28 Fundamental Beliefs
The 28 fundamental beliefs are the core beliefs of Seventh-day Adventist theology. Adventists are opposed to the formulation of creeds, so the 28 fundamental beliefs are considered descriptors, not prescriptors; that is, that they describe the official position of the church but are not criteria for membership. These beliefs were originally known as the 27 fundamental beliefs when adopted by the church's General Conference in 1980. An additional belief (number 11) was added in 2005. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary is a significant expression of Adventist theological thought.
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- "The first step of apostasy is to get up a creed, telling us what we shall believe. The second is, to make that creed a test of fellowship. The third is to try members by that creed. The fourth to denounce as heretics those who do not believe that creed. And fifth, to commence persecution against such."
Several summaries of Adventist theology have been presented at various times.
- In 1872 a pamphlet was produced presenting twenty-five Fundamental Principles not to "secure uniformity" but "to meet inquiries" and "to correct false statements."
- In 1931 a list of 22 Fundamental Beliefs was produced and published in the Adventist Yearbook, and subsequently in the Adventist Church Manual.
- In 1980, the 27 Fundamentals were instituted by the denomination's General Conference. Fritz Guy was the secretary of the original committee which produced the 27 Fundamentals. They were discussed and adopted at the 1980 General Conference Session. Ron Graybill wrote the preamble. They are expanded upon in the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe: A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines. This elaboration does not constitute the "official" position of the church.
- In 2005 another belief was inserted, fundamental belief number 11 "Growing in Christ", in response to the requests of Adventists in developing nations for a statement on spiritual warfare. It was voted in at the 2005 Adventist General Conference Session held in St. Louis, Missouri, yielding the current total of 28.
The preamble to the 28 Fundamentals states that Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed, and that revision of the statements may be expected during the church General Conference Session:
Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs, as set forth here, constitute the church's understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture. Revision of these statements may be expected at a General Conference Session when the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language in which to express the teachings of God's Holy Word."
Doctrines of God
1. Holy Scriptures
- "The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of [God's] will." Adventist theologians generally reject the "verbal inspiration" position on Scripture held by many conservative evangelical Christians. They believe instead that God inspired the thoughts of the biblical authors, and that the authors then expressed these thoughts in their own words. This view is popularly known as "thought inspiration", and most Adventist members hold to that view. According to Ed Christian, former JATS editor, "few if any ATS members believe in verbal inerrancy".
- Adventists generally reject higher critical approaches to Scripture. The 1986 statement Methods of Bible Study, urges Adventist Bible students to avoid relying on the use of the presuppositions and the resultant deductions associated with the historical-critical method.
- God, the Father, is a personal and spiritual Being, who is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. He is infinite in wisdom and love.
- Jesus Christ, is God in verity. He is of the same nature and essence as the Father. In addition, he took upon Himself human nature, living as a righteous man on earth, dying for the sins of mankind, raised from the dead and ascended to heaven where he makes intercession for mankind.
5. Holy Spirit
- God the eternal Spirit was active with the Father and the Son in Creation, incarnation, and redemption. He is as much a person as are the Father and the Son. He inspired the writers of Scripture. He filled Christ’s life with power. He draws and convicts human beings; and those who respond He renews and transforms into the image of God. Sent by the Father and the Son to be always with His children, He extends spiritual gifts to the church, empowers it to bear witness to Christ, and in harmony with the Scriptures leads it into all truth. (Genesis 1:1, 2; 2 Samuel 23:2; Psalm 51:11; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 1:35; 4:18; John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26; 16:7-13; Acts 1:8; 5:3; 10:38; Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:21.)
The doctrines of humanity
- The Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of creationism is based on believing that the opening chapters of Genesis should be interpreted as literal history. Adventist belief holds that all Earthly life originated during a six-day period some 6000 years ago, and a global flood destroyed all land based animals and humans except for those saved on Noah's Ark. Adventists oppose theories which propose interpreting the days of creation symbolically.
- Although Adventists hold that creation week was a recent event, they believe the Bible speaks of other worlds populated by intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe, which pre-existed the Earth's creation week. Instead of being The Word's first creation, the Earth was most likely His last one. The sons of God of Job 1:6-12 are the Adams of unfallen worlds meeting in God's presence somewhere in the universe. Other inhabited planets are located in the vastness of space—well beyond the reach of space probes from our sin-polluted solar system, quarantined due to the infection of sin.
- Adventists believe that inorganic matter was created prior to the creation week and was altered into its present form during the creation week. Therefore, the computed radiometric dates of standard geology are irrelevant to dating the creation of life on Earth. Since radiometric dating, says Webster, is an "interpretive science", he believes that for the Christian scientist “it would seem logical, almost compelling, to seriously consider” the Biblical account “for determining the time of Creation."
7. Nature of Humanity
The doctrines of salvation
9. The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ
10. The Experience of Salvation
11. Growing in Christ
The doctrines of the church
12. The Church
13. The Remnant and Its Mission
14. Unity in the Body of Christ
16. The Lord's Supper
17. Spiritual Gifts and Ministries
18. The Gift of Prophecy
The doctrines of Christian living
19. The Law of God
20. The Sabbath
22. Christian Behavior
23. Marriage and the Family
The doctrines of the restoration
24. Christ's Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary
25. The Second Coming of Christ
26. Death and Resurrection
27. The Millennium and the End of Sin
28. The New Earth
Shared Protestant doctrine
In Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine (1957), the editors outlined the doctrines that they share with Protestant Christianity.
- "In Common With Conservative Christians and the Historic Protestant Creeds, We Believe—
- 1. That God is the Sovereign Creator, upholder, and ruler of the universe, and that He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
- 2. That the Godhead, the Trinity, comprises God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- 3. That the Scriptures are the inspired revelation of God to men; and that the Bible is the sole rule of faith and practice.
- 4. That Jesus Christ is very God, and that He has existed with the Father from all eternity.
- 5. That the Holy Spirit is a personal being, sharing the attributes of deity with the Father and the Son.
- 6. That Christ, the Word of God, became incarnate through the miraculous conception and the virgin birth; and that He lived an absolutely sinless life here on earth.
- 7. That the vicarious, atoning death of Jesus Christ, once for all, is all-sufficient for the redemption of a lost race.
- 8. That Jesus Christ arose literally and bodily from the grave.
- 9. That He ascended literally and bodily into heaven.
- 10. That He now serves as our advocate in priestly ministry and mediation before the Father.
- 11. That He will return in a premillennial, personal, imminent second advent.
- 12. That man was created sinless, but by his subsequent fall entered a state of alienation and depravity.
- 13. That salvation through Christ is by grace alone, through faith in His blood.
- 14. That entrance upon the new life in Christ is by regeneration, or the new birth.
- 15. That man is justified by faith.
- 16. That man is sanctified by the indwelling Christ through the Holy Spirit.
- 17. That man will be glorified at the resurrection or translation of the saints, when the Lord returns.
- 18. That there will be a judgment of all men.
- 19. That the gospel is to be preached as a witness to all the world."
All of these doctrines, with the exception of item 11 (regarding the premillennial return of Christ), are widely held amongst conservative or evangelical Protestants. (Different Protestant groups hold varying views on the millennium.)
- "Growing in Christ". Adventist News Network. 2005-07-04. Archived from the original on 2005-11-29. Retrieved 2006-05-26.
- Seventh-day Adventist Church Archived 2006-03-10 at the Wayback Machine Fundamental Beliefs
- Bates, Joseph; Smith, Uriah (1861-10-08). "Doings of the Battle Creek Conference, Oct. 5 & 6, 1861". Review and Herald. 18 (19): 148. Archived from the original (DJVU) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2006-11-06.
- Fundamental Beliefs
- Schwarz, Richard W. (1979). Light Bearers to the Remnant. Boise, Idaho / Oshawa, Ontario, Canada: Pacific Press.
- Online Research Center: Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, 1931 Archived March 1, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Scofield, Michael (May–June 2000). "How the 27 Fundamental Beliefs Came to Be". Adventist Today. Loma Linda, CA: Adventist Today Foundation. 8 (3): 11. ISSN 1079-5499. Retrieved 2008-09-23.
- Seventh-day Adventists Believe... FILE: index.htm
- "Fundamental Beliefs". Seventh-day Adventist Church. Archived from the original on 2 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-12.
- General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 2005, pp. 14–16
- The Adventist Theological Society Archived 2007-12-25 at the Wayback Machine, an interview of Ed Christian by John McLarty.
- "Methods of Bible Study".
- Knight, George, ed. (2003). Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine (Annotated ed.). Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press. p. 5.
- Knight 2003, p. 5
- Knight 2003, p. 5
- Numbers 2006, p. 90 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFNumbers2006 (help)
- White, Ellen (September 29, 2014). "Earth Antedated by Other Created Worlds, Ellen White Statements".
- White, Ellen (September 29, 2014). "Earth Antedated by Other Created Worlds, Ellen White Statements".
C. L. Webster. "GENESIS AND TIME: What Radiometric Dating Tells Us". Geoscience Research Institute. Cite journal requires
- Mart de Groot. "Genesis and the cosmos: A unified picture?". Dialogue. Archived from the original on 2008-05-16.
- Ferdinand O. Regalado. "The Creation Account in Genesis 1: Our World Only or the Universe?". Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 13/2:108-120. Archived from the original on 2018-02-23. Retrieved 2018-02-09.
- Mart de Groot. The Bible and Astronomy. Education Department, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved 2019-09-10.
- Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C., 1957. Chapter 1 "Doctrines We Share With Other Christians."
- Adventistbiblicalresearch.org Adventist Review, July 31, 1980
- General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Ministerial Association (2005). Seventh-day Adventists Believe (2nd ed.). Pacific Press Publishing Association.
- Fundamental Beliefs from the church's official website (see also Official Statements)
- "Uncovering the Origins of the Statement of Twenty-seven Fundamental Beliefs" by Fritz Guy. Presentation from the Being Adventist in 21st Century Australia Conference at Avondale College Church, 2002. Also Spectrum v 32, Spring (2004), pp 18–29
- "Seventh-Day Adventists Believe" ebook (1st ed)
- A series of Adventist Review articles around 2008 described each doctrine. (also Blogging the 28, articles collated by Spectrum)
Each issue of Adventist World comments on a fundamental belief. Following is the list to February 2012 inclusive: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 6, 7, 9, 9, 10, 10, 11, 12, 12, 15, 15, 16, 16, 17, 17, 17, 19, 20, 20, 21, 21, 22, 22, 23, 23, 24, 24, 25, 26, 27, 27, 28
- Spectrum 8:4 (August 1977) Special Section: An Adventist Creed?
- "Why Seventh-day Adventists have no creed" (DjVu) by Arthur L. White. Adventist Review 161:28 (12 July 1984), pp 6–8
- "General Conference Report" section, by Lawrence Geraty and other authors. Spectrum 11:1 (July 1980) (reprint of Geraty article)
- Letters to the editor in Spectrum 11:3 (February 1981), pp 61—
- "Creeds and Statements of Belief in Early Adventist Thought" by S. Joseph Kidder. Andrews University Seminary Studies 47:1 (Spring 2009), pp 101–16
- Search for "Creeds" in the Seventh-day Adventist Periodical Index (SDAPI)