1. Adventists believe the Bible is the infallible word of God
Like conservative evangelicals, Adventists honor Scripture as an unquestionable source of wisdom, inspiration and guidance. “In this Word,” the church says, “God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation.”
Many Adventists also believe the Bible offers a historically accurate view of ancient times, which is why Carson, for instance, ascribes to Creationism, that God created the world in six days.
2. Adventists believe Jesus came to save humans from their sins
No surprise here; every Christian denomination believes this. Adventists, like other Christians, also believe in the two other members of the traditional Trinity: God, the father, and the Holy Spirit. Salvation comes through the repentance of sins and holding faith in Jesus, but grace is ultimately granted by God alone, the church believes.
3. Adventists believe the Bible counsels against abortion, same-sex marriage.
While many Adventists keep their distance from partisan politics and try to maintain a wall between church and state, the church has spoken out against the June Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States. The church tends to lean to the rightward on other culture war issues as well.
Unique Adventist beliefs
1. Adventists worship on Saturday, the “seventh day”
The Hebrews in the Old Testament worshiped on Saturday — the sabbath and seventh day of the week, according to the Jewish calendar. Jesus, being a Jew, also attended religious services on Saturday. And both of those examples, Adventists say, are good enough reasons for their church to worship on Saturday.
Adventists keep the sabbath holy by resting — as God did on the seventh day, according to the Bible. Many typically do not work, attend funerals or participate in “secular” entertainment from sundown on Friday until sunset on Saturday.
2. Adventists do not believe in hell
Unlike many other Christians, Adventists don’t believe in hell as a place filled with lakes of fire and eternal torment. That’s mostly because the church does not see such a place literally described in the Bible, explained Douglas Morgan, a professor of church history at Washington Adventist University. When Jesus tells the story of the rich man in Hades, he is speaking metaphorically, Adventists believe.
Other Adventists argue that a good God would not condemn his people — even sinners — to never-ending punishment. In the church’s view, when people die they sleep in the grave until the second coming of Jesus, when he will judge the living and the dead. Good people go to heaven; bad people are just — poof — annihilated.
3. They do believe that Jesus’ second coming is imminent
Speaking of the second coming, many Adventists believe that it’s going to happen soon, and some are chagrined that it hasn’t happened yet. When the denomination celebrated its 150 anniversary in 2013, some church leaders were downright disappointed that their church had lasted so long.
“If you took a time machine and visited our founders in May 1863, they’d be disconcerted, to say the least, that we’re still here,” David Trim, the church’s director of archives and research, said at the time.
4. Adventists believe in the visions and prophecies of Ellen White
It’s rare for American religions to have been co-founded by a woman, and rarer still for the faith to revere her as a prophet — but Ellen G. White was no ordinary woman.
White, who died in 1915, claimed to have a series of some 2,000 visions, some about the Bible, others about more mundane topics such as healthy diets. Many of these revelations were incorporated into church teachings, which has led Christians who honor only the Bible to disparage Adventists.
Morgan said that Adventists believe the Bible is the final authority and that White’s writings are a “lesser light pointing to the greater light” — that is, Scripture.
Canonical or not, White teachings on health seem to have been effective. Adventist Health System is one of the largest nonprofit hospital systems in the country, and studies conducted by the denomination have found that their healthy lifestyles have led to longer lives, on average, then other Americans.