Christianity Today assesses Adventists' struggle to be distinct

Christianity Today published an article called "The Season of Adventists: Can Ben Carson's Church Stay Separatist Amid Booming Growth?" by Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra in its January/February edition about the denomination's worries the church is becoming too mainstream. A picture of Ellen White and Billy Graham's faces posed opposite of each other in a venn diagram illustrates the article.

Zylstra discusses the church's tenth year of over 1 million people becoming Adventist, bringing the world church population to 18.1 million, making Seventh-day Adventists the "fifth-largest Christian communion."

She quotes President Ted Wilson's sermon from the October Annual Council to illustrate the church's concern over becoming mainstream:

"Don’t be tempted by the Devil to blend in with the crowd or be ‘politically correct,’" Wilson said during his annual sermon in October. "Don’t proclaim a ‘generic’ Christianity or a ‘cheap-grace Christ,' which does not point to the distinctive biblical truths to be declared worldwide” by Adventists (who regard themselves as God’s faithful remnant).

According to Zylstra, Wilson's comments seemed aimed at the North American Division, whose members are wanting "more dialogue with mainstream evangelicals." 

Public public relations director for the world church Garret Caldwell said that even though the church is experimenting with different ways to reach people, the church isn't joining the National Association of Evangelicals:

Anything that is a ‘how’ item, we should be willing to make an adjustment to. But not if it’s a ‘what’ kind of item . . . driven by our theology and by our history.

Zylstra includes some comments from David Neff, former Christianity Today editor and a former Adventist minister, about the tension between the church's view of itself as distinct or just one of many evangelical denominations.

The article ends with ADvindicate President Gerry Wagoner:

Our differences are an asset until they become offensive. How can we love everyone and still retain the distinctives that make us unique?

You can read the article online at if you pay for a subscription or where ever the magazine is sold.

Please read our comment policy before leaving a comment.

ADvindicate Comments