Pillars of Adventism

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The Pillars of Adventism are landmark doctrines for Seventh-day Adventists; Bible doctrines that define who they are as a people of faith; doctrines that are "non-negotiables" in Adventist theology.

A Seventh-day Adventist church.

The Pillars of Adventism[edit]

According to Seventh-day Adventists, the basic pillars are as follow:

Here are the five key discoveries they made:

The Sanctuary doctrine—the whole plan of salvation laid out in type. The ceremonial law God gave to ancient Israel symbolizes Jesus' work throughout history. As the people started unraveling this plan, they began to understand the ministry of Jesus and what had happened on the day of their disappointment.

Out of the sanctuary doctrine and the Great Disappointment, the great message of the Second Advent was formed, the truth about the Sabbath was recovered, A Biblical understanding of the state of the dead was unraveled, and the Spirit of Prophecy was established.

These are the main pillars of Adventism, which make this denomination unique.

These doctrines inspired the pioneers to recognize the Three Angels’ Messages, and thereafter the Adventist Church movement was born.

Here is a quote from Ellen White, one of the SDA founders, speaking about the importance of the Three Angels Messages for SDA's.

"I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps-- the first, second, and third angels' messages. Said my accompanying angel, "Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance." [7]

History of formative beliefs of Adventism[edit]

The early Adventists emphasized the concept of "present truth" -- see 2 Peter 1:12 (NKJV). James White explained, “The church [has] ever had a present truth. The present truth now, is that which shows present duty, and the right position for us…” ”Present truth is present truth, and not future truth, and the Word as a lamp shines brightly where we stand, and not so plainly on the path in the distance.” Ellen White pointed out that “present truth, which is a test to the people of this generation, was not a test to the people of generations far back.”[8] This view is echoed in the preamble to the 28 Fundamentals. "...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." [9] The founders of the SDA church had a dynamic concept of what they called present truth, opposed to creedal rigidity, and had an openness to new theological understandings that built upon the landmark doctrines that had made them a people.[10]

Yet, the possibilities of dynamic change in Seventh-day Adventist beliefs were not unlimited.[11] Those landmark doctrines were non-negotiables in Adventist theology. Collectively they had provided the Seventh-day Adventists with an identity.[10] In their eyes the pillars of their faith—the Bible doctrines that defined who they were as a people—had been thoroughly studied out in the Scripture and had been attested to by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. As Ellen White put it, "When the power of God testifies as to what is truth, that truth is to stand forever as the truth. ... Men will arise with interpretations of Scripture which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time, God has given us as a foundation for our faith.[12] Robert Johnston noted, “Without repudiating the past leading of the Lord, it [the Seventh-day Adventist church] seeks even to understand better what that leading was. It is always open to better insights to learn—to seek for truth as for hid treasure. … Adventists are still pilgrims on a doctrinal journey who do not repudiate the way marks, but neither do they remain stopped at any of them.”[13]

Ellen White wrote,

"There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation."[14]

These pillars, landmarks, way marks,[1] are the investigative judgment, the sanctuary that brings this judgment to light, the three angel’s messages of Revelation, the law of God, the faith of Jesus, Sabbath, the state of the dead, and the special gift of prophecy.[15]

"The passing of the time in 1844 was a period of great events, opening to our astonished eyes the cleansing of the sanctuary transpiring in heaven, and having decided relation to God's people upon the earth, [also] the first and second angels' messages and the third, unfurling the banner on which was inscribed, "The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." One of the landmarks under this message was the temple of God, seen by His truth-loving people in heaven, and the ark containing the law of God. The light of Sabbath of the fourth commandment flashed its strong rays in the pathway of the transgressors of God's law. The nonimmortality of the wicked is an old landmark. I can call to mind nothing more that can come under the head of the old landmarks. All this cry about changing the old landmarks is all imaginary." {CW 30.2}

Here is Ellen White, on the importance of the Three Angels Messages for SDA's.

"I saw a company who stood well guarded and firm, giving no countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. God looked upon them with approbation. I was shown three steps-- the first, second, and third angels' messages. Said my accompanying angel, "Woe to him who shall move a block or stir a pin of these messages. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance." {Early Writings of Ellen G. White, page 258, paragraph 3, Chapter Title: Spiritual Gifts A Firm Platform.}

"The proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages has been located by the Word of Inspiration. Not a peg or pin is to be removed. No human authority has any more right to change the location of these messages than to substitute the New Testament for the Old. " {2SM 104.2}

"The first and second messages were given in 1843 and 1844, and we are now under the proclamation of the third; but all three of the messages are still to be proclaimed. It is just as essential now as ever before that they shall be repeated to those who are seeking for the truth. By pen and voice we are to sound the proclamation, showing their order, and the application of the prophecies that bring us to the third angel's message. There cannot be a third without the first and second. These messages we are to give to the world in publications, in discourses, showing in the line of prophetic history the things that have been and the things that will be." {2SM 104.3}

Adventist Church doctrines in 28 Fundamental Beliefs[edit]

The Pillars of Adventism in addition to the basic Protestant beliefs which Adventist hold, include the role of the law of God, the Sabbath, the Heavenly sanctuary, the State of the Dead, the Three Angels' Messages and the identity and role of Babylon in the great controversy between Christ and Satan.[16] The pillars, or landmarks, represent the Adventist churches more distinctive teachings and are also found in the 28 Fundamental Beliefs.

1. In Fundamental Belief #24 which says: Christ's Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary: There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent. (Heb. 8:1-5; 4:14-16; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; 1:3; 2:16, 17; Dan. 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6; Lev. 16; Rev. 14:6, 7; 20:12; 14:12; 22:12.)

2. The Law of God In Fundamental Belief #19 which says: 19. Law of God: The great principles of God's law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God's love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age. These precepts are the basis of God's covenant with His people and the standard in God's judgment. Through the agency of the Holy Spirit they point out sin and awaken a sense of need for a Saviour. Salvation is all of grace and not of works, but its fruitage is obedience to the Commandments. This obedience develops Christian character and results in a sense of well-being. It is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men. The obedience of faith demonstrates the power of Christ to transform lives, and therefore strengthens Christian witness. (Ex. 20:1-17; Ps. 40:7, 8; Matt. 22:36-40; Deut. 28:1-14; Matt. 5:17-20; Heb. 8:8-10; John 15:7-10; Eph. 2:8-10; 1 John 5:3; Rom. 8:3, 4; Ps. 19:7-14.)

3. Seventh-day Sabbath In Fundamental Belief #20 which says: 20. Sabbath: The beneficent Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God's unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God's kingdom. The Sabbath is God's perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God's creative and redemptive acts. (Gen. 2:1-3; Ex. 20:8-11; Luke 4:16; Isa. 56:5, 6; 58:13, 14; Matt. 12:1-12; Ex. 31:13-17; Eze. 20:12, 20; Deut. 5:12-15; Heb. 4:1-11; Lev. 23:32; Mark 1:32.)

4. The Non-Immortality of the Soul In Fundamental Belief #26 which says: 26. Death and Resurrection: The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later. (Rom. 6:23; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Eccl. 9:5, 6; Ps. 146:3, 4; John 11:11-14; Col. 3:4; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:1-10.)

5. The Three Angels’ Messages In Fundamental Belief #13 which says: 13. Remnant and Its Mission: The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces: 1. the arrival of the judgment hour, 2. proclaims salvation through Christ, and 3. heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. (Rev. 12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4; 2 Cor. 5:10; Jude 3, 14; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Rev. 21:1-14.)

Overview[edit]

Shared Protestant doctrines which Seventh-day Adventists have are 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), four authors outlined the core 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."[17]

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.)

In addition to holding many standard Protestant positions, the SDA's have embraced the Three Angels messages, which are associated with a number of doctrinal Pillars. This remarkable paradigm has changed the eschatological platform for the modern Protestant church. Which is why all denominations today embrace the pre-millennial and literal Second Coming of Christ instead of a thousand years of peace and prosperity that was taught back in the early 19th century.

This major revision about how the world will end is the result of William Miler's discovery, (in 1818), and proclamation, (1839–44), of the 1st Angels Message. Although Miller's theology was repudiated by many denomination in the 1840s, things have changed dramatically .

So the Advent Movement has had a major impact on Protestant theology, even though few know or acknowledge this fact today. Thus Miller's fundamental teaching is normative for the entire church today.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

See also 28 Fundamentals#External links

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Chap. 3 - The Foundations, Pillars, and Landmarks" of Counsels to Writers and Editors by Ellen White
  2. ^ "As the great pillars of our faith have been presented, the Holy Spirit has borne witness to them, and especially is this so regarding the truths of the sanctuary question. Over and over again the Holy Spirit has in a marked manner endorsed the preaching of this doctrine. But today, as in the past, some will be led to form new theories and to deny the truths upon which the Spirit of God has placed His approval.--Manuscript 125, 1907." {Ev 224.2}
  3. ^ "There are the main pillars of our faith, subjects which are of vital interest, the Sabbath, the keeping of the commandments of God. ..."{CW 77.1}
  4. ^ "Those who seek to remove the old landmarks are not holding fast; they are not remembering how they have received and heard. Those who try to bring in theories that would remove the pillars of our faith concerning the sanctuary or concerning the personality of God or of Christ, are working as blind men. They are seeking to bring in uncertainties and to set the people of God adrift without an anchor." {MR760 9.5}
  5. ^ " We are God's commandment-keeping people. For the past fifty years every phase of heresy has been brought to bear upon us, to becloud our minds regarding the teaching of the Word--especially concerning the ministration of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and the message of Heaven for these last days, as given by the angels of the fourteenth chapter of Revelation. Messages of every order and kind have been urged upon Seventh-day Adventists, to take the place of the truth which, point by point, has been sought out by prayerful study, and testified to by the miracle-working power of the Lord. But the waymarks which have made us what we are, are to be preserved, and they will be preserved, as God has signified through His Word and the testimony of His Spirit. He calls upon us to hold firmly, with the grip of faith, to the fundamental principles that are based upon unquestionable authority." {1SM 208.2}
  6. ^ a b http://amazingdiscoveries.org/S-deception-covenant_Israel_Babylon_Reformation
  7. ^ Early Writings of Ellen G. White, page 258, paragraph 3, Chapter Title: Spiritual Gifts A Firm Platform.
  8. ^ White, James, 1846, Present Truth, July, pg. 1 and 1857, Review and Herald, Dec 31, p 61); White, Ellen, Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 693; from Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 19-20
  9. ^ Fundamental Beliefs
  10. ^ a b Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 27
  11. ^ Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 24
  12. ^ Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 26
  13. ^ Johnston, R. 1983, Adventist Review, Sept, 15, p. 8, from Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 28
  14. ^ Counsels to Writers and Editors, p35. Chapter, "Chap. 4 - Attitude to New Light"
  15. ^ Venden, Morris, 1982, The Pillars, Pacific Press, pp. 12-13
  16. ^ Counsels to Writers and Editors, p 30. Spirit of Prophecy, vol 4, p 258, 313, 377, 399; Testimonies, vol 6, p 91, 144; Evangelism, p 273; Early Writings, p 63, 87, 258; Great Controversy, p 409; Life Sketches, p 278.
  17. ^ Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C., 1957. Chapter 1 "Doctrines We Share With Other Christians."