Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders of the General Conference Administrative Committee (GC ADCOM) voted today to accept as an official statement: One Humanity: A Human Relations Statement Addressing Racism, Casteism, Tribalism, and Ethnocentrism.
The statement comes after recent events led the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) World Affairs Committee to vote on July 1, 2020, to explore the need to produce a new church statement on global issues involving racism.
Ganoune Diop, who serves as director of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists spoke about why this statement was important in today’s climate, noting the increased global awareness of “the pandemic of racism.”
“When it comes to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we have in our DNA the concept of equality, because we are among those who believe in creation,” he said. “There is one humanity and racism is the denial of the human dignity of a person created in the image of God. The principles and values that characterize us as a church means that our voice should be heard on this issue. The challenge for all Adventists is to live up to this ideal.”
Ella Simmons, a general vice-president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists who chaired the writing subcommittee charged with drafting and revising the new church statement on racism, stresses the statement isn’t meant to just address issues of racism in one region, but global issues of discrimination. Simmons says, “Although racism in the United States is of a unique character, racism, by any name, is a global phenomenon. Given the global nature of our church, and the worldwide awakening to the continuing demonstrations of racism, it was necessary to create a statement without a limited focus on one particular region of the world, to acknowledge the relationship and the connectedness of these issues worldwide.”
President of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church, Ted N.C. Wilson, expressed support for the statement, saying, “What a powerful statement the Adventist Church has produced, in terms of helping people see the big picture of human relations and the need to allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives in these last days of earth’s history, and to show the world that we are one humanity as Christ takes control of our lives.”
Writing and Vote Process
Throughout the writing process, the writing subcommittee met with the PARL World Affairs Committee and its sub-committee on Racism, and other elected Adventist Church leaders, to receive input for the draft statement.
On August 11, the draft statement was sent to the General Conference (GC) Public and Official Statements Committee and on September 14, the draft statement was voted to go to the GC ADCOM.
Church leaders believe this new statement should be a call to every Adventist member to demonstrate the love and peace of Christ in their communities.
“Adventist Church members will have a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate this in real life, each one of us, and the church at large around the world,” Wilson said. “God will provide every means necessary to show people that when Christ is in control, we can show dignity and respect to everyone, thus furthering God’s great, powerful Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14:6-12 and the fourth angel of Revelation 18:1-4 'to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people' as we look forward to Christ's soon coming.”
“This is more than a statement,” continues Simmons. “It is a clear declaration of the Adventist Church’s position on human relations. It is our illustration of God’s call to His people for how we should put Christian love into action. It is an urgent expectation and a clear expression of how we will live together as a church and what we will model to the rest of the world wherever we are.”