Is Adventism primarily a package of beliefs or a mindset? It would seem that the dominate view is that it is simply a package of beliefs. These beliefs are either important or not so important or kind of important depending on who you ask. This package includes the sanctuary, state of the dead, and Sabbath. Some lament the objective fact that many are no longer preaching sermons on these doctrines. However, when you dig a little deeper and ask them what kind of sermon they are referring to, it seems as though they mean sermons that didactically defend or teach these doctrines.
While it is true that there is a time to hear these doctrines defined and defended, I question whether the 11:00 service Sabbath morning is that best time. No wonder people got turned off on these doctrines. They may have simply heard them taught over and over again until they assumed that all know them. I mean do we really need a sermon every week (or every other week) that simply delineates why a doctrine is true?
The key thing that is missing in this analysis however is that Adventism is more than a package of beliefs, it is a mindset. The Sabbath flows from that mindset. The Sanctuary doctrine was once an organizing principle that helped to describe the mindset. Our great problem is not that we don’t hear any sermons calculating 1844 anymore. Our great problem is that there is no underlying “Adventist” mindset through which we preach any of our sermons. In short, if T.D. Jakes preaches a sermon on the Goodness of God, that does not mean Adventists should not preach a sermon on the same subject. Adventists must preach sermons on the same subject. My contention, however, is that when an Adventist preaches that sermon it will include aspects, views, insights, and even definitions of “goodness” that come from our interaction with Sabbath, Sanctuary, Bible Wholeness, and yes the Third Angel’s Message.
We don’t need a regurgitation of a package of beliefs that no one sees having any relevance to daily living. We need a deeper understanding of who we are that will affect any sermon we preach. Even, yes, on those occasions when we preach from the package of beliefs.