Our position can best be shown by quoting from the Working Policy of the
denomination, the section entitled "Statement of Relationship to Other
Societies," first adopted by the General Conference Autumn Council, in
1926. This was later revised and enlarged. A copy of this is placed in the
hands of every missionary sent out to mission fields. Here is the complete
statement from our instruction manual, entitled "Information for Outgoing
and Furloughing Missionaries," pages 61-63.
Statement of Relationship to Other Societies
In the desire to avoid occasion for misunderstanding or friction in the matter
of relationship to the work of other [mission] societies, the following
statement of principles is set forth as a guidance to our workers in mission
fields in their contacts with other religious organizations:
1. We recognize every agency that lifts up Christ before men as a part of the
divine plan for the evangelization of the world, and
we hold in high esteem the Christian men and women in other communions who are
engaged in winning souls to Christ.
2. Wherever the prosecution of the Gospel work brings us into touch with other
societies and their work, the spirit of Christian courtesy, frankness, and
fairness should at all times guide in dealing with mission problems.
3. We recognize that the essence of true religion is that religion is based
upon conscience and conviction. It is therefore to be constantly our purpose
that no selfish interest or temporal advantage shall draw any person to our
communion, and that no tie shall hold any member save the belief and conviction
that in this way he finds true connection with Christ. When change of
conviction leads any member of our society to feel no longer in accord with us
in faith and practice, we recognize not only his right but his duty to change
his religious affiliation to accord with his belief.
4. Before admitting to church membership anyone who is a member of another
church, every care shall be exercised to ascertain that the candidate is moved
to change his religious affiliation only by force of religious conviction and
out of regard to his personal relationship to his God; and wherever possible,
consultation shall be had with those in charge of the church or mission with
which the applicant is connected.
5. Persons under censure of another mission for clearly established fault in
Christian morals or character shall not be considered eligible for membership
in our mission until they have given evidence of repentance and reformation.
6. An agent [colporteur, teacher, compound helper, etc.] employed or recently
employed by another church or mission shall not be employed by our church or
mission without preliminary consultation with the church or mission with which
the agent is or was formerly connected.
7. The local mission auditing committees are advised to give consideration,
when setting salaries, to the salaries paid by other missions operating in the
8. As to the matter of territorial divisions and the restriction of operations
to designated areas, our attitude must be shaped by these considerations:
a. As in generations past, in the providence of God and the historical
development of His work for men, denominational bodies and religious movements
have arisen to give special emphasis
to different phases of gospel truth, so we find in the origin and rise of the
Seventh-day Adventist people, the burden laid upon us to emphasize the gospel
of Christ's second coming as an event "even at the door," calling for
the proclamation of the special message of preparation of the way of the Lord
as revealed in Holy Scripture.
b. As this Advent proclamation is described in Scripture prophecy, particularly
as it is set forth in Revelation 14:6-14, it is commissioned that this special
message of the "everlasting gospel," which is to precede the coming
of the Saviour, shall be preached "to every nation, and kindred, and
tongue, and people." This commission makes it impossible for us to
restrict our witness to this phase of the gospel to any limited area, and
impels us to call it to the attention of all peoples everywhere.
Where different mission bodies operate in close proximity, there is always a
possibility of the development of misunderstandings. This is to be deeply
regretted, and as Adventists we wish to assure our fellow workers in the gospel
of Christ that as far as we are concerned, in harmony with the foregoing
statement published in 1926, we will take every precaution to avert such
If the matter of proselyting is involved in this question, we would say:
According to the Merriam-Webster's New International unabridged dictionary, the
verb proselyte means "to convert to some religion, opinion, system, or the
like; to make a proselyte of; to make proselytes; to convert." All
churches are seeking to make converts. In common with other Christian bodies,
we believe our God-given duty is set forth in the gospel commission, "Go
therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19, R.S.V.). This
we are attempting to do.
On the other hand, Seventh-day Adventists do not believe in obtaining new members by offering financial and other inducements. We condemn such activities wherever they are practiced. The only way men and women can become true members of the body of Christ is through the converting and transforming power of God.