Seventh-day Adventist Church Responds to Las Vegas Mass Shooting

The North American Division and Pacific Union Conference have both released statements regarding the mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 2, 2017. The statements follow in full below.

North American Division Statement on Las Vegas, Nevada, Mass Shooting

Oct. 2, 2017, Columbia, Md.: The Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America is deeply saddened and troubled by the shooting that took place early in the morning on October 2, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada, where 58 people lost their lives and more than 500 were injured. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those killed and to the hundreds of concert goers injured in this senseless shooting. We are keeping in prayer all the first responders and medical personnel helping the injured as they deal with the aftermath of this tragic event. It is in times like these when Americans must band together. There is no race, gender, ethnicity, or religion in time of need. We are all God’s children and in need of compassion and His love. We ask that all people, no matter their faith, pray for healing for the heartbroken, the injured, and those mourning the loss of their loved ones.

Below is the response from Pastor Ricardo Graham, president of the Pacific Union Conference, where about 226,000 Adventist church members live in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah.

Pacific Union Conference President Responds to Las Vegas Shooting

Oct. 2, 2017, Westlake Village, Calif.: As a church, Seventh-day Adventists reject violence and we are appalled at the tragic loss of life last night in Las Vegas. We grieve with those who have lost family and friends, and add our voice in mourning and sorrow. We stand against anyone who causes death and injury, and are heartbroken for those who are suffering such pain and anguish.

The scriptures condemn those who use violence, saying that “those who love violence, he hates with a passion” (Ps. 11:5, NIV). He says very clearly, “Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right” (Eze. 45:9, NIV).

As believers, we are called to stand for what is good and true and right, and most of all to show the love of God in the way we live. We will help those affected in their suffering, and continue to pray for all those who mourn. Instead of returning evil, we stand with all those who wish to do good. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:17-21, NIV).

We believe that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Ps. 34:18, NIV). May this be true for all those grieving and saddened at this time of loss.

— Ricardo Graham, D. Min, president, Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8278

It is tragic that Adventists should do what Trump is doing. Masterful inactivity and calling on everyone to come together and provide comfort and platitudes until the next shooting occurs and the record for the number of deaths in a mass shooting is broken yet again. I suspect within the year. In this America will always be number one because it remains enthralled by an individualism that values personal freedom above any conception of the common good that will sacrifice freedom for the good of the other. The US may be nominally a Christian nation but in this it completely subverts the way of the person who is worshipped; the suffering servant of Phillipians 2.

I am a medico and in this day and age when I see someone with an illness I do not simply offer comfort and prayer I actually provide real tangible treatment based on evidence based approaches. Platitudes are all well and good but why eschew the logical action which in this instance would be a call for a ban on guns. Clearly background checks are useless and logic and experience would suggest that reducing supply would reduce both shooting deaths and suicide by guns. It is tragic that the Adventist church I suspect almost everywhere is so indistinguishable from the secular society as to make it appear that belief in the Grace of God is inconsquential. I am perhaps too sanguine in expecting acts of Grace should actually be concrete and logical.

14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. James 2:14-17

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clearly, this las vegas incident is one instance where the NRA’s argument - arm all potential victims with guns so they can defend themselves - has no possibility for merit potential…even if everyone in the crowd at the concert were armed, they wouldn’t have been able to take out the gunman, nor would he have been deterred…how anyone can believe ordinary citizens should have access to the bump stock technology stephen paddock used to fully automatize his AR-15 is hard to fathom…the second amendment really needs to be revamped by SCOTUS…what’s going on now couldn’t possibly have been in the minds of the founding fathers…

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Who is President Graham endeavoring to reach with 4 Bible texts? It will have very little impact on the secular mind, that increasingly has a dim view of Scriptures.

What is he saying about violence. Our military, CIA and police are violent. Often very violent. So, does God hate them? What is the picture of God he is trying to show? A God who has passionate hatred? Some would point out that God has used violence, such as in the flood that nearly destroyed humanity on earth.