For Adventists, the conversation about sexual activity is one that can’t be addressed exclusive of a larger context.
The topic of sexuality must be placed in the context of the family. This is a complex subject that involves the very nature of human sexuality and has become a source of great conflict in our society today—often championed by people who are more focused on the arguments and the positions they’ve taken than the explicit teachings of Scripture, concerning where it intersects with the needs of men and women in our culture.
For Adventists, the conversation about sexual activity is one that can’t be addressed exclusive of the larger context. We must begin with the larger question of how the family contributes to wholeness and spiritual health, making it, ultimately, a discipleship issue.
The health and prosperity of society is directly related to the wellbeing of the family unit. Today, as probably never before, the family is in trouble. The traditional Christian concept of marriage between one man and one woman is under assault, along with many other aspects of relationships among people. The Church’s Fundamental Beliefs state that the marital relationship “is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church.”1 All other questions must be seen in terms of this larger issue.
“Adventists affirm the dignity and worth of each human being and decry all forms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and family violence. . . . We recognize the global extent of this problem and the serious, long-term effects upon the lives of all involved. . . . Christians must respond to abuse and family violence both within the Church and in the community. . . . To remain indifferent and unresponsive is to condone, perpetuate, and potentially extend such behavior.”2
The Adventist denomination has constituted a Department of Family Ministries to educate church members and the public about family values and provide community services to strengthen families. This department publishes an array of materials to support these efforts. Although it does not support all of the political positions that are presented by various Christian organizations under the banner of “family values,” it does encourage proper, biblical
measures to protect and strengthen families and challenges every local church to conduct a family ministries program for the community as well as its own members.3
2. Excerpted from a statement issued by the General Conference officers on June 17, 1985, during the General Conference Session in New Orleans and a statement voted by the GC Administrative Committee and released at the 1995 General Conference Session in Utrecht, the Netherlands.