Signs of Contradiction: A Sermon for Memorial Day

On Sabbath, May 25, 2019, Chaplain (Major) William Cork, Assistant Director for Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries NAD, preached at the Houston Central Seventh-day Adventist Church.

His sermon, titled “Signs of Contradiction,” outlined the history of non-combatancy and military service in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and how the church has grappled with the questions surrounding how to best serve both God and nation.

“If it was true of our Lord, that he would be a sign of contradiction, how much more should that be true for those of us who seek to follow him?” asked Chaplain Cork, taking his title from Luke 2:25-35.

WATCH “Signs of Contradiction” (sermon begins at 44:35):

The sermon can also be watched on the Houston Central Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Facebook page.

Alisa Williams is managing editor of

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I registered for the draft in 1943 as a 1-A-O.i was induced at Camp Custer, Mich. I was told that I scored the highest ever recorded on the Army aptitude test. Thus I was assigned to an infantry basis designed to prepare the Bn to Be enrolled at the University of Ohio with a major in engineering. It took over ten weeks of hell to get me into a medical Corp basic. I ended the war as a T/3 and a 30 percent disability. That augmented my GI bill and took me through dental school. I later entered Northwestern on an American College Of Dentist scholarship in Orthodontics. retiring as Vice President Of Academic Affairs at a Medical Science University. I left Adventism with the purge at Southern. God has been good. Jesus condemned Peters use of the sword. So do I.


This is a very good sermon that is rich in historical detail. Thank you for sharing Bill Cork’s astute analysis as we celebrate Memorial Day.

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“Adventists are a people of peace,” Amen! I am so grateful with God for this sermon. I used to be a church leader at Houston Central a number of years ago at the high of patriotism due to the ‘war on terror.’ When I gave a program based on our church’s stand on war a few people thanked me while others stopped talking to me. Major Cork’s message is a timely reminder that we can not serve two masters, that we are called to serve, but there are ways to serve and uphold our commitment to being peace makers. God bless you, Major Cork. Let’s renew our commitment to non-violence and peace making!


As a people of peace, we sure tear each other apart over secular politics, women in pulpits, and the great fundamentalist divide. Guess we learned said peacemaking over the vegan vs vegetarian vs vaguetarian war, or from the church decorating committee choosing foyer carpet colors,peace, indeed.


War has its humor also.

It happened at mail call on Panay, P I. The call was Zwemer. I yelled here. the Voice said come and get it and bury it. I came and got a very smelly mail bag. It was empty except for a greasy smelly box label from Uncle Roy, Pound Wisconsin. It seems that my uncle had mailed me some of Pounds prize winning cheese. it was addressed to me while I was assumed still in Calif. I was long gone so the cheese at least the top of the box followed me to Buna, to New Britain, to Luzon, to Panay, a time frame of Of over 100 days in tropical heat in the cargo,of untold ships. For weeks after, I would be asked—Have you heard from your uncle lately?


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