Fundamental Teachings vs Test of Fellowship


Do I have to believe in all of the 28 Fundamental beliefs to become a Seventh-day Adventist Christian?


It is important to make the distinction between the official teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist church as recognized by the General Conference and test of fellowship that is required by new believers when they are baptized into the church. By becoming a member, a person is stating that they understand the 28 fundamental beliefs and are willing to live and worship in harmony with Seventh-day Adventists who hold to these beliefs.

The only real test of fellowship is that the member acknowledges the fundamental beliefs in principle and refuses to be in open opposition against those who hold to the basic teachings of the church.

The church recognizes a member’s personal choice on how to apply certain fundamentals of doctrine to lifestyle and practice. For example, the wearing of jewelry is discouraged, but there is a wide spectrum of members who hold differing views on how strictly the church should enforce this teaching. In practice, a member can wear jewelry to church as long as they are able to worship in harmony with the other members who decide not to wear jewelry.

The Adventist teaching against unclean meats is clear enough, but I have yet to see anyone thrown out of church for eating bacon with their eggs. Members who are not “strict” on diet and health do not discourage others from following the churches teachings on health reform. The less strict respect the liberty of more conservative members and refuse to allow the issues to become a matter of personal conflict.

It is hard for me to imagine that a person would become a member of the Adventist church who did not agree in principle with the major doctrinal teachings on the sabbath, the non-immortality of the soul, and the second coming of Jesus. I would discourage any minister from allowing people who do not hold these beliefs into membership. It would be hard for these people to support the Adventist church. However, a person can believe that the Sabbath is the Seventh-day and yet have different views on what it means to keep the Sabbath day holy.

While there is a wide spectrum of Adventists who interpret the fundamental beliefs differently, most Adventists would allow for church discipline against those who blatantly live or teach against the fundamental norms of the church. A member would not last long in fellowship if he or she decided to openly espouse a doctrine that was directly in conflict with a fundamental position.

Historically, there has always been a wide gap between the accepted beliefs of the General Conference and the practice of the individual member’s in the church. Adventists allow for differences of opinion on matters of lifestyle as long as the members acknowledge the church’s teachings and refuse to allow their personal choices to interfere with their ability to live in peace and harmony with other church members.

Then there is the distinction between a lay member of the church and an active leader within the denomination. Those who take leadership positions should hold themselves to the highest standard in regards to the fundamentals. The leaders need to allow for the differences of opinion among the lay people while encouraging spiritual growth that is in harmony with the official teachings of the church as an organization.

To answer the question more directly: Yes. A person needs to acknowledge all 28 Fundamental Beliefs in principle before they are accepted into membership. However, keep in mind that it is up to the individual member how to put these beliefs into practice. All members must allow for differences of opinion while living and worshiping in harmony with other Adventists.

Stephen Beagles (2018)

Agree to Disagree

I wish could exclude myself from this conclusion, but being a former post-graduate student qualifies me to partake of the criticism.

Having a degree or two in a particular subject does not make one infallible. There are Atheists with doctoral degrees, there are Pantheists with doctoral degrees, and there are Polytheists with doctoral degrees. The degrees that people hold do not automatically make them more intelligent, less biased, or less capable of error. Education does not lead to infallibility.

Even Christian theologians come from many different backgrounds and support a wide range of theories that often contradict one another. There are Catholic scholars, Lutheran scholars, Presbyterian scholars, Methodist scholars, and Pentecostal scholars. Often the most educated theologians who teach in seminaries no longer believe in the infallibility of the scriptures and are prone to be critical of the most basic of Christian doctrines.

The problem with human beings is that we are all biased. Even those who claim to be completely objective have their blind spots where sentimentality creeps in and affects perceptions of reality. We are often more inclined to accept evidence that supports our pet theories and we tend to be far more critical of the evidence that may contradict our cherished viewpoints.

This does not mean that truth does not exist or that human beings are incapable of knowing truth. However, it does mean that we need to be more humble and tolerant of those who may perceive reality differently than we do. There are intelligent people with many different ideologies and dogmas. When will we learn to be tolerant of those with viewpoints we believe are erroneous and accept them as intelligent human beings?

It is virtuous to agree to disagree on a subject and still allow for the intelligence and moral integrity of those who contradict us. I am not saying we need to stop defending our view of reality, but I am encouraging those who have education and degrees to allow for discussion and debate on sensitive topics without demonizing ideological opponents.

Stephen Beagles



The 2300 Days of Daniel

My position on the 2300 days prophecy is if the baptism and death of Christ was foretold by this view of prophecy then why not allow it to extend to its logical conclusion: 1844.

What Happened in 1844?

1. People awakened to an urgency of the second coming of Christ and the message about the closing of probation.

2. Electronic technology began giving people faster methods of communications.

While Christ could have come prior to 1844, the fulfillment of the 2300 days prophecy was given as a final warning to the world.

But I strongly believe that a person’s salvation does not depend on their view of the 2300 days. However you look at the investigative judgment–we already have the final verdict and the assurance of eternal salvation in Jesus Christ.

Stephen Beagles


Get a GRIP on Prayer


1. Gratitude: Start your prayers by thanking God for all His blessings. List them one by one and praise Him for being a loving friend.

2. Relationships: Ask God to help you to love Him with all your heart, mind, and soul. Once you have spent some time on this topic then shift your focus onto being a better representative of Christ to those in your family, circle of friends, and workspace.

3. Intercession: Pray for those around you that have physical or spiritual needs. Ask God for divine intervention as you pray for them.

4. Petition: Ask God for your own personal needs and wants. Remember that God wants to bless you and provide for those things that will bring comfort and strength to your life.

Above all, pray that God will answer your prayers according to His will. He may have something better in store for you than anything you can imagine. Be patient and know that God will only do what is best.

Stephen Beagles

Nine Lessons From the Heavenly Sanctuary

1. God is the judge and not man.

2. Jesus is our mediator and not a pastor, priest, or pope.

3. Jesus died once for all–no reoccurring mass as atonement for sin.

4. God judges from the mercy seat where mercy triumphs over condemnation for those written in the book of life.

5. Sins are blotted out of the record by the blood of the lamb.

6. The wheat and tares (sheep and goats) will be separated. Only those who trust in Christ alone for salvation will remain in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

7. The verdict of the final judgment is “No Condemnation” for those who trust in the merits of Christ, and “Condemnation” for those who reject Christ and the free gift of salvation.

8. The Saints will not be judged by their works, but by the works of Christ who lived a sinless life and died a perfect sacrifice.

9. One day, prior to the second coming of Christ, probation will close and the records will be sealed making it impossible for the wicked to repent and be saved. The righteous will be sealed for eternity in the kingdom of God.

Stephen Beagles (2017)

"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." ~ 1 Cor 2:2