Discussing The Various Beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists

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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

JeffLogan's picture

Reply to: What did God do up to 1844 with fake believers in heav

Reply to: What did God do up to 1844 with fake believers in heaven?
Submitted by DanFugett on Sat, 2011-09-03 22:42.

Well, as Elderdad pointed out, SDA believe in soul sleep. When Jesus encountered death on earth he often referred to it as sleep. And he "woke" many up from that sleep (which scripture refers to as the 1st death, or, more precisely, as the one death appointed unto all men). Lazarus was one. He said to His disciples, "Lazarus sleeps." But they thought He meant sleep as in taking a nap. So Jesus had to use words they understood. He then said, "Lazarus is dead." But previously He had said, "I go that I may awake Him." And He was laughed at in another town when He said, "The young girl is not dead, but sleeps." Jesus had the right concept of death. It is a sleep. It is not truly death from which no one returns. Paul, in writing about death said, "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." In the next verse he refers to them as those that "sleep in Jesus." But later calls them "the dead in Christ."

Another thing. A sinner would be very uncomfortable in heaven. He wouldn't want to be there. He couldn't stand to be in the presence of the Holy Beings, much less God.

Also, the atonement was completed on the cross. However, Jesus still applies His blood today to those who come to Him as their Savior. And so, in a sense, the work continues. But the work of providing the blood for the pardon of sins was completed on the cross.

It's just like the pattern practiced in the earthly tabernacle which service was a shadow of the true in heaven. The lamb was chosen prior to being slain and it had to be without blemish. Jesus was singled out to die before He was slain. And, He was inspected and found to be without blemish at His trial. Then He was placed upon the cross and His blood was shed. But no bones were broken. On earth the blood was sprinkled on the articles in the holy place. Jesus ascended into heaven to apply His blood in the heavenly holy place on our behalf. Not literally, I am sure, but of a certainty. And, finally, at the end of the year the High Priest carried out his special work in the Most Holy. That work involved cleansing the temple of sins that had been symbolically stored there throughout the year. This was to teach us that one day God will blot out all our sins and put an end to sin. In other words, there will come an end. But, though the Jewish economy repeated this year after year the anti-typical will occur just once: Jesus' death, Jesus' priestly work in the Holy place, and Jesus' high priestly work in the Most Holy place. Three times Jesus proclaims, "It is finished." Once at the end of creation week, on the cross when His work on earth was done, and in heaven when probation closes at the end of the anti-typical Day of Atonement. If sins remain on the books after that final pronouncement then there remains no more mercy. It must end one day.

Back to the earthly shadow... Those who did not confess all their sins on that day, the Day of Atonement, were separated from the people of God and driven out. This last phase Jesus began in 1844 (according to our understanding and based on Dan. 8:14) and it marks, not the end of the year, but rather the end of the world as we know it. When that work is completed Jesus will return to earth and end the cycle of sin forever. This is why we say that He reviews the books (now what that really entails I do not know for God needs no books to recall our sins but perhaps that language is used to help us understand the work). He looks over the books of those who profess to be His followers--I guess there's no need to review the record of those that rejected Him until the Great White Throne Judgment. And, just like the earthly Day of Atonement, if they have unconfessed sins then their name is removed from the book of life and their sins are not blotted out. But if you consider that only God can read our minds then it may make sense for there to be some record that the angels can view. And, a record for us to review also since we will judge angels.

So the earthly Jewish economy paralleled (not concurrently) the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. Even the feast days marked significant events in the reality of our redemption. All those things were but a lesson book to teach us in human terms what was happening, or to happen, in heaven on our behalf.

But to summarize. There really is no problem with "fakers" in heaven. It can't happen. But you are correct. The Lord knows those who are His. He really doesn't need to review the record books. But I believe He does so to demonstrate His justice, especially concerning Lucifer and the fallen angels--though the heavenly beings witnessed that firsthand.

    Revelation 16 (KJV)

    5And I heard the angel of the waters say,
    Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be,
    because thou hast judged thus.

    6For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
    and thou hast given them blood to drink;
    for they are worthy.

    7And I heard another out of the altar say,
    Even so, Lord God Almighty,
    true and righteous are thy judgments.

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