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

JeffLogan's picture

Reply #2 to: Once for all ... 2nd phase ... last phase

Reply to: Once for all ... 2nd phase ... last phase
Submitted by DanFugett on Sun, 2011-09-04 09:06.

    I build my deck in phases, but it is not complete until the last phase is done. I cannot say it is complete when the foundation is complete. . . let Him change us from the inside out over a lifetime work in our lives that isnt complete when we breath our last breath. Salvation isnt incomplete simply because sins still exist in our life experience.

Yours is a good analogy. The cross was the foundation for future expiation of sin. And it was completed. Now the price for the expiation was paid at Calvary but as I understand it it isn't automatically applied, we receive its credit to our account by faith.

It occurs to me that the difference is here: you understand that atonement ended at the cross. But I say atonement isn't complete until the end of the anti-typical Day of Atonement which marks the end of probation for all humanity.

You say that the change Christ works in our life is a work of a lifetime. I agree. And that sin will exist in our life until our last breath. I agree that we will retain our sinful nature but it should be dead. But doesn't your logic exclude the forgiveness of sin after the cross if the atonement work ended there? I mean, how can there be any atonement for those who sin after the cross if that atonement work ended. If it ended that means it cannot continue. If it is entirely finished then it cannot be taken up again. What I am saying is that the work of atonement continues which allows Christ to apply His blood from Calvary to the accounts of all the millions who have come to Him for forgiveness since the cross. How do you handle post-Calvary sin and forgiveness? Or, do you have another word you use instead of Atonement to describe the application of Christ's blood to the sinners account? If I had another word to describe the ongoing work of expiation then I could stop using Atonement which seems to be the obstacle in our way.

Don't we need to be brought back into AT ONE MENT with Christ after we fall away from Him through temptation? Doesn't His blood again atone for the sin we just committed? When does the atonement process stop. At what point does Christ stop applying His blood to our sins in an act of atonement?

I see these phases:

1) sinner understand his guilt and that he must die
2) sinner finds a Savior and accept His death as his own
3) Christ's blood covers the sinners guilt and the sinner is reckoned sinless (justified)
4) Christ continues His work on the heart to convert the sinner (sanctification)
5) Christ work is complete, the sinner is an overcomer and enters heaven

Now salvation occurs when the sinner accepts Christ. Whenever Christ lives in the heart there is salvation. But if the sinner turns from God and Christ is driven from the heart then salvation departs because the sinner will return to a life of sin without Christ abiding in the heart.

We'll get there...


PS. I am not sure my understanding reflects the position of the SDA church.

_______ _______ ______ ______ ______

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."