The 28 Fundamental Beliefs have a special place in the Adventist Church. “Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs, as set forth here, constitute the church’s understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture.”  However, how do members around the world perceive these beliefs? And do they trust that these beliefs reflect the character of a loving, gracious God?
The Scriptural Basis of Adventist Beliefs
The 2017–18 Global Church Member Survey (2017–18 GCMS) assessed church members’ beliefs in specific Adventist doctrines. The participating church members were asked to respond to this statement: “The Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs are the teachings of Holy Scripture.” Worldwide, a vast majority (94%) of respondents agreed to one degree or another with that statement. It is encouraging to see that so many Adventists reported that they identify with these specific beliefs that set us apart from other denominations!
Only a small percentage (4%) of respondents admitted they were not sure if the Fundamental Beliefs are the teaching of the Holy Scripture, and 2% disagreed with the statement.
When the data was cross-tabulated by Division, respondents from the Euro-Asia Division (ESD) (98%) showed the highest percentage of agreement that the Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs are the teaching of Holy Scripture, followed by the East-Central Africa Division (ECD) (97%), Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD) (97%), and West-Central Africa Division (WAD) (97%). Compared with other Divisions, respondents from the Southern Asia Division (SUD) showed the lowest percentage (82%) of agreement with this statement.
Respondents from the North American Division (NAD) were most likely (8%) to disagree to one degree or another that the Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs are the teaching of Holy Scripture, followed by the Southern Asia Division (SUD) (5%). Members from the SUD were most likely to have doubts or questions (13%), followed by members from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) (9%) and NAD (6%).
Do the Fundamental Beliefs Reflect God’s Character?
The 2017–18 GCMS also asked members around the world to respond to this statement: “The Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs, as a whole, reflect the loving and gracious character of God.” Most (93%) respondents agreed to one degree or another with this statement. A small percentage (5%) was unsure, and 2% disagreed or strongly disagreed. Again, this finding is encouraging!
After the data were cross-tabulated by Division, it became apparent that members in the ESD were most likely (98%) to agree that the Fundamental Beliefs reflect the loving and gracious character of God, followed by the ECD (96%) and WAD (96%). Respondents from the SUD were least likely (78%) to agree with this statement.
Members from the NAD were most likely (6%) to disagree that the Fundamental Beliefs reflect the loving and gracious character of God, followed by respondents from the SUD (5%). Interestingly, about 17% of members from the SUD were not sure, as well as 10% of members from the NAD and SSD.
It is encouraging to see that most Adventists hold fast to the source of the Fundamental Beliefs. In addition, an overwhelming majority believed that Adventist doctrines reflect the loving character of God. However, some work needs to be done in the Divisions where members seem to have doubts, questions, or disagreed with these statements. This is something that will likely need to be addressed at a Division and Conference level, as well as by pastors at local churches.
Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry
Published by ASTR on 07/12/2023
 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. (2020). 28 Fundamental Beliefs.