Adventism is a branch of Protestant Christianity which was started in the United States during the Second Great Awakening when Baptist preacher William Miller first publicly shared his belief that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would occur at some point between 1843 and 1844.
The name refers to belief in the imminent Second Coming (or "Second Advent") of Jesus Christ. William Miller started the Adventist movement in the 1830s. His followers became known as Millerites. After the Great Disappointment, the Millerite movement split up and was continued by a number of groups that held different views from one another. These groups, stemming from a common Millerite ancestor, became known collectively as the Adventist movement.
Although the Adventist churches hold much in common, their theologies differ on whether the intermediate state of the dead is unconscious sleep or consciousness, whether the ultimate punishment of the wicked is annihilation or eternal torment, the nature of immortality, whether the wicked are resurrected after the millennium, and whether the sanctuary of Daniel 8 refers to the one in heaven or one on earth. The movement has encouraged the examination of the whole Bible, leading Seventh-day Adventists and some smaller Adventist groups to observe the Sabbath. The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has compiled that church's core beliefs in the 28 Fundamental Beliefs (1980 and 2005), which use Biblical references as justification.
In 2010, Adventism claimed some 22 million believers scattered in various independent churches. The largest church within the movement—the Seventh-day Adventist Church—had more than 19 million baptized members in 2015.
Adventism began as an inter-denominational movement. Its most vocal leader was William Miller. Between 50,000 and 100,000 people in the United States supported Miller's predictions of Christ's return. After the "Great Disappointment" of October 22, 1844, many people in the movement gave up on Adventism. Of those remaining Adventist, the majority gave up believing in any prophetic (biblical) significance for the October 22 date, yet they remained expectant of the near Advent (second coming of Jesus).
Of those who retained the October 22 date, many maintained that Jesus had come not literally but "spiritually", and consequently were known as "spiritualizers". A small minority held that something concrete had indeed happened on October 22, but this event had been misinterpreted. This viewpoint later emerged and crystallized with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the largest remaining body today.
The Albany Conference in 1845, attended by 61 delegates, was called to attempt to determine the future course and meaning of the Millerite movement. Following this meeting, the "Millerites" then became known as "Adventists" or "Second Adventists". However, the delegates disagreed on several theological points. Four groups emerged from the conference: The Evangelical Adventists, The Life and Advent Union, the Advent Christian Church, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The largest group was organized as the American Millennial Association, a portion of which was later known as the Evangelical Adventist Church. Unique among the Adventists, they believed in an eternal hell and consciousness in death. They declined in numbers, and by 1916 their name did not appear in the United States Census of Religious Bodies. It has diminished to almost non-existence today. Their main publication was the Advent Herald, of which Sylvester Bliss was the editor until his death in 1863. It was later called the Messiah's Herald.
The Life and Advent Union was founded by George Storrs in 1863. He had established The Bible Examiner in 1842. It merged with the Adventist Christian Church in 1964.
The Advent Christian Church officially formed in 1861 grew rapidly at first. It declined a little during the 20th century. The Advent Christians publish the four magazines The Advent Christian Witness, Advent Christian News, Advent Christian Missions and Maranatha. They also operate a liberal arts college at Aurora, Illinois; and a one-year Bible College in Lenox, Massachusetts, called Berkshire Institute for Christian Studies. The Primitive Advent Christian Church later separated from a few congregations in West Virginia.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church officially formed in 1863. It believes in the sanctity of the seventh-day Sabbath as a holy day for worship. It publishes the Adventist Review, which evolved from several early church publications. Youth publications include KidsView, Guide and Insight. It has grown to a large worldwide denomination and has a significant network of medical and educational institutions.
Miller did not join any of the movements, and he spent the last few years of his life working for unity, before dying in 1849.
The Handbook of Denominations in the United States, 12th ed., describes the following churches as "Adventist and Sabbatarian (Hebraic) Churches":
The Christadelphians were founded in 1844 by John Thomas and had an estimated 25,000 members in 170 ecclesias, or churches, in 2000 in America.
The Advent Christian Church was founded in 1860 and had 25,277 members in 302 churches in 2002 in America. It is a "first-day" body of Adventist Christians founded on the teachings of William Miller. It adopted the "conditional immortality" views of Charles F. Hudson and George Storrs who formed the "Advent Christian Association" in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1860.
The Primitive Advent Christian Church is a small group which separated from the Advent Christian Church. It differs from the parent body mainly on two points. Its members observe foot washing as a rite of the church, and they teach that reclaimed backsliders should be baptized (even though they had formerly been baptized). This is sometimes referred to as rebaptism.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church, founded in 1863, had over 19,500,000 baptized members (not counting children of members) worldwide as of June 2016. It is best known for its teaching that Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is the Sabbath and is the appropriate day for worship. However, it is the second coming of Jesus Christ along with the Judgement day, based on the three angels message in Revelation 14:6–13, that is the main doctrine of SDA.
The Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement is a small offshoot with an unknown number of members from the Seventh-day Adventist Church caused by disagreement over military service on the Sabbath day during World War I.
The Davidians (originally named Shepherd's Rod) is a small offshoot with an unknown number of members made up primarily of voluntarily disfellowshipped members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. They were originally known as the Shepherd's Rod and are still sometimes referred to as such. The group derives its name from two books on Bible doctrine written by its founder, Victor Houteff, in 1929.
The Branch Davidians were a split ("branch") from the Davidians.
A group that gathered around David Koresh (the so-called Koreshians) abandoned Davidian teachings and turned into a religious cult. Many of them were killed during the infamous Waco Siege of April 1993.
The Church of God (Seventh-Day) was founded in 1863 and it had an estimated 11,000 members in 185 churches in 1999 in America. Its founding members separated in 1858 from those Adventists associated with Ellen G. White who later organized themselves as Seventh-day Adventists in 1863. The Church of God (Seventh Day) split in 1933, creating two bodies: one headquartered in Salem, West Virginia, and known as the Church of God (7th day) – Salem Conference and the other one headquartered in Denver, Colorado and known as the General Conference of the Church of God (Seventh-Day). The Worldwide Church of God splintered from this.
The Church of God and Saints of Christ was founded in 1896 and had an estimated 40,000 members in approximately 200 congregations in 1999 in America.
Many denominations known as "Church of God" have Adventist origins.
The Church of God General Conference was founded in 1921 and had 7,634 members in 162 churches in 2004 in America. It is an Adventist Christian body which is also known as the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith and the Church of God General Conference (Morrow, GA).
The United Seventh-Day Brethren is a small Sabbatarian Adventist body. In 1947, several individuals and two independent congregations within the Church of God Adventist movement formed the United Seventh-Day Brethren, seeking to increase fellowship and to combine their efforts in evangelism, publications, and other .
The Bible Students movement founded by Charles Taze Russell had in its early development close connections with the Millerite movement and stalwarts of the Adventist faith, including George Storrs and Joseph Seiss. The various groupings of independent Bible Students has currently have a cumulative membership about less than 20,000 worldwide. Although both Jehovah's Witnesses and Bible Students do not categorize themselves as part of the Millerite Adventist movement (or other denominations, in general), some theologians do categorize the group and schisms as Millerite Adventist because of its teachings regarding an imminent Second Coming and use of specific dates. As of January 2014 there are approximately 8 million Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide.
Adventist congregations in Norway (Norwegian: Adventistsamfunnet) is a protestant free church in Norway.Australian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia is formally organised as the Australian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (often abbreviated by Australians as "the Union"), a subentity of the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists. As of June 30, 2018, baptised church membership stands at 61,530. Despite its small size, the Australian church has made a significant impact on the worldwide Adventist church.Christianity in Laos
Christianity is a minority religion in Laos. Christians in Laos number 150,000, divided approximately equally between Protestant and Catholics. There are three major Churches in Laos: the Lao Evangelical Church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Roman Catholic Church. The Laotian government has enacted legislation aimed against Christians, and heavily monitors all Christian activities.Criticism of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Criticism of the Seventh-day Adventist Church includes observations made about its teachings, structure, and practices or theological disagreements from various individuals and groups.Historic Adventism
Historic Adventism is an informal designation for conservative individuals and organizations affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church who seek to preserve certain traditional beliefs and practices of the church. They feel that the church leadership has shifted or departed from key doctrinal "pillars" ever since the middle of the 20th century. Specifically, they point to the publication in 1957 of a book entitled Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine; which they feel undermines historic Adventist theology in favor of theology more compatible with evangelicalism.
Historic Adventism has been erroneously applied by some to any Adventists that adhere to the teachings of the church as reflected in the church's fundamental beliefs such as the Sabbath or the Spirit of Prophecy. They misapply those who hold to mainstream traditional Adventist beliefs as synonymous with Historic Adventist.Historic Adventists have tended to promote their message through independent ministries, some of which have had a strained relationship with the official church." Last Generation Theology" shares some elements with Historic Adventism, yet considers itself to have "expanded" the beliefs of Adventism to their logical conclusion. Historic Adventists are seen as at the opposite end of the Adventist theological spectrum from Progressive Adventists. Prominent figures supporting some of the historic views include M. L. Andreasen, and Colin and Russell Standish.History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church had its roots in the Millerite movement of the 1830s to the 1840s, during the period of the Second Great Awakening, and was officially founded in 1863. Prominent figures in the early church included Hiram Edson, James Springer White (Husband to Ellen G. White), Joseph Bates, and J. N. Andrews. Over the ensuing decades the church expanded from its original base in New England to become an international organization. Significant developments such the reviews initiated by evangelicals Donald Barnhouse and Walter Martin, in the 20th century led to its recognition as a Christian denomination.Joseph Bates (Adventist)
Joseph Bates (July 8, 1792 – March 19, 1872) was an American seaman and revivalist minister. He was a co-founder and developer of Sabbatarian Adventism, a strain of religious thinking that evolved into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Bates is also credited with convincing James White and Ellen G. White of the validity of the seventh-day Sabbath.List of Seventh-day Adventist periodicals
This is a list of periodicals published by the Seventh-day Adventist Church or by its church members. They include both official and unofficial publications relating to Seventh-day Adventism. Magazines which are only available on the internet are not included.
Most periodicals are listed by location of the publisher. A brief list of the most circulated periodicals is also included.North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists
The North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist is a sub-entity of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which oversees the Church's work in the United States, Canada, French possessions of St. Pierre and Miquelon, the British overseas territory of Bermuda, the US territories in the Pacific of Guam, Wake Island, Northern Mariana Islands, and three states in free association with the United States - Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia. Its headquarters, long in the same building as the General Conference, moved to separate quarters in Columbia, Maryland in 2017. The Division membership as of June 30, 2018 is 1,253,441Pillars of Adventism
The Pillars of Adventism are landmark doctrines for Seventh-day Adventists; Bible doctrines that define who they are as a people of faith; doctrines that are "non-negotiables" in Adventist theology. The Seventh-day Adventist church teaches that these Pillars are needed to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ, and sees them as a central part of its own mission. Adventists teach that the Seventh-day Adventist Church doctrines were both a continuation of the reformation started in the 16th century and a movement of the end time rising from the Millerites, bringing God's final messages and warnings to a world.Progressive Adventism
Progressive Adventists are members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church who prefer different empheses or disagree with certain beliefs traditionally held by mainstream Adventism and officially by the church. They are often described as liberal Adventism by other Adventists, the term "progressive" is generally preferred as a self-description. This article describes terms such as evangelical Adventism, cultural Adventism, charismatic Adventism, and progressive Adventism and others, which are generally related but have distinctions.
Progressives typically disagree with one or more of the church's basic beliefs such as the Sabbath or "distinctive" beliefs such as the investigative judgment, the remnant, a future global Sunday-law, or a use of Ellen G. White's writings. They also tend to question some of the denomination's 28 fundamental beliefs: with debate arising on the nature of the Trinity, perpetuity of the Law of God, the Nature of Christ, the Gift of Prophecy, Creation or observance of the seventh-day Sabbath." It also has many similarities with the ecumenical emerging church movement which those involved in, mostly agree on is their disillusionment with the organized and institutional church. Perceptions and definitions of it may differ somewhat depending on the author, although much in common is also clearly discernible.Remnant (Seventh-day Adventist belief)
In Seventh-day Adventist theology, there will be an end time remnant of believers who are faithful to God.
The remnant church is a visible, historical, organized body characterized by obedience to the commandments of God and the possession of a unique end-time gospel proclamation. Adventists have traditionally equated this "remnant church" with the Seventh-day Adventist denomination.A distinct but related concept is the eschatological remnant, which will be manifest shortly prior to the second coming of Jesus. The "remnant church" is understood to act as a catalyst for the formation of this group. The eschatological remnant will consist of some (but not all) constituents of the present "remnant church", together with a cohort of believers from other (that is, non-Adventist) churches. Only members of the eschatological remnant will be saved through the end-times.Traditionally, Adventists have also applied the symbol of "Laodicea" to themselves, a self-criticism as being "lukewarm" in the faith (Revelation 3:15-16).
The Adventist doctrine of the end-time remnant is based primarily upon Revelation 12:17, which states:
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (King James Version, emphasis added)
An estimated 90% of Adventists believe "The Adventist Church has a special mission to proclaim God’s last message to the world", according to estimates of local church leaders in a 2002 worldwide survey.Ronald Numbers
Ronald Leslie Numbers (born 1942) is an American historian of science. He was awarded the 2008 George Sarton Medal by the History of Science Society for "a lifetime of exceptional scholarly achievement by a distinguished scholar".Sabbath in seventh-day churches
The seventh-day Sabbath, observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening (exact start and ending times varying from group to group), is an important part of the beliefs and practices of seventh-day churches.
These churches emphasize biblical references such as the ancient Hebrew practice of beginning a day at sundown, and the Genesis creation narrative wherein an "evening and morning" established a day, predating the giving of the Ten Commandments (thus the command to "remember" the sabbath). They hold that the Old and New Testament show no variation in the doctrine of the Sabbath on the seventh day. Saturday, or the seventh day in the weekly cycle, is the only day in all of scripture designated using the term Sabbath. The seventh day of the week is recognized as Sabbath in many languages, calendars, and doctrines, including those of Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox churches. It is still observed in modern Judaism in relation to Mosaic Law. In addition, the Orthodox Tewahedo Churches uphold Sabbatarianism, observing the Sabbath on Saturday, in addition to the Lord's Day on Sunday.Catholic, Orthodox, and some Protestant denominations observe the Lord's Day on Sunday and hold that the Saturday Sabbath is no longer binding for Christians. On the other hand, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists, as well as many Episcopalians, have historically espoused the view of first-day Sabbatarianism, describing the Sabbath as being transferred to the Lord's Day (Sunday), the first day of the week, merged with the day of Christ's resurrection, forming the Christian Sabbath."Seventh-day Sabbatarians" are Christians who seek to reestablish the practice of some early Christians who kept the Sabbath according to normal Jewish practice. They usually believe that all humanity is obliged to keep the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath, and that keeping all the commandments is a moral responsibility that honors, and shows love towards God as creator, sustainer, and redeemer. Christian seventh-day Sabbatarians, arising from Adventist groups in the Millerite tradition, hold beliefs similar to that tradition that the change of the sabbath was part of a Great Apostasy in the Christian faith. Some of these, most notably the Seventh-day Adventist Church, have traditionally held that the apostate church formed when the Bishop of Rome began to dominate the west and brought heathen corruption and allowed pagan idol worship and beliefs to come in, and formed the Roman Catholic Church, which teaches traditions over Scripture, and to rest from their work on Sunday, instead of Sabbath, which is not in keeping with Scripture.
The sabbath is one of the defining characteristics of seventh-day denominations, including Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, the Seventh-Day Evangelist Church, the Church of God (7th Day) headquartered in Salem, West Virginia, the Church of God (Seventh Day) conferences, True Jesus Church, the United Church of God, and the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, among many others.Seeking a Sanctuary
Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream is a book about the Seventh-day Adventist Church coauthored by Malcolm Bull and Keith Lockhart.Seventh-day Adventist Church
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination which is distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the seventh day of the week in Christian and Jewish calendars, as the Sabbath, and its emphasis on the imminent Second Coming (advent) of Jesus Christ. The denomination grew out of the Millerite movement in the United States during the mid-19th century and it was formally established in 1863. Among its founders was Ellen G. White, whose extensive writings are still held in high regard by the church.Much of the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church corresponds to common Protestant Christian teachings, such as the Trinity and the infallibility of Scripture. Distinctive teachings include the unconscious state of the dead and the doctrine of an investigative judgment. The church is known for its emphasis on diet and health, its "holistic" understanding of the person, its promotion of religious liberty, and its conservative principles and lifestyle.The world church is governed by a General Conference, with smaller regions administered by divisions, union conferences, and local conferences. It currently has a worldwide baptized membership of over 20 million people, and 25 million adherents. As of May 2007, it was the twelfth-largest religious body in the world, and the sixth-largest highly international religious body. It is ethnically and culturally diverse, and maintains a missionary presence in over 215 countries and territories. The church operates over 7,500 schools including over 100 post-secondary institutions, numerous hospitals, and publishing houses worldwide, as well as a humanitarian aid organization known as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists
The South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists is a sub-entity of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, which oversees the Church's work in the South Pacific nations of Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the islands of the South Pacific. Its headquarters is in Wahroonga, Australia.
It is made up of four regional offices. They are the Australian Union Conference (headquarters in Melbourne), New Zealand Pacific Union Conference (headquarters in Auckland), Papua New Guinea Union Mission (headquarters in Lae) and Trans-Pacific Union Mission (headquarters in Suva, Fiji). The Division membership as of June 30, 2018 is 522,523.United Sabbath-Day Adventist Church
The United Sabbath-Day Adventist Church is a small African American Christian denomination founded by James K. Humphrey.Walter Veith
Walter Julius Veith (born 1949) is a South African zoologist and a Seventh-day Adventist author and speaker known for his work in nutrition, creationism and Biblical exegesis with the Amazing Discoveries media ministry and on their international television network found in North America on Galaxy 19.
Veith was professor of the zoology department at the University of Cape Town and taught in the medical bioscience department. During this time the department was awarded a Royal Society London grant for zoological research.After joining the Seventh-day Adventist Church he rejected the theory of evolution in favor of creationism and so had to give up teaching at the University of Cape Town.
As a creationist he speaks internationally on this and other topics. His lectures, videos, and books promote creationist and Adventist beliefs and doctrines. These include an evangelical understanding of the Bible with a very strong commitment to the Textus Receptus and the King James Version of the Bible. He also promotes a vegan diet and a belief in the imminent fulfillment of Biblical End Times and the return of Jesus Christ.
Veith has written a number of books, including Diet and Health and The Genesis Conflict, which gives a biblical perspective and evidence claimed to support young earth creationism. He is the keynote speaker of Amazing Discoveries, a non-profit worldwide ministry based in British Columbia, Canada. Amazing Discoveries conducts seminars and streams by satellite, 24 hours a day, seven days a week on TV and satellite across North America and the world.