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

View of "harshness" from different perspective

As one of those in the group referened in your post and who takes unconfessed sin serious, I consider the concept of investigative judgement harsh as well. It is my understanding but I am open to correction, the Law of Moses provided NO relief or forgiveness whatsoever for deliberate and intentional sin. Those who deliberately broke the law did not even have the cities of refuge that would guarantee their safety. Hebrews 10 is equally clear about deliberate sin. I say that being well aware of the approach of taking all such passages as hypothetical, as if a person once saved could not then deliberateley sin and with the will freed by Christ choose to walk away from Him. However, even a view of conditional eternal security allows for true believers being truly and eternally saved, and assuredly secure, IF YOU CONTINUE IN THE FAITH. Such a view respects teh now/not yet aspect of salvation and the fact salvation has an initial, continuing and ultimate component. We havent finished the race until we finish the race.

Among other pasages Paul lays down a pretty big IF along with the clear PROMISE of assurance

    ...you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven ... (Col 1:21–23).

Thus, I certainly confess sin when I become aware of it and believe a Christian is in danger who refuses to confess sin when the truth of it is brought to their heart by God's Spirit. This is not the same as when man says something is wrong. I am talking about the illumination of the truth. My view of this may be somewhere between what you (Elderdad) are saying and the SDA belief but I find the apparent implication of the SDA assertion untenable. I dont believe for a minute I have to fear some unknown and therefore unconfessed sin separating me from the love of Christ. I believe I am the only one who can so separate me BUT that is through deliberate sin of a will that is only freed by grace. The authentic (from the heart) believer knows she/he is secured by Christ because they rest in Him and have not received the spirit of fear but the Spirit of Adoption. Those who have been crucified with Christ live by the faith of the Son of God, and do not frustrate the grace of God know the security that nothing can take them out of His Hand. All these lead me to a conclusion that varies greatly from what SDA appears to say about salvation. We certainly dont have to live in fear that God has to go through some process checklist to know them that are His, or decide our eternal destination. Scripture already declares "the Lord knoweth them that are His" 2 Ti 2:19

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