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

ElderDad's picture

Destroy Lucifer?

Perhaps this might give some stimulus for thought while Justin remains without words (hmmm).

One thought: One of the important aspects of the relationship between God and mankind is the freedom of choice. Until Lucifer tempted Eve in the Garden, that freedom of choice was not an issue. If our choices are right and right, we do not choose wrong.

Second thought (this will not be in harmony with SDA theology, but I will insert it anyway): Once a spirit is in existence, it cannot be destroyed. (Some would say that spirits have always been in existence, and they were just united with the physical at conception, but I am not one of those.) When we are conceived, God unites a spirit to our body. When the body dies, the spirit continues to exist. So also with the spirit known as Lucifer. Once he was created, he become a non-ending entity. However, prophecy indicates a 1000 year period in which he will be cast into a great abyss and will not be able to tempt and persuade humanity to sin. During this period, the Son will rule with a physical presence on the earth. Mankind will not be in rebellion against God during that period. The description of the Millenium indicates to me that truth and peace will reign. At the end of that period of time, Lucifer will once again be loosed to persuade humanity to rebel. After 1000 years of truth and peace under the authority of the Son, mankind will once again choose to follow Lucifer and rebel. The final conflict will occur, the result of which will be the Great White Throne Judgment of Lucifer and his spirit followers (fallen angels), and then of the human followers. First Lucifer and then fallen humanity will be cast into a lake of fire, not for destuction but for the everlasting torment of the spirits that remain. (Like I said, not quite SDA prophetic understanding, but it is the way I understand prophetic Scripture.)

Scripture also speaks of the Judgment Seat of Christ, which also is different from the Investigative Judgment, which I also do not find in Scripture. The Judgment Seat of Christ is a judgment of believers to determine rewards, not destination. Dan has quoted some of the text of the Great Controversy. However, he has not quoted those portions of the chapter on the Investigative Judgment which bother me most on the subject. Those are the sentences in the chapter on the Investigative Judgment which indicate that both believers and non-believers go through it, and any unconfessed sin will result in rejection from the presence of God. That's harsh, and I believe not in accordance with Scripture.

Dave S.
Senior Moderator, Volunteers for Proofreading
2 Tim. 3:16--All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.