We Seventh-day Adventist traditionally place a great
deal of emphasis on “our beliefs,” and rightly so.
Our “Fundamental Beliefs” are important in that
they form a common platform on which we can
unite as a denomination and as a religious
community, a community defined by beliefs.
However, an emphasis on head beliefs can easily
detract from the essence of what evidence shows was the practical
community Jesus meant to establish in the church, i.e., a community
defined by relationships.
So, since some have thought it good to create a four-page long list of
beliefs, I join others who think it would also be good for us to spell out
an additional biblical list of:
Fundamental Relational Practices
For Seventh-day Adventist Christians
Such are at the core of both what both Old and New testament teach
on true godliness.
Old Testament texts with an emphasis on justice and kindness over
beliefs and cultus abound, mostly in the Prophets. Bypassing the
Prophets, I selected for here two texts from the Writings, one from
Proverbs and the other from Psalms. The one from Proverbs describe
what God wants us to not do. The one from Psalms describes what
God would appreciate us doing.
These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
1. A proud look,
2. A lying tongue,
3. Hands that shed innocent blood,
4. A heart that devises wicked plans,
5. Feet that are swift in running to evil,
6. A false witness who speaks lies,
7. And one who sows discord among brethren.
Proverbs 6: 16-19
Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
1. He who walks uprightly, And works righteousness,
2. Who speaks the truth in his heart;
He who does not backbite with his tongue,
3. Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
4. In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but honors those who fear the Lord;
5. He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
6. He who does not put out his money at usury,
Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
Psalms 15: 1-5
The New Testament texts on the primacy of good relational practices
stemming from the core Christian truth of God’s acceptance are
countless. And as the New Testament usually does, they make it
simple: honest and open communication, overlooking, humility and
forgiveness, brotherly affection and the like.
More important than any Christian cross artwork or than any talk on
denominational theological beliefs, the life of Christ lived through good
communications and relationships is the best and most effective
testimony that we Seventh-day Adventists could have to the Christian
faith that we profess to have, and to the claim we make of promoting it
in life, family, church, and school, in these end times and at any time.
Dr. Sam Garbi