Adventism

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Adventism is a branch of Protestant Christianity [1] 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.

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers.

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Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening was a Protestant religious revival during the early 19th century in the United States. The movement began around 1790, gained momentum by 1800 and, after 1820, membership rose rapidly among Baptist and Methodist congregations whose preachers led the movement. It was past its peak by the late 1840s. The Second Great Awakening reflected Romanticism characterized by enthusiasm, emotion, and an appeal to the supernatural. It rejected the skeptical rationalism and deism of the Enlightenment.

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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 doctrines from one another. These groups, stemming from a common Millerite ancestor, became known collectively as the Adventist movement.

William Miller (preacher) American Baptist preacher

William Miller was an American Baptist preacher who is credited with beginning the mid-19th-century North American religious movement known as Millerism. After his proclamation of the Second Coming did not occur as expected in the 1840s, new heirs of his message emerged, including the Advent Christians (1860), the Seventh-day Adventists (1863) and other Adventist movements.

Millerism Christian religious movement founded by William Miller in 1833, which held that the Second Coming would come in 1844; later developed into Adventism

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.

Great Disappointment event, predicted by William Miller, on 22 Oct. 1844 during which Jesus Christ would return to the Earth by 1844; when visible signs failed to materialize, it caused much disappointment, but also catalysed the beginning of Seventh-Day Adventism

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.

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. [1] 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.

Christian theology is the theology of Christian belief and practice. Such study concentrates primarily upon the texts of the Old Testament and of the New Testament, as well as on Christian tradition. Christian theologians use biblical exegesis, rational analysis and argument. Theologians may undertake the study of Christian theology for a variety of reasons, such as in order to:

In some forms of Christian eschatology, the intermediate state or interim state is a person's "intermediate" existence between one's death and the universal resurrection. In addition, there are beliefs in a particular judgment right after death and a general judgment or last judgment after the resurrection.

Annihilationism is the belief that those who are wicked will perish or be no more. It states that after the final judgment some human beings and all fallen angels will be totally destroyed so as to not exist, or that their consciousness will be extinguished, rather than suffer everlasting torment in hell.

In 2010, Adventism claimed some 22 million believers scattered in various independent churches. [2] The largest church within the movement—the Seventh-day Adventist Church—had more than 19 million baptized members in 2015. [3] [4]

Seventh-day Adventist Church Protestant Christian church founded in 1863

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.

History

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). [1] [5]

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. [1] [5]


The development of branches of Adventism in the 19th century. Adventism-en.svg
The development of branches of Adventism in the 19th century.

Albany Conference (1845)

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. [1] 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, [6] 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. [7] 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.

Denominations

The Handbook of Denominations in the United States, 12th ed., describes the following churches as "Adventist and Sabbatarian (Hebraic) Churches":

Christadelphians

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.

Advent Christian Church

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.

Primitive Advent Christian Church

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.

Seventh-day Adventist

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. [8] 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.

Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement

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.

Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association

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.

Branch Davidians

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.

Church of God (Seventh Day)

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. [9]

Church of God and Saints of Christ

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.

Church of God General Conference

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

Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church

United Seventh-Day Brethren

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 .

Other minor Adventist groups

Other relationships

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.

See also

General:

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Mead, Frank S; Hill, Samuel S; Atwood, Craig D. "Adventist and Sabbatarian (Hebraic) Churches". Handbook of Denominations in the United States (12th ed.). Nashville: Abingdon Press. pp. 256–76.
  2. "Christianity report" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-08-05. Retrieved 2014-12-30.
  3. https://www.adventist.org/en/information/statistics/
  4. Zylstra, Sarah Eekhoff. "The Season of Adventists: Can Ben Carson's Church Stay Separatist amid Booming Growth?" Christianity Today. 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-10-13.
  5. 1 2 George Knight, A Brief History of Seventh-day Adventists
  6. "partial archives". Adventistarchives.org. Retrieved 2013-06-26.
  7. "Berkshire Institute for Christian Studies".
  8. http://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story4262-adventist-church-membership-reaches-195-million
  9. Tarling, Lowell R. (1981). "The Churches of God". The Edges of Seventh-day Adventism: A Study of Separatist Groups Emerging from the Seventh-day Adventist Church (1844–1980). Barragga Bay, Bermagui South, NSW: Galilee Publications. pp. 24–41. ISBN   0-9593457-0-1.
  10. "Celestia" blog by Jeff Crocombe, October 13, 2006

Bibliography