Investiture Achievement/Guide/Spiritual Discovery
Write and share your personal testimony.
Your personal testimony is the story of any event in your life that brought you closer to God. It could be your conversion story, or anything else that brings glory to God. After you write it out, you can share your testimony either orally or by posting it on the Internet (such as in a blog or on Facebook). It can be shared with a friend or with a group.
Memorize one key text for each of the following Bible teachings:
These are only suggested texts and the Pathfinder may prefer to select other texts or translations. Accept anything on topic and that can be considered a key text. Check the Voyager Spiritual Discovery Section for a summary of each of the Fundamental Beliefs listed and supporting texts.
Second Coming of Christ
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
Suggested alternative texts: Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:43, 44; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2 Thess.2:8; Rev. 14:14-20; Rev.19:11-21; Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 Thess. 5:1-6
But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
Suggested alternative texts: Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11; Luke 4:16; Isa. 56:5, 6; Isa.58:13, 14; Matt. 12:1-12; Ex. 31:13-17; Eze. 20:12, Eze 20:20; Deut. 5:12-15; Heb. 4:1-11; Lev. 23:32; Mark 1:32
State of the dead
For the living know that they will die;
But the dead know nothing,For the memory of them is forgotten.
And they have no more reward,
Suggested alternative texts: Rom. 6:23; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Eccl. 9:5, 6; Ps. 146:3, 4; John 11:11-14; Col. 3:4; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:1-10
Law & Grace
Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Suggested alternative texts: 2 Cor. 5:17-21; John 3:16; Gal.1:4; Gal.4:4-7; Titus 3:3-7; John 16:8; Gal. 3:13, 14; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; Rom. 10:17; Luke 17:5; Mark 9:23, 24; Eph. 2:5-10; Rom. 3:21-26; Col. 1:13, 14; Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 3:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 8:7-12; Eze. 36:25-27; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Rom. 8:1-4; Rom.5:6-10
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment
Suggested alternative texts: Eccl 3:17 Psa 7:11 Acts 10:42 2 Cor 5:10 2 Tim 4:1
Inspiration of the Bible
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness
Suggested alternative texts: 2 Peter 1:20, 21 Psalms 119:105 Proverbs 30:5, 6 Isaiah 8:20 John 17:17 1 Thess. 2:13 Hebrews 4:12
Spirit of Prophecy
And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
Suggested alternative texts: Acts 2:14-21; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; Rev.19:10
The Saint’s Reward
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth.
Suggested alternative texts: 2 Peter 3:13; Isa. 35; Isa. 65:17-25; Rev. 21:1-7; Rev.22:1-5; Rev.11:15
There are several approaches to memorizing Scripture.
- Erase the words
- Write the Bible verse on a white board and have everyone read it aloud together. Then erase a word and have them read it again, supplying the erased word. Continue erasing words and reading the verse aloud until all the words are gone. At this point, the entire class should know the verse.
- Hand write the verse
- Write the verses down several times by hand until you can do it from memory.
- In song
- Many passages of scripture have been set to music. Memorizing the lyrics to a song is a lot easier than memorizing raw text, and the memory will last for years. If the verse you are trying to memorize has already been set to music, switch to the version of the text that matches the song. If it has not been set to music, make up your own tune. Explore different translations of the text to see which one lends itself best to your song.
- Say it aloud
- Hearing it and saying it will reinforce it much better than just "thinking" it will.
- Say it with rhythm
- This is similar to the "in song" approach from above, but it is often easier to make up a rhythm than it is to make up a whole tune. Clap your hands and stomp your feet at various places in the verse if that helps. Turn it into a clapping game like "pat-a-cake" and learn it with a friend.
- Add action
- How many songs do you know that have motions associated with them? If you're making up hand claps and foot stomps, it will help even more if you add other actions such as casting a fishing line, or tracing the outline of a heart in the air.
- Make a rebus
- A rebus uses pictures to represent words or parts of words. For instance, the word "I" is represented with a graphic depiction of an eye. If you spend enough time coming up with a clever rebus for your verse, you will likely have memorized it by the time you are finished.
- Find structure in the verse
- Write the verse out so that it highlights the structure. Recall that Hebrew poetry works by repeating an idea using different words. Line them up! We also find structure in New Testament verses. For instance, 1 John 2:3 could be written like this:
Now by this
we know that
we know Him,
if we keep His commandments.
- This approach lines up the common words "we know" and helps the brain to organize the verse more effectively. It also lines up the third "we" with the first two, so that it's possible to memorize a shorthand for this verse - "we know, we know, we keep". This forms a skeleton upon which we can hang the rest of the words. Look for other structure as well, such as that the word following "we" always starts with a 'k' and has four letters.
- Use a Puzzlemaker Online
- to create written activities for scripture such as:
- Fill in the blanks/Missing letters
- Blank out (Similar to Hangman)
- Scripture Scrambles
- Step On It
- Print out each word of a passage on paper, one word per page in large print. Lay the paper on the floor and step down on each page as you say the text. Remove words from time to time.
- Writers Block
- Write each word of a passage on blocks of wood, one word per block. Mix up the blocks and put the text back together. Two block sets of the same verse makes for an exciting game!
Do you know some approaches? Click here to add them!
Learn the principles of leading a person to Jesus.
This is the most important skill you will ever learn in Pathfinders or life. The value of learning to allow the Holy Spirit to use you to reach others is incalculable. There is no greater thrill than sharing how to find our friend Jesus. So let's learn how to bring our friends to heaven together.
Approach: Jesus said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 NIV but there are many diverse paths to Jesus. Each person has macro and micro factors that impact how they will find God. Missiologists are trying to crack the puzzle of contextualizing the Gospel in a way that groups as diverse as Muslims, Hindus, Animists, and Post Moderns will find appealing. For those raised in a Christian home the path to Jesus will be different. On a micro level, even siblings in the same home will read different books, hear different speakers, and experience the tug of the Holy Spirit in diverse forms. So the first step is identifying the best approach given where the person is coming from.
Timing: Ideally the person you are working with is in a place where the want to lead to Jesus. You can not force a person against their will to love Jesus, but always be alert to God inspired openings. Often these openings will be close to some personal crisis.
Pick a path to follow: One of the greatest tools to lead someone to the Lord is called the Roman Road. The Roman Road is a path of verses to follow through the book of Romans that outline the primary principles of salvation.
The Roman Road
Step 1. Preparation: If you are preplanning this effort, spend some time in prayer. Pray for strength. This is no easy task, but it is what all Pathfinders and Christians have been called by Jesus himself to do.
Matthew 28:19 “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”
Step 2. Bible Authority: Remind or explain to our friend that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and get acceptance of this concept before moving forward. If required, do a Bible Study on this point.
Step 3. Recognize our Sin: The first step to salvation is recognizing that there is sin in your life. The following verses identify that there is sin in the lives of all men and women.
Romans 3:10 “There is no one righteous, not even one” Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Step 4. Consequence of Sin: Sin leads to death, and we must understand this concept to understand the need for salvation. Explain that the death caused by sin is not just the death of this world, but an eternal death meaning separation from God for eternity.
Romans 6:23 "The wages of sin is death”
Step 5. God’s Gift: While sin leads to death, God has a better plan for us. God’s gift to man is salvation and eternal life, through Jesus Christ's death on the cross and His resurrection. God's son died for us sinners! We do not deserve God's gift because we are sinners, but God gave salvation because of His love for us, his children.
Romans 6:23 “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Romans 5:8 “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”
Step 6. - Claim your place in God's family: The existence of the gift is not the complete solution - we must claim the gift of salvation.
Romans 10:9 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”
Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” ().
Step 7. No Condemnation: Once you have prayed to accept Jesus Christ you no longer have any condemnation. That means that you will not be punished for your sins because you have received forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 “We have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”
Step 8. The Question: Once you have talked through all the verses, ask if they would like accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior? If at this point they say yes move on to the next step.
If they say no, they may not be ready. Ask why they feel that way and then be quiet. You may be amazed at the responses you get since doubt, fear, and a feeling of unworthiness can stand in the way. Be ready to lead the person forward by studying the Bible together. You may need to get help from your pastor or elder.
Step 9. The Prayer: Only faith in Jesus Christ can provide salvation! Have the person accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour pray to Him. Before the prayer, be sure they will cover the following key points.
• Recognize your sin.
• Recognize that you are deserving of punishment.
• Recognize that Jesus Christ took that punishment upon himself and provides forgiveness for your sins.
• Offer your life to God.
• Ask forgiveness for your sins.
• Thank God for his gift of grace and forgiveness, for eternal life.
If they want to pray for other things as well that is OK.
New Believer Care:
Once they have finished praying, get contact information if you don't already have it. Your friend is now a baby Christian and just like a baby needs care and nurturing, a process we often call discipleship. Get them integrated into your or a nearby Seventh-day Adventist Church. Include them in social and community service activities. Find them a job to do in the church community. Be sure they have a good, easy to understand translation of the Bible and offer to study toward baptism with them. Finally encourage them to share their new found faith with others. An excited new believer is often a more effective witness than the "heard it all before long time Christian.
Follow up because you care and love your friend the new believer.
Know your scriptures (you are a Pathfinder after all) and make sure that you really understand the doctrine of Salvation. If you do not fully understand it, talk to a pastor or other church leader until you can explain it.
Consider marking the Roman Road verses in your Bible for future use, perhaps in a special color or by writing Roman Road in the margin. This will help complete the Bible Marking honor.
Don't get discouraged if you can't get your friend all the way to accepting Jesus. Just do your part and God will take care of the rest. Paul wrote "What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field." 1 Cor. 3:5-9
Adapted partially from this source
Tell a story of a church pioneer to a group.
This is a good research project that can lead to amazing discoveries. Here are some places to find good Adventist Church Pioneer story ideas:
- African American Adventist Heritage in the NAD The answers include some stories, and people mentioned in the honor would be good to research
- http://www.whiteestate.org/pathways/pioneers.asp has a selection of stories you can listen too, then relate in your own words
- http://www.adventistheritage.org/ Check out the many resources at Adventist Heritage Ministries including pioneer stories in the AHM Bulletins. They also have a video called Meet Hiram Edison.
- http://heritage.adventistconnect.org/ is a useful resource focused on the South Pacific housed at Avondale College, Australia
- History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Wikipedia.
- These Were the Courageous by James Joiner 1968 Southern Publishing Assn.
- Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists by Author W. Spalding
- The Story of Our Church, Pacific Press
- Pioneering the Message in the Golden West by Harold O. McCumber
- The Great Second Advent Movement by J.N. Loughborough
- Story of the Advent Message by Matilda Erickson Andross
- Life Sketches of Ellen G. White
- Many books by George Knight
If you live or will travel near a historic Adventist site, go visit it and learn first hand about the pioneers. You can relate what you learned to meet this requirement. Some options include:
- Joseph Bates Home in Fairhaven, MA (Adventist Heritage Ministries operated)
- Adventist Historic Village in Battle Creek, MI (AHM operated)
- Dr. Kellogg Museum, Battle Creek, MI
- Hiram Edson Farm in Clifton Springs NY (AHM operated)
- William Miller Farm in Whitehall NY (AHM operated)
- Ellen G. White's last home Elmshaven offers tours in Napa Valley, Calf.
- Ellen G. White Estate Headquarters, in the GC Office, Silver Spring, Maryland offers free tours
- Sunnyside, Ellen White's home in Australia, 1895-1900
- Consider some of the older Adventist Colleges, Hospitals, and Churches wherever you are in the world for inspiration
You might also look for information about the early missionaries who first brought the truth to your part of the world, or some other part of the world that interests you.
Your church library or Adventist Book Center will have a selection of books about church pioneers that you could draw a story from.
Tell the story you discovered to your pathfinder club, for children's story at church, worship or any other appropriate place. Consider combining this requirement with the Christian Storytelling Honor (getting a jump on a required honor for Master Guides).
Complete Guide requirements.
You must complete the requirements listed above this one on the current page.
Complete one of the following honors:
For tips and instruction see Personal Evangelism. For tips and instruction see Bible Evangelism. For tips and instruction see Literature Evangelism.
Study and discuss two of the following life issues (not previously studied) with your Guide group and an adult:
Don't forget each Pathfinder needs to study the topic before your discussion, so assign your Pathfinders this task to do before the meeting. You might require that they bring at least three printed articles to the discussion to ensure they studied and to help move the discussion along.
This topic list is repeated in both Voyager-Spiritual Discovery and Guide-Spiritual Discovery so consider combining your Guides and Voyagers for these discussions, and discussing different topics than last year. Note there are five topics and that two different topics need to be covered in each of the two classes, so by time they complete Guide the Pathfinder will have discussed at least four of the five topics.
Nearly 3 in 10 teen girls in the US will get pregnant at least once before age 20? The statistics are just as bad in the UK, Canada and other countries, if not worse. There are more than 700,000 teen pregnancies each year just in the United States!
As a Pathfinder, what does this mean? Teens hear about the dangers of teen pregnancy but it remains a problem. Why are so many teens still getting pregnant every year and what can we do about it?
At the right time babies are fantastic. We all love their cute and cuddly ways. But babies are so much nicer when you can hand them back to the responsible adult parent. Babies are expensive and demanding.
Pathfinders and supposed to be true and pure which means not having sex outside marriage, but what if you do have sex? What are the consequences of getting pregnant or causing a pregnancy? According to research almost 50% of teens have never thought about how a pregnancy would affect their lives, yet a baby will be one of the most life-changing things to happen to a person.
Consider these consequences:
1. You will drop out of school.
Having a baby is the Number One reason teen girls leave school without finishing. It is very hard to juggle homework and a baby's needs. Less than 50% of teen mothers EVER graduate from high school and fewer than 2% earn a college degree by age 30. Teen pregnancy kills education for the mother and a lack of education kills opportunities and earnings for life.
2. Your kids will do poorly in school.
For a variety of reasons kids of teen mothers do worse in school than those born to older parents. Poverty and lack of education in the home causes this. Kids with teen mothers are 50% more likely to repeat a grade. The are less likely to complete high school (even years after their moms are no longer teens), and perform lower on standardized tests. They are also more likely to become teen parents themselves and live in poverty.
3. One baby leads to another.
Teen pregnancy factors, like low self esteem, lead to about 25% of teen moms becoming pregnant again with a second child within 24 months of the first child. It seems that some girls can't learn from their first mistake. The second child makes it even harder to stay in school or stay out of poverty.
4. Babies don't keep boys around.
Babies make boys run, period. They don't make relationships stronger, because they introduce more stress. It does not matter what he promises you or how much he says he loves you. Chances are you are going to raise the baby on your own. 8 out of 10 fathers don't marry the teen mother of their child. In the USA, absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for child support, often because they are also poor and can’t afford legitimate support payments or they choose other priorities.
5. It’s hard in the parents, and the kids.
More than half of all mothers on welfare today had their first child as a teenager and two-thirds of families begun by a young, unmarried mother are poor today. Teen pregnancy breeds poverty and trouble. Kids living without the father at home are 5 times more likely to be in poverty.
A daughter born to a teenage mother is 3 times more likely to become a teen mother herself compared to girls born to mature parents. A son born to a teenage mother is twice as likely to end up in prison as a son born to a stable family.
6. It is not fun for the boys either.
Getting a girl pregnant will destroy your life. You will be tied to that girl for at least the next 18 years whether you want to be in her life or not. Being a dad will damage your opportunity to date good girls - the good ones don't want a loser who can't control himself and they don't want to end up like the girl you got pregnant. You get to pay child support, and if you can't afford it, you will feel like a loser. Child support tends to cut your opportunity to go to college. And when you find a girl to marry how is she going to feel about part of your paycheck going off to another woman?
How can you prevent teen pregnancy?
- Avoid getting heavily involved emotionally until you are at least out of high school. False feelings of love by those who are not mature enough to love like an adult leads to baby making.
- Guard yourself. Don't get physically involved. If you abstain, there will be no pregnancy 100% guaranteed.
- Avoid situations where you can get into trouble. If you are not alone you can't mess up.
- If you insist on sex, use birth control (but abstaining is better)
- Avoid all drugs and alcohol. Many a baby is conceived while judgement is impaired
- Follow God always. If you think about the consequences of having a baby before you are ready, and ask for God's help in following his will, you do not need to be worried about teen pregnancy.
- Communicate with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Clear conversations about expectations undertaken outside the heat of the moment help avoid problems when passions are high.
- Talk to trusted adults. Your parents, pastor, teachers or Pathfinder staff are there to help you work through the process of growing up. Talking through the issues around sex and pregnancy avoidance with an adult first will help immensely when you need to discuss it with your girlfriend or boyfriend later.
Now that you have decided not to become a teen parent - what can you do to help other teens avoid it?
- Educate: Spread the word, distribute material from groups that want to educate teens about the dangers of teen pregnancy.
- Advocate: tell your friends what you learned. Share stuff on social media. Speak up in health class. Make it cool to NOT be having sex and having babies.
- Be a friend: watch your friends relationships and state of mind. Is your friend thinking about sex? Are they feeling lonely and needy and that a baby could fill a void in their life? Are they undertaking risky activities like spending time one on one in private with their boyfriend or girlfriend? Be willing to step in and talk to them if they seem at risk. If that does not work, talk to a responsible adult about what you see and encourage them to get involved.
This remains a contentious topic that Christians, including Seventh-day Adventists, often disagree about. For the Pathfinder, the first thing to consider is avoidance of ever being forced to make a personal choice over abortion by abstaining from sex outside of marriage. Beyond that, we should consider the ethics of abortion. There is a mountain of material on abortion to research, so encourage Pathfinders to get on the Internet and start reading. This is an ideal age to form personal moral standards on topics like abortion.
We present the official Adventist Church statement on Abortion as an aid to discussion and because it is important for young people to understand the official position, even if they chose to hold different beliefs. We emphasize that this statement is not considered a doctrine or a test of membership but more of a guideline for actions of the church.
Many contemporary societies have faced conflict over the morality of abortion.* Such conflict also has affected large numbers within Christianity who want to accept responsibility for the protection of prenatal human life while also preserving the personal liberty of women. The need for guidelines has become evident, as the Church attempts to follow scripture, and to provide moral guidance while respecting individual conscience. Seventh-day Adventists want to relate to the question of abortion in ways that reveal faith in God as the Creator and Sustainer of all life and in ways that reflect Christian responsibility and freedom. Though honest differences on the question of abortion exist among Seventh-day Adventists, the following represents an attempt to provide guidelines on a number of principles and issues. The guidelines are based on broad biblical principles that are presented for study at the end of the document.**
1) Prenatal human life is a magnificent gift of God. God's ideal for human beings affirms the sanctity of human life, in God's image, and requires respect for prenatal life. However, decisions about life must be made in the context of a fallen world. Abortion is never an action of little moral consequence. Thus prenatal life must not be thoughtlessly destroyed. Abortion should be performed only for the most serious reasons.
2) Abortion is one of the tragic dilemmas of human fallenness. The Church should offer gracious support to those who personally face the decision concerning an abortion. Attitudes of condemnation are inappropriate in those who have accepted the gospel. Christians are commissioned to become a loving, caring community of faith that assists those in crisis as alternatives are considered.
3) In practical, tangible ways the Church as a supportive community should express its commitment to the value of human life. These ways should include:
a. strengthening family relationships
b. educating both genders concerning Christian principles of human sexuality
c. emphasizing responsibility of both male and female for family planning
d. calling both to be responsible for the consequences of behaviors that are inconsistent with Christian principles
e. creating a safe climate for ongoing discussion of the moral questions associated with abortion
f. offering support and assistance to women who choose to complete crisis pregnancies
g. encouraging and assisting fathers to participate responsibly in the parenting of their children.
The Church also should commit itself to assist in alleviating the unfortunate social, economic, and psychological factors that add to abortion and to care redemptively for those suffering the consequences of individual decisions on this issue.
4) The Church does not serve as conscience for individuals; however, it should provide moral guidance. Abortions for reasons of birth control, gender selection, or convenience are not condoned by the Church. Women, at times however, may face exceptional circumstances that present serious moral or medical dilemmas, such as significant threats to the pregnant woman's life, serious jeopardy to her health, severe congenital defects carefully diagnosed in the fetus, and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. The final decision whether to terminate the pregnancy or not should be made by the pregnant woman after appropriate consultation. She should be aided in her decision by accurate information, biblical principles, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, these decisions are best made within the context of healthy family relationships.
5) Christians acknowledge as first and foremost their accountability to God. They seek balance between the exercise of individual liberty and their accountability to the faith community and the larger society and its laws. They make their choices according to scripture and the laws of God rather than the norms of society. Therefore, any attempts to coerce women either to remain pregnant or to terminate pregnancy should be rejected as infringements of personal freedom.
6) Church institutions should be provided with guidelines for developing their own institutional policies in harmony with this statement. Persons having a religious or ethical objection to abortion should not be required to participate in the performance of abortions.
7) Church members should be encouraged to participate in the ongoing consideration of their moral responsibilities with regard to abortion in light of the teaching of scripture.
Principles for a Christian View of Life
"Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 17:3, NIV). In Christ is the promise of eternal life; but since human life is mortal, humans are confronted with difficult issues regarding life and death. The following principles refer to the whole person (body, soul, and spirit), an indivisible whole (Genesis 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Life: Our valuable gift from God
1) God is the Source, Giver, and Sustainer of all life (Acts 17:25,28; Job 33:4; Genesis 1:30, 2:7; Psalm 36:9; John 1:3,4).
2) Human life has unique value because human beings, though fallen, are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27; Romans 3:23; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 3:2; John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18,19).
3) God values human life not on the basis of human accomplishments or contributions but because we are God's creation and the object of His redeeming love (Romans 5:6,8; Ephesians 2:2-6; 1 Timothy 1:15; Titus 3:4,5; Matthew 5:43-48; Ephesians 2:4-9; John 1:3, 10:10).
Life: Our response to God's gift
4) Valuable as it is, human life is not the only or ultimate concern. Self-sacrifice in devotion to God and His principles may take precedence over life itself (Revelation 12:11; 1 Corinthians 13).
5) God calls for the protection of human life and holds humanity accountable for its destruction (Exodus 20:13; Revelation 21:8; Exodus 23:7; Deuteronomy 24:16; Proverbs 6:16,17; Jeremiah 7:3-34; Micah 6:7; Genesis 9:5,6).
6) God is especially concerned for the protection of the weak, the defenseless, and the oppressed (Psalm 82:3,4; James 1:27; Micah 6:8; Acts 20:35; Proverbs 24:11,12; Luke 1:52-54).
7) Christian love (agape) is the costly dedication of our lives to enhancing the lives of others. Love also respects personal dignity and does not condone the oppression of one person to support the abusive behavior of another (Matthew 16:21; Philippians 2:1-11; 1 John 3:16; 1 John 4:8-11; Matthew 22:39; John 18:22,23; John 13:34).
8) The believing community is called to demonstrate Christian love in tangible, practical, and substantive ways. God calls us to restore gently the broken (Galatians 6:1,2; 1 John 3:17,18; Matthew 1:23; Philippians 2:1-11; John 8:2-11; Romans 8:1-14; Matthew 7:1,2, 12:20; Isaiah 40:42, 62:2-4).
Life: Our right and responsibility to decide
9) God gives humanity the freedom of choice, even if it leads to abuse and tragic consequences. His unwillingness to coerce human obedience necessitated the sacrifice of His Son. He requires us to use His gifts in accordance with His will and ultimately will judge their misuse (Deuteronomy 30:19,20; Genesis 3; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 3:5,6, 6:1,2; Galatians 5:13).
10) God calls each of us individually to moral decision making and to search the scriptures for the biblical principles underlying such choices (John 5:39; Acts 17:11; 1 Peter 2:9; Romans 7:13-25).
11) Decisions about human life from its beginning to its end are best made within the context of healthy family relationships with the support of the faith community (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 5,6).
12) Human decisions should always be centered in seeking the will of God (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 6:6; Luke 22:42).
- Abortion, as understood in these guidelines, is defined as any action aimed at the termination of a pregnancy already established. This is distinguished from contraception, which is intended to prevent a pregnancy. The focus of the document is on abortion.
- The fundamental perspective of these guidelines is taken from a broad study of scripture as shown in the "Principles for a Christian View of Human Life" included at the end of this document.
These guidelines were approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee at the Annual Council session in Silver Spring, Maryland, October 12, 1992.
AIDS was first recognized by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1981. Since its discovery, AIDS has caused an estimated 36 million deaths worldwide and approximately 35.3 million people are living with HIV globally (as of 2012).
AIDS was tagged as a homosexual disease and called God's punishment on the gays by some Christians. Jerry Falwell regularly linked the AIDS pandemic to LGBT issues and stated, "AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals, it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals." Adventists do not generally support this idea, seeing AIDS as just another disease that hurts people.
Most HIV infections occur between heterosexual couples today, although in some areas homosexual contact is the primary mode of transmission. Blood transfusions, shared needles and mother to child transmission are also causes. Casual non-sexual contact is not a way to get AIDS.
In many countries HIV infection remains a reason to refuse travel visas. However, attitudes are changing. At the beginning of 2010 the United States dropped all immigration restrictions on people with AIDS, that were first imposed in 1987.
Many people are deathly afraid of catching AIDS. The rise of AIDS has altered the whole free love culture causing people to be far more careful about casual sex.
The Catholic church objects to the use of condoms because they also prevent conception. This position has softened a little by Benedict who suggested in 2010 that condoms are a lesser evil in preventing HIV than unprotected sex.
For more information Pathfinders are encourage to read up on the issues, starting with these Wikipedia articles:
An appropriate Christian response to AIDS includes:
- Compassion for the suffers - no different than a person with cancer
- Not discriminating against those with HIV/AIDS
- Avoidance of activities that spread HIV/AIDS (no sex outside of marriage, only accepting screened blood, and avoiding drugs and shared needles)
Homosexuality is a very difficult subject in the Seventh-day Adventist Church today. Historically, like most Christians, Adventists considered homosexuality a sin, and generally homosexual individuals hid their feelings and activities from the public and their families. Most Pathfinders are not old enough to remember those days though. Pathfinders live in a world where homosexuality is often not a big deal at all and it seems antiquated to even discuss it as a bad thing.
Within the lifetime of our Pathfinders the whole context of the discussion has all changed. Movie stars, politicians, professional athletes and people in all areas of life have come out at gay or lesbian. The week this guide was written (October 2014) Apple CEO Tim Cook publically announced he was gay and, while it made news because he is such an important business leader, the world shrugged it off as no big deal.
Many countries and states now allow same sex marriage and many church denominations perform these weddings. Gay bishops and pastors are being accepted in some denominations. No longer is it cool to joke about gays, and discrimination based on sexual orientation is outlawed in many parts of the world.
On the flip side, countries like Russian and Uganda have passed laws that severely restrict or ban homosexuallity and impose penalties for practicing it.
So what does all this mean for the teenage Pathfinder?
- You probably have gay or lesbian or transgendered friends. If you don't, surely you will know someone in your wider circle.
- Respect is the only acceptable way to treat homosexuals, just like you should respect your elders, those from other cultures etc.
- Recognize that regardless of your personal feelings about homosexuality, or what you interpret the Bible as saying, that most homsexuals and many other people in society believe homosexuality comes from the womb and is a normal variation in humans. You are not going to win friends or influence people toward truth by arguing against this belief.
- Homosexuals, like all people, need to be welcomed into our churches. Even if you believe that homosexual behaviour is a sin, we are all sinners.
- Many draw a distinction between the desire to sin by acting on homosexual (or any sexual) desires, and the actual acting out of these desires. This position states it is not a sin to be a homosexual any more than it is a sin to have any sinful desire, but that it is the acting out that creates the problem.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has an official statement on homosexuality that is worth discussing in your group, as follows:
The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes that every human being is valuable in the sight of God, and we seek to minister to all men and women in the spirit of Jesus. We also believe that by God's grace and through the encouragement of the community of faith, an individual may live in harmony with the principles of God's Word.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman. This was the design established by God at creation. The Scriptures declare: "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Gen 2:24, NIV). Throughout Scripture this heterosexual pattern is affirmed. The Bible makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships. Sexual acts outside the circle of a heterosexual marriage are forbidden (Lev 18:5-23, 26; Lev 20:7; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:9-11). Jesus Christ reaffirmed the divine creation intent: "'Haven't you read,' he replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?" So they are no longer two, but one'" (Matt 19:4-6, NIV). For these reasons Seventh-day Adventists are opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.
Jesus affirmed the dignity of all human beings and reached out compassionately to persons and families suffering the consequences of sin. He offered caring ministry and words of solace to struggling people, while differentiating His love for sinners from His clear teaching about sinful practices. As His disciples, Seventh-day Adventists endeavor to follow the Lord's instruction and example, living a life of Christ-like compassion and faithfulness.
This statement was voted during the Annual Council of the General Conference Executive Committee on Sunday, October 3, 1999 in Silver Spring, Maryland. Revised by the General Conference Executive Committee, October 17, 2012.
The Bible offers guidance on what we should be viewing:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable——if anything is excellent or praiseworthy——think about such things.”
The Internet is the most easily accessed source of pornography. The Internet honor suggests that you develop a covenant governing your use of the Internet, which excludes pornography and other harmful activities, and sign it along with the rest of your family.
The Pathfinder Pledge says that you will be pure and kind. This prohibits the use of pornography.