading of euthanasia. Much confusion exists with regard to this expression. The original and literal meaning of this term was "good death." Today the term "euthanasia" is associated with "mercy killing," or intentionally taking the life of a patient in order to avoid painful dying or in order to alleviate burdens for a patient's family or society. Seventh-day Adventists believe that allowing a patient to die by foregoing medical interventions that only prolong suffering and postpone the moment of death is morally different from actions that have as their primary intention the direct taking of a life.

Seventh-day Adventists support the use of modern medicine to extend human life in this world. However, this power should be used in compassionate ways that reveal God's grace by minimizing suffering. Since we have God's promise of eternal life in the earth made new, Christians need not cling anxiously to the last vestiges of life on this earth. Nor is it necessary to accept or offer all possible medical treatments that merely prolong the process of dying.

 

Climate Change

Scientists warn that the gradual warming of the atmosphere as a result of human activity will have serious environmental consequences. The climate will change, resulting in more storms, more floods, and more droughts.

To keep climate change within bearable limits, the emissions of greenhouse gasses, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), need to be significantly reduced. Industrialized countries are the main source of these emissions, while the first victims are the small island states and low-lying coastal countries.
Despite the clear risks, governments appear slow to act.
The world membership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church requests that the governments concerned take steps necessary to avert the danger:
1) By fulfilling the agreement reached in Rio de Janeiro (1992 Convention on Climate Change) to stabilize carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2000 at 1990 levels
2) By establishing plans for further reductions in carbon dioxide emissions after the year 2000
3) By initiating more forcefully public debate on the risks of climate change.

In signing this statement, Seventh-day Adventists declare their advocacy of a simple, wholesome lifestyle, where people do not step on the treadmill of unbridled consumerism and production of waste. They call for respect of creation, restraint in the use of the world's resources, and reevaluation of our needs as individuals.

 

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

 

Same-Sex Unions

We reaffirm, without hesitation, our long-standing position as expressed in the Church's Fundamental Beliefs: "Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship." Though "sin has perverted God's ideals for marriage and family," "the family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred of any human relationship," and thus "families need to experience renewal and reformation in their relationships".  God instituted "marriage, a covenant-based union of two genders [male and female] physically, emotionally, and spiritually, spoken of in Scripture as 'one flesh.'" "The monogamous union in marriage of a man and a woman is . . . the only morally appropriate focus of genital or related intimate sexual expression." "Any lowering of this high view is to that extent a lowering of the heavenly ideal" 
Homosexuality is a manifestation of the disturbance and brokenness in human inclinations and relations caused by the entrance of sin into the world. While everyone is subject to fallen human nature, "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"
We hold that all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, are loved by God. We do not condone singling out any group for scorn and derision, let alone abuse. Still, God's Word that transcends time and culture does not permit a homosexual lifestyle.

 

Homosexuality

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". 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. 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'". For these reasons Seventh-day Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.

Jesus 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.


Confidence in the Writings of Ellen G White

We reaffirm our conviction that her writings are divinely inspired, truly Christ-centered, and Bible-based. Rather than replacing the Bible, they uplift the normative character of Scripture and correct inaccurate interpretations of it derived from tradition, human reason, personal experience, and modern culture.

We commit ourselves to study the writings of Ellen G White prayerfully and with hearts willing to follow the counsels and instructions we find there. Whether individually, in the family, in small groups, in the classroom, or in the Church, a combined study of the Bible and her writings provide a transforming and faith-uplifting experience. We encourage the continued development of both worldwide and local strategies to foster the circulation of her writings inside and outside the Church. The study of these writings is a powerful means to strengthen and prepare His people for the glorious appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


Panel Discussion

Form a panel of your pastor, elders, and knowledgeable individuals to answer questions from the congregation. You could also invite a representative from your local Conference or Mission.

Ask any of the following questions as well as leave time to take questions from the congregation.
1. Should the Church agree to marry a biracial couple if their marriage will cause conflict in the Church between the families?
2. Is it acceptable for a depressed member who contracted HIV/AIDS to stop taking their medication because of the negative stigma, teasing, and insults they and their family receive from people in the community?
3. If a non-Adventist community member wins the lottery and wishes to give his tithe and offering to the Church to help the needy people of the community. Can the Church accept this money?
4. Would it be morally correct to marry a transgender female and another female?
5. Should we care bout global warming when the Bible in Revelation predicts that God will give the sun power to scorch men with fire?
6. Should a suspected homosexual be allowed to take up church office?
7. Do we sin if we do not follow all of Ellen G. White's writings?

 


Image Attribution:
Hospital Bed by Sergey Demushkin from the Noun Project
gambling by Yamini Ahluwalia from the Noun Project
gambling by Eucalyp from the Noun Project
marriage by Gerald Wildmoser from the Noun Project
racism by Adrien Coquet from the Noun Project
hospital bed by Sergey Demushkin from the Noun Project
pulse by TNS from the Noun Project

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