Posts tagged Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians? Christianity
Are Adventists Christians? Exploring our 28 Fundamental Beliefs (Conclusion)
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Over the last few posts I have presented the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church and  shown how none of these beliefs are anti-Christ, cultish, or even entirely unique to Adventism. While many may disagree with our fundamental doctrines, I hope we can all agree that Adventists are Christians. After all, Protestantism is lathed with differing doctrines such as Calvinism, Armininanism, Lutherans, Reformed, Wesleyans and so on. While all of these schools of thought may disagree heavily on many doctrinal issues they still regard one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Adventisms message is not an anti-Christ message at all. The foundational doctrines of salvation by grace alone through faith, sola scriptura, Jesus as the only way to heaven, and his soon return are all  imperative to SDA theology. Without these foundations SDA theology would fall apart. With them SDA theology is born.

While there are many who will continue to attack the SDA church as being a cult, such charges amount to no more than straw man arguments and ad-hominem tactics that do not even represent true Adventism. Such critics often quote SDA pioneers, especially Ellen White, out of context and appeal to bizarre exaggerations of our doctrines in order to make their cases heard. However, not a single cult characteristic is present in the SDA church. They are:

1. Looking to a human being for salvation.

2. Placing the teachings of a human being above or equal to the Bible.
3. The use of force, coercion, or manipulation to gain converts.
4. Separation of members from outside influences including family.
5. Rejection of theological influences from outside ones specific denomination.

While some may have experienced something like this in an SDA church at some point, the reality is that many non-SDA churches all across America do the same thing. Where I grew up the most cultish people I knew were the Pentecostals. They were not allowed to visit other churches or study the doctrine of another denomination. They had to do whatever the pastor said without question or else be removed from the fellowship of the church. This is cultish. However, should I conclude that Pentecostals are a cult? Of course not. These groups I am familiar with represent an extreme fringe within Pentecostalism and it would be disingenuous for me to say that all Pentecostals are a cult. Likewise, to accuse Baptists of hating American soldiers because of the actions of the Westboro Baptist church would be just as ridiculous. In like manner, accusing the SDA church of legalism or of being a cult because of ones experience with a local extreme SDA church is just as misleading. So in conclusion, while there are many people who will continue to attack the SDA church (x-Adventists are the most vocal ones) I for one am fully convinced that the SDA church is a wonderful church (though not perfect of course) that preaches the message of Gods love, grace, and soon return with the passion of the apostles and reformers who paved the way for us.


Further Reading: Is Adventism a Non-Christian Cult?


For an accurate and thorough understanding of SDA theology I recommend the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe.
Are Adventists Christians? Exploring our 28 Fundamental Beliefs (Part 4)
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22. Christian Behavior: We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. It also means that because our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, we are to care for them intelligently. Along with adequate exercise and rest, we are to adopt the most healthful diet possible and abstain from the unclean foods identified in the Scriptures. Since alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs and narcotics are harmful to our bodies, we are to abstain from them as well. Instead, we are to engage in whatever brings our thoughts and bodies into the discipline of Christ, who desires our wholesomeness, joy, and goodness.

The SDA lifestyle beliefs are not unique to Adventism. Many Protestant teachers, authors, and theologians from differing denominations share our views when it comes to diet and the use of harmful substances like tobacco and alcohol. The SDA position on Christian behavior is easily seen in many other Evangelical teachers such as John Wesley, D.L Moody, Billy Graham, Paul Washer and countless others.

23. Marriage and the Family: Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian a marriage commitment is to God as well as to the spouse, and should be entered into only between partners who share a common faith. Mutual love, honor, respect, and responsibility are the fabric of this relationship, which is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church. Regarding divorce, Jesus taught that the person who divorces a spouse, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery. Although some family relationships may fall short of the ideal, marriage partners who fully commit themselves to each other in Christ may achieve loving unity through the guidance of the Spirit and the nurture of the church. God blesses the family and intends that its members shall assist each other toward complete maturity. Parents are to bring up their children to love and obey the Lord. By their example and their words they are to teach them that Christ is a loving disciplinarian, ever tender and caring, who wants them to become members of His body, the family of God. Increasing family closeness is one of the earmarks of the final gospel message.


This belief is so mainstream in Protestantism that it needs no comment.  


24. Christ's Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary: There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent.


The Sanctuary doctrine is the most unique teaching in the SDA church. This teaching is often skewed and misrepresented to make Adventists look like legalists. It is because of this false allegation that some have come to think of the SDA church as a cult; however, nothing could be further from the truth. In a nutshell, the sanctuary doctrine teaches that Christ has begun his work of judgment in heaven and the close of this work will be followed by his second coming (which hour no man knows). Judgment in scripture is not a thing that the righteous fear because Jesus is both our lawyer and our judge. Many may disagree with this doctrine (I am not here attempting to prove it) but the point is whether you agree or disagree with it this doctrine is in no way "un-Christian." It solidifies the message of righteousness by faith and exalts the merits of Jesus as our only hope of heaven. There is nothing antichrist about that.

In addition, the SDA understanding of the 2300 days does not come about because of some unique interpretive system we created. It is the result of studying prophecy using the Historical method of interpretation that was used by many of the reformers.


For a better understanding of the Sanctuary Message you can read my paper on it titled The Pre-Advent Judgment.


25. Second Coming of Christ: The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour's coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ's coming is imminent. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times.


This is one of the most basic of Christian doctrines. While Adventists deny the doctrine of the "Secret Rapture" we are not the only ones to do so. We affirm the traditional view that Christs coming will be " literal, personal, visible, and worldwide."


26. Death and Resurrection: The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later.


I have already commented on the doctrines of annihilation and conditional mortality which Adventism embraces along with many other protestant teachers of various denominations.


  27. Millennium and the End of Sin: The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections. During this time the wicked dead will be judged; the earth will be utterly desolate, without living human inhabitants, but occupied by Satan and his angels. At its close Christ with His saints and the Holy City will descend from heaven to earth. The unrighteous dead will then be resurrected, and with Satan and his angels will surround the city; but fire from God will consume them and cleanse the earth. The universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever.


There are many theories and versions regarding the 1000 year period of Revelation known as the Millennium. Adventism's view, whether agreed with or not, is in no way antithetical to the gospel. The righteous go to heaven and participate in the work of judgment for the wicked. The wicked are resurrected, judged and destroyed (annihalationism) and the presence of sin is forever eradicated from the universe. Once again, even if one completely disagrees with this interpretation there is no ground for declaring that the SDA church is un-Christian because of it.

28. New Earth: On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence. For here God Himself will dwell with His people, and suffering and death will have passed away. The great controversy will be ended, and sin will be no more. All things, animate and inanimate, will declare that God is love; and He shall reign forever. Amen.


The doctrine of "New Earth" is a widely accepted and basic Christian understanding of the end of sin. The only difference is that Adventists believe in annihilation meaning that there will not be any one suffering in Hell during the ceaseless ages of eternity. Again, this teaching is widely accepted in Protestantism and does not make a denomination "non-Christian."
Are Adventists Christians? Exploring our 28 Fundamental Beliefs (Part 3)
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15. Baptism: By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings.

Baptism, as understood by the SDA church is widely accepted by Christians everywhere. In addition, the SDA church does not require any converts from other denominations to be re-baptized so long as they were baptized by immersion. In other words, the SDA church recognizes baptism in a Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal church etc. as valid. A Baptist who thus joins the SDA church does not have to be re-baptized unless he/she desires to do so.

16. Lord's Supper: The Lord's Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord's death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians.


Yet another doctrinal belief of the SDA church that needs no comment.


17. Spiritual Gifts and Ministries: God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts which each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, apostolic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God's varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love.


While not all denominations agree in every point on spiritual gifts (ie. some think that the gift of tongues is the ultimate sign of being baptized in the Holy Spirit) the SDA position is entirely mainstream.


18. The Gift of Prophecy: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White. As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.


I don't know how many Christian congregations there are across America that have their own prophets. The concept of a prophet in a modern church is not unique to Adventism. As Seventh-day Adventists we affirm and embrace the prophetic ministry of Ellen G. White. Not only does she pass all of the prophetic tests but unlike false prophets, EGW consistently and unapologetically dedicated her life to pointing people back to the Bible and Jesus Christ. She never exalted herself, her books, or her ideas as being above or even equal to the Bible. In addition, not one SDA doctrine comes from EGW. All of them come from the Bible. If I was to loose complete confidence in EGW I would still believe every single one of the SDA doctrines. Her ministry was not one of telling people what to believe and do but pointing people back to the Bible the only rule of faith and practice. Some have accused SDA's of following the teachings of EGW and not the Bible. If that were true then I would admit that our church is not a Christian church founded on the principle of sola scriptura. However, this is a false allegation. With this evidence in mind, even if one disagrees with EGW being a prophet it still doesn't make our church unchristian. The SDA church does not even require new converts to believe in her prophetic gift. They are simply invited to investigate it but accepting it is not a test of fellowship (unless you attend an ultra conservative church whose views are contrary to mainstream Adventism). 


19. Law of God: The great principles of God's law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God's love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God's covenant with His people and the standard in God's judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness.


The SDA position on the law is no different from Arminianism or Weslianism. We reject salvation by works but affirm Christian obedience as a non-meritorious response to the grace of God.


20. Sabbath: The beneficent Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God's unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God's kingdom. The Sabbath is God's perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God's creative and redemptive acts.


The Sabbath as understood by the SDA church is not unique to our church. We actually got it from the 7th Day Baptists. Even if it was unique to our church, honoring the Sabbath does not make a church non-Christian. Obedience to this command is not a legalistic way of attaining heaven either. According to the SDA belief, Sabbath keeping is as non-meritorious yet non-negotiable as not committing murder, adultery, etc.


21. Stewardship:  We are God's stewards, entrusted by Him with time and opportunities, abilities and possessions, and the blessings of the earth and its resources. We are responsible to Him for their proper use. We acknowledge God's ownership by faithful service to Him and our fellow men, and by returning tithes and giving offerings for the proclamation of His gospel and the support and growth of His church. Stewardship is a privilege given to us by God for nurture in love and the victory over selfishness and covetousness. The steward rejoices in the blessings that come to others as a result of his faithfulness.


This doctrine is so mainstream it needs no comment. 
Are Adventists Christians? Exploring our 28 Fundamental Beliefs (Part 2)
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8. Great Controversy: All humanity is now involved in a great controversy between Christ and Satan regarding the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe. This conflict originated in heaven when a created being, endowed with freedom of choice, in self-exaltation became Satan, God's adversary, and led into rebellion a portion of the angels. He introduced the spirit of rebellion into this world when he led Adam and Eve into sin. This human sin resulted in the distortion of the image of God in humanity, the disordering of the created world, and its eventual devastation at the time of the worldwide flood. Observed by the whole creation, this world became the arena of the universal conflict, out of which the God of love will ultimately be vindicated. To assist His people in this controversy, Christ sends the Holy Spirit and the loyal angels to guide, protect, and sustain them in the way of salvation.

The Great Controversy doctrine stands as one of the unique doctrines of the SDA church. However, as unique as this doctrine is it is actually held in every church in one form or another. The entire doctrine can be summarized in these points:
  1. There was a war in heaven between Satan and God and Satan was cast out.
  2. Satan led Adam and Eve, and consequently the whole world, into rebellion against God.
  3. God sent his son Jesus to defeat Satan and restore harmony with mankind.
  4. Jesus will ultimately defeat Satan and destroy him and his entire kingdom.
  5. When the war is over, God's government will be vindicated and the universe will be forever free of sin and sinners.
Honestly, I don't know of any denomination that doesn't actually believe each of these points. The Methodist "Governmental Theory of atonement" is in many ways the foundation of the Great Controversy doctrine and Iraneaus of Lyon, and early Christian theologian, held a theology known as "Recapitulation" that comes within inches of being identical to the Great Controversy.[1]  The final point (universe free of sin and sinners) is a widely accepted implication of the doctrine of annihilation as opposed to eternal torment. While Adventists may not necessarily agree on every minute point with other denominations the basic outline is widely known and accepted. Even the Adventist understanding of the great tribulation, which points to the Antichrist as the office of the papacy is shared by other Christians. Lutheran scholars (known as the Centuriators_of_Magdeburg) and Presbyterean leader Ian Paisely, along with many protestant reformers, identified the papacy as the Antichrist power of Revelation. The Great Controversy theme and its implications are, therefore, not entirely unique to Adventism and the points that we do disagree on, such as the annihilation of the wicked, do not make a church unchristian. 

9. Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ: In Christ's life of perfect obedience to God's will, His suffering, death, and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and the whole creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God's law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The resurrection of Christ proclaims God's triumph over the forces of evil, and for those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow.

I don’t even have to comment on this doctrine. It is one of the most basic and fundamental of Christian beliefs inside and outside of Adventism. However, since Christology is here involved I will clarify one issue: The Human nature of Christ.

Some have accused the SDA church of teaching that Jesus was a sinner. This is a gross misunderstanding. In the SDA church there are three views of the human nature of Christ, one of which is the official teaching of the church and its pioneers including Ellen White. The three views are:
  1. Jesus was born with a sinful human nature like the nature Adam had after he fell.
  2. Jesus was born with a sinless human nature like the nature Adam had before he fell.
  3. Jesus was born with both a sinful and a sinless nature. His sinful nature constitutes his physical being (he was born with a body like yours and mine subject to weakness, exhaustion etc.) but he had a sinless spiritual nature (his moral nature was not corrupt and he was sinless from birth to death).
Of these three views, the SDA church and its pioneers maintain that the third option is our official teaching. While Jesus inherited a body with all of the hereditary weaknesses caused by sin, he was not sinful in any way shape or form. He faced temptation like we do but never had a natural internal inclination to sin like the rest of us do. In short, he was enough like us to know what its like to suffer and be tempted, yet he was enough unlike us to be our savior.

10. Experience of Salvation: In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God's grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God's sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God's law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment.

Once again, this doctrine is so foundational to Christianity that there is no need to comment on it. However, because critics accuse Adventists if being legalists, I will comment anyhow. Adventists are evangelicals. Plain and simple. The SDA church teaches that we are saved by grace through faith not works. Not only are we justified by faith but we are also sanctified by faith. Our sanctification does not add any extra merit to what Christ did. The SDA gospel is not a "What I do + What Jesus did = Salvation" The SDA gospel is an Arminian/ Wesleyan understanding of the gospel, both of which are widely accepted understandings in Christianity. We are saved only by the merits of Christ's blood and while we believe in obedience to Gods word we do not believe that obedience make us more acceptable before God. This is exactly what Christian teachers of all denominations have taught for centuries and the SDA understanding is no different. How people can, in good conscience, accuse the church of legalism is beyond me. Despite the evidence that we believe and teach a grace based gospel, critics ignore the truth and continue to spread lies and slander about what we actually believe.

11. Growing in Christ: By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who subjugated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom. Jesus' victory gives us victory over the evil forces that still seek to control us, as we walk with Him in peace, joy, and assurance of His love. Now the Holy Spirit dwells within us and empowers us. Continually committed to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we are set free from the burden of our past deeds. No longer do we live in the darkness, fear of evil powers, ignorance, and meaninglessness of our former way of life. In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the Church. As we give ourselves in loving service to those around us and in witnessing to His salvation, His constant presence with us through the Spirit transforms every moment and every task into a spiritual experience.

While there are some Christians who deny the experience of sanctification, this theological school does not represent true Christianity as it has always been and continues to be. Growing in Christ is one of the most basic Christian doctrines and has been taught both in scripture and church history by men like D.L. Moody, Billy Graham, John Wesley etc. And is taught today by others like Greg Laurie, Francis Chan, Kyle Idleman and T.D. Jakes.

12. Church: The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord's Supper, for service to all mankind, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word, and from the Scriptures, which are the written Word. The church is God's family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish.

Yet another doctrine that needs no comment. This view is embraced by protestants 
everywhere.

13. Remnant and Its Mission: The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness.
The doctrine of the Remnant church is one of the reasons some people dislike the SDA church. However, the church does not claim to be the only church in which Gods spirit dwells. It does not claim that non-SDA’s are false Christians who will not be saved either. The SDA church affirms that God's people are everywhere and in every denomination. By Remnant church the SDA church teaches that it carries God's last day message to this world and that it is indeed his pure visible church on earth. Some would respond saying that this is nothing but denominational arrogance, however, if that were the case then every denomination would be guilty of arrogance. While not all denominations claim to be the remnant church no denomination claims to be a false church. Because theological pluralism is un-biblical every denomination then, whether actively or passively, claims to be the true church. For the SDA church to claim actively what every other church claims passively is not arrogance, it is conviction. Thus, this doctrine cannot be used to label the church as non-Christian or else every denomination would have to be labeled non-Christian as well.

In addition, SDA's affirm, support, and embrace all denominations with the exception of cults or heretical groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons. We read, quote, share and even sell books written by a variety of non-Adventist authors. As an SDA my favorite preachers are not even Adventist but evangelical. Billy Graham, Greg Laurie, Kyle Idleman and Louie Gigglio are among the few. Were the SDA church a cult any outside influence, especially from theologians, would be rejected by the organization. However, the opposite is true.

The purpose of the remnant then is not to be an exclusivistic organization of elite Christians that alone comprise Gods church but to be the church which proclaims Gods special message to His people and the world in the last days. The true remnant will not be seen until the very end of time when decisions for or against Christ have been finalized, but the SDA church affirms that in a time of widespread apostasy within Christendom it has, as a movement and visible organization, been entrusted with the remnant message. This is neither cultish, arrogant, or non-Christian.

14. Unity in the Body of Christ: The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children.
Unity in the body of Christ is yet another widely accepted doctrine in the Christian church.
Are Adventists Christians? Exploring our 28 Fundamental Beliefs (Part 1)
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Below are the first seven of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church. During the next four posts I will share our fundamental beliefs until I have done all 28 of them. In the meantime, I will show how each of our fundamental beliefs are part of Christianity as a whole. I hope after reading this and studying it for yourself you will see that the whole questions as to whether SDA's are Christians or not is rather nonsensical. However, before I begin allow me to make a disclaimer: There is, at times, a significant distinction between what the mainstream Seventh-day Adventist movement believes and teaches and what some local SDA congregations teach. There are many local SDA churches that are far from Christian and are, in fact, rather cult-like in their beliefs and practices. It is primarily due to the influence of these congregations - coupled with certain degrees of misguided leadership in our history - that has led many to cast the authentic Christianity of Adventism into question (and I don't blame them). However, to label all SDA Christians and the SDA denomination this way would be disingenuous at best. This post, along with the three that will follow, deals exclusively with the official teachings of the church which is the mainstream. My intent is to show that regardless of our theological disagreements it remains true that Seventh-day Adventists are Christians in the purest and truest sense of the word.



Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs


1. Holy Scriptures: "The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God's acts in history." 


This belief is entirely orthodox, and agrees with every Protestant Christian denomination. This view was also upheld and taught by influential Christian thinkers, preachers and theologians such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, D.L. Moody, and Billy Graham and continues to be taught all throughout Protestantism today.


2. Trinity: "There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation."


While not all Protestants agree with the doctrine of the trinity, all major protestant denominations such as Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Non-Denominational Christians and many others uphold it as a Biblical teaching.


3. Father: "God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer, and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father."


The sovereignty of God is not only clear in scripture but is widely accepted all throughout Protestant Christianity.


4. Son: "God the eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ. Through Him all things were created, the character of God is revealed, the salvation of humanity is accomplished, and the world is judged. Forever truly God, He became also truly man, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He lived and experienced temptation as a human being, but perfectly exemplified the righteousness and love of God. By His miracles He manifested God's power and was attested as God's promised Messiah. He suffered and died voluntarily on the cross for our sins and in our place, was raised from the dead, and ascended to minister in the heavenly sanctuary in our behalf. He will come again in glory for the final deliverance of His people and the restoration of all things."


The Christology of Adventism, as espoused in Fundamental Belief number four, is one that is also widely accepted and believed all throughout Christianity. Those who reject this view of Jesus are often considered heretics. 


5. Holy Spirit: "God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ's life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth."


While not all Protestants agree in every point with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, all major protestant denominations embrace the person-hood and individuality of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the godhead (Trinity). 


6. Creation: "God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made "the heaven and the earth" and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was ``very good,'' declaring the glory of God."


The SDA doctrine of creation is, and has always been, the traditional and conservative Biblical teaching of both Protestantism and Catholicism.


7. Nature of Man: "Man and woman were made in the image of God with individuality, the power and freedom to think and to do. Though created free beings, each is an indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit, dependent upon God for life and breath and all else. When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position under God. The image of God in them was marred and they became subject to death. Their descendants share this fallen nature and its consequences. They are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil. But God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and by His Spirit restores in penitent mortals the image of their Maker. Created for the glory of God, they are called to love Him and one another, and to care for their environment."


The nature of man, as understood by the SDA church, is also a commonly shared belief among Christians. The only exception would be the view that man is "dependent upon God for life and breath and all else." In other words, man alone is mortal and not immortal. This is known as the doctrine of "Conditional Immortality." However, Adventists are not the only ones to believe and teach this doctrine. Highly influential  Evangelical theologians, scholars, and apologists such as John Stott, John Wenham, Michael Green, Clark Pinnok, Edward Fudge, Greg Boyd, E. Earle Ellis, and Ben Witherington II are among some who supported this doctrine. This belief has been around long before the SDA church and has had periods of resurgence in the history of Christianity.


So far we have reviewed seven of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church in an attempt to determine whether the denomination is truly Christian or not. Though it is too soon to draw any conclusions we can safely say, "So far, so good."