At the age of 12 Angelo became a baptized Seventh-Day Adventist Christian and openly shares his faith with others searching for the truth.
If You Are a Protestant Christian You Are Likely An Adventist
I know this might come as a surprise to many however, Adventism is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the doctrine that the second coming of Christ and the end of the world are near at hand. The loud cry, "Maranatha, Jesus is Coming!" is likely a banner in your church as well as mine. Now that’s one thing most Christians have in common but would you like to know more about what other beliefs Seventh-day Adventists may have in common with other Christian denominations and what distinctions make them different? Follow me through a thorough but concise overview of my faith.
Who Are The Seventh-day Adventists?
According to the official church website, the Seventh-day Adventist movement is a global protestant Christian denomination with 21 million members. Adventists recognize the Bible as the sacred, Holy scriptures and the exclusive source of doctrine, and the final authority in church discourse. Jesus is the messiah and a member of the God head: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Adventists believe Christians should find their identity in Christ alone. Afterall, the word Christian does mean 'follower of Christ'. Therefore, His biblical examples as a servant leader forms the basis for Adventist teachings. Examples such as baptism by immersion, eucharist including the washing of feet, eating only clean meats and keeping the seventh-day Sabbath.
Much like the Jews, Seventh-day Adventists recognize Saturday as the distinct day of rest determined by God as a memorial of creation and Him as creator of Heaven and Earth and everything in it. Genesis 2:2-3 "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made."
Sabbath begins sunset Friday evening and continues to sunset on Saturday. Families of believers will typically have prepared for the sabbath prior to sunset on Friday, meals will be ready, probably a casserole you would not mind having two days in a row, tables set and individuals ready to welcome the sabbath. A period for thanksgiving, prayer, recitation of scripture and ultimately time for family in the beauty of holiness as they take respite from the stresses of life happenings over that past week.
Traditional sabbath service consist of two parts. The first part is usually sabbath school which typically consists of age-appropriate bible classes. Seventh-day Adventist churches use the same bible curriculum for peer-to-peer group study. The second part of the service is the worship portion. At this time the whole congregation comes together. Members voluntarily participate in praise and worship such as singing hymns, sharing prayer requests, and giving testimonies. The Sermon by the pastor or a designated speaker typically deals with a topic of Scripture relevant to needs of the members. The people are warm and cordial, and participation in any portion of the service is always voluntary, there is never any coercion, the doors are always open and there are no gruff deacons standing in the doorways.
After church, members and visitors often share a potluck inside a fellowship hall or in the homes of members. It's very likely that during one of these meals you'll enjoy a delicious serving of haystacks. Churches sometimes recongregate for open floor life and faith-based discussions, community service, visiting the sick and making welfare checks. The sabbath is closed out at sunset with vespers.
Becoming A Member Of The Seventh-day Adventist Church
A person is welcomed into to church upon the profession of their faith in Christ and baptism. Seventh-day Adventists typically acknowledge thirteen vows prior to taking the dip. Therefore, baptism normally occurs at an appropriate and cognizant age. An alternate vow is also available which is much shorter, however the application of which is rare. A person may also be welcomed into the fellowship of the church by affirmation of the faith if correct baptism in another denomination already occurred. Baptism by immersion is supported by Jesus' example. Baptism is symbolic of the burial of pride ('one's own sinful way') and the resurrection of a new being dedicated to living within the will of God.
Diversity of Seventh-day Adventists
According to the official church website, Seventh-day Adventist work is established in 212 countries and areas. As many as 516 languages are used in Seventh-day Adventist publications and oral works. The vase coverage of the church contributes to its beautiful diversity. The tolerance for diversity shows in the fact that the faith of any Seventh-day Adventist individual is always dependent on their personal convictions. The allowance for each member’s personal determination of what is significant in their relationship with Christ often means that there is a fluid view on how a Seventh-day Adventist practices his or her faith compared to another. For example, while all Seventh-day Adventists in principle agree that Sabbath is on Saturday many households may have varying perspectives on how to keep those hours holy.
Seventh-day Adventist Behaviors
The denomination is made up of individuals and each person has different ideas, perspectives, and preferences. However, even with such degree of diversity Seventh-day Adventists believe that as Christians, their lifestyle should properly represent Jesus Christ. Therefore, they are conservative in their actions, modest in dress, careful in considering their entertainment and every other aspect of their daily living.
Most Seventh-day Adventists will avoid making markings on their skin, piercings or wearing jewelry, makeup, and other forms of adornment for the sole sake of bringing attention to themselves.
Seventh-day Adventists do not practice glossolalia or the speaking in tongues nor do they see that behavior as a characteristic of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Seventh-day Adventists believe gambling is a corrupting behavior therefore, you will not find the church organizing bingo or a junket to Las Vegas; the lottery, even raffles are frowned upon.
Holidays are examined carefully and strained of corrupting pagan influences. With the mantra, 'In the world but not of the world', Seventh-day Adventists seek to separate themselves from pagan rituals being fused with Christian traditions. Halloween is an easy no, Seventh-day Adventist will not participate in those festivities however, some families, schools and churches will make creative substitutes for this costume wearing period many avoid it altogether. Each family will celebrate other holidays differently but the common ideal is to make it Christ centered.
Teachings Or Doctrines Of Seventh-day Adventists
- The second coming - Seventh-day Adventists believe Jesus will return after probation has closed to receive His saints. And His second coming will be visible to the entire world. John 14:3 says "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
- The original 10 commandments - All of them and unchanged. Jesus being our example showed us how to love the Father and how to love our neighbors thereby fulfilling the law. He was a teacher of the law (Matthew 22:35–40; Mark 1:44) and a doer of the law (John 8:46; 1 Peter 2:22).
- Saved by grace - we have all sinned and come short of His glory and since the wages of sin is death then we all deserve to die. However, through His grace we might have a reward other than the one we deserve. Christians know that His grace is bountiful and therefore can continually renew their hope of walking in God's instructions.
- The God Head/Trinity - There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit a unity of three co-eternal Persons.
- The state of the dead: Ecclesiastes 9:5 "For the living know that they will die but the dead know nothing..." See also John 11:11-14, Psalm 146:3, 4 and Thessalonians 4:15, 16 all come to the same conclusion.
- Heaven and the new Earth - Revelation 21: 1-5 says that God will create all things new after the wicked have been destroyed.
- Hell fire - Seventh-day Adventists believe that God will destroy the wicked with a great consuming fire. This contrasts with the belief that sinners will be tormented in an eternal roast.
Keeping Protestantism Alive
Papal Rome represents the an unholy merger of church and state. The same power that persecuted Christians during the dark ages is recognized by Adventist interpretation of Bible prophecy as the blasphemous beast power that would think to change times and laws. This religious and political organization is focused on power and world dominance and is responsible for a great deal of confusion. Seventh-day Adventists protest ideologies of the papacy such as the pope is the infallible vicar of Christ on Earth, prayers to saints, forgiveness of sins by priests, and the incorporation of pagan traditions into the church. Perhaps the most stanch protest is with regards to the change of the sabbath from Saturday to Sunday which the enclyclopedia Britannica explains was first legislated by Constantine I in the year 321.
The Visions Of Ellen G. White A Prophetess Of The Church
One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. Seventh-day Adventists believe this gift is also an identifying mark of the remnant church. This gift is shown in her ministry and writings which have become a source of counsel, comfort, guidance, and reproof for the church. Her writings make is unassailable that the bible is the standard by which all teachings, doctrine and experiences must be tested. One of her visions shared in 1901 described with frightening likeness the September 11, 2001, downing of skyscrapers in New York City. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 12, 13 (1909).
Her visions have given light to Seventh-day Adventists' understanding of the following:
- The Great Controversy - Lucifer and his fallen angels versus Michael and His holy angels have an antagonistic war that we are in the center of, and we must choose to understand and identify sinfulness and avoid it. Submission and loyalty to God is demonstrated by keeping His commandments and having His Testimonies.
- The Health Message - is one of my favorite E.G White writings to speak of as she outlines a wholistic approach centered around the fact that the body is the temple of Christ. And can be broken down into 8 health laws: nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest, and trust in God.
- The Three Angels Message - Revelations 14:6-12 describes three distinct messages given to the world in the last days. The 1st Angel's message given is the everlasting gospel, judgement in heaven and a call to worship the Creator. The 2nd Angel's message tells of the falling away from God's truths by individuals and churches that compromise Scripture and cause confusion. The 3rd Angel's message warns of a beast power that has political, religious and police powers to set up laws and impose on people to obey them contrary to the Creator and His requests. Those who contrast with the Creator and His requests receive the mark of the beast.
- Daniel prophecy of the kingdoms and the mark of the beast - the statue shown to Nebuchadnezzar in his dream gives an exacting timeline of the succession of the world's great powers and shows that we are living in mankind's final civilization. The successive empires are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and divided Europe. The aforementioned are succeeded by America.
- Sanctuary doctrine - Seventh-day Adventists believe that Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven to perform a priestly ministry on our behalf in the heavenly sanctuary. Yes, there is a sanctuary in a heaven where Christ provide believers with His atoning sacrifice and intercede with the Father on our behalf.
- Investigative Judgement - The 2nd and last phase of Christ atoning ministry determine the ultimate disposition of all sinners. This judgement vindicates the justice of God in saving the believers. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of mankind's probation before the second coming of Christ.
Collection Of Remarkable Works By Ellen. G White
Living The Healthy Lifestyle
Seventh-day Adventists are among the longest living healthy Americans because they believe the body is literally the temple of God. Seventh-day Adventists choose to avoid any mind-altering chemicals therefore no alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine. Leviticus 10:9 says, "You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the tent of meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come."
Seventh-day Adventists choose to only eat of the clean meats presented in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. However, Seventh-day Adventists prefer vegetarian or vegan diet because they believe that best diet is the original diet given by God in the garden of Eden fruits, nuts, grains, vegetables. This starts making a lot of sense as it becomes especially difficult to distinguish clean meats because of the pollution of the stock with hybrid animals such as the eel and the salmon, cloning, GMO feeds, and lab-grown meats.
The health choices of Seventh-day Adventists are obviously paying dividends as they live longer, healthier lives. Seventh-day Adventists are less likely to die from lung cancer, obesity, heart disease and other leading killers in America.
According to the National Geographic, "The Loma Linda community has the highest concentration of Seventh-day Adventists in the United States, and some residents live 10 more healthy years than the average American by following a biblical diet of grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables."
Seventh-day Adventist In Relationships
The church teaches Monogamy. Marriage is a permanent relationship between one male and one female designed by God in the garden of Eden. Seventh-day Adventists believe strong family bonds is one of the hallmarks of the final gospel message and attacks on the institution of marriage is one increasing sign of the imminent return of Christ.
Typically, a pastor will host pre-marital counseling of couples intending to be wed in an endeavor to make assurance that the couple is equally yolk and fully ready to make a lifetime commitment. The church favors marriages between two individuals of the same faith. The church treats holy matrimony as a sacred life-long covenant and resists divorce as an option with very few exceptions. The church teaches abstinence from all forms of sexual immorality. Sex as God intended creates a physical, emotional, and spiritual oneness, the pleasure of which is reserved for spouses. Sex with anyone other than your spouse is a sin. It is called fornication if it happens outside of marriage and adultery if it happens with anyone other than your spouse. Fornication or adultery is seen as one of the biblical grounds for divorce however, the church encourages repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Famous People Connected To The Seventh-day Adventist Church
Many Seventh-day Adventists have risen in their fields to make outstanding contributions because of their personal commitment to follow Christ and Biblical principles. To name a few:
Desmond Doss - Conscientious objector who became wartime hero, the film Hacksaw Ridge retells the story of his enduring faith.
Dr. Ben Carson - has an inspiring life story going from growing up poor in a tough inner city neighbor and struggling academically to overcoming these challenges, and becoming head of children neurosurgery at John Hopkins University Hospital. The movie Gifted Hands the Ben Carson Story retells his phenomenal story.
Interacting With Seventh-day Adventists Going Forward: My Hope
Hopefully, in your quest to learn more about who are Seventh-day Adventists and what they believe you've arrived at the conclusion that they are Bible believing Christians who seek to make lifestyle choices with one simple question in mind and that is; "What would Jesus do?" I believe our faith represents the very best ideals of the Christian walk. However, we are all flawed humans and sometimes struggle to reflect our best beliefs but when we fall, we accept the grace of Christ and start again. Nevertheless, I hope your intrigue with who Seventh-day Adventists are leads to a deeper study of the Scripture, acceptance of Christ, and a life prepared to meet Him. Regardless of how you feel about Seventh-day Adventists I hope you choose to read the Bible more. Because God requires it, 2 Timothy 2:15 says, "do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." Thanks for taking the time out to learn more about my faith. I hope you were encouraged by what you've discovered.
Encyclopedia Britannica. 2021. Sunday | day of week. [online] Available at: <https://www.britannica.com/topic/Sunday-day-of-week> [Accessed 17 October 2021].
M.egwwritings.org. 2021. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9. [online] Available at: <https://m.egwwritings.org/en/book/115.51> [Accessed 17 October 2021].
National Geographic. 2021. 5 "Blue Zones" Where the World's Healthiest People Live. [online] Available at: <https://www.nationalgeographic.com/books/article/5-blue-zones-where-the-worlds-healthiest-people-live> [Accessed 17 October 2021].
Seventh-day Adventist World Church Statistics 2020 - Adventist.org. [online] Adventist.org. Available at: <https://www.adventist.org/statistics/seventh-day-adventist-world-church-statistics-2020/> [Accessed 17 October 2021].
© 2021 Angelo
Angelo (author) from College Park, MD on September 30, 2021:
I appreciate you taking the time out to read my article. Blessings!
Mark Tulin from Palm Springs, California on September 30, 2021:
Thanks for the info. It's always good to understand the beliefs of others.