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Research Project REL 100 – Introduction to the Study of Religion Seventh-day Adventist. Tammy Madagan. Origins of Seventh-Day Adventist.

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research project rel 100 introduction to the study of religion seventh day adventist

Research ProjectREL 100 – Introduction to the Study of ReligionSeventh-day Adventist

Tammy Madagan

origins of seventh day adventist
Origins of Seventh-Day Adventist

The Seventh-day Adventist church originated from the Millerite movement of the 1840’s. William Miller (pictured at right), was a Baptist preacher from New England that predicted, based on his interpretation of Daniel 8:14, that Jesus Christ would return on October 22, 1844. When Miller’s prediction did not come to fruition, most of his followers left, but a few still believed.

The followers that remained, believed that Miller interpreted the Bible passage incorrectly. This lead to much discussion and the unique Seventh-day Adventist concept of ‘Investigative Judgment’.

The followers that remained were a loosely knit group that observed the Millerite principles (adhere to Sabbath, conditional immortality, Christ’s imminent return).

history of the church
History of the Church
  • Church formally established in Battle Creek, Michigan on May 23, 1863
  • Church Founders were
    • Ellen and James Springer White (pictured below left)
    • Joseph Bates (pictured below right)
  • Church headquarters moved several times
    • Now located in Silver Spring MD
facts figures
Facts & Figures
  • Over 60,000 Congregations worldwide
    • Ethnically Diverse
    • Established in almost every country in the world
      • 202 of the 228 UN recognized countries/areas
  • Church Membership over 14 million
    • Less than 10% live in US
  • Over 15,000 Ordained Ministers that are active
  • Operate a number of hospitals & clinics
    • Over 100 Hospitals, Over 100 Nursing Home, Almost 500 Health Clinics, and Over 30 Orphanages and Children’s Homes
facts figures continued
Facts & Figures, continued
  • One of fast growing religions in Third-world countries
  • Operates almost 7000 schools at various educational levels
    • Enrollment of over 1 million students

Adventist Dept. of Education Luma Linda Medical Center

adventist organizational structure
Adventist Organizational Structure
  • The SDA Church operates under democratic representation, similar to the Presbyterian model of church management
    • Church consists of four levels of organization
      • Local Church
        • Foundation level of church
        • All Adventists are members of a local church
        • Each local church has a governing body
      • Local Conference
        • Organization of local churches based on geographic boundaries
        • Directly above ‘Local Church’ level
        • Appoints ministers, owns land, and distributes tithes
adventist organizational structure cont d
Adventist Organizational Structure, cont’d
    • Union Conference
      • Organization of local conferences based on larger geographic area
      • Directly above ‘Local Conference’ level
    • General Conference
      • Highest level of church
      • Made up of 13 Divisions based on geographic regions
      • Final say is administrative issues and matters of conjecture
  • Each level within the church holds a general session at periodic intervals where decisions are typically voted on
  • Tithes collected at local churches are passed up to the Local Conference for distribution
seventh day adventist logo
Seventh-day Adventist Logo

The Seventh-day Adventist Logo, pictured right, is one of the most recognizable symbols of the Church. The logo reflects the core values of the church and contains numerous symbols.

  • The green open Bible symbolizes the foundation of the church in scripture
  • The cross symbolizes the gospel of salvation
  • The three flames represent the 3 angels in Rev. 14 circling the earth and the Adventist mission to spread the gospel
  • The entire flames symbolizes the holy spirit
  • The upward points of the flame symbolize resurrection at Christ’s second coming
adventist s fundamental beliefs
1. Holy Scriptures

2. Trinity

3. Father

4. Son

5. Holy Spirit

6. Creation

7. Nature of Man

8. Great Controversy

9. Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ

10. Experience of Salvation

11. Growing in Christ

12. Church

13. Remnant and Its Mission

14. Unity in the Body of Christ

15. Baptism

16. Lord’s Supper

17. Spiritual Gifts and Ministries

18. The Gift of Prophecy

19. Law of God

20. Sabbath

21. Stewardship

22. Christian Behavior

23. Marriage and Family

24. Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary

25. Second Coming of Christ

26. Death and Resurrection

27. Millennium and the End of Sin

28. New Earth

Adventist’s Fundamental Beliefs

Seventh-day Adventist Church maintains 28 Fundamental beliefs based on the Church’s interpretation of the Bible

seventh day adventist doctrine
Seventh-day Adventist Doctrine
  • Adventist are Christian based
  • 28 Fundamental Beliefs Previously listed
  • View Bible as Holy Scripture and word of God
    • Believe God Inspired Authors of Bible
    • Belief # 1 of the 28
  • Follow many of same beliefs as conservative Christianity
    • Christian Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Creation in 6 days, Resurrection, Salvation, Fundamental Beliefs #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #9, #10, respectively
uniquely adventist doctrine
Uniquely Adventist Doctrine
  • The Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church doctrine differs from orthodox Christian doctrine in several ways
    • Gift of Prophecy

The SDA believe that Ellen Murphy (pictured right), one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was blessed with the gift of prophecy. The ‘Gift of Prophecy’ is the 18th of the 28 Fundamental SDA beliefs.

18. The Gift of Prophecy: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White . As the Lord's messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; 19:10.)

uniquely adventist doctrine cont d
Uniquely Adventist Doctrine, cont’d
  • Investigative Judgment
    • Belief that since 1844 mankind has been being judged based on their beliefs and sin by God to determine who will reach heaven and who will be annihilated
  • Immortality
    • Belief in Conditional Immortality
      • Saved will live forever in the Heavenly Sanctuary
      • Wicked will be destroyed (annihilation)
        • Conservative Christianity believes wicked will burn in Hell for eternity
  • Religious Liberty
    • Church Founded International Religious Liberty Association in 1893 to help ensure religious freedom for all people regardless of faith
    • Advocacy group with intent to protect all religious groups from unfair legislation
adventist missions
Adventist Missions
  • While many religions require followers to complete a pilgrimage or holy journey, the Seventh-day Adventist do not
  • Seventh-day Adventist believe in spreading the gospel through missions
    • J.N. Andrews (pictured below), First Official Missionary sent out in 1874
    • Church has now sent missionaries to over 200 of the world’s countries
seventh day sacred texts
Seventh-day Sacred Texts
  • The Bible is the Primary Adventist Sacred Text
    • The First of the SDA 28 Fundamental Believes is that of ‘Holy Scripture’
    • Adventist believe in both the Old & New Testaments
      • 66 Books that were supernaturally inspired
    • Bible part of SDA Logo (see slide 6)

Adventist First Fundamental Belief

1. Holy Scriptures:The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God, given by divine inspiration through holy men of God who spoke and wrote as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In this Word, God has committed to man the knowledge necessary for salvation. The Holy Scriptures are the infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God's acts in history. (2 Peter 1:20, 21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Ps. 119:105; Prov. 30:5, 6; Isa. 8:20; John 17:17; 1 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 4:12.)

seventh day sacred texts1
Seventh-day Sacred Texts
  • Ellen White: Co-founder of the Church
    • Writings viewed as authoritative sources by the church
      • SDA Fundamental belief #18
    • White Recognized as prophet
    • Best Known Writings
      • The Great Controversy
      • Desire of Ages
      • Steps to Christ
    • Criticism of Ellen White’s writings
      • Suspected of plagiarism by critics
adventist s concepts of the divine
Adventist’s Concepts of the Divine
  • Views based on Holy Scripture and Fundamental Beliefs
    • Adventists are monotheistic and believe God is:
      • A personal God
      • Omnipresent
      • Omnipotent
      • Omniscient
    • Belief in the Holy Trinity
      • 2. Trinity:There is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons. God is immortal, all-powerful, all-knowing, above all, and ever present. He is infinite and beyond human comprehension, yet known through His self-revelation. He is forever worthy of worship, adoration, and service by the whole creation. (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 14:7.)
    • View of Divine and Ultimate Reality consistent with conservative Christianity
adventist s views on origins
Adventist’s Views on Origins
  • Views based on Holy Scripture and Fundamental Beliefs
    • Belief in Christian view of Creation
      • Fundamental Belief - 6. Creation: God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made "the heaven and the earth" and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was ``very good,'' declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.)
      • “Heavens and the earth” created in 6 days by God
    • Belief God made man in his image
      • Fundamental Belief - 7. Nature of Man: Man and woman were made in the image of God with individuality, the power and freedom to think and to do. Though created free beings, each is an indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit, dependent upon God for life and breath and all else. When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position under God. The image of God in them was marred and they became subject to death. Their descendants share this fallen nature and its consequences. They are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil. But God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and by His Spirit restores in penitent mortals the image of their Maker. Created for the glory of God, they are called to love Him and one another, and to care for their environment. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:7; Ps. 8:4-8; Acts 17:24-28; Gen. 3; Ps. 51:5; Rom. 5:12-17; 2 Cor. 5:19, 20; Ps. 51:10; 1 John 4:7, 8, 11, 20; Gen. 2:15.)
adventist s theodicy
Adventist’s Theodicy
  • Fundamental Belief - 7. Nature of Man:Man and woman were made in the image of God with individuality, the power and freedom to think and to do. Though created free beings, each is an indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit, dependent upon God for life and breath and all else. When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position under God. The image of God in them was marred and they became subject to death. Their descendants share this fallen nature and its consequences. They are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil. But God in Christ reconciled the world to Himself and by His Spirit restores in penitent mortals the image of their Maker. Created for the glory of God, they are called to love Him and one another, and to care for their environment. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:7; Ps. 8:4-8; Acts 17:24-28; Gen. 3; Ps. 51:5; Rom. 5:12-17; 2 Cor. 5:19, 20; Ps. 51:10; 1 John 4:7, 8, 11, 20; Gen. 2:15.)
  • Adventists believe that man is evil because of original sin
  • Man denied dependence on God
  • Man is born with weakness and tendencies of evil
  • Adventists believe that man is inherently evil and sinful
adventist s views on nature of man
Adventist’s Views on Nature of Man
  • Adventists believe man must follow the word of God, The Bible, to reach salvation
    • Man must be saved from himself
    • 10. Experience of Salvation: In infinite love and mercy God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might be made the righteousness of God. Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God's grace. Through Christ we are justified, adopted as God's sons and daughters, and delivered from the lordship of sin. Through the Spirit we are born again and sanctified; the Spirit renews our minds, writes God's law of love in our hearts, and we are given the power to live a holy life. Abiding in Him we become partakers of the divine nature and have the assurance of salvation now and in the judgment. (2 Cor. 5:17-21; John 3:16; Gal. 1:4; 4:4-7; Titus 3:3-7; John 16:8; Gal. 3:13, 14; 1 Peter 2:21, 22; Rom. 10:17; Luke 17:5; Mark 9:23, 24; Eph. 2:5-10; Rom. 3:21-26; Col. 1:13, 14; Rom. 8:14-17; Gal. 3:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:23; Rom. 12:2; Heb. 8:7-12; Eze. 36:25-27; 2 Peter 1:3, 4; Rom. 8:1-4; 5:6-10.)
  • Adventists believe soul is separate

from body

sacred spaces
Sacred Spaces
  • “Church” is number 12 of the Adventist’s 28 Fundamental Beliefs
    • 12: Church - The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord's Supper, for service to all mankind, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word, and from the Scriptures, which are the written Word. The church is God's family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish.
  • For Seventh-day Adventist, as well as most Christian based religions, the church is a sacred space
  • Believe that they are called out from the world to come together in the church to worship
  • Believe “Church” is more than

just a space. It is a community,

a place to worship, and the

body of Christ

Seventh-day Adventist

Church in Boston, MA

seventh day adventist sacraments
Baptism

Life-Cycle Rite

Believe in adult baptism by water immersion

#15 of the SDA 28 Fundamental Beliefs

Communion (Lord’s Supper)

Calendar Rite

Typically held 4 times annually

#16 of the SDA 28 Fundamental Beliefs

Commences with foot washing ceremony; Concludes with Lord’s Supper of unleavened bread and unfermented grape juice

Seventh-day Adventist Sacraments
adventist personal sacraments
Adventist Personal Sacraments
  • SDA Fundamental Belief # 22 Defines Christian Behavior and Personal Sacraments. Adventists adhere to the following:
    • Dietary
      • Abstain from foods identified as unclean in Scripture
        • For example pork
      • Abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
    • Health & Wellness
      • Body viewed as temple
      • Recommend regular exercise
    • Dress and Adornment
      • Modest, Simple, and Neat form of dress
      • No additional adornment to draw attention
        • For example no necklaces, ear rings, etc.
adventist ethics
Adventist Ethics
  • Seventh-day Adventist Ethics come from divine command
    • God and the word of God, The Bible
    • Fundamental Beliefs
      • Indicates that scripture defines “standard of character”
      • Must lead a Christian lifestyle
      • Obedience to God leads to Christian Character
  • Seventh-day Adventist Ethics very similar to those of conservative Christianity
adventist view on euthanasia
Adventist View on Euthanasia
  • Adventists use the literal definition of euthanasia
    • Euthanasia meaning “good death”
  • Adventist’s do not believe in or condone contemporary view of euthanasia
    • Mercy Killing
  • Adventists do belief in passive euthanasia
    • Withholding of medications and medical treatment that artificially extend life and prolong suffering
seventh day adventist holy day
Seventh-day Adventist Holy Day
  • Adventist Celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday
    • Observed from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday
      • SDA believe Fourth Commandment from God requires observance of Sabbath on Saturday
      • SDA Fundamental Belief # 20
    • Religious Education classes called ‘Sabbath School’, not Sunday School
    • Observation of Sabbath on Saturday has caused some Adventists to be discriminated against at work and school
seventh day adventist holidays
Seventh-day Adventist Holidays
  • Common misconception that Adventist do not celebrate holidays
    • Adventists are sometimes confused with Jehovah’s Witnesses which do not celebrate holidays/birthdays
  • Adventist celebrate standard Christian Holidays
    • Easter, Christmas, etc
  • Adventist celebrate birthdays
adventist views on salvation and afterlife
Adventist Views on Salvation and Afterlife
  • Adventist believe that faith in God leads to salvation
    • Unlike conservative Christianity, Adventist believe those that are not saved will be annihilated, not sent to eternal hell
  • Adventist believe in a heaven or ‘new earth’ where the the righteous/saved will dwell
    • 28. New Earth: On the new earth, in which righteousness dwells, God will provide an eternal home for the redeemed and a perfect environment for everlasting life, love, joy, and learning in His presence. For here God Himself will dwell with His people, and suffering and death will have passed away. The great controversy will be ended, and sin will be no more. All things, animate and inanimate, will declare that God is love; and He shall reign forever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:13; Isa. 35; 65:17-25; Matt. 5:5; Rev. 21:1-7; 22:1-5; 11:15
summary of seventh day adventists
Summary of Seventh-day Adventists
  • Seventh-day Adventist Church Founded in 1863
    • Grown significantly since then to over 14 million members with predominant growth areas in third-world countries
  • Many of the core Adventist beliefs mirror those of conservative Christianity
    • Christian Trinity, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Creation, Resurrection, Salvation, etc.
  • Unique Adventist Beliefs
    • Sabbath on Saturday
      • From sunset on Friday to Sunset on Saturday
    • Gift of Prophecy
      • Ellen White
    • Investigative Judgment
    • Conditional Immortality
website annotations
Website Annotations

Seventh-Day Adventist Official Church Website

www.adventist.org

This site is the official website for the Seventh-Day Adventist church and as such would be considered an “insider” site. The site provides a broad range of information relating to the church, from the Adventist beliefs to the structure and governance of the church. The site includes access to the official church manual, information on the church’s stance regarding certain issues (abortion, etc.), the history of the church, and facts/figures relating to membership.

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh_Day_Adventist

This site is an online encyclopedia that is typically kept very current and would be considered an “outsider” site. The site provides excellent information on the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The information ranges from facts/figures, to the origins of the church, as well as criticisms of the church. Wikipedia is especially nice because most articles contain keywords that will link the user to more information, and typically another article, about the keyword.

Religion Facts

http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/denominations/seventh_day_adventist.htm

This site is an online resource that provides information on various religions and would be considered an “outsider” site. The site, much like Wikipedia, provides a wide range of information relating to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The information found at this site relating to Seventh-day Adventist appears to be non-biased, accurate, and confirmation of the information found through other resources.

website annotations cont d
Website Annotations, cont’d

Religious Tolerance

http://www.religioustolerance.org/sda.htm

Site maintained by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. This site provides excellent information of the Seventh-day Adventist church origins, current practices, beliefs, and stance on specific issues.

St. Thomas Aquinas Forum

http://www.saintaquinas.com/Seventh_day.html

Catholic Theology site. Site provides a snap shot of facts on the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Additionally, the site provides a nice chart comparing the basic beliefs of many Christian religions.

Earth History

http://www.earthhistory.org.uk/genesis-6-11-and-other-texts/the-tradition-in-sumer/

Site describing history of earth through use of artifacts and religious texts. Only used this site to obtain images.

works cited
Works Cited

History of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Seventh-Day Adventist Official Church Website. 4 September 2007

http://www.adventist.org/. Copy right 2007. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Seventh-day Adventist Church. Wikipedia. 5 September 2007 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh_Day_Adventist . Wikipedia Foundation, Inc.

Seventh-day Adventists. ReligionFacts. 5 September 2007 http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/denominations/seventh_day_adventist.htm. Copyright 2004-2007.

Seventh-day Adventist Church. Religious Tolerance. 11 September 2007 http://www.religioustolerance.org/sda.htm. Copyright 1997-2007. Robinson, B.A.

Seventh-day Adventist Church. St. Thomas Aquinas Forum. 18 September 2007 http://www.saintaquinas.com/Seventh_day.html

Earth History: a new approach. 30 October 2007 http://www.earthhistory.org.uk/genesis-6-11-and-other-texts/the-tradition-in-sumer/ . Copyright 2007. Robinson, Steven

reflections
Reflections

I selected the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) as the topic of my research project. I select the SDA based on my results to the ‘Belief-O-Matic’ survey that we completed during the first week of the course. My results listed the SDA second in my list with an 86% match. Second only to the religion I practice, mainline/conservative Christianity. Before completing the ‘Belief-O-Matic’ survey I had heard of the SDA religion, but knew very little about it. I knew, or thought I knew, that the church was Christian based and that Adventists observed the Sabbath on Saturday. Based on the SDA church being returned high in my ‘Belief-O-Matic’ results and my apparent lack of knowledge relating to the religion, I decided to study the SDA Church for my research project.

The Seventh-day Adventist church originated from the Millerite movement of the 1840’s. William Miller was a Baptist preacher from New England that predicted, based on his interpretation of Daniel 8:14, that Jesus Christ would return on October 22, 1844. When Miller’s prediction did not come to fruition, most of his followers left, but a few still believed. The followers that remained believed that Miller interpreted the Bible passage incorrectly. This led too much discussion and the unique Seventh-day Adventist concept of ‘Investigative Judgment’. The followers that remained were a loosely knit group that observed the Millerite principles (adhere to Sabbath, conditional immortality, Christ’s imminent return). This group formally formed the church in Battle Creek, Michigan on May 23, 1863. Ellen and James White and Joseph Bates are credited with forming the church. Since its formation the church has grown to over 14 million members in over 200 countries. The SDA church operates under 28 fundamental beliefs. These beliefs range from ideas on Holy Scripture to prescribed behavior for Christians. Many of the core SDA beliefs are consistent with mainstream/conservative Christianity and most likely familiar to most Americans. These beliefs include the ideas of the Christian Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and similar beliefs in creation, resurrections, salvation, etc. SDA beliefs that differ from conservative Christianity include the observation of the Sabbath on Saturday, the belief in the Gift of Prophecy, Investigative Judgment, and Conditional Immortality. Adventists observe the Sabbath from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. Adventists believe that Ellen White was a prophet and that her teachings and writings are an authoritative source for the church. Investigative Judgment is the Adventist belief that judgment of Christians has been ongoing since 1844. Conditional Immortality is the Adventist belief that the evil and wicked are not banished to eternal hell, but they are annihilated.

While studying the SDA church I learned several interesting things. First, the SDA church founded the Religious Liberty Foundation in 1893 to ensure religious freedom, for all people regardless of faith. I found this interesting because must Christian based religions (mine included) feel that their way is the ‘right way’. Secondly, I found it very interesting that the Adventist’s believe in the Gift of Prophecy and that Ellen White was a prophet. Actually, this is a point of contention among Adventists. Many do not belief that Ellen White was a prophet. Thirdly, I found it interesting that the Branch Davidians originated from the SDA church. In general I found it extremely interesting that the SDA church is very similar to conservative Christianity and my own beliefs, but that several key ideas make it very different.

The most informative ‘insider’ site I found during my research was the SDA Church site (http://www.adventist.org/). The most informative ‘outsider’ site I found was the Wikipedia page on the Seventh-day Adventist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh_Day_Adventist)