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Inter-European Division Votes on Relationship with Other Religious Entities

The EUD Executive Committee voted a series of helpful guidelines on inter-religious dialogue - its benefits, and boundaries – during its Spring Meeting on May 18.

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One of the questions that Seventh-day Adventists frequently ask is the appropriateness of Adventist pastors and leaders – in different positions of responsibility – participating in ecumenical and inter-religious activities and organizations.

Considering the complexity of the matter, in most instances, a straight yes or no response doesn't bring a satisfactory answer to the question.

Based on the Bible, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has produced various documents and statements concerning the relationship with other churches and religious entities.

The Adventist Church favors dialogue and cordial relationships of mutual respect and understanding with other religious confessions at all levels of our church organization.

“We are fully convinced and vigorously defend that freedom of conscience and religious liberty are rights inherent to all human beings, even to those who think differently from us,” says Mario Brito, EUD president.

The Adventist Church believes that all human beings are created in the image of God and therefore deserve the deepest love and respect. Despite the differences, Adventists should not shy away from those who don't think, believe, and/or behave as they do.

Experience has shown that the context of inter-church dialogue is an excellent environment for us to relate to the leaders of other religious denominations, get to know them personally, and the teachings of the communities they represent. It also creates a suitable environment to make ourselves understood by explaining the Adventist beliefs and viewpoints in several other areas of church life and mission. A friendly and respectful relationship can break many unfounded prejudices and promote fruitful cooperation in many domains of common interest.

Dialogue and mutual understanding do not mean, however, agreeing with the others, just for the sake of securing cordial relationships.

To become a member of an ecumenical organization, for instance, implies the acceptance of principles and guidelines that might contradict our understanding of church unity, ecclesiology, and mission. Thus, the Inter-European Division strongly recommends that Adventists have a status of observers, consultants, or guests.

The main objective of the document voted during the last EUD Executive Committee meeting is to clearly and concisely state what Adventist Church's position is on the relationship with other religious denominations and to recommend all individuals and entities to abide by them.

The vote does not, however,  preclude dialogue and cordial relationships of mutual respect of other religious confessions, at all levels of Church organization.

This article was originally published on the Inter-European Division’s news site