Seventh-day Adventist Church

Seventh-day Adventist Church
   The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a global movement founded on the belief in the imminent return of Christ to earth. It is the primary heir to the ministry of William Miller, a Baptist lay minister who emerged in the 1830s. After several years of Bible study, Miller came to believe that Christ would return around 1843, basing his claim on two passages in the book of Daniel. He published his views and traveled widely in the American Northeast lecturing on his ideas.
   That Christ did not return as expected either in 1843, or in 1844, became known as the Great Disappointment for Miller's followers. While reactions varied, some suggested that the 1844 date had been correct. Jesus had indeed commenced his return at that time, but was delayed by a particular task, the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. He would come to earth soon, but the date was unknown.
   James (1821-81) and Ellen G. White were of that opinion. They drew more and more Adven-tists around them and in 1863 officially organized the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with 3,500 members in 125 congregations. As the name implies, the group had also adopted Sabbatarianism, the belief that Christians should observe Saturday as the day of rest. Over the years, Adventists advocated a variety of causes, including health reform, promoted through the Western Health Reform Institute (Battle Creek Sanitarium), founded in 1866. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) joined the staff as the medical superintendent in 1876. His most famous innovation was flaked cereal, later the basis of two large cereal companies bearing the name of Kellogg's brother and of an employee named Post.
   The Adventists in 1872 founded the first of what became an international network of seminaries and schools (from elementary through university). Today, the church sponsors more than 6,300 schools, 100 of them colleges, universities and graduate seminaries.
   The church has been very active in global missionary work, anxious to spread the news of Christ's return. Within a decade of its founding, it commissioned J. N. Andrews for work in Switzerland. Other early mission fields were Australia (1885), Russia (1886), Ghana (1994), South Africa (1894), and Japan (1896). In the 20th century, the Adventists reached to every corner of the world. it is one of the very few religious bodies that has worshipping communities in more than 200 countries.
   Since 1989, headquarters have been in Silver Spring, Maryland. in 2002, the church reported a world membership of 12 million in more than 51,000 congregations. Work is carried out in more than 800 languages.
   The Seventh-day Adventist Church derived most of its theology from Baptist beliefs. it is a traditional Trinitarian faith based on the authority of the Bible, the only creed. Their statement of faith affirms the fall of humanity into sin and salvation by Christ. Peculiar to Adventists is the belief that prophecy is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and was a mark of the ministry of Ellen G. White. She is considered the Lord's messenger, and her writings are seen as a continuing and authoritative source of truth. The church affirms that humanity is now involved in the "great controversy between Christ and Satan." Satan rebelled against God, and introduced rebellion among humankind. Christ sends the Holy Spirit and angels to guide, protect, and sustain humans in their salvation.
   See also Adventism.
   Further reading:
   ■ Roy Adams, The Sanctuary: Understanding the Heart of Adventist Theology (Hagerstown, Md.: Review & Herald, 1994)
   ■ P Gerard Damsteegt, Foundations of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1977)
   ■ Erwin Gane and Leo van Dolson, This We Believe: An Overview of the Teachings of Seventh-day Adventists (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press, 1993)
   ■ George R. Knight, Anticipating the Advent: A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press, 1993)
   ■ Gary Land, ed., Adventism in America (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans, 1986).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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