Seventh-day Adventists believe that freedom of religion is a basic human right. As Christians, they are persuaded that the dissemination of religion is not only a right, but a joyful responsibility based on a divine mandate to witness.
God has called Christians to evangelism—the proclamation
of the good news of salvation in Christ (Matt 28:19, 20). This
is central to Christian life and witness. Thus Christianity is missionary
by its very nature.
In affirming global mission and evangelization, Adventists
are motivated by willing obedience to Christ’s commission and
by a sincere desire that every human being be saved and inherit
eternal life. They are also motivated by a sense of urgency in
expectation of the imminence of Christ’s return. In endeavoring
to fulfill the gospel commission, Seventh-day Adventists are
thus witnessing, preaching, and serving today in more than 200
In the context of the dissemination of religion, the issue of
“proselytism” has arisen because the term “proselytism” is defined
in a number of ways and increasingly is being given a
pejorative connotation, associated with unethical means of persuasion,
including force. Seventh-day Adventists unequivocally
condemn the use of such methods. They believe that faith and
religion are best disseminated when convictions are manifested and taught with humility and respect, and the witness of one’s
life is in harmony with the message announced, evoking a free
and joyous acceptance by those being evangelized.
Evangelistic and missionary activity needs to respect the
dignity of all human beings. Individuals need to be truthful and
transparent when dealing with other religious groups. Terminology
should be used which avoids offending other religious
communities. Statements which are false or ridicule other religions
should not be made.
Conversion is an experience of the Spirit, and should therefore
in no way be connected to offering and receiving material
inducements. While the right to engage in humanitarian activities
must be fully recognized, such action must never be linked
to evangelism in a way that exploits vulnerable people by offering
financial and material incentives to entice them to change
Seventh-day Adventists are committed to serving their fellow
men by preaching the everlasting gospel to every nation,
and kindred, and tongue, and people (Rev 14:6).
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.