Adventists and Evangelicals Meet in Dialogue
epresentatives of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church and the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) met in dialogue August 8-11, 2006, on the campus of the International Baptist Theological Seminary, located in Prague, Czech Republic. Although informal contacts had occurred during the past 50 years, this was the first official meeting of the two groups.
The purposes of the dialogue were:
1. To gain a clearer understanding of the positions of each body;
2. To clarify matters of misunderstanding;
3. To discuss frankly areas of agreement and disagreement on a biblical basis;
4. To explore possible areas of cooperation.
Representing the Alliance were Dr. Rolf Hille, chair of the Theological Commission, WEA; Dr. Juerg Buchegger; Pastor James Kautt; Dr. Herbert Klement; and Dr. Ian Randall, joined by theological expert Dr. Reinhard Hempelmann. The Adventist representatives were Dr. John Graz, secretary of the Council on Interchurch/Interfaith Relations; Dr. Niels-Erik Andreasen; Dr. Bert B. Beach; Dr. Kwabena Donkor; Dr. Eugene Hsu; Dr. William Johnsson; Dr. Teresa Reeve; and Dr. Angel Rodríguez. Drs. Hille and Graz cochaired the discussions.
The dialogue proceeded via several papers and presentations that described the respective profiles of Adventists and the Alliance. Representatives discussed the platform of beliefs held in common by Evangelicals: the Holy Scriptures, the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ, justification by faith, the new birth, the unity of the Spirit, and the Resurrection. They also considered Adventist presentations on the interpretation of Scripture; gospel, Law, and the Sabbath; and relations with other churches.
Representatives participated together in daily worship and fellowship. The dialogue revealed a large measure of common ground as agreement was found between the beliefs of the Alliance Statement of Faith and the Adventist Statement of Fundamental Beliefs; further, the two groups shared a spirit of devotion and piety, a strong belief in the inspiration and authority of Scripture, and a common concern for united Christian witness in an age of increasing secularism and religious pluralism.
The meeting concluded by planning for a second round of discussions to be held August 6-10, 2007, on the campus of Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States. Topics to be covered include the role and authority of Ellen White; Adventists’ approach to biblical apocalyptic (the books of Daniel and Revelation), including the teaching of the pre-Advent judgment and the Remnant; and trends among Evangelicals.
The Alliance represents some 420 million evangelical Christians in 127 countries drawn from many denominations. The Adventist Church has 15 million members in more than 200 countries.
—Joint release from the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the World Evangelical Alliance.