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. The Seventh-day Adventist church teaches that these Pillars are needed to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ, and sees them as a central part of its own mission. Adventists teach that the Seventh-day Adventist Church doctrines were both a continuation of the reformation started in the 16th century and a movement of the end time rising from the Millerites, bringing God's final messages and warnings to a world.

The Pillars 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."[1] 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." [2] 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.[3]

Yet, the possibilities of dynamic change in Seventh-day Adventist beliefs were not unlimited.[4] Those landmark doctrines were non-negotiables in Adventist theology. Collectively they had provided the Seventh-day Adventists with an identity.[3] 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.[5] 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."[6][7]

Out of the Millerite movement grew the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They adopted many core beliefs from the Protestant churches they came from, and not only brought new understanding as they unveiled many prophetic light that had been forgotten and continued reforms that had been lost since the Reformation. These doctrines were grounded on Scriptural teaching about some of the following concepts which underpinned the developing doctrines of the growing church: • The Second Coming of Christ • The binding claims of the Seventh-day Sabbath • The Third Angel's Message in relation to the First and Second Angels' Messages • The ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary • The non-immortality of the soul(See "Non-immortality Of The Soul" at the end of this article)

Seven Distinctive SDA Doctrines[edit]

Under the article "Landmarks" in The Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (vol. 10, pp. 895, 896) mention is made of seven distinctive SDA pillars. Though similar reference does not appear under other intuitive headings such as Pillars, Waymarks, Special Points,Foundations, Pegs, Pins, or Platforms, all these terms are roughly synonymous with Landmarks. In Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White, vol. 2, the entry for Pillar(s) on p. 2061 is cross-referenced to Landmark, the only term among the eight named here with a corresponding entry in the Encyclopedia.[citation needed]

Ellen White wrote on these landmarks or pillars, "Let the truths that are the foundation of our faith be kept before the people. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. They talk science, and the enemy comes in and gives them an abundance of science; but it is not the science of salvation. It is not the science of humility, of consecration, or of the sanctification of the spirit. We are now to understand what the pillars of our faith are,-- the truths that have made us as a people what we are, leading us on step by step.--" Review and Herald, May 25, 1905

The seven pillars along with the Second Coming are embodied within Adventism's 28 fundamental beliefs as follows-

FB#11. The faith of Jesus
FB#13. The Remnant and Its Mission (the three angels’ messages and Rev. 14)
FB#18. The Gift of Prophecy
FB#19. The Law
FB#20. The Sabbath
FB#24. Christ's Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary
FB#26 & FB#27. Death and Resurrection and the Millennium

The foundation of Seventh-Day Adventism was being set between 1840 and 1844 and led to many of these landmarks being spread among the early believers. Seventh-Day Adventists believe they are repeating the history of the Jewish nation at Christ's first Advent. The Jews strayed so far from true doctrine that they did not recognize Him who was the very foundation of their system of worship. Their error and tradition led them to reject Christ and close their probation on the wrong side of the Great Controversy. Spiritual Israel is in a similar position now at the end of the world with many Protestant denominations drifting and forgetting the truths which they were built on. These early Adventists came to understand present truth and the Pillars prepare the church to stand through the coming end times and perform the work of restoring the true foundation given from scripture.[citation needed]

The faith of Jesus (Righteousness of Christ)[edit]

Fundamental Belief #11:

"Salvation transforms how we see our world. We no longer fear our pasts or future, but embrace a present full of hope, love, passion and praise as the Spirit lives in us.

"By His death on the cross Jesus triumphed over the forces of evil. He who subjugated the demonic spirits during His earthly ministry has broken their power and made certain their ultimate doom. Jesus’ victory gives us victory over the evil forces that still seek to control us, as we walk with Him in peace, joy, and assurance of His love. Now the Holy Spirit dwells within us and empowers us. Continually committed to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord, we are set free from the burden of our past deeds. No longer do we live in the darkness, fear of evil powers, ignorance, and meaninglessness of our former way of life. In this new freedom in Jesus, we are called to grow into the likeness of His character, communing with Him daily in prayer, feeding on His Word, meditating on it and on His providence, singing His praises, gathering together for worship, and participating in the mission of the Church. We are also called to follow Christ's example by compassionately ministering to the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of humanity. As we give ourselves in loving service to those around us and in witnessing to His salvation, His constant presence with us through the Spirit transforms every moment and every task into a spiritual experience.(1 Chron. 29:11; Ps. 1:1, 2; 23:4; 77:11, 12; Matt. 20:25-28; 25:31-46; Luke 10:17-20; John 20:21; Rom. 8:38, 39; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18; Gal. 5:22-25; Eph. 5:19, 20; 6:12-18; Phil. 3:7-14; Col. 1:13, 14; 2:6, 14, 15; 1 Thess. 5:16-18, 23; Heb. 10:25; James 1:27; 2 Peter 2:9; 3:18; 1 John 4:5 Seventh-day Adventist doctrine and theology today is directly influenced by the teaching and experience that grew out of 1888 Minneapolis General Conference and the events following it. In the decades before this event, many in the church were legalistic in their approach to the Ten Commandments. Three significant and foundational developments came about in the church from the teachings of Jones and Waggoner at the Conference. A new clarity on the role of the Ten Commandments in relation to salvation, reframing the third angel's message of Revelation 14 in terms of righteousness by faith in Jesus, and a shift toward a biblical understanding of the GodHead. The new emphasis on Jesus and salvation was soon linked to a core theological foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—the third angel's message.[citation needed]

Early Adventists understood the "faith of Jesus" as something that needed to be kept. It was descriptive of Jesus’ faith that Adventist wanted to emulate. It included "the New Testament requirements, such as repentance, faith, baptism, Lord's Supper, washing the saints’ feet, etc." that Jesus practiced.[8] This position countered those in the Protestant world who considered those requirements to be the "commandments of God." By identifying them as the "faith of Jesus," Adventists distinguished and preserved the perennial imperatives of the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath.[citation needed]

The Three Angels' Messages[edit]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has traditionally believed that it is the remnant church of Bible prophecy, and that its mission is to proclaim the three angels' messages.

"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 the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and 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."
Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church [9]
"In accordance with God's uniform dealing with mankind, warning them of coming events that will vitally affect their destiny, He has sent forth a proclamation of the approaching return of Christ. This preparatory message is symbolized by the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, and meets its fulfillment in the great Second Advent Movement today. This has brought forth the remnant, or Seventh-day Adventist Church, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."
Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual[10]

In Fundamental Belief #13:

"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.[11]

The special gift of prophecy[edit]

Fundamental Belief #18:

"In the last days, as in biblical times, the Holy Spirit has blessed God's people with the gift of prophecy. One who demonstrated this gift was Ellen G. White, a founder of the Seventh-day Adventist church.

"The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and we believe it was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.[12]

The church believes the spiritual gift of prophecy was manifested in the ministry of Ellen White, whose writings are sometimes referred to as the "Spirit of Prophecy". Two other official statements regarding the prophetic ministry of Ellen White have recently been voted at General Conference Sessions. The June 1995 document A Statement of Confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy states that White "did the work of a prophet, and more", and that her writings "carry divine authority, both for godly living and for doctrine"; and recommended that "as a church we seek the power of the Holy Spirit to apply to our lives more fully the inspired counsel contained in the writings of Ellen G White." The 2005 document Resolution on the Spirit of Prophecy called upon "Seventh-day Adventists throughout the world to prayerfully study her writings, in order to understand more fully God's purpose for His remnant people", describing her writings as "theological stimulus".

The law of God's love[edit]

In Fundamental Belief #19:

"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.[13]

Seventh-day Adventists believe that "the great principles of God's law are embodied in the Ten Commandments", and that these are "binding upon all people in every age" (Fundamental Belief no. 19). While the ceremonial and sacrificial laws of the Old Testament were fulfilled by the death of Jesus Christ, the 10 commandments are held to remain in force for Christian believers. The words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:17-20 are foundational to this conviction:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Adventist believe and teach that all humanity is obliged to keep Gods Law, including the Sabbath, and that keeping all the commandments is a moral responsibility that honors, and shows love towards God as creator, sustainer, and redeemer.

The Sabbath[edit]

In Fundamental Belief #20:

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.[14]

The seventh-day Sabbath, is observed from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, and Adventist hold this time as what God blessed and hallowed at Creation. Adventist point to the biblical references such as the ancient Hebrew practice of beginning a day at sundown, and the Genesis creation narrative wherein an "evening and morning" established a day, predating the giving of the Ten Commandments (thus the command to "remember" the Sabbath). The seventh day of the week is recognized as Sabbath in many languages, calendars, and doctrines, including those of Catholic[15] and Orthodox churches.[16]

Adventist point out that the change of the Sabbath was part of a Great Apostasy in the Christian faith when the Bishop of Rome began to dominate the west and the other centers of Christianity. The Seventh-day Adventist has traditionally held that the apostate church formed and brought heathen corruption and allowed pagan idol worship and beliefs to come in under the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches other traditions over Scripture, and to rest from their work on Sunday, instead of Sabbath as written in Scripture.

The sanctuary service and the investigative judgment[edit]

According to the Fundamental Belief of SDAs #24

"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.[17]

The investigative judgment is a doctrine unique to Seventh-day Adventism, and teaches that the judgment of God's professed people began on October 22, 1844 when Christ entered the Holy of Holies in the heavenly sanctuary. Adventists find the investigative judgment portrayed in texts such as Daniel 7:9-10, 1 Peter 4:17 and Revelation 20:12. The purpose of this judgment is to vindicate the saints before the onlooking universe, to prepare them for Christ's imminent Second Coming, and to demonstrate God's righteous character in His dealings with humanity. This judgment will also separate true believers from those who falsely claim to be ones.[18]

The state of the dead (and the Millennium)[edit]

In Fundamental Belief #26 & #27:

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.[19] Adventist believe that scripture reveals that the eternal God is immortal (1 Tim. 1:17). He is uncreated, self-existent, and has no beginning and no end.[20] In fact, He "alone has immortality" (1 Tim. 6:16)

"The Scriptures nowhere describe immortality as a quality or state that man—or his 'soul' or 'spirit'—possesses inherently. The terms usually rendered 'soul' and 'spirit'. . . in the Bible occur more than 1,600 times, but never in association with the words 'immortal' or 'immortality'".[21] Adventist hold that scripture shows that human beings are mortal. Scripture compares their lives with "a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away" (James 4:14). They are "but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again" (Ps. 78-39). Man "'comes forth like a flower and fades away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue'" (Job 14:2).[20]

Adventist believe the Bible declares that God is infinite, human beings are finite. God is immortal, they are mortal. God is eternal, they are transitory. [20]

The doctrine of the immortal soul caused much controversy in the early church and slowly was brought in from pagan sources. Origen was the first person to attempt to organize Christian doctrine into a systematic theology. He was an admirer of Plato and believed in the immortality of the soul and that it would depart to an everlasting reward or everlasting punishment at death. In Origen De Principiis he wrote: "… The soul, having a substance and life of its own, shall after its departure from the world, be rewarded according to its deserts, being destined to obtain either an inheritance of eternal life and blessedness, if its actions shall have procured this for it, or to be delivered up to eternal fire and punishments, if the guilt of its crimes shall have brought it down to this …" ( Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, 1995, p. 240).

Later Augustine continued to expand the false pagan ideas of the immortality of the soul and death. For Augustine death meant the destruction of the body, but the conscious soul would continue to live in either a blissful state with God or an agonizing state of separation from God. The influences of pagan Platonic philosophy on Origen and Augustine was extensive. Centuries later Thomas Aquinas put their ideas together in the doctrine of the immortal soul in The Summa Theologica. He taught that the soul is a conscious intellect and will and cannot be destroyed.[22]

Adventists teach that the resurrection of the righteous will take place at the second coming of Jesus, while the resurrection of the wicked will occur after the millennium of Revelation 20. They reject the traditional doctrine of hell as a state of everlasting conscious torment, believing instead that the wicked will be permanently destroyed after the millennium. The theological term for this teaching is Annihilationism.

The Adventist views about death and hell reflect an underlying belief in: (a) conditional immortality (or conditionalism), as opposed to the immortality of the soul; and (b) the holistic (or monistic) Christian anthropology or nature of human beings, as opposed to bipartite or tripartite views.

Adventist believe the Bible clearly teaches what the "spirit" that returns to God at death is. The body without the spirit ["breath,"] is dead." James 2:26. "The spirit of God ["the breath which God gave him,"] is in my nostrils." Job 27:3. They hold that the spirit that returns to God at death is the breath of life. Nowhere in all of God's book does the "spirit" have any life, wisdom, or feeling after a person dies. It is the "breath of life" and nothing more.[22]

Adventist hold that what happens when a person dies is the body decays and only the "breath of life", the spirit goes back to God, who gave it. The breath of life of every person who dies—whether righteous or wicked—returns to God at death. Adventist believe they are restoring the true teachings of scripture when it comes to the state of the dead.[23]

History of formative beliefs of Adventism[edit]

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."[24]

The Investigative Judgment understanding came about from the application of the day-year principle of prophetic interpretation by William Miller and spread among his followers in the Millerite Adventist movement.[25] who were expecting Jesus Christ to return to earth on October 22, 1844. They arrived at this date from an interpretation of the Bible verse Daniel 8:14. They understood the 2300 days to represent 2300 years (according to the day-year principle of prophetic interpretation), a time period stretching from the biblical era to the nineteenth century. However Miller had not been the first to arrive at this interpretation, as he himself emphasized. Others had earlier concluded that a prophetic period of 2300 years was to end "around the year 1843" (Miller's earlier estimate).[26]

When Jesus did not return as expected ( an event Adventists call the "Great Disappointment") several alternative interpretations of the prophecy were put forward. The majority of Millerites abandoned the 1844 date, however some members [27] ( including Hiram Edson and O. R. L. Crosier) concluded the event predicted by Daniel 8:14 was not the second coming, but rather Christ's entrance into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary.[28] Edson claimed to have a vision in a cornfield the day after the Great Disappointment, which resulted in a series of Bible studies with other Millerites to test the validity of his solution.[citation needed]

This became the foundation for the Adventist doctrine of the sanctuary, and the people who held it became the nucleus of what would emerge from other "Adventist" groups as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. From scripture, such as "And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments therefore, even so shall ye make it." Exodus 25:8-9. "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament." Revelation 11:19, they came to an understanding that there is a temple in heaven of which the earthly sanctuary was a pattern. This heavenly sanctuary is composed of two apartments; the first is the holy place, the second the most holy place. The revelation was greatly encouraging for the [Seventh-day] Adventists. As Ellen White wrote later, "The scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the advent faith, was the declaration, 'Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.'" (quoting Daniel 8:14)[29] She also predicted that criticism of the belief would come.[30]

They believed that Christ's first apartment (holy place) ministry began at His ascension and continued until October 22, 1844 at the end of the 2300 days/years when He entered into the second apartment (most holy place) to begin His final mediatorial work of intercession, atonement, and investigative judgment to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest.[31] Many of the Adventist Church pioneers came out of the Methodist or Wesleyan/Arminian branches of Protestantism which tended to have a view of emphasis on sanctification and the possibility of moral perfection in this life.[32] Ellen White in The Great Controversy wrote the following of the perfection of those saints who stand at the end while Christ still intercedes in the Most Holy Place, and what would happen when His work was done:

"Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. . . . This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble" (GC 623).

The urgency for attaining perfection comes from the knowledge that the remnant must live perfectly during the time of trouble at the end to prove to the universe that fallen human beings can keep the law of God. Ellen White states, "When He leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor." (GC 614).

And explains this is necessary because the "earthliness" of the remnant must be cleansed that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected: "God's love for His children during the period of their severest trial is as strong and tender as in the days of their sunniest prosperity; but it is needful for them to be placed in the furnace of fire; their earthliness must be consumed, that the image of Christ may be perfectly reflected."(GC 621).

The Adventist Pioneers held to the belief of overcoming sin and all who will can be overcomers,[33] and "that the final generation would become perfected, or sinless, men."[34] Ellen White wrote "Our Saviour does not require impossibilities of any soul. He expects nothing of His disciples that He is not willing to give them grace and strength to perform. He would not call upon them to be perfect if He had not at His command every perfection of grace to bestow on the ones upon whom He would confer so high and holy a privilege." and "Our work is to strive to attain in our sphere of action the perfection that Christ in His life on the earth attained in every phase of character. He is our example. In all things we are to strive to honor God in character.... We are to be wholly dependent on the power that He has promised to give us." [35] In addition to the many writings of Ellen White there were many others that wrote on the Great Controversy theme and how Christ withstood temptations and conquered the same as we may conquer. One of the best known was A. T. Jones a Seventh-day Adventist known for his impact on the theology of the church, along with his friend and associate Ellet J. Waggoner. Both of who were key participants in the 1888 Minneapolis General Conference Session a landmark event in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In addition to the message of righteousness by faith, A. T. Jones held that Christ was made "in all things" like unto us, or the fallen nature of mankind after Adam and yet overcame sin as our example and the perfection of character, is the Christian goal.[36] and was also our example and there must be a moral and spiritual perfection of the believers before the end time. In the Consecrated Way, he wrote:

"Sanctification is the true keeping of all the commandments of God. In other words, this is to say that the will of God concerning man is that His will shall be perfectly fulfilled in man. His will is expressed in His law of ten commandments, which is "the whole duty of man." This law is perfect, and perfection of character is the perfect expression of this law in the life of the worshiper of God. By this law is the knowledge of sin. And all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God—have come short of this perfection of character....In His coming in the flesh—having been made in all things like unto us and having been tempted in all points like as we are—He has identified Himself with every human soul just where that soul is. And from the place where every human soul is, He has consecrated for that soul a new and living way through all the vicissitudes and experiences of a whole lifetime, and even through death and the tomb, into the holiest of all at the right hand of God for evermore....Perfection, perfection of character, is the Christian goal—perfection attained in human flesh in this world. Christ attained it in human flesh in this world and thus made and consecrated a way by which, in Him, every believer can attain it. He, having attained it, has become our great High Priest, by His priestly ministry in the true sanctuary to enable us to attain."[37]

The Sabbath truth they felt was from God Himself, who after six days of creationary work, blessed, sanctified, and rested on the seventh day as His only Sabbath (Genesis 2:2-3). This was a sacred day of rest requiring abstinence from all unnecessary labor and secular work, and the performance of sacred and religious duties.[citation needed]

The Adventists embraced the Three Angels messages, starting with the first in Revelation 14:6-7, which changed the thinking of many denominations who 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.[citation needed] Here are the verses of the Three Angels messages:

"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Revelation 14:6-7.

The first angels message was a warning message to the world: to fear God, our Creator to worship only Him, and give glory to Him for the hour of investigative judgment (first for the dead and then for the living) has come, and to proclaim the Everlasting Gospel, which involves the plan of redemption, and salvation from all sin through Jesus Christ the only Mediator between God and man.[citation needed]

"And there followed another angel saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." Revelation 14:8.

The second angels message was on Babylon or the false church which had fallen because they rejected the light of truth sent to them from heaven as proclaimed in the First Angel's Message.[citation needed]

"And the third angel followed them saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:9-12

"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities." Revelation 18:1-5.

This angel proclams a chance for repentant sinners to accept the righteousness of Christ by faith. It also warns all mankind against worshiping the beast (Papacy), or his image (apostate Protestantism), or receiving the mark of the beast which is false worship. It also warns all of God's people to willingly separate themselves from all unclean apostate, harlot churches of Babylon.[citation needed]

Adventist came to understand from scripture that death is a state of silence, inactivity, and entire unconsciousness, referred to in the Bible as "sleep". The investigative judgment determines whether the dead will awaken at Christ's second coming being raised in the first resurrection to inherit everlasting life, or remaining in the grave until the second resurrection to be consumed in the lake fire which is the second death.[citation needed]

The truth about the non-immortality of the soul, while it may seem at odds with the majority of Protestants, it nonetheless represents the truth that immortality is only possible through Christ. This doctrine supports the teaching of the resurrection and thus it is a very important part of the Adventist eschatological model.[citation needed]


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.[citation needed]

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."[38]

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.)[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Ellen White on the Pillars[edit]

Ellen White called it a "solid, immovable platform," and the principal "pillars" that support the platform, and the Three Angels' Messages that serve the dual functions of supporting the platform (as do the "pillars") and providing entry to it.[39]

Ellen White explained that the "platform" of "truth" not merely truth as prepositional "theory," nor yet truth as "controversial subject," but rather the truth "as it is in Jesus" [40] was the doctrinal construct of the newly developing church.

The pillar doctrines were cardinal teachings such as the second coming of Christ, conditional immortality ("soul sleep"), the seventh-day Sabbath (in the greater framework of the immutable Law of God), and the high priesthood of Jesus Christ in His heavenly sanctuary.[41]

The three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 not only support the total framework of "present truth," but also provide the key to unlock contemporary meaning and open the door of understanding….[42]

Of all the pillar doctrines, the doctrine of Christ's high priesthood in the sanctuary was validated by the Holy Spirit "in a marked manner," more than any of the others.[43] Also, it constitutes an important contribution of Seventh-day Adventists to the theology of Protestant Christendom, "the very message that has made us a separate people, and has given character and power to our work."[44]

Alternate Variations[edit]

Some have tried to add the Health Message as a Pillar and others have tried to put in the following variation as the seven pillars of Adventism: Creation, The Nature of Man (Entrance of Sin, and the Mortality of the Soul), God's law, the Sanctuary and the Investigative Judgement, the Personality of God, the Three Angel's Messages, and the Messages of Adventism's Past (as shown on the 1843 and 1850 charts). See Prophets and Kings pp. 625, Sermons and Talks vol. 1 pp. 344, Manuscript Releases no.760 pp. 9, Review and Herald May 25, 1905 par.28, Counsels to Writers and Editors pp. 77, Manuscript Releases vol.4 pp. 249, 1888 Materials pp. 804, Paulson Collection pp. 423.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

See also 28 Fundamentals#External links


  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ Fundamental Beliefs
  3. ^ a b Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 27
  4. ^ Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 24
  5. ^ Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 26
  6. ^ Johnston, R. 1983, Adventist Review, Sept, 15, p. 8, from Knight, George, 2000, A Search for Identity, Review and Herald Pub., pp. 28
  7. ^ Venden, Morris, 1982, The Pillars, Pacific Press, pp. 12-13
  8. ^ James White, "The Third Angel's Message, Rev. xiv 9-12," Present Truth, April 1850; see also Uriah Smith, Thoughts, Critical and Practical, on the Book of Revelation (Battle Creek, Mich.: Seventh-day Adventist Pub. Assn., 1881), p. 301.
  9. ^ "Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church". Adventist.org. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  10. ^ "Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual". Adventist.org. Archived from the original on 2007-04-08. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  11. ^ (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.) In Fundamental Belief #13
  12. ^ (Num. 12:6; 2 Chron. 20:20; Amos 3:7; Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; 19:10; 22:8, 9. Fundamental Belief #18
  13. ^ (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.) Fundamental Belief #19
  14. ^ (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.) Fundamental Belief #20
  15. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1913, retrieved 28 Jun 2015 
  16. ^ Canon of Holy Saturday, Kontakion: "Exceeding blessed is this Sabbath, on which Christ has slumbered, to rise on the third day."
  17. ^ (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.) In Fundamental Belief #24
  18. ^ "Fundamental Beliefs". Retrieved 2006-04-20. 
  19. ^ (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.) Fundamental Belief #26
  20. ^ a b c http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/books/27/27-25.htm.
  21. ^ "Immortality," SDA Encyclopedia, rev. ed., p. 621.
  22. ^ a b http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/books/27/27-25.htm
  23. ^ https://www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/restoration/death-and-resurrection/
  24. ^ Counsels to Writers and Editors, p35. Chapter, "Chap. 4 - Attitude to New Light"
  25. ^ Ellen White, Great Controversy, 1888 Edition, p.375 paragraph 3
  26. ^ Le Roy Edwin Froom, Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 4, p403; as cited by Cottrell
  27. ^ Ellen White, Early Writings, p. XVII; as stated in the book's prefece written by the Ellen White Estate 1963
  28. ^ "Investigative Judgment" article in Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (Review and Herald, 1996)
  29. ^ Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p409, 1888. See also her later statement, "The correct understanding of the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary is the foundation of our faith." White, Evangelism, p221. As cited by Cottrell
  30. ^ "Not one pin is to be removed from that which the Lord has established. The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith." Ellen White, Evangelism, pp.221, 224; as quoted by Cottrell
  31. ^ Great Controversy, p 352, 409, 412-22, 428, 480, 647-48; Spirit of Prophecy, vol 4, p 265-270, 431, 440; Early Writings, p 36, 54-56, 256; Testimonies, vol 6, p 364; vol 5, p 86, 575; Counsels to Writers and Editors, p 78; Testimony to Ministers, p 37, 445; Manuscript Releases, vol 12, p 392; Selected Messages, book 1, p 124-126, 232, 344; Notebook Leaflets, p 99, col 1; Battle Creek Letters, p 116-117; Review and Herald, January 21, 1890.
  32. ^ SINLESS SAINTS OR SINLESS SINNERS? by Rolf J. Poehler, page 2
  33. ^ [S.D.A. Bible Commentary Vol. 7, Page 974]
  34. ^ http://www.presenttruthmag.com/7dayadventist/SDAPart1/1.html
  35. ^ Our Father Cares, Page 214. TMK 130 (MS 148,1902)
  36. ^ The Consecrated Way – A.T Jones, pg 28
  37. ^ [The Consecrated Way, A.T Jones. Chapter 12, 43,45]
  38. ^ Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington D.C., 1957. Chapter 1 "Doctrines We Share With Other Christians."
  39. ^ Early Writings, E. G.White, pp.258, 259.
  40. ^ Review & Herald, June 3, 1890.
  41. ^ Counsels to Writers & Editors, p. 30.
  42. ^ Early Writings, 258.
  43. ^ Evangelism, 224.
  44. ^ Counsels to Writers & Editors, 54.