the beginning, the Seventh-day Adventist denomination
announced its stand as follows: "We, the undersigned,
hereby associate ourselves together as a church, taking
the name of Seventh-day Adventists, covenanting to keep
the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus."
J. Loughborough: The Great
Second Advent Movement, p. 352.
same position was confirmed by the Seventh-day Adventist
Church in the United States during the American Civil
War. They declared in 1864:
denomination of Christians calling themselves Seventh-day
Adventists, taking the Bible as their rule of faith
and practice, are unanimous in their views that its
teachings are contrary to the spirit and practice of
war; hence, they have ever been conscientiously opposed
to bearing arms. If there is any portion of the Bible
which we, as a people, can point to more than any other
as our creed, it is the law of the ten commandments,
which we regard as the supreme law, and each precept
of which we take in its most obvious and literal import.
The fourth of these commandments requires cessation
from labor on the seventh day of the week, the sixth
prohibits the taking of life, neither of which, in our
view, could be observed while doing military duty. Our
practice has uniformly been consistent with these principles.
Hence, our people have not felt free to enlist into
the service. In none of our denominational publications
have we advocated or encouraged the practice of bearing
arms, and, when drafted, rather than violate our principles,
we have been content to pay, and assist each other in
paying, the $300 commutation money."
F. M. Wilcox: Seventh-day
Adventists in Time of War, p. 58.
1865, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
reaffirmed their original stand:
that we recognize civil government as ordained of God,
that order, justice, and quiet may be maintained in
the land; and that the people of God may lead quiet
and peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty. In
accordance with this fact we acknowledge the justice
of rendering tribute, custom, honor, and reverence to
the civil power, as enjoined in the New Testament. While
we thus cheerfully render to Caesar the things which
the Scriptures show to be his, we are compelled to decline
all participation in acts of war and bloodshed as being
inconsistent with the duties enjoined upon us by our
divine Master toward our enemies and toward all mankind."
The Review and Herald,
May 23, 1865.
this position of total obedience to the commandments
of God was not practiced during World War I (1914-1918),
a great crisis came upon the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
While 98% of the members decided to obey the instruction
of the officers of the denomination, taking part in
the war, 2% decided to remain faithful to the law of
God, upholding the original position, as taught and
practiced up to that time. These faithful believers
were disfellowshipped from the Seventh-day Adventist
Church in Europe because they chose to uphold the church's
original position in regard to keeping the Law of God
(all Ten Commandments).
a booklet published by the Seventh-day Adventist Church
in Germany, they announced the following change:
all that we have said we have shown that the Bible teaches,
firstly, that taking part in the war is no transgression
of the sixth commandment, likewise, that war service
on the Sabbath is not a transgression of the fourth
the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Commentary Reference
Series, the following explanation is given:
the German mobilization, in August, 1914, the SDA's
of that country were faced with the necessity of making
an immediate decision concerning their duty to God and
country when called into the armed service (see Germany,
V; Noncombatancy). After counseling with the few SDA
leaders locally available at that time, the president
of the East German Union Conference informed the German
War Ministry in writing, dated Aug. 4, 1914, that conscripted
SDA's would bear arms as combatants and would render
service on the Sabbath in defense of their country.
. . . Admittedly, the three SDA leaders in Germany took
a stand concerning the duty of SDA's in military service
that was contrary to the historic stand officially maintained
by the denomination ever since the American Civil War
The Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia,
Commentary Reference Series, Vol. 10, p. 1183, Edition
Adventist leaders declared:
the beginning of the war our organization was split
into two parties. As ninety-eight percent of our membership,
by searching the Bible, came to the conviction that
they are duty-bound, by conscience, to defend the country
with weapons, also on Saturdays, this position, unanimously
endorsed by the leadership, was immediately announced
to the War Ministry. Two percent, however, did not submit
to this resolution, and therefore had to be disfellowshipped
because of their unchristian conduct. These unprofitable
elements set themselves up as preachers and, with little
results, sought to make converts to their propaganda
of foolish ideas. They call themselves, falsely, preachers
and Adventists. They are not; they are deceivers. When
such elements receive their merited punishment, we regard
it, in fact, as a favor done to us."
Dresdener Neueste Nachrichten
(A German newspaper), p. 3, April 12, 1918.
newspaper correspondent gave his unbiased opinion about
the situation, as follows:
the beginning of the war there has been a division among
the Adventist people. During the period of the war,
the majority wanted to see the fundamental teachings
set aside, by force if necessary. The others asked that
the sanctification of Saturday (Sabbath) be allowed
them, even in these times of stress. The opposing faction
finally brought about the disfellowshipment from the
organization of the followers of the original principles
(Evening Edition) September 21, 1915.
the same year, SDA leaders made another declaration,
the beginning of the war there were some members, as
there are also in other places, who did not want to
take part in war service, either because of their lack
of unity, or because of fanaticism. They started to
spread around their foolish ideas in the congregation
by word and in writing, trying to convince others to
do the same. They were admonished by the church, but
because of their obstinacy they had to be put out, for
they became a threat to internal and external peace."
Stuttgarter Neues Tagblatt,
September 26, 1918.
disfellowshipped from the Seventh-day Adventist Church,
not only in Germany but also in many other countries
in Europe, had no intention of starting a new church.
They were about 4,000 in number. Attempts at reconciliation
with the main body were made just after the war, in
1920 and in 1922, but with no positive result.
as their numbers increased, the Seventh Day Adventist
Reform Movement was organized as a church, separate
from the the main body of Seventh-day Adventists, when
representatives from different countries met at Gotha,
Germany, July 14-20, 1925. It is the purpose of the
Reform Movement to continue with the original teachings
and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
the General Conference Bulletin of the Seventh-day Adventists,
May 13, 1913, pages 33, 34, E. G. White stated:
will be well for us to consider what is soon to come
upon the earth. This is no time for trifling or self-seeking.
If the times in which we are living fail to impress
our minds seriously, what can reach us? Do not the Scriptures
call for a more pure and holy work than we have yet
of clear understanding are needed now. God calls upon
those who are willing to be controlled by the Holy Spirit
to lead out in a work of thorough reformation. I see
a crisis before us, and the Lord calls for His laborers
to come into line. Every soul should now stand in a
position of deeper, truer consecration to God than during
the years that have passed. . . .
have been deeply impressed by scenes that have recently
passed before me in the night season. There seemed to
be a great movementa work of revivalgoing forward
in many places. Our people were moving into line, responding
to God's call. My brethren, the Lord is speaking to
us. Shall we not heed His voice? Shall we not trim our
lamps, and act like men who look for their Lord to come?
The time is one that calls for light bearing, for action."
Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement General Conference
first operated from Isernhagen, Germany, and then Basel,
Switzerland. After World War II, the headquarters was
moved to the United States of America, and in 1949 was
incorporated in Sacramento, California. Because it was
deemed more advantageous for a worldwide work to be
situated on the eastern side of the U.S.A., the headquarters
was temporarily relocated to Blackwood, New Jersey,
before moving to its permanent location in Roanoke,
Virginia. The SDA Reform Movement has already reached
114 countries and territories.