“… You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.” These words should become part of the very fabric of Christian life; but unfortunately, they have not! Love for God and love for people, all people, are not mere suggestions, yet they don’t seem to be the motivating force behind ministry as they should, often because of other concepts that appear to preclude really loving others who are of the world; e.g. “be in the world but not of the world.”
Adventists belong to the communities in which we live and are called to be salt and light there. We must not disengage from the very communities that we are called to serve. We are encouraged to work with others as far as possible if their mission is not contrary to ours. Jesus, when confronted by John who with his colleagues were in an “us versus them” mentality in Mark 9:39-40 bade them not stop the “others” who were doing good in His name and then declared “for whosoever is not against us is for us.”
Very often neither we nor others have all the resources and skills to go it alone in community work. In many countries Adventists collaborate with organizations and agencies in selected areas (such as healthcare emergencies, religious liberty, public health and disaster relief) from loose co-existence, to communication, accommodation, cooperate, coordination, up to collaboration (a tight association). We engage with others to do good, but with no one to do evil.
However, no association or connection should ever impede our accomplishing our prime mission–the proclamation of the Third Angel’s Message and prepare the people for the coming of our Lord through the ministry of healing! We are guided by the divine advice: two cannot walk together unless they be agreed (Amos 3:3).
God-led collaborative agreements demonstrate our commitment to work with external agencies for the good of the community and for the glory of our Creator who said, “Let your light so shine before men that they might see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”
Note: Seventh-day Adventist relations with other denominations is guided by the General Conference Working Policy, O 110, “Relationships With Other Christian Churches and Religious Organizations”