Hello. I wanna ask, is SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) a true christian denomination? I wanna see a fair and honest answer as much as possible, not assertive nor assumptive. Thank you
I don’t personally know any SDA church members. In the US Ben Carson, neurosurgeon, 2016 Presidential candidate and current Secretary of HUD is the only notable person that I am aware of that is a member of the SDA. Having said that here is a link to CARM an apologetics site that should answer some of your questions but because you not have explained the why of your question it might just confirm what you already know.
One thing I always like to remind my self of is a something that Ravi says (my paraphrase).
In any worldview there is the written, the spoken and the action they rarely agree.
I hope the will he helpful.
@Auron I know someone from the SDA Church that really loves Jesus and wants to honor Him in all that they do… The SDA has a few odd teachings - like dietary restrictions, worshiping on Saturday, Jesus being Michael the archangel and the prophetic status of Ellen White. But the person I know who is in SDA does not actually believe any of those things, so that is where I think we must be careful about lumping everyone into the same category. Personally I would never attend an SDA Church, but I also believe I will see folks from the SDA in God’s Kingdom.
My summary statement would be:
There are true Christians that are SDA, but I personally would not attend or recommend attending an SDA congregation
Below are some threads on navigating denominations I hope would be helpful. Christ grant you wisdom
My sister-in-law is about to marry a guy whose family is SDA, and they have had some long, tough discussions since what White taught is simply not true. Our family is non-denom/Baptist, so this raised some concern. For Christ centered denominations, it’s the individual who must make Christ Lord of their life, and He draws us to His truth that sets us free (Jn. 14:6). The denominational trappings of our beliefs in God seem to have each their own pitfalls. In the end, my sister-in-law’s fiancé was encourage by her speaking the truth from God’s word, and he wound up prioritizing Christ and stepped away from the SDA church. (This in of itself is too simple to be a happy ending and still leaves much unresolved, but I’m omitting all that.)
I agree with @SeanO and would not maintain fellowship under the leadership of an SDA church. And I learned that as we point towards the truth of Christ and encourage others to read His word for themselves, they can make better personal decisions regarding their obedience to true discipleship. I’d encourage sharing the common scriptures and Christ’s example with anyone to then grow together under His truth in order to loosen these earthly bindings.
Hope any of this helps, and I’m curious if there is anything specific about the SDA teachings that give your heart the most pause that you’d like to be able to speak to.
Thank you @SeanO for answering.
But let me throw a follow-up. If you mean real christians in SDA are those who doesn’t believe in those odd practices and belief then that doesn’t make them SDA at the first place. Because my assumption is this: modern SDA are now fond of calling themselves real christians and trying to eliminate some teachings that make them not a true SDA. But when you scrutiny the teachings of White one will surely see a flaw in a Biblical lens.
My postulate is this, if the person you know who’s SDA is not there to minister to SDA members them what he/she does there?
And if an SDA doesn’t keep the core foundations of their church, is that person will remain an SDA?
Thanks @andrew.bulin for your answer through a great story.
Speaking if SDA struggle, I have a friend from romania and she is an SDA. I’m just concern about her salvation.
With regard to the conversion of the fiancé of your sister, i have a question about marriage.
Is it advisable to convert the person you love into Christ in order for you to marry him/her?
@Auron I do not think believing in odd practices keeps you from being saved. As long as the Gospel is in tact, I believe people can be saved. It trusting in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Savior and God that saves us, not having all of the correct beliefs about every topic or being completely free from wrong teaching. Of course we should strive to walk in the truth and lead others into all truth, but that is not what saves us.
The reality is that people are complicated. Within any denomination you will find a wide variety of people with a wide variety of beliefs who are there for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes people stay in a denomination even though they do not agree with everything because that is where there friends and family attend. Other times a person may not even be fully aware of the teachings of their denomination. Some family friends of ours were in the Mormon organization for years before they realized the teachings were false, even though they came from an evangelical background. Churches are also complicated. One SDA church may teach basically correct doctrine, while another may emphasize the more bizarre elements.
For all of these reasons, I am slow to judge an individual. First I recommend asking good questions and listening. If you are concerned about this person’s salvation, have a friendly conversation and ask some good questions. That will help you really understand where someone is coming from.
- Who is Jesus to you?
- How do you believe we are saved?
- What do you think it means to be a Christian?
- Are you aware that the SDA has some odd teachings? If yes, why do you choose to stay?
@SeanO thank you. This is a very practical advice
I accepted a friend’s invitation to attend one of their prophecy seminars recently. I must say, I walked away impressed with the presentation. Jesus really SHOULD have come back when they said, I think about 1918. Except, of course, He didn’t. But I think the flaw is likely not so much of what they do teach, but what they do not teach. Like any group, they have their point to make, but they are unlikely to present a full, balanced, apology that includes even points they may not agree with. I have always thought of SDA as within the realm of evangelical Christian belief, but I admit I would have no reason for this.
Thank you for sharing @manbooks i am particularly on the same track of thoughts with you. Perhaps, i am convincing myself that SDA is Evangelical but just as you said, me too has no reason for that
No denomination is God’s idea anyway. He only intended church to be “where two or more are gathered in my Name”. But as long as they are not missing a correct theology of the Nature of Christ, I suppose they are OK.
I am an ex-Adventist. I believe it to be cultic and her is why,
- The works required for salvation. The true Adventist doctrine says that in the end times, the true believer will worship on Saturday and will no longer be eating meat.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV
 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
- The investigative judgment. This Adventist belief says that Jesus entered into the most holy of holies in heaven. Jesus walked into this spot in heaven in 1844 according to Adventist belief. This says that Jesus is now going through the sins of each person and judging them based on their works. Hebrews specifically states that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. This judgment theory was created to defend the mistaken declaration by William Millers prediction of Jesus second coming in 1844. Look up the great disappointment and the Millerite movement.
Hebrews 1:3 NIV
 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
- The true Adventist believes that Jesus is Michael the Arch Angel. This cannot be true because Jesus is God in the flesh and He is not a created being. If Jesus were Michael then he would not be God because God would have created him. In the book of Jude, Michael the Arch angel is disputing Satan over the body of Moses and Michael says “the Lord rebuke you”. If Michael were Jesus, then he would have said “I rebuke you”
Jude 1:9 NIV
 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
- Ellen White. Ellen white is seen by Adventist’s to be a current time prophet. And if you look into Ellen White you will find that she was a plagerist and made many predictions that were clearly untrue. She is listed in third fundamental beliefs as having the spirit of prophecy. She made so many errors that she could not be from Gods Spirit.
See Deut 18 and what it says about prophets who do not speak the truth.
This list is only partial but speaks volumes to the cultic nature of The Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Is it advisable to convert the person you love into Christ in order for you to marry him/her?
I would definitely not advise it and would recommend being equally yoked. It was good to see him begin to grow the moment he opened his mind to the One Truth, but as I mentioned, this is not a simple happy ending and they have a long road in front of them. We made it clear our advice to reconsider and work on other things first, if they are truly committed, but they are adults and have decided to get married anyway. My warning would be that it only will get more complicated, but again this is their decision.
I’m Ken, recently moved from Hawaii back to Montana to help my aging parents after a 24-yr military career (1-tour in Afghanistan) and another 6-yrs working with Department of Defense (DoD) and private industry. I’m married (25-yrs) and have three older kids (2-daughters/1-son). I consider myself fairly normal, a few odd interests, and can become passionate when discussing politics, military history, or speaking against communism. I’m a Christian by faith, and a Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) by denomination.
I was intrigued by your question and dismayed unfortunately by several posted answers. I will attempt to provide an, “honest answer…, not assertive or assumptive”. Bottom line upfront (BLUF as we say in the Army), SDA is a Christian denomination. More specifically, SDA is a Protestant Christian denomination.
The SDA denomination coalesces our doctrinal beliefs around the ‘28-Fundimental Beliefs of the SDA Church’, a Google-search of the same will lead to a complete list, and full description. We believe in the Holy Scriptures, the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (1-5). We believe in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (9). It is only through faith in Him that we may receive forgiveness of sins. Once a person believes in Jesus Christ, He gives us victory over the evil that seeks to control us (11), and we want to live the Christian Life (22). Essentially, once we accept Christ as Savior, we want to live, do, and behave as He did. I believe you would find these statements at the core and foundational of most (if not all) Protestant Christian denominations. The are several other in common beliefs as well, I’ve always seen the above as the core.
As you would expect, we have our differences in doctrinal beliefs. As mentioned by several posts, the Sabbath or Saturday as being the day of worship is probably the primary one (20). Belief in the 6-day literal Creation week (6) and the gift of prophecy (18) can become confrontational topics. I read a post in this thread of someone really hating on Ellen G. White. ‘Haters gonna be haters’ is the saying. Her writings and the denomination’s position are clear that the Holy Scriptures are ‘thee’ authority that all teaching and experience must be judged.
I would take exception to one post in this thread stating the SDA denomination is a cult. Any review of easily available cult definitions would distinguish that SDA is not a cult. We do not hold up one person, one ruling body, or one idea as an undeniable standard that must be adhered. We do not cast out people and demand that no current members speak to them. We do hold that dissent is intolerable. To the contrary, Bible studies are conducted in the Socratic method, dissenting views are often encouraged and discussed.
Does the SDA denomination have some odd members, yes we do. I’m ‘sure’ that there are no odd Baptists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, or other Protestants either (tongue firmly in cheek).
I was encouraged by one post that mentioned a famous SDA; Dr. Ben Carson, neurosurgeon and Secretary of HUD. I would add Rear Admiral (Ret.) and Chaplain to the U.S. Senate, Barry Black. Additionally, Desmond Doss, World War 2 Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, was an SDA, may he rest in peace. BTW - Met him once when I was a captain in the Army, very humble man!
Lastly, I’ll conclude with a few personal notes. I grew up ‘in the church’, but wasn’t until my 20s-30s that I began to study faith in Christ and the SDA denomination. I’ve attended/been a member of large to small SDA churches all over the US Mainland, Hawaii, and Germany. I consider myself a ‘lay leader’, taught/led out in many Bible studies, and preached several sermons. Had a recently mid-May sermon that I borrowed heavily from Jo Vitalie’s, ‘Why the Cross’ teaching. I’m a huge fan of Dr. Tim Keller and Ravi, of course. I became interested in RZIM apologetics as having sincere answers and processes to answer people’s hardest questions. I’ve attended RZIM’s Church Leaders Conference (2017), Answering Islam (2018), and will attend the Refresh Conference this June with my 19-yr old son.
I may not be a ‘typical SDA’. My lengthy introduction might speak to this. I hope I answered your question and that you perceived it as non assertive or assumptive.
God Bless you - Ken
Has the denomination made some mistakes? Yes, they have.
Are there things with which I do not fully agree? Yes, but based on the fall into error of the majority of christian churches I have been in lately, this is the most like the evangelical church in which I was raised.
I have known SDA members and visited 4 of their congregations. The first, to me at the time, seemed legalistic, as the sermon was primarily from the OT. The second, though invited by a neighbor who became a friend, was sadly, at least on the day I visited, focused more on Ellen White’s teaching than on His Word. The third congregation was [one of] the best I have ever had the opportunity to attend. I went there for several months. I miss them.
- Salvation was emphasized as a work of His Grace, not of works, lest any should boast.
- They believed the truth and relevance of the OT. Most other churches that I know have strayed from this. So much so, that when I a Christian woman I know was struggling, I mentioned that listening to His Word around the clock had been helpful to me. When, I gave her the Bible on an mp3, she refused to take it for she did not want to listen to the OT which had passed away, only the NT.
- They valued Bible study and research. An example: The pastor asked a question, each person expressed where they stood, followed by the pastor humorously expressing his loneliness, as his belief was consistent with SDA doctrine, and the rest of the hour was spent in respectful study of His Word and discussion. Aside from RZIM, I have rarely found this, even in the church, perhaps especially in the church.
- People dear to me took membership classes, and I followed along with them. There was nothing that was taught to new members that I could not support. A couple things I would not state in exactly the same way, but they were minor, and I understood their biblical foundation. Even on the lesson on Ellen White, they were asked to accept only those things which were consistent with His Word.
- They supported families, unlike the majority of churches I have attended. They had a nursery wing with a large window so that parents and young children could participate in the service without disruption of the service. In front of the nursery wing, they had a section for young families whose children were transitioning out of the nursery into the main auditorium, but off to the side in a wing where their parents direction and instruction to learn the self-discipline of sitting quietly would not be a distraction to the service. They included a children’s sermon, and allowed the children to serve by collecting funds for the children’s ministries.
- Many families have lost the wisdom required for raising children that was once passed from generation to generation. Ellen White captured much of that wisdom in her books on families and child rearing.
- Their speakers were knowledgeable in their fields and explained both what they believed and the biblical and scientific reasons they believed it. They covered a wide variety of culturally significant topics from creation, music, education, health, legislation, evangelism, etc.
I could go on. There are only a few pastors whom I have really respected and trusted, most from Dallas Theological Seminary, but this pastor, who has sadly passed, was among the best of them. He encouraged me to study and share what He was teaching me, even though I was not a member. Even more, he encouraged me to Know and follow Him. His congregation was one of the most loving and giving I have ever had the privilege of meeting, evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in the pastor’s life and theirs. He is greatly missed.
Here is a great book on the subject and found it to be very informative on the subject.
“Avoiding The Snare of Seventh Day Adventisim” by David Cloud
Perhaps your topical question has one flaw or twist to be examined. I don’t think many people understand the gravity of choosing to answer a true or false question condemning one group over another. I do not think anyone can challenge them on passing the love test in 1 John. If we have a beef about the church practices or doctrine, consider how others outside your denomination may examine your church. Every group has distinctions, but judging whether they are “a true Christian denomination” is not the type of perspective and respect that I have witnessed here. Please be considerate of distinctions and limit judgemental statements.