The evangelical status of Seventh-day Adventism has been questioned in recent issues of CHRISTIANITY TODAY. Contributors and correspondents participating in the debate voice appreciation of many features of Seventh-day Adventism—zeal of its lay workers, faithful “observance” of the Saturday-Sabbath despite economic disadvantage and cultural pressures, evidence that detailed doctrinal confession and patterns of behavior do not retard church growth or community impact, and tithing of income for support of the ministry before church offerings are given for missions and other purposes. Adventist acceptance of many basic evangelical tenets, moreover, is not in dispute. Even the formal Adventist insistence on the perpetual and universal validity of the moral law as divine standard of conduct is widely regarded as an emphasis unfortunately neglected by many evangelicals. What is in question, however, is the advocacy of certain doctrines peculiar to Seventh-day Adventism. CHRISTIANITY TODAY has correlated these criticisms in the form of specific questions and has addressed them to Dr. Frank H. Yost, formerly Professor of Church History, and of Systematic Theology, at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary in Takoma Park, Washington, D. C., and Editor of Liberty: A Magazine of Religious Freedom. His reply is printed below.—ED.
1. Is the General Conference the only authoritative voice of Seventh-day Adventists?
Yes, in the ecclesiastical sense. Every Seventh-day Adventist is a free man, answerable to God, walking under the blessing of the Holy Spirit, who illuminates the Scriptures, the norm of his spiritual and moral experience. But the General Conference in session is the highest administrative body, and is alone qualified ...1
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