Seventh-day Adventists take some pride in being called a “peculiar people,” which indeed they are. They are among the few remaining church groups that believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. They hold fast to a personal second coming of Christ—soon—and envision their task as preparing the earth for his return. Their health practices, rather strictly observed, were once considered foolish and quaint. Now ample scientific support is found for a large share of them.

As Christians all over view with alarm the churches’ slipping hold on their members, Adventists maintain a steady increase in numbers. Their evangelistic programs flourish in many countries, and their hospitals are financially sound and well operated. A measure of the commitment of a Seventh-day Adventist is his faithfulness in contributing a full 10 per cent of his net income to the church as well as his liberality in supporting church-related projects, including an extensive parochial school system. Adventist giving for 1969 was $350.96 per member, the highest of forty-eight churches reporting in a recent study published by the National Council of Churches.

How does a church with these strict practices survive in a day of permissiveness? The answer lies chiefly in the guidance given the church by its prophetess, Mrs. Ellen G. White. But herein lies a problem.

Adventists believe that the writings of Mrs. White have the same authority as the Bible. The justification usually given is that she has never written anything not in keeping with conservative theology; her messages explain and amplify biblical truth. But this is missing the point. Adventists are told by church leaders to regard her publications as having the same degree of inspiration as the Bible. ...

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