Baptist and Adventist Comparison

Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists Compared

compare 4Some 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”).

compare 2Seventh-day Adventists developed during the “Great Awakening” revival movement that swept through America in the 1830’s and 1840’s.  The revival was led by William Miller, an American Baptist minister, whose prediction of the second coming of Christ was incorrect and resulted in the “Great Disappointment”.  Among the disappointed followers were the future leaders of Seventh-day Adventism. Their reinterpretation of the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation were accepted by many Millerites.  James and Ellen G. White, as well as other early Adventist leaders, preached this new message.  Much of it was based on Mrs. White’s own personal visions, which were soon accepted as prophetic guidance.  The Sabbath truth was brought by Seventh Day Baptists and added to the Adventist message.  Mrs. White wrote many books, often borrowing from other authors as was common in the 19th century.  Her visions were claimed to resolve various doctrinal issues resulting in her being accepted as the authority in biblical interpretation for her church. The simultaneous belief in Sola Scriptura (scripture is the final authority) and the prophetess gift of Ellen G. White has led to contradictions in practice of both Seventh-day Adventist ministry and laity.

Some Similarities:

       compare 3 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 believe scripture as the final authority, but also teach that Ellen G. White was an inspired prophetess.  Considering her teachings and writing as authoritative has led to various internal church disputes among both ministers and laity.

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 require acceptance of all doctrinal position of the church for membership.  Much of what Ellen G. White wrote is official church doctrine, but all church doctrine is based on scripture.  Members are not free to reinterpret scripture and hold their own doctrinal positions on any official church doctrines.

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 through the judgement of all people. They call this process the “investigative judgment” which will be culminated by the second coming of Christ.  They believe in salvation by faith, but are adamant that works are a demonstration of faith and not the means of salvation.

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 believe Christ will come when the judgement is completed and take both the raised dead and the transformed living to heaven for the millennial period to understand the results of God’s judgement. They, with Christ, will return to earth at the end of the millennium to witness the destruction of sin and the creation of a new earth and new heavens, the final home of the saved.

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