On September 23, 2020, the Pacific Union Conference Executive committee, voted the adoption of a statement on Social Justice. The development of the statement was carried out at the request of Elder Ricardo B. Graham, President of the Pacific Union. Elder Bradford C. Newton, Executive Secretary and Ministerial Secretary of the Pacific Union was tasked with guiding a small writing committee in crafting the resulting statement that was presented to the Presidents Council and the Executive Committee for their input and approval. The statement takes a form that is familiar to Seventh-day Adventists in the way it is structured, it includes Biblical references that support the principle ideas within the statement, and follows a topical and theological progression that is strongly rooted in an Adventist perspective on history and the plan of redemption. The statement as voted reads:
Every human life is sacred. Created in the image of God, all people are bestowed dignity, worth, and endless opportunity. Human societies ideally exemplify equality, fairness, respect, and freedom for every person. Sin’s curse distorts and corrupts both individuals and societies. Even when unrecognized, to dominate or marginalize others is rooted in selfishness and greed producing racism, discrimination, and injustice. This destructive pattern is broken by the redemptive work of God as taught in Scripture and ultimately revealed in Jesus Christ. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is called to proclaim the transforming and reconciling message of the Gospel while opposing practices and policies that perpetuate prejudice and inequality. In fulfilling its mission, the Body of Christ must challenge racism, discrimination, and injustice by individuals and society while working purposefully towards equitable opportunities so that all people may experience God’s redemption and restoration. (Genesis 1 :26-28; Psalm 139:13-16; Isaiah 1 :16-17,23; Micah 6:8; Zechariah 7:9-1 0; John 1 :12-14; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; James 4:17-21; Isaiah 64:6; 1 John 1 :7-9; Philippians 2:4; Matthew 23:23; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 18:4, 9-11)
Pacific Union Conference Executive Committee
September 23, 2020
When asked about the importance of developing the Social Justice statement, Elder Graham responded, “If there is evil, we must speak out about it, and work to counter it. Injustice is an evil. I believe that we are to be the representatives of Jesus Christ. We are to model His life in our time, in our way, by being truly authentic Christians with his principles undergirding our actions. This includes demonstrating our concern for other human beings, and for any evil of society that the church encounters. We must be clear that neither God nor the church can ignore injustice, and we are to speak and act in a proper and appropriate way to oppose it.”
The Social Justice statement can be found on the “Let Justice Roll” page on the our website. The All God’s People program for October 14, 2020, focused on Social Justice, and included a visual presentation of the Social Justice statement, as well as a conversation between Elder Graham and Elder Newton about its significance and importance.