Portal:Seventh-day Adventist Church

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Seventh-day Adventist Church

James and Ellen G. White, founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church (abbreviated "Adventist") is a Protestant Christian denomination which is distinguished mainly by its observance of the period between Friday sunset and Saturday sunset, the "seventh day" of the week, as the Sabbath; along with the soon Second Coming 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, whom Adventists consider a prophet, and whose numerous writings are still held in high regard by the church.

Most of the theology of the contemporary Seventh-day Adventist Church corresponds to key evangelical teachings, such as the Trinity and the infallibility of Scripture. Distinctive doctrines include its Great Controversy theme, the idea of the unconscious state of the dead, and the teaching of an investigative judgment that began in 1844. The church is also known for its emphasis on diet and health, its promotion of religious liberty, and its culturally conservative principles.

The world church is governed by a General Conference, with smaller regions administered by divisions, union conferences, and local conferences. It currently has an ethnically and culturally diverse worldwide membership of over 18 million people and maintains a missionary presence in over 200 countries. 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).

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In Christianity, the Sabbath is a weekly religious day of rest as ordained by one of the Ten Commandments: the third commandment by Roman Catholic and Lutheran numbering, and the fourth by Eastern Orthodox and other Protestant numbering. The practice is inherited from Judaism, the parent religion of Christianity; the Hebrew word שַבָת ("šabbat", read in English as shabbat) means "the [day] of rest (or ceasing)" and entails a ceasing or resting from labor. The institution of the Old Testament Sabbath, a "perpetual covenant ... [for] the people of Israel" (Exodus 31:16-17), was in respect for the day during which God rested after having completed the creation in six days (Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 20:8-11).

Originally denoting Saturday, the seventh day of the week (or, more precisely, the time period from Friday sunset to Saturday nightfall), the term "sabbath" can now mean one of several things, depending on the context and the speaker:

  • Saturday as above, in reference to the Jewish day of rest, also observed by some Christian groups;
  • Sunday, as a synonym for "the Lord's Day" in commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, for most other Christian groups;
  • Any day of rest, prayer, worship or ritual, as in "Friday is the Muslim Sabbath"

One who observes a day as a Sabbath is known as a Sabbatarian.

The word is also infrequently used to describe the annual Jewish Holy Days observed by a minority of Christian groups, also called High Sabbaths or High Day Sabbaths (John 19:31): the First and Last Days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Eighth Day of the Feast.

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Campion Academy Adventist Church in Loveland, Colorado

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Ellen White in 1899

Ellen Gould White (née Harmon) (November 26, 1827 – July 16, 1915) born to Robert and Eunice Harmon, was an American Christian leader whose alleged prophetic ministry was instrumental in founding the Sabbatarian Adventist movement that led to the rise of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Supporters of Ellen G. White regard her as a modern-day prophet, usually expressed in the language that she exhibited the spiritual gift of prophecy as outlined in the New Testament. They do not consider this to conflict with the Reformation principle Sola Scriptura ("by scripture alone"), because the Bible is believed to be superior to her writings. Her restorationist writings are said to showcase the hand of God in Seventh-day Adventist history. This cosmic conflict, referred to as the "great controversy theme", is foundational to the development of early Seventh-day Adventist theology. Her involvement with other Sabbatarian Adventist leaders such as Joseph Bates and her husband James White would create a nucleus of believers around which a core group of shared beliefs would emerge. Ellen White believed that at the close of earth's history Jesus Christ would return to this earth to gather His people and take them to heaven.

White was a controversial figure even within her own lifetime. She claimed to have received a vision soon after the Millerite Great Disappointment. In the context of many other visionaries, she was known for her conviction and fervent faith. White is the most translated female non-fiction author in the history of literature as well as the most translated American non-fiction author of either gender. Her writings covered topics of theology, evangelism, Christian lifestyle, education and health (she also advocated vegetarianism). She was a leader who emphasized education and health and promoted establishment of schools and medical centers. During her lifetime she wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books; but today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. Among her more popular books are, Steps to Christ, The Desire of Ages, and The Great Controversy. Some Adventists believe she experienced over 2,000 visions.

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