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Evangelical Reflections on Seventh-day Adventism



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Evangelical Reflections on Seventh day Adventism Yesterday and Today Kenneth Richard Samples This brief essay presents some broad reflections on the history and theology of Seventhday Adventism specifically focusing upon issues relevant to the evangelical Adventist dialogues of the 1950s It also offers some comments on how the theological content of those interactions still carries important lessons for today concerning the biblical gospel of grace As this conference clearly confirms the writings of the evangelical Baptist theologian and apologist Walter Ralston Martin 1928 1989 significantly shaped the way most evangelical Protestants came to view Seventh day Adventism So I ll begin by briefly tracing how I became acquainted with Adventism through my relationship with Dr Martin the central figure in the ongoing evangelical Adventist discussions through the decades An Evangelical Perspective on Adventism Of all the religious groups that emerged in nineteenth century America including the Mormons Christian Scientists and the Jehovah s Witnesses among others I have found the Seventh day Adventists to be the most intriguing As a student and an interested observer for more than twenty five years my first studies in Adventist history and theology came about when I was an undergraduate student at Concordia University a Missouri Synod Lutheran educational institution in Southern California Enrolled in a religion course that focused upon cults and new religious movements I wrote a term paper on Seventh day Adventism In particular I evaluated the controversial position taken by the evangelical counter cult specialist Walter Martin He claimed that Seventh day Adventism should not be classified as a non Christian cult but rather as a somewhat heterodox Christian church body 1 A few years later I had the privilege of working closely with Dr Martin at the Christian Research Institute CRI an evangelical apologetics organization that specializes in the study of cults and new



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