“Ask a Priest: Is It OK to Join an Adventist Bible Study?”

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Q: I am a Catholic university student and was planning to join a Bible-study club. But I noticed it is an Adventist Christian club. Am I allowed to join this club? My parents said it was not right since I am Catholic. – C.W.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: I will assume that you are referring to the Seventh-day Adventists.

While Adventists embrace some of the same beliefs as the Church, they have many doctrines that radically differ from Catholicism.

Adventists believe, for instance, that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon; that the pope is the Antichrist; that in the last days, Sunday worship will be “the mark of the beast”; and that on the last day, after a period of punishment in hell, the wicked will be annihilated and cease to exist rather than be eternally damned.

It seems likely that an Adventist’s beliefs will be reflected in how he interprets the Bible. That means you would need to be well-versed in the Bible and well-formed in the Catholic faith in order to refute dicey interpretations that might arise in the study club. If you aren’t proficient in Scripture already, you might put your own faith at risk.

To avoid that minefield, you might want to consider looking for a Catholic study group. This could make Bible study a lot easier.

This isn’t to rule out the possibility of people making mistakes about Scripture. But at least a Catholic group has a better chance of correcting itself. It has the Catechism at its disposal, should the doctrinal aspects of Scripture come into question.

For more reading about Seventh-day Adventism, see the Catholic Answers posting at https://www.catholic.com/tract/seventh-day-adventism.

For solid Catholic material on Scripture, you might consider signing up at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

You might also consider starting your own Bible study, using “The Better Part” and the Group Study Circle Guides available on our RC Spirituality website. No prior experience required!

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