Peacemaking & Reconciliation

What is at Stake

The past century saw more persons killed in wars—the overwhelming majority of them civilians—than any other period in human history. From the gulags of the Soviet Union to the death camps of Nazi Germany; from the U.S. military's fire-bombing of Japanese civilians in World War II to its "free fire" zones in Vietnam; from the purges of Mao's Cultural Revolution to right-wing death squads targeting voices for the poor in El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, and Argentina; from genocide in Rwanda and Sudan to war-caused famine and disease leaving millions dead in Congo; from religious suicide bombers to the U.S.’s “preemptive” invasion of Iraq, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths—there is no shortage of evidence of the violence human beings can inflict on one another, all in the name of exalted ideals.

The past century testifies not only to the human capacity for inhumanity, however, but also to the creativity, courage, and effectiveness of nonviolent peacemakers from many religious traditions. From the great Salt March led by Gandhi in India to the Montgomery bus boycott led by Martin Luther King Jr.; from Danish nonviolent resistance to the Nazis during World War II to the Polish Solidarity Movement during the Soviet era; from the National League for Democracy in Burma to the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe—countless persons and movements have answered the challenge of violence not in kind but by bearing witness to the possibility of another Way. Some of these individuals have been Seventh-day Adventists.

In Solidarity With Peacemakers Around the Globe

Confronted by complex dilemmas of international as well as national and interpersonal violence, the APF embraces the historical Adventist position of nonviolent peace witness and conscientious objection in times of war. We do not claim to answer all questions about the possible moral legitimacy of force in extreme situations. Nevertheless, we call for efforts to reduce strife within and between nations through nonviolent methods and we decline all voluntary participation in the modern military as an institution of violence that too often takes innocent human lives based upon calculations of "the national interest" rather than for the healing of the nations.  We stand in solidarity with peacemakers of all faiths, or none, who are working for peace and social justice around the world using the tools of peace, including through efforts to:

  1. Reduce military spending, weapons dealing, and arms proliferation

  2. Foster dialogue for peace across national, ideological, and religious lines

  3. Abolish the death penalty as a cruel and inhumane form of state violence

  4. Document human rights abuses and war crimes under international law

  5. Speak out against all forms of imperialism, militarism, and nationalism as being inconsistent with the life and teachings of Christ in the New Testament

  6. Challenge social, economic, and political systems that produce violence or are themselves forms of “structural violence” and oppression

  7. Serve humanity as noncombatants in times of military draft

Get Involved

The APF is dedicated to finding practical ways of bearing witness in the present to the core convictions of many of the early Adventist pioneers who stood as prophetic voices against violence, militarism, nationalism, and imperialism. We encourage our members to build partnerships with other individuals, faith communities, and organizations already working at the front lines of advocacy, education, and public policy for peace and social justice. The following initiatives illustrate some possible ways to get involved: