While Seventh-day Adventists agree with mainstream Christian denominations on most matters of doctrine, they differ on some issues, particularly on which day to worship and what happens to souls immediately after death.
Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs
Baptism - Baptism requires repentance and a confession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It symbolizes forgiveness of sins and reception of the Holy Spirit. Adventists baptize by immersion.
Bible - Adventists see Scripture as divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, the "infallible revelation" of God's will. The Bible contains the knowledge necessary for salvation.
Communion - The Adventist communion service includes foot washing as a symbol of humility, ongoing inner cleansing, and service to others. The Lord's Supper is open to all Christian believers.
Death - Unlike most other Christian denominations, Adventists hold that the dead do not go directly to heaven or hell but enter a period of "soul sleep," in which they are unconscious until their resurrection and final judgment.
Diet - As "temples of the Holy Spirit," Seventh-day Adventists are encouraged to eat the healthiest diet possible, and many members are vegetarians. They are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, using tobacco or illegal drugs.
Equality - There is no racial discrimination in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Women cannot be ordained as pastors, although the debate continues in some circles. Homosexual behavior is condemned as sin.
Heaven, Hell - At the end of the Millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ with his saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections, Christ and the Holy City will descend from heaven to earth. The redeemed will live eternally on the New Earth, where God will dwell with his people. The condemned will be consumed by fire and annihilated.
Investigative Judgment - Beginning in 1844, a date originally named by an early Adventist as the Second Coming of Christ, Jesus began a process of judging which people will be saved and which will be destroyed. Adventists believe all departed souls are sleeping until that time of final judgment.
Jesus Christ - The eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ became man and was sacrificed on the cross in payment for sin, was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven. Those who accept the atoning death of Christ are assured eternal life.
Prophecy - Prophecy is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Seventh-day Adventists consider Ellen G. White (1827-1915), one of the church's founders, to be a prophet. Her extensive writings are studied for guidance and instruction.
Sabbath - Seventh-day Adventist beliefs include worship on Saturday, in accordance with the Jewish custom of keeping the seventh day holy, based on the Fourth Commandment. They believe that the later Christian custom of moving the Sabbath to Sunday, to celebrate the day of Christ's resurrection, is unbiblical.
Trinity - Adventists believe in one God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While God is beyond human understanding, He has revealed Himself through Scripture and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Seventh-day Adventist Practices
Sacraments - Baptism is performed on believers at the age of accountability and calls for repentance and acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior. Adventists practice full immersion.
Seventh-day Adventist beliefs consider communion an ordinance to be celebrated quarterly. The event begins with foot washing, when men and women go into separate rooms for that portion. Afterward, they gather together in the sanctuary to share unleavened bread and unfermented grape juice, as a memorial to the Lord's Supper.
Worship Service - Services begin with Sabbath School, using the Sabbath School Quarterly, a publication issued by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The worship service consists of music, a Bible-based sermon, and prayer, much like an evangelical Protestant service.
To learn more about Seventh-day Adventist beliefs, visit the official Seventh-day Adventist website.
(Sources: Adventist.org, ReligiousTolerance.org, WhiteEstate.org, and BrooklynSDA.org)