Discussing The Various Beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists

JeffLogan's picture

We have, in the past, involved ourselves many times in the discussion of Catholic doctrines. I thought it might be of interest to some here to open a discussion around the Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-Day Adventist church.

The Seventh-Day Adventist church does not have a typical creed but rather has chosen to call their doctrines "Fundamental Beliefs." The idea is that if we are to follow the Bible and the Bible only as our authority then we must not put down roots so deeply that we cannot change them should Christ chose to correct our understanding. This position gives us the latitude to come into line with scripture without the embarrassment that would normally arise had we taken a dogmatic approach. It allows us, as a people, to be ready to follow Christ onward and upward as we progress toward a fuller understanding of the plan of salvation as God strips away the error which has taken such a stronghold upon our minds.

But just as sure as I post these to the world-wide-web they become somewhat etched in stone. So I will offer this disclaimer, that these are the church's Fundamental Beliefs as of August 2011, and provide this statement from the official church website.

    Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs, as set forth here, constitute the church's understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture. Revision of these statements may be expected at a General Conference session when the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language in which to express the teachings of God's Holy Word.

    --Captured from Adventist.org, August 2011.

To some minds the SDA church is not a true Christian church because it is said that their doctrines do not conform entirely to the established religious mindset prevalent today. And, there are indeed some beliefs which seem to be unique which we will address, if you like, and as time allows. But consider that the following churches also held as truth doctrines which were new in their day.

  1. The Lutherans taught Justification by Faith alone
  2. The Baptists taught baptism by full emersion and religious freedom
  3. John Calvin taught that salvation comes directly from God, not the church
  4. The Methodist taught discipline and accountability
  5. The Charismatics taught joyful worship--our dependence upon God's spirit
  6. and we mustn't forget...

  7. The Catholics for defending foundational truths against err and protecting the sanctity of life

...and on and on. Martin Luther brought out one prominent truth which had been hidden from view but he lacked understanding in other areas. So God sent John Calvin. Then John Wesley to balance out Martin Luther and John Calvin. But it was difficult for those earlier churches who laid down creeds to keep pace by embracing new theology so other denominations sprang up and moved the ball down the field a bit further, so to speak. So is it a strange thing for God to continue in this course as time moves on. But in order to validate that it is God's work moving us forward we must look to see if we embrace God's earlier revealed truth. Do we hold to Justification by Faith Alone? What about religious freedom and baptism by immersion? What about Jesus as a personal Savior? What about true sanctification? What about joyful worship and dependence upon God's spirit to fulfill His purposes in our lives? The battery of truths must accumulate and not fall away. We must not drop important truths as we progress else we must go back into the wilderness and retrieve them. So with that said, let's get started. Let's see if the Adventist church retains all of these truths and investigate any new truths they bring to the equation.

I thought I would start by stating some doctrines we do hold in common with the larger community of faith to establish that perhaps the SDA church is not a cult. Because they are deemed not to be controversial I will post several of them at a time. However, as we get to those which are more controversial I will slow down. But I post these in the event they too may be controversial by their wording or scriptural reference.

So if you're ready to begin, let's start!

(I would request that you wait until I open a particular topic before you post a related question. We'll see how that works. But if you raise a question please give me ample time to address it. I can not always participate every day. And, let's make this enjoyable and a learning experience. But please ask what is on your mind.)

Jeff Logan

SDA as primary discussion

Let me know which posts you would like to move and I will get with Brian to try to do. That feature was removed when Robert was moderator so I don't have that kind of juice ---Moderator

As a poster, I wouldn't presume to speak for other people. I know for myself, the real interest I am trying to get to (for me) is the extent to which SDA views scripture through EGW or the other way around. Personally I am not interested in EGW's writings per se but reepect that many people love her writings. I am just trying to answer for myself shat is your standard? No disrespect intended but many organizations (and people) believe they are doing X when they are actually doing X mixed with Y whereby X and Y are different animals altogether. If I approach the scriptures from the view that Luther was prophetic and inspired (and I do not), then I force his interpretation on scripture. If I understand he was just another fallible human being perhaps brighter than many and less bright than others, I may have given him more credit than he is due but I am in a more objective position to let scripture judge his writings. In my opinion, not a majority here at ccel, one's view of the Living and Written Word of God are intertwined and impact all other doctrine which is why I asked my questions from that thread and about EGW. As an individual Adventist perhaps you most certainly appear to believe as per the officially stated belief; but has your denomination officially as a whole arrived at any views that differ from EGW at all? Answering that helps get to the beliefs behind the beliefs, the assumptions that go into the words that determine whether the same dictionary is being used or not. I offer this as an explanation why I am asking so much about her writings. Other than the brief synopsis on the official web page there is not a formal catechism or statement of belief to refer to, and the net certainly shows considerably varied views of what SDA is. For me it is a matter of looking for a more in-depth explanation and EGW appears to be that voice if all of SDA's beliefs agree with hers ... to know her is to know SDA ??? - Submitted as a poster,