I chose to join the Seventh-day Adventist church.
Who are they?
I asked that question several years ago.
Now I am one... after being a skeptic and agnostic all my life.
Because it's the only church that knows the same God that I know. The only God I can believe in. The only God who makes sense.
It's the only church where I could tick all the boxes:
1. Sola Scriptura
Adventist beliefs are based on the Bible and the Bible alone.
The whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
If anyone can show me a church that follows the Bible more closely, I will leave my church and go there.
Adventist beliefs are not fixed in cement.
As shown by the church’s history, we are open to further light from God’s word as we are led by the Holy Spirit.
The Adventist message to the world is Biblically coherent, cohesive and consistent.
It presents the true character of God as portrayed in His word, the Bible.
It has clarity because the Bible has clarity, when properly studied and understood.
It has the "ring of truth" because it is the truth.
We allow the Bible to interpret itself so that everything fits together in perfect harmony, as God intended.
From lifelong skeptic and agnostic, coming from outside the Adventist church, I now see clearly that this church has the true and complete picture of God’s character.
2. Non-exclusive yet unique
I would not join a church that was arrogant or "holier-than-thou" in any way.
We believe that God has people in all churches.
No church has a monopoly on salvation.
We believe that there are numerically more people outside our church who will be in Heaven than inside our church.
All churches are made up of imperfect people, and we are certainly no different in that respect.
While there are true Christians in all churches, in my church I am grateful to be free from:
- pagan religious observances
- grossly ornate ceremonies
- idol worship
- meaningless mantras
- unintelligible self-hypnotic babble
- diluted and distorted doctrines
- pernicious prosperity preaching
- "sow a seed" solicitations
- greed disguised as the gospel
and all the other un-Biblical practices that pretend to represent truth but are actually designed to keep us in the dark.
3. Holistic approach to well-being
The Bible tells us that we were made in the image of God, and that we are the "temple of the Holy Spirit".
We have a responsibility to care for our mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
A holistic approach to sharing the Gospel message has been the focus of the Adventist church since its inception over 150 years ago.
This approach has been manifest in a comprehensive health message, much of which was more than 100 years ahead of its time.
U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin praised the Adventist Church’s focus on holistic well-being.
The word HEALTH comes from a root word that also means "WHOLE" and "HOLY"!
4. Jesus our Example
We balance and complement the Gospel (good news) message with significant humanitarian, health care and educational enterprises.
As disciples of Jesus, we follow His example, no-one else's.
Martin Luther King, Jr puts it quite well:
"The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body, not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well being. Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial."
5. Structure & Unity
The Adventist church has a global structure that works extremely well, considering the diversity of countries, cultures and languages.
The quarterly Sabbath School Bible Study Guide, for instance, is common to all church members globally.
Finances and church administration are handled openly and transparently.
The highest standards of integrity and oversight are applied to all areas of church activity (but we're far from perfect).
Our beliefs, structure and a shared vision for global mission unify around 18 million church members.
Of course, as in any organisation, differences do arise, and humans make mistakes, however the bedrock of our 28 fundamental beliefs*, based solely on the Bible, anchors us all on common ground and keeps the church united and moving forward as one.
Yes, 28 is a big number, however they can be organized into 6 categories: God, Humanity, Salvation, Church, Living, Restoration.
28 is scary; 6, not so much.
6+. See my Church
While I can certainly recommend the Adventist church, I'm not saying you should join it. Where we worship, if we do, should be a personal choice.
I know that I'm where I need to be.
God might need you to be somewhere else.
That’s between you and Him.
Many of the most gracious and kind-hearted people I have known are from other Christian denominations and other faiths...including atheism ;-)
God looks at the heart, not at the label, not at the outward appearance.
That's a part of the true picture of God that shames and quells my prejudice and my critical spirit.
That piece fits perfectly.
The name "Seventh-day Adventist" encompasses the scope of the Bible from the Creation week in Genesis (God rested on the Seventh-day "Sabbath") to the return (Advent) of Jesus in Revelation.
Jesus kept the Biblical seventh-day Sabbath; He also said He would return.
Which church would Jesus attend today?