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Adventism is a branch of Protestant Christianitythat believes in the imminent Second Coming (or "Second Advent") of Jesus Christ. It originated in the 1830s in the United States during the Second Great Awakening when Baptist preacher William Miller first publicly shared his belief that the Second Coming would occur at some point between 1843 and 1844. 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 doctrines 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 that this event had been misinterpreted. This belief 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" doctrine 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, the second coming of Jesus Christ along with the Judgement day based on the three angels message in Revelation 14:6–13 remain core beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists.
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).
Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church
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.
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.
The Millerites were the followers of the teachings of William Miller, who in 1833 first shared publicly his belief that the Second Advent of Jesus Christ would occur in roughly the year 1843–1844. Coming during the Second Great Awakening, his beliefs were taken as predictions, spread widely, and were believed by many, leading to the Great Disappointment.
The Great Disappointment in the Millerite movement was the reaction that followed Baptist preacher William Miller's proclamations that Jesus Christ would return to the Earth by 1844, what he called the Advent. His study of the Daniel 8 prophecy during the Second Great Awakening led him to the conclusion that Daniel's "cleansing of the sanctuary" was cleansing of the world from sin when Christ would come, and he and many others prepared, but October 22, 1844, came and they were disappointed.
The Advent Christian Church, also known as the Advent Christian General Conference, is a "first-day" body of Adventist Christians founded on the teachings of William Miller in 1860. The organization's Executive Director is Reverend Steve Lawson, and its President is Reverend Paul Dean.
The Churches of God movement is composed of a number of sabbath-keeping churches, among which the General Conference of the Church of God, or simply CoG7, is the best-known organization. Like the Seventh Day Baptists and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Churches of God observe Sabbath, the seventh day of the week (Saturday).
Joseph Bates 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.
James Springer White, also known as Elder White, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and husband of Ellen G. White. In 1849 he started the first Sabbatarian Adventist periodical entitled "The Present Truth", in 1855 he relocated the fledgling center of the movement to Battle Creek, Michigan, and in 1863 played a pivotal role in the formal organization of the denomination. He later played a major role in the development of the Adventist educational structure beginning in 1874 with the formation of Battle Creek College.
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, 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.
Uriah Smith was a Seventh-day Adventist author, minister, educator, and theologian who is best known as the longest serving editor of the Review and Herald for over 50 years.
Joshua Vaughan Himes (1805–1895) was a Christian leader and publisher. He became involved with the followers of William Miller and later became a prominent leader in the Advent Christian Church.
The "three angels' messages" is an interpretation of the messages given by three angels in Revelation 14:6–12. The Seventh-day Adventist church teaches that these messages are given to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus Christ, and sees them as a central part of its own mission.
Hiram Edson (1806–1882) was a pioneer of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, known for introducing the sanctuary doctrine to the church. Hiram Edson was a Millerite adventist, and became a Sabbath-keeping Adventist. Like all Millerites, Edson expected that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would occur on October 22, 1844. This belief was based on an interpretation of the 2300 day prophecy which predicted that "the sanctuary would be cleansed" which Millerites took to mean that Christ would return on that day.
The seventh-day Sabbath, observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening, is an important part of the beliefs and practices of seventh-day churches.
Shut-door theology was a belief held by the Millerite group from 1844 to approximately 1854, some of whom later formed into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It held that as William Miller had given the final call for salvation, all who did not accept his message were lost. The door of salvation was shut, hence the term "shut door". They later understood it was concerning the sanctuary and not the events on earth so abandoned their earlier understanding. As an interpretation of the year "1844", it was connected to the investigative judgment belief, which forms one of the official 28 Fundamentals beliefs today.
The Adventist Church of Promise is an evangelical Christian denomination which is both Sabbatarian Adventist and classical Pentecostal in its doctrine and worship. It was founded in Brazil in 1932 by pastor John August Silveira, as a split-off from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The International Missionary Society of Seventh-Day Adventist Church Reform Movement is a Protestant Christian denomination, part of the Sabbatarian adventist movement.
Sabbatarianism is a view within Christianity that advocates the observation of the Sabbath, in keeping with the Ten Commandments. Its historical origins lie in early Christianity, later in the Eastern Church and Irish Church, and then in Puritan Sabbatarianism, which delineated precepts for keeping Sunday, the Lord's Day, holy in observance of Sabbath commandment principles. This observance of Sunday as a day of worship and rest is the purest form of first-day Sabbatarianism, a view which was historically heralded by nonconformist denominations, such as Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists, as well as many Episcopalians. The impact of first-day Sabbatarianism on Western culture is manifested by influences that remain today, such as Sunday blue laws.
Dr. John T. Walsh was a minister and Millerite who after the Great Disappointment, led a group of Adventist Millerites. They believed that Christ had returned on October 22, 1844, only invisibly, and that the Millennium had begun on that date. This group organized as the Life and Advent Union in 1863, which later became part of the Advent Christian Church.
George Washington Morse was a Seventh-day Adventist pioneer. As a Millerite Adventist, he experienced the Great Advent Awakening including the Great Disappointment of October 22, 1844. He joined the Sabbath-keeping Adventists in the late 1840s and remained a member until he died 60 years later. He witnessed the SDA Church's development for over a half of a century.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church pioneers were members of Seventh-day Adventist Church, part of the group of Millerites, who came together after the Great Disappointment across the United States and formed the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In 1860, the pioneers of the fledgling movement settled on the name, Seventh-day Adventist, representative of the church's distinguishing beliefs. Three years later, on May 21, 1863, the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was formed and the movement became an official organization.
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