Many people confuse Seventh Day Baptist with the much larger, but also much younger, Seventh Day Adventist. While there is agreement in some areas, there are considerable historical and theological differences. Four similarities and ten differences.
1. Practice baptism of believers by immersion.
2. Observe the biblical Sabbath, the seventh day of the week.
3. Express non-liturgical worship.
4. Are concerned with religious freedom and the separation of church and state.
01. SDB holds to the historical Protestant principal that the Bible is the final authoritative source in matters of faith and practice, and that Christ is the supreme interpreter of God's will for mankind. SDA holds to the Bible as the source of their faith, but also believe that Ellen G. White was an inspired prophetess, and that her writings and interpretations are to be received as authoritative in the church.
02. SDB holds that Christ will return to earth in power at an undisclosed time. They believe that a detailed understanding of prophetic texts is a matter of individual interpretation. SDA place great emphasis on accepting the interpretation of the apocalyptic writings which they believe to be correct. Many believe that only those who live up to their concept of "present truth" will be prepared for "translation" when Christ appears.
03. SDB holds to the "congregational form of organization," where the power rests with the local congregation in its decision making, including the call and support of ministers. Their General Conference of churches operates on the principal of "advice and consent" for cooperative programs, fellowship,and spiritual enrichment. SDA holds to an "episcopal form of organization," in which the power and many of the decisions flow down from the top down.
04. SDB cherish the individual interpretation of the Scriptures under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For this reason they allow latitude in the understanding and application of the Scriptures. SDA holds to a creedal position, expecting a more detailed uniformity in their member's beliefs and practices.
05. SDB makes a distinction between the moral laws of the Old Testament (such as the Ten Commandments, given for all mankind) and the ceremonial laws (given for the developing Israel nation). hence they do not consider that such things as dietary laws are still obligatory. SDA consider that regulations such as the Old testament dietary distinctions between clean and unclean meats are still required of Christians.
06. SDB agree with other Protestants that Christ's atoning work was finished on the cross. The gift of eternal life, based on God's grace and not our own works, assures a future free from condemnation. They reject the emphasis of the "investigative judgment." SDA lay great stress on the "third angel's message" (Rev.14:9-12). They consider that Christ entered the heavenly sanctuary in 1844 and that an "investigative judgment" of human lives is now going on in heaven. They feel responsible to confess each sin and live a righteous life, thus calling into question their assurance of salvation'
07. SDB approve of the tithing model, but do not make it obligatory. They teach that as faithful stewards of God's creation, a fair proportion of their income is given voluntarily as an act of worship. SDA hold tithing of income to be obligatory (for support of ministry), supplemented by offerings.
08. SDB in general believe that upon death, the souls of the righteous go to be with God. They believe that the redeemed will be given spiritual and glorified bodies at the resurrection. SDA teach that both the spirit and the body fall asleep in death, ("soul sleep") not to be waken until Christ returns. Until that day, the dead are (literally) unconscious.
09. SDB have preached from the very beginning their distinctive doctrine of the Sabbath as a blessing for mankind and an experience of God's eternal presence with His people. Obedience to His command is a loving response to His grace in Christ. They believe that the Sabbath should be faithfully observed as a day of rest, worship, and celebration. SDA have been in agreement with the Biblical Sabbath of their historic heritage, but have cast it into the judgmental framework of the heavenly sanctuary doctrine, giving it a major role in determining one's salvation.
10. SDB have been ecumenical in their relations with other denominations, feeling that while believers may be mistaken in some of their practices and belief, they are followers of the Christ who died that all might be saved. Seventh day baptists do not associate Sunday observance with "the Mark of the beast" mentioned in the book of revelation.