Editorial: Will The Real Adventist Please Stand Up?

Yes, I love the bold, broad brush strokes of artists like van Gogh!

You can call it inaccurate if you like (and I am sure his critics did); but, I think it is beautiful. I love the way each unique, individual stroke is identifiable while the diversity comes together to suggest a composed whole.


Why even have baptismal vows?

Good question.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Without devolving into the tired faith/works debate, let me just say that I think I agree with what you are saying and putting into practice Jesus radical teachings in the sermon on the mount would make for an impossibly challenging and wonderfully welcoming community to be a part of. Love, commitment to one another in community, is primary.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.


bic, what does this have to do with how WE are supposed to treat our neigbor? Jesus, of course, decides about who will be left out, WE, of course, don’t.


That was not the subject I was addressing. The comment I responded to is below. Just because someone “connect” with a local SDA community does not make them and Adventist. I could connect with a local Jewish group, but that would not make me a Jew.

Brenton Reading said, “A real Adventist is any individual who chooses to connect with a local Adventist community. Period.”

Why would anyone wish to become an Adventist? Is there a hidden benefit, perhaps in knowing you are secured from persecution by obeying all the commandments (which, of course, only Adventists claim)? Is there a fancier area of heaven for Adventists who will only mingle with their fellow church members?

The route to becoming a new Adventist are so difficult for many: changing their entire lifestyle: observing sacred the hours of Sabbath; changing to a completely new diet; paying 10% of income to the church AND additional offerings" and studying the history of Adventism and the unique interpretation of prophecy known only to them; and affirming belief in whatever current and new beliefs are part of the 28 articles of the SdA creed (it’s a creed when it serves that purpose).

As the church’s growth is so rapid in third world countries, while declining in the first world, the question should be asked: Exactly what are they being taught and is there an indication that it is exactly the same as for new converts in the first world?


So then, as we agree on these things…how then does that modify the statement you made about an Adventist is anyone who wants to hang around?

Episcopalian Baptismal Questions.
Do you believe in God the Father?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
Do you believe in God the Holy Spirit?
Will you continue in the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in the prayers?
Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord?
Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ?
Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?
Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?


Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7.
These are how Jesus defines Perfection.
That is pretty much it.
Paul, John, James, Jude, Peter are pretty much commentary.


“Belonging” involves emotional bonding and interpersonal relationships whereas “behaving or believing” involves trying to appease someone or “Someone.” The former gives one a sense of belonging, acceptance and security whereas the latter exacerbates guilt and anxiety.

Ideally, the sense of “belonging” fosters the desire to emulate and identify with someone or “Someone” whereas “behaving or believing” as a requirement to appease someone or “Someone” discourages anyone from emulating or identifying with someone or “Someone.”

Take a sample of our posters and see if this pattern proves true.


I don’t think you are secured from persecution, you are instead going to be persecuted.

The NAD has tried and tried again to some how hit on a style or an experience of worship rather then focusing the attention on having the power of God attend our Sabbath school and church service. If we would focus on having God’s power move on people rather then some emotional feeling we would see more results.

In the third world countries people are starving for truth. They want to know what is right and what the bible says, but in America all they want to do is argue and debate. Take Spectrum for instance :wink: You can’t do anything arguing. You have to get up from in front of your computer and work for the salvation of souls!

You sound like a psyche :slight_smile: Are you? I wouldn’t get too nit-picky if I where you. Doesn’t do much good.

(Please change your id. Using Troll (@Troll ) provides an inappropriate allusion, and - if you behave like a troll - you will not be permited to remain. So, keep us happy and rename yourself. - website editor)

In a loving biological family, everyone has a feeling of “belonging” with believing and behaving is a gradual learning process for children until adult. All healthy families teach respect for others but they never fear they do not belong regardless of their beliefs which are never identical.

Unhealthy families demand certain behaviors in order to belong and stunts development to become independent adults.

Why am I writing this to a specialist who works with dysfunctional families? :hushed:


Sort of. I’m not a “psyche” in its truest form, I am a psychiatrist. Welcome to Spectrum and join the conversation.

I’ll be looking forward to more dialogue with you.

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It may seem like “arguing” amonst ourselves to you.
Actually, our discussions are learning activities. It is slower than face to face. We are asked by each other to look at different points that each of us may not be aware.
By listening and looking, and considering something new, we grow in our knowledge and hopefully in our Wisdom.
Knowledge WITHOUT Wisdom us Useless!
We ARE all friends here. That is why we can say something controversial and NOT offend each other.
We are here to Learn. NOT to demand Conformity, Uniformity, and Sameness of thought. If we were there would be no Value in us having a good time here. Because there would BE NONE.


Oh, I see what you mean. I see a great difference between “An Adventist is anyone who wants to hang around” and “A real Adventist is any individual who chooses to connect with a local Adventist community.”

“Chooses to connect” suggests an intentional desire for relationships in community so that love and belonging are prioritized. “Hang around” is much more passive and suggests the opposite of connection and love – apathy.

I’ll admit there are many disconnected, apathetic people of faith. All too often I am one of them.


I appreciate your thoughts Elmer.

It seems to me that in a family we first and foremost belong. As you said, this involves emotional bonding and interpersonal relationships that develop over time. Then, as we live in a family we learn shared behaviors, the way things are done around here. Finally as we develop further we first take on our families beliefs and then begin to develop our own beliefs influenced of course by the beliefs of our family.

In my experience, Adventism reverses this process. The result as you suggest is not security and natural growth but guilt, anxiety, and a bunch of lonely people inhabiting a shared space.


[quote=“Troll, post:33, topic:8500, full:true”]
You sound like a psyche :slight_smile: Are you? I wouldn’t get too nit-picky if I where you. Doesn’t do much good.

(Please change your id. Using Troll (@Troll ) provides an inappropriate allusion, and - if you behave like a troll - you will not be permited to remain. So, keep us happy and rename yourself. - website editor)

"[/quote]In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[3"


Might this not be true across the board, anywhere in the world? Whether one is traveling (the Christian journey) in business class (first world?) or economy (third world?), shouldn’t the factors for healthy growth be the same?

You have, I’m sure, also heard the term cultural Adventist. Some may be apathetic but more often as we see many times here, they are effectively Adventists in name only since they hold nearly all views opposite of our stated and published beliefs as well as the belief set they said they agreed with when they were baptized long ago.
So again we get back to the definition of Adventist. Chooses to connect is a loose definition and as you describe it one I am very familiar with. We have used the belong-believe-become practice with growing people in Christ to many positive outcomes. This is the method used in many free market small groups type of relational evangelism. We understand the concept very well but giving people a place to connect is definitely on the belong end of the spectrum. Its where relationship and sense of community is with people in the fervent HOPE that this exposure will lead to them believing in Christ which will result (eventually) with them BECOMING an Adventist and Christian through public profession of faith and baptism. This is something that I have seen as fact in the real world many times over. Suggesting that they are Adventists in the 1st stage short circuits the process especially if they are aware of it and is contrary to the expected trajectory the bible describes in Hebrews 5. The “milk” they were fed was in the belong stage with a transition into solid food (believe stage) as soon as they were ready for it. We all struggle with the meat stage but the meat stage isnt the belong stage. I hear you saying in your descriptions is that the milk stage is fine. Finding a sense of community in Adventist people is not the gospel. It wont represent a decision make for Christ. It wont save anyone. How can it be stage one and done? A person who wants to have relationships with an Adventist community and go hiking and play softball and anything else an Adventist community likes to do is not an Adventist. It is step #1 to becoming a believer and no one is a Christian let alone an Adventist if they are not yet a believer.

why would anyone want to include in their identity their institutional relationships? I am a male with citizenship in the United States of America. I am married to one wife with whom we have three grown Children. I confess allegiance to Christ as Lord, to my country as a productive citizen, and to family as the senior male. I include in my fellowship all who are the issue of Adam. They can reject me, But I not them. for Christ as Lord is our Judge as well as our Redeemer.

the important standing is that Christ stands for me in judgment That is the ultimate reality. when He pleads my case He does not mention affiliations only the adoption. Tom Z