Many Adventists Believe You Must Be Vegan to Be Saved

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As the church’s global growth continues, leaders must disentangle its “health message” from views on salvation.

While Seventh-day Adventists around the world have heeded their co-founder’s teachings on eating a plant-based diet, veganism has risen for some adherents to a place next to godliness.

Denominational researchers found that many members in South Asia believe salvation is ensured two ways—through Jesus Christ (92%) and through giving up meat, animal products, alcohol, and tobacco (80%). In the group’s East-Central Africa Division—with the second most vegan or vegetarian membership (42%)—three-quarters (74%) maintain that dietary choices contribute to salvation.

“The data suggest that Adventist Church leadership needs to engage in further member education to differentiate and avoid confusion between the benefits of adhering to the Adventist Health Message and the Church’s belief that the actual source of salvation is through Jesus Christ alone,” wrote Andrews University sociologist Duane McBride, lead author on the recent paper.

Overall, 95 percent of Adventists globally held to salvation through Christ alone, and adherents in North America and Europe were far less likely to believe their healthy lifestyle contributes to salvation. While over half of Adventists in North American are vegetarian or vegan—more than any other region of the church—just 4 percent see the diet as necessary for salvation.

Globally, most Seventh-day Adventists see the benefits of giving up meat and animal products, alcohol, and tobacco; over 80 percent agreed it promotes spiritual growth and longevity.

Following the prophesy of co-founder Ellen G. White, many Adventists practice veganism or vegetarianism and abstain from alcohol and tobacco, though only the use of substances is subject to church …

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