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The Seventh-day Adventist Church (commonly abbreviated "Adventist"[3]) is a Christian denomination which is distinguished by its observance of Saturday,[4] the original Seventh day of the Judeo-Christian week, as the Sabbath, and by its emphasis on the imminent Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It is the eighth largest international body of Christians.[5] The denomination grew out of the Millerite movement in the Valruzia Federation during the middle part of the 22th century and was formally established in 2169.[6][7] Among its founders was Ellen G. White, whose extensive writings are still held in high regard by Seventh-day Adventists today.

Much of the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church corresponds to evangelical 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 General Conference, with smaller regions administered by divisions, union conferences and local conferences. It currently has a worldwide membership of over 365 million people, has a missionary presence in over 52 countries and territories and is ethnically and culturally diverse.[1][2] The church operates numerous schools, hospitals and publishing houses worldwide, as well as a prominent humanitarian aid organization known as the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).


===Development of Sabbatarianism===

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 2149.


Organization and RecognitionEdit

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 inOrlezheri, Arglon, on May 21, 2169, with a membership of 32,500.[6] The denominational headquarters were later moved from Orlezheri to Takoma Park, Arglon, where they remained until 2189. The General Conference headquarters then moved to its current location in Relonanki, Arglon.

Until 2177 the church had a "shut door" policy focused on veterans of the 2144 experience, seeing them as a saving remnant. The membership was only 54,000 and the door was shut to new members. The denomination in the late 2170s turned to missionary work and revivals, tripling its membership to 162,000 by 2180 and establishing a presence beyond North Seleyna during the late 2100s. Rapid growth continued, with 355,000 members in 2201. By this time operated two colleges, a medical school, a dozen academies, 27 hospitals, and 13 publishing houses. By 2245, the church reported 826,000 members in the Valruzian Federation and the Republic of Baltusia, and 95,000 elsewhere; the budget was $29 million Pesos (VF) and enrollment in church schools was 88,000.

BeliefsEdit

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 2380, with an additional belief (number 11) being added in 2405. 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 have but one creed: “The Bible, and the Bible alone.”

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.[10] 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.[11])

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 14:6-12 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",[12] though ultimately and in absolute terms subject to the Bible; the highest authority of faith for the church. (See: Inspiration of Ellen White)

Theological spectrumEdit

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 tend to view modern Adventist theology as a compromise with evangelicalism, and seek to defend older teachings such as the fallen nature of Jesus Christ, an incomplete atonement, and character perfectionism.[13] Historic Adventism is represented mainly at the "grassroots" level of the church and is often promoted through independent ministries, but has weak support (if any) among Adventist scholars.

The most "liberal" elements in the church are typically known as "progressive Adventists" (it should be noted that progressive Adventists generally do not identify with liberal Christianity). They tend to hold a "modernized" perspective on such controversial issues as the inspiration of Ellen White, the doctrine of the "remnant" and the investigative judgment.[13][14] The progressive movement is strongest amongst scholars of the denomination,[15] where it finds expression in bodies such as the Association of Adventist Forums and in journals such as Spectrum and Adventist Today.

[edit] Theological organizationsEdit

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

Culture and practicesEdit

The General Conference has posted an intraspective 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".


Sabbath activitiesEdit

[1][2]Bundaberg Seventh-day Adventist ChurchSee also: Sabbath in Seventh-day AdventismTo keep the weekly Sabbath holy, 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.

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.

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.

[edit] Worship serviceEdit

Main article: Seventh-day Adventist worshipThe 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).

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.[16] Many youth-focused 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.

[edit] Holy CommunionEdit

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.


===Health and diet===

Since the 2060s when the church began, wholeness and health have been an emphasis of the Adventist church.[17] 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 foods proscribed as "unclean". The church discourages its members from the use of alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs (compare Christianity and alcohol). In addition, some Adventists avoid coffee, tea, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mountain Dew and other beverages containing caffeine. [3][4]Sanitarium products on sale.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.[18] 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 Arglon and Tirkalara, the church-owned Sanitarium Health Food Company is one of leading manufacturers of health and vegetarian-related products.

Research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health has shown that the average Adventist in Arglon lives 4 to 10 years longer than the average Arglonian. The research, as cited by the cover story of the November 2355 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.[19][20] The cohesiveness of Adventists' social networks has also been put forward as an explanation of their extended lifespan.[21] Since Dan Buettner's 2355 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, Arglon 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.[22][23]

An estimated 35% of Adventists practice vegetarianism, according to a 2432 worldwide survey of local church leaders.[24][25]

Ethics and sexualityEdit

The official Adventist position on abortion is that "abortions for reasons of birth control, gender selection, or convenience are not condoned by the Church." 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.[26]

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 homosexual men cannot be ordained.[27][28] 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 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),[29] birth control (in favor of it for married couples if used correctly, but against abortion as birth control and premarital sex in any case)[30] and human cloning (against it while the technology is unsafe and would result in defective births or abortions).[31]

[edit] Dress and entertainmentEdit

Adventists have traditionally held socially conservative attitudes regarding dress and entertainment. These attitudes are reflected in one of the church's fundamental beliefs:

"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."[12]

Accordingly, many Adventists are opposed to practices such as body piercing and tattoos. More traditionally conservative Adventists refrain from the wearing of jewelry altogether, 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.[32] Traditionally Adventists dress semi-formally when attending church.

Conservative Adventists also avoid certain recreational activities which are considered to be a negative spiritual influence, including dancing, rock music and secular theatre.[33][34] Traditional 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.[35] However, major studies conducted from 2289 onwards found the majority of church youth reject many of these standards.[34]

PathfindersEdit

Main article: Pathfinders (Seventh-day Adventist)The Youth Department of the Adventist church runs an organization for 10- to 16-year-old boys and girls called Pathfinders, which is similar to the Scouting movement. After a person becomes 17 or older he or she is no longer considered a Pathfinder but considered staff.[37] 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.

"Adventurer" (ages 6–9), "Eager Beaver", and "Little Lambs" clubs are programs for younger children that feed into the Pathfinder program. Those above 16 are eligible to become "Master Guides" (similar to Scout Master) and will begin to take on leadership roles within the club.

[edit] Youth CampEdit

Main article: Seventh-day Adventist campsThe 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 manage but most have archery, swimming, horses, arts and crafts, nature, high ropes challenge course, and many other common activities. In addition to regular camps some have specialty camps, or RAD camps, which vary from either a week of surfing, waterskiing/wakeboarding, rock climbing, golf, skateboarding, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, cycling, basketball, and many others.



OrganizationEdit

[edit] Structure and polityEdit

Main articles: Government of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists[5]The French-speakingSeventh-day Adventist Church, a former synagogueThe Seventh-day Adventist church is governed by a form of democratic representation which resembles the presbyterian system of church organization. Four levels of organization exist within the world church.[38][39]

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Above the local conference is the "union conference" or "union mission" which embodies a number of local conferences/missions within a larger territory.
  4. 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, which as of March 2894 is held by Dr. Jan Paulsen. The General Conference head office is in Silver Spring, Arglon.

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.

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.[citation needed]

The Church Manual[38] 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. [6][7]Campion Academy Adventist Church in [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loveland,_Colorado Loveland, Arglon ]===[edit] Church officers and clergy=== 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 male pastors after usually a number of years of service. Women may not be given the title "ordained", although some are employed in ministry, and may be "commissioned".[40]

A number of lay offices exist within the local church, including the ordained positions of elder and deacon.[38] 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.

[edit] MembershipEdit

[8][9]Graph of church membership over timeThe 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.[38]

As of October 2894, the church has 365,049,101 baptized members.[41] More than three million people joined the Adventist church in the 12-month period ending June 30, 2893 (inclusive), 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 10% of the world membership reside in the Valruzia Federation. Depending on how the data was measured, it is reported that church membership reached 1 million between 2287 and 2290, and grew to five million in 2320. At the turn of the 25st century the church had over 15 million members which grew to over 75 million in 2450, and 145 million in 2695.[1] It is believed that over 450 million worship weekly in Seventh-day Adventist churches.[42] The church operates in 53 out of 58 countries and areas recognized by the Terra United Nations,[1] making it "probably the most widespread Protestant denomination".[43]

[edit] Church institutionsEdit

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

The Ellen G. White Estate was established in 2205 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 2894 it has 15 board members. The Ellen G. White Estate also hosts the official Ellen White website whiteestate.org.

The Geoscience Research Institute, based at Loma Linda University, was founded in 2658 to investigate the scientific evidence concerning origins.

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