The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Bible-believing Christian Church that wishes to promote a Christ-like character and lifestyle. Does this therefore mean that all it takes to be a representative of the SDA Church is the simple recognition of Jesus as one’s personal Friend and Savior?
Some have suggested that this is in fact the case. That nothing further is needed to gain salvation or to be an effective member of the Adventist Church as an organization – that acceptance of various doctrinal positions and other details really isn’t that important when it comes to being a “Seventh-day Adventist”.
However, consider that a great many non-Adventist individuals and organizations are committed to and take on the name of Jesus Christ – like the Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, Mormons (LDS), etc. However, as surprising as it may sound to some, the simple criterion of being committed to one’s own personal view of Jesus Christ my not, by itself, qualify one as being an effective representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Now, this isn’t to say that being committed to Jesus Christ and His example, as detailed in the Bible, isn’t a good thing. It’s a very very good thing and the motive of love behind such a decision is the very basis of salvation. However, even being in a saving relationship with Jesus, by itself, is not enough to qualify an individual as an effective representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in particular.
The Adventist Church takes on basic Christianity as well as an additional mission – a mission which includes upholding before the world some 28 doctrinal beliefs which the church considers “fundamental” or crucial to its primary goal of spreading the Gospel message of a solid Hope during these last days of Earth’s history.
Now, one may be saved without being a part of the Adventist mission or church. In fact, the vast majority of people who will be saved in Heaven one day will no doubt never have even heard of Seventh-day Adventists. So, this isn’t really an issue of salvation in and of itself. It is an issue of appropriately representing the primary goals and mission of an organization as that organization defines itself.
But what if one’s own personal mission is not in line with the “fundamental” goals and ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as an organization? How can such an individual effectively represent the Adventist Church? Of course, not being in line with the primary goals and ideals of the Adventist Church doesn’t mean that such a person is necessarily good or bad or outside of the saving love and grace of God. It just means that such an individual cannot effectively represent all that the Seventh-day Adventist Church stands for. Without first being in line with the fundamental goals of any organization, all efforts to represent or promote the organization would be counterproductive.
That is why it would be much better, and far more honest, for those who find that their own personal goals and ideals are no longer in line with those of the church to take on a label that more accurately represents their own world view… rather than trying to infiltrate and undermine the church’s primary goals and ideals from within by taking on a false appearance or false label of “Seventh-day Adventist”.