Seventh-day Adventist Church

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The Seventh-day Adventist Church (commonly abbreviated SDA, officially abbreviated Adventist) is a Christian cult which is 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 of Jesus Christ. As of May 2007, it was the twelfth-largest religious body in the world, and the sixth-largest highly international religious body. 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 fale prophetess Ellen G. White, whose extensive writings are still held in high regard by the church today.

Contents

History

See Also History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

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. Miller predicted on the basis of Daniel 8:1416 and the "day-year principle", that Jesus Christ would return to Earth on October 22, 1844. When this did not happen, 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. Although in Hebrews 10:12 is states that this wa alread accomplished after Christ's resurrection. Over the next decade this understanding developed into the false 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. The Adventists continued to believe that Christ's second coming would be imminent and White falsely predicted in 1856 that some living would live to see Christ return:

‘I was shown the company present at the Conference. Said the angel: ‘Some food for worms, some subjects of the 7 last plagues, some will be alive and remain upon the earth to be translated at the coming of Jesus.'’ [] See False Prophecies of Ellen G, White

Beliefs

See Also Seventh-day Adventist theology

The official teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist cult 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 falsely claim have but one creed: “The Bible, and the Bible alone.” The reality is, many of their main beliefs and practices, such as Sabbath Keeping, Investigative Judgment, Great Controversy etc, have no biblical foundation, but are founded in teachings of Ellen G. White's.

Most 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.[] In common with certain other Christian churches, 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.[]) Because Adventists do not seem as cultic as the Jehovah's Witnesses, they are many times accepted into evangelical churches as orthodox, but true Adventists will claim that all believers who go to church on Sunday are in danger of damnation and will eventually take the Mark of the Beast.

In addition, 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:

  • 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 death is an unconscious sleep (commonly known 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 theory 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 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 14:612 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 and in absolute terms subject to the Bible; the highest authority of faith for the church. (See: Inspiration of Ellen White)

Theological spectrum

As with any religious movement, a theological spectrum exists within Adventism comparable to the fundamentalist-conservative-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.

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.

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.

Theological organizations

The Biblical Research Institute is the official theological research center of the church. The church has two 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.

See Also

References

  • Vol. 1, p.131,132, Testimonies for the Church. This statement was made in 1856 and everyone present in that meeting is now dead. None lived to see Christ return. This is clearly a false prophecy. White

made no conditions for the fulfillment of this prophecy.

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