Patheos Watermark

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Ethics and Community

Community Organization

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a genuinely worldwide community administered by an international General Conference. Local conferences are largely autonomous and enjoy a highly representative form of government.


Local congregations elect lay elders, deacons, and other officers, and the local conference administers community pastoral and evangelical work. Pastors and other workers are paid through a central fund supported by tithes and other donations.

Principles of Moral Thought and Action

Seventh-day Adventists teach that "the hour of His judgment has come" (Rev. 14:7), and as a result seek to observe the Ten Commandments devoutly and literally. This includes the fourth commandment to keep the Sabbath on the seventh day, Saturday.

Vision for Society

Adventists are strong advocates of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. They view themselves as a movement established in fulfillment of prophecy to prepare the world for the return of Christ, and so are dedicated to evangelism.

Gender and Sexuality

Though a key figure in the history of Seventh-day Adventism is a woman -- prophet and visionary Ellen Harmon White (1827-1915) -- more recently the General Conference has discouraged inclusion of women in the ministry. It has also condemned the practice of homosexuality.