Spiritual Renewal Impacts Social Change
The very real presence of evil in the world and the sinfulness of human beings, compounded by rapid shifts in education, industry, technology and the economy, continue to embroil our planet in massive societal change. Individuals and families often feel powerless and victimized by systems and circumstances over which they perceive they have no control.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church sees as part of its mission the extending of the ministry of Christ into the world of suffering. His was a ministry of comfort, of empowerment, of liberation, and of reconciliation. Alongside other Christians, we are a healing and stabilizing force in times of change. When all is turbulent about us, the Church provides assurance that there is One who sits above the turmoil of this world who is changeless and whose purposes will ultimately prevail. The Church serves as a watchman in society and as an empowering community, urging individuals and families to evaluate conditions around them, upholding that which is good, and transcending and altering that which is detrimental.
It was said of the early Christians, ''Here are they that have turned the world upside down'' (Acts 17:6). The gospel of Christ is itself an agent of change. In the gospel there is compassion for human frailty; and at the same time there is encouragement to form perfect relationships with God and with one another, as was the divine plan at Creation. We believe that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we become new creatures (Eph 4:22-24), we come out of darkness into light (1 Peter 2:9), and we experience now the transforming power of the world to come (Heb 6:5). This spiritual renewal permeates society as salt provides seasoning and as light illumines darkness. The presence of spiritually renewed persons in the community can do a work that political and social initiatives alone cannot accomplish. Christians who have experienced the transforming power of Christ are stabilizing, strengthening pillars in society, and they preserve life-affirming values. They act as agents of change in the face of moral decay. Their active presence in the community provides hope, as individuals and families are ennobled by Christian principles and their lives and relationships impact others around them.
This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee (ADCOM) for release by the Office of the President, Robert S. Folkenberg, at the Annual Council session in San Jose, Costa Rica, October 1-10, 1996.