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April 12, 2011


Frank Allen

I wish a “Seeking Peace Conference” would sweep across our churches. I dream of a congregation that insists on peace as a commandment. I attend a church in conflict. I have seen too many unhealthy SDA churches where members dislike each other, where the powerful control at expense of others.

Our church practice is karmic in nature, we hold that people should be treated as they deserve. If they had made better choices they would earn honor. Peacemakers are needed inside most SDA churches, to mediate between strong personalities the wealthy and the classless, seniors and youth, English and Spanish, progressives, EGW devotees, and Pastors with elders. Few churches if seen from the inner circle (the board meeting) are peaceful places.

Peacemakers defend others from injustice, even if they are responsible for their problems. They are deeply pained at all inequality and poverty in society. They care about physical and emotional pain. Peacemakers don’t see natural disasters as acts of God awaking the wicked to righteousness or flee to rural areas to avoid their society.

How sad, after nearly 150 years our congregations are considered healthy if tithe is steady, church schools are supported, we have good praise music, interesting speakers and we keep the Sabbath.

Abraham Lincoln in his 2nd inaugural address said, "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

At the end of the Civil war, with casualties over 600,000, Lincoln’s words called for peace instead of strict justice. How sweet my dream would be if these words were our church motto.

Ante Jeroncic

Thanks Frank for your wonderful comment. I couldn't but second it with hearty "Amens" all the way through. You are rightly highlighting the narrowness of our remnant theology and practice. I wish the current "revival and renewal" discourse in our denomination included the sort of ethical sensitivity you are challenging us with.

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