Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Passing Thought That Keeps Gnawing at Me

I am not an adherent of Seventh Day Adventism (SDA) nor did I realize that there are some who consider this denomination to be generally Arminian. Have we as evangelical Arminians, who embrace the perspectives of Arminius, Episcopius, Wesley and others, come to the point where we embrace 19th century cults because they share certain soteriological aspects with us? Mormons agree with certain aspects of grace and freed will teachings promoted within the Arminian stream of thought. For that matter so do some Jehovahs Witness. I suspect that very few of their beliefs upon reflection would be considered Arminian. Yet, SDA are within the pale of Arminian thought? Maybe some of our more ecumenical brethren should look more closely at the teachings of Ellen G. White, at the doctrines of "investigative judgement", the Millerite movement in general that fuels these teachings as well as the doctrine that SDA constitute the end times remnant church of Jesus Christ.
To be rather plain speaking, the Seventh Day Adventists share more in common with the various 19th century cults that emerged out of the northeast United States than with evangelical Arminianism, either classical Reformed Arminianism or it's close brethren, Wesleyanism. Of course these are just my own personal opinions and I do not wish to project this personally upon anybody in particular. I just fear we are becoming more ecumenical than sound in several of our various pursuits.


Jc_Freak: said...

interesting thoughts travelah. In my experience I have found the SDA to be a repented cult, in that they started out believing a lot of heresy and in recent years most have rejected those teachings for more orthodox once.

As such, I have been at odds as how to classify the denomination, especially because I do not know what things the church as a whole still accepts and what the church as a whole has admitted to be error.

Just my thoughts.

A.M. Mallett said...

As with most denominational groups, there is a theological spectrum to the SDA. The academics within it tend to be considerably more accommodating and less rigid or even rejecting of some of the more controversial doctrines of the SDA. That is a good thing in my opinion however it remains that the 28 Fundamental Beliefs are official core doctrine of the SDA and a large number of it's adherents at the local church level continue to agree with these teachings.
It might be interesting to compare SDA core beliefs with our own statement of faith. There will be some agreement but there will also be some startling differences.

bossmanham said...

I've always thought that, other than annihilationism, the SDA was fairly orthodox.

The Seeking Disciple said...

Personally I have never interacted much with SDA folks. My dad use to receive a SDA magazine when I was first saved and I would read it and for the most parted agreed with them on what they wrote.

Yet I do remain weary of the SDA though I am aware that men such as Walter Martin moved away from calling them a cult. Martin felt their theology was in error here and there but right here and there also.

A.M. Mallett said...

boss, seeking,
There are a lot of aspects of the SDA that are within Protestant orthodoxy. Their fundamental beliefs statement makes that clear on several points. It is the aberrant viewpoints, their origins and their devotion to would otherwise be considered a false prophet by scriptural standards. I do not doubt the salvation of many of its adherents yet at the same time can we consider them to be Arminian in doctrine and outlook? My position seems to be not by a long stretch.