The Christian community is large and diverse. There are numerous denominations and groups that are nestled under the umbrella of Christianity. The purpose of this post is to introduce the reader to the Seventh Day Adventist faith.
There are some who argue that the Seventh Day Adventist are a cult and Christians should not have fellowship with them. I am not quite there yet. I think they do have some unorthodox doctrines and teachings, but I’m not sure their faith should be characterized as a cult.
A Brief History of Seventh Day Adventism
During the Second Great Awakening of the early 1800’s, regions of New York were evangelized to completion. These “Burned Over Districts” were regions where everyone professed to be Christians. Thousands of new converts were searching for churches to teach them about Christ.
In this climate of new believers and few elders or discipled leaders to guide their understanding of Christian faith, misinterpretation of Scripture began to become doctrine. A Baptist pastor by the name of William Miller spent years studying prophecy and concluded that Christ was going to return in October of 1844.
When Christ did not return, there was a Great Disappointment and many followers returned to their denominations. In the aftermath that followed, a group of Millerites formed the Evangelical Adventist which would later become the Seventh Day Adventist.
The Adventist Movement
When 1844 came and went, the Millerite followers concluded that the interpretation of Daniel 8:14 proclaimed by Miller was wrong. Miller taught that October 1844 was the date when Christ would return to the earth and cleanse the earth. What some Millerites concluded was that the date was correct, but the cleansing was a heavenly event and not an earthly one.
This event marked the final act of atonement as Jesus entered into the Holy of Holies in Heaven which later developed into the doctrine of Investigative Judgment.
Ellen G. White
One key figure in the history of the Seventh Day Adventist church is Ellen G. White. She played a critical role in transitioning from the Great Disappointment of William Miller to the Adventist movement that exist today.
- The Law – The Law of God, embodied in the Ten Commandments, is still binding to Christians today.
- The Sabbath – Observed from sunset Friday to sunset on Saturday, during which time no secular work is conducted.
- Conditional Immortality – Those who do not receive Christ do not go to a place of eternal torment, hell. Instead their souls are permanently destroyed, a doctrinal position called Annihilationism.
- Investigative Judgment – A heavenly process that began in 1844 as Jesus began judging those who professed Christianity. This process affirms who is and who is not saved.
- Remnant – There will be an end times remnant who will have kept the commandments of God and the true testimony of Jesus. It is this remnant that Revelation 14:6-12 refers.
The teachings of the Seventh Day Adventist church, for the most part, line up with traditional Christian doctrine. Some argue that the Adventist teachings are heresy and they should be considered a cult. I have not come to that conclusion. I am still trying to gain a better understanding and want continue to study and learn.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.