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Exposing Adventism - Is Seventh-day Adventism Christian?

From time to time the question will be asked, "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?" I propose that the wrong question is being asked. We should be asking, "Is Seventh-day Adventism Christian?" That is a much easier question to answer.

The issue is truth in labeling. It's what's inside that counts. Seventh-day Adventism wants to distinguish itself as the one true church, "the Remnant Church", and excommunicate the rest of the Christian Church. Adventism states that all other churches are an abomination to God.

I saw that since the second angel proclaimed the fall of the churches, they have been growing more and more corrupt. They bear the name of being Christ's followers; yet it is impossible to distinguish them from the world. Ministers take their texts from the Word of God, but preach smooth things. To this the natural heart feels no objection. It is only the spirit and power of the truth and the salvation of Christ that are hateful to the carnal heart. There is nothing in the popular ministry that stirs the wrath of Satan, makes the sinner tremble, or applies to the heart and conscience the fearful realities of a judgment soon to come. Wicked men are generally pleased with a form of piety without true godliness, and they will aid and support such a religion.

Said the angel, "Nothing less than the whole armor of righteousness can enable man to overcome the powers of darkness and retain the victory over them. Satan has taken full possession of the churches as a body. The sayings and doings of men are dwelt upon instead of the plain, cutting truths of the Word of God. The spirit and friendship of the world are at enmity with God. When the truth in its simplicity and strength, as it is in Jesus, is brought to bear against the spirit of the world, it at once awakens the spirit of persecution. Very many who profess to be Christians have not known God. The natural heart has not been changed,and the carnal mind remains at enmity with God. They are Satan's faithful servants, notwithstanding they have assumed another name." (Early Writings, p. 273)

I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, "Father, give us Thy Spirit." Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Satan's object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God's children. (Early Writings, pp. 56)
On the other hand, Seventh-day Adventism wants to be one of the boys. It wants to be included in the family of Christian churches. It wants to be the one true church, "the Remnant Church", when it is convenient, and it wants to be a member of the larger Christian community when that is convenient.

Seventh-day Adventist General Conference President Jan Paulsen recently stated it this way,
"We shun the perception of being arrogant, and we don't want to come across as being overly exclusive, but at the same time we believe that being Seventh-day Adventists has direct bearing on our salvation; that while a believer can be saved as a Catholic, I would risk my whole spiritual life and salvation were I to leave what I am now and join any other community." (Jan Paulsen, The Theological Landscape – Adventist Review - October, 2002)
Other denominational statements are more forthright.
Regardless of the pretext, or how righteous the cause may appear, separation from the visible remnant [the SDA church] is apostasy from the body of Christ. (E.R. Bacchus, president of the Ontario Conference of SDA, Canada, in Messenger, October, 1994, p. 2)
The local [SDA] church becomes the ‘port of entry’ to the kingdom of God. (North American Division Officers, in Adventist Review, October 1, 1992, p. 23)
At the same time the Adventist Church is actively courting the World Evangelical Alliance, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in an effort to be accepted by the mainstream Christian community.

What is equally interesting is how the Adventist Church warms up to Roman Catholicism when it is to its advantage to do so, but then "stabs it in the back" at the same time with the other hand!
"Although it is true that there was a period, in the life of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, when the denomination took a distinctly anti-Roman Catholic viewpoint, and the term 'hierarchy' was used in a pejorative sense to refer to the papal form of church governance, that attitude on the church's part was nothing more than a manifestation of widespread anti-popery attitude among conservative Protestant denominations in the early part of this century and the latter part of the last, and which has now been consigned to the historical trash heap so far as the SDA Church is concerned." (Neal Wilson, General Conference President, EEOC vs PPPA and GC, Civil Case #74-2025 CBR, 1975)

"When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near." (Testimonies, 1885, Vol 5, p. 451)
Seventh-day Adventism, from its inception, has "defined out" every other church of Christendom. Remember, Adventism steadfastly maintains it is the only true church, and that all the rest of what the Christian world considers to be the Body of Christ are "apostate Protestantism".

What Seventh-day Adventists consistently miss is that no true Christian is willing to assign the title "Christian" to anyone simply on the basis of belonging to a certain church, whether that church is Protestant or Catholic. One can be a Methodist or a Lutheran and yet not be a Christian. True Christians, whether they are Protestant or Catholic, know that one becomes a Christian when one meets certain personal faith requirements. Church membership has nothing to do with conversion to Christ.

Most Christians agree that two things are necessary to be a Christian:
  1. To be a Christian, one must be born again. Both the Old and New Testaments, as well as the teaching of Jesus Christ and the apostles sets forth one common fact. That fact is that there are two classifications of people: the saved and the unsaved.

    To be born again, one must have passed from death to life. This experience is unmistakable to anyone who has experienced it. My experience tells me that this concept is foreign to nearly every Seventh-day Adventist. When they are honest they will tell you something like this: "Well, I’m doing the best I can to please God; I love Jesus Christ; I’m trying to live a life in accordance with the teachings of scripture." None of those statements has anything to do with being born again. They speak of what the person would like to become, not what he has become — a great difference.

    Adventism tells us:

    "Those who accept the Saviour, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or to feel that they are saved. This is misleading." (Christ Object Lessons, page 155)

    "As long as man is full of weakness–for of himself he cannot save his soul–he should never dare to say, "I am saved." (Selected Messages, vol 1, page 314)

    God's Word tells us:

    "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that ye have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)
  2. A Christian must understand that he is powerless to save himself. Nothing can be more repugnant to God than to encounter fallen men who suggest to Him that they are able to bootstrap themselves into righteousness. One who would be saved must first understand that he is lost.

    Adventism teaches:

    "To be sure, God does not need to investigate the records in order to learn or to determine who is eligible to be saved. It is for the benefit of all created beings that the facts with respect to each person's fate should be known, as an assurance to all that justice has been done and as a guarantee of the eternal stability of divine government. The Bible writers speak of "books" in which God keeps a record of character -- of good and evil deeds as measured by a person's knowledge of, and voluntary relationship to, divine grace and God's revealed will." (SDA Bible Commentary, Volume 10, page 669)

    "In the last generation God gives the final demonstration that men can keep the law of God and that they can live without sinning. God leaves nothing undone to make the demonstration complete. The only limitation He puts on Satan is that he may not kill the saints of God. He may tempt them, he may harass and threaten them; and he does his best. But he fails. He cannot make them sin. They stand the test, and God puts His seal on them. Through the last generation of saints God stands fully vindicated." (M.L. Andreasen The Sanctuary Service, Review and Herald, 1969 printing, pp. 318-19)
Are Seventh-day Adventists Christian?

I suggest that any Adventists who are Christians must have become so in spite of the clear teachings of Adventism. I am not suggesting this isn’t possible. However, I would give this advice to a Seventh-day Adventist who is convinced he meets the two requirements I have listed above: Leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church and affiliate with a denomination, church, or group which ascribes to these same two principles.

Portions adapted from, "Are Mormons Christians" by Stephen Robinson

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Unless otherwise noted, all original material on this ExposingAdventism.com website is 2007-2008 by Gilbert Jorgensen. Careful effort has been made to give credit as clearly as possible to any specific material quoted or ideas extensively adapted from any one resource. Corrections and clarifications regarding citations for any source material are welcome, and will be promptly added to any sections which are found to be inadequately documented as to source.