The name was given to us by God, 2 and as it signifies those who keep the seventh-day Sabbath and look forward to imminent return of our Lord, Davidians would most definitely qualify as Seventh-day Adventists. But taking it further, since there are a number of churches who keep the Sabbath and believe in the return of Christ, in addition*, a genuine Seventh-day Adventist also believes in all of the twenty-seven fundamental doctrines of our faith* which includes not only the essential tenets of Christianity, the Sabbath, and the second return of our Savior, but also the unconsciousness of man in death, Christ’s heavenly administration in the Holy and the Most Holy apartments of the heavenly sanctuary or the investigative Judgment of the dead and living, the Third Angel’s message, the gift of the Spirit of Prophecy as manifested in Ellen G. White, and that we are, by the grace and power of God to reflect His character. Be assured then that Rod believers are indeed Seventh-day Adventists because they embrace, teach, and strive to uphold the faith and practice of the above tenets. Every Rod believer is taught that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the true church of God, and will continue to the end.3Victor Houteff put it this way:
“Davidian Seventh-day Adventists believe that the Seventh-day Adventist church was ordained of heaven and charged with a special message for the world but in the course of time she permitted herself to grow self-complacent, lukewarm, and careless in discharging her sacred responsibilities. . . To the end that this ruinous state of division and weakness be resolved into unity and strength, and absolute imperative to the church’s ever fulfilling her high destiny, the Davidians still further believe that, as is written, “the gold will be separated from the dross in the church.” In other words, they believe that the Modernists, those who have rendered supreme homage to science falsely so-called” . . . trusted to intellect, genius, or talent” (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 80), will be winnowed from the Fundamentalists– from those who “are standing in the light . . . sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land.” – Ibid. p. 209.4
So Rod believers are truly Seventh-day Adventists. They are in fact, “fundamentalists.” They hold to orthodox or conservative Adventism, and as such, they do not espouse the so-called “new theology” ideas—a specie of modernism which disregard some of our fundamental doctrines.
But you ask, are not Rod believers disfellowshiped from the church? It is true that many believers have been excommunicated or disfellowshiped and no longer hold official church membership, however, they were not treated thus because they committed open sin or broke God’s commandments*,** but because of their non-traditional beliefs on prophecy.* Now it is not our names on the church books that saves us, but our faith and practice insuring that our names remain on the Book of Life. No where in the bible does the church have the authority to excommunicate someone from church fellowship because they share non-traditional beliefs on prophecy. Again, they are not ostracized for speaking against the fundamental beliefs or because they in violation of God’s commandments. There are members in good and regular standing who do not believe in the Inspiration of Ellen White’s writings, or who are not living up the lifestyle standards of the Scriptures; but Rod believers who do believe in the Spirit of Prophecy and who are striving to live the standard of Christ are disfellowshiped just because of their particular beliefs about prophecy!
Victor Houteff summarized the whole situation like this:
“Fundamentally we are Seventh-day Adventists. . . .We were separated from the mother church because the “lukewarm” brethren by majority vote disfellowshiped us, and put a guard at the church doors to make sure that we could not enter the churches on the Sabbath day. Evidently they did these things in order to force us to renounce the Lord’s revealed Truth, and also to frighten those who were embracing Present Truth and those who might investigate for themselves and accept the message of the hour. There could be no other reason for dismissing us. As we could not turn out backs upon the God-sent “meat in due season” we were, of course, compelled to add Davidian to the name Seventh-day Adventists, lest we be accused of misrepresentation. We have never, however, separated ourselves from the denomination. As a people we still attend the denominational churches whenever we are not barred from entering.
“Our work is strictly within our denomination as was John’s and Christ’s within their denomination. Our fundamental beliefs are therefore the same as those of the denomination with the exception of the additional doctrinal truths which the additional message brings us. Circumstances, therefore, have placed us in a situation similar to that of the apostles: Their fundamental beliefs, too, were the fundamental beliefs of the Jews, and in addition to these, they had the Gospel of Christ.5
What then constitutes the true church? “From the beginning,” says the servant of the Lord, “faithful souls have constituted the church on earth. In every age the Lord has had His watchmen, who have borne a faithful testimony to the message of warning . . . “6