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
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
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
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.