Carson Moves into GOP Lead, His Adventist Faith Comes to Fore

Republican presidential hopeful, Dr. Ben Carson surpassed Donald Trump as leader among GOP candidates for the White House. In a CBS/New York Times poll released today, the retired neurosurgeon bumped businessman Donald Trump from the top spot. The poll showed Carson with the support of 26% of prospective GOP voters to Trump’s 22%, though the difference between the two fell within the margin of error.

Carson’s rise to frontrunner in the Republican field comes as his religious beliefs have become a source of national attention and scrutiny.

In an attempt to hit Carson at a source of perceived weakness, Trump on Saturday called into question Carson’s Seventh-day Adventist faith, saying at a rally in Florida, “I love Iowa. And, look, I don't have to say it, I'm Presbyterian. ... Boy, that's down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about."

Carson is particularly popular among conservative Christians in Iowa, whose first-in-the-nation caucuses are 100 days away. However, some evangelicals expressed concern over Carson’s Adventism, suggesting that Seventh-day Adventists are not actually Christian, according to the Des Moines Register.

Carson’s faith first attracted national attention after his now-infamous comments about Islam. Speaking to Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, Carson was asked whether he thought Islam was compatible with the United States Constitution. “No, I don't, I do not,” Carson said, and then elaborated, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Explaining himself further to Sean Hannity, Carson said, “If someone has a Muslim background and they're willing to reject those tenets and to accept the way of life that we have and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion ... I would then be quite willing to support them.”

Carson’s comments prompted Geoffrey Nelson-Blake, director of the interfaith Community Organizing Residency at Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice, to write an open letter calling on Carson to stop the Islamophobia. Nelson-Blake wrote:

Your singling out of a marginalized faith community is ironic, perhaps hypocritical, on many levels. As a lifelong Seventh-day Adventist, I am well aware (and assume you are, too) of the fears held by many in our community of the possibility of persecution for beliefs that differ from mainstream Christianity, such as a Saturday Sabbath. Holding membership in what many view as a small, fringe faith community, it is surprising that you are giving voice to religious discrimination.”

Carson exhibits certain fundamentalist Characteristics of Seventh-day Adventist Christianity. While he rejects the idea that the earth is 6,000 years old (a position popular among many Adventists), Carson believes in a literal six-day creation, calls the Big Bang a fairy tale, and contends that Charles’ Darwin’s understanding of evolution was encouraged by the adversary (Satan).

When it comes to perhaps the Adventist Church’s most notable doctrinal position, that the seventh-day Sabbath is the day instituted by God at creation for worship and rest (along with the popular Adventist notion of impending Sunday Laws prior to the close of Earth’s history), Carson has been largely silent, seemingly preferring to leave that part of Adventist teaching and practice out of the discussion of his faith.

However, voters, and increasingly, the media, may not be content to let the issue lie.

Image courtesy Caricatures of Adventists.

Jared Wright is Managing Editor of

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i just think this whole situation is completely exciting…nothing by dwight nelson or mark finley comes even close to the publicity for our church ben is achieving…

go ben, go :heart_eyes:

Well, this could get interesting.

First off, those Evangelicals calling SDAs not Christian are actually referring to a rather obscure bit of reasoning that labels SDAs a cult. I refer specifically to the Investigative Judgement doctrine, FB #24. The argument is that if Jesus still has work He must perform in the Heavenly Sanctuary that is vital to our salvation, then the SDA church then considers Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as insufficient to save us. According to Evangelicals, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was entirely sufficient for our salvation, thus the SDA contention that Christ has more to do to make our salvation complete, makes us a cult. This might surprise some SDAs, and even some other Christians, who often seem to assume we are labeled a cult because of EGW. Using EGW to label us as a cult makes no sense, since the Christian tradition leaves ample room for prophets to arise at any time. Although EGW may not make us a cult, she, of course, is often a source of some embarrassment, which Carson’s prominence will likely bring up again.

What actually disturbs me more is Carson’s misrepresentation of SDAs in other ways, one of which is pointed out right in this article, i.e. Islamophobia. SDAs have a long tradition of being tolerant of other religions, and Muslims, in particular, have always been viewed somewhat as cousins to Christians due to our common religious roots. The other recently disturbing statement is where Carson said that if he were president he would make ALL abortions illegal. This disturbs me, because yet again, Carson is pushing a view that grates against SDA tradition. Certainly, SDAs in general are opposed to abortion, but the church’s official position has long been that it is a personal choice, not to be decided by religious prohibition or lack thereof.

If outsiders were to view SDAs through the example of Carson, I am afraid they will get the idea that although we are soft-spoken, we are firebrands at heart who want to purge our nation of all things un-Christian, which includes atheists, apostates and Muslims, and anyone else we deem to be dangerous to our “Christian” nation. Lost in the shuffle will be the extremely strong tradition of religious tolerance and the belief in the strong separation of church and state.


I am not American! Yet I have some interest in Ben Carson and his career in the political world.

I am surprised at his political resilience. Yet I can understand it in terms of his campaign against political correctness and his resonance with Christian voters. I note that Carson’s Adventism is not dismissed as readily as others dismissed Mitt Romney’s Mormonism.

I find Carson’s hawkish militarism and his stance on gun control to be totally out of sinc with Adventism at its best. But ultimately the Lord is the judge. I also find his 7 day political cycle to be difficult to understand although I readily recognize that the role of President of the USA is an essential service.

I applaud his plain speaking about Islam and the constitution. Americans who think that Sharia law and the American constitution fit together in any sense must have rocks in their heads.

I would anticipate that if the Vatican and its minions in America have real concerns about an Adventist being either in the White House or a heart beat away from it, they will ruin Ben’s chances. However, at the moment Carson appears to be taking the high road by refusing to get into the bear pit of theological debate.

Afterall, he is an intelligent stage player who is very much appreciated for his forthright analysis of America’s ills and of their solution, though I note with interest that he has not made any promises to the American electorate. Perhaps that comes later.

“someone has a Muslim background…and clearly will swear to place our Constitution above their religion”

A couple of questions for Dr. Carson:

  1. Will he swear to place the Constitution above his religion? If so, how does that square with the first commandment?
  2. Adventists are historically pacifist. In general enter the Armed Services in non-combat roles. One of the biggest SDA heroes (in addition to Dr. Carson) is Desmond Doss. How would he square his role as Commander in Chief with the 6th Commandment? As Commander-in-Chief it is his responsibility to give the order to kill.

I have lots of other issues with Dr. Carson. I do think an Adventist can square his or her belief’s regarding higher office (well maybe not her because we know that a woman should be subservient to a man) :smile: However, his comments regarding Muslims are an issue given his status as an SDA.

I don’t think Dr. Carson would get a majority of the SDA vote (or if so, it would be slim majority) versus Romney getting an overwhelming majority of the Mormon vote. I also don’t think Carson would get a large percentage of the black vote (although probably higher than any other potential GOP candidate).

(Add): " In his 2012 book, “America the Beautiful,” Carson says America should have gone into Iraq and leveled entire cities. Further, he suggests the reason America is afraid to do so is because “political correctness dictates we cannot kill innocent women and children in the process of destroying the enemy.”

Does this mean that Dr. Carson believe it’s okay to kill innocent women and children in the pursuit of a political goal?

Read more: Ben Carson vs. Ben Carson - POLITICO


Some of the things the media is digging up about our denom is embarrassing and not how all of us think! I seriously doubt Carson can be a conservative christian and also supportive of all groups in this country based on some of the statements he has made publicly. On the other hand if he is responsible for bringing Jesus back soon then he can go for it!

I think that there will be an investigation and an judgment about the SDA now. The media and Carson’s opponents may go berserk about it. Will they dig really deep into the Church’s doctrinal issues? That would be really bad!!!

It looks like a true “investigative judgment” is already in course now… :wink:

Well, but if Trump keeps his promise of converting to Adventism if Carson defeats him, just his tithe can be a good compensation for the damage caused by Carson to the Church…

Things will end up even by the end of the day…

Those willing to discuss this issue further, please go to the lounge, where the discussion is already going on. There is no limitations for the number of comments one wants to post in the lounge…

The lounge:


I must admit, I was not expecting Dr. Carson to come out ahead. At best 4/5th. Well I guess we can expect a lot more attacks coming from Mr. Trump toward Ben, possibly the SdAC also. If the attacks against Adventists are too much for some to bear, they may end up leaving the church.

Then again, if Ben is asked about his faith, he may just tell reporters that he is not running as an apologists for the SdAC. So maybe nothing (big at least) will come of this. Who, but God, can know for sure.

NPR posted this today. Rather fair and balanced:


This article leaves out the facts of Sunday Laws, Protestants hunting down SDA’s, death penalty for not obeying the Sunday Laws and that Sunday worship will be the Mark of the Beast. That’s a major belief that was not mentioned.

It also said that SDA hospitals don’t do abortions, not true as far as I know.

I guess we’ll see how deep into the beliefs of Adventism things go. Interesting times!

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Be they SDA, Mormons or Muslims, these masking imposters, there are many, they have no tidy answer what part of “stop” is confusing them that women should be subservient to men. The optic to “Be good” is no alternative in these establishments. Like all male party it gets too bawdy. However, Dr Ben Carson possessed a certain pedigree that he could be trusted - who doesn’t think honesty is a dirty word. In fact he goes to Africa today and find a lake the color of his eyes. In his inaugural speech President Ben Carson would address Americans, " And so my fellow American ask not what the wish bone can do for you - ask what your backbone can do for your country. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. It’s not all meaningless after all I have done something well. I felt your love. The day you voted for me the seed of change has been sown that you have time to discuss your finest quality with me. I am not just another pretty face in the Oval Office I am your sleepless conscience."

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I watched a video of Dr. Carson on Facebook. It was taken during some debate with other candidates. He said he was not opposed to torture. This is a belief and action totally against God and humanity.


While in Gainsville, GA a couple of days after his latest book release about the Constitution Carson, at a large Evangelical church, said that if he is president he will bring God back into America. Carson believes that only Judeo Christian religions are of such a nature as is compatible with the Constitution, hence his statement about Muslim presidents.

The deep disgust of the GOP electorate toward politics as usual was much deeper than preceived. The “outsider” effect has catipulted Carson much, much farther (not to mention Trump as well) than ever thought. Well, we can only say as one teacher of the Apostle Paul says, “If it be of God who can stop it, and if not then it will become as naught.”

So far the press is being kind to Carson’s religion as it was to Mitt Romney’s. Trump is finding that attacking Carson’s faith is only helping Carson’s positioning in the polls.

The Establishment GOP has their hands full. This is one election that the Independent vote is going to determine the next president and can Carson win over enough of them, if he becomes the nominee, to beat the Dems? Well, we stay tuned.


He couldn’t pass the baptizal vows these days., Tom Z


Because of Carson, what are curious “Christians” of other denominations going to experience as they visit/check out SDA churches on Saturday morning?
As one who has continued to attend other churches as well as the SDA for over 40 years…groan.

They will hear 1844, 1888, EGW, lukewarm Laodicea, speculation on prophecy, denominational pep talks and mission reports, paranoia about the pope, gloom, boom & doom reports related to current events and shallow, get your act together sermons.

Prove me wrong on the following .
.There is more scripture exposure in Catholic churches , on a weekly basis from the Catholic missal than in your typical SDA church for both the SS class and sermon put together…especially if your SS class is a “discussion” class and the sermon is a small passage springboard, topical type.

And I think it is very important that voters not only understand that SDAs believe this, but Carson does as the Avondale video clearly shows.

I am not in favor of digging up religious beliefs just so voters can think how weird they are. But certain religious beliefs have direct policy implications and candidates need to tell voters about that. In an effort to be all tolerant and accepting, the media seems to confuse any religious belief as off-limits versus just those that don’t matter.

You cannot tell me that Bush’s evangelical views about Israel and the end of times played no part in the Iraq War. Of course, they were not the main reason, but I firmly believe they influenced both him and his advisors who shared those views.

Voters need to understand the religious views that candidates hold that might impact policy. Romney believing he will have his own planet someday might be weird, but harmless. Romney believing God is a capitalist matters way more. Obama’s pastor holding some anti-American views was not a biggie, but voters had a right to ask if Obama shared them and in what context.

Voters have a right to understand how Carson plans on keeping Sabbath, how his views on evolution would translate to public policy, and what exactly his views are on the US, Sunday Keepers, and end times. He is the champion of the very people he believes will fulfill prophecy and not as the good guys. The mind boggles.


Ben Carson, or any member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who chooses to be involved in presidential politics, has a tremendous opportunity and responsibility in the United States. to make a contribution to justice and integrity in politics. A more comprehensive, robust conception of religion and civic responsibilities along with politics is important for safeguarding the consti¬tutional freedom of people not just to believe or profess doctrines, but to “exercise” faith in public. Such understanding is also important for legally protecting religious communities that can provide a sense of mutual responsibility and community belonging-key factors in meeting people’s needs and preventing unhealthy dependence upon the government.

As Adventist Christians we should make such a contribution! To do so, however, Dr. Carson and others will have to become convinced that it is part of our high calling in Christ to be political servants. They will have to become self-critical, and realistic with the expectations of an electoral climate that is fraught with strife and full of many less-than-Christian assumptions, which exert influence on much of our thinking and practice today. And they will have to demonstrate that their renewed zeal is based on integrity and true to our core beliefs, values, and personal ethics.

Tolerating another religion in the name of freedom is one thing; but having a Muslim, who accepts Sharia law, in the government is another. Sharia Law and equal rights for women (for one thing) are at odds and is just one aspect that is unconstitutional in the US. I’m sure there are nominal Muslims like there are nominal Christians for whom the details of their religion just don’t matter; but if we’re talking about Muslims who take their religion, as its taught in the Koran seriously, there would be a conflict. It’s not about Islamophobia - it’s about Islam being at odds with the US Constitution. Of course, the Constitution can be circumvented as taught by our current president, so maybe that doesn’t matter any more either.


Whatever one may say of Donald Trump’s political savvy—or lack thereof—his recent comments about Ben Carson’s faith give every evidence of being a ploy to separate Carson from his presently-large evangelical constituency. This observation was shared this past Sunday by a number of commentators, particularly on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

Frankly, I’ve been almost as surprised by the evangelical support for Carson as by the evangelical support for Trump. (When was the last time conservative evangelicals flocked to a candidate who claims he doesn’t need God’s forgiveness, who’s been married three times, and who boasts of how many women he’s been to bed with?) But then, evangelicals in the end voted overwhelmingly for Mormon Mitt Romney, even—in the case of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association—removing Mormonism from the list of cults on their website

Whether increased scrutiny of Seventh-day Adventism on account of Ben Carson will occur in the months to come, will likely depend on how long Carson remains a serious contender. (His major fumbling in public on key issues of domestic and foreign policy offer increasing evidence that despite his stellar career as a surgeon, he seems quite bereft of the knowledge and subtle arts required to govern.) One must note, in retrospect, that only passing references to the peculiarities of Romney’s Mormon faith were made by the media during the 2012 campaign—a religion, I might add, whose distance from the Christian mainstream is far greater than Adventism’s.

I too am deeply troubled by Carson’s views on the relationship of church and state, his support for legislative regulation of consensual moral choices, together with his comments on Islam and the fitness of a Muslim to serve as President of the United States—particularly when the Constitution is so clear that religious tests for public office are absolutely forbidden in the United States of America. And despite its irrelevance to the issue of secular political qualifications for office, I am troubled as a Seventh-day Adventist by Carson’s misrepresentation of our faith by his campaign appearances and book signings during the Sabbath hours. Contrast this behavior with that of former Senator Joe Lieberman, whose orthodox Jewish faith was on full display during the 2000 campaign when he ran as Al Gore’s running mate. As others who followed that election may remember, from the convention to Election Eve of that year, Lieberman conspicuously refrained from campaigning on the Sabbath, even when the election was too close to call the weekend before the voting.

Finally, it probably won’t surprise too many folks in this conversation that I fully welcome in-depth scrutiny of the Seventh-day Adventist faith by the public—both professedly Christian and otherwise—and am confident that the Biblical faithfulness and common sense of all our doctrines—including our classic understanding of salvation and the judgment—will be demonstrated to the satisfaction of honest inquirers. As former Senator (now Secretary of State) John Kerry said during the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign—“Bring it on!”


to the author. not everyone reading the articles is american and knows, what esotric abbreviations like GOP could possibly mean. well, i googled it and now i know, but disagree :wink:

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