On December 5 and 6, 2018 an open and friendly dialogue between representatives of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement took place at the headquarters of the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.
The dialogue between a small group of leaders from both organisations acknowledged our shared heritage as well as our distinct differences. Nikolaus Satelmajer, one of the key organisers of the meetings on the Seventh-day Adventist side, said “The conversation was friendly and informative.”
Davi P. Silva, president of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement General Conference, said, “It has been a valuable opportunity to get to know one another, and to dialogue openly and freely on questions of shared interest as well as to further explore vital differences as they relate to our eternal salvation.”
The meetings were initiated by two brethren from the SDA Church who, in August 2017, approached our General Conference leadership regarding the possibility of holding meetings to understand why we hold differing views and know where we agree. Our purpose in meeting together was to share what we believe to be important truths for the people of God living in the last generation of this world’s history and to understand one another’s point of view on the same topics. To facilitate discussion, papers were presented by participants from both sides on four areas of belief and practice: Christian temperance and the diet for the last generation; the relationship between church and state especially as it relates to participation in military service; the law and the covenants as they relate to justification by faith; and issues surrounding divorce and remarriage.
The verbal presentations made during the meetings were recorded and made available on the IRLA Videos YouTube Channel
Our General Conference have made available the joint statement in regard to the dialogue at http://sdarm.org/news-events/news/2019-03-01/leaders-adventism-dialogue
“After reading the combined statement below, please listen to the links provided (both video, audio, and written documentation) as presented by selected brethren regarding the views on several issues. The presentation of the subject of Closed Communion as submitted/delivered at the initial meeting in Silver Spring, Maryland, was not recorded, but a more detailed document that was given after the meeting is also linked below.
“Please pray for those participating in the meetings that the Spirit of the Lord may be in our midst, guiding and directing us to clearly present the points in which we differ and at the same time recognize, uphold, and encourage each other on the points upon which we agree.”
Joint Statement of Participants in the Seventh-day Adventist and Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement Dialogue
As representatives of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement General Conference, we are delighted to have the opportunity to meet and dialogue together in a spirit of Christian friendship and respect. Our shared heritage, and our many intersecting areas of doctrine, values, and practice, have allowed us to quickly establish a strong foundation of understanding and fellowship. As Sabbatarian Adventists, we share unique ties of spiritual kinship, each treasuring the Sabbath truth and looking forward eagerly to the soon return of our Savior.
We acknowledge, though, areas of clear difference in theological understanding and church practice, and these we express forthrightly and humbly, sharing with each other from Scripture and the writings of Ellen White.
We meet in order to better understand one another, to open up a warm and cordial space for discussion and fellowship, and to affirm one another as we each seek to share Jesus Christ and His salvation in a fallen world. We look forward to meeting again in the Spring of 2019 to continue our conversation.