Seventh-day Adventist theology

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The theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church resembles that of Protestant Christianity, combining elements from Lutheran, Wesleyan/Arminian, and Anabaptist branches of Protestantism. Adventists believe in the infallibility of Scripture and teach that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ. The 28 fundamental beliefs constitute the church's official doctrinal position.

The denomination also has a number of distinctive doctrines which differentiate it from other Christian churches. There are very few teachings held exclusively by Seventh-day Adventists. Some of their views which differ from most Christian churches include: the perpetuity of the Ten Commandments, the unconsciousness of man in death, conditional immortality, an atoning ministry of Jesus Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and an “investigative judgment” that commenced in 1844. Furthermore, a traditionally historicist approach to prophecy has led Adventists to develop a unique system of eschatological beliefs which incorporates a commandment-keeping "remnant", a universal end-time crisis revolving around the law of God, and the visible return of Jesus Christ prior to a millennial reign of believers in heaven.

(For differing theological perspectives, see the articles on Progressive Adventists and Historic Adventists.)

Overview[edit]

Official beliefs[edit]

The Seventh-day Adventist denomination expresses its official teachings in a formal statement known as the 28 Fundamental Beliefs. This statement of beliefs was originally adopted by the church's General Conference in 1980, with an additional belief (number 11) being added in 2005.[1] Also highly significant are the baptismal vows, of which there are two versions; candidates for church membership are required to accept one.

In addition to the fundamental beliefs, a number of "Official Statements" have been voted on by the church leadership, although only some of these are doctrinal in nature. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary is a significant expression of Adventist theological thought.

Source of authority[edit]

View of Scripture[edit]

The first fundamental belief of the church stated that "The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of [God's] will." Adventist theologians generally reject the "verbal inspiration" position on Scripture held by many conservative evangelical Christians. They believe instead that God inspired the thoughts of the biblical authors, and that the authors then expressed these thoughts in their own words.[2] This view is popularly known as "thought inspiration", and most Adventist members hold to that view. According to Ed Christian, former JATS editor, "few if any ATS members believe in verbal inerrancy".[3][citation needed]

Adventists generally reject higher critical approaches to Scripture. The 1986 statement Methods of Bible Study, "urge[s] Adventist Bible students to avoid relying on the use of the presuppositions and the resultant deductions associated with the historical-critical method."

Role of Ellen White[edit]

Seventh-day Adventist approaches to theology are affected by the level of authority accorded the writings of Ellen White. Mainstream Adventists believe that White had the spiritual gift of prophecy, but that her writings are inferior to the Bible, which has ultimate authority.

According to one church document, "her expositions on any given Bible passage offer an inspired guide to the meaning of texts without exhausting their meaning or preempting the task of exegesis".[4] "The Inspiration and Authority of the Ellen G. White Writings", document was issued by the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. It has received worldwide review and input, although is not an official statement. It concludes that a proper understanding will avoid the two extremes of regarding her "writings as functioning on a canonical level identical with Scripture, or […] considering them as ordinary Christian literature."[5]

Relation to other groups[edit]

Adventist theology is distinctly Protestant, and holds much in common with Evangelicalism in particular. However, in common with many restorationist groups, Adventists have traditionally taught that the majority of Protestant churches have failed to "complete" the Reformation by overturning the errors of Roman Catholicism (see also Great Apostasy) and "restoring" the beliefs and practices of the primitive church—including Sabbath keeping, adult baptism and conditional immortality.[6]

Adventists typically do not consider themselves part of the Fundamentalist Christianity community: "Theologically, Seventh-day Adventists have a number of beliefs in common with Fundamentalists, but for various reasons have never been identified with the movement... On their part, Adventists reject as unbiblical a number of teachings held by many (though not all) Fundamentalists..."[7]

Theological variation[edit]

Historical development[edit]

Seventh-day Adventist theology has undergone development from the beginnings of the movement. Doctrinal development has been associated with significant events, including the 1888 Minneapolis General Conference and discussions with evangelicals in the middle of the 20th century which prompted the publication of Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine. As a consequence of these developments, different theological streams have emerged which today exist alongside the mainstream of the Church.

Present truth and the Pillars[edit]

The early Adventists emphasized the concept of "present truth"—see 2 Peter 1:12 (NKJV). James White explained, “The church [has] ever had a present truth. The present truth now, is that which shows present duty, and the right position for us…” ”Present truth is present truth, and not future truth, and the Word as a lamp shines brightly where we stand, and not so plainly on the path in the distance.” Ellen White pointed out that “present truth, which is a test to the people of this generation, was not a test to the people of generations far back.”[8] The founders of the SDA church had a dynamic concept of what they called present truth, opposed to creedal rigidity, and had an openness to new theological understandings that built upon the landmark doctrines, or Pillars of Adventism that had made them a people.[9]

These foundations, pillars, and landmarks are:

Still, the possibilities of dynamic change in Seventh-day Adventist beliefs are not unlimited.[11] Those landmark doctrines are non-negotiables in Adventist theology. Collectively they have provided the Seventh-day Adventists with an identity.[9] The pillars of their faith—the Bible doctrines that define who they are as a people—have been thoroughly studied out in the Scripture and have been attested to by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. As Ellen White put it, "When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. ... Men will arise with interpretations of Scripture which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time, God has given us as a foundation for our faith.[12] Robert Johnston noted, “Without repudiating the past leading of the Lord, it [the Seventh-day Adventist church] seeks even to understand better what that leading was. It is always open to better insights to learn—to seek for truth as for hid treasure. … Adventists are still pilgrims on a doctrinal journey who do not repudiate the way marks, but neither do they remain stopped at any of them.”[13] Ellen further said that there is more truth to be revealed and that true doctrine will stand close investigation.[14] But there is a solid foundation to build new truth upon.[15]

Unity and variation[edit]

A 2002 survey of Adventists worldwide showed 91% acceptance of the following beliefs:[16][17]

Results from 2002 Survey[17]
DoctrinePercentage of Adventists who agree
Sabbath96%
Second coming93%
Soul sleep93%
Sanctuary and 184486% (35% believe there may be more than one interpretation of this doctrine)
Authority of Ellen White81% (50% see a need for modern reinterpretation of White's writings)
Salvation through Christ alone95%
Creation in 6 days93%

A "Valuegenesis" study in 2000 of students at Adventist high schools in North America showed a generally high acceptance of the church's beliefs, with some such as marriage within the same faith, the remnant, Ellen White's gift of prophecy, and the investigative judgment with acceptance rates less than 63% percent.[18] "In looking at the research this may be because over the first ten years of Valuegenesis research, fewer young people were reading their Bibles and Ellen White. And for a church that values a written revelation of God, less reading of the Bible probably means less understanding of its beliefs."[18]

In a 1985 questionnaire, the percentage of North American Adventist lecturers who nominated various beliefs as contributions they believed Adventists had made to contemporary theology are:[19]

Results from 1985 questionnaire of North American Adventist Theologians[19]
DoctrinePercentage contribution
Wholism36%
Eschatology29%
Sabbath21%
Great Controversy18%
Sanctuary15%
(None)11%
Salvation9%
Scriptural interpretation7%
Mission theology4%
Health4%

Theological spectrum[edit]

A theological spectrum exists within Adventism, with several different theological streams existing alongside the mainstream. The conservative "historic" movement holds to certain traditional positions that have been challenged since the 1950s. By contrast, progressive Adventists typically question some of the church's distinctive teachings, and some of the fundamental beliefs that are held by traditional Adventists.[20]

In a 1985 survey of North American Adventist lecturers, 45% described themselves as liberal compared to other church members, 40% as mainstream, 11% as conservative, and 4% gave no response to the question.[19] There are two main organizations of Adventist scholars or interested laypeople. The Adventist Theological Society describes its beliefs as "balanced and conservative Adventist theology",[21] whereas the Adventist Society for Religious Studies is more progressive by comparison.

Jon Paulien has identified four brands of Adventism – evangelists and frontier missionaries whose beliefs are traditional yet creatively expressed, scholars concerned with an accurate understanding of the Bible, the typical church member (including most of the younger, postmodern generation) who is most concerned with what is relevant to ordinary life and not concerned with most doctrines, and those in the Third World who are similarly concerned for a minimal belief set and passionate about their faith.[22]

Regional and cultural differences[edit]

There is a common perception that different cultures and regions of the world vary in their theology.

According to Edwin Hernández, the principal investigator of the AVANCE study into Latino Adventists in the North American Division, "There was a very high degree (95 percent) of fidelity to the orthodox teachings of the church."[23]

Shared Protestant doctrine[edit]

Seventh-day Adventists uphold the central doctrines of Protestant Christianity: the Trinity, the incarnation, the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement, justification by faith, creation, the second coming, the resurrection of the dead, and last judgment.

In Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine (1957), four authors outlined the core doctrines that they share with Protestant Christianity.

"In Common With Conservative Christians and the Historic Protestant Creeds, We Believe—
1. That God is the Sovereign Creator, upholder, and ruler of the universe, and that He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
2. That the Godhead, the Trinity, comprises God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
3. That the Scriptures are the inspired revelation of God to men; and that the Bible is the sole rule of faith and practice.
4. That Jesus Christ is very God, and that He has existed with the Father from all eternity.
5. That the Holy Spirit is a personal being, sharing the attributes of deity with the Father and the Son.
6. That Christ, the Word of God, became incarnate through the miraculous conception and the virgin birth; and that He lived an absolutely sinless life here on earth.
7. That the vicarious, atoning death of Jesus Christ, once for all, is all-sufficient for the redemption of a lost race.
8. That Jesus Christ arose literally and bodily from the grave.
9. That He ascended literally and bodily into heaven.
10. That He now serves as our advocate in priestly ministry and mediation before the Father.
11. That He will return in a premillennial, personal, imminent second advent.
12. That man was created sinless, but by his subsequent fall entered a state of alienation and depravity.
13. That salvation through Christ is by grace alone, through faith in His blood.
14. That entrance upon the new life in Christ is by regeneration, or the new birth.
15. That man is justified by faith.
16. That man is sanctified by the indwelling Christ through the Holy Spirit.
17. That man will be glorified at the resurrection or translation of the saints, when the Lord returns.
18. That there will be a judgment of all men.
19. That the gospel is to be preached as a witness to all the world."[24]

All of these doctrines, with the exception of item 11 (regarding the premillennial return of Christ), are widely held amongst conservative or evangelical Protestants. (Different Protestant groups hold varying views on the millennium.)

Regarding salvation, a major statement was the 1980 "The Dynamics of Salvation".[25]

Distinctive doctrines[edit]

Seventh-day Adventists have often focused on those doctrines which are distinctive to Adventism. This was particularly true in the early days of the movement, when it was assumed that most people the church witnessed to were already Christian to begin with, and that they already understood the gospel.[citation needed]

Sabbath and the Law[edit]

Biblical law and the Ten Commandments[edit]

Seventh-day Adventists believe that "the great principles of God's law are embodied in the Ten Commandments", and that these are "binding upon all people in every age" (Fundamental Belief no. 19). While the ceremonial and sacrificial laws of the Old Testament were fulfilled by the death of Jesus Christ, the 10 commandments are held to remain in force for Christian believers. The words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:17-20 are foundational to this conviction:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

The Seventh-day Sabbath[edit]

Seventh-day Adventists believe that the seventh day of the week, Saturday, is the biblical Sabbath which God set "apart for the lofty purpose of enriching the divine-human relationship".[26] It is noted that the Sabbath is a recurring message in the Bible, mentioned in the Creation account, at Sinai, in the ministry of Jesus Christ and in the ministries of the apostles. The Sabbath serves as a weekly memorial to Creation and is a symbol of redemption, from both Egypt and sin. By keeping the Sabbath, Adventists are reminded of the way that God can make them holy, like he did the Sabbath, and they show their loyalty to God by keeping the commandment in the Decalogue. The Sabbath is also a time for Adventists to spend with other people and with God.

Adventists believe that the Sabbath is not just a holiday but rather is intended as a rest for believers to grow spiritually. It should be noted, however, that although Seventh-day Adventists do not believe that they are saved by keeping Saturday as the Sabbath, they attach considerably greater significance to Saturday-Sabbath keeping than other denominations attach to worship on Sunday.

Adventists do not see the Sabbath as a works-based doctrine, but rather righteousness comes solely through faith in Christ alone. The Sabbath commandment is seen as an act of faith in God's ideal for the believer, although its significance may not be seen by non-believers.

They believe that the Sabbath is a whole day that they can set aside to get closer to Jesus without the worldly distractions they may face in their busy week.

Seventh-day Adventists teach that there is no evidence of the Sabbath being changed to Sunday in the Bible. They teach instead that it was changed by gradual acceptance of Sunday worship gatherings which came into the early church in Rome to distinguish themselves from the Jews and to align themselves with political authorities. This change became more universally accepted with the establishment of Roman emperor Constantine's Sunday law of 321 AD and the decree at the Council of Laodicea that in canon 29 declared that Christians should avoid work on Sunday.

The Great Controversy[edit]

Seventh-day Adventists believe that prior to the beginning of human history, a dispute occurred in heaven between God and Lucifer (Satan) over "the character of God, His law, and His sovereignty over the universe" (Fundamental Belief no. 8). Lucifer was subsequently cast out of heaven, and, acting through the serpent in the Garden of Eden, led Adam and Eve into sin. God has permitted Lucifer's rebellion to continue on Earth in order to demonstrate to angels and beings on other worlds that his Law is righteous and necessary, and that the breaking of the 10 commandments leads to moral catastrophe.

This understanding of the origin of evil is derived from the Bible (see Rev. 12:4-9; Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:12-18; Gen. 3; Rom. 1:19-32; 5:12-21; 8:19-22; Gen. 6-8; 2 Peter 3:6; 1 Cor. 4:9; Heb. 1:14.).[27] The book entitled The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White, particularly chapter 29, The Origin of Evil is also sometimes referenced.

Heavenly Sanctuary and Pre-Advent Judgment[edit]

The Heavenly Sanctuary[edit]

The Seventh-day Adventist church teaches that there is a sanctuary in heaven which was foreshadowed by the Mosaic tabernacle, according to their interpretation of the Epistle to the Hebrews chapters 8 and 9. After his death, resurrection and ascension, Jesus Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary as the great High Priest, "making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice" (Fundamental Belief no. 24). Adventists hold that Christ ministered his blood in the first section of the sanctuary (the holy place) until October 1844; after that time he entered the second section of the sanctuary (the Most Holy Place, or Holy of Holies) in fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

Adventists therefore believe that Christ's work of atonement encompasses both his death on the Cross and his ministration in the heavenly sanctuary.

Seventh-day Adventists have always believed in a complete atonement that is not completed.

—W. G. C. Murdock, SDA Theological Seminary Dean, 1980, Discussion, General Conference Session, Dallas[28]

Venden points out that the atonement must have been complete at the cross—the sacrifice was sufficient.[29] For when Jesus died for man's sin, it was enough to purchase man's salvation and man cannot add anything to it. Yet, the atonement involves more that just sacrifice. The process of redemption, the restoration of man's broken relationship to at-one-ment with God, was not completed at the cross, else there would be no more sin or sickness or pain or sorrow or separation or battered children or hospitals or funeral trains or tombstones or broken hearts. It is the winning of men back to a love relationship with God that is not yet completed.[28]

Early Adventists emphasized the two parts to the atonement:

[Christ] ascended on high to be our only mediator in the sanctuary in Heaven, where, with his own blood he makes atonement for our sins; which atonement so far from being made on the cross, which was but the offering of the sacrifice, is the very last portion of his work as priest..."

Fundamental Principles taught and practiced by the Seventh-day Adventistsproposition II (1872)

They refer to his mediatorial work in heaven as an "atoning ministry" (as in Fundamental Belief no. 24).[30]

Investigative Judgment[edit]

The investigative judgment is a doctrine unique to Seventh-day Adventism, and teaches that the judgment of God's professed people began on October 22, 1844 when Christ entered the Holy of Holies in the heavenly sanctuary. Adventists find the investigative judgment portrayed in texts such as Daniel 7:9-10, 1 Peter 4:17 and Revelation 20:12. The purpose of this judgment is to vindicate the saints before the onlooking universe, to prepare them for Christ's imminent Second Coming, and to demonstrate God's righteous character in His dealings with humanity. This judgment will also separate true believers from those who falsely claim to be ones.[31]

The biblical basis of the investigative judgment teaching was challenged in 1980 by ex-Adventist professor Desmond Ford. (See Glacier View controversy.) While the church has officially reaffirmed its basic position on the doctrine since 1980, many of those within the church's progressive wing continue to be critical of the teaching. According to a 2002 worldwide survey, local church leaders estimated 86% of church members accept the doctrine.[32]

Eschatology[edit]

The Remnant Church[edit]

The Seventh-day Adventist church regards itself as the "remnant" of Revelation 12:17 (KJV). The Remnant church "announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent" (Fundamental Belief no. 13). The duty of the Remnant is summed up in the "Three Angels' Messages" of Revelation 14:6-12, and its two distinguishing marks are seventh-day Sabbath observance and the Spirit of Prophecy (see below).

At baptism, Adventists may be asked the following question: "Do you accept and believe that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the remnant church of Bible prophecy and that people of every nation, race, and language are invited and accepted into its fellowship?"[33] (NB. In 2005 an alternative set of baptismal vows was created, which does not contain a reference to the Adventist church as the remnant. Candidates may now choose whether to take the original vow or the new one.[34])

Second coming of Christ[edit]

Seventh-day Adventist prophetic time chart from 1863, about the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation

Seventh-day Adventists believe in an imminent, universally visible Second Coming of Christ, which will be preceded by a "time of trouble".[35] The teaching that Christ will be universally visible is based on Revelation 1:7 which states that "every eye will see him." The second coming will coincide with the resurrection and translation of the righteous, as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Adventists believe that the unrighteous, or wicked, will be raised after the millennium.

As compared to other Christian views of eschatology, the Seventh-day Adventist view is closest to Historic (or post-tribulational) Premillennialism. Conditions on earth are expected to steadily deteriorate until the "time of trouble"[1] (which is similar to the Great Tribulation of classic premillennialist teaching), when civil and religious authorities will combine to unleash intense persecution upon God's people, particularly those who keep the seventh-day Sabbath. The time of trouble will be ended by the glorious appearing of Christ, which will also mark the commencement of the millennium.

Adventists reject dispensationalist theology and the pretribulation rapture, believing that the church will remain on earth throughout the end-time crisis. A further difference is that the millennial reign of Christ will take place in heaven, not on earth, and will involve all of the redeemed people of God, not just national Israel. (See Fundamental Beliefs, no. 26 & 27.)

Seventh-day Adventism interprets the book of Revelation using the historicist method, but also holds that some of the events it predicts are still future (see: interpretations of the Book of Revelation).

Hell and the state of the dead[edit]

Seventh-day Adventists believe that death is a state of unconscious sleep until the resurrection. They base this belief on biblical texts such as Ecclesiastes 9:5 which states "the dead know nothing", and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 which contains a description of the dead being raised from the grave at the second coming. These verses, it is argued, indicate that death is only a period or form of slumber.

Adventists teach that the resurrection of the righteous will take place at the second coming of Jesus, while the resurrection of the wicked will occur after the millennium of Revelation 20. They reject the traditional doctrine of hell as a state of everlasting conscious torment, believing instead that the wicked will be permanently destroyed after the millennium. The theological term for this teaching is Annihilationism.

The Adventist views about death and hell reflect an underlying belief in: (a) conditional immortality (or conditionalism), as opposed to the immortality of the soul; and (b) the holistic (or monistic) Christian anthropology or nature of human beings, as opposed to bipartite or tripartite views. Adventist education hence strives to be holistic in nature, involving not just the mind but all aspects of a person.

This belief in conditional immortality has been one of the doctrines used by critics (particularly in the past) to claim that the church is not a mainstream Christian denomination.[36] However, this view is becoming more mainstream within evangelicalism, as evidenced by the British Evangelical Alliance ACUTE report, which states the doctrine is a "significant minority evangelical view" which has "grown within evangelicalism in recent years".[37] Evangelical theologian and conditionalist Clark Pinnock suggests Adventist Le Roy Edwin Froom's The Conditionalist Faith of our Fathers, 2 vols. as "a classic defense on conditionalism".[38]

Spirit of Prophecy[edit]

portion of working pages 80-81 of Desire of Ages, with editorial handwriting from one of Ellen White's literary assistants

The church believes the spiritual gift of prophecy was manifested in the ministry of Ellen White, whose writings are sometimes referred to as the "Spirit of Prophecy". The church's 28 Fundamental Beliefs state:

"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."[31]

Two other official statements regarding the prophetic ministry of Ellen White have recently been voted at General Conference Sessions. The June 1995 document A Statement of Confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy states that White "did the work of a prophet, and more", and that her writings "carry divine authority, both for godly living and for doctrine"; and recommended that "as a church we seek the power of the Holy Spirit to apply to our lives more fully the inspired counsel contained in the writings of Ellen G White." The 2005 document Resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy called upon "Seventh-day Adventists throughout the world to prayerfully study her writings, in order to understand more fully God's purpose for His remnant people", describing her writings as "theological stimulus".

There has been an increasing tendency in the church to view White in more human terms, although still inspired. Whatever the prominence assigned to her writings for doctrinal authority, Adventists are agreed that the Bible takes precedence as the final authority.

Anglican Geoffrey Paxton has commented,

Adventists "are often thought of as those who 'major on minors.' But those Adventists who have given support to this accusation can hardly be seen as faithful to the heartthrob of the Adventist mission. In fact, when viewed in the light of the real Adventist claim, this accusation will be seen as wide of the mark."

Trinitarian development, Christology and Pneumatology[edit]

Early Seventh-day Adventists came from a wide assortment of nineteenth-century American Protestant churches, highly influenced in thought and teaching by Anabaptism and Restorationism. Some early Adventists, such as two of the church's principal founders, James White[39] and Joseph Bates, had a background in the Restorationist Christian Connection church, which rejected the Trinitarian nature of God.[40] However, the teachings and writings of Ellen White, who was raised in a Methodist family, ultimately proved influential in shifting the church from largely Semi-Arian[41] roots towards Trinitarianism.[42]

Before the 1890s Ellen White made no explicit anti-Trinitarian or semi-Arian statements. However, in Desire of Ages (1898) she made the shocking, to some, statement, "In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived," which brought about the development on the view of the Godhead.[43][44] Over the next several decades, other Adventists explored the Bible on the Godhead and established the Adventist Trinitarian teaching on the topic.[45]

Gradually after "transition and conflict" in the early 20th century this view of the Godhead was confirmed in Adventist theology, and by the middle of that century the Trinity became accepted.[46] The move towards Trinitarianism can be observed in the successive doctrinal statements of the church. The 1872 Declaration of the Fundamental Principles taught and practiced by the Seventh-day Adventists[2] mentioned Father, Son and Holy Spirit but did not contain an explicit affirmation of the Trinity:

"That there is one God, a personal, spiritual being, the creator of all things, omnipotent, omniscient, and eternal, infinite in wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and mercy; unchangeable, and everywhere present by his representative, the Holy Spirit.
That there is one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, the one by whom God created all things, and by whom they do consist...

By 1931 the Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists[3] included a Trinitarian statement:

That the Godhead, or Trinity, consists of the Eternal Father, a personal, spiritual Being, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, infinite in wisdom and love; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father, through whom all things were created and through whom the salvation of the redeemed hosts will be accomplished; the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, the great regenerating power in the word of redemption.

The official Adventist fundamental beliefs, adopted in 1980, include the following as statement number 2, "Trinity":

"There is one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. [...]".[47]

What is curiously missing in this statement is an indication of whether or not the "three co-eternal persons" are of one being or of one essence. This has led to some debate among critics about whether the current Adventist view of the Trinity is orthodox, or if Adventist views are tantamount to the heresy of Tritheism. In fact, Adventist scholars themselves have actually pointed out the distinction between the Adventist view and the orthodox view of this doctrine:

"She [Ellen G. White] taught that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct individuals, which is not true of the medieval doctrine of the Trinity."[48]
"Ellen White's view did change—she was raised trinitarian, came to doubt some aspects of the trinitarianism she was raised on, and eventually came to a different trinitarian view from the traditional one. [...] In her earliest writings she differed from some aspects of traditional trinitarianism and in her latest writings she still strongly opposed some aspects of the traditional doctrine of the Trinity. (4) It appears, therefore, that the trinitarian teaching of Ellen White's later writings is not the same doctrine that the early Adventists rejected.11 Rather, her writings describe two contrasting forms of trinitarian belief, one of which she always opposed, and another that she eventually endorsed."[49]
"But I would like to say, I think there were seven non-orthodox, which means those who did not hold their brand of Trinitarianism, which we reject today, along with them. So, we probably would have been branded as Arian by the orthodox."[50]
"What James [SDA co-founder James White, husband of Ellen White] and the other men were opposed to, we are just as opposed to as they were. Now, their solution to that, at that time, they didn't see any solution by retaining the Trinity concept, and getting rid of its distortions. But, in reality, we have been faithful to their commitment, and I know of nothing that they were objecting to, in objecting to Trinitarianism, that we have not also objected to."[51]
"A major development [in Adventism] since 1972 has been the quest to articulate biblical presuppositions grounding a biblical doctrine of the Trinity, clearly differentiated from the dualistic presuppositions that undergird the traditional creedal statements."[52]
"In many ways the philosophical assumptions and presuppositions of our worldview are different from traditional Christianity and bring different perspectives on some of these old issues. We do not accept the traditional Platonic dualistic worldview and metaphysics that were foundational to the church fathers' theology of the Trinity, one of these being the concept of the immortality of the soul."[53]

One Adventist sociology professor has described the Adventist view as follows:

"In spite of its clear monotheistic ring, the biblical account seems uncompromised on the idea of God as a group. While God has been declared to be one God (Deut. 6:4,1 Tim. 2:5), He has also been presented as a plurality of beings (1 John 5:7; Matthew 28:19; Ephesians 4:5)....What the notion of a triune (group) God seems to suggest is that the three members of the Godhead become joined in their relationship with each other, on the basis of their common purpose, values and interests."[54]

Despite their problematic history with this touchstone doctrine, the denomination has been "officially" Trinitarian for several decades. However, there remain small factions and individuals within the church who continue to argue that the authentic, historical Adventist position is semi-Arian.[55] Some have argued as a recent study contends, that early Adventism had neither an Arian nor Trinitarian theology, but rather a materialist one and say that Ellen White was not a major influence in the Adventist shift toward Trinitarian doctrine.[56]

Christ and the Archangel Michael[edit]

Seventh-day Adventists have traditionally identified Michael the archangel of Jude 9 and Revelation 12:7 as Jesus Christ. This has led to the criticism that Adventism denies the divinity of Christ, a charge which Adventists responded to in chapter 8 of Questions on Doctrine.

"We believe that the term 'Michael' is but one of the many titles applied to the Son of God, the second person of the Godhead. But such a view does not in any way conflict with our belief in His full deity and eternal pre-existence, nor does it in the least disparage His person and work."[57]

For further Seventh-day Adventist perspectives on this issue, see the following:

Holy Spirit[edit]

The early Adventists came from many different traditions, and hence there was also diversity on their views of the Holy Spirit. Some held an impersonal view of the Spirit, as only a "power" or "influence". However the main emphasis at this time was on Adventist distinctives, not on topics such as the Holy Spirit.

J. H. Waggoner called it "that awful and mysterious power which proceeds from the throne of the universe".[58] Uriah Smith similarly described it as "a mysterious influence emanating from the Father and the Son, their representative and the medium of their power"[59] and a "divine afflatus".[60]

Yet by the end of the 19th century, Adventists generally agreed the Spirit is a personal being, and part of the Trinity. Ellen White was influential in bringing about an understanding of the Holy Spirit and spoke of "the Third Person of the Godhead" repeatedly[61] and "a divine person".[62]

Some Adventist books include Le Roy Froom, The Coming of the Comforter (1928); W. H. Branson, The Holy Spirit (1933); G. B. Thompson, The Ministry of the Spirit (1914); Francis M. Wilcox, The Early and the Latter Rain (1938).[63]

The human nature of Jesus Christ[edit]

Since the middle of the 20th century, there has been ongoing debate within Adventism concerning whether Jesus Christ took on a fallen or an unfallen nature in the Incarnation which was precipitated by the publication of Questions on Doctrine in 1957.[64][65]

The debate revolves around the interpretation of several biblical texts:

"For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh." Romans 8:3 (ESV)
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin." Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)
"...concerning his Son (Jesus), who was descended from David according to the flesh..." Romans 1:3 (ESV)
"Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." Hebrews 2:17 NKJV

According to Adventist historian George Knight, most early Adventists (until 1950) believed that Jesus Christ was born with a human nature that was not only physically frail and subject to temptation, but that he also had sinful inclinations and desires.[66] Since 1950, the "historic" wing of the church continues to hold this fallen view of Christ's human nature.

Other Adventists since 1950 believe that while Jesus was beset with the physical frailties that ordinary humans experience, such as sickness and hunger, His spiritual nature was unfallen and did not have the propensity to sin. Christ could be tested by temptation, but did not have our ungodly desires or sinful inclinations[67][68]

The controversy within Adventism over Christ’s human nature is linked to the debate over whether it is possible for a "last generation" of Christian believers to achieve a state of sinless perfection. These matters were discussed at the Questions on Doctrine 50th Anniversary Conference.[69] Both points of view are currently represented at the Biblical Research Institute.[70]

According to Woodrow W. Whidden II (himself a supporter of the "unfallen" position), proponents of the view that Christ possessed a "fallen" nature include M. L. Andreasen, Joe Crews,[71] Herbert Douglass, Robert J. Wieland, Thomas Davis, C. Mervyn Maxwell, Dennis Priebe, Bobby Gordon and Ralph Larson. Proponents of the view that Christ's nature was "unfallen" include Edward Heppenstall, Hans K. LaRondelle, Raoul Dederen, Norman Gulley, R. A. Anderson, Leroy E. Froom and W. E. Read.[72]

Other doctrinal issues[edit]

Soteriology[edit]

Original sin[edit]

Seventh-day Adventists have historically preached a doctrine of inherited weakness, but not a doctrine of inherited guilt.[73] Adventists believe that humans are sinful primarily due to the fall of Adam,[67] but they do not accept the Augustinian/Calvinistic understanding of original sin, taught in terms of original guilt. According to Augustine and Calvin, humanity inherits not only Adam's depraved nature but also the actual guilt of his transgression, and Adventists look more toward the Wesleyan model.[74][75]

In part, the Adventist position on original sin reads:

"The nature of the penalty for original sin, i.e., Adam's sin, is to be seen as literal, physical, temporal, or actual death – the opposite of life, i.e., the cessation of being. By no stretch of the scriptural facts can death be spiritualised as depravity. God did not punish Adam by making him a sinner. That was Adam’s own doing. All die the first death because of Adam’s sin regardless of their moral character – children included."[74]

The early Adventists (such as George Storrs and Uriah Smith) wrote articles that de-emphasise the morally corrupt nature inherited from Adam, while stressing the importance of actual, personal sins committed by the individual. They thought of the "sinful nature" in terms of physical mortality rather than moral depravity.[74] Traditionally, Adventists look at sin in terms of willful transgressions, and that Christ triumphed over sin. Adventism believes that Christ is both our Substitute and our Example.[71] They base their belief on texts such as "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4)[76]

A few Adventists have adopted a more evangelical view of original sin, which believes in humanity's inherently corrupt nature and spiritual separation from God. They conceive of original sin as a state into which all humans are born, and from which we cannot escape without the grace of God.[74] As one recent Adventist writer has put it, "Original sin is not per se wrong doing, but wrong being."[77]

Soteriology and free will[edit]

The Seventh-day Adventist church stands in the Wesleyan tradition (which in turn is an expression of Arminianism) in regard to its soteriological teachings. Wesley's views are opposed to the Augustinian/Tridentine version of justification which understood divine acquittal and forgiveness as the fruit of an infused righteousness.[78]

This is significant in two respects. Firstly, there is a very strong emphasis in Adventist teaching on sanctification as a necessary and inevitable consequence of salvation in Christ. Such an emphasis on obedience is not considered to detract from the reformation principle of sola fide ("faith alone"), but rather to provide an important balance to the doctrine of justification by faith, and to guard against antinomianism.[79] While asserting that Christians are saved entirely by the grace of God, Adventists also stress obedience to the law of God as the proper response to salvation.

Secondly, Adventist teaching strongly emphasises free will; each individual is free either to accept or reject God's offer of salvation. Adventists therefore oppose the Calvinistic/Reformed doctrines of predestination (or unconditional election), limited atonement and perseverance of the saints ("once saved always saved"). Questions on Doctrine stated that Adventists believe "That man is free to choose or reject the offer of salvation through Christ; we do not believe that God has predetermined that some men shall be saved and others lost."[24] The freedom of each individual to accept or reject God is integral to the Great Controversy theme.

"God could have prevented sin by creating a universe of robots that would do only what they were programmed to do. But God's love demanded that He create beings who could respond freely to His love—and such a response is possible only from beings who have the power of choice."[80]

Assurance of salvation in Christ is part of the official beliefs,[81] and an estimated 69% of Adventists "Have assurance of salvation", according to a 2002 worldwide survey of local church leaders.[82]

Sinless perfection[edit]

The question of whether Christians can overcome sin and achieve a state of sinless perfection is a controversial topic for Seventh-day Adventists, as it is among the holiness movement and Pentecostalism. In his book The Sanctuary Service (1947), M. L. Andreasen taught that sinless perfection can be achieved;[83] his theology continues to be influential among certain Historic Adventists. These Adventists insist that a final generation of believers, who will live through the "time of trouble" (between the close of probation and second coming of Christ), must and will attain a state of sinlessness comparable to the pre-fall condition of Adam and Eve. They believe that this is the authentic and historic Adventist position on the issue, and that denominational leaders have erred in moving away from it. Larry Kirkpatrick and the "Last Generation" movement [4] are representative of this stream of teaching.[84] Such quote various texts such as

Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to be-come perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foot-hold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself: ‘The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.’ John 14:30. Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.

The Great Controversy, Ellen White, p. 623

However, some Adventist theologians such as Edward Heppenstall express the view that perfection is not possible in this life, and that Christians will always rely on forgiving grace—even after the "close of probation". It is argued that "perfection" in the Bible refers to spiritual maturity, as opposed to absolute sinlessness.[85]

Ministry and Worship[edit]

Ordination of women[edit]

The Adventist Church world church does not officially, at this time, support the ordination of women to ministry within its standard procedures. Instead women pastors in the denomination hold the title of "commissioned" rather than "ordained," which allows them to perform almost all of the pastoral functions their male colleagues perform but with a lesser title. This compromise was reached during the 1990s, with disagreement primarily occurring along cultural lines.[86][87] In 2010, the North American Division of the church voted to allow commissioned pastors to lead a Conference or Mission, as well as ordained ones.[88] In March 2012, several unions and conferences voted to support the ordination of women. These are, the Mid America Union,[89] the Pacific Union Conference,[90] the Southeastern California conference,[91] the Columbia Union,[92] and the Potomac Conference.[93] In Europe, the North German union conference voted in April 2012 to ordain women,[94] and the Dutch union voted the same in November 2012.[95]

Although the Seventh-day Adventist Church has no written policy forbidding the ordination of women, it has traditionally ordained only men. In recent years the ordination of women has been the subject of heated debate, especially in North America and Europe. In the Adventist church, candidates for ordination are chosen by local conferences (which usually administer about 50-150 local congregations) and approved by unions (which serve about 6-12 conferences). The world headquarters—the General Conference—says that the GC has the right to set the worldwide qualifications for ordination, including gender requirements. GC leaders have never taken the position that ordination of women is contrary to the Bible, but they have insisted that no one ordain women until it is acceptable to all parts of the world church.[96]

In 1990 the General Conference in world session voted not to establish a worldwide policy permitting the ordination of women, but they did not vote a policy forbidding such either.[97] In 1995 GC delegates voted not to authorize each of the 13 world divisions to establish ordination policies specific to its part of the world.[97] In 2011, the North American Division, without GC approval, voted to permit women to serve as conference presidents. In early 2012, the GC responded to the NAD action with an analysis of church history and policy, demonstrating that divisions do not have the authority to establish policy different from GC policy.[98] The NAD immediately rescinded their action. But in their analysis the GC reminded the world membership that the “final responsibility and authority” for deciding who is ordained resides at the union level. This led to decisions by several unions to approve ordinations without regard to gender.

On April 23, 2012, the North German Union voted to ordain women as ministers,[99] but by late 2013 had not yet ordained a woman. On July 29, 2012, the Columbia Union Conference voted to "authorize ordination without respect to gender."[100] On August 19, 2012 the Pacific Union Conference also voted to ordain without regard to gender.[101] Both unions began immediately approving ordinations of women.[102] By mid-2013, about 25 women had been ordained to the ministry in the Pacific Union Conference, plus several in the Columbia Union. On May 12, 2013, the Danish Union voted to treat men and women ministers the same, and to suspend all ordinations until after the topic is considered at the next GC session in 2015. On May 30, 2013 the Netherlands Union voted to ordain female pastors, recognizing them as equal to their male colleagues.[103] On Sept. 1, 2013, a woman was ordained in the Netherlands Union.[104]

In 2012-2013 the General Conference assembled several committees to study the issue and make a recommendation to be voted at the 2015 world General Conference session.[105]

On October 27, 2013, Sandra Roberts became the first woman to lead a Seventh-day Adventist conference when she was elected as president of the Southeastern California Conference.[106] However, the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist church did not recognize this because presidents of conferences must be ordained pastors and the worldwide church did not recognize the ordination of women.[106]

As Protestant Christians who accept the Bible as their only rule of faith and practice, Seventh-day Adventists on both sides of the issue employ the same Bible texts and arguments used by other Protestants (e.g. 1 Tim. 2:12 and Gal. 3:28), but the fact that the most prominent and authoritative co-founder of the church—Ellen White—was a woman, also affects the discussion. Proponents of ordaining women point out that Adventists believe that Ellen White was chosen by God as a leader, preacher and teacher; that she remains the highest authority, outside the Bible, in the Seventh-day Adventist Church today; that she was regularly issued ordination credentials, which she carried without objection; and that she supported the ordination of women to at least some ministry roles. Opponents argue that because she was a prophet her example does not count, and that although she said she was ordained by God, she was never ordained in the ordinary way, by church leaders.[107]

Baptism[edit]

Seventh-day Adventists practice believer's baptism by full immersion in a similar manner to the Baptists. They argue that baptism requires knowing consent and moral responsibility. Hence, they do not baptize infants or children who do not demonstrate knowing consent and moral responsibility, but instead dedicate them, which is symbolic of the parents', the community's, and the church's gratefulness to God for the child, and their commitment to raising the child to love Jesus. Seventh-day Adventists believe that baptism is a public statement to commit one's life to Jesus and is a prerequisite for church membership. Baptism is only practiced after the candidate has gone through Bible lessons. According to the Bible, the act of baptism shows that the person has repented of sin and wishes to live a life in Christ. Acts 8:36-37.

Holy Communion[edit]

Seventh-day Adventists believe that the bread and wine (grape juice) of the Holy Communion are "symbols" of the body and blood of Jesus; however, Christ is also "present to meet and strengthen His people" in the experience of communion.[31] Adventists practice "the ordinance of footwashing" prior to each celebration of the Lord's Supper, on account of the gospel account of John 13:1-16.

Spiritual gifts[edit]

The 17th fundamental belief of the church affirms that the spiritual gifts continue into the present.

Adventists generally believe the legitimate gift of tongues is of speaking unlearned human languages only, and are generally critical of the gift as practiced by charismatic and Pentecostal Christians today.

Creationism[edit]

The Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of creationism is based on believing that the opening chapters of Genesis should be interpreted as literal history. Adventist belief holds that all Earthly life originated during a six-day period some 6000 years ago, and a global flood destroyed all land based animals and humans except for those saved on Noah's Ark. Traditional Adventists oppose theories which propose interpreting the days of creation symbolically.[108] Adventists reject the naturalistic views of abiogenesis and evolution.

Although Adventists hold that creation week was a recent event, they believe the Bible speaks of other worlds populated by intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe, which pre-existed the Earth's creation.[109] The Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association's Seventh-day Adventists Believe (2005), explains that the opening chapters of Genesis describe a limited creation:

'The "heavens" of Genesis 1 and 2 probably refer to our sun and its system of planets. Indeed, the earth, instead of being Christ's first creation, was most likely His last one. The Bible pictures the sons of God, probably the Adams of all the unfallen worlds, meeting with God in some distant corner of the universe (Job 1:6-12). So far, space probes have discovered no other inhabited planets. They apparently are situated in the vastness of space—well beyond the reach of our sin-polluted solar system quarantined against the infection of sin.'[110]

Adventists believe that inorganic matter was created prior to the creation week and was altered into its present form during the creation week. Therefore, the computed radiometric dates of standard geology are largely irrelevant to dating the creation of life on Earth; ratios of isotopic elements reflect an ancient universe.[111][112][113][114] Clyde Webster calls radiometric dating an "interpretive science" with uncertainties. He stated that "it would seem logical, almost compelling to seriously consider other sources of data for determining the time of Creation" concluding that for a Christian scientist "such a primary source is the Holy Scripture."[111]

Adventists were influential in the redevelopment of creationism in the 20th Century. Seventh-day Adventist geologist George McCready Price was responsible for reviving flood geology in the early 20th century. He was quoted heavily by William Jennings Bryan in the Scopes Monkey Trial. His ideas were later borrowed by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb for their landmark 1961 creationist text The Genesis Flood.[115] The Morris and Whitcomb position is distinct from Seventh-day Adventism because they postulate both a young earth and a young universe.[116]

About the time that The Genesis Flood was having a large impact in the evangelical world, a number of progressive Adventist scholars educated in secular universities began promoting Theistic Evolution.[117][118] Some Progressive Adventists no longer hold the literal view of Genesis 1.[119]

In 2009, the Seventh-day Adventist Church held an international creation emphasis day as part of a "worldwide denominational celebration of the biblical account of creation."[120] The event was part of a church initiative to underscore its commitment to a literal creation model.[120] In 2010, the World Seventh-day Adventist Church's highest ecclesiastical body, the World General Conference Session, officially reaffirmed the Church's position in support of a literal six-day creation week.[121]

The scapegoat[edit]

Adventists teach that the scapegoat, or Azazel, is a symbol for Satan. They believe that Satan will finally have to bear the responsibility for the sins of the believers of all ages, and that this was foreshadowed on the Day of Atonement when the high priest confessed the sins of Israel over the head of the scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21).

This belief has drawn criticism from some Christians, who feel this gives Satan the status of sin-bearer alongside Jesus Christ. Adventists have responded by insisting that Satan is not a saviour, nor does he provide atonement for sin; Christ alone is the substitutionary sacrifice for sin, but holds no responsibility for it. In the final judgment, responsibility for sin is passed back to Satan who first caused mankind to sin. As the responsible party, Satan receives the wages for his sin and the sins of all the saved—namely, death. Thus, the unsaved are held responsible for their own sin, while the saved are no longer held responsible for theirs.[122]

Sunday law[edit]

Traditionally, Adventists have taught there will be a time before the Second Advent in which the message of the Ten Commandments and in particular the keeping of the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as Sabbath will be conveyed to the whole world. Protestants and Catholics will unite to enforce legislation requiring the observance of Sunday worship. In reference to the creation of an Image to the Beast Revelation 13-17, Ellen G. White stated:

"When the leading churches of the United States, uniting on such points of doctrines as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions; then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result." -Great Controversy p. 445

Jon Paulien maintains that the central issue of the "final crisis of earth’s history has to do with the Sabbath", based on the strong allusion of Revelation 14:7 to Exodus 20:11 (the Sabbath commandment of the Ten Commandments), and also other verses and themes in Revelation.[123]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Growing in Christ". Adventist News Network. 2005-07-04. Archived from the original on 2005-11-29. Retrieved 2006-05-26. 
  2. ^ General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 2005, pp. 14–16
  3. ^ The Adventist Theological Society, an interview of Ed Christian by John McLarty.
  4. ^ General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (1986). "Methods of Bible Study (Official statement)". . Compare Seventh-day Adventists believe, 2nd ed. 2005. p. 259. 
  5. ^ Biblical Research Institute 1982
  6. ^ General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 2005, p. 189
  7. ^ Neufeld 1976, pp. 577–578
  8. ^ White, James, 1846, Present Truth, July, pg. 1; 1857, Review and Herald, Dec 31, p 61; White, Ellen, Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 693; quoted in Knight 2000, pp. 19–20
  9. ^ a b Knight 2000, p. 27
  10. ^ Ellen, quoted in Venden, Morris, 1982, The Pillars, Pacific Press, pp. 12-13
  11. ^ Knight 2000, p. 24
  12. ^ Knight 2000, p. 26
  13. ^ Johnston, R. 1983, Adventist Review, Sept, 15, p. 8, from Knight 2000, p. 28
  14. ^ "There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation." White 1946, p. 35
  15. ^ "Let none seek to tear away the foundations of our faith—the foundations that were laid at the beginning of our work by prayerful study of the word and by revelation. Upon these foundations we have been building for the last fifty years. Men may suppose that they have found a new way and that they can lay a stronger foundation than that which has been laid. But this is a great deception. Other foundation can no man lay than that which has been laid." Testimonies For The Church Volume 8, p. 297, Ellen White
  16. ^ Brown 2003, p. 29
  17. ^ a b "Three Strategic Issues: A World Survey". Presented to the General Conference Annual Council on 7 October 2002. Accessed 2008-04-24. See also reprint on the Adventist Review website. For reports on the survey, see Annual Council 2002 Special Report. Adventist Review 10 October 2002; including "World Survey Gets Mixed Reviews" by Nathan Brown. The survey was only very approximate.
  18. ^ a b Gillespie 2010
  19. ^ a b c Bull & Lockhart 1987, pp. 32–37
  20. ^ Samuel Koranteng-Pipim has criticized the theologians as "liberal". Koranteng-Pipim 1996, pp. 198–200
  21. ^ Adventist Theological Society. "Adventist Theological Society Membership". Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  22. ^ Paulien, Jon. "Questions on Doctrine and the Church: Present and Future".  Publication on the internet forthcoming. Conference attendees received a copy of all the papers presented
  23. ^ Hernández, Edwin I. (December 1995). "The Browning of American Adventism" (PDF). Spectrum (Roseville, California: Adventist Forums) 25 (2): 29–50. ISSN 0890-0264. Retrieved 2007-10-24. [dead link] (this quote p.36) See also the editor's introduction
  24. ^ a b Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C., 1957. Chapter 1 "Doctrines We Share With Other Christians."
  25. ^ "The Dynamics of Salvation". Adventist Review, July 31, 1980
  26. ^ the Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (1988). "19. The Sabbath". Seventh-day Adventists Believe.... Hagerstown, Maryland 21740: Review and Herald Publishing Association. p. 250. 
  27. ^ need to fix
  28. ^ a b Venden, Morris, 1996, Never without an intercessor, p. 140-41
  29. ^ Sausa, Diego D. Kippur - the Final Judgment: Apocalyptic Secrets of the Hebrew Sanctuary, Fort Myers, FL: The Vision Press, 2006. ISBN 0-9788346-1-5.
  30. ^ See also Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Review and Herald Publishing Assn, pages 127-129
  31. ^ a b c "Fundamental Beliefs". Retrieved 2006-04-20. 
  32. ^ http://www.adventist.org/world_church/official_meetings/2002annualcouncil/strategic-issues-report.pdf, p14, 20 for first statistic and original question; p20, 29 for second statistic and original question
  33. ^ Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 17th edition, revised 2005, page 33.
  34. ^ Delegates Debate Baptismal Vows, July 8, 2005, Hulbert, V..
  35. ^ See George R. Knight, "Adventist Approaches to the Second Coming". Ministry 73 (June–July 2000), p28–32 for more details
  36. ^ see Walter Martin, Kingdom of the Cults, Zondervan 1965, pp. 385-394
  37. ^ Evangelical Alliance Commission on Unity and Truth among Evangelicals (ACUTE) (2000). "The Nature of Hell" (PDF). 
  38. ^ Clark Pinnock, "The Conditional View" in Four Views on Hell, ed. William Crockett, Zondervan, 1992, 147.
  39. ^ James White wrote: "As fundamental errors, we might class with this counterfeit sabbath others errors which Protestants have brought away from the Catholic church, such as sprinkling for baptism, the TRINITY, the consciousness of the dead and eternal life in misery. The mass who have held these fundamentals errors, have doubtless done it ignorantly; but can it be supposed that the church of Christ will carry along with her these errors till the jugment scenes burst upon the world? We think not." (James White, Review and Herald, September 12, 1854).
  40. ^ Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 30-32
  41. ^ by Jerry Moon. "Were early Adventists Arians?". 
  42. ^ Jerry A. Moon, The Adventist Trinity Debate Part 1: Historical Overview and The Adventist Trinity Debate Part 2: The Role of Ellen G. White. Copyright 2003 Andrews University Press. See also "The Arian or Anti-Trinitarian Views Presented in Seventh-day Adventist Literature and the Ellen G. White Answer" by Erwin Roy Gane
  43. ^ The Desire of Ages by Ellen White. 1898, p530. Chap. 58 - "Lazarus, Come Forth"
  44. ^ Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 116
  45. ^ Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 117
  46. ^ "The Trinity in Seventh-day Adventist History" by Merlin D. Burt. Ministry February 2009
  47. ^ http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html
  48. ^ From SDA Seminary professor Dr. Jerry Moon's presentation at the Adventist Theological Society’s 2006 "Trinity Symposium." http://atsjats.org/site/1/podcast/06_Trinity_Moon_Quest_Biblical_Trinity.mp3
  49. ^ Moon, Dr. Jerry (Spring 2006). "The Quest for a Biblical Trinity: Ellen White's "Heavenly Trio" Compared to the Traditional Doctrine" (PDF). Journal of the Adventist Theological Society (Adventist Theological Society) 17 (1): 140–159. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  50. ^ SDA scholar and author A. LeRoy Moore, at the panel Q&A Session at the ATS 2006 "Trinity Symposium." http://atsjats.org/site/1/podcast/06_Trinity_Participants_Panel_Discussion.mp3
  51. ^ From a Q&A session at the ATS 2006 "Trinity Symposium." http://atsjats.org/site/1/podcast/06_Trinity_Burt_Historical_Adventist_Views.mp3
  52. ^ Whidden, Woodrow; Moon, Jerry; Reeve, John W. (2002). The Trinity: Understanding God's Love, His Plan of Salvation, and Christian Relationships. Review and Herald Publishing Association. p. 201. ISBN 0-8280-1684-4. 
  53. ^ Fortin, Dr. Denis (Spring 2006). "God, the Trinity, and Adventism: An Introduction to the Issues" (PDF). Journal of the Adventist Theological Society (Adventist Theological Society) 17 (1): 4–10. Retrieved 2011-01-12. 
  54. ^ http://fae.adventist.org/essays/34B_Matthews_L.pdf
  55. ^ For further information on Trinity and Seventh-day Adventism see http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/trinity/index.htm and History of Seventh-day Adventist Views on the Trinity by Merlin D. Burt
  56. ^ Thomas McElwain, Adventism and Ellen White: A Phenomenon of Religious Materialism, Studies on Inter-religious Relations 48, Swedish Science Press, 2010
  57. ^ Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C., 1957. Chapter 8 "Christ, and Michael the Archangel".
  58. ^ J. H. Waggoner, The Spirit of God: Its Offices and Manifestations, p9
  59. ^ Uriah Smith, The Biblical Institute (1878), p184
  60. ^ Uriah Smith, Looking Unto Jesus, p10
  61. ^ For instance Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p671 etc.
  62. ^ Ellen White, Evangelism, p617
  63. ^ This section all cited from the Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia first edition, p525–526
  64. ^ George R. Knight, ed. (2003). Questions on Doctrine: Annotated Edition. Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press. pp. v, 516–522. ISBN 1-883925-41-X. 
  65. ^ Questions on Doctrine, page 60,(The Desire of Ages, p.25), He "took upon Himself human nature" (The SDA Bible Commentary, vol.5, p.1128), He "took the nature of man" (The Desire of Ages, p.117), He took "our sinful nature" (Medical Ministry, p.181), He took "our fallen nature" (Special Instruction Relating to The Review and Herald Office, p. 13, May 26, 1896), He took "man's nature in its fallen condition" (Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898).
  66. ^ Questions on Doctrine, annotated edition, 2005.
  67. ^ a b The SDA Bible Commentary, vol.5, p.1131.
  68. ^ Woodrow W. Whidden II (1997), The Humanity of Christ, Review and Herald Publishing Association 
  69. ^ Questions on Doctrine 50th Anniversary Conference, Andrews University, October 24–27, 2007
  70. ^ Another source is Robert J. Ross, "Perfection". Adventist World (December 2009)
  71. ^ a b Christ's Human Nature
  72. ^ Woodrow W. Whidden II (1997). Ellen White on the Humanity of Christ. Review and Herald Publishing Association. pp. 12–13 (footnotes). 
  73. ^ E. G. White, Signs of the Times, August 29, 1892
  74. ^ a b c d Gerhard Pfandl. Some thoughts on Original Sin. Biblical Research Institute. 
  75. ^ Woodrow W. Whidden, Adventist Theology: The Wesleyan Connection 
  76. ^ Questions on Doctrines Documents via Andrews University
  77. ^ Heppenstall. The Man Who is God. Copyright 1977 by the Review and Herald Publishing Association 
  78. ^ http://www.bibelschule.info/streaming/Woodrow-W.-Whidden---Adventist-Theology---The-Wesleyan-Connection_23617.pdf
  79. ^ Woodrow W. Whidden, Adventist Theology: The Wesleyan Connection, Copyright, Biblical Research Institute, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
  80. ^ Seventh-day Adventists Believe (A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines). Copyright 1988 by the Ministerial Association General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Chapter 7 "The Nature of Man".
  81. ^ Number 10, "Experience of Salvation" http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/index.html
  82. ^ http://www.adventistreview.org/2002-1541/council8.html. "Three Strategic Issues: A World Survey". General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 2002, p17. See question 11. Also question 87, "The clear presentation of the assurance of salvation in Christ" as one of the "reasons people might want to join your local church", for which an 81% figure was given
  83. ^ M. L. Andreasen (1947). The Sanctuary Service. Review and Herald Publishing Association. 
  84. ^ See Last Generation Theology in 14 Points, from www.lastgenerationtheology.org
  85. ^ Edward Heppenstall, How Perfect Is "Perfect" Or Is Christian Perfection Possible? and Some Theological Considerations of Perfection. Copyright, Biblical Research Institute, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
  86. ^ Voting was generally along geographic lines – the majority of Adventists in Western nations support treating women ministers the same as men in all respects, but the majority of Adventists in developing nations do not. Laura L. Vance discusses gender issues in Seventh-day Adventism in Crisis: Gender and Sectarian Change in an Emerging Religion. University of Illinois Press, 1999. One review is by Douglas Morgan in The Christian Century, 22 September 1999; reprint. The independent journal Adventists Affirm is opposed to women's ordination. Books include Women in Ministry: Biblical and Historical Perspectives edited by Nancy Vyhmeister. Andrews University Press (publisher's page). "Women Pastors Begin Baptizing" by Judith P. Nembhard. Spectrum 15:2 (August 1984); Reprinted on the Spectrum blog 18 July 2009 with an introduction by Bonnie Dwyer. See the "Women in Ministry" section of SDANet.org AtIssue. Articles with subject "ordination of women" and "women clergy" cataloged in the Seventh-day Adventist Periodical Index. Possibly see also Seeking a Sanctuary, chapter "Gender"
  87. ^ In 1999, the Southeastern California Conference adopted recommendations including "7. That equal credentials be granted to all pastors, both male and female." Quoted by [Editors], "Southeastern California Conference Supports Women in Ministry with Ordination Initiative". Adventist Today 7:6 (November–December 1999). On the other hand, for instance, one author commented the "primary focus" of the magazine Adventists Affirm is "opposition to the ordination of women." Thompson, Alden. "The Future of Adventism: Where's The Church Headed?" (RTF). AldenThompson.com. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  88. ^ Mark Kellner, "[Ordained or Commissioned Ministers Can Lead Conferences, Division Says]". Adventist Review (October 28, 2010)
  89. ^ Dwyer, Bonnie (March 9, 2012). "The Mid-America Union Votes to Support the Ordination of Women". Spectrum Blog. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  90. ^ Chudleigh, Gerry (March 15, 2012). "The Pacific Union Reaffirms the Ordination of Women, Makes Plans for Action". Spectrum Blog. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  91. ^ Wright, Jared (22 March 2012). "Southeastern California Conference Executive Committee Votes to Ordain Women". Spectrum Blog. Retrieved 24 March 2012. 
  92. ^ Carpenter, Alexander (March 20, 2012). "Columbia Union Reaffirms Request to Ordain Women". Spectrum Blog. Retrieved March 24, 2012. 
  93. ^ Dwyer, Bonnie (March 27, 2012). "Potomac Conference Moves Ahead with Intention to Ordain Women". Spectrum Blog. Retrieved April 1, 2012. 
  94. ^ http://www.atoday.org/article/1149/news/2012/april-headlines/north-german-union-conference-constituency-session-votes-to-ordain-women
  95. ^ http://www.ted-adventist.org/news/adventist-church-in-the-netherlands-on-womens-ordination
  96. ^ An Appeal For Unity in Respect to Ministerial Ordination Practices. PDF download
  97. ^ a b "GC Session Actions". Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  98. ^ (The GC and its Division) downloadable from this site: http://session.adventistfaith.org
  99. ^ "North German Union Conference Constituency Session Votes to Ordain Women: Inter-European Division - Seventh-Day Adventist Church". Eud.adventist.org. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  100. ^ (Report: Women's Ordination Approved in CUC, Spectrum Magazine) http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2012/07/29/report-womens-ordination-approved-cuc
  101. ^ (Source: Pacific Union Recorder, September, 2012)http://pacificunionrecorder.adventistfaith.org/issue/68/16/1248
  102. ^ (see for example, Union Executive Committee Approves 14 Women and Two Men for Ordination, Pacific Union Recorder, October, 2012, p.40)http://pacificunionrecorder.adventistfaith.org/issue/69
  103. ^ "Netherlands Union Conference Votes to Ordain Female Pastors | Kerkgenootschap der Zevende-dags Adventisten". Adventist.nl. 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  104. ^ Netherlands Ordains First Woman Pastor in Europe http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2013/09/22/netherlands-ordains-first-woman-pastor-europe
  105. ^ About the Theology of Ordination Study Committee. http://www.adventistarchives.org/about-tosc#.UifKprx6_XY
  106. ^ a b http://blog.pe.com/multicultural-empire/2013/10/27/religion-coronas-sandra-roberts-makes-adventist-history/
  107. ^ (Source: Ministry Magazine, Dec 1988, Feb 1989, article: Ellen G. White and Women in ministry by William Fagal)
  108. ^ Numbers 2006, p. 90
  109. ^ See Earth Antedated by Other Created Worlds, Ellen G. White Statements
  110. ^ Seventh-day Adventists Believe (A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines), copyright 1988 by the Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Chapter 6 "Creation".
  111. ^ a b C. L. Webster. GENESIS AND TIME: What Radiometric Dating Tells Us. Geoscience Research Institute. 
  112. ^ Mart de Groot. Genesis and the cosmos: A unified picture?. Dialogue. 
  113. ^ Ferdinand O. Regalado. "The Creation Account in Genesis 1: Our World Only or the Universe?". Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 13/2:108-120. 
  114. ^ Mart de Groot. The Bible and Astronomy. Education Department, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. 
  115. ^ Ronald L. Numbers, The Creationists. Excerpt available online[dead link]
  116. ^ Koperski, Jeffrey. "Creationism". "This means that universe was created between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago." 
  117. ^ see Creation Reconsidered ed. James L. Hayward. A 1994 Adventist Today article documents a survey of North American Division science educators. 60% responded, of which 83½% held doctoral degrees. Just 43% of the respondents affirmed the traditional statement "God created live organisms during 6 days less than 10,000 years ago."Science Faculty Vary in Views on Creationism Adventist Today
  118. ^ See Lynden Rogers, "A Growing View of Creation". Record 114:41 (October 24, 2009), p12–13 for a history of Adventist views on creation. This was a special Record issue entitled "In the beginning..."
  119. ^ http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2011/07/14/what-biologos-summer-reading-group-i
  120. ^ a b Oliver, Ansel (October 26, 2009). "Adventist churches worldwide hold creation emphasis day". Adventist News Network. Retrieved December 24, 2011. 
  121. ^ Session delegates strengthen Adventist Church's creation focus
  122. ^ Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C., 1957. Chapters 34 The Meaning of Azazel and 35 The Transaction With the Scapegoat.
  123. ^ Paulien, Jon (1998). "Revisiting the Sabbath in the Book of Revelation" (PDF). Journal of the Adventist Theological Society (Adventist Theological Society) 9 (1–2): 179–186. ISSN 1550-7378. Retrieved 2006-11-02. 

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