Baptist and Adventist Comparison

Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists Compared

Some people confuse Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists because they have similar names. The groups have some things in common, but there are differences in their history, teachings, and how they are organized.  Seventh Day Baptists began in England in the 1600s. Similar groups existed even earlier. The first Seventh Day Baptist church in North America was organized in 1671. Early Seventh Day Baptists discarded traditions that were not supported by Scripture. They restored Bible doctrines that others groups had abandoned.  Seventh Day Baptists emphasize five central truths and endured persecution in Great Britain and North America because of these teachings:

  1. Salvation is God’s gift to those who believe in Christ’s atoning sacrifice.
  2. The Bible must be the Christian’s only authority for doctrine and practice.
  3. God gave the moral law (the Ten Commandments) for all people in all time periods.
  4. The seventh-day Sabbath is part of God’s moral law. No human authority has the right to change the day of rest and worship.
  5. Government should not have authority over the church (“separation of church and state”).

Seventh-day Adventists developed about 200 years after Seventh Day Baptists. Many early Seventh-day Adventists had been followers of William Miller. Mr. Miller had predicted that Christ would return in 1844. His inaccurate prophecy resulted in the “Great Disappointment” for his followers. Some of these people became convinced of the Sabbath truth through Seventh Day Baptists and added Sabbath observance to their interpretation of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. This combined message was reinforced by the leadership of James and Ellen G. White. Mrs. White wrote many books, sometimes borrowing material from other authors. She claimed to have visions that resolved various doctrinal issues for her followers. She came to be seen as the authority in Bible interpretation for her church. As early as 1857, the SDA Conference declared that her testimony to the church was “received as the voice of the Lord to His people” (see Review & Herald, November 12, 1857).

Some Similarities:

        Both groups 

●  Observe the original Sabbath of the Bible, the seventh day of the week, commonly called “Saturday.”

        ●  Support religious freedom and the separation of government and church.

        ●  Practice baptism by immersion.

Some Differences:

Bible

Seventh Day Baptists view the Bible as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice both for  the individual Christian and for the church as a   whole.

Seventh-day Adventists insist that the Bible is the source of their faith, but also teach that Ellen G. White was an inspired prophetess. They consider her writings and teachings as authoritative in their church.

Interpretation of the Bible

Seventh Day Baptists consider liberty of thought under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to be essential to Christian belief and practice. They encourage unhindered study and open discussion of Scripture. They uphold the individual’s freedom of conscience in seeking to understand and apply God’s Word.

Seventh-day Adventists expect all members to accept and support the official position of their church in all areas of doctrine. What Ellen G. White wrote about various doctrines is official church teaching. Only limited freedom is permitted to members who want to interpret Scripture for themselves.

Atonement

Seventh Day Baptists teach that Christ’s atoning work was finished when He died on the cross. Eternal life is not something we earn through good works. It is a gift through God’s grace. The believer is free from condemnation because of this finished atoning work of Christ. While all people should do good works, salvation is never dependent on our efforts.

Seventh-day Adventists stress the “third angel’s message” (Revelation 14:9-12). They teach that Christ entered the “heavenly sanctuary” in 1844 and is completing His atonement by investigating the lives of all people. They call this the “investigative judgment.” An emphasis on human effort causes some SDAs to be uncertain about salvation for themselves and others.

Prophecy and the Second Coming

Seventh Day Baptists believe that Christ will return to earth in power at an undisclosed time in the future. They place the same emphasis on Bible prophecy as they do on the many other important topics in the Bible. SDBs avoid setting up timetables for prophetic events.

Seventh-day Adventists emphasize Bible prophecy and expect all members to accept the official church interpretation. Many SDAs believe that only those who accept their interpretation of “present truth” will be “translated” when Christ appears.

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