Adventist Today has posted the Jan-Feb edition of their magazine in its entirety. You can get to it at this link. In the editorial they asked several Adventist personalities do they consider themselves Adventist or Christian first. You can get to the answers at this link.
It is interesting in that I have just had this conversation with a friend of mine. I think it is an important question for all of us to ask ourselves. Those of us who are doing ministry within different theological contexts must have it in their mind. For example, I have to answer this question as an Adventist who edits a website for ministers where 90% are not Adventist. That site is SoulPreaching.Com
I like the answers that Dwight Nelson gave to the question. He simply answered “yes.” He was both. I would answer this by saying it is not possible to be a true Adventist and not be a true Christian. While it is possible to have one’s names on the roll, being an Adventist requires a connection to the divine, requires believers baptism, requires faith in Christ as one’s savior.
But I would hasten to add, that it is likewise impossible to be a true Baptist and not be a true Christian. Or a true Methodist. Or other Christian groups.
My Baptist friend, Minister Napoleon Harris, who contributes to SoulPreaching.Com, when he says he is a Baptist, and when I say I am Adventist, we both know that while we do have significant differences, we are both members of that larger group called Christianity.
Can’t Ignore differences
We can’t simply ignore our differences, or even attempt to say that they are unimportant. We don’t become members of the “Christian” group by seeking to be “generic” Christians. No, my Baptist friend recognizes that the Baptist church has something to say to the Christian world. There is something about soul liberty, church liberty, and the priesthood of all believers that the Christian world needs to hear. His “Baptist” voice cannot be muted.
Likewise, my “Adventist” voice needs to be heard in the Christian world. There is something about God’s Law that should not be forgotten, something about a “Second-Advent focus” that needs to be heard, something about the necessity and importance of rest that the world needs.
Am I Christian first or an Adventist first? I can’t answer that question, just like my Baptist friend we say that we are Christian through our denominational heritage not in spite of it.