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

I appreciate your concerns

A reply to: Yes, That is True Sometimes
Submitted by beemanlee on Mon, 2011-11-14 05:20.

Brother Lee,

Lee writes: Yes I understand what you are saying. But there is a real problem with a person missing this concept altogether without the knowledge of what Strong points out.

Jeff: It would tend to give the wrong impression and especially since most view the word translated angel in scripture as winged, heavenly creatures with Jesus as their Supreme Commander.

Lee: Confusion is what I see as I read the lines of the translation without a direct quote about the real meaning being put forward to the reader. This only breads discontent and confusion when those important things are not said up front.

Jeff: I agree. The person who posted used those small snippets to highlight a perceived problem and did not intend to cause confusion but simply to ask how we could write such things. He had a right to ask and I did try to explain it so as to remove all confusion. But I would not have brought it up myself as it isn't one of our doctrines only something we believe is true. For Adventists it carries significance in the book of Daniel where Michael "stands up." We believe this is the judgment scene and that when Jesus stands up the judgment is over (that is, the pre-advent judgment which is more commonly called the "investigative judgment") and Jesus speaks the words, "It is done," found in Revelation marking the end of God's patience with sin and humanities probation, and the outpouring of the seventh angel's vial of God's wrath. But to my knowledge our eschatology does not depend on accepting it as truth so it is not a point of faith.

Lee: Yes, we can agree on some terms, but what I was pointing out was quite a big point to separate created Angels from L-rd or G-d Himself Humbling Himself and becoming a man.

Jeff: And a very important point. I am glad you persevered to make that point clear. That point is VERY crucial to understanding the gospel.

Lee: That is a real problem if we don't understand where that separation really lies.

Jeff: Agreed! I share your concerns. Without a proper understanding of the character and nature of Christ and that He was God before the incarnation, always has been God, and always will be God, one cannot comprehend the infinite cost of the sacrifice made on his behalf and therefore cannot fully appreciate the condescension of Jesus in coming to this world of sin.

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