The status of one who does not bear arms. From the first the Seventh-day Adventist Church has staunchly advocated noncombatancy for its members. In 1863, during the American Civil War, the United States passed a draft law with special provisions for churches that held noncombatant principles. The newly organized General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists filed official statements with state governors and with the federal government listing its noncombatant teachings. The first of these statements, addressed to the governor of Michigan on Aug. 3, 1864, read in part: “We now lay before Your Excellency the sentiments of Seventh-day Adventists, as a body, relative to bearing arms, trusting that you will feel no hesitation in endorsing our claim that, as a people, we come under the intent o...

From the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia. Published with permission from the Review and Herald Publishing Association.