Historic Stand for Temperance Principles and Acceptance of Donations Statement Impacts Social Change
From the very inception of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, temperance has been a major focus and the Church has played a key role in struggling against the inroads of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and other drugs. While some Christian denominations have lessened their emphasis on temperance, Seventh-day Adventists have continued to vigorously oppose the use of alcohol, tobacco, and improper drugs. The stand of the Church advocating abstinence from harmful substances is well established in the Church's fundamental beliefs.
There is evidence indicating that in some areas there has been a relaxation in the promotion within the Church of the principles of true temperance. This development, coupled with the relentless advertising campaigns of the alcohol and tobacco industries, has revealed that some Seventh-day Adventists have not been impervious to such negative and insidious influences.
An issue that arises from time to time is the offer of funds to religious organizations by the alcohol or tobacco industries. It is the position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that such offers of funds shall not be accepted by the Church, nor by any of its institutions. Such money is tainted by human misery, and in the case of the alcohol industry, "has come through the loss of souls of men" (Ellen G White, Review and Herald, May 15, 1894). The gospel mandate of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to rebuke evil and not praise or encourage those who manufacture "poisons that bring misery and ruin" and whose "business means robbery" (Ministry of Healing, p 337).
The Seventh-day Adventist Church reaffirms its historic stand for the principles of temperance, upholds its policies and programs supporting Article 21 of the Fundamental Beliefs, and calls upon each member to affirm and reveal a life commitment to abstinence from any form of alcohol and tobacco and irresponsible use of drugs. The 1992 Annual Council calls for a revival of temperance principles within the Church and urges individuals and church organizations to refuse donations and favors from identifiable alcohol or tobacco industries.
This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee at the Annual Council session in Silver Spring, Maryland, October 11, 1992.