28 Fundamental Beliefs (Adventist)
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The 28 Fundamentals are a core set of theological, bibliological, soteriological, ecclesiological and eschatological beliefs held by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Traditionally, Adventists have been opposed to the formulation of creeds. It is claimed that the 28 Fundamentals are descriptors not prescriptors; that is, that they describe the official position of the church but are not a criteria for membership. The beliefs were known as the 27 Fundamentals and were originally adopted by the church's General Conference in 1980, with an additional belief (number 11) being added in 2005. The Adventist baptismal vow complements them.
They may be grouped into the doctrines of God, humankind, salvation, church, Christian life, and last things, and can be read online on the website of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
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."
Seventh-day Adventists uphold the central doctrines of Protestant Christianity: the Trinity, the incarnation, the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement, justification by faith, creation, the second coming, the resurrection of the dead, and last judgment.
In Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine (1957), Adventists outlined the core doctrines that they share with Protestant Christianity. However, this book was not an official position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the content of the book has been highly controversial within Adventism from publication until current times, and the book was taken out of print by Adventist publishers in 1963.
- "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.)
Regarding salvation, a major statement was the 1980 "The Dynamics of Salvation".
- "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."
In spite of this reluctance 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. They are expanded upon in the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe: A Biblical Exposition of 27 Fundamental Doctrines. Note that 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.
- Raymond Cottrell claims he was told that Wilcox wrote a statement of belief in the 1930s, which was actually ghostwritten by F. D. Nichol.
The doctrine of God
5. Holy Spirit
The doctrine of Humankind
The doctrine of Salvation
In Seventh-day Adventist theology the Great Controversy theme refers to the cosmic battle between Jesus Christ and Satan, and also played out on earth. The concept is derived from many visions the author claimed to have received, scriptural references, and is delineated in the book The Great Controversy, first published in 1858, by Ellen G. White, a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The concept is important in Adventist theology because it provides an understanding of the origin of evil, and of the eventual destruction of evil and the restoration of God's original purpose for this world. It constitutes belief number 8 of the church's 28 Fundamentals.
The doctrine of the Church
16. Lord's Supper
The doctrine of the Christian Life
19. Law of God
Sabbath is an important part of the belief and practice of seventh-day Christians. These believers observe Sabbath on the seventh Hebrew day of the week, from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, in similar manner as in Judaism, rather than on Sunday like a larger segment of Christianity. They believe that keeping seventh-day Sabbath weekly and physically is a moral responsibility, equal to that of any other of the Ten Commandments, that honors God as Creator and Deliverer. The requirement to keep the seventh day holy is found in the fourth commandment of God's Law in the book of Exodus chapter 20.
The doctrine of Last Things
Investigative judgment is a unique Seventh-day Adventist doctrine, which asserts that a divine judgment of professed Christians has been in progress since 1844. It is intimately related to the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and was described by the church's prophet and pioneer Ellen G. White as one of the pillars of Adventist belief. It is a major component of the broader Adventist understanding of the "heavenly sanctuary", and the two are sometimes spoken of interchangeably.
28. New Earth
- "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 Fundamental Beliefs
- "Fundamental Beliefs". Seventh-day Adventist Church. Archived from the original on 2 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-12.
- 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
- [[Joseph Bates (Adventist)|]], Uriah Smith (1861-10-08). "Doings of the Battle Creek Conference, Oct. 5 & 6, 1861" (DJVU). Review and Herald 18 (19): 148. 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
- Seventh-day Adventists Believe... FILE: index.htm
- 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.
- White, E.G., "Counsels to Writers and Editors," pp. 30, 31 (Old Landmarks)
- Venden, Morris, 1982, "The Pillars", Pacific Press, p. 13-15
- 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. See also Spectrum v32, Spring (2004), p18–29
- "Seventh-Day Adventists Believe" Ebook (First Edition)
- A series of Adventist Review articles around 2008 described each doctrine. (See 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
- 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), p6–8
- "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), p61—
- "Creeds and Statements of Belief in Early Adventist Thought" by S. Joseph Kidder. Andrews University Seminary Studies 47:1 (Spring 2009), p101–116
- Search for "Creeds" in the Seventh-day Adventist Periodical Index (SDAPI)