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I was born, I'm currently living, and will eventually die. After that I face my judgment, and we'll talk then.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Beliefs of An Adventist Part 1

There are many Protestant groups throughout the United States and the world. One of the relatively unknown sects is the Seventh-Day Adventists. This is a shame, as it is growing in popularity and number (in 2007 it was ranked as the 12th largest religious group in the world with nearly 17 million members). Broken off from an end-of-the-world Christian group, whose prediction of an apocalypse in 1844 proved wrong, the group can claim 1863 as its year of foundation. Their original members included former members of other Protestant communities, leading to a variety of beliefs in the community’s early years. Eventually the leaders of the movement ironed out these doctrinal disagreements, and the Seventh-Day Adventists eventually received official recognition as a Protestant Church in middle of the 20th Century. Their beliefs were set down in 1980 in what is known as the 28 Fundamental Beliefs (it was originally 27, but a 28th belief was added in 1995).

Now what sparked this sudden interest in a growing yet relatively obscure Protestant group? Two students of mine, actually. They are sisters, one in 6th and one in 7th grade. The 6th grader, since I have her for Religion as well as Social Studies, frequently brings up what her Grandfather tells her, especially when what her grandfather tells her contradict what I am telling her. Who would have thought that my grade school students, not their parents or even high school students, would test my apologetic training? The source of apologetic discussion was the 6th grade sister, and I have had to approach her questions without properly knowing her own spiritual background.

I am working on learning that now.

It is with this student’s permission that I was graciously aloud to borrow a copy of the Seventh-Day Adventist equivalent to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is entitled, appropriately enough, Seventh-Day Adventists Believe: A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines. Written/Edited by the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, the book presents an in-depth examination of the different beliefs held by the Adventists. It is a must have for any who wish to examine and critique the Adventists’ point of view, as I seek to do in this series of blog posts. I hope to be fair, but firm, in my examination. It is my hope that, maybe, somehow, someone will get some use out of the series, and thus some souls might be brought to Christ.

I should note, at the onset, that Adventists don’t follow the Apostle’s Creed, as such; rather they “accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures.” Therefore, it is a relief that they decided to lay out their fundamental beliefs in such a way. There is no recitation of these beliefs, as there is of the Catholic beliefs at Sunday Mass. As one goes through the beliefs, one notices that most are the same to other Protestant faiths, though there are some key differences.

Hopefully all will become clearer once this series is through. Hopefully, though I make no promises. . . .

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