Charles Scriven, president of Kettering College of Medical Arts in Kettering, Ohio, has written a great piece on Adventist identity at Adventist Today — What is an Adventist? Two Stories Define Us (May 13, 2009).
As for the disciples, Jesus described their life and mission in the longest of his recorded sermons. He began with the “Beatitudes,” a series of blessings on those who follow him. He said, for example, that when disciples know their need, have compassionate hearts, and suffer persecution for doing what is right, they receive gifts that are fitting for them. Only once in the Beatitudes did he say what his followers would actually do–actually take up as a mission–and that was in the blessing he pronounced on “peacemakers.” Jesus’ followers would be peacemakers. They would also be evangelists for peacemaking, going forth to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 5:9; also 28:19, 20). In all of this, they would focus on creating the conditions for human flourishing. Peacemaking would mark their identity as “children of God.”