What I have come to understand is that there is much more diversity of thought than I ever imagined among those who are in some way affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It might be more precise to say that there is a wider range or spectrum of opinion than perhaps there is even ethnic variety among Adventists.
To my amazement, I've discovered (and pointed out in a previous comment post on an Erv Taylor blog) that every Seventh-day Adventist Christian is not necessarily an actual believer in that which the name designation implies. Among the S.D.A. fellowship, there are Seventh-day Maybe Coming-May Not Be Coming Soon-ist -May Not Be Coming At All-ist Christians, who don't believe that the S.D.A. eschatology is particularly accurate, or scriptural or, or relevant, or...anything else. As I pointed out (to Erv Taylor) there are Four Billionth-year Adventists, who of course do not subscribe to the six-day Creation/Seventh-day Rest narrative, there are Christians who are socially and culturally most comfortable around S.D.A.'s because of birth circumstances or familial affiliation but are agnostic about either the Seventh-day or the Adventist part (or both), and there are those cultural S.D.A.'s who may regularly (as opposed to "faithfully") attend Sabbath School and/or church services on Saturday, but don't believe that there is any rational basis for a belief in a supernatural creative Intelligence who chose to speak this particular solar system into existence during a six-day period; who is beneficent toward the inhabitants of this planet, and who saw to it that a record of His creative act and subsequent interaction with Earthlings was initiated, compiled, instituted and disseminated for Earthlings to understand and appreciate.
There is yet another class or type or grouping of those who choose to fellowship with Seventh-day Adventist Christians, and they are of course Seventh-day Adventists. They believe in the fundamental doctrines almost as they are written, and consider themselves to be Christians; but (many) are actually first and foremost Seventh-day Adventists. They (we?) don't have much use for those of other faith persuasions and are convinced that Heaven will be comprised predominantly of Seventh-day Adventists; and that those Bible characters that we are familiar with were de facto Seventh-day Adventists, before their time.
Confession time: while I realize that the vast majority of former Earthlings in Heaven will be what we often refer to as "non-Adventists," and have lately been confronted with the mathematical probability that the majority will also have been non-Christian; I come closer to the Seventh-day Adventist description than any of the others described above. Of course, I would certainly like to consider myself a Christian first and foremost; and a Seventh-day Adventist only through the good fortune of birth circumstances and upbringing.
I find, however, that my personality is often in conflict with the principles of Christianity. I consciously struggle to be tolerant of opinions that I consider to be wacked, as the kids say. There are in fact those on radio and television with whom I disagree on such a visceral level that I would be fibbing to say that I actually love them in any real sense, which is clearly a Christian requisite.
However difficult I find it to understand both how and why a person who does not believe in the fundamental tenets of Seventh-day Adventism affiliates or associates themselves with S.D.A.'s (and I don't quite understand it, although I have suspicions), I have to say that it is not only their individual prerogative to do so, but that I am certainly no better off, or closer to the kingdom or the will of God, than are they--just because I am more on-board, philosophically and theoretically, with the basic beliefs of Seventh-day Adventism (than they are).
Quite simply, I cannot get around the fact that if I "have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." (1 Cor. 13:1 NKJV) I also cannot gainsay the fact that the Holy Spirit is telling both the Seventh-day Atheist and me alike, that we literally have nothing better to do with ourselves on Saturday morning than to assemble ourselves together in His house, and in His name--whoever He Is.
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