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Bronze-level articleSeventh-day Adventism

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Seventh-day Adventism is a denomination of Christianity which holds that Jesus' return is imminent (though conveniently never setting a specific date for his return). Its largest organized church is the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with approximately 16 million members worldwide.[1]

It should be noted that Seventh-day Adventism necessitates a belief in young Earth creationism. The "seventh-day" is a reference to the seventh day of the biblical creation story: God literally made the world in six 24-hour days, and then on the seventh, he rested.[2]

That day of rest is why Seventh-day Adventists hold the true sabbath to be only on the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as opposed to the majority of Christian sects, which hold that the sabbath is on Sunday. Adventists take this difference very seriously, to the point that some buy into a conspiracy theory about National Sunday laws (wherein other Christian denominations gang up on Adventists to mandate a Sunday-only sabbath across the nation).


[edit] Origins

Seventh-day Adventism traces its roots back to a movement led by William Miller,[3] a Baptist preacher who, during the early 1800s, preached that his research into biblical prophecy indicated that Jesus would return in 1843. When his set date inevitably passed much like other supposed prophecies, his movement fell apart, and its members fractured. Some, including Miller, renounced Baptist Christianity, while others continued to believe that the Second Coming was imminent, but this time (surprise, surprise) didn't set a date. These believers formed the core of what would eventually become the Adventist movement. (Another non-mainstream group said that Jesus had come and that his reign had begun; these are known as the Jehovah's Witnesses).

The modern SDA Church began to coalesce with the writings and teachings of Ellen G. White, who claimed to see visions. She was hailed by her followers as a prophet.[4] She articulated many of the church's core beliefs, including the observance of the sabbath on Saturday. The church was officially established in Battle Creek, Michigan, on May 23, 1863, with a membership of 3,500. Membership grew with missionaries, who actively exported Seventh-day Adventism to developing nations in Asia, Africa, and South America.

[edit] The SDA Church

The SDA Church was officially founded in 1844.[3]

In addition to rejecting evolution,[5] the SDA church also opposes gay marriage,[6][7] unions,[8] and abortion[9] (though they make exceptions for cases of rape or incest,[9] which is more leeway than many other fundamentalist Christian denominations are willing to give).

The SDA church is officially pacifist[10] and encourages vegetarianism as a way of caring for the environment.[11]

Although she was active in the abolitionist movement, critics allege that a particular line in her book Spiritual Gifts show that Ellen White, one of the denomination's founders may have been racist:

"Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men."[12]

White also advocated for segregated churches in the south.

White so strongly disapproved of masturbation she would never write the word, and would instead use euphemisms when she condemned it with scientifically-inaccurate Victorian medical literature.

[edit] Other Adventists

The Branch Davidians — infamous for the disastrous siege undertaken on their compound near Waco, Texas in 1993, where 81 people ended up dying due to rank incompetence on the part of the federal agents involved — were an offshoot (of an offshoot[wp]) of Seventh-day Adventism.

While not an official offshoot, "progressive Adventists" or "cultural Adventists" comprise a distinct segment of the overall church.[13][14]

[edit] Activities

Seventh-day Adventism is the source of many inexpensive, mass distributed books. You might've seen them around: The Desire of Ages, The Great Controversy, America In Prophecy, and National Sunday Law Crisis (the first three being heavily-edited reprints of books by SDA prophet Ellen G. White).

In 1986, Colin Cook, founder of Homosexuals Anonymous, an Adventist ministry targeted at disaffected homosexuals, was discovered to be engaging in sexual acts with his patients.[15]

In 2011 the Great Controversy Project began soliciting donations to enable the mass-mailing of the seminal Adventist text The Great Controversy to select U.S. zip codes. (The value of this effort is dubious, given that, being a book over 200 pages long,[16] The Great Controversy would be the most unwieldy brick of unwanted mail ever stuffed in people's mailboxes.) Included with the book would be the warning "Time is running out! Obama just signed the hate crimes bill that might make it illegal to distribute this book". (Needless to say, this claim is not true.)

To its credit, the Seventh-Day Adventist church owns and operates dozens of hospitals and five medical schools throughout the world, as well as a network of universities which (unlike some places we could mention) are actually regarded as viable learning venues in at least a few subjects.

The church is also involved in humanitarian activities, such as ADRA, which provides aid and relief to third world countries and areas hit by natural disasters. Maranatha Volunteers International, a supporting ministry of the church, coordinates mission trips to third world countries to build churches, schools, and dig water wells. The church also has a worldwide media presence. Adventist World Radio, and Hope Channel are official media outlets of the church. Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) is an independent family of television networks which teaches Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine 24/7.

[edit] External links

[edit] Official SDA Sites

[edit] Related Sites

[edit] Other Sites

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Official Church stats
  2. "In six days the Lord made 'the heaven and the earth' and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work." —Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Affirmation of Creation.
  3. 3.0 3.1 United for Mission: One Hundred and Fifty Years, History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 2013.
  4. "One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White." —Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Fundamental Beliefs.
  5. "[W]e believe that the biblical events recorded in Genesis 1-11, including the special creation of human beings, are historical and recent, that the seven days of creation were literal 24 hour days forming a literal week..." —Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Statement on Creation: The Bible's Worldview.
  6. Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Statement on Homosexuality.
  7. Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Response to Same-Sex Unions — A Reaffirmation of Christian Marriage.
  8. Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Guidelines for Employer and Employee Relationships.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Guidelines on Abortion.
  10. Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Statement on Peace.
  11. Official Seventh-day Adventist Church document on Caring for Creation — A Statement on the Environment.
  12. White, Ellen G. (1864). Spiritual Gifts. Volume 3. Chapter 10: The Flood. p. 75. Online Edition.
  13. Who Are the Real "Cultural Adventists"?
  14. What is a “Progressive” or a “Liberal” Seventh Day Adventist?
  15. Official Seventh-day Adventist Church statement on Redeeming Our Sad Gay Situation: Awareness.
  16. According to Wikipedia, The Great Controversy is 219 pages long.
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