34. Is it true that SDAs are all vegetarians and that eating meat is considered a sin?
No on both counts. As stated by the South Pacific Division of the
: SDA Church
“Being a vegetarian is not a requirement to be a Seventh-day Adventist, and we do not believe people who choose an alternative dietary lifestyle will miss out on salvation.
Not all Adventists are vegetarian. A lifestyle survey by the Adventist Health in the South Pacific in 2001 revealed that only 50% of older Adventists and a quarter of younger church members are vegetarians.
Adventists believe in a holistic approach to religion, which includes honouring God with our minds, bodies and souls. The holistic approach recommends a predominantly vegetarian diet, where such is practically possible, that includes eggs and dairy products. Research shows Adventists who follow a vegetarian lifestyle and refrain from alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances greatly reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Visit the Adventist Health Survey for more information.” (emphasis added)
Similarly, one reads in the book of Daniel that he and his friends consumed “nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink” (Dan 1:12). Likewise, it is important to note that prominent individual Christians from a variety of denominations practice vegetarianism, including Nathan Braun, Andrew Linzey, Benjamin Urrutia, Gregory A. Boyd, Albert Schweitzer and John Dear.
Theologically, Adventists are actually take a similar position to Roman Catholics in recognising the proper importance of ‘natural law’:
“Although the principal basis of Adventist belief rests on the Scriptures and the church's outlook is more faith-based than liturgical, its understanding makes provision for elements of natural law, limited in scope but recognized as a part of the creation initiated by God. The locus of authority among Adventists, however, remains special revelation.
In a manner uncommon among Protestant groups, the laws of nature have a place in Adventist thinking. Although imperfectly understood by mankind and impacted by the presence of sin, their study is valued as a means of knowledge about the intent and methods of God. Such attention encourages scientific investigation and has led to an understanding of health and healing that is virtually unique among churches. As a consequence, the Adventist church is noted not only for its study of the Scriptures and what are specifically theological and moral issues, but for an effort to teach principles of healthy living as well, which they see as an element of moral service to God.” (emphasis added)
As to so-called ‘proof texts’ cited by critics, such as Rom 14, “while the weak man eats only vegetables”, the context is primarily concerned with food offered to idols. As to 1 Tim 4:1-5, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith . . . who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving”, Paul is addressing Gnostic beliefs, which views everything in the material world (i.e. the ‘flesh’, including the enjoyment of food and sex) as intrinsically evil.
Far from this approach, Adventist theology, which embraces Wholism, is the very antithesis of Platonic-dualism and Gnosticism that has greatly pervaded Christianity over the centuries. Thus, the
does not encourage vegetarianism out of some notion of aestheticism, monasticism or flagellation of the flesh. Rather, Adventists are motivated for the very opposite reason, where the human body is recognised as the SDA Church of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:20) and as such, "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Cor 10:31). Temple
Jesus Christ taught that Christians under the New Covenant, and in the
Kingdom of Heaven that has now come, should aim to live, as much as possible, in accordance with God’s original and divine plan as established in . For example, Jesus made strong statements against divorce, despite its clear allowance in Mosaic Law, because it was not God’s original plan in ‘the beginning’ (Mat 19:3-9). Similarly, God originally intended humanity to be vegetarians in the Garden (Gen 1:29), with meat eating only permitted (and with further restrictions) after the Flood (Gen 9: 4). Adventists typically believe Christians should as a matter of discipline, but not doctrine, adopt the Edenist lifestyle where possible. Eden
For further information see theAnd:http://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/documents/CleanandUnclean%20Meats.htm
official theological website SDA Church
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