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. CLICK HERE to read this statement on Pacific Union's website.
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