Is Seventh-day Adventism evangelical? This question we intend to answer, especially in relation to the issue of salvation by faith as opposed to salvation by faith plus works. Framed in a slightly different way, we must ask whether SDA offers salvation by works plus grace, and whether its view, particularly on the Sabbath question, violates the doctrine of grace and consequently involves the error of Galatianism.
Before we approach this concrete problem, a few observations should be made. First, we must affirm that all of the SDA people who truly accept Christ as the Son of God and Saviour are regenerate believers and brothers in Christ—despite theological accretions and legalistic attitudes. One cannot assume that members of SDA are unsaved simply because they are Adventists any more than one can assume that Baptists are saved simply because they are Baptists. Secondly, we must have regard for the integrity of those with whom we disagree, and argue the issues without reference to personalities. Thirdly, no reason exists why dialogue on the question should not be continued until SDA has had its full opportunity to be heard.
It is the opinion of this writer that SDA does mix grace and works and thus falls into the error of Galatianism against which Paul writes. The error of SDA is the same error embraced by Tertullian. “Tertullian talked of man as saved by grace. But grace, he believed, served to support man’s will so that through his good works he might obtain the reward of eternal life. In other words, man had to add to the work of Christ at the Cross” (“The Reformation and Eastern Orthodoxy,” by Paul Woolley, CHRISTIANITY TODAY, Jan. 20, 1958, p. 8). Perhaps the simplest way to deal with the issue is to state the verdict ...1
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