|Seventh-day Adventist Church|
|Polity||Polity of the Seventh-day Adventist Church|
|Origin||21 May 1863|
Battle Creek, Michigan
|Aid organization||Adventist Development and Relief Agency|
|Other name(s)||Adventist church, SDA (informal)|
|Official website|| www|
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The Seventh-day Adventist Churchis 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.
Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, and the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.
A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organization, leadership and doctrine. Individual bodies, however, may use alternative terms to describe themselves, such as church or sometimes fellowship. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.
Saturday is the day of the week between Friday and Sunday. The Romans named Saturday Sāturni diēs no later than the 2nd century for the planet Saturn, which controlled the first hour of that day, according to Vettius Valens. The day's name was introduced into West Germanic languages and is recorded in the Low German languages such as Middle Low German sater(s)dach, Middle Dutch saterdag and Old English Sætern(es)dæġ and Sæterdæġ. The day was also referred to as "Sæternes dæġe" in an Old English translation of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. In Old English, Saturday was also known as sunnanæfen.
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 Christian doctrine of the Trinity holds that God is one God, but three coeternal consubstantial persons or hypostases—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—as "one God in three Divine Persons". The three Persons are distinct, yet are one "substance, essence or nature" (homoousios). In this context, a "nature" is what one is, whereas a "person" is who one is. Sometimes differing views are referred to as nontrinitarian. Trinitarianism contrasts with positions such as Binitarianism and Monarchianism, of which Modalistic Monarchianism and Unitarianism are subsets.
Biblical infallibility is the belief that what the Bible says regarding matters of faith and Christian practice is wholly useful and true. It is the "belief that the Bible is completely trustworthy as a guide to salvation and the life of faith and will not fail to accomplish its purpose. Some equate "inerrancy" and "infallibility"; others do not."
Christian mortalism incorporates the belief that the human soul is not naturally immortal; and may include the belief that the soul is uncomprehending during the time between bodily death and resurrection, known as the intermediate state. "Soul sleep" is an often pejorative term so the more neutral term "materialism" was also used in the nineteenth century, and "Christian mortalism" since the 1970s.
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).
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.
The Seventh-day Adventist educational system is part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and is overseen by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists located in Silver Spring, Maryland. The educational system is a Christian school-based system.
Humanitarian aid is material and logistic assistance to people who need help. It is usually short-term help until the long-term help by government and other institutions replaces it. Among the people in need are the homeless, refugees, and victims of natural disasters, wars and famines. Humanitarian aid is material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian relief efforts including natural disasters and man-made disaster. The primary objective of humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity. It may therefore be distinguished from development aid, which seeks to address the underlying socioeconomic factors which may have led to a crisis or emergency. There is a debate on linking humanitarian aid and development efforts, which was reinforced by the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. However, the approach is viewed critically by practitioners.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the largest of several Adventist groups which arose from the Millerite movement of the 1840s in upstate New York, a phase of the Second Great Awakening. William Miller predicted on the basis of Daniel 8:14–16 and the "day-year principle" that Jesus Christ would return to Earth between the spring of 1843 and the spring of 1844. In the summer of 1844, Millerites came to believe that Jesus would return on October 22, 1844, understood to be the biblical Day of Atonement for that year. Miller's failed prediction became known as the "Great Disappointment".
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 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.
New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.
Hiram Edson and other Millerites came to believe that Miller's calculations were correct, but that his interpretation of Daniel 8:14 was flawed as he assumed Christ would come to cleanse the world. These Adventists came to the conviction that Daniel 8:14 foretold Christ's entrance into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary rather than his Second Coming. Over the next few decades this understanding of a sanctuary in heaven developed into the doctrine of the investigative judgment, an eschatological process that commenced in 1844, in which every person would be judged to verify their eligibility for salvation and God's justice will be confirmed before the universe. This group of Adventists continued to believe that Christ's Second Coming would continue to be imminent, however they resisted setting further dates for the event, citing Revelation 10:6, "that there should be time no longer."
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 Second Coming is a Christian and Islamic belief regarding the future return of Jesus after his ascension to heaven about two thousand years ago. The idea is based on messianic prophecies and is part of most Christian eschatologies.
The investigative judgment is a unique Seventh-day Adventist doctrine, which asserts that the divine judgment of professed Christians has been in progress since 1844. It is intimately related to the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and was described by the church's prophet and pioneer Ellen G. White as one of the pillars of Adventist belief. It is a major component of the broader Adventist understanding of the "heavenly sanctuary", and the two are sometimes spoken of interchangeably.
As the early Adventist movement consolidated its beliefs, the question of the biblical day of rest and worship was raised. The foremost proponent of Sabbath-keeping among early Adventists was Joseph Bates. Bates was introduced to the Sabbath doctrine through a tract written by Millerite preacher Thomas M. Preble, who in turn had been influenced by Rachel Oakes Preston, a young Seventh Day Baptist. This message was gradually accepted and formed the topic of the first edition of the church publication The Present Truth (now the Adventist Review ), which appeared in July 1849.[ citation needed ]
The seventh-day Sabbath, observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening, is an important part of the beliefs and practices of seventh-day churches.
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.
Thomas Motherwell Preble (1810–1907) was a Free Will Baptist minister in New Hampshire and a Millerite preacher. After accepting the teachings of William Miller, Preble was excommunicated from his church.
For about 20 years, the Adventist movement consisted of a small, loosely knit group of people who came from many churches and whose primary means of connection and interaction was through James White's periodical The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. They embraced the doctrines of the Sabbath, the heavenly sanctuary interpretation of Daniel 8:14, conditional immortality, and the expectation of Christ's premillennial return. Among its most prominent figures were Joseph Bates, James White, and Ellen G. White. Ellen White came to occupy a particularly central role; her many visions and spiritual leadership convinced her fellow Adventists that she possessed the gift of prophecy.[ citation needed ]
The church was formally established in Battle Creek, Michigan, on May 21, 1863, with a membership of 3,500. [ citation needed ]The denominational headquarters were later moved from Battle Creek to Takoma Park, Maryland, where they remained until 1989. The General Conference headquarters then moved to its current location in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The denomination in the 1870s turned to missionary work and revivals, tripling its membership to 16,000 by 1880 and establishing a presence beyond North America during the late 19th century. Rapid growth continued, with 75,000 members in 1901. By this time the denomination operated two colleges, a medical school, a dozen academies, 27 hospitals, and 13 publishing houses. By 1945, the church reported 210,000 members in the US and Canada, and 360,000 elsewhere; the budget was $29 million and enrollment in church schools was 140,000.
The church's beliefs and doctrines were first published in 1872 in Battle Creek Michigan as a brief statement called "A Synopsis of our Faith".The church experienced challenges as it formed its core beliefs and doctrines especially as a number of the early Adventist leaders came from churches that held to some form of Arianism (Ellen G. White was not one of them). This, along with some of the movement's other theological views, led to a consensus among conservative evangelical Protestants to regard it as a cult. According to Adventist scholars, the teachings and writings of White, ultimately proved influential in shifting the church from largely semi-Arian roots towards Trinitarianism. Adventists, for the most part, credit her with bringing the Seventh-day Adventist church into a more comprehensive awareness of the GodHead during the 1890s. The Adventist Church adopted Trinitarian theology early in the 20th century and began to dialogue with other Protestant groups toward the middle of the century, eventually gaining wide recognition as a Protestant church. Christianity Today recognized the Seventh-day Adventist church as " the fifth-largest Christian communion worldwide" in its January 22, 2015 issue.
Ellen White avoided using the word "Trinity", "and her husband stated categorically that her visions did not support the Trinitarian creed."Her theology did not include a doctrine of the Trinity.
The official teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination are expressed in its 28 Fundamental Beliefs. This statement of beliefs was originally adopted by the General Conference in 1980, with an additional belief (number 11) being added in 2005.Acceptance of either of the church's two baptismal vows is a prerequisite for membership.
Adventist doctrine resembles trinitarian Protestant theology, with premillennial and Arminian emphases. Adventists uphold teachings such as the infallibility of Scripture, the substitutionary atonement, the resurrection of the dead and justification by faith alone, and are therefore often considered evangelical.They believe in baptism by immersion and creation in six literal days. The modern Creationist movement started with Adventist George McCready Price, who was inspired by a vision of Ellen White.
There is a generally recognized set of "distinctive" doctrines which distinguish Adventism from the rest of the Christian world, although not all of these teachings are wholly unique to Adventism:[ citation needed ]
As with any religious movement, a theological spectrum exists within Adventism comparable to the fundamentalist-moderate-liberal spectrum in the wider Christian church as well as in other religions. A variety of groups, movements and subcultures within the church present differing views on beliefs and lifestyle.
The conservative end of the theological spectrum is represented by historic Adventists, who are characterized by their opposition to theological trends within the denomination, beginning in the 1950s.They object to theological compromises with Evangelicalism, and seek to defend traditional Adventist teachings such as the human post-fall nature of Jesus Christ, investigative judgment, and character perfectionism. Historic Adventism is represented by some scholars, is also seen at the grassroots level of the church and is often promoted through independent ministries.
The most liberal elements in the church are typically known as progressive Adventists (progressive Adventists generally do not identify with liberal Christianity). They tend to disagree with the traditional views concerning the inspiration of Ellen White, the Sabbath, a seven-day Creation, the doctrine of the remnant and the investigative judgment.The progressive movement is supported by some scholars and finds expression in bodies such as the Association of Adventist Forums and in journals such as Spectrum and Adventist Today .
The Biblical Research Institute is the official theological research center of the church. The church has two professional organizations for Adventist theologians who are affiliated with the denomination. The Adventist Society for Religious Studies (ASRS) was formed to foster a community among Adventist theologians who attend the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) and the American Academy of Religion. In 2006, ASRS voted to continue their meetings in the future in conjunction with SBL. During the 1980s, the Adventist Theological Society was formed to provide a forum for more conservative theologians to meet and is held in conjunction with the Evangelical Theological Society.
Part of Friday might be spent in preparation for the Sabbath; for example, preparing meals and tidying homes. Adventists may gather for Friday evening worship to welcome in the Sabbath, a practice often known as Vespers.
Adventists abstain from secular work on Saturday. They will also usually refrain from purely secular forms of recreation, such as competitive sport and watching non-religious programs on television. However, nature walks, family-oriented activities, charitable work and other activities that are compassionate in nature are encouraged. Saturday afternoon activities vary widely depending on the cultural, ethnic and social background. In some churches, members and visitors will participate in a fellowship (or "potluck") lunch and AYS (Adventist Youth Service).
The major weekly worship service occurs on Saturday, typically commencing with Sabbath School which is a structured time of small-group bible study at church. Adventists make use of an officially produced "Sabbath School Lesson", which deals with a particular biblical text or doctrine every quarter.Special meetings are provided for children and youth in different age groups during this time (analogous to Sunday school in other churches).
After a brief break, the community joins together again for a church service that follows a typical evangelical format, with a sermon as a central feature. Corporate singing, Scripture readings, prayers and an offering, including tithing (or money collection), are other standard features. The instruments and forms of worship music vary greatly throughout the worldwide church.Some churches in North America have a contemporary Christian music style, whereas other churches enjoy more traditional hymns including those found in the Adventist Hymnal . Worship is known to be generally restrained.
Adventist churches usually practice communion four times a year. It commences with a foot washing ceremony, known as the "Ordinance of Humility", based on the Gospel account of John 13. The Ordinance of Humility is meant to symbolize Christ's washing of his disciples' feet at the Last Supper and to remind participants of the need to humbly serve one another. Participants segregate by gender to separate rooms to conduct this ritual, although some congregations allow married couples to perform the ordinance on each other and families are often encouraged to participate together. After its completion, participants return to the main sanctuary for consumption of the Lord's Supper, which consists of unleavened bread and unfermented grape juice.
Since the 1860s when the church began, wholeness and health have been an emphasis of the Adventist church.Adventists are known for presenting a "health message" that advocates vegetarianism and expects adherence to the kosher laws, particularly the consumption of kosher foods described in Leviticus 11, meaning abstinence from pork, shellfish, and other animals proscribed as "unclean".
The church discourages its members from consuming alcoholic beverages, tobacco or illegal drugs (compare Christianity and alcohol). In addition, some Adventists avoid coffee, tea, cola, and other beverages that contain caffeine.
The pioneers of the Adventist Church had much to do with the common acceptance of breakfast cereals into the Western diet, and the "modern commercial concept of cereal food" originated among Adventists.John Harvey Kellogg was one of the early founders of Adventist health work. His development of breakfast cereals as a health food led to the founding of Kellogg's by his brother William. In both Australia and New Zealand, the church-owned Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company is a leading manufacturer of health and vegetarian-related products, most prominently Weet-Bix.
Research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health has shown that the average Adventist in California lives 4 to 10 years longer than the average Californian. The research, as cited by the cover story of the November 2005 issue of National Geographic , asserts that Adventists live longer because they do not smoke or drink alcohol, have a day of rest every week, and maintain a healthy, low-fat vegetarian diet that is rich in nuts and beans.The cohesiveness of Adventists' social networks has also been put forward as an explanation for their extended lifespan. Since Dan Buettner's 2005 National Geographic story about Adventist longevity, his book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest, named Loma Linda, California a "Blue Zone" because of the large concentration of Seventh-day Adventists. He cites the Adventist emphasis on health, diet, and Sabbath-keeping as primary factors for Adventist longevity.
An estimated 35% of Adventists practice vegetarianism or veganism, according to a 2002 worldwide survey of local church leaders.
Adventists' clean lifestyles were recognized by the U.S. military in 1954 when 2,200 Adventists volunteered to serve as human test subjects in Operation Whitecoat, a biodefense medical research program whose stated purpose was to defend troops and civilians against biological weapons:
The first task of the scientists was to find people who were willing to be infected by pathogens that could make them very sick. They found them in the followers of the Seventh-day Adventist faith. Although willing to serve their country when drafted, the Adventists refused to bear arms. As a result many of them became medics. Now the U.S. was offering recruits an opportunity to help in a different manner: to volunteer for biological tests as a way of satisfying their military obligations. When contacted in late 1954, the Adventist hierarchy readily agreed to this plan. For Camp Detrick scientists, church members were a model test population, since most of them were in excellent health and they neither drank, smoked, nor used caffeine. From the perspective of the volunteers, the tests gave them a way to fulfill their patriotic duty while remaining true to their beliefs.
The Adventist understanding of marriage is a lawfully binding lifelong commitment of a man and a woman. The Church Manual refers to the origination of the marriage institution in Eden and points to the union between Adam and Eve as the pattern for all future marriages.
Adventists hold that marriage is a divine institution established by God Himself before the fall. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Gen. 2:24). They hold that God celebrated the first marriage and the institution has as its origin the Creator of the universe and was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is "one of the two institutions that, after the fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise."
The Old and New Testament texts are interpreted by some Adventists to teach that wives should submit to their husbands in marriage.
Adventists hold that heterosexual marriages are the only biblically ordained grounds for sexual intimacy. Adventists do not perform same-sex marriages, and individuals who are openly homosexual cannot be ordained, but may hold church office and membership if they are not actively pursuing same-sex relationships. Current church policy states that openly homosexual (and "practicing") persons are to be welcomed into the church services and treated with the love and kindness afforded any human being.
The official Adventist position on abortion is that "abortions for reasons of birth control, gender selection, or convenience are not condoned." At times, however, women may face exceptional circumstances that present serious moral or medical dilemmas, such as significant threats to the pregnant woman's life or health, severe congenital defects in the fetus, and pregnancy resulting from rape or incest; in these cases individuals are counselled to make their own decisions.
Adventists believe in and encourage abstinence for both men and women before marriage. The church disagrees with extra-marital cohabitation.Adventists believe that scripture makes no accommodation for homosexual activity or relationships and the official position is opposed to it.
The Adventist church has released official statements in relation to other ethical issues such as euthanasia (against active euthanasia but permissive of passive withdrawal of medical support to allow death to occur),birth control (in favor of it for married couples if used correctly, but against abortion as birth control and premarital sex in any case) and human cloning (against it while the technology is unsafe and would result in defective births or abortions).
Adventists have traditionally held socially conservative attitudes regarding dress and entertainment. These attitudes are reflected in one of the church's fundamental beliefs:
For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit.
Accordingly, many Adventists are opposed to practices such as body piercing and tattoos and refrain from the wearing of jewelry, including such items as earrings and bracelets. Some also oppose the displaying of wedding bands, although banning wedding bands is not the position of the General Conference.Conservative Adventists avoid certain recreational activities which are considered to be a negative spiritual influence, including dancing, rock music and secular theatre. However, major studies conducted from 1989 onwards found that a majority of North American church youth reject some of these standards.
Though it seems unbelievable to some, I'm thankful that when I grew up in the church [in the 1950s and 1960s] I was taught not to go to the movie theater, dance, listen to popular music, read novels, wear jewelry, play cards, bowl, play pool, or even be fascinated by professional sports.— James R. Nix, "Growing Up Adventist: No Apologies Needed"
Adventists often cite the writings of Ellen White, especially her books, Counsels on Diet and Foods, Counsels to Parents, Teachers and Students, and Education as inspired sources for Christian deportment. The Adventist church officially opposes the practice of gambling.
The Youth Department of the Adventist church runs age specific clubs for children and youth worldwide.
"Adventurer" (grades 1-4), "Eager Beaver" (Kindergarten), and "Little Lambs" (pre-K) clubs are programs for younger children that feed into the Pathfinder program.
Pathfinders is a club for 5th to 10th grade (up to 12th in Florida Conference) boys and girls. It is similar to and based partly on the Scouting movement. Pathfinders exposes young people to such activities as camping, community service, personal mentorship, and skills-based education, and trains them for leadership in the church. Yearly "Camporees" are held in individual Conferences, where Pathfinders from the region gather and participate in events similar to Boy Scouts' Jamborees.
After a person enters 9th grade, he or she is eligible to join Teen Leadership Training within Pathfinders. In the 11th grade, typically after being a member of a club, they can become a Pathfinder or Adventurer staff member and begin the "Master Guide" program (similar to Scout Master) which develops leaders for both Adventurers and Pathfinders.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church operates youth camps all over North America and many other parts of the world. Each camp varies in the activities they offer but most have archery, swimming, horses, arts and crafts, nature, high ropes challenge course, and many other common camp activities. In addition to regular camps some have specialty camps, or RAD camps, which vary in their activities such as a week of nature nuggets, surfing, waterskiing/wakeboarding, rock climbing, golf, skateboarding, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, cycling, or basketball.
The Seventh-day Adventist church is governed by a form of representation which resembles the presbyterian system of church organization. Four levels of organization exist within the world church.
Each organization is governed by a general "session" which occurs at certain intervals. This is usually when administrative decisions are made. The president of the General Conference, for instance, is elected at the General Conference Session every five years. Delegates to a session are appointed by organizations at a lower level. For example, each local church appoints delegates to a conference session.
Tithes collected from church members are not used directly by the local churches, but are passed upwards to the local conferences/missions which then distribute the finances toward various ministry needs. Employees are compensated "on the basis of the church remuneration policy and practice in effect in the location or country in which they reside."
The Church Manualgives provisions for each level of government to create educational, healthcare, publishing, and other institutions that are seen within the call of the Great Commission.
The ordained clergy of the Adventist church are known as ministers or pastors. Ministers are neither elected nor employed by the local churches, but instead are appointed by the local Conferences, which assign them responsibility over a single church or group of churches. Ordination is a formal recognition bestowed upon pastors and elders after usually a number of years of service. In most parts of the world, women may not be given the title "ordained", although some are employed in ministry, and may be "commissioned" or "ordained-commissioned".However, beginning in 2012, some unions adopted policies of allowing member conferences to ordain without regard to gender.
A number of lay offices exist within the local church, including the ordained positions of elder and deacon.Elders and deacons are appointed by the vote of a local church business meeting or elected committees. Elders serve a mainly administrative and pastoral role, but must also be capable of providing religious leadership (particularly in the absence of an ordained minister). The role of deacons is to assist in the smooth functioning of a local church and to maintain church property.
Although the church has no written policy forbidding the ordination of women, it has traditionally ordained only men. In recent years the ordination of women has been the subject of heated debate, especially in North America and Europe. In the Adventist church, candidates for ordination are chosen by local conferences (which usually administer about 50–150 local congregations) and approved by unions (which serve about 6–12 conferences). The General Conference, the church's world headquarters, claims the right to declare the worldwide qualifications for ordination, including gender requirements. The General Conference has never stated that ordination of women contravenes the Bible, but the General Conference has requested that no local conference ordain women until all parts of the world church accept the practice.
The primary prerequisite for membership in the Adventist church is baptism by immersion. This, according to the church manual, should occur only after the candidate has undergone proper instruction on what the church believes.
As of December 31, 2016, the church has 20,008,779 baptized members.Between 2005 and 2015, around half a million people per year have joined the Adventist church, through baptisms and professions of faith. The church is one of the world's fastest-growing organizations, primarily from membership increases in developing nations. Today, less than 7% of the world membership reside in the United States, with large numbers in Africa as well as Central and South America. Depending on how the data was measured, it is reported that church membership reached 1 million between 1955 and 1961, and grew to five million in 1986. At the turn of the 21st century the church had over 10 million members, which grew to over 14 million in 2005, 16 million in 2009, and 19 million in 2015. It is reported that today over 25 million people worship weekly in Seventh-day Adventist churches worldwide. The church operates in 202 out of 230 countries and areas recognized by the United Nations, making it "probably the most widespread Protestant denomination".
G. Jeffrey MacDonald, an award-winning religion reporter, and author of Thieves in the Temple, reports that the SDA church is the fastest-growing church in the United States. "Newly released data show Seventh-day Adventism growing by 2.5% in North America, a rapid clip for this part of the world, where Southern Baptists and mainline denominations, as well as other church groups, are declining."
The church has been described as "something of an extended family",enjoying close, "two-degrees-of-separation social networks".
The Biblical Research Institute is the theological research center of the church.
The Ellen G. White Estate was established in 1915 at the death of Ellen White, as specified in her legal will. Its purpose is to act as custodian of her writings, and as of 2006 it has 15 board members. The Ellen G. White Estate also hosts the official Ellen White website whiteestate.org.
The Geoscience Research Institute, based at Loma Linda University, was founded in 1958 to investigate the scientific evidence concerning origins.
Started in the late 19th century, Adventist mission work today reaches people in over 200 countries and territories.Adventist mission workers seek to preach the gospel, promote health through hospitals and clinics, run development projects to improve living standards, and provide relief in times of calamity.
Missionary outreach of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is aimed not only at non-Christians but also at Christians from other denominations. Adventists believe that Christ has called his followers in the Great Commission to reach the whole world. Adventists are cautious, however, to ensure that evangelism does not impede or intrude on the basic rights of the individual. Religious liberty is a stance that the Adventist Church supports and promotes.
Globally, the Adventist Church operates 7,598 schools, colleges and universities, with a total enrollment of more than 1,545,000 and a total teaching staff of approximately 80,000.It claims to operate "one of the largest church-supported educational systems in the world". In the United States it operates the largest Protestant educational system, second overall only to that of the Roman Catholic Church. The Adventist educational program strives to be comprehensive, encompassing "mental, physical, social and above all, spiritual health" with "intellectual growth and service to humanity" as its goal.
The largest (in terms of population) Seventh-day Adventist university in the world is Northern Caribbean University, located in Mandeville, Jamaica.
Adventists run a large number of hospitals and health-related institutions. Their largest medical school and hospital in North America is Loma Linda University and its attached Medical Center. Throughout the world, the church runs a wide network of hospitals, clinics, lifestyle centers, and sanitariums. These play a role in the church's health message and worldwide missions outreach.
Adventist Health System is the largest not-for-profit multi-institutional Protestant healthcare system in the United States. It is sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and cares for over 4 million patients yearly.
For over 50 years, the church has been active in humanitarian aid through the work of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). ADRA works as a non-sectarian relief agency in 125 countries and areas of the world. ADRA has been granted General Consultative Status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Worldwide, ADRA employs over 4,000 people to help provide relief in crises as well as development in situations of poverty.
The church embraces an official commitment to the protection and care of the environmentas well as taking action to avoid the dangers of climate change: "Seventh-day Adventism advocates a simple, wholesome lifestyle, where people do not step on the treadmill of unbridled over-consumption, accumulation of goods, and production of waste. A reformation of lifestyle is called for, based on respect for nature, restraint in the use of the world's resources, reevaluation of one's needs, and reaffirmation of the dignity of created life."
For over 120 years, The Adventist church has actively promoted freedom of religion for all people regardless of faith. In 1893, its leaders founded the International Religious Liberty Association, which is universal and non-sectarian. The Seventh-day Adventist Church State Council serves, primarily through advocacy, to seek protection for religious groups from legislation that may affect their religious practices. In May 2011, for example, the organization fought to pass legislation that would protect Adventist employees who wish to keep the Sabbath. According to Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has, throughout its history, aggressively advocated for the separation of church and state.
Adventists have long been proponents of media-based ministries. Traditional Adventist evangelistic efforts consisted of street missions and the distribution of tracts such as The Present Truth, which was published by James White as early as 1849. Until J. N. Andrews was sent to Switzerland in 1874, Adventist global efforts consisted entirely of the posting of tracts such as White's to various locations.
In the last century, these efforts have also made use of emerging media such as radio and television. The first of these was H. M. S. Richards' radio show Voice of Prophecy , which was initially broadcast in Los Angeles in 1929. Since then, Adventists have been on the forefront of media evangelism; It Is Written , founded by George Vandeman, was the first religious program to air on color television and the first major Christian ministry to utilize satellite uplink technology. Today the Hope Channel , the official television network of the church, operates 8 international channels broadcasting 24 hours a day on cable, satellite, and the Web.
Adventist World Radio was founded in 1971and is the "radio mission arm" of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It utilizes AM, FM, shortwave, satellite, podcasting, and the Internet, broadcasting in 77 major language groups of the world with a potential coverage of 80% of the world's population. AWR's headquarters is in Silver Spring, Maryland, with studios throughout the world. A large portion of the ministry's income is derived from membership gifts.
SDA evangelists such as Doug Batchelor, Mark Finley and Dwight Nelson have undertaken a number of international satellite-broadcast live evangelistic events, addressing audiences in up to 40 languages simultaneously.
Additionally, there exists a range of privately owned media entities representing Adventist beliefs. These include the 3ABN and SafeTV networks and organizations such as The Quiet Hour and Amazing Discoveries.
In 2016, the Church released the film Tell the World.
The Adventist Church owns and operates many publishing companies around the world. Two of the largest are the Pacific Press and Review and Herald publishing associations, both located in the United States. The Review and Herald is headquartered in Hagerstown, Maryland.
The official church magazine is the Adventist Review , which has a North American focus. It has a sister magazine ( Adventist World ), which has an international perspective. Another major magazine published by the church is the bimonthly Liberty magazine, which addresses issues pertaining to religious freedom.
The Adventist Church generally opposes the ecumenical movement, although it supports some of the other goals of ecumenism. The General Conference has released an official statement concerning the Adventist position with respect to the ecumenical movement, which contains the following paragraph:
While not being a member of the World Council of Churches, the Adventist Church has participated in its assemblies in an observer capacity.
The Adventist Church has received criticism along several lines, including what some claim are heterodox doctrines, and in relation to Ellen G. White and her status within the church, and in relation to alleged exclusivist issues.
Critics such as evangelical Anthony Hoekema (who felt that Adventists were more in agreement with Arminianism) argue that some Adventist doctrines are heterodox. Several teachings which have come under scrutiny are the annihilationist view of hell, the investigative judgment (and a related view of the atonement), and the Sabbath; in addition, Hoekema also claims that Adventist doctrine suffers from legalism.
While critics such as Hoekema have classified Adventism as a sectarian group on the basis of its atypical doctrines, '". Walter Martin, who is considered by many to be the father of the counter-cult apologetics movement within evangelicalism, authored The Truth About Seventh-day Adventists (1960) which marked a turning point in the way Adventism was viewed.it has been accepted as more mainstream by Protestant evangelicals since its meetings and discussions with evangelicals in the 1950s. Notably, Billy Graham invited Adventists to be part of his crusades after Eternity , a conservative Christian magazine edited by Donald Barnhouse, asserted in 1956 that Adventists are Christians, and also later stated, "They are sound on the great New Testament doctrines including grace and redemption through the vicarious offering of Jesus Christ 'once for all
... it is perfectly possible to be a Seventh-day Adventist and be a true follower of Jesus Christ despite heterodox concepts ...— Walter Martin, Kingdom of the Cults
Later on, Martin planned to write a new book on Seventh-day Adventism, with the assistance of Kenneth R. Samples.Samples subsequently authored "From Controversy to Crisis: An Updated Assessment of Seventh-day Adventism", which upholds Martin's view "for that segment of Adventism which holds to the position stated in QOD, and further expressed in the Evangelical Adventist movement of the last few decades." However, Samples also claimed that "Traditional Adventism" appeared "to be moving further away from a number of positions taken in QOD", and at least at Glacier View seemed to have "gained the support of many administrators and leaders".
Ellen G. White's status as a modern-day prophet has also been criticized. In the Questions on Doctrine era, evangelicals expressed concern about Adventism's understanding of the relationship of White's writings to the inspired canon of Scripture.The Adventist fundamental beliefs maintain that "the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested."
A common criticism of Ellen White, widely popularized by Walter T. Rea, Ronald Numbers and others, is the claim of plagiarism from other authors. "'Life of Christ' Research Project". The results are available at the General Conference Archives. Dr. Roger W. Coon, David J. Conklin, Dr. Denis Fortin, King and Morgan, and Morgan, among others, undertook the refutation of the accusations of plagiarism. At the conclusion of his report, Ramik states:An independent lawyer specializing in plagiarism, Vincent L. Ramik, was engaged to undertake a study of Ellen G. White's writings during the early 1980s, and concluded that they were "conclusively unplagiaristic". When the plagiarism charge ignited a significant debate during the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Adventist General Conference commissioned a major study by Dr. Fred Veltman. The ensuing project became known as the
It is impossible to imagine that the intention of Ellen G. White, as reflected in her writings and the unquestionably prodigious efforts involved therein, was anything other than a sincerely motivated and unselfish effort to place the understandings of Biblical truths in a coherent form for all to see and comprehend. Most certainly, the nature and content of her writings had but one hope and intent, namely, the furthering of mankind's understanding of the word of God. Considering all factors necessary in reaching a just conclusion on this issue, it is submitted that the writings of Ellen G. White were conclusively unplagiaristic.
Critics have alleged that certain Adventist beliefs and practices are exclusivist in nature and they point to the Adventist claim to be the "remnant church", and the traditional Protestant association of Roman Catholicism with "Babylon".These attitudes are said to legitimize the proselytising of Christians from other denominations. In response to such criticisms, Adventist theologians have stated that the doctrine of the remnant does not preclude the existence of genuine Christians in other denominations, but is concerned with institutions.
We fully recognize the heartening fact that a host of true followers of Christ are scattered all through the various churches of Christendom, including the Roman Catholic communion. These God clearly recognizes as His own. Such do not form a part of the "Babylon" portrayed in the Apocalypse.— Questions on Doctrine , p. 197.
Ellen White also presented it in a similar light:
God has children, many of them, in the Protestant churches, and a large number in the Catholic churches, who are more true to obey the light and to do [to] the very best of their knowledge than a large number among Sabbathkeeping Adventists who do not walk in the light.— Ellen White, Selected Messages, book 3, p.386.
In addition to the ministries and institutions which are formally administered by the denomination, numerous para-church organizations and independent ministries exist. These include various health centers and hospitals, publishing and media ministries, and aid organizations. Present Truth Magazine is an independent online magazine for those claiming to be "evangelical" Adventists.
A number of independent ministries have been established by groups within the Adventist church who hold a theologically distinct position or wish to promote a specific message, such as Hope International which have strained relationship with the official church, which has expressed concerns that such ministries may threaten Adventist unity.Some independent ministries, like many of the Protestant reformers have continued to emphasize the mainstream Adventist belief which identified the Roman Papacy as the Antichrist. The church has put out a statement clarifying the official position that it does not condone any behavior by members which may "have manifested prejudice and even bigotry" against Catholics.
Throughout the history of the denomination, there have been a number of groups which have left the church and formed their own movements.
Following World War I, a group known as the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement was formed as a result of the actions of L. R. Conradi and certain European church leaders during the war, who decided that it was acceptable for Adventists to take part in war. Those who were opposed to this stand and refused to participate in the war were declared "disfellowshipped" by their local Church leaders at the time. When the Church leaders from the General Conference came and admonished the local European leaders after the war to try to heal the damage, and bring the members together, it met with resistance from those who had suffered under those leaders. Their attempts at reconciliation failed after the war and the group became organized as a separate church at a conference that was held on July 14–20, 1925. The movement officially incorporated in 1949.
In 2005, in another attempt to examine and resolve what its German leaders had done, the mainstream church apologized for its failures during World War II, stating, we "'deeply regret' any participation in or support of Nazi activities during the war by the German and Austrian leadership of the church."
In the Soviet Union the same issues produced the group known as the True and Free Seventh-day Adventists. This formed as the result of a schism within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Europe during World War I over the position its European church leaders took on having its members join the military or keep the Sabbath. The group remains active today (2010) in the former republics of the Soviet Union.
Well known but distant offshoots are the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist organization and the Branch Davidians, themselves a schism within the larger Davidian movement.The Davidians formed in 1929, following Victor Houteff after he came out with his book The Shepherd's Rod which was rejected as heretical. A succession dispute after Houteff's death in 1955 led to the formation of two groups, the original Davidians and the Branches. Later, another ex-Adventist, David Koresh, led the Branch Davidians until he died in the 1993 siege at the group's headquarters near Waco, Texas.
A number of Adventists who apostatized, such as former ministers Walter Rea and Dale Ratzlaff, have become critics of the church's teachings and they particularly criticize Ellen G. White.
Hacksaw Ridge depicts the life of Adventist conscientious objector and Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss. A Cry in the Dark , a film about the death of Azaria Chamberlain, features the prejudice her parents faced due to misconceptions about their religion, and the father's loss of faith. On television, a main character on the show Gilmore Girls is depicted as a strict conservative Adventist, causing conflict with her daughter. Many other forms of media include mentions of Seventh-day Adventism.
Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump attacked his opponent Ben Carson's Adventist faith during the 2016 GOP primaries. Trump told his supporters, "I'm Presbyterian; boy, that's down the middle of the road...I mean, Seventh-day Adventist? I don't know about that. I just don't know about it."Trump would later make Carson his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Ellen Gould White was an author and an American Christian pioneer. Along with other Sabbatarian Adventist leaders such as Joseph Bates and her husband James White, she was instrumental within a small group of early Adventists who formed what became known as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Smithsonian magazine named Ellen G. White among the "100 Most Significant Americans of All Time.
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.
Criticism of the Seventh-day Adventist Church includes observations made about its teachings, structure, and practices or theological disagreements from various individuals and groups.
The 28 fundamental beliefs are the core beliefs of Seventh-day Adventist theology. Adventists are opposed to the formulation of creeds, so the 28 fundamental beliefs are considered descriptors, not prescriptors; that is, that they describe the official position of the church but are not criteria for membership. These beliefs were originally known as the 27 fundamental beliefs when adopted by the church's General Conference in 1980. An additional belief was added in 2005. The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary is a significant expression of Adventist theological thought.
In Seventh-day Adventist theology, there will be an end time remnant of believers who are faithful to God.
The theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church resembles that of Protestant Christianity, combining elements from Lutheran, Wesleyan-Arminian, and Anabaptist branches of Protestantism. Adventists believe in the infallibility of Scripture and teach that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ. The 28 fundamental beliefs constitute the church's official doctrinal position.
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.
The 1888 Minneapolis General Conference Session was a meeting of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in October 1888. It is regarded as a landmark event in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Key participants were Alonzo T. Jones and Ellet J. Waggoner, who presented a message on justification supported by Ellen G. White, but resisted by leaders such as G. I. Butler, Uriah Smith and others. The session discussed crucial theological issues such as the meaning of "righteousness by faith", the nature of the Godhead, the relationship between law and grace, and Justification and its relationship to Sanctification.
Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine is a book published by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1957 to help explain Adventism to conservative Protestants and Evangelicals. The book generated greater acceptance of the Adventist church within the evangelical community, where it had previously been widely regarded as a cult. However, it also proved to be one of the most controversial publications in Adventist history and the release of the book brought prolonged alienation and separation within Adventism and evangelicalism.
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.
Milian Lauritz Andreasen, was a Seventh-day Adventist theologian, pastor and author.
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.
Samuele R. Bacchiocchi was a Seventh-day Adventist author and theologian, best known for his work on the Sabbath in Christianity, particularly in the historical work From Sabbath to Sunday, based on his doctoral thesis from the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was also known within the Seventh-day Adventist church for his opposition to rock and contemporary Christian music, jewelry, the celebration of Christmas and Easter, certain dress standards and alcohol.
Ángel Manuel Rodríguez (1945—) is a Seventh-day Adventist theologian and was the director of the Biblical Research Institute (BRI) before his retirement. His special research interests include Old Testament, Sanctuary and Atonement, and Old Testament Theology. He has written several books, and authors a monthly column in Adventist World.
Charismatic Adventists are a segment of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that is closely related to "Progressive Adventism", a liberal movement within the church.
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.
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.
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