The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Military Service in the South Pacific

Title

The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Military Service in the South Pacific

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Author Faculty (Discipline)

Arts

Document Type

Encyclopedia Entry

Publication Date

2020

Encyclopedia Title

Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists

ISSN

2690-8514

Keywords

SDA church, military service, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific

Abstract

The Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church in the South Pacific region has been fortunate that issues of military service have been relatively few and that national governments in the region have been prepared to work cooperatively with the Church on practical solutions that have met the needs of governments while respecting the SDA stand on noncombatancy. Both Australia and New Zealand have had various forms of compulsory military training over a number of decades of the twentieth century, and even conscription at times. The Church’s regional governing body (initially the Australasian Union Conference [AUC], later the Australasian Division [AD], then South Pacific Division [SPD]), after initial problems in finding a consensus position among its members, was able to negotiate an understanding whereby SDAs served in noncombatant roles, which permitted SDA young men to serve their country in ways that did not violate the stance of the Church, even during the crises of wars. In more recent times governments of Pacific nations with military forces either have purely voluntary armed services or have also made provision for conscientious objectors. Perhaps the most difficult circumstances were for nationals of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands who were put to forced labor by Allied forces during World War II and who were most at risk of having their principles disregarded.

Disciplines

History of Religion | History of the Pacific Islands | Military History | Religion

ANZSRC / FoR Code

210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History), 210311 New Zealand History, 210313 Pacific History (excl. New Zealand and Maori), 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History), 810199 Defence not elsewhere classified

Reportable Items

B1

Field of Education

09 Society and Culture

Staff Classification

Permanent

Peer Review

Before publication

Avondale Research Centre

Scripture, Spirituality and Society Research Centre

The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Military Service in the South Pacific

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