The Solid Rock

Twenty-eight.
Eighty-eight.
Twelve.

What is significant about these numbers?

Twenty-eight.  This number is significant because it represents the number of fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Eighty-eight.  In a recent study (ICM, 2014) conducted by the Institute for Church Ministry, Adventist young people were asked if they could explain the Adventist beliefs to anyone.  Eight-eight percent of respondents answered that this was “always,” “often,” or “sometimes” true.

Twelve.  In the same study, only twelve percent of Adventist young people surveyed said that they could “rarely” or “never” explain the Adventist beliefs.

While it is encouraging that a majority of young people feel confident in their understanding of church doctrine, it is clear that this does not ring true for everyone.  What can we do to help enhance their comprehension of Adventist beliefs?

  • Teach.  Many times our young people do not fully understand concepts because they have not been taught and reinforced.  While Adventist schools may be teaching these beliefs, they may not be discussed at home.  Or, if young people are not attending SDA schools, they may not be exposed to this information anywhere except at church.  It is important not to assume that they have already been taught these beliefs and therefore skim over them during Sabbath School, church, or Bible study. 
  • Facilitate critical thinking.  If we expect young people to truly understand the central truths that the Adventist Church considers important, then we must not simply have them memorize beliefs.  We must teach them to be critical thinkers, challenging them to use their Bibles to search for answers, questioning why the church has established these beliefs as central.  When they find Biblical proof to backup these ideals, it will help enhance their faith, as well as build their confidence in the Church.
  • Encourage a relationship with Jesus.  No matter how important understanding the 28 Fundamental Beliefs is, it is no replacement for an authentic relationship with Jesus.  It is vital that we encourage our young people to truly seek Him; as they get to know Him and understand His character, it will allow them to see more clearly the validity of why Adventists believe what we do.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus tells this story:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.  But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Jesus is the Rock upon which we must build our church – both the present church, as well as that of the future.  We must be doing all that we can to help our young people build a solid foundation on the Rock; it is only by doing this that they will be able to weather the storms of this world without crumbling.

For more information regarding the 28 Fundamental Beliefs, check out: http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/