From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Lutheran-Adventist conversations final report:

Date 18 May 1998 15:27:59

Seventh-day-Adventists should not be treated as sect

Geneva, 18 May 1998 - In the future, "Lutherans in their national and
regional church contexts" should recognize the Seventh-day-Adventist Church
no longer "as a sect but as a free church and a Christian world communion".
This recommendation comes from the final report of the bilateral
conversations between the Lutheran World Federation and the
Seventh-day-Adventist Church held in Cartigny, Switzerland, from 10-16 May.
Moreover, the final report recommends that "Adventists in their
relationship with other Christian churches seek to have this conviction
consistently affirmed". 

In addition, both partners recommend the mutual recognition of "the basic
Christian commitment" of each other s faith communions. Both sides are
urged in their public teaching and theological education to present the
other faith communion s view of church authority "truthfully and
unpolemically" and in a manner which corresponds to
their self-understanding.

In the future also "consultative linkage" between Lutherans and Adventists
"for the good of the total Christian community" is to be maintained. The
final report identifies the following as possible areas of cooperation:
alleviating the suffering of humanity, religious liberty endeavors,
ministerial associations/pastoral gatherings, joint prayer events, Bible
Society work.

Although the four-year series of conversations is concluded, Lutherans and
Adventists should "meet in occasional bilateral consultations". A possible
topic for next year are the theological foundations and the spiritual
dimension of our observance of the day of rest "with particular reference
to modern society". 

The Lutheran/Seventh-day-Adventist series of conversations began four years
ago in November 1994 in Darmstadt. This was the first international
consultation between representatives of the free church of the
Seventh-day-Adventists and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF). The goals
of the first meeting were, among others, better mutual understanding, the
breaking of false stereotypes and the discovery of each other s bases of
belief. The themes of the four-year conversations were Justification by
Faith: the Law; Law and Gospel, Ecclesiology and the Understanding of
Church Authority, and Eschatology.

The fourth concluding meeting in Cartigny was co-chaired by the Adventist
representative, Dr. Bert B. Beach (USA), and the Lutheran representative,
the Oslo Dean Ole Chr. Kvarme. One of the highlights of this year s
consultation was the visit of President Robert S. Folkenberg of the
Adventist General Conference with headquarters in Maryland, USA, and of LWF
General Secretary Ishmael Noko.

The final report as well as the consultation papers will be published.

The Seventh-day-Adventist Church has about ten million members in over 200
countries. The LWF includes 124 member churches with about 57.8 million

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Lutheran World Information
Editorial Assistant: Janet Bond-Nash

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