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Is the Seventh Day Adventist Church orthodox

Discussion in 'Denomination Specific Theology' started by RBPerry, Mar 14, 2021.

  1. RBPerry

    RBPerry Christian Baby Boomer Supporter

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    My questions are based on my SDA education during the 1960s and early 70.

    The SDA church was based a lot on Ellen G Whites dreams or visions

    The SDA insist that Saturday is the only day that can be observed as a sabbath day.

    The SDA teach that references to wine in the bible is actually grape juice.

    The SDA teach that drinking alcohol, coffee, tea is unhealthy therefore a sin.

    The SDA teach that eating meat is unhealthy and therefore is a sin. Especially pork products.

    The SDA teach that eating eggs, butter, and milk is unhealthy (based on Mrs. Whites dreams)

    The SDA teach that women should not wear makeup or jewelry.

    Most SDA will not become involved with other Christian denominations.

    Most SDA will disassociate themselves from anyone that leaves the denomination and joins another denomination or church outside of the SDA.

    The SDA has been extremely critical of the Catholic church.

    The SDA denomination was founded in 1863 but the movement started in the early 1830s. Ellen G White’s dreams and teaching were the main motivating factor for the foundation of the SDA.

    Today we also have the reformed SDA denomination and I haven’t studied the differences, but it is just another split of denominations.

    I would greatly appreciate anyone involved in the SDA denomination especially Elders or theologians to comment as well at other theologians and pastors.

    My background, seven years of SDA schools and four years at Loma Linda (SDA college). Left the SDA denomination in 1974 so I’m not current on present day SDA teachings.
     
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  2. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    I hadn’t heard that, but if its true, it would be unsettling.

    It is against the rules of Christian Forums for me to deny the Christianity of any Nicene denomination, but, for what is worth, some Adventist doctrines could only be discussed in Controversial Christian theology, specifically, Annhilationism, which is a belief the Christian Forums Statement of Faith does describe as “Unorthodox.”

    So, just going by the CF.com Statement of Faith, I think, according to it, the Adventists, because of their Annhilationist eschatology, would be considered Christians who ascribe to an Unorthodox belief.

    Personally, I also have issues with the vegetarianism, Ellen G. White, the hatred of the Roman Catholic church, the Adventist practice of sending children at Middle School Age off to “Academy”, the opposition to worship on Sunday (its fine to argue we should worship on the Sabbath; such an argument is correct, since God did rest in a tomb on the seventh day after remaking man in His own image on the sixth, but we should also honor and worship the Day of the Resurrection, and fast on Wednesday and Friday in honor of the arrest and crucifixion of our Savior, Jesus Christ).

    Also, I should note that most Adventists I have met are extremely nice people, and several Adventist churches help smaller churches by leasing their facilities to them on Sunday, for example, there is a low church Continuing Anglican church I want to visit, which rents its worship space from an Adventist church. Also, one of my best friends is Adventist, who has helped me out personally in an extreme way.

    A minority of the Adventist members on CF.com I have had debates with, but it is an extremely small minority. Other Adventist members I enjoy talking to.
     
  3. splish- splash

    splish- splash Now, here's the deal (by His word). Supporter

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    In all honesty, i would take my kids to adventist schools if i could, as i find that the schools are brilliant at socialising children. And i believe, most of them, have pretty high pass rates as well.

    However! There is a belief amongst the adventist community, that Mrs white was the last and only true prophet of that time and it shall remain so until Christ returns. I have also heard of the new light ( i think ) adventist Churches and i understand there are now new prophets rising in these churches.
     
  4. RBPerry

    RBPerry Christian Baby Boomer Supporter

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    As for the SDA people, they are wonderful people and many that I love dearly.
    The disassociation is for those leaving the SDA denomination, not those outside of it.
     
  5. RBPerry

    RBPerry Christian Baby Boomer Supporter

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    You are correct that they demand high standards from their students, in the 60s students either did well or suffered the consequences.

    As for the "Academy" they are strict and normally nearly all of their students move on to various four year colleges.
     
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  6. RBPerry

    RBPerry Christian Baby Boomer Supporter

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    Here is part of the statement of faith that I have issue with
    "As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe that “in His Word God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience” (The Great Controversy, p. 7). We consider the biblical canon closed. However, we also believe, as did Ellen G. White’s contemporaries, that her writings carry divine authority, both for godly living and for doctrine. Therefore, we recommend:
    1. 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, and Statements, Guidelines & Other Documents – 111 2. That we make increased efforts to publish and circulate these writings throughout the world."

    Am I missing something here, they state that the biblical canon is closed, but Mrs. Whites writings are prophetic. She never identified herself as a prophet, but never had issue with people who referred to her as a prophetess.
     
  7. Freth

    Freth Seventh-day Adventist

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    Orthodox: (of a person or their views, especially religious or political ones, or other beliefs or practices) conforming to what is generally or traditionally accepted as right or true; established and approved.

    Established and approved.
    Therefore, one could come to the conclusion that any church could call themselves orthodox, if they believed they were right and had the truth.

    A church that doesn't profess these qualities would be, well, unorthodox.
     
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  8. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    What Orthodox literally means, in the original Greek, is “correct glorification” or “right worship.” So if one had correct faith but worshipped wrongly, they would be unorthodox.

    And while any church can call itself orthodox, there are objective doctrinal tests. The early church, before the breakdown in the Roman Church due to interference from Charlemagne and his successors, and a Papal backlash to establish a sovereign and supreme papacy to prevent the Holy Roman Empire from being able to interfere again, which ultimately in every case was the result of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire and spectacularly failed attempts to re-establish it, defined Orthodoxy in the Seven Ecumenical Councils held between 325 and 745 Anno Domini. And then in the ninth century, the Roman church started having problems, by the tenth century, a Pope exhumed the body of his predecessor to put him on trial for misconduct in a grotesque spectacle called The Cadaver Synod, which was also a violation of the canon law of the ancient church, and in 1054, Pope Leo IX dared to excommunicate the Patriarch of Constantinople, and that created a period of time which lasted, I would say, until Pius V, the Council of Trent, and the Counter Reformation, during which time the Church of Rome violated its own standards of Orthodoxy, which had been developed primarily by the Eastern Orthodox, with the Roman Church not actively participating, but never objecting to, the ecumenical councils, except for the Quinisext Council, which became not an ecumenical council but a local council of Eastern Orthodox churches and which did not address any issues of doctrine, but only of canon law; however in all other cases the Roman Church, being extremely conservative in the Patristic era, accepted uncritically the decisions of the Ecumenical Councils and then actively sought to uphold those decisions.

    So any church which deviates from the faith of the Ecumenical Councils, especially the first three councils and the sixth and seventh council, as the fourth council was mishandled and in the opinion of Archbishop Leo I, who did cause some confusion and some of the problems caused by the council, superfluous, and the fifth council was a failed attempt to fix the problems caused by the fourth council, namely, the schism with the Oriental Orthodox caused in part by Archbishop Leo, but it also anathematized Universalism, can be said to be heterodox.

    Now, according to the CF.com statement of faith, Annhilationism is unorthodox and may only be discussed in Controversial Christian Theology. My understanding of the SDA faith is that it believes in Annhilationism. So I think the rules of the site would let me say that the SDA faith does adhere to an unorthodox doctrine, but would not permit me to say, nor would I dream of saying, that the SDA is not Christian, as that would be entirely wrong and would set a standard for the Christian faith that is unsupported by the ecumenical councils.

    Additionally, I personally regard all of the items listed in the OP as severe theological errors, and I regard the confusion of Jesus Christ with the Archangel Michael and the absolute opposition to worship on Sunday, the day of creation and resurrection, even by Christians like me who keep the Sabbath on the Seventh Day, and the emphasis on adherence to parts of the Law as a prerequisite to Salvation, to be severe theological errors. Also, those Adventists who do believe the writings of Ellen White to be infallible and without error, and prophecy on a par with what is in the Bible, cannot claim to be sola scriptura and have no basis to criticize the Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, or the Magisterial Protestants (Lutherans, Anglicans, Calvinists, Methodists and Moravians) for their adherence to tradition, since the writings of Ellen G White become a Magisterium for this minority of Adventists, and take on a para-scriptural tradition and actually exceed the tradition of the Magisterial Protestants and the Orthodox, and most of the Roman Catholic Magisterium in terms of importance, because the individual Patristic figures and other holy teachers of the faith in Orthodox tradition, and the consensus patrum and the various confessions of faith in Protestantism, as well as the writings of the Reformers themselves, are not regarded as infallible. No Calvinist, for example, will tell you the Institutes are inspired prophecy, devoid of error. I myself am from a predominantly Calvinist tradition and can tell you without shame I regard the Institutes as being seriously flawed and reject most of Calvin’s doctrines.
     
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  9. RBPerry

    RBPerry Christian Baby Boomer Supporter

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    I'm pleased that you wouldn't consider referring to SDA as non Christian because based on their statement of faith and my experience with them they are Christians.
    As for the Catholic church it's history that is really a different topic, I think Luther was a real blessing and the reformation was needed. How the Catholic church perceives protestants is of little concern to most of us protestants. Catholic church history speaks for itself.
     
  10. Yeshua HaDerekh

    Yeshua HaDerekh Men dream of truth, find it then cant live with it

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    I knew I liked you for some reason :) jk
     
  11. The Liturgist

    The Liturgist Traditional Liturgical Christian

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    This takes us into the realm of Ecclesiology and I have written a long reply, which I am making a separate thread.
     
  12. Freth

    Freth Seventh-day Adventist

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    The Bible tells us what "correct glorification" and "right worship" are. Matthew 5:16 and Exodus 20:1-11, et al. There is no reason to insert our own opinion into the mix. Scripture warns against tradition. Colossians 2:8 and 1 Peter 1:18-21, et al.

    I had originally intended on going down the line and defending every point the original post made, but I realized that isn't the topic of the thread, nor was it the OP's intention. Instead, he was asking whether or not SDA is orthodox (I believe it is, as per the dictionary definition). And so, I'll refrain from a lengthy post of scriptural defense of the points made.

    ETA: Is SDA Orthodox (with a capital "O")? No, I don't believe it is, not in the traditional sense. Note that the word orthodox (uncapitalized) was used in the OP. Scripture is our truth.

    I think non-SDA put more importance on Ellen White than SDA do, because they think it's a weakness they can poke at; something I find humorous because it's grasping at straws. We don't need to defend Ellen, she defends herself just fine.

    I recommend to you, dear reader, the Word of God as the rule of your faith and practice. By that Word we are to be judged. God has, in that Word, promised to give visions in the "last days"; not for a new rule of faith, but for the comfort of His people, and to correct those who err from Bible truth. Thus God dealt with Peter when He was about to send him to preach to the Gentiles. (A Sketch of the Christian Experience and Views of Ellen G. White, p. 64 [1851]. Reprinted in Early Writings, p. 78.)

    ---

    The Lord desires you to study your Bibles. He has not given any additional light to take the place of His Word. This light is to bring confused minds to His Word, which, if eaten and digested, is as the lifeblood of the soul. Then good works will be seen as light shining in darkness. (Letter 130, 1901.)

    ---

    In His Word, God has committed to men the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are to be accepted as an authoritative, infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the revealer of doctrines, and the test of experience. "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16, 17, R.V.).

    Yet the fact that God has revealed His will to men through His Word, has not rendered needless the continued presence and guiding of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, the Spirit was promised by our Saviour, to open the Word to His servants, to illuminate and apply its teachings. And since it was the Spirit of God that inspired the Bible, it is impossible that the teaching of the Spirit should ever be contrary to that of the Word.

    The Spirit was not given--nor can it ever be bestowed-- to supersede the Bible; for the Scriptures explicitly state that the Word of God is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. Says the apostle John, "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). And Isaiah declares, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20).

    Here is a detailed exposition of the SDA church's stance on Ellen White vs scripture.

    No one can read these things and come away with the idea that Ellen White put herself above scripture, or that SDA puts Ellen White above scripture.

    Getting back to error...

    I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent individual. I have been a life-long member of the SDA church. In that time, there has been no coercion whatsoever. Not on Ellen White's writings, not on vegetarianism, not on scriptural truth. If I didn't believe every point was scripturally sound, I wouldn't be SDA—simple as that.

    I can use scripture to defend every point (Ellen White aside, she defends herself). There are several SDA church members here who can do the same.

    If you build your house on the rock, it can weather the storm. Matthew 7:24-27.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2021
  13. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    SDA is often considered to be a cult, because of accepting Ellen G. White's teachings as prophesy, but also because of the doctrine called "soul sleep." Neither of those would, however, cause us to classify the church as non-Christian.
     
  14. Freth

    Freth Seventh-day Adventist

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    Could you please clarify what your questions are? The only one I see is in the title of your post. The items you gave in the body of your post are not formatted as questions.
     
  15. SabbathBlessings

    SabbathBlessings Well-Known Member

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    The devil loves when the SDA church who promotes all 10 of God's commandments are referred to as a cult.

    Maybe this video will give you the answers you're looking for- is SDA a cult?

     
  16. RBPerry

    RBPerry Christian Baby Boomer Supporter

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    Some time back I spent a great deal of time studding church history, not only Catholic but the Gnostics as well. To me history is interesting, but reality is what are we doing today, we can't change the past, but we can the present and future.
     
  17. RBPerry

    RBPerry Christian Baby Boomer Supporter

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    I would never view the SDA as a cult and consider their members as brothers and sisters in Christ.
    One question I do have is do their academies (Monterey Bay Academy) still require reading Mrs. Whites writing?
     
  18. RBPerry

    RBPerry Christian Baby Boomer Supporter

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    I have listened to him before, and he does make some very good points. I do agree with him regarding the denomination and cult issue. The SDA are a denomination and are not a cult.
    He side stepped the dietary and Ellen White issue. She was the inspiration for the returning to Saturday sabbath keeping, and the dietary rules they have put in place.
    It is interesting he moved from Pentecostal to SDA, that is something I didn't know about him.
    He doesn't address the issue of why God waited 1500 years to deal with the Saturday issue. His comment about dietary cracked me up "sure we want our children to eat healthy"
    Didn't deal with the grape juice issue either because he knows that would make him look foolish.
    As for Mrs. White, she had always been required reading in the SDA schools. I do agree the Adventist have never put her above biblical authority.
    Here again he doesn't deal with the scriptures that challenge some of the Adventist teachings. He is well spoken and does know the scriptures.
     
  19. BobRyan

    BobRyan Junior Member

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    Not true doctrinally. though the church benefited from what God gave Ellen White the doctrines are all "sola scriptura" based and tested. Many other denominations "benefit" from some Christian in the past but still have to have doctrines that come from the Bible alone.

    That is the same thing for SDAs.

    Agreed - And a few 100 other groups say the same thing.

    What is more almost all scholars in ALL denominations admit that Saturday is the Sabbath as given by God in the OT.

    So not at all a unique feature of Seventh-day Adventists.

    Agreed in terms of history and the dark ages.

    So also every single leader of the Reformation.
    So not at all a unique feature of Seventh-day Adventists.

    that is not a sin - as it turns out, but I agree with your statement about organizing in the 1860's.

    ==============

    As for "orthodox"

    The SDA denomination is not creedal - rather we believe in "sola scriptura" testing of all doctrine and practice as is the case for Protestant denominations in history.

    We define "Creedal" as a denomination that is ruled by at least one of the well established creeds of history. The claim that we are not "creedal" does not mean we believe all creeds to be in error, but rather that we hold the Bible as the creed - as the rule the test of doctrine.

    So for example this link shows the "sola scriptura" application/test for the Nicene Creed (assuming they agree that God the Son has no beginning and no end) - CF Statement of Faith | Christian Forums

    Having said that

    In the context of "orthodox" vs "heterodox" we are orthodox in terms of the doctrine of the first century NT church. We believe that the first century church was SDA in doctrine.


    For EXAMPLE: the doctrine on the Trinity -

    "three persons of the Godhead"

    God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
    One God in three Persons.

    All knowing, all powerful, from everlasting to everlasting... no beginning and no end.

    So then in John 17 - Jesus is not "praying to Himself" but rather to God the Father.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2021
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