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Church Committee Begins Process to Change Belief on Creation

In a process rolled-out over much of the last decade by several top church administrators, this June the newly-formed Fundamental Beliefs Review Committee plans to meet in an effort to insert the extra-scriptural words “recent” and “literal 24-hour days” into the Seventh-day Adventist belief regarding the Genesis narrative. The goal is to have the process ready for a vote at the 2015 world session in San Antonio, Texas. According to an extensive Adventist News Network article on this process, this move to change the belief was driven by church president Ted Wilson during the 2010 session.

Drawing from the 2005 addition of the fundamental belief—Growing in Christ—and the 1980 preamble allowing for revision, the article lays out the precedent and reasoning being used to make this change.

Last year, delegates of the 59th General Conference Session in Atlanta voted to reaffirm the church’s belief in a “literal, recent, six-day creation.” The vote formally endorsed a document drafted at the International Faith and Science Conference in 2004 and later that year affirmed by the church’s Annual Council business meeting. The move addressed questions from some Adventists regarding interpretation of the denomination’s Fundamental Belief Number 6. . . .


Because the Adventist Church cannot hold two official statements on the same belief, Session delegates also voted to grant top church administration what world church General Vice President Artur Stele called a “mandate” to merge the two statements’ language and intent into one comprehensive fundamental belief.

The committee is co-chaired by Stele and the Biblical Research Institute’s Angel Rodriguez. It includes Adventist Review editor and publisher Bill Knott and BRI associate director Gerhard Pfandl. These four men, none of whom is a scientist, will write the first draft of the revised belief on creation.

The ANN article helpfully compares this process to the initial writing of the fundamental beliefs, one which aimed to unify the church through belief. 

“A major reason we’ve been able to achieve widespread agreement among Adventists worldwide is because the Fundamental Beliefs keep very close to the wording of Scripture. They either quote Scripture directly or paraphrase it,” said Bill Johnson, who was among the group of scholars and theologians at the Seminary tasked with rewriting the preliminary draft.

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