Listen:  80 Question 4

The Seventh-Day Adventist movement arose from the aftermath of the Adventist movement of the mid-1800s.  William Miller, a New England Baptist preacher, predicted that the world would end in 1844 with the Second Coming of Christ. Miller’s followers condemned all the churches of the day and warned Christians to come out of them. A great many did, and the “Adventist” movement was born and grew rapidly.  Christ did not appear in 1844 and many of the Adventists left the movement after that.

The Adventist movement actually adopted the Seventh-Day Baptists’ view that the Saturday Sabbath must be observed by Christians.  Around 1860, Ellen G. White, along with her husband, James, were the founders of the Seventh-day Adventists group.  Ellen G. White gained prominence as a prophetess, in spite of her history of false claims and teachings.

While much could be said about the Seventh-day Adventists group, I want to look at a few of their teachings that might be of the most concern.

Mrs. White taught that “Christ took upon His sinless nature our sinful nature … Christ took human nature and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He took our nature and its deteriorating condition”.  According to this teaching, then, Christ acquired a sinful nature!  If this was true, there could have been no sinless sacrifice, no hope for sinners, and no Savior. The Lord Jesus said in John 14:30, “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”  There was no sinful nature in the Lord that Satan could appeal to.  Hebrews 7:26 tells us, “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.”

Mrs. White had this to say about baptism, “Christ made it clear that He required baptism of those who wished to become part of His church, His spiritual kingdom”; “In baptism believers enter into the passion experience of our Lord”; “…baptism also marks [a] person’s entrance into Christ’s spiritual kingdom…it unites the new believer to Christ…through baptism the Lord adds the new disciples to the body of believers — His body, the church.… Then they are members of God’s family”.  Of course, she is teaching that baptism is essential to salvation.  This is a terrible doctrine that actually allows a person to have a part in his own salvation, by participating in baptism.  In relation to the means of salvation, let’s read a few verses from the Word of God.  Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  Titus 3:5 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”  1 John 5:12-13 says, “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 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, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”  These important Gospel oriented verses, along with many, many more, do not mention baptism as being necessary for salvation.  It is clear that it is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone that saves.

Mrs. White also taught that our works are necessary to obtain salvation.  She said, “Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny…though forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn.”  This teaching is completely contrary to Ephesians 2:8-9 which says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Arthur S. Maxwell, past editor of Signs Of the Times, the leading magazine of the Seventh-day Adventists said this about soul sleep, “Seventh-day Adventists hold that the ancient supposition that people go to heaven or hell immediately upon death is an infiltration of pagan mythology into Christian theology.  Bible teaching on this subject, they claim, is as clear as day – that the dead are asleep until the glorious return of Jesus Christ as King of King and Lord of Lords.  Then, but not till then, when the resurrection occurs, will final rewards and punishments be meted out.”  For the believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:8 says, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  This concept of soul-sleep is contrary to the scriptures.  The Seventh-day Adventists also teach the annihilation of the lost, which means those who are lost will be burnt up and not have to suffer eternal suffering.  2 Thessalonians 1:9 tells us the lost, “…shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.”

The Seventh-day Adventist Church made this statement in their Ministry magazine of October 1981, “We believe the revelation and inspiration of both the Bible and Ellen White’s writings to be of equal quality. The superintendence of the Holy Spirit was just as careful and thorough in one case as in the other.”  While there may be many Seventh-day Adventists that disagree with many of Mrs. White’s teachings, these are the things that their group stands for, according to their own writings.