While the Seventh-Day Adventist Church is under the umbrella of the Christian faith, most Christians and Adventists do not consider it to be mainstream Christianity. Mainstream Christianity is divided into three categories: Protestantism, Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Ellen G. White, among others, formally founded the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in 1863. As of 2007, the Adventist church was the 12th largest religious group in the world. Although there are more similarities than differences between mainstream Christianity and the Adventist Church, there are quite a number of large distinctions between the two.
One of the most theological issues that divide the Adventists from mainstream Christians is their belief about the person of Jesus Christ. Although both groups believe that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man, the Seventh-Day Adventists also believe that Jesus Christ is the archangel Michael, but do not believe that he is any less divine. Mainstream Christianity typically rejects this view.
Mainstream Christians typically believe that after the body dies, the soul is separated from the body and goes to be immediately with Jesus Christ. Adventists believe the soul is not eternal and that it also dies with the body. Both mainstream Christians and Seventh-Day Adventists believe that they will receive resurrected bodies at the second coming of Christ, but they disagree on the state of consciousness between physical death and the promised resurrection.
Day of Worship
The most obvious difference between Adventists and mainstream Christians is their views of the Sabbath. Mainstream Christians believe that they are not required to follow the Sabbath laws, and that they can host a church service on any day of the week. Adventists strongly believe that all of the Ten Commandments are unchanging and eternal; they believe that Saturday must be a day of complete rest and worship. This is the reason behind the name "Seventh-Day" Adventists. Mainstream Christians believe that the Ten Commandments do show God's character, but that man is no longer required to follow the law.
Seventh-Day Adventists differ from mainstream Christians in their beliefs concerning hell. Historically, Christians have always believed in a real, eternal place of punishment for unbelievers. They believe that unbelievers will be fully conscious in hell for all of eternity. Seventh-Day Adventists deny that hell is eternal; they instead believe in annihilation: the theory that unbelievers will be totally annihilated with Satan in the lake of fire following the second coming of Jesus Christ.
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church follows very strict dietary guidelines. It suggests a vegetarian diet, and at the very least, requires its members to uphold a kosher diet in accordance with Old Testament dietary laws. On the other hand, mainstream Christians consider all food to be acceptable to eat. Adventists also advocate a complete ban from alcohol and illicit drugs, while many mainstream Christians believe casual drinking is permissible.
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