One of the great political and ethical issues of our day is the question of war and peace. It is both complicated and convoluted. Despair hovers around hearts and minds, for millions expect a nuclear holocaust without the basic hope of afterlife or eternal life.
Today there is a new situation, unparalled in history. Human beings have developed the means of humanity’s own destruction, means that are becoming more and more “effective” and “perfected”—although these are hardly the right words. Since World War II, civilians are no longer just occasionally or incidentally harmed; they have become the target.
Christians believe that war is the result of sin. Since the Fall of man, strife has been a perennial fact of human existence. “Satan delights in war. . . . It is his object to incite nations to war against one another.”—The Great Controversy, p. 589. It is a diversionary tactic to interfere with the gospel task. While global conflict has been prevented during the past forty years, there have been perhaps 150 wars between nations and within nations, with millions perishing in these conflicts.
Today virtually every government claims it is working for
disarmament and peace. Often the known facts appear to
point in a different direction. Nations spend a huge portion of
their financial resources to stockpile nuclear and other war
materials, sufficient to destroy civilization as it is known today.
News reports focus on the millions of men and women
and children who suffer and die in wars and civil unrest and
have to live in squalor and poverty. The arms race, with its
colossal waste of human funds and resources, is one of the
most obvious obscenities of our day.
It is therefore right and proper for Christians to promote
peace. The Seventh-day Adventist Church urges every nation
to beat its “swords into plowshares” and its “spears
into pruninghooks” (Is. 2:4). The church’s Bible-based
Fundamental Belief No. 7 states that men and women were
“created for the glory of God” and were “called to love Him
and one another, and to care for their environment,” not to
destroy or hurt one another. Christ Himself said, “Blessed
are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of
God” (Matt. 5:9)
While peace cannot be found in official church pronouncements,
the authentic Christian church is to work for
peace between the first and second advents of Christ. However,
hope in the Second Coming must not live in a social
vacuum. The Adventist hope must manifest and translate itself
into deep concern for the well-being of every member of
the human family. True, Christian action today and tomorrow
will not of itself usher in the coming kingdom of peace; God
alone brings this kingdom by the return of His son.
In a world filled with hate and struggle, a world of ideological
strife and of military conflicts, Seventh-day Adventists
desire to be known as peacemakers and work for
worldwide justice and peace under Christ as the head of a
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, USA.