Seventh-day Adventists: Under Law or Under grace?

I was reading on an evangelical website and came down to its category on ‘Cults’. It mentioned a couple of religious organisations but did not include Seventh-day Adventists (Walter Martin is the one most responsible for removing that undeserved stigma). I did go on to read an inquirer asking about Seventh-day Adventists. The inquirer was referred to Martin’s ‘Kingdom of the Cults’. Martin had written a book on Seventh-day Adventists which is now out of print, except the book is now included in his overall work on the Cults published by Bethany House.

The problem I saw there was, that while Martin exonerates Adventists of the undeserved stigma, and ends up defending Adventists, even rebuking fellow apologist, Anthony Hoekema for his misrepresentation of Adventists, the fact that someone is referred to that book with that title, with no qualifying comment allows the enquirer to draw negative conclusions; ‘the power of association’.

I have read Martin’s contribution to the Christian world on Seventh-day Adventists and shared it on this blog. I have gathered any posts I have on this blog on the Law of God into this one post for the reason it might add some insight to the studies, ‘Christ And His Law’. What is the opposition to Adventists?

For the second quarter 2014 the subject material for Seventh-day Adventists around the world for Sabbath Bible Study is ‘Christ And His Law’. Dr. Keith Burton is the principal contributor and author of the companion book called, ‘Laying Down the Law’ – see Amazon with kindle edition.

Keith Burton is well qualified for his contribution to the subject – (I note that one of his doctoral committee of five included James Packer). There is tension among Christians over the Law of God, did Jesus make it obsolete for New Testament believers, or is it as relevant today as it was when God gave the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai? This is where Walter Martin as a dispensationalist disagrees with Adventists, and Keith Burton gives clarity to the issue by showing why Adventists disagree with dispensationalists. Adventists are often misrepresented as being still in the Old Testament, ‘under law’ as opposed to those who claim we should now be in the New Testament, ‘under grace’.

Highly respected as a Christian apologist, the late Walter Martin is one who stands in the opposite camp to Adventists on the Law of God. But given full access to Adventist literature and archives, he is considered by Adventists as the most honest of our critics. I believe Adventists need to understand where others are coming from in their view of the Law of God to better communicate with honest enquirers of our faith. Walter Martin puts well the views of the opposite camp and I have posted these in the first three links below. The fourth link will reflect an Adventist view on the Law of God – from a Baptist, so a Baptist Vs Baptist; Bill Meuhlenberg Vs Walter Martin! It is worth noting Bill Meuhlenberg’s strength of concern for the Ten Commandments; Adventists couldn’t put it more strongly. I have also included views of the Law of God from other non-Adventist Christians, including Dr. John Stott and Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, considered in some Christian circles as the two leading expository theologians of the 20th century.

In the first three links I draw out Martin’s inconsistency in his criticism of Adventists on the Law of God by falling foul of his own criticism of Hoekema. There has been a lot of reading and selection on my part hence this archive, but if it can be of personal help, or used as a reference for genuine enquirers, then I would consider the task worthwhile. Apart from a few Adventist contributions I have let non-Adventist others well qualified to present the relevance of the Law of God as Adventists would see it. Adventists need not be intimidated by their critics. We are in good company in our belief on the Law of God, as the following links will show:

Anthony Hoekema, Adventists And Walter Martin – Part I

Anthony Hoekema, Adventists and Walter Martin – Part II

Anthony Hoekema, Adventists and Walter Martin – part III

Loving God And Keeping His Commandments by Bill Meuhlenberg

Grace & The Law Of God by Dr. John Stott

Grace & The Law of God by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Charles Spurgeon on ‘The Law of God’

An Adventist Reply To Walter Martin On The Law of God

The Law of God is the Law of love

What is Wrong with the Ten Commandments?

Carolyn Orends finds ‘The Law is Good News’ 

Another Way To Go: Grace Versus Law

The Remedy For Our Sins by Greg Laurie

The Law In Romans 7 – a very lengthy scholarly presentation on rhetoric by Methodist, Dr. Ben Witherington.

Why Do Christians Love Rules by Trillia Newbell
(Also: Grace Frees You To Be Transparent says Trillia Newbell)

Finding God and Grace in ‘Lesmirables’

And to end with an Easter theme: The Fukushima Fifty and the Cross of Christ

Born and raised in, London, Keith Augustus Burton is a professor of religion at Oakwood University:USA. His doctoral dissertation from Northwestern University focused on the role of the law in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

The Bible Study Guides and Dr. Burton’s ‘Laying Down The Law’ is subsidised for this quarter £3.75, and can be purchased direct from Stanborough Press, ABC.

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