TO THE READERS OF THIS BOOK...


What do you believe about God? Who is He? What does He

expect of us? What is He really like?

God told Moses that no man could see His face and live.

But Jesus told Philip that anyone who had seen Him had seen

the Father (John 14:9). Since He walked among us--indeed,

became one of us--we are able to perceive who God is and

what He is like.

We have written this exposition of our 27 major beliefs

to reveal how Seventh-day Adventists perceive God. This is

what we believe about His love, kindness, mercy, grace,

justice, benevolence, purity, righteousness, and peace.

Through Jesus Christ, we see God benevolently holding

children on His lap. We see Him weeping as He shares the

sorrow of the mourners at the tomb of Lazarus. We see His

love as He cries, "`Forgive them, for they do not know what

they do'" (Luke 23:34).

We have written this book to share our vision of

Christ--a vision that finds its focus at Calvary, where

"mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace

have kissed each other" (Ps. 85:10). At Calvary, where He

became sin for us--He who knew no sin--"that we might become

the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).

We have written this book believing that every doctrine,

every belief, must reveal the love of our Lord. Here is a

Person with an unconditional love and commitment

unparalleled in human history. Recognizing that He who is

the incarnation of truth is infinite, we humbly confess that

there is still much truth to be discovered.

We have written this book conscious of our indebtedness

to the rich Biblical truths we have received from the

Christian church of history. We acknowledge the noble line

of witnesses--such as Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, Tyndale,

Calvin, Knox, and Wesley--whose advance into new light led

the church forward to a fuller understanding of God's

character. And that understanding is ever progressive. "The

path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more

and more unto the perfect day" (Prov. 4:18, KJV). Yet as we

find new facets of God's revelation, they will harmonize

perfectly with the united testimony of the Scriptures.

We have written this book with the guidance of a clear

directive continually reminding us that "if you search the

Scriptures to vindicate your own opinions, you will never

reach the truth. Search in order to learn what the Lord

says. If conviction comes as you search, if you see that

your cherished opinions are not in harmony with the truth,

do not misinterpret the truth in order to suit your own

belief, but accept the light given. Open mind and heart that

you may behold wondrous things out of God's Word" (Ellen G.

White, Christ's Object Lessons [Mountain View, CA: Pacific

Press Pub. Assn., 1900], p. 112).

We have not written this book to serve as a creed--a

statement of beliefs set in theological concrete.

Adventists have but one creed: "The Bible, and the Bible

alone."

We have not written this book to titillate the

imagination. This is not a speculative work--unless one

considers the Bible to be that! Rather, it is a thorough,

Biblically-based, Christ-centered exposition of what we

believe. And the beliefs expressed are not the product of a

studious afternoon; they represent more than 100 years of

prayer, study, prayer, reflection, prayer...In other words,

they are the product of Adventist growth "in the grace and

knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"

(2 Peter 3:18).

We have written this book aware that some will ask if

doctrine is really important in an age that finds itself

struggling to survive the threat of nuclear annihilation, an

age preoccupied with the explosive growth of technology, an

age in which Christian endeavor tries vainly to press back

the brooding specters of poverty, hunger, injustice, and

ignorance. Yet...

We have written this book with the deep conviction that

all doctrines, when properly understood, center on Him, the

Way, the Truth, and the Life, and are extremely important.

Doctrines define the character of the God we serve. They

interpret events, both past and present, establishing a

sense of place and purpose in the cosmos. They describe the

objectives of God as He acts. Doctrines are a guide for

Christians, giving stability in what otherwise would be

unbalancing experiences, injecting certainty into a society

that denies absolutes. Doctrines feed the human intellect

and establish goals that inspire Christians and motivate

them with concern for other persons.

We have written this book to lead Adventist believers

into a deeper relationship with Christ through a study of

the Bible. Knowing Him and His will is vitally important in

this age of deception, doctrinal pluralism, and apathy. Such

a knowledge is the Christian's only safeguard against those

who, "like savage wolves," will come speaking perverse

things in order to subvert truth and destroy the faith of

God's people (see Acts 20:29,30). Especially in these last

days, to keep from being "carried about with every wind of

doctrine, by the trickery of men" (Eph. 4:14), all must have

a right concept of God's character, government, and

purposes. Only those who have fortified their minds with the

truth of the Scriptures will be able to stand in the final

conflict.

We have written this book to assist those who are

interested in knowing why we believe what we believe. This

study, written by Adventists themselves, is not just window

dressing. Carefully researched, it represents an authentic

exposition of Adventist beliefs.

Finally, we have written this book recognizing that

Christ-centered doctrine preforms three obvious functions:

first, it edifies the church; second, it preserves the

truth; and third, it communicates the gospel in all its

richness. True doctrine calls for far more than mere

belief--it calls for action. Through the Holy Spirit,

Christian beliefs become loving deeds. A true knowledge of

God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit is "saving knowledge."

That is the theme of this book.--Editors.