The founder of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church once said:
In the course of NCAY's numerous encounters with Adventists over the years we have had occasion to follow Mrs.White's sound advice. The articles that follow in this register make no claim to be a systematic examination of SDA teachings, which are best left to other websites dedicated to that purpose, but simply address those areas where Messianic Evangelicals and Adventists have interfaced.
"There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation" (Ellen G. White, Councils to Writers and Editors, p.35).
Laying claim as the SDA Church does to being a true sabbath-observing body, as witnessed by its name 'Seventh Day', has probably been the one area where Messianic Evangelicals and Adventists have debated the most, since it is our position that the Roman 'Saturday' (or Day of Saturn) is not the biblical Seventh Day any more than 'Sunday' (or Day of the Sun) is. We refer Adventist visitors to our Creation Calendar and Sabbath sub-sites in particular and to some useful materials by other ministries in the Articles from Other Websites section below written mostly by former Adventists.
Another big area where Adventists differ with Messianic Evangelicals is in the area of soul-sleeping on which subject they hold common cause with Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, the Armstrongite Churches of God and some Messianics. We have clashed with Adventists the most in the African mission field, particularly in East Africa, where they have a large presence, which is why you will find a number of articles on the subject of polygamy in the NCAY Seventh Day Adventist Articles section below.
Like Adventists, Messianic Evangelicals lay empahsis on the importance of commandment-keeping, though not always for the same reasons. However, Adventists do not observe most of Yahweh's moedim or appointments, annual festivals, monthly new moons or the full biblical kashrut laws on diet, though they do tend to abstain from pork. Many Adventists are vegetarians. They observe pagan festivals like Christmas and Easter fotbodden by Scripture.
Unlike Adventists, Messianic Evangelicals do not view Ellen White as a prophet. In that respect, they not only display a similar attitude to her as the Mormons do to Joseph Smith, Jr. but also infer, though never saying so directly the way the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses do, that they are the 'one and only true church on the face of the earth', a reason they call themselves 'the remnant church'. It is in particular the status of Mrs.White in the Adventist Church that has led most orthodox Christians and Messianics to view the SDA Church as a cult, though how you view them will depend in large part on the way you define 'cult' which tends to be a word of abuse used by those who disagree with you rather than an objective label. Certainly, given that criticising her teachings in the SDA organisation is tantamount to heresy, we agree that she has been given an undeserved and almost idolatrous status.
Adventists believe strongly in the Second Coming or 'Advent' though they differ with orthodox Christians, Messianics and ourselves over the whereabouts of the qodeshim (saints, set-apart ones) during the Millennium. For Adventists, the millennial earth will be a desolate place inhabited solely by demons.
Adventism owes its origin to a false prophecy by William Miller who said Christ was returning in 1844, which was initially espoused. After its failure, Adventists wisely made no further date predictions. Like the Jehovah's Witnesses who explained away numerous failed prophecies concerning the Second Coming by making the return out to be an invisible 'parousia', and like Mormons who explained their failed date-setting by making out that Yah'shua (Jesus) returned secretively to one of their temples, the Adventists explained away the failure of the 1844 Millerite prophecy by inventing the scapegoat doctrine of the 'Investigative Judgment' for believers.
These differeces aside, Messianic Evangelicals and Adventists do have a number of things in common: we do not believe in a pre-millennial rapture. But on the other hand, whereas Adventists believe the resurrected saints will be taken 'elsewhere' - to 'heaven' - during the Millennium, we believe they will be down here on earth. Adventists are classical Trinitarians.
Finally, we disagree as to the truth of early Adventist history and the fact that the first Adventist leaders and members, like the early Mormons, were typical charismatics (which they are not now), spoke in gibberish ('tongues') and engaged in the kinds of bodily contortions we typically see today in the charismatic 'revivals'. The SDA has had its internal controversies over the years and is currently split between traditional 'conservative' and modernist 'liberal' wings.