Seventh-day Adventist Church Denomination

Overview of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

William Miller and James and Ellen White
William Miller and James and Ellen White. Public Domain

Best known for its Saturday Sabbath, the Seventh-day Adventist Church affirms the same beliefs as most Christian denominations but also has several doctrines unique to its faith group.

Number of Worldwide Members:

Seventh-day Adventists numbered more than 15.9 million members worldwide at the end of 2008.

Founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church:

William Miller (1782-1849), a Baptist preacher, forecast the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in 1843.

When that did not come to pass, Samuel Snow, a follower, did further calculations and advanced the date to 1844. After the event did not occur, Miller withdrew from ​the leadership of the group and died in 1849. Ellen White, her husband James White, Joseph Bates and other Adventists formed a group in Washington, New Hampshire, which officially became the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1863. J.N. Andrews became the first official missionary in 1874, traveling from the United States to Switzerland, and from that time the church became worldwide.

Prominent Founders:

William Miller, Ellen White, James White, Joseph Bates.

Geography:

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has spread to more than 200 countries, with less than ten percent of the members in the United States.

Seventh-day Adventist Church Governing Body:

Adventists have an elected representative government, with four ascending levels: the local church; the local conference, or field/mission, comprised of several local churches in a state, province, or territory; the union conference, or union field/mission, which includes conferences or fields within a larger territory, such as a grouping of states or an entire country; and the General Conference, or worldwide governing body.

The church has divided the world into 13 regions. The current president is Jan Paulsen.

Sacred or Distinguishing Text:

The Bible.

Notable Seventh-day Adventist Church Ministers and Members:

Jan Paulsen, Little Richard, Jaci Velasquez, Clifton Davis, Joan Lunden, Paul Harvey, Magic Johnson, Art Buchwald, Dr. John Kellogg, Ellen White, Sojourner Truth.

Seventh-day Adventist Church Beliefs and Practices:

The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes the Sabbath should be observed on Saturday since that was the seventh day of the week when God rested after creation. They hold that Jesus entered a phase of "Investigative Judgment" in 1844, in which he decides the future fate of all people. Adventists believe that people enter a state of "soul sleep" after death and will be awakened for judgment at the Second Coming. The worthy will go to heaven while unbelievers will be annihilated. The church's name comes from their doctrine that Christ's Second Coming, or Advent, is imminent.

Adventists are especially concerned with health and education and have founded hundreds of hospitals and thousands of schools. Many of the church's members are vegetarians, and the church prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. The church uses the latest technology to spread its message, including a satellite broadcast system with 14,000 downlink sites, and a 24-hour global TV network, The Hope Channel.

To learn more about what Seventh-day Adventists believe, visit Seventh-day Adventist Beliefs and Practices.

(Sources: Adventist.org, ReligiousTolerance.org, and Adherents.com.)