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Questions On Doctrine


Adventist Relationship to World Missions Program



What is your attitude as Christians toward the general missionary program for the evangelization of the non-Christian world? Do you accept responsibility for assigned areas, leaving the rest for other Christian bodies?


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 same field.

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 misunderstandings.

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.

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