The Seventh-day Adventist Church is God’s remnant church; it is a unique Advent movement with a unique message on a unique mission.
Published on: 11-15-2023
Based on God’s Word, Part 2
This article, the second of a two-part series, considers eight more challenges facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church today and biblical responses offered through God’s Word. We firmly believe in and stand confidently on the Bible and God’s counsels to us through the Spirit of Prophecy as provided in the writings of Ellen G. White. For further study, visit the cited fundamental beliefs for supporting Bible texts and more.
1. The Sanctuary Service and Righteousness by Faith
The sanctuary of the Old Testament, as revealed to Moses, is a model of the heavenly sanctuary. Every aspect reveals God’s great love for His creatures and the centrality of Christ’s sacrifice and grace in the salvation process. The church believes and proclaims that the work of the first apartment of the sanctuary was completed at Calvary when Christ died as the Lamb. Scripture shows that in 1844 Christ entered the real second apartment of the real heavenly sanctuary to begin the investigative judgment and is currently interceding as our high priest. The sanctuary service reveals the complete ministry of Christ, uplifting His justifying and sanctifying righteousness as our only path to eternal life. Soon Jesus will leave the most holy place, exchange His priestly robes for His kingly robes, and take us home to be with Him at His soon second coming.
For further study, see: (->) Fundamental Belief 24, “Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary,”bit.ly/heavenlysanctuary
The Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches that God created this earth recently in six literal 24-hour days. I fully believe in a short chronology and not deep time, accepting the biblical history and Spirit of Prophecy indication that this earth is about 6,000 years old. When God created this earth, He spoke, and it was created immediately, not over long periods of time. The seventh-day Sabbath is the memorial of Creation. It points to God as our Creator and Redeemer and is integral to the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12.
A recent false doctrine, “love reality,” has been promoted in some Adventist institutions of higher learning. It is a derivative of “once saved, always saved,” in which behavior is not important, since “God loves you and doesn’t worry about what you do if you are embraced in His love.” This is a very dangerous false doctrine and should not be accepted, since it destroys the understanding of Christ’s justifying and sanctifying righteousness. Do not be tempted with this false doctrine.
The urgency of Christ’s second coming should pervade every aspect of life for Seventh-day Adventists, but some seem to have lost this sense of urgency. The complex and worsening conditions in this worn-out world should awaken us to the urgency of proclaiming the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12 as we anticipate Christ’s return. Jesus indicated three times in Revelation 22 that He is coming quickly. Let us live with the sense of urgency that allows the Holy Spirit to work through each of us, sharing with others the need to fall at the foot of the cross and be prepared for the Second Coming through the grace of Jesus Christ.1
For further study, see: (->) Fundamental Belief 25, “The Second Coming of Christ,” bit.ly/ChristsComing
5. Our Identity as God’s Remnant Church
Some members seem to have lost sight of the identity and reason for the existence of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as God’s remnant church. God called the Seventh-day Adventist Church for a particular reason—to lift up Christ and His righteousness. This is the core of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12—turning people back to the true worship of God. God has called this church as a unique movement with a unique message on a unique mission, centered in Christ and His mission of salvation. The wonderful messages in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy help us see that Seventh-day Adventists are called by God as a peculiar and separate people.2
We are called and chosen for mission to prepare people for the Lord’s imminent return. Our name is a sermon, telling us where we came from, whom we worship, and where we are going. Be delighted to be a Seventh-day Adventist and share the Advent message with everyone!3
6. False Accusations About the Church’s Relationship to Ecumenism
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not involved in compromising ecumenism with other religious bodies or movements. Nothing can compromise our biblical understanding of truth. We believe in making friends with other religious and public groups to help them understand who we are and how we positively contribute to society by following Christ’s method of helping people physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. I have the privilege occasionally to meet public officials and share with them who Seventh-day Adventists are and what we believe, and I end with prayer for these public leaders. The presence of Seventh-day Adventists in various groups of public or church officials does not in any way imply that Seventh-day Adventists have become ecumenical and given up any fundamental biblical beliefs or ever will. Some pictures of public affairs events have been misrepresented, attempting to show the church is involved in ecumenism. This is not the case. Beware of false accusations that the Seventh-day Adventist Church has become “Babylon” and has compromised biblical truth. We are God’s remnant church and will continue to stand firm on the Word of God. We know exactly what we will face in the future, and believe wholeheartedly in the prophetic understanding of our role in the final events of earth’s history as outlined in the books of Daniel and Revelation and The Great Controversy.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church understands that the Holy Spirit works through structured organizations that are organized by heaven itself. This church was uniquely and specifically organized as God’s last-day Advent movement to proclaim the three angels’ messages and final loud cry to a world that desperately needs the message of Christ’s righteousness, grace, and salvation.
The church is built on a committee system that allows for the Holy Spirit’s direct intervention in how decisions are made as He guides leaders and members in making decisions. When committee decisions at the worldwide level are made based on biblical and Spirit of Prophecy instruction and guided by humble prayer, personal opinions and convictions are to be laid aside, and the authority of the world church is to be respected and accepted. When people or organizations do not follow biblical principles of church authority, the church cannot simply “fire” people or get rid of organizations without a very careful, biblical approach of trying to help them realize their mistakes.
The church structure is not a hierarchical administrative arrangement; it is built on common biblical beliefs, policy agreements, and a commitment to work together under the power of the Holy Spirit. Although there are disciplinary measures that can be used, the church works carefully to bring people back to unity in Christ through the Holy Spirit’s power. The Bible and Spirit of Prophecy are filled with counsel guiding us to accept the authority of the world church in session, where we make decisions on biblical beliefs, Church Manual items, governance decisions, and other specific topics brought to the world church representation.4 The Spirit of Prophecy indicates we are to work in harmony with each other and with God. At the local church, conference/mission, union, and division levels, all decisions should be made in accordance and cooperation with the worldwide decisions made. The authority of the church is not some hierarchical process, but a worldwide representative process directed by the Holy Spirit. With Christlike humility we are to respect the authority of the church at all levels as God leads His people in the final days of earth’s history. We are called to “press together,”5 and to unity in Christ (John 17; Eph. 4), in our belief, and mission to the world as we approach Christ’s soon coming.
8. The Role of the Spirit of Prophecy Through the Writings of Ellen G. White
There are constant attacks on the acceptance of the Spirit of Prophecy as given by God through the writings of Ellen G. White. The Spirit of Prophecy was given to the Seventh-day Adventist Church (Rev. 12:17; 19:10) as a precious gift from God and is as applicable today as when it was written. The large body of Ellen White’s writings were given by God to lead His remnant church in all areas of life, pointing us back to Christ and His Holy Word, the Bible. Given by God, the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy instruct us in how to present to the world the final message of warning, calling people back to the true worship of God (Rev. 14:6-12). Unfortunately, there are those who disparage, downgrade, and repudiate the Spirit of Prophecy. We should be united in our appreciation of and respect for the direct counsels of God given to us in detail about personal spiritual growth, church life, and our world mission as given in the Spirit of Prophecy. I entreat you to have a strong commitment to reading the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy and following God’s instructions for His last-day remnant people, who are proclaiming to the world Christ’s powerful, prophetic, saving message. Jesus is coming soon!
1 See Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 7, p. 138; Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1956), p. 81.
2 See E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 19.
3 See Ellen G. White, Selected Messages (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958, 1980), book 2, p. 397.
4 See E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 260, 261.
Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. You may follow him on X (formerly Twitter): @pastortedwilson and Facebook: @Pastor Ted Wilson.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash