Differences between COG7 and SDA

By Dirk Anderson, ©2022

What is the difference between the Church of God (seventh day) and the Seventh-day Adventist Church?


The history of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) sect begins in the Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844. William Miller and others had predicted Christ would return to earth on that date. As many as 50,000 “Adventists,” nearly all of whom resided in the Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada, looked forward expectantly to the return of Jesus. When Jesus did not return as expected, there was a terrible disappointment. Afterwards, many of the Adventists returned to their former churches. Some gave up the faith altogether. But a few sought to find meaning in the mistake. They began diligently studying their Bibles to understand how they could have been so mistaken. Laying all previous doctrines aside, they determined to know nothing but the Bible and the Bible alone. They determined to abandon every “tradition of man” that was not based upon a “thus saith the Lord.”

As a result of this study, the Adventists discovered such truths as:

In the late 1840s, a remnant of several hundred Adventists began to adopt and practice these Biblical doctrines. This group was led by former sea captain Joseph Bates. James and Ellen White joined up with Bates in 1846 and became influential among this group. At this time Ellen was having what some regarded as “visions.” In 1852, Bates taught the Sabbath to a Sunday-keeping minister named Gilbert Cranmer. Cranmer adopted the Biblical teachings of Bates and began preaching the Sabbath and raising up churches.

Beginning around 1855, some Adventists started pushing for adopting the “visions” of Ellen White as inspired truth from God. They believed the “visions” should be followed in addition to the Bible. Other Adventists strongly opposed this. They denied her “visions” were inspired because her early “visions” contradicted themselves, the Bible, and known facts. Besides, there was a strong belief by many that they went through the 1844 disappointment for a reason: to teach them the absolute importance of following the Bible and the Bible alone. Therefore, they rejected having another source of truth other than the Bible.

By 1858, Gilbert Cranmer was deeply troubled as he saw James White advocating the “visions” of his wife Ellen. As it turns out, the “visions” were often merely a rehash of what James and Bates and other Adventist leaders were preaching. Before long, some Adventist churches began making belief in her “visions” a test of fellowship. Distraught over this turn of events, he decided to part ways with Bates and the Whites. In 1860, he joined forces with churches in Iowa that chose to stand on the Bible alone. In 1863, the Church of God (seventh day) (COG7) was officially formed.

Doctrinal Differences

Even though Cranmer taught the same doctrines as the other Adventists in 1858, a separation in doctrine soon emerged. Under the guidance of James and Ellen White, the Seventh-day Adventists dropped several doctrines that had been accepted by Sabbath-keeping Adventists during the late 1840s and 1850s. In addition, they added a large number of new doctrines that were devised by the Whites and others in their group.

Here are the doctrines that were dropped by the SDAs:

Here are the main doctrines that were added by the SDAs: