In our last blog, we examined how members around the world adhere to distinctive Adventist beliefs—specifically, maintaining a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle and their agreement with specific Adventist eschatological beliefs. Yet, have you ever considered that there might be a link between these eschatological beliefs and adherence to Church mandates on health behaviors?
Diet and Eschatology
When data from the 2017–18 Global Church Member Survey (2017–18 GCMS) was cross-tabulated, researchers found that those who were vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian were more likely (69%) to accept wholeheartedly the Church’s interpretation of end-time prophecies than those who ate other diets (those who ate meat once a week or less [67%] and those who ate meat a few times a week or more [64%]). Those who ate meat a few times a week or more were most likely (15%) to admit that they did not accept or have issues with the Church’s interpretation of end-time prophecies.
The Health Message and Eschatology
Similarly, 2017–18 GCMS respondents were asked how closely they followed the Adventist Health Message, specifically, their level of agreement with the following statements:
- My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
- Following the health message ensures my salvation.
- Adventists should abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and the irresponsible use of drugs.
- Adventists should eat a healthful diet and abstain from unclean foods identified in Scripture.
- God wants me to take care of my body by avoiding alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.
When survey responses were cross-tabulated with respondents’ acceptance of the Church’s interpretation of end-time prophecies, it was revealed that those who most closely followed the Adventist Health Message (followed it a great deal) were most likely (72%) to accept wholeheartedly the Church’s interpretation of end-time prophecies, followed by those who adhered to the Health Message at a moderate amount (67%). Those who followed it rarely or never had a higher percentage than those who did not accept or had issues with this interpretation and had a much lower percentage of wholehearted acceptance of the Church’s interpretation of end-time prophecies. Only 54% of those who rarely followed the Health Message accepted this interpretation wholeheartedly. Respondents who never followed the Adventist Health Message were most likely not to accept or have issues with the Church’s interpretation of end-time prophecies (29%). Only 47% of them accepted this interpretation wholeheartedly.
The EGW Connection
Ellen G. White wrote much on the topic of both healthful living and end times. Interestingly, when the 2017–18 GCMS data were further analyzed, it was found that of those who strongly agreed that they applied Ellen White’s writings to their daily life, the majority (86%) strongly agreed that fulfillment of prophecy and events in the world indicate that Christ’s coming is very near. However, only 54% of those who applied EGW writings to their daily life followed the health message a great deal. In other words, 47% of those who strongly agreed that they applied Ellen White’s writings to their daily life both strongly agreed that fulfillment of prophecy and events in the world indicate that Christ’s coming is very near and followed the health message a great deal. It is likely that this group has a high level of belief and respect for EGW’s writings and also follows her advice regarding diet/health.
Isn’t it interesting to consider how these areas of Adventist belief are interwoven? When you consider your own adherence to the Adventist Health Message and your belief in Adventist eschatology, where do you fall? This is definitely food for thought.
This data was originally presented by Petr Činčala and René Drumm at the Society for the
Scientific Study of Religion & Religious Research Association Annual Meeting, November 11–13, 2022 in Baltimore, MD.
Created in collaboration with the Institute of Church Ministry.
Published by ASTR on 02/01/2023