The following questions and answers were printed in the Winter 1998/99 (issue 54) edition of Reachout Quarterly, published by the Reachout Trust. In addition, Doug Harris of Reachout Trust, interviewed me, Victor Hulbert about our Faiths and Beliefs in "World in Focus" on Genesis TV in April 2009 with a follow up programme covering the Sabbath and the Security of our Salvation the following December. These two programmes gave opportunity for more open discussion of some of the issues below which we hope you will find helpful. However, if you have any further questions regarding the beliefs and teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church please do not hesitate to contact me at the following address:
Seventh-day Adventist Church Headquarters
Watford WD25 9JZ
Tel: 01923 672251
Fax: 01923 893212
1. What are the major differences between Seventh-day Adventists and other denominations?
There are differences of course and I'll mention some of them in a minute. But Christians have so much in common that we really ought to talk about those things first. Now, when we compare different Christian beliefs we have to recognise that all Christian denominations differ in some areas - that's why we have different denominations. However there is a core set of beliefs that makes us all Christians and you'll find that Seventh-day Adventists share those beliefs with all other Christians. Here are some examples of beliefs that we share with most other Christian denominations:
- The Holy Trinity - Seventh-day Adventists accept the traditional position, of three equal persons in the one Godhead. We believe in the Virgin birth and that Jesus was fully God and fully man. It's a paradox that most Christians have to face up to.
- The Holy Scriptures - Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible from Genesis to Revelation as the inspired Word of God. They do not accept verbal inspiration - it is the meaning rather than the actual words or letters, that is inspired.
- The Cross - Seventh-day Adventists accept that the cross was the full and complete sacrifice for sin.
However some of our beliefs are not shared by all Christians. For example we believe that God has given us free will - we don't accept predestination. We believe that those who have died remain asleep until the Second Coming. If the dead are unconscious then obviously we can't accept spiritualism and many New Age beliefs. We also believe strongly that Jesus will return to this earth in the near future.
But the belief which makes us really stand out, though it is not the most important part of our faith, is our belief that Saturday is the Sabbath. We believe that God gave us the seventh-day Sabbath when He first created the world. He put a special blessing on that particular day and we can still benefit from that blessing today. This is why you will find that Seventh-day Adventists all over the world attend church on a Saturday and do their best to keep it special.
2. Do all Seventh-day Adventists preach the gospel of salvation by grace?
Absolutely, yes. Along with most other Christians we believe in salvation only by grace through faith. Perhaps in the past we have not emphasised this enough as we may have spent too much time trying to defend our belief in the Sabbath for example. But if you look closely at Seventh-day Adventist doctrines you will find that they all revolve around the grace of Jesus and His gift of salvation to the world.
3. As in other denominations, would you feel that you have a number of members who are not born again?
Unfortunately yes. I think it was Augustine who first talked about the visible and the invisible church. We can't tell who is truly born again and who isn't - only the Lord knows what is in every individual's heart. Having said that, we do try to make sure that people are only baptised into our Church when they have fully accepted Jesus as their personal Saviour and fully understand what it means to be a Christian. Even after they are baptised we encourage all our members to keep studying and growing in faith.