This coming November 15, will make 25 years since I was asked to present “The Wisdom of Solomon? or The Politics of Pragmatism? The General Conference Abortion Decision 1970-71″ to the gathered attendees at the Loma Linda University Conference on Abortion. The great majority of those present were shocked to learn that the General Conference of SDA’s was operating with 2 different sets of guidelines on abortion. The 1970 Abortion Guidelines, which were more restrictive, were the set made available to our own Adventist clergy and laity, as well as the general public. The 1971 Interruption of Pregnancy Guidelines superceded the 1970 Guidelines and opened the door to abortion on demand for any reason in our hospitals (16 months before Roe v. Wade). The liberalized 1971 Guidelines were sent exclusively to our SDA Medical Institutions and never made known to our clergy and laity or the public.
The competing guidelines and failure to address the issue directly has resulted in the widespread ignorance and confusion among SDA clergy and laity and the public that persists to this very day. It is time for Adventists to learn our history on the subject of abortion.
It is my hope and prayer that by releasing “The Wisdom of Solomon?” online, that a new generation of Adventists will be enlightened as to our history and re-engage the Church in the life and death questions of our time as we seek to follow and serve the God who is in His very essence Love! Agape Love! Self-giving, self-sacrificing Love! (1 John 4:8)
May God help us learn to love like Jesus loves!
George B. Gainer is senior pastor for the Pleasant Valley Church in Happy Valley, Oregon, where he has served since 1998. Prior to coming to the Pacific Northwest, he served in Wortington, Ohio and at the Sligo Church in Takoma Park, Md., as youth and young adult pastor. He also ministered at Takoma Academy as chaplain and Bible teacher, and Columbia Union College as campus chaplain. He recently served on the Walla Walla University Board of Trustees and is presently a member of the Northwest Religious Liberty Association Board and the Adventist Medical Center Mission and Spiritual Life Committee in Portland, Oregon