Seventh-day Adventist Church
|Seventh-day Adventist Church|
|Polity||Modified Presbyterian Polity|
|Leader||Ted N. C. Wilson|
Ellen G. White
J. N. Andrews
May 21, 1863
Battle Creek, Michigan
Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement (separated 1925);
Shepherds Rod - Davidian SDAs (separated 1929)
|Aid organization||Adventist Development and Relief Agency|
|Other name(s)||Adventist church, SDA (informal)|
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a Protestant Christian denomination distinguished by its observance of Saturday, the original seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by 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 middle part of the 19th century and was formally established in 1863. Among its founders was Ellen G. White, whose extensive writings are still held in high regard by the church today.
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 also 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 world church is governed by a Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
- Development of Sabbatarianism 1.1
- Organization and recognition 1.2
- Theological spectrum 2.1
- Theological organizations 2.2
Culture and practices 3
Sabbath activities 3.1
Worship service 3.1.1
- Holy Communion 126.96.36.199
- Worship service 3.1.1
- Health and diet 3.2
- Ethics and sexuality 3.3
- Dress and entertainment 3.4
- Youth camps 3.5.1
- Sabbath activities 3.1
- Structure and polity 4.1
Church officers and clergy 4.2
- Ordination of women 4.2.1
- Membership 4.3
- Church institutions 4.4
Adventist mission 5
- Education 5.1
- Health 5.2
- Humanitarian aid and the environment 5.3
- Religious liberty 5.4
- Media 5.5
- Publishing 5.6
- Ecumenical activity 5.7
- Doctrines 6.1
- Ellen G. White and her status 6.2
- Exclusivism 6.3
Independent ministries, offshoots, and schisms 7
- Independent ministries 7.1
- Offshoots and schisms 7.2
- In popular culture 8
- See also 9
- Further reading 10
- References 11
- External links 12
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. When this did not happen (an event known as the "Great Disappointment"), most of his followers disbanded and returned to their original churches.
Some Millerites came to believe that Miller's calculations were correct but that his interpretation of Daniel 8:14 was flawed as he assumed it was the 'earth that was to be cleansed' or Christ would come to cleanse the world. These Adventists arrived at the conviction that Daniel 8:14 foretold Christ's entrance into the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary rather than his second coming. This new awareness of a sanctuary in heaven became an important part of their thinking. Over the next few decades this understanding developed into the doctrine of the investigative judgment: an eschatological process commencing in 1844 in which Christians will 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 be imminent. They resisted setting further dates for the event, citing Revelation 10:6, "that there should be time no longer."
Development of Sabbatarianism
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As the early Adventist movement consolidated, 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 by 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.
Organization and recognition
For about 20 years, the Adventist movement consisted of a small loosely knit group of people who came from many churches 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.
The church was formally established in Battle Creek, Michigan, on May 21, 1863, with a membership of 3,500. 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.
Until 1850 the church looked at those veterans of the 1844 experience as a saving remnant. But in 1848 Ellen White had a vision in which she saw the Three Angels' Messages going "like streams of light... clear round the world." As the Millerite movement had not been significantly multinational, her vision clearly showed that new converts could be made to the movement. 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.
For much of the 19th century, the church struggled as it formed its core beliefs and doctrines especially as a number of the Adventist leaders came from churches that supported the doctrine of Arianism (although Ellen G. White was not one of them). This, along with the movement's other theological views, led to a consensus among conservative evangelical Protestants to regard it as a cult. However, the Adventist Church adopted the Trinity 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.
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. The following statement of beliefs is not meant to be read or received as a "creed" that is set in theological concrete. Adventists claim but one creed: “The Bible, and the Bible alone.”
Adventist doctrine resembles
- Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Which Day Is The Seventh Day
- "Seventh-day Adventist World Church Statistics". Office of Archives and Statistics,
- SDA Religioustolerance.org
- officially abbreviated Adventist "Use of the Church Name". Seventh-day Adventist Church. Archived from the original on January 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- Queen, Edward L.; Prothero, Stephen R.; Shattuck, Gardiner H. (2009). 'Seventh-day Adventist Church' in Encyclopedia of American religious history, Volume 3, 3rd edition. New York, NY: Infobase Publishing. p. 913.
- More precisely, Friday sunset to Saturday sunset; see When Does Sabbath Begin? on the Adventist website.
- "Seventh-day Adventists—The Heritage Continues Along".
- Ronald L. Numbers, Prophetess of health: a study of Ellen G. White (3rd ed. 2008) pp. xxiii–xxiv
- Adventist-owned Food Company Relaunches Famed “CHIP” Lifestyle Program Retrieved 2013-09-01
- Seventh-day Adventist Church Fundamental Beliefs Retrieved 2011-06-22.
- Seventh-day Adventist World Church Statistics. "The Official Site of the Seventh-day Adventist world church". Adventist.org. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
- "Largest Religious Bodies". Adherents.com. 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
- "Top 10 Largest Highly International Religious Bodies". Adherents.com. 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2010-07-30.
- "Statistical report. Annual council of the General Conference Committee, October 9–14, 2009". 2009-06-30. Retrieved 2010-03-23.
- Cottrell, R. F. (June 26, 1855). "Definite Time". Review and Herald (Rochester, NY: James White) 06 (32): 5.
- Statistical Report of Seventh-day Adventist Conferences, Missions, and Institutions. The Eighty-third Annual Report Year Ending December 31, 1945, pp. 2, 4
- Jerry A. Moon (2003). "The Adventist Trinity Debate Part 1: Historical Overview". Andrews University Seminary Studies Vol 41. No. 1 (Andrews University Press).
- Kenneth Samples (1988). "From Controversy to Crisis: An Updated Assessment of Seventh-day Adventism". Christian Research Institute
- Anthony A. Hoekema (1963). The Four Major Cults. William B. Eerdmans.
- Adventist historian George R. Knight notes several other leading evangelicals who considered Adventist doctrine to be
- See also Julius Nam. "The Questions on Doctrine saga: Contours and Lessons" and Kenneth Samples. "Evangelical Reflections on Seventh-day Adventism: Yesterday and Today"
- "Adventism" in Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism by Randall Balmer, p7 describes Seventh-day Adventists as "an evangelical denomination." The Christian Research Institute claims "mainstream Adventism is primarily evangelical" in the sense that "the great majority of Adventist scholars, teachers and pastors that [the author has] spoken with believe firmly in salvation by grace through faith alone." "Seventh-day Adventism: Christian or Cultic?" from the Christian Research Institute. Accessed 25 Feb 2008.
- Ronald Numbers, The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design
- "Fundamental Beliefs". Seventh-day Adventist Church. Retrieved 2007-01-08.
- Corson (2002). "Progressive and Traditional Adventists Examined"
- Corson, Ron. "Progressive and Traditional Adventists Examined".
- Pipim, Receiving the WordExcerpts from chapter 1 of at the Wayback Machine (archived March 28, 2008). Pipim is just one example of a conservative scholar
- "GYC is a grassroots Adventist movement organized and led by young adults from diverse backgrounds."
- Pipim, Receiving the WordExcerpts from chapter 1 of at the Wayback Machine (archived March 28, 2008). Pipim, a conservative scholar, describes this constituency as "liberal"
- "A Seventh-day Adventist Philosophy of Music—Guidelines". General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Annual Council. October 2004.
- "Health". Archived from the original on October 3, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-06.
- Buettner, Dan (November 16, 2005). "The Secrets of Long Life". Excerpt. See also National Geographic, "Sights & Sounds of Longevity"
- Anderson Cooper, Gary Tuchman (November 16, 2005). "CNN Transcripts on Living Longer". Retrieved 2006-08-25. See CNN excerpt on YouTube
- Kolata, Gina (2007-01-03). "A Surprising Secret to a Long Life: Stay in School". The New York Times.
- The Blue Zone on YouTube
- "Three Strategic Issues: A World Survey". General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 2002. See question 26, on page 14 etc.
- See also "The Myth of Vegetarianism" by Keith Lockhart. Spectrum 34 (Winter 2006), p22–27
- "The Living Weapon: Operation Whitecoat." American Experience. Retrieved April 19, 2010, from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/general-article/weapon-operation-whitecoat/.
- "Seventh-day Adventist Position Statement on Homosexuality". Seventh-day Adventist Church. 1999-10-03. Archived from the original on October 3, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-18.
- "Seventh-day Adventist Response to Same-Sex Unions—A Reaffirmation of Christian Marriage".
- Miroslav M. Kiš. "Seventh-day Adventist Position on COHABITATION"
- Ekkehardt Mueller (2005). "Submission in the New Testament (Ephesians 5)". Biblical Research Institute
- "A Statement of Consensus on Care for the Dying".
- "Birth Control: A Seventh-day Adventist Statement of Consensus".
- "Statement on Ethical Considerations Regarding Human Cloning".
- Roger, Coon (1987-12-10). "The Wedding Band, Ellen G. White, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church".
- "Adventist students sanctioned for attending dance (2001)". Associated Press. 2001. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- Applause, Hand Waiving, Drumming, & Dancing in the Church by Dr. Samuel Pipim
- Case, Steve. "Shall We Dance?". Dialogue. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- Nix, James (2006). "Growing Up Adventist: No Apologies Needed". Adventist Review. Retrieved 2007-01-14. For a less restrictive account of an Adventist childhood in the 1970s, see Growing Up Adventist by Andy Nash
- "A Seventh-day Adventist Statement on Gambling". General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Administrative Committee. 2000. Archived from the original on December 28, 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- Adventist Manual
- Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual (PDF). Hagerstown, Maryland: The Secretariat,
- "World Church Structure and Governance".
- See also The Christian Century, 22 September 1999; reprint. Possibly see also Seeking a Sanctuary, chapter "Gender"
- An Appeal For Unity in Respect to Ministerial Ordination Practices. PDF download
- "Adventist Church adds 1 million members sixth year in a row" (Press release). Seventh-day Adventist Church. 2009-10-11. Retrieved 2009-11-12.
- "World Church: San Antonio, Texas Selected As 2015 GC Session Site" (Press release). Seventh-day Adventist Church. 2006-10-10. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2006-10-18.
- World Council of Churches – Seventh-day Adventist Church
- MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (March 17, 2011). "Adventists' back-to-basics faith is fastest growing U.S. church". USA today.
- Jonathan Butler, "The Historian as Heretic" (introduction to Ronald Numbers, Prophetess of Health, 2nd edn onwards). Reprinted in Spectrum 23:2 (August 1993), pp. 43–64
- Nathan Brown, "Strange like Cooranbong". Record 115:6 (March 6, 2010), p. 17
- "Adventist Mission". Retrieved 2007-01-17.
- "A Seventh-day Adventist Statement on Religious Liberty, Evangelism, and Proselytism".
- "Department of Education, Seventh-day Adventist Church". Retrieved 2010-06-18.
- Rogers, Wendi; Kellner, Mark A. (April 1, 2003). "World Church: A Closer Look at Higher Education".
- Seeking a Sanctuary, p. 113
- "Adventist Health Outreach".
- A Statement on the Environment, 1995 and Statement on Stewardship of the Environment, 1996. See also fundamental beliefs #6, "Creation" and #21, "Stewardship".
- The Dangers of Climate Change: A Statement to Governments of Industrialized Countries, 1995 (Official statement)
- Statement on Stewardship of the Environment, 1996
- "Hope Channel".
- "Net '98 Finale: Conclusion of Largest-ever Satellite Outreach Program". Adventist News Network. 1998-11-06. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-01-20.
- "Publishing work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church".
- Beach, Bert (June 1985). "Seventh-day Adventists and the Ecumenical Movement".
- "World Church: Adventists Observe World Council of Churches Assembly". Adventist News Network. March 7, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
- "Seventh-day Adventist Church profile". Religious Tolerance.org.
- George R. Knight "A Search For Identity The Development Of Seventh-Day Adventist Beliefs", Review and Herald Publishing Associatiion, 2000, Pg 165
- Donald Grey Barnhouse, "Are Seventh-day Adventists Christians?" Eternity, September 1956, 7.
- Loren Dickinson (2006-11-02). "The Day Adventists Became Christians". Spectrum.
- Walter Martin, Kingdom of the Cults Off-site Link (Bethany House, Minneapolis, Minnesota), Updated edition 1997, p.517.
- Evangelical Reflections on Seventh-day Adventism: Yesterday and Today, by Kenneth Richard Samples
- "From Controversy to Crisis: An Updated Assessment of Seventh-day Adventism by Kenneth R. Samples, Christian Research Institute Journal Christian Research Journal, Summer 1988, Volume 11, Number 1
- "Fundamental Beliefs". Seventh-day Adventist Church. Retrieved 2006-11-01.
- Canright, D. M. (1919). Life of Mrs. E.G. White, Seventh-day Adventist Prophet: Her False Claims Refuted. Retrieved 2006-06-06.
- Walter, Walter T. (February 1983). The White Lie. Moore Publishing.
- Numbers, Ronald L. (1976). Prophetess of health: a study of Ellen G. White. Harper & Row.
- The Ramik Report Memorandum of Law Literary Property Rights 1790–1915
- General Conference Archives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Ellen G. White as a Writer: Part III – The Issue of Literary Borrowing
- An Analysis of the Literary Dependency of Ellen White
- Ellen G. White as a Writer: Case Studies in the Issue of Literary Borrowing
- The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia
- E. Marcella Anderson King and Kevin L. Morgan (2009). More Than Words: A Study of Inspiration and Ellen White's Use of Sources in The Desire of Ages. Honor Him Publishers.
- Kevin L. Morgan (2013). White Lie Soap: For removal of lingering stains on Ellen White's integrity as an inspired writer. Honor Him Publishers.
- articleReviewAlso appears in
- "How Seventh-day Adventists View Roman Catholicism".
- "Seventh-Day Adventism". Catholic Answers. Retrieved 2007-02-05.
- See also
- Ángel Manuel Rodríguez (October 2002). "The Remnant and the Adventist Church".
- Report on Hope International and Associated Groups, Adventist Review, 2000.
- The AntiChrist and The Protestant Reformation
- "How Seventh-day Adventists View Roman Catholicism (official statement)"
- "Origin of the SDA Reform Movement".
- "Church Leaders Say 'We're Sorry': German and Austrian churches apologize for Holocaust actions" by Mark A. Kellner
- "Fundamental beliefs of DSDA as compared with the ones of the Seventh-day Adventist Church".
- Sapiets, Marite "V. A. Shelkov and the true and free Adventists of the USSR," Religion, State and Society, Volume 8, Issue 3 1980 , pp. 201–217
- SDA Kinship International official website
- "A Brief History of SDA Trademark Lawsuits"
- "SDA Kampmeeting Australian Newsletter, Issue 4"
- Baker, Benjamin. 2005. Crucial Moments: The 12 Most Important Events in Black Adventism. Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald.
- Bull, Malcolm and Keith Lockhart, Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream. (2006, 2nd edn). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. A sociological study.
- Chaij, Fernando. Fuerzas supriores que actuán en la vida humana: el hipnotismo y el espiritismo ante la ciencia y la religión [y] el problema de la sanidad y la felicidad. Quinta ed. actualizada. Bogotá: Ediciones Interamericanas, 1976. 267 p. N.B.: Speculations about various occult phenomena, health, theology and Bible exegesis, all from a Seventh Day Adventist perspective. Without ISBN
- Edwards, Calvin W. and Gary Land. Seeker After Light: A F Ballenger, Adventism, and American Christianity. (2000). 240pp online review
- Land, Gary (2001). "At the Edges of Holiness: Seventh-Day Adventism Receives the Holy Ghost, 1892–1900".
- Morgan, Douglas. Adventism and the American Republic: The Public Involvement of a Major Apocalyptic Movement. (2001). 269 pp.
- Morgan, Douglas. "Adventism, Apocalyptic, and the Cause of Liberty," Church History, Vol. 63, No. 2 (Jun., 1994), pp. 235–249 in JSTOR
- Neufield, Don F. ed. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (10 vol 1976), official publication
- Numbers, Ronald L. Prophetess of health: a study of Ellen G. White (3rd ed. 2008)
- Pearson, Michael. Millennial Dreams and Moral Dilemmas: Seventh-day Adventism and Contemporary Ethics. (1990, 1998) excerpt and text search, looks at issues of marriage, abortion, homosexuality
- Schwarz, Richard. Light Bearers: A History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (3rd ed. 2000)
- Vance, Laura L. Seventh-day Adventism Crisis: Gender and Sectarian Change in an Emerging Religion. (1999). 261 pp.
- Van Dolson, Leo. What about Life after Death? Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1978. 32 p.
- The Adventists film, by Martin Doblmeier
- Adventist Health Studies
- Canadian Adventist History and Freedom of Religion
- General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
- List of Seventh-day Adventists
- List of Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities
- List of Seventh-day Adventist hospitals
- List of Seventh-day Adventist medical schools
- List of Seventh-day Adventist secondary schools
- Millerites and comparable groups
- Sabbath in Seventh-day Adventism
- Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada
- Seventh-day Adventist Church in India
- Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nigeria
- Seventh-day Adventist Church Pioneers
- Seventh-day Adventist eschatology
- Seventh-day Adventist interfaith relations – for relations with other Protestants and Catholics
- Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement
- Seventh-day Adventist theology
- Seventh-day Adventist worship
In popular culture
SDA Kinship International, was formed in 1976, and is a social network that is not officially associated with the church for individuals who are or were former Adventists who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT). The Adventist church filed a 1987 lawsuit for trademark infringement against Kinship International to stop their use of the name—District Judge Mariana R. Pfaelzer ruled that Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International, Inc. did not infringe on the Adventist church's use of the name and therefore could continue to use the identifying name. Another fringe group is the Sabbath Rest Advent Church which claims it comes out of 1888 message of A. J. Jones and E. J. Waggoner.
A number of Adventists such as former ministers Walter Rea and Dale Ratzlaff left the church and have become critics of the church's teachings and particularly of Ellen White. The official position of the church related to the prophetic gift of Ellen G. White remains unchanged.
Crisis, persecution, and compromise in the Soviet Union produced the group known as True and Free Seventh-day Adventists. This highly secretive splinter group rejected compromises of necessity that were made by the "Official" Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Soviet Union. The group refused to send their children to school on Saturday, refused to join the Soviet military, and called the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists "Babylon". The group remains active today (2010) in the former republics of the Soviet Union. A controversy within Adventism was the Glacier View controversy of 1980. This issue centered on the 900-page research paper by Dr. Desmond Ford entitled Daniel 8:14, the Investigative Judgment, and the Kingdom of God. The paper questioned the church's position on the investigative judgment. At the meetings at Glacier View Ranch, near Estes Park, Colorado, the church rejected Ford's proposals and ultimately resulted in Ford being removed from teaching and having his ministerial credentials revoked. Some Adventists also left the church as a result. In the years since, Ford has worked through the independent ministry Good News Unlimited.
Well known but distant offshoots are the Branch Davidians, themselves a schism within the larger Davidian movement. The Davidians formed in 1929, after Victor Houteff's book The Shepherd's Rod was rejected as heretical. A succession dispute after Houteff's death in 1955 led to the formation of generally 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.
In 2005, the mainstream church apologized for its failures during World War II expressing that they "'deeply regret' any participation in or support of Nazi activities during the war." However, the actions of the SDA Church towards those who took a conscientious stand against all military service during World War 1, were not acknowledged in the apology. The position of the SDA Church towards those engaged in military service, particularly combatants, remains an unresolved issue today.
to all acts of war and bloodshed remains a major point of contention. Conscientious Objection  Following
Throughout the history of the denomination, there have been a number of groups who have left the church and formed their own movements.
Offshoots and schisms
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. Certain of these ministries solicit funding from members. A number of the independent ministries 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 identified the Roman Papacy as the Antichrist. However, the church does not condone any behavior by members which may "have manifested prejudice and even bigotry" against Catholics.
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.
Independent ministries, offshoots, and schisms
Ellen White also presented it in a similar light:
Finally, critics have alleged that certain Adventist beliefs and practices are exclusivist in nature and have raised concern about the Adventist claim to be the “remnant church”, and the traditional Protestant association of Roman Catholicism and other denominations 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.
"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."
among others, undertook the refutation of the accusations of plagiarism. At the conclusion of Ramik's report, he states:  A common criticism of Ellen White, widely popularized by
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. However, the church makes clear in belief #18 of the 28 fundamental beliefs, that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.
Ellen G. White and her status
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".
While critics such as Hoekema have classified Adventism as a sectarian group on the basis of its atypical doctrines, 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'". 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.
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.
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.
While not being a member of the World Council of Churches, the Adventist Church has participated in its assemblies in an observer capacity.
"Should Adventists cooperate ecumenically? Adventists should cooperate insofar as the authentic gospel is proclaimed and crying human needs are being met. The Seventh-day Adventist Church wants no entangling memberships and refuses any compromising relationships that might tend to water down her distinct witness. However, Adventists wish to be "conscientious cooperators." The ecumenical movement as an agency of cooperation has acceptable aspects; as an agency for the organic unity of churches, it is much more suspect."
The Adventist Church generally opposes the ecumenical movement, although it supports some of the 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:
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 owns and operates many publishing companies around the world. Two of the largest are the Pacific Press and Review and Herald publishing associations located in the United States. The Review and Herald is located in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Additionally, there exists a range of privately owned media entities representing Adventist beliefs. These include the The Quiet Hour and Amazing Discoveries.
A number of international satellite broadcast live evangelistic events have been undertaken by evangelists such as Doug Batchelor, Mark Finley and Dwight Nelson, addressing audiences in up to 40 languages simultaneously.
In the last century, these media based efforts have also made use of emerging media such as Hope Channel, the official television network of the church, operates 8 international channels broadcasting 24 hours a day on cable, satellite and the internet.
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 writings to various locations.
The Adventist church has been active for over 100 years advocating 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 to protect religious groups from legislation that may affect their religious practices. This is primarily achieved through advocacy. Recently the organization has been fighting to pass legislation that will protect Adventist employees who wish to keep the Sabbath.
"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."
The church is committed to the protection and care of the environment as well as taking action to avoid the dangers of climate change:
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 both provide relief in crises and development in situations of poverty.
Humanitarian aid and the environment
Adventist Health System is the largest not-for-profit, Protestant, multi-institutional healthcare system in the United States. The health system is sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and cares for over 4 million patients yearly.
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.
The largest (in terms of population) Seventh-day Adventist University in the world is Northern Caribbean University, located in Mandeville, Jamaica.
The Adventist Church operates 7,598 schools, colleges and universities, with a total enrollment of more than 1,545,000 students and approximately 80,000 teachers. 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, and is second only to that of the Roman Catholic Church. The Adventist educational program is comprehensive, encompassing "mental, physical, social and above all, spiritual health" with "intellectual growth and service to humanity" as its goal.
Missionary outreach of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is aimed at both non-Christians and 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.
Started in the late 19th century, Adventist mission work today reaches people in over 200 countries and territories. Adventist mission workers preach the gospel, promote health through hospitals and clinics, run development projects to improve living standards, and provide relief in times of calamity.
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 Biblical Research Institute is the theological research center of the church.
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."
As of September 30, 2013, the church has 18,028,769 baptized members. In the last decade, around one 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 due to increases in membership in the 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, and 16 million in 2009. 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".
The primary prerequisite for membership in the Adventist church is baptism by immersion. This, according to the church manual, should only occur after the candidate has undergone proper instruction on what the church believes.
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 world headquarters—the General Conference—says that the GC has the right to set the worldwide qualifications for ordination, including gender requirements. GC leaders have never taken the position that ordination of women is contrary to the Bible, but they have insisted that no one ordain women until it is acceptable to all parts of the world church.
Ordination of women
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.
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.
Church officers and clergy
The Church Manual gives provisions for each level of government to create educational, healthcare, publishing, and other institutions that are seen within the call of the Great Commission.
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. Within a geographic region, ministers receive roughly equal pay irrespective of the size of their church.
The gathering together of local or regional church members along with experienced leaders has been valued as a source of unity. When these "sessions" take place, often presentations are scheduled to benefit the spiritual development of those in attendance.
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.
- The local church is the foundation level of organizational structure and is the public face of the denomination. Every baptized Adventist is a member of a local church and has voting powers within that church.
- Directly above the local church is the "local conference" or "local mission". The local conference/mission is an organization of churches within a state, province or territory (or part thereof) which appoints ministers, owns church land and organizes the distribution of tithes and payments to ministers.
- Above the local conference is the "union conference" or "union mission" which embodies a number of local conferences/missions within a larger territory.
- The highest level of governance within the church structure is the General Conference which consists of 13 "Divisions", each assigned to various geographic locations. The General Conference is the church authority and has the final say in matters of conjecture and administrative issues. The General Conference is headed by the office of President; in June 2010 Dr. Jan Paulsen retired leading to the selection of Dr. Ted N.C. Wilson by the General Conference Nominating Committee. The General Conference head office is in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.
 The Seventh-day Adventist church is governed by a form of representation which resembles the
Structure and polity
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 surfing, waterskiing/wakeboarding, rock climbing, golf, skateboarding, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, cycling, basketball, and many others.
"Adventurer" (ages 6–9), "Eager Beaver" (ages 4–5), and "Little Lambs" (ages 3–4) clubs are programs for younger children that feed into the Pathfinder program. Those 16 years and over are eligible to become "Master Guides" (similar to Scout Master) and will begin to take on leadership roles within the club.
The Youth Department of the Adventist church runs an organization for 10 - 15 year old boys and girls called Pathfinders, which is similar to the Scouting movement. After a person turns 16 he or she is no longer considered a Pathfinder but considered staff. 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.
Some Adventists 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.
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 the majority of North American church youth reject some of these standards.
- 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.
Dress and entertainment
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).
According to official statements from the General Conference, 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 and may be disfellowshipped from the church membership. An extramarital affair is one of the sanctioned grounds for a divorce, although reconciliation is encouraged whenever possible. Adventists believe in and encourage abstinence for both men and women before marriage. The church disagrees with extra-marital cohabitation. The Old and New Testament texts are interpreted by some Adventists to teach that wives should submit to their husbands in marriage and that "husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it".
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 counseled to make their own decisions.
Ethics and sexuality
The first task for the scientists was to find people 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.
Adventists' clean lifestyles were recognized by the U.S. military in 1954 when 2,200 Adventists volunteered for Operation Whitecoat to be human test subjects for a range of diseases the effects of which were still unknown:
An estimated 35% of Adventists practice vegetarianism, according to a 2002 worldwide survey of local church leaders.
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 of 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.
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 Food Company is a leading manufacturer of health and vegetarian-related products, most prominently Weet-Bix.
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 recommends vegetarianism and expects adherence to the kosher laws in Leviticus 11. Obedience to these laws means 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 containing caffeine.
Health and diet
Adventists usually practice communion four times a year. The communion is an open service that is available to members and Christian non-members. 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 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.
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.
The major weekly worship service occurs on Saturday, typically commencing with Sabbath School which is a structured time of small-group study at church. Most 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).
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).
Much of Friday might be spent in preparation for the Sabbath; for example, preparing meals and tidying homes. Some Adventists gather for Friday evening worship to welcome in the Sabbath, a practice often known as Vespers.
The General Conference has posted an introspective view on Adventists worldwide. This was done as an answer to frequently asked questions Adventist members and the church receives. The article is entitled, "Your Adventist Neighbor".
Culture and practices
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.
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 more traditional views concerning the inspiration of Ellen White, 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 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 what they consider to be traditional Adventist teachings such as the human post-fall nature of Jesus Christ, an 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.
As with any religious movement, a theological spectrum exists within Adventism comparable to the fundamentalist-moderate-liberal spectrum in the wider Christian church and in other religions. A variety of groups, movements or subcultures within the church present differing views on beliefs and lifestyle.
- Law (fundamental belief 19)—the Law of God is "embodied in the Ten Commandments", which continue to be binding upon Christians.
- Sabbath (fundamental belief 20)—the Sabbath should be observed on the seventh day of the week, specifically, from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.
- Second Coming and End times (fundamental beliefs 25–28)—Jesus Christ will return visibly to earth after a "time of trouble", during which the Sabbath will become a worldwide test. The second coming will be followed by a millennial reign of the saints in heaven. Adventist eschatology is based on the historicist method of prophetic interpretation.
- Wholistic human nature (fundamental beliefs 7, 26)—Humans are an indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit. They do not possess an immortal soul and there is no consciousness after death (commonly referred to as "soul sleep"). (See also: Christian anthropology)
- Conditional immortality (fundamental belief 27)—The wicked will not suffer eternal torment in hell, but instead will be permanently destroyed. (See: Conditional immortality, Annihilationism)
- Great Controversy (fundamental belief 8)—Humanity is involved in a "great controversy" between Jesus Christ and Satan. This is an elaboration on the common Christian belief that evil began in heaven when an angelic being (Lucifer) rebelled against the Law of God.
- Heavenly sanctuary (fundamental belief 24)—At his ascension, Jesus Christ commenced an atoning ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. In 1844, he began to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary in fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.
- Investigative Judgment (fundamental belief 24)—A judgment of professed Christians began in 1844, in which the books of record are examined for all the universe to see. The investigative judgment will affirm who will receive salvation, and vindicate God in the eyes of the universe as just in his dealings with mankind.
- Remnant (fundamental belief 13)—There will be an end-time remnant who keep the commandments of God and have "the testimony of Jesus" (Revelation 12:17). This remnant proclaims the "three angels' messages" of Revelation 14:6–12 to the world.
- Spirit of Prophecy (fundamental belief 18)—The ministry of Ellen G. White is commonly referred to as the "Spirit of Prophecy" and her writings are considered "a continuing and authoritative source of truth", though ultimately subject to the Bible. (See: Inspiration 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: