Seventh-day Adventist Church
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The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian group. It is different from other Protestant groups mainly because its followers believe that Saturday is the day we should worship God. Just as in the Bible this day is called the "Sabbath". It is the seventh day of the week. That is why they are called "Seventh-day Adventists". Although the abbreviation "SDA" is commonly used, "Adventist" is the church's own officially preferred shortening of "Seventh-day Adventist". The Seventh-day Adventist Church came from the Millerite movement in the United States, which included people from many denominations. The Millerites started in the middle part of the 19th century. The Millerites were people who followed the teachings of William Miller. Miller preached that Jesus is coming very soon, in the Second Coming or Second Advent. That is why the church that came from them called themselves "Adventists." The Seventh-Day Adventist Church was formally established in 1863.
Much of the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist church is the same as evangelical teachings such as the Trinity and Biblical inerrancy. Teachings that are different include the unconscious state of the dead (which means that when people die, they do not wake back up until Judgment Day) and the doctrine of an investigative judgment. The church is also known because it thinks a healthy diet is very important. It also promotes religious liberty. When it comes to culture, it is more conservative.
Among the founders of the Church was Ellen G. White. She wrote many texts that are still considered very important to the church today. She was a dedicated Christian who believed she got visions from God about the end of the world and what heaven will be like. As Seventh-day Adventists, they believe that they should not eat unclean foods like pig, certain fish, and animals that the Bible names as unclean. They practice healthy eating, vegetarianism (not eating meat), and staying away from things they think are immoral such as smoking, drinking or doing anything to harm what they consider the Temple Of God or their bodies.
The world church is governed by a General Conference. Smaller regions are administered by divisions, union conferences and local conferences. It currently has a worldwide membership of over 15 million people. It is present in over 200 countries and territories and is ethnically and culturally diverse. The church runs many schools, hospitals and publishing houses worldwide, as well as a prominent humanitarian aid organization known as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). There are about 15.5 million people in the Seventh-day adventist church worldwide.
Organization[change | edit source]
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is organized with a representative form of church government and the world-wide Church has 13 Divisions.
The Seventh-day Adventist World Church Statistics show a growing church with 15,660,347 members as of December 31, 2007.
The Adventist News Network reported  in June 2010 (during the 59th quinquennial General Conference Session of the Seventh-day Adventist Church held in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.) that Seventh-day Adventists reached a membership of 16,300,000, according to the church's Office of Archives and Statistics. The world church Secretary stated that when counting unbaptized children and family members who attend services, the church numbers between 25 and 30 million.
Mainstream doctrine[change | edit source]
Seventh-day Adventists uphold the central doctrines of Protestant Christianity: the Trinity, the incarnation, the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement, justification by faith, creation, original sin, the second coming, the resurrection of the dead, and last judgment.
The official teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination are expressed in the Seventh-day Adventist 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.
In Seventh-day Adventists Answer Questions on Doctrine (1957), Adventists outlined the core doctrines that they hold in common with mainstream Christianity. "In Common With Conservative Christians and the Historic Protestant Creeds, We Believe—
- That God is the Sovereign Creator, upholder, and ruler of the universe, and that He is eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
- That the Godhead, the Trinity, comprises God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- That the Scriptures are the inspired revelation of God to men; and that the Bible is the sole rule of faith and practice.
- That Jesus Christ is very God, and that He has existed with the Father from all eternity.
- That the Holy Spirit is a personal being, sharing the attributes of deity with the Father and the Son.
- That Christ, the Word of God, became incarnate through the miraculous conception and the virgin birth; and that He lived an absolutely sinless life here on earth.
- That the vicarious, atoning death of Jesus Christ, once for all, is all-sufficient for the redemption of a lost race.
- That Jesus Christ arose literally and bodily from the grave.
- That He ascended literally and bodily into heaven.
- That He now serves as our advocate in priestly ministry and mediation before the Father.
- That He will return in a premillennial, personal, imminent second advent.
- That man was created sinless, but by his subsequent fall entered a state of alienation and depravity.
- That salvation through Christ is by grace alone, through faith in His blood.
- That entrance upon the new life in Christ is by regeneration, or the new birth.
- That man is justified by faith.
- That man is sanctified by the indwelling Christ through the Holy Spirit.
- That man will be glorified at the resurrection or translation of the saints, when the Lord returns.
- That there will be a judgment of all men.
- That the gospel is to be preached as a witness to all the world."
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.
References[change | edit source]
- "Use of the Church Name". Seventh-day Adventist Church. http://www.adventist.org/world_church/name/index.html. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- "Seventh-day Adventists - The Heritage Continues". General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. http://www.adventist.org/world_church/facts_and_figures/history/index.html.en. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
- Adventist News Network, "Membership, financial audits key to Adventist Church growth, leaders say"; 26 June 2010