SDAs and War

May 3, 2008

For the first time I have included a lecture on SDA attitudes towards war in my History of the SDA Church class. I have always wanted to, but time constraints mean that there’s always something that I have to grudgingly leave out. This year I made it a priority.


Julius Nam has a paper titled “Pacifists or Legalists? Korean Adventism and Conscientious Objection/Cooperation (1950-1970)” on his blog. Check it out here.

I’d also like to draw your attention to an upcoming conference: The Public Affairs & Religious Liberty (PARL) Department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada is sponsoring a Symposium on Conscientious Objection in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Symposium is planned for November 6-9, 2008, Oshawa, Ontario; and anyone interested in submitting or presenting a paper may contact Tina Keys in the PARL Dept. at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada; by email with their proposal for a paper.

I am hoping to attend and present a paper on the history of conscientious objection in the SDA Church in South Africa.



  1. Thanks for the update!

  2. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation :) Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Continental.

  3. I can see why you were confused. There was a SlideShare show embedded in the post but the code no longer seems to be working. I have placed a link to the PowerPoint file for download instead. Apologies.

  4. There is some confusion about conscientious objection and peace in the church and I hope that it can be ironed out. I hope somebody makes the papers available either in print or online.

    Michael Peabody

  5. Just to note that Julius Nam’s blog is no longer active, and hence his paper is unfortunately no longer available. Secondly, to note that the upcoming Symposium on Conscientious Objection and the SDA Church has an website with more information: http://legal.sdacc.org/cos/

  6. I have some interesting articles here about SDA soldiers meeting each other on the battle field from opposing sides and praying together and then not killing each other. http://sabbathsermons.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=438&action=edit&message=1

    Also some on how many SDA’s are still soldiers today;
    Rwanda Slaughter:
    SDA’s Massacre Their Own Members! – Part 1;By Roy Branson
    Reprinted from Spectrum, Volume 25, Number 4, June 1996, page 2.
    Adventism on the verge of the next millennium – that is the focus of this issue of Spectrum, and of considerable thinking by denominational leaders. But first there is this matter of Adventists killing Adventists. The evidence may not yet be conclusive, but it is already convincing: Some of the 10,000 to 40,000 (Seventh-day) Adventists killed in the Rwandan genocide died at the hand of fellow Sabbath keepers (Seventh-day Adventists). The president of the General Conference has deplored the killing in Rwanda. He has visited the refugee camps in neighbouring Zaire dominated by members of the former government that encouraged the Rwandan massacres. That is where many of the 100,000 Hutu Adventist refugees, including scores of (Seventh-day) Adventist pastors, have congregated.
    A Seventh-day Adventist pastor from RWANDA will face the United Nations’ war crimes tribunal for his alleged involvement in that country’s 1994 genocide. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal in January by Elizaphan Ntakirutimana, 75, to block his extradition. U.N. prosecutors allege the pastor participated in the massacre of more than 500,000 people, mainly Tutsis, including those who sought refuge in his church and hospital compound. Ntakirutimana was arrested in the fall of 1996 in Laredo, Texas, where he was living with one of his sons.
    NOTE: Today the Seventh-day Adventist Church sanctions the taking of human life in time of war. Is this biblical? Has the church the authority to give liberty to transgress the sixth commandment? Absolutely not!
    “Men are not at liberty to make a standard of law for themselves, to avoid God’s law and please their own inclination. They must come to God’s great moral standard of righteousness.” The Adventist Home, page 342.
    “God has given men no liberty to depart from His requirements.” Patriarchs and Prophets, page 634.
    Conscience is not to take the place the place of ‘Thus saith the Lord’.” Mind, Character and Personality, Volume 1, page 322

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