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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. The SDA Church was officially founded in 1844, raising some interesting questions over just how "imminent" imminent is.
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.
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).
In addition to rejecting evolution, the SDA church also opposes gay marriage, unions, and abortion (though they make exceptions for cases of rape or incest, which is more leeway than many other fundamentalist Christian denominations are willing to give).
Although she was active in the abolitionist movement, critics allege that a particular line in her book Spiritual Gifts show that Ellen White and Seventh-day Adventism may still be 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." Despite saying all races were equal, she also suggested segregated churches in the south.
Ellen G White disliked masturbation so much she never actually wrote the word, instead she used euphemisms as she condemned it with scientifically inaccurate Victorian medical literature.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church traces its roots back to a movement led by William Miller, 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, even wackier 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. 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.
Seventh-day Adventism is the source of many cheap, 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).
The Branch Davidians — infamous for the disastrous seige 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.
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, 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.
- ↑ Official Church stats
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 United for Mission: One Hundred and Fifty Years, History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 2013.
- ↑ "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.
- ↑ "[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.
- ↑ Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Statement on Homosexuality.
- ↑ Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Response to Same-Sex Unions — A Reaffirmation of Christian Marriage.
- ↑ Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Guidelines for Employer and Employee Relationships.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Guidelines on Abortion.
- ↑ Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Statement on Peace.
- ↑ Official Seventh-day Adventist Church document on Caring for Creation — A Statement on the Environment.
- ↑ White, Ellen G. (1864). Spiritual Gifts. Volume 3. Chapter 10: The Flood. p. 75. Online Edition.
- ↑ "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.
- ↑ Official Seventh-day Adventist Church statement on Redeeming Our Sad Gay Situation: Awareness.
- ↑ According to Wikipedia, The Great Controversy is 219 pages long.