About Adventists

 


 

 

What do Seventh-day Adventists Believe?

 

            God is love.

            When we see God’s character clearly, we find God’s love irresistible. Three great events reveal God’s character of love.  The first is God’s creation of man and woman—and giving them the freedom of choice.  The second is the life and death of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, which guarantees forgiveness for our sins. This allows us to choose eternal life with God—life free from pain and death and filled with happiness and joy. The third event confirms the first two and gives hope: Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus is alive and empowers us to live with love, integrity, and compassion on this earth.

 

            Scripture is a compass.

            The Bible is God’s voice, speaking to us in love, calling us to live as children of God. Portions of Scripture are direct instructions and laws such as the Ten Commandments recorded in both Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5. When people asked how these commands could be summarized, Jesus focused on God’s love and how it affects the way we live: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

 

            Jesus—Creator, Sustainer, Savior, and Friend—is fully divine.      

            Jesus is one of three persons, the Trinity, who make up our God. The Bible describes Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit as each being committed to our spiritual growth and salvation. “If you have seen me,” Jesus said, “you have seen the Father.”  Because Jesus is divine, he has the power and authority to forgive and save us. Because Jesus is human, he experiences our joys and sorrows. After Jesus’ perfect life and death on the cross, He returned to heaven. Yet Jesus is still with us through the Holy Spirit—our comforter and guide—every day, every minute.  

            Through prayer, we may open our hearts to God as if talking with a friend. Jesus taught the disciples to praise God in their prayers, to ask for daily bread, and to share the burdens on their hearts. If we’re willing to listen, we can hear God’s voice through Bible study, through the still small voice of the Holy Spirit, through the wonders of nature, and through our deepest human relationships.

            The seventh day (Sabbath) is a special link with God. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible describes this day as the one God particularly sets aside for focused fellowship with us. The Sabbath is a generous gift. It provides freedom from work, stressful pressures, and self interests. It is a time to rest, to shut out the clamor and anxiety of everyday life. It is a day to be at peace and nurture relationships with others. Sabbath is celebrated from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. Jesus made it clear that the Sabbath was made for our benefit.

            The Sabbath is also a day to honor creation. Every living thing is the work of God’s hands and deserves our protection and care—the earth, all creatures, and our own bodies. Adventists believe that a wholesome lifestyle contributes to good physical, mental and spiritual health. We promote a healthful diet, adequate exercise and rest, and avoiding harmful substances.       

 

           

            The church is a haven for healing and growth.

            God wants to give us the highest quality of life imaginable. Like a good family, the church is to be a place where we are accepted and belong. The most important function of the church is to demonstrate the love of God and to proclaim hope for people in a troubled world.  Each member has special gifts and talents. Whatever gifts we have received, God also provides the energy and wisdom to use them well.

            Formal membership in the Adventist church includes being baptized by immersion, symbolizing union with God, forgiveness of our sins, and a desire to enter into a new life. Church membership is one way of declaring that we need God and each other if life is to be meaningful.

           

            There is a happy ending.

            Jesus promised to return to this earth and take us home forever. “I am going to prepare a place for you,” Jesus said. “When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”

            This is the hope of the Second Advent. On that happy day, wrong will end and right will rule. The entire universe will see God’s forgiveness and love. Loved ones who have rested in their graves will be called to life. They will join us in a perfectly recreated world—free from pain, suffering, and death. We don’t know the details of heaven, but we believe it is a real place where people from every generation, every culture, and every nation will experience life, love, and joy with one another and with God.  

 

                 For a comprehensive statement of Seventh-day Adventist beliefs and Bible references, click here.

          

How did Seventh-day Adventists originate?

 

            The first Sabbath-keeping Adventist Church originated in the township of Washington, New Hampshire, in 1844. 

            The congregation’s development illustrates three central truths about the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

            First, it was “Christian” before it became “Adventist” or “Sabbath-keeping Adventist.”  Second, it celebrated and emphasized “freedom.” And, third, it welcomed and grew from the diversity among its members.

 

            Christian

            The local church where “Christian,” “Advent,” and “Sabbath” were first combined was established by Christian Connection believers. In the mid-nineteenth century this religious group had the fifth largest membership in the United States.

            Members of this Christian movement sought biblical authority for every aspect of belief. They wanted “no creed but the Bible.” When they became convinced from Scripture of the literal advent of Christ in the near future, and the on-going validity of the seventh-day Sabbath, their heritage demanded acceptance.

            As William Miller, a Baptist preacher, lectured that Christ would return soon,  scores of Christian Connection churches, leaders, and ministers became “Adventist” in the late 1830s and 1840s. By 1844, the Washington, New Hampshire, Christian Connection church had become “Adventist.”

           

            Freedom

            In 1776, Washington, New Hampshire, was the first town in the United States to name itself after George Washington. The name itself suggests that residents valued freedom.

            Along with other Christian groups, Seventh-day Adventists sought freedom for all by seeking the abolition of slavery, endorsing women in church leadership, and opposing formal creeds. Adventists also embraced freedom from tobacco and alcohol and promoted a positive, healthy lifestyle.

            Adventists prized religious freedom and the separation of church and state. They believed this freedom was also a right to read Scripture for oneself and not be bound by creedal presuppositions. The prophetic guidance of Ellen Harmon White within the movement solidified this perspective of social, organizational, and theological freedom.

 

            Diversity

            A variety of people voiced their convictions in the Washington, New Hampshire, congregation. Rachel Oakes, a Seventh Day Baptist, persuaded some that the seventh-day Sabbath had continuing validity. Not all Christians at that time would give a fair hearing to a woman presenting theology. Thomas Preble, who also believed in the Sabbath, was a Freewill Baptist. Frederick Wheeler, who served as their pastor, was a Methodist minister.

            In 1864 Michael Belina Czechowski, a former Catholic priest, began to share  Seventh-day Adventist teachings in Europe. In 1874, the church was ready to send abroad its first official missionary, J. N. Andrews.

            Today, more than 14 million Seventh-day Adventists live in 200 countries throughout the world. While ethnically and culturally diverse, they are united in the everlasting gospel, the basic Christian message of salvation through faith in Christ.

             

            Acting on Beliefs

            Seventh-day Adventists believe Jesus’ second coming is near and that they should live responsibly until that moment—known only to God—actually arrives. Church members pursue education, publishing, the healing arts, community service, and other activities that allow them to share their faith and improve the lives of their neighbors.

            As a result, Adventists sponsor a wide network of schools, hospital, clinics, publishing houses, radio, TV, and satellite programs. They minister to youth and involve them in mission outreach. In addition, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) responds to disasters and works to reduce poverty by providing clean water, food, clothing, housing, and health education in 119 countries.

            As individuals and as a community of faith, Seventh-day Adventists are energized by the example of Jesus’ ministry on earth. They are also eager to share their hope that Christ will return soon, to replace suffering and death with love and eternal life.       

                    

 

 

Facts and Statistics:

 

 The Global Seventh-day Adventist Church:*

            14,256,000      Members

                        203      Countries         

                   58,919      Churches

                   60,476      Officially organized groups and companies

                     5,605      Schools and universities

                        166      Hospitals

                        131      Nursing homes/retirement centers

                        395      Clinics

 

            The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) provides humanitarian services in 119 countries.

 

 


 

            *2006 statistics, Office of Archives and Statistics, General Conference of Seventh-day  

                Adventists:  www.adventist.org