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Adventist Church votes guidelines for mission unity, contextualization

Statement urges core beliefs in outreach to other faiths, cultures

Adventist Church votes guidelines for mission unity, contextualization

Church leaders hope new guidelines for mission will keep Adventist beliefs at the core of outreach while still allowing for contextualization to other cultures. Above, Vice President Ella Simmons, left, and Associate Secretary Claude Sabot direct proceedings yesterday. [photo: Ansel Oliver]

Seventh-day Adventist world church leaders yesterday approved mission guidelines for balancing the need for contextualizing the Adventist message against a possible merging of beliefs with other religions, a move as the church ramps up outreach to other cultures and religions.

The Roadmap to Mission policy statement comes at a time when religious expressions among Hindus, Buddhists, animists, could be at odds with core Adventist beliefs, leaders said. The document recognizes the need for contextualization of the Adventist faith in various cultures, but urges the church to remain unified.

"There's a line between contextualization and syncretism. With this roadmap to mission we're hoping to guard that line," said Michael Ryan, a general vice president of the world church.

While writings of other religions can build bridges to the Christian faith, they should be used to "introduce people to the Bible as the inspired Word of God and to help them transfer their allegiance to the Scriptures as the source of faith and practice," the statement says.

Click here to see the policy statement