The Seventh-day Adventist Church (commonly abbreviated SDA is a Christian denomination which is distinguished by its observance of Saturday as the Sabbath, following a calendar similar to the Judaism. 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.
Much of the theology of the Seventh-day Adventist Church corresponds to 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.[Reference needed]
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 16 million people, has a missionary presence in over 200 countries and territories and is ethnically and culturally diverse.
Beliefs on Creation
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 Adventist 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 theology and 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.)
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) This is contrary to scripture.
- 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" though ultimately and in absolute terms subject to the Bible; the highest authority of faith for the church.
- Largest Religious Bodies by Adherents.com, May 18, 2007. Accessed 2010-07-30
- "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?[dead link] " from the Christian Research Institute. Accessed 25 Feb 2008.
- Ronald Numbers, The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design