Seventh Day Adventist Idolatry?

It is my understanding that SDA baptisms are valid and thus they are considered Christians by the Church. However, they have unorthodox belifes regarding the archangel Michael whom they actually believe to be Jesus. Now, they do accept the orthodox Trinity but they believe that Michael the Archangel is just another name for Jesus. Wouldn’t this be idolatry? They are saying an angel is God and worshipping him as such. What is to be made of this?

They also blame Catholics for convincing everyone else to worship on Sunday instead of Saturday. They send out books or magazines to Protestant pastors trying to convince them to change to Saturday worship.

Their main founder had some very nasty things to say about the Catholic Church.

I believe you have confused the SDA’s with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I don’t think it’s idolatry but it is certainly a doctrinal mess that doesn’t at all hold up to the Word of God. It’s like a lot of anti-Catholic propaganda it has little if any basis is either scripture or any semblance of historical fact.

If you make them offer their supposed scriptural support for this particular oddity you pretty quickly discover that it’s only by virtue of some mental that anyone can buy into it.

Here is the SDA website. Nothing about Jesus being the Archangel Michael here. They have the traditional Trinitarian beliefs:

You most likely already know this, the JW’s and SDA’a actually are off shoots from the Millerite’s if i remember correctly.
I do believe that the SDA’s view on the most Holy Trinity was questionable at one time.

Here is an SDA attempting to defend their position on Michael and Jesus being the same:

The JW’s were actually strongly influence by Adventist theology and were basically and offshoot of the Adventist movement.

My chaplain at work was an SDA pastor. We got along very well because we focused on the points of agreement. Yes, they were a phoenix that rose from the ashes of the Millerite (Second coming in 1843! No, wait! 1844…) movement. Their foundress, Ellen Gould White, was struck in the head as a young girl by a fairly large thrown rock and was in a coma for 3 weeks. Thereafter, she was involved in the family hat-making business (think: mercury) and was bedridden for some time. It seems that she began receiving her “visions” at about that period of her life - I mean, after all that, who wouldn’t? Stemming from Baptist roots, they do hold some beliefs in common with the various Baptist denominations (“believer’s baptism”), but are quite different from Baptists and even from the likewise Sabbatarian group of Seventh Day Baptists. It seems that each of the peculiar SDA beliefs traces pretty much directly to “Ellen”, about whom they make very little mention these days. She taught vegetarianism for one thing, but only as a discipline - while condemning Catholic disciplines, of course.

Remember David Koresh and the Branch Davidians/Waco nightmare? Yeah, splinter group from the SDA, if you can imagine that. They conduct seemingly innumerable “revelation seminars” around the US and are huge on the Book of Daniel and private interpretation, while minimizing or even concealing the fact that they are SDA. They cling to all sorts of odd eschatological beliefs. Ellen’s mania for writing produced numerous books, but her name these days is often truncated to “E.G. White” or similar.

There is good information on them in The Essential Catholic Survival Guide, a Catholic Answers publication. Nevertheless, I do believe I’ll stick with Peter (“You are rock”), rather than Ellen (“Watch out for that rock!”).

Ellen G. White was a woman of her times, I think a lot of her thoughts and ideas were common when she was around.

But I’ll tell you this, I used to live adjacent to an SDA church here in Pittsburgh, and they never showed any hatred toward me at all.

As far as how extreme their theology is, people have studied them over the years. The “Bible Answer Man” Walter Martin wrote a book “Kingdom of the Cults” and concluded that membership in the SDA was consistent enough with the Christian faith from his evangelical point of view- despite their errors.

It is true that the Jehovah’s Witness did get a lot of their ideas from the adventist movement in the mid 19th Century, but I don’t that’s particularly relevant. Few sects are completely original. Every founder of a sect was influenced by his own learning and history, as well as the time and place he lived in.

Yes, I did know that the JW’s and the SDA"s had the same origins in the Millerite movement, but I did not know they believed Michael was another name for Jesus Christ in the Bible in some instances–that was a new one on me, but they do not believe that the Archangel Michael, a created being, is God. However, the do have the correct Trinitarian beliefs, and they baptize with water, so I see no reason their Baptism would be invalid.

I have never heard an SDA mention or talk about this–they seem to emphasize more their end-times prophecies and their Sabbath worship, and even “soul sleep”, but the JW’s are another matter–they are not Trinitarian and do not believe Jesus is God, so their baptisms
are invalid.

The SDA’s most likely can be properly called a Christian denomination, while the JW’s can not. They have denied the basic concept of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus.

There is an SDA church about 2 or 3 blocks from me–i would love to go to one of their Sabbath services just to hear one of their prophecy preachings and see what the service is like, but I really don’t want to get involved. There is no danger at all I would be persuaded of anything heretical. i survived a fundamentalist family, pentecostalism and evangelicalism
without a scratch to my Catholic beliefs, but I did gain a greater understanding of the value of Sacred Scripture, and I am grateful for that.

SDA’s are Christians but they certainly have a mixture of some odd belifes. I’ll list them.

  1. They believe Jesus and Archangel Michael are the same being, that Michael is not an angel but rather just another name for Jesus, the second person of the Trinity.

  2. They believe we must continue to worship on the Sabbath, not Sunday, because according to their interpretation of scripture it was never abolished.

  3. Likewise, they also believe many of the dietary laws of Leviticus are still in place and the SDA church typically advocates for full on vegetarianism as prescribed by their prophet, Ellen G. White.

  4. They believe that in since the year 1844, Jesus has been enacting what is called the “Investigative Judgment” in which every professed Christian since then has been divinely judged already.

  5. They believe in “soul sleep” after death. That when one dies, they’re in an unconscious state and this there is no afterlife between our life now and the future resurrection of the dead.

Their beliefs apart from that are mostly Evangelical. They are creationist, for example, and have a similar view on holy communion and baptism as Baptist do. The SDA, though, can seem rather odd sometimes.

No,. For one think, some people in the early Church held this view. But more to the point, saying that the name “Michael” referred to the Divine Logos is not to worship a created being as God.

Here’s a parallel: in the OT it’s not always clear when the “angel of the Lord” is a created being and when it is a “theophany”–an appearance of God Himself. If someone were to mistakenly conclude that the “angel” was a theophany when it was just a messenger, such a person would not be guilty of idolatry, but simply of an exegetical mistake. Idolatry is not an exegetical mistake.


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