Apologetics Index

Seventh-day Adventist Church

    • What:
      The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the largest denomination of Adventism. The latter is a Christian sect started in the 19th century in the USA by William Miller, a Baptist lay preacher whose followers were referred to as Millerites.

      In 1833 Miller started telling people he believed that the ‘Second Advent‘ (also known as the ‘Second Coming’) of Jesus Christ would occur some time in 1843 or 1844. 1

      When Jesus did not return on various dates Miller suggested — between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844 — his followers initially made some allowance for possible calculation errors.

      But Miller confessed his predictions had failed, and he left the movement.

      Then, in August 1844 at a camp-meeting in Exeter, New Hampshire, a preacher by the name of Samuel Sheffield Snow — who had been one of Miller’s followers — calculated that the Second Advent would take place on October 22, 1844.

      Again Jesus did not return, and this non-event has become known in Adventist circles as the ‘Great Disappointment.’

      The movement subsequently split into various factions. One of these groups was led by Ellen G. White. She had been a Millerite since her teenage years, and had done some itinerant preaching.

      During a prayer meeting shortly after the Great Disappointment she had the first of a reported 2,000 visions. 2

      These experiences came to be accepted as authoritative by Seventh-day Adventists. Many of Ellen’s visions form the basis of Seventh-day Adventist tenets, or confirmed tenets decided upon by the less spiritually adept members of the group. Today Ellen retains her status as a prophet in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 3

Millerite preacher Joseph Bates conviced Ellen White and her husband, James, of the validity of the seventh-day Sabbath teaching 4 — the notion that Christians must observe the Sabbath on Saturday. 5

Seventh-day Adventist Church At a Glance

This became one of the movement’s most distinctive doctrines — one of several unbiblical teachings, ranging from aberrant and heterodox to heretical — that, to this day, set the movement apart from Christian denominations.

    • Founded:
      The movement, which like the Millerites included members of various Christian denominations, chose the name Seventh-day Adventist in 1860, and was officially organized in 1863. 6

      While she never held title as head of the church, Ellen G. White was one of its founders, and the acknowledged spiritual leader.

      Co-founders were

      • James White, Ellen G. White’s husband
      • Joseph Bates, nicknamed the ‘Apostle of the Sabbath’ — and founder of Sabbatarian Adventism, which promoted the seventh day, Saturday, as the Sabbath.
      • John Nevins Andrews, who became the first official Seventh-day Adventist missionary
    • Other Names:
      Adventist Church, SDA (informally)
    • Publications:
      Adventist Review (North American focus); Adventist World (International focus); Liberty (focus on religious freedom)
    • Location:
      The movement’s headquarters — known as the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists — are located in Silver Spring, Maryland
    • Membership:
      In 2013 the church’s official website reported that new members join “at a rate of one every 35 seconds,” and “Globally, the church is doubling in size every 12 years.” 7

      The church reports that in 2014, the latest year for which numbers have been posted, it had 18,479,257 members, and has 78,810 churches in 216 countries. 8

      Howwever, in his October, 2016 address to the Annual Council G.T Ng, executive secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, also noted the church’s membership losses:

      Membership losses have grown over the past 15 years. In 2000, 43 of every 100 newly baptized members ended up leaving the church, he said, citing data from the world church’s Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. The latest figures indicate that 49 of every 100 new members eventually leave.

      “This 49 percent apostasy rate is alarming and is a serious drain on the human and financial resources of the church,” Ng said in an e-mailed statement to the Adventist Review. […]

      The Adventist Church would have 28.5 million to 30 million members today if none had left over the past 50 years, according to estimates that Ng provided from the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. Church membership currently stands at 19.5 million people.
      – Source: Andrew McChesney, Every Adventist Urged to Help Stem Membership Losses, Adventist Review, Oct. 9, 2016. 9

  • Unique Terminology:Flesh food (meat); Health Message (diet and lifestyle teachings of Ellen G. White. Referred to as “the right arm of the gospel,” and used as a form of proselytizing); Great Controversy (Jesus is in a cosmic battle with Satan and humans help Jesus win); Investigative Judgement (divine judgment of professed Christians has been in progress since 1844); Pen of Inspiration (the writings of Ellen G. White); Present Truth (the revelations of Ellen G. White and the teachings of the SDA Church); Sabbath School (SDA Church’s equivalent of Sunday School); The Testimonies (Ellen G. White’s writing, but in particular a set of nine books titled, “Testimonies for the Church”).
  • Controversies:
    The Seventh-day Adventist Church goes to great lengths to try and be accepted as a just another Christian denomination. This even though it considers itself to be God’s one, special remnant church.

    In our opinion, the movement should instead be considered, theologically, a cult of Christianity — based on its serious doctrinal errors. 10

    Some people disagree on whether it should be classified as such.

    They argue that while Seventh-day Adventism includes a number of doctrines that are outside the mainstream of historic Christian theology, Seventh-day Adventists do accept the essential doctrines of the Christian faith and should thus be considered Christians.

    For example, the late Walter Martin, founder of the Christian Research Institute has stated,

    It is my conviction that one cannot be a true Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, Christian Scientist, etc., and be a Christian in the biblical sense of the term; but it is perfectly possible to be a Seventh-day Adventists and be a true follower of Jesus Christ despite heterodox concepts…
    – Source: Walter Martin, The Puzzle of Seventh-day Adventism, in Kingdom of the Cults Bethany House Publishers, Revised and Updated edition (October 1, 2003), p.535. 11

    This is still the position taken by today’s Christian Research Institute (CRI). 12

    CRI's statement on Seventh-day Adventism

    CRI’s statement on Seventh-day Adventism

    The organization says

    Though several capable Christian scholars (e.g., Anthony Hoekema, J.K. Van Baalen, John Gerstner) have concluded that SDA is a non-Christian cult system, CRI has continued to assert that this is not the case.

    Given that the term ‘cult’ is burdened with ambiguity and controversy, CRI should have taken the opportunity to explain what those scholars meant when they used the term “non-Christian cult system.” A proper understanding of this terminology is necessary in order to evaluate their view — and that of others — of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as, theologically, a cult of Christianity (versus a cult as defined sociologically). See our footnotes on the subject: 13

    As CRI writes, its position on the Seventh-day Adventist Church is “based on the content of the doctrine which was stated in an official SDA publication (1957) entitled Questions on Doctrine.”

    The full name of that publication is Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine: An Explanation of Certain Major Aspects of Seventh-day Adventist Belief — usually abbreviated as QOD.

    It was published after several meetings Walter Martin and some of his evangelical colleagues, including Donald Grey Barnhouse, had with the leaders of the SDA Church.

    Those meetings came about when Martin had contacted the church in 1955 to make sure he accurately understood its doctrinal positions.

    But in an article titled, Did Adventist leaders lie to Walter Martin? Stephen D. Pitcher notes:

    Ever since the Adventist church published Questions on Doctrine to convince Martin and Barnhouse that it was not a cult, the organization continued publishing materials endorsing traditional Adventism. In other words, QOD did not alter the church’s doctrines and teachings.

    In fact, as Pitcher documents, the material presented in QOD was less than honest. And it bit the church in the tail:

    Did Adventist leaders lie to Walter Martin?

    Did Adventist leaders lie to Walter Martin?

    Pitcher says

    Numerous accounts of this story focus not primarily on the events of the discussions themselves but on their backlash from both within and without the Adventist Church. As many have stated and re-stated, the publication of QOD resulted in more and longer-lasting controversy within the Adventist Church than has any other issue the Church has faced.

    He concludes:

    The definition of “lie” is to tell an untruth with the intent to deceive. Included in the definition is the act of not telling the whole truth, or telling partial truths with the intent to mislead. Given this definition of “lie,” the simple answer to the question must be a clear “Yes, Adventist leadership lied to Walter Martin.”

    Pitcher notes that “In 1984 Walter Martin and William Johnsson, then editor of the Adventist Review, met for discussions on the John Ankerberg Show. The resulting five-program television series, ‘Who Is Telling the Truth About Seventh Day [sic] Adventism?,’ aired in 1985.”

    You can watch the debate here — and we encourage you to first read Pitcher’s comments (See William Johnsson and Walter Martin in the aforementioned article)

    [NOTE: These videos were removed from YouTube shortly after we embedded them here. However, it turns out the you can order them from the John Ankerberg Show].

    Then again, the videos have been reposted, with the permission of John Ankerberg:


  • As Pitcher writes,

    Walter Martin stated the facts himself on the John Ankerberg Show in 1985. It’s now time to admit that the Adventists did not tell Martin, Barnhouse, and their evangelical colleagues the truth. It’s time to set the record straight.

    Watchman Fellowship, an independent, Christian research and apologetics ministry, in its profile on Seventh-day Adventism says this (highlights ours):

    Profile: Seventh-day Adventism, by Watchman Fellowship

    Profile: Seventh-day Adventism, by Watchman Fellowship

    As we noted earlier, in essence Seventh-day Adventism’s doctrines span the range from orthodox through aberrant, heterodox, sub-orthodox 14 and heretical.

    For this reason, the publishers of Apologetics Index advise Christians not to get involved in Seventh-day Adventism, and urges those who are already part of the SDA church to instead seek out a church that teaches sound, biblical theology.

    Outside the boundaries of the Christian faith
    No church or denomination is perfect, but while Seventh-day Adventism does include much that is Biblically orthodox, it includes too much serious error to be accepted within the boundaries of the Christian faith.

    Even if the Seventh-day Adventist Church would squarely stand behind Christianity’s essential doctrines — and there is enough evidence that this is not so — it mixes in so much poison as to spoil the whole dish.

    As we note in our article on the term cult of Christianity,

    The term can also be applied to groups, organizations or churches whose ‘statement of faith’ or ‘statement of beliefs’ may sound orthodox, but who add aberrant, heterodox, sub-orthodox and/or heretical teachings to such an extend that the essential doctrines of the Christian faith are negatively affected.

    This 14-page overview gives side-by-side comparisons of the most important issues-and the beliefs that every SDA member holds.

    This 14-page overview gives side-by-side comparisons of the most important issues-and the beliefs that every SDA member holds.

    Such is the case with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, whose doctrine is at best a confusing mix of water and wine.

    It is telling that even some apologetics ministries have not picked up on, for instance, the problems surrounding the SDA Church’s version of the doctrine of the Trinity.

    Like many other cults of Christianity, the SDA pays lip-service to the doctrine, and tries to pass it off as orthodox in nature by redefining defintions. 15

    Rose Publishing, in its pamphlet titled, 10 Q&A on Seventh-day Adventism says

    Most of the church’s founders, including James White and Joseph Bates, openly rejected the Trinity and the deity of Christ.

    The SDA Church did not officially endorse a “Trinitarian view” until 1946, and it still fundamentally distorts the historic doctrine of the Trinity as expressed in the Nicene Creed. 16

    There also is a lot of confusion among Seventh-day Adventist themselves.

    Their problems are compounded by the fact that over the past few decades, deep divisions or factions have developed within the SDA Church. 17

    CRI Statement addresses factions within the SDA Church

    CRI Statement addresses factions within the SDA Church

    CRI, in its statement on Seventh-day Adventism, says

    Those who follow Adventism closely know that the last two decades have been characterized by a deep internal conflict which has divided the denomination and left many Adventist disillusioned. Today, there are various divisions or factions within SDA. Some wish that Adventism would fully enter into the evangelical mainstream, while maintaining certain Adventist distinctives.

    Others, the more traditional or fundamentalist Adventists, often reject portions of Questions on Doctrine and seek to hold on to several heresies which arose early in the Adventist movement, such as the investigative judgment, the sinful nature of Christ, and viewing Ellen G. white as the infallible interpreter of Scripture. It is the division of Adventism, who often refer to themselves as “the remnant church,” or God’s exclusive agent, that CRI would regard as being cultic. Some within this camp would anathematize all of Protestantism, arguing that as Sunday-keepers they will receive the mark of the beast just prior to Christ’s second coming. Admittedly, this is the extreme part of SDA, but nevertheless well represented.

    That undated statement, which is at least more than a decade old, makes it appear as if there is within the Seventh-day Adventist Church a group of Christians who adhere to biblically sound doctrine — even while they remain part of a movement that teaches many false doctrines.

    But as CRI itself admits in the same position statement,

    The crisis that exists within SDA today essentially centers around the investigative judgment, an unbiblical doctrine which severely compromises if not outright denies the biblical doctrine of justification by faith. Second only to the investigative judgment issue is the all-encompassing question of the inspiration and authority of the writings of Ellen G. white. The controversy which has raged regarding the writings of Mrs. White has undoubtedly shaken the entire structure of SDA.

    Investigative Judgment
    The ‘investigative judgment‘ is a doctrine unique to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which claims that a divine judgment of Christians has been in progress since 1844.

    When Jesus did not return in that year, Hiram Edson — a Millerite — claimed to have received a vision that explained the true meaning of Daniel 8:14. He preached that the verse did not refer to the Second Advent of Jesus, but rather to his entrance into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary in order to begin an “investigative judgement.”

    Wikipedia notes that “This became the foundation for the Adventist doctrine of the sanctuary, and the people who held it became the nucleus of what would emerge from other ‘Adventist’ groups as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”

    Rose Publishing, in ’10 Q&A on Seventh-day Adventism’ explains what the SDA Church teaches regarding the heavenly sanctuary:

    The blood of Jesus shed on the cross transferred the sins of professing Christians up into heaven, where they are “stored” and defile the heavenly sanctuary.

    Jesus’ atonement wasn’t completed on the cross; it continues until he finishes investigating the heavenly “books of record,” maintained by a “recording angel,” that shows the thoughts and deeds of all professing Christians.

    One day Jesus will place unconfessed sins back onto the people who committed them, and they will be punished.

    But Jesus will place Christians’ confessed sins onto the head of Satan, the scapecoat, and he will be punished for them in the lake of fire.

    Thus Jesus will pardon every confessed sin of professing Christians, and the heavenly sanctuary will be “cleansed.”

    When Jesus finishes his investigation, Christians who attain perfect obedience must withstand the “Time of Trouble” without Jesus as their intercessor.

    Sabbath-keepers will thus refute Satan’s accusations against God and vindicate the fairness of his law.
    – Source: What is the Investigative Judgement, 10 Q&A on Seventh-day Adventism, Rose Publising

    The pamphlet further notes that Adventist scholars admit that without the investigative judgement, there is no reason for the Adventist Church to exist.

    In addition, Ellen White not only claimed that those who don’t believe this doctrine unwittingly pray to Satan, but she also taught that one must believe this doctrine in order to be saved. 18

    There is no way that a Christian interested in sound doctrine can accept those kind of teachings.

    In its SDA Profile, Watchman Fellowship says

    Seventh-day Adventism is another gospel

    Ellen White
    It will be worthwhile to take a closer look at Ellen White, given the prominent place she had in SDA history, and the reverence accorded her by most Seventh-day Adventists.

    Rose Publishing goes right to the point. In its pamphlet on the SDA Church, it compares Adventism’s claims regarding White versus what the Bibles teaches about modern revelation and the testing of prophets.

    It also notes that

    Ellen White plagiarized vast amounts of material from other authors without permission or credit. … She made false predictions about the return of Christ as well as other individuals and events … She imposed broad, unscriptural rules on health and diet on spiritual grounds, including bans on consuming meat and vinegar … She claimed that “certain races of men” today are the result of “the amalgation of man and beast.”

    Nevertheless, the Seventh-day Adventist Church continues to revere and promote White as the Lord’s end-time messenger, claiming that she and her “testimonies” represent “the spirit of prophecy” foretold in Revelation 19:10.

    While the Christian Church has historically interpreted that phrase as a reference to the Holy Spirit, who imparts the gift of prophecy (as one of a number of spiritual gifts) to Christians, the Seventh-day Adventists Church sees a reference to Ellen G. White.

    SDA Church's 'Statement of Confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy', which it identifies as Ellen G. White

    SDA Church’s ‘Statement of Confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy’, which it identifies as Ellen G. White

    In A Statement of Confidence in the Spirit of Prophecy, the SDA Church states,

    In Revelation 12, John the Revelator identifies the church in the last days as the “remnant . . . which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (verse 17). We believe that in this brief prophetic picture the Revelator is describing the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which not only keeps “the commandments of God” but has “the testimony of Jesus Christ,” which is “the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).

    In the life and ministry of Ellen G White (1827-1915), we see God’s promise fulfilled to provide the remnant church with the “spirit of prophecy.” Although Ellen G White did not claim the title “prophet,” we believe she did the work of a prophet, and more. […]

    We consider the biblical canon closed. However, we also believe, as did Ellen G White’s contemporaries, that her writings carry divine authority, both for godly living and for doctrine. Therefore, we recommend:

    1) That as a church we seek the power of the Holy Spirit to apply to our lives more fully the inspired counsel contained in the writings of Ellen G White, and

    2) That we make increased efforts to publish and circulate these writings throughout the world. 19

    Rose Publishing’s pamphlet rightly replies that

    while God spoke through is prophets long ago, in these days he “has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:1-2). We must not add to or take away from what he has already revealed in the Bible, as Ellen White presumptuously did in her “visions” of events in Genesis, Revelation, and other portions of Scripture (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:6; Rev. 22:18-19)

    In May, 2002, Jan Paulsen — then president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists — said this in his keynote address at the SDA General Conference 20

    Seventh-Day Adventism

    Rose Publishing — in its Response to Seventh-day Adventist Complaints about the pamphlet 10 Questions & Answers about Seventh-day Adventism — says

    the Adventist church’s fundamental belief #18 states in part: “One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.” A “source” is a place of origin, and as the pamphlet demonstrates, having a prophet outside of Scripture who functions actively as a “continuing and authoritative source of truth” is fundamentally contrary to “Sola Scriptura,” no matter how her role may be characterized. 21

    Other Issues
    There are many issues we have not (yet) (fully) addressed here, including the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s view of Jesus; its teachings about man and the state of the dead; the ‘Great Controversy’; or the church’s insistence on the observation of the Sabbath on Saturday. Saturday observance is the sign of the seal of God; while Sunday worship is considered the mark of the beast.

    Then there is the SDA Church’s belief that it is God’s unique (only) “Remnant Church”; its use of The Clear Word Bible (which inserts Ellen G. White’s teachings with no basis in the original Bible manuscripts into the text); its ‘Health Message’ (which, calling it “the right arm of the gospel,” Adventists use in their proselytizing efforts 22); and its deceptive recruiting practices.

    We believe that these issues and more are adequately covered in the research resources we list below.

    We encourage readers to examine the claims and teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and to compare them to what the Bible actually teaches.


    Seventh Day Adventism - The Spirit behind the Church
    Produced by Jeremiah Films, 1998

    Dr. James Kennedy said, “Viewers of this documentary will find it a most fascinating exploration into the cultic aspects of the teachings of Ellen G. White. Recommended for Christians who seek genuine answers based on the best scholarship and firm adherence to the truths of God’s word.”

Research resources on the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Seventh-day Adventism

This 14-page overview gives side-by-side comparisons of the most important issues-and the beliefs that every SDA member holds.

We highly recommend this colorful, laminated fold-out pamphlet as a good introduction to SDA Church teachings as contrasted with those of Christianity.

The pamphlet answers such questions as: Why do Seventh-day Adventists worship on Saturdays only? Who was their prophet, Ellen G. White, and what did she teach about Jesus (identified as Michael the Archangel), the Trinity (both God the Father and Jesus have tangible bodies), and salvation? What is the SDA Bible paraphrase, The Clear Word, and how does it alter the original Greek and Hebrew meanings to fit Mrs. White’s unusual teachings? Why do Adventists consider Sunday worship “the mark of the beast?” What is the “investigative judgment,” and how does it deny the biblical belief that Jesus paid fully for our sins at the cross?

It was authored by former Seventh-day Adventists Colleen and Richard Tinker, with contributions by Jeremy Graham and Jim Valentine. General Editor for the project was Paul Carden, Executive Director of Centers for Apologetics Research, and former co-host of the Bible Answer Man radio program.

Note: additional research resources will be added. You are welcome to suggest such resources. The listings are color-coded. Sources produced by Seventh-day Adventists, either in a lay or official capacity, have been color-coded ‘brown’ to reflect our understanding that while the Seventh-day Adventist Church professes to be Christian it is outside orthodox Christianity.


  • Brief look at the Adventist teaching of “investigative judgment” by Tyler Ramey. See also.
  • The Clear Word Bible: Is it the Word of God? [contra] by Dale Ratzlaff and Verle Streifling. This article, hosted by Watchman Fellowship, documents how The Clear Word Bible goes beyond merely providing a paraphrase by altering Scripture to make it line up with Adventist teachings in general, and the writings of Ellen G. White in particular.
  • Commentary on “The Triune God” [contra] The Bible Studies for Adventists website, which is operated by former Seventh-day Adventists, presents responses to the official SDA Church publication, Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. Here it documents that “from a Christian perspective, Adventism, despite it’s deceptive use of the word ‘Trinity,’ is actually non-Trinitarian.”
  • Did Adventist leaders lie to Walter Martin? [Contra] by Stephen D. Pitcher, Proclamation! magazine, Vol. 11, Issue 3, July/August/September 2010. This article documents how leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist church lied to Christian apologist Walter Martin and his evangelical colleagues, including Donald Grey Barnhouse. After a series of meeetings that took place in 1955 and 1956, the SDA Church published Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine: An Explanation of Certain Major Aspects of Seventh-day Adventist Belief. The book, often referred to simply as QOD, was the church’s official answer to Martin and his colleagues. Pitcher says, “It’s now time to admit that the Adventists did not tell Martin, Barnhouse, and their evangelical colleagues the truth. It’s time to set the record straight.”
  • Evaluating Seventh-day Adventism by Nathan Busenitz, The Master’s Seminary

    Some evangelicals believe Seventh-day Adventism ought to be openly embraced as simply another denomination. I disagree.

    Historically, evangelicals and fundamentalists regarded the Seventh-day Adventist movement as a cult. And in spite of the ecumenical spirit that has pervaded evangelicalism over the last few decades, there are still major deficiencies within official SDA theology that ought to give evangelical Christians serious pause.

    Here are my three biggest concerns about SDA doctrine:

    1. An Unbiblical Understanding of Christ’s Work of Atonement.
    2. An Improper Elevation of Ellen G. White as an Authoritative Prophetess.
    3. A Legalistic Emphasis on the Sabbath and Dietary Laws as Binding for Christians.

    It should be noted that Seventh-day Adventists espouse a number of other unorthodox theological distinctives (such as soul sleep [Fundamental Belief #26], the annihilation of the wicked [Fundamental Belief #27]), and (at least historically) the insistence that they are the only true church).

  • Facts Seventh-day Adventists Won’t Tell You At Their Seminars As part of it proselytizing efforts the SDA Church puts on interesting seminars on subjects ranging from archeology to prophecy — often without informing people that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the entity behind those seminars. Here’s what else they won’t tell you.
  • The Great Controversy: Living in a Worldview of Deception [contra] This article addresses a book by SDA Church prophet Ellen G. White, who claimed that Jesus is in a battle with Satan and that humans are helping Jesus win. White’s book also teached that in at some point in the future Catholics and Protestants — everyone who doesn’t keep the Saturday Sabbath holy — will join forces to kill Adventists. Colleen Tinker shows how, “In this postmodern age, Adventist leaders and authors are finding the great controversy to be an effective way to share Adventism with people who don’t believe in ‘absolute truth’.” See also this chartPDF file, which compares the SDA Church’s Great Controversy worldview with a Christian worldview.
  • Leaving the Seventh-day Adventist Church “Have you deconverted from the Seventh Day Adventist church in your heart and mind, but are afraid to come out? then this website is for you. It provides guides, advice and tips for leaving the church.”
  • SDA Admissions About Their “Trinity” Doctrine [contra] A collection of quotes documenting “admissions from the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s own leaders/scholars/theologians/professors, admitting that Adventism teaches a different “Trinity” doctrine than the historical, orthodox Christian doctrine of the Trinity, as defined by the Christian Church throughout Christian history in its creeds and confessions.”
  • Seventh-day Adventism Position statement by the Christian Research Institute. Be sure to read this information.
  • The Transitional Path PDF file [contra] Former SDA pastor Dale Ratzlaff shares how to minister to transitioning Seventh-day Adventists. See a summary here.
  • Walter Martin interview “Walter Martin, Christianity’s cult-watcher discusses Adventism in trouble,” from Adventist Currents, July, 1983. Make sure you also read, Did Adventist leaders lie to Walter Martin?
  • Why Are So Many Seventh-day Adventists Leaving the SDA Church? [contra] Former Adventist Dirk Anderson provides some of the top reasons cited by Adventists who study their way out of the SDA Church
  • Why Seventh-day Adventism is not Evangelical PDF file by Louis T. Talbot


Books — Online

Profiles / Encyclopedia

See Also


Youtube has many good videos on the doctrines and practices of Seventh-day Adventism. We want to highlight this one by former SDA preacher Dale Ratzlaff: Three Adventist Doctrines that Compromise the Gospel.


  • Adventist Cult Misconceptions [pro] Appear to be an individual’s efforts at answering critics of the SDA Church. 50 Questions and Answers.
  • Adventist Defense League [pro] Extensive site
  • Bible Studies for Adventists “Presenting a Biblical response by concerned former Seventh-day Adventists to the Sabbath School Bible Study Guide.” Editor behind the project is Colleen Tinker, who is also the editor of Proclamation! magazine.
  • The Ellen G. White® Estate, Inc. [pro] Official website for an organization created in 1933 by the five trustees named in Ellen G. White’s last will and testament to act as the custodian of her writings. 26 Among other things, it includes the complete writings of Ellen G. White online. Check this footnote for an interesting fact regarding the site’s domain name 27
  • Ellen White Expose [contra] Extensive collection of research material on Ellen White and other issues related to the SDA Church
  • Ex-Adventist Outreach [contra] A ministry of former Seventh-day Adventists. The site is operated by former SDA pastor J. Mark Martin
  • Examination of Seventh-day Adventism & Ellen G. White [contra] 2200 pages of material that critically examines the claims and teachings of Seventh-day Adventism. This website, ex-sda.com, is archived by the Internet Archive. Visually a throw-back to the early days of web design, but in terms of content a treasure trove for dedicated researchers. (Bring some food and water and let someone know where you’re going when you enter this website :)
  • Former Adventist Fellowship [contra] A place where former and questioning Seventh-day Adventists can fellowship and study with others who have discovered that Jesus is their true Sabbath Rest.
  • Proclamation! Magazine Thie quarterly magazine, intended for former Seventh-day Adventists, inquiring Adventists, Sabbatarians, and concerned Christians, can be read online. Its mission is “To proclaim the good news of the New Covenant gospel of grace in Christ and to combat the errors of legalism and false religion.” An excellent resource.
  • The Great Hope Exposed [contra] This website exposes the non-biblical worldview in The Great Hope (sometimes named The Great Controversy) — a book distributed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church as part of a massive outreach campaign.
  • Seventh-day Adventist Church Official website of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
  • Take the SDA truth challenge [contra] Operated by Dirk Anderson, who was a Seventh-day Adventist for 33 years. Very clear and well-presented

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For Our Dutch Readers: Nederland

De Zevende-dags Adventisten — die ook wel de namen zevendedagsadventisten (ZDA) of de Adventkerk gebruiken — evangeliseren in Nederland o.a. met het boekje “De Strijd Achter De Schermen — Drie Onthullende Boodschappen”. Het boekje wordt uitgegeven door Stichting De Bazuin te Sion, met een postbus nummer in Nieuw Lekkerland.

Ook “Het Grote Conflict,” geschreven door Ellen G. White, wordt aangeboden door middel van een advertentie of pamplet met de tekst “Gratis Aanbieding.”

Zoals gebruikelijk wordt de naam van de Adventistenkerk niet in dergelijke wervingslektuur vermeld.

About the Author

Anton Hein

This page of research resources on the Seventh-day Adventist Church is written and maintained by Anton Hein, founder and team member of Apologetics Index.

Anton lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with his wife, Janet, who was born in England but raised in Ireland (and is more Irish than English). They are involved in helping people leave cults, abusive churches or abusive relationships.

When Anton is not typing something or other, he’s probably either taking photos somewhere in Amsterdam, brewing quality coffee, or creating super-spicy home-made Mexican salsas.

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  1. The vast majority of Christians reject such date-setting, because the Bible teaches that nobody knows when Jesus will return. See Is it possible to know when Jesus is coming back? at Questions.org
  2. While the number of approximately 2,000 visionary experiences is promoted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, there is considerable evidence that Ellen G. White had far fewer of these alleged visionary experiences. See, Robert K. Sanders, The “2,000 Visions” Fable
  3. Jeremy Rapport, Seventh-day Adventist Church, in Religions of the World, 2nd edition. ABC-CLIO, September 21, 2010
  4. That view had long before been preached by the Seventh-day Baptists who originated in England in the 17th century.
  5. In 10 Q&A on Seventh-day Adventism, Rose Publishing says “Ellen White claimed that those who worship on Sunday have been deceived by Satan, and because they embrace his counterfeit Sabbath they bear the ‘mark of the beast’.”

    Regarding this teaching, see Romans 14 — particularly vs. 5 and 6: “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.” Plain language that in just two sentences soundly refutes those who make keeping the Sabbath on a certain day a requirement for salvation.

    See also: Why do Christians worship on Sunday when the Old Testament commandment sets apart Saturday as the day of worship?

  6. When it was official organized, on May 21, 1863, the movement included some 125 churches and 3,500 members. See Seventh-day Adventists – The Heritage Continues
  7. Figures from The World Church, on the official website of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
  8. Seventh-day Adventist World Church Statistics 2014. Last accessed Sunday, October 16, 2016 – 10:19 AM CET
  9. The same article includes the following passage:

    Nurture is the responsibility of every member. Ng said Adventists could learn a lesson from another denomination, the Iglesia ni Cristo Church, the largest indigenous church in the Philippines that was founded by a former Adventist in 1914. “The church takes membership care seriously,” Ng said. “When members come to church, they report their presence. After the service is over, elders and deacons take note of the names of the absentees and visit each one in the afternoon.”

    Iglesia ni Cristo is theologically a cult of Christianity.

  10. Note the difference between theological and sociological definitions of the term ‘cult.’
  11. See also this interview with Walter Martin
  12. Note that the Christian Research Institute has, under the leadership of Hank Hanegraaff, become increasingly controversial, not in the least place due to its claim that the so-called Local Church — widely considered to be a cult of Christianity — is a theologically sound Christian group.
  13. Many people have preconceived notions of what they term ‘cult’ means. The term has several precisely definitions, depending on the context in which it is used. The scholars CRI mentions used the term ‘cult’ in the theological sense of the word. The SDA Church is generally not considered to be a cult in the sociological sense of the term. See: What is a cult? See also: CultDefinition.com
  14. Less than orthodox, yet not explicitly contrary to orthodoxy. Definition from: “A Biblical Guide To Orthodoxy And Heresy Part One: The Case For Doctrinal Discernment” (an article from the Christian Research Journal, Summer 1990, page 28) by Robert M. Bowman.
  15. See: Going Deeper into the SDA Trinity Doctrine. Note that one of the difficulties of witnessing to Seventh-day Adventists is that SDA definitions of Christian terminology do not necessarily match the definitions used by Christians.
  16. This pamphlet, which we highly recommended, including footnotes referencing these and other statements. Here’s how this resource is described at the publisher’s website:

    • This short, simple 14-page overview gives side-by-side comparisons of the most important issues-and the beliefs that every SDA member holds.
    • In just a few minutes, you will grasp the basic problems with the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist prophet, Ellen G. White.
    • Know the history and strange teachings of SDA about salvation, atonement, and their failed end times prophecies.
    • Find out that the SDA church considers itself to be the only true remnant church.
    • See examples showing how the Seventh-day Adventist Bible paraphrase, The Clear Word, changes dozens of biblical passages to add in Ellen G. White’s unusual doctrines.
    • Learn why they go to Christian music events and try to proselytize young believers.
    • SDA’s believe that worshipping on Sunday is the mark of the Beast (a sign you are not a true Christian).
    • Glossary that shows how SDA members use Christian terms but mean something else.

    Also included are tips on how to reach out to Adventists.

  17. In fact, Christians should not assume that all people who identify themselves as Seventh-day Adventists necessarily all share the same beliefs.
  18. See the quote and reference in Watchman Fellowship’s profile on SDA under the heading, The Investigative Judgment
  19. This statement was approved and voted by the General Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 30, 1995.
  20. Jane Paulsen, The Theological Landscape: Perspectives on Issues Facing the World Seventh-day Adventist Church
  21. Read the full statement, dated April 6, 2012, at the bottom of this page
  22. An example is the current campaign titled, ‘Choose a Full Life: Health, Healing and Wholeness in Urban Cities’
  23. See: On Trial for Heresy — The A.F. Ballenger Story: “Ballenger’s theories regarding the sanctuary overthrew the entire reason for the existence of the Seventh-day Adventist church. As noted by Ellen White in her epic Great Controversy, the sanctuary teaching provided the key that explained the existence of the church … If Christ made no special move into the Most Holy Place in 1844, then not only would Ellen White’s visions be in doubt, but the whole movement would be cast in doubt. If nothing happened in 1844, then God did not direct Miller’s movement and it was not the first and second angels’ messages of Revelation 14. If Ballenger was right, there was no need for an investigative judgment.”
  24. See Walter Rea’s biography
  25. from time to time second-hand hardcover or paperback copies of the book are available, via such stores as Amazon.com — albeit at exorbitant prices.
  26. See this Wikipedia entry for details
  27. As revealed by a search on the Internet Archive, ellenwhite.org used to be the home of anti-Ellen White publications. The domain name appears to have been the subject of a legal battle, and it was not the only domain name the SDA Church went after. See also: Seventh-day Adventist Church takes legal action against ex-SDA websites. The information formerly posted at ellenwhite.org is now available at ellenwhiteexposed.com

Article details

Category: Seventh-day Adventist Church
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First published (or major update) on Sunday, October 16, 2016.
Last updated on July 07, 2024.

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