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Gary B. Swanson

now retired, recently served as associate director of the 
General Conference Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Department.

What Do We Believe?

A quick way to convey Adventist core beliefs to anyone who asks

All they know about us is: ‘No pork and no alcohol.’ ”

In a recent BBC interview this was the observation of a Muslim man living in the Netherlands. He is launching a magazine in the Dutch language, hoping it will represent Islam more fairly than other media in Western culture.

Being judged by behavior is a similar experience for Adventists. “You worship on Saturdays?” “Is it true you aren’t allowed to eat meat?”

What do you say to someone who wants to know about Adventism? “Do not worry,” Jesus said, “about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say” (Matt. 10:19). A marginal note in the Andrews Study Bible counsels: “The point [of Matthew 10:19] is about ‘worrying’: Don’t stop preparing; stop worrying!” 1

To the question “What do Adventists believe?” consider these possible responses:

There is absolute truth. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

This absolute truth can be known. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). This knowledge is available through:

God’s Word. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16).

God’s creation. “Since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Rom. 1:20, NASB).2

Humanity is participating in a cosmic narrative. “The wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began” (1 Cor. 2:7, NLT).3

The seventh-day Sabbath celebrates God’s creation of the earth. “In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Ex. 20:11).

There is great hope of Jesus’ return to restore creation to its original perfection. “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3).

Preparation for Jesus’ return comes only through personal relationship with Him. He said, “No one comes to the Father except through me’” (verse 6).

Realization of God’s astonishing grace brings peace. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence” (Heb. 4:16).


  1. Andrews Study Bible (Berrien Springs, Mich.: Andrews University Press, 2010), p. 1262.
  2. Scripture quotations marked NASB are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
  3. Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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