From the very inception of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, temperance has been a major focus and the Church has played a key role in struggling against the inroads of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and other drugs. While some Christian denominations have lessened their emphasis on temperance, Seventh-day Adventists have continued to vigorously oppose the use of alcohol, tobacco, and improper drugs. The stand of the Church advocating abstinence from harmful substances is well established in the Church’s fundamental beliefs.
There is evidence indicating that in some areas there has been a relaxation in the promotion within the Church of the principles of true temperance. This development, coupled with the relentless advertising campaigns of the alcohol and tobacco industries, has revealed that some Seventh-day Adventists have not been impervious to such negative and insidious influences.
An issue that arises from time to time is the offer of funds to religious organizations by the alcohol or tobacco industries. It is the position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that such offers of funds shall not be accepted by the Church, nor by any of its institutions. Such money is tainted by human misery, and in the case of the alcohol industry, “has come through the loss of souls of men” (Ellen G White, Review and Herald, May 15, 1894). The gospel mandate of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to rebuke evil and not praise or encourage those who manufacture “poisons that bring misery and ruin” and whose “business means robbery” (Ministry of Healing, p 337).
The Seventh-day Adventist Church reaffirms its historic stand for the principles of temperance, upholds its policies and programs supporting Article 21 of the Fundamental Beliefs, and calls upon each member to affirm and reveal a life commitment to abstinence from any form of alcohol and tobacco and irresponsible use of drugs. The 1992 Annual Council calls for a revival of temperance principles within the Church and urges individuals and church organizations to refuse donations and favors from identifiable alcohol or tobacco industries.
Historic Stand for Temperance Principles and Acceptance of Donations Statement Impacts Social Change, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee at the Annual Council session in Silver Spring, Maryland, October 11, 1992.
Australia: Aventists call to raise the legal drinking age to 21
We, the representatives of the Seventh-day Adventist church in Australia, meeting in Melbourne on this day (September 6, 2010) request that the Governments of Australia, both Federal (Senate Community Affairs Committee) and State (Legislative Assemblies) take proactive measures to dramatically reduce the damage of alcohol on our young people.
Therefore, we request that legislation be introduced to raise the legal age for the purchase and consumption of alcohol to twenty-one (21).
We, as representatives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, gathered at the national quinquennial meetings of the Australian Union Conference (6 September 2010), declare our commitment to the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s scripturally based and historic stand for the principles of temperance as a part of our stewardship and discipleship under Christ, and thus call upon each member to affirm and reveal a life commitment to abstinence from any form of alcohol.
Prime reason to abstain is spiritual
…the Seventh-day Adventist Church cannot change its stance, because it’s not merely an issue of physical health… We should avoid all things harmful, including—perhaps especially—those that cloud the mind and may impair our sensitivity to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, jeopardizing our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Although the consumption of alcohol has many significant health risks, the prime reason to abstain remains a spiritually moral one.
Peter N. Landless, Dec. 2011, Adventists and Alcohol: It involves more than personal health, Adventist World.