SEVENTH DAY ADVENTISTS
(SDAs) are a big religion that rarely makes headline news.
Chamberlain, wife of an Adventist pastor.
taken by a
dingo in Central Australia in 1980. She was found guilty of murder in
1982 and Michael Chamberlain accessory after the fact. Mrs Chamberlain
spent three years in prison, was exonerated by a royal commission in
1987, and finally received a revised death certificate for her baby in
his wife Leona.
York was unemployed but refused help from relatives and neighbors.
Believing "God would provide" he also kept his children out of school
and its breakfast and lunch programs. In January 1989 his son died of
starvation. Found guilty of third-degree murder the Cottams commenced
prison sentences in 1994.
was Waco in
the "Mount Carmel" headquarters of a cult called Branch Davidians ended
in a flaming inferno with over 80 people dead. Branch Davidians split
or "branched" in 1959 off from the Davidian SDAs who in turn split from
the SDAs in 1930.
SDA men raping girls who, trapped on the small Island, had no escape.
In 2004 Britain shipped in judges, lawyers and police to set up the
Pitcairn Supreme Court and put the accused child abusers on trial.
founded his own cult in 1987, situated it on a commune in New
Mexico, and in 2000 declared himself "Messiah" and the "embodiment of
God". He was convicted for sex crimes against minors and imprisoned in
largest religions to originate in 19th century USA.
membership increased as follows:
"Adventism" began in 1833, in New York State, when
(1782-1849), formerly a U.S. Army officer, published the pamphlet Evidences
from Scripture and History of the Second Coming of Christ about the
year 1843, and of His Personal Reign of One Thousand Years.
the "Second Coming" the date was reset to 1844. The Adventism movement
numbering about 100,000 then split up. Many defected permanently, but
others worked to reorganize.
Albany, N.Y., in 1845 and adopted a statement declaring their belief in
the visible return of Christ when the resurrection of the dead would
take place and the millennium begin. They became known as Second
denominations developed out of the shambles of 1844:
Evangelical Adventists (1845)
Seventh-Day Adventists (1844-1855; 1863)
Christian Church (1861)
of disagreement on the soul's immortality and has a U.S. membership of
about 30,000. They reject the SDA observances of the Saturday Sabbath
and the dietary laws. They coordinate their work throughout the world
through the Advent Christian General Conference of America.
and Advent Union (1863)
members and merged with the Advent Christian Church in 1964.
of God (Seventh Day) (1866)
Churches of God in Christ Jesus (1888)
1921; U.S. membership 75,000.
The SDAs started in
1844-1855 under the leadership of three American Millerites:
Joseph Bates (1792-1872);
Springer White (1821-1881);
G Harmon (1827-1915) who became Ellen G. White in1846.
The Church headquarters was
set up in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1855. It was moved to Washington,
D. C. in 1903, and to Silver Spring, Maryland in 1989.
G. White (1827-1915) rallied the group…following the "Great
Disappointment of Oct. 22, 1844… White, a "messenger" of God and
interpreter of the Bible, said she received a vision explaining that on
Oct. 22 Christ had entered a new "sanctuary" in heaven to begin
investigative judgment" of the lives and works of believers. Then White
reported a second vision that confirmed the necessity of Saturday
worship… Followers came to regard White's numerous visions and books as
divinely inspired interpretations of the Bible, as well as a proper
guide on everything from vegetarianism (pro) to Darwinism (con).
(August 2, 1982, pp 38-39)
The date, 1844, therefore
was regarded as correct but the predicted event wrong. Instead of
appearing publicly Christ went from one location in heaven to another
to examine all the names in the Book of Life. After finishing this
examination Christ will appear visibly to the world and his millennial
reign will begin.
in 1863. They paid tithes, baptized by immersion, held Saturday
meetings, anticipated Jesus' early return, believed in the resurrection
of the dead, and emphasized healthy living including abstaining from
tobacco, meat and alcohol.
missionary, John N Andrews (1829-1883) in 1874, and soon developed a
great emphasis on missionary work.
Today there are SDAs in 208 countries.
James & Ellen White, and Andrews the SDA "pioneers" and others of
special note include:
Sylvester Bliss (1814-1863)
Daniel T. Bourdeau (1835-1905)
Merritt E. Cornell (1827-1893
Russell Loomis Crosier 1820-1913
Charles Fitch (1805-1844)
Stephen N. Haskell (1833-1922)
Norton Loughborough 1832-1924
Thomas M. Preble (1810-1907)
George Storrs (1796-1879)
Joseph Harvey Waggoner 1820-1889
Alonzo T. Jones 1850-1923
Ellet J. Waggoner 1855-1916
William Warren Prescott (1855-1944)
The main SDA governing
body, The General Conference, now has its headquarters in Silver
Spring, Maryland. The General Conference meets every fourth year and
consists of delegates sent by local conferences that oversee local
supervises worldwide evangelism, sanitariums (medical institutions),
schools, and publishing houses. It makes recommendations that are
followed by most SDA congregations.
in over 900 languages, run comprehensive programs for their young
people, manage hundreds of hospitals, clinics and nursing homes, and
maintain an extensive school and college system.
allege that after 1844 there were further failed dates for Christ's
return or for other events, including 1845, 1847, 1850, 1852, 1855,
1863, 1866, 1868 and 1877.
one of the most informed and influential was Dudley M Canright who is
discussed in a separate article.
(1885–1955), a Bulgarian immigrant to America and a SDA Sabbath School
teacher, claimed he had a new message for the Church and called for
reforms. He presented his message in his book Shepherd's Rod: The
144,000—A Call for Reformation. Houteff was excommunicated and his
followers became known as "Davidians". They settled near Waco, Texas,
in 1935, to live simple lives and wait for Christ's coming.
In the 1970s, Australian Adventist theologian Desmond Ford (b.1929)
claimed that the "investigative judgment" of 1844 is not a Bible
teaching. As a result over a hundred Adventist ministers and
teachers left the Church.
minister of California, documented borrowings in Ellen White's books
(including her main book The Desire of Ages) from 75 earlier
books — a huge amount of plagiarism. Time magazine says: "She
utilized the words of prior authors in describing words she heard
spoken while in vision."
in his book The White Lie (1982). The Church defended Ellen
White by responding that parts of the Bible were also prepared from
earlier sources. This argument is risky however, as it could support
Bible critics who list parallels between Jesus and earlier pagan gods
to argue that Jesus is myth and early Christianity a "copycat" cult.
of the Church reaffirmed White as a prophet and her writings an
"authoritative source of truth". Rea continued his criticisms in at
least six other books including The Paraphrasing Prophet (2005).
FOR GOD: What Adventists Knew And When They Knew It (7th Edition
2012). This book attacks the Sabbath doctrine, tithing, and "Church
Corruption". The authors are Kerry Wynne (a former third generation
SDA), William Hohmann (formerly of the Worldwide Church of God), and
Robert K. Sanders (formerly a SDA Church historian).
arrived in the Investigator post box, titled Seventh-day Adventism
The Spirit Behind The Church (1999). It features former SDA pastors
who criticize errors in Ellen White's revelations including false
predictions she made.
books in my
Bible Readings for the Home Circle (1896)
Coming King (1906) James Edson White
Last Generation (1923) Robert Hare
These books discuss current
events, mainly 19th century events, and interpret them as signs of the
end, such as earthquakes, famines, the Boer War, divorce statistics,
alcohol consumption, disease outbreaks, workers on strike, tornadoes,
inventions such as steamships, and the rise of missionary societies.
return are absent. But statements such as the following are
incompatible with a century having passed:
downfall of Turkey, which every intelligent person will not hesitate to
admit is inevitable in the very near future, becomes the signal
for the beginning of the reign of Christ, his advent in the clouds of
heaven, the time of trouble, the resurrection of the dead, and the end
of all things.
(Bible Readings for the Home Circle 1896, p. 396)
King is near. The long course of sin and corruption is nearly run.
(The Coming King 1906 p. 222)
final iniquity of the world will be filled to the brim, and the angel
of mercy will again leave the earth. Then the fires of the great day of
God will break forth, and destroy the earth by fire… (ibid, p. 231)
this mean to you? … This is the generation upon whom the ends of the
world are come" (1 Cor. 10:11), and in it God is looking for the
144,000 who are to stand before the thrown…
(Earth's Last Generation 1923, p. 142)
In the first quote the
"downfall of Turkey" interprets Daniel 11:45 and refers to the
dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. This actually did occur "in the very
near future" with World War One. But Christ's "advent in the clouds"
failed to occur as surely as in 1844.
seems to limit the number of SDAs to 144,000:
that the true Israel is made up of all who are true to God… By faith we
are accepted as the true Israel… (p. 260)
earth to gather out of it those who are true to Him, there will be
found one hundred and forty-four thousand belonging to the true Israel,
who will be translated without tasting death. (p. 263)
And pages 315-316 predict
that the "powers of Europe" will become "kings of the whole world":
Turkey alone now await the national scalpel that must divide their
lands, and then "the days of those kings will have fully come.
Rather than ruling the
world the European empires are gone.
gives the SDA Church an enormous steady income which finances worldwide
welfare programs and one of the biggest preaching endeavours in history.
published its message in 370 languages and dialects. "Oral work"
increased the languages used to 927.
Statistical Report 149th Report of the General Conference of
Seventh-day Adventists for Year Ending December 31, 2011 has 87
pages of statistics.
71 gives the
of Church-run institutions in 2011:
Homes & Retirement Centers
and Children's Homes
that the UN
recognizes 232 countries and that the SDA work is established in 208 of
80 gives the
statistics for 2010 and 2011:
per member ratio
2012 figures are from the Supplement to the 2013 Annual
in 2011 and 2.3% in 2012.
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