Did you grow up in the Seventh-day Adventist church? I did. I went to an Adventist elementary and high school and did Bible Bowl (or PBE) in Pathfinders and went to church on Saturday mornings. I ate haystacks. Now I am in an Adventist University and am surrounded by people who also grew up in the church and by people completely new to Adventism.
There are many things I love about the Adventist church—the community, the emphasis on Sabbath rest and service and healthy living, members’ kindness and generosity and love of the Bible—but there are also many things I dislike and question. In college, I have found that many other young (and often old) people share my dislikes and my questions.
Three weeks before the start of this school year I went to a meeting at my local church (a large congregation with over 300 weekly attendees) to vote on whether women would be allowed to become elders. We voted on this issue nine years previously and the vote didn’t go through. Tensions were high. The meeting was an hour longer than expected due to gerrymandering.
We didn’t know if people would leave the church because of the outcome of the vote. The next day the results were emailed to the members—the acceptance of women’s elders passed by eight votes. I and the other young people present made the difference.
For some churches this vote passed nine years ago with little fuss, and some churches may not pass the vote for many years to come. Differences in geography and demographics such as age, gender, political affiliation, and racial diversity make each Adventist church different from one another. This is a strength for the Church but also threatens to tear us apart.
The purpose of this issue is twofold: to clarify aspects of Adventism to those unfamiliar with it, and to better define parts of Adventism that those who grew up in the church may take for granted. Although every issue is polarizing, let us take a moment to look at what we have in common.
To learn more about why these issues like women’s ordination divide us, read Judy’s article. To learn about the differences between Adventist culture and Adventist doctrine, read Noah’s feature interviewing a professor at La Sierra University. To learn about what the Health Message actually is, read Megan’s article. And to learn about the story of one student who recently came to Christ, read Caidyn’s article on Austin Morehouse.
Untitled design 1. Photo by Pixabay.