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YOUR FRIENDS, THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS
The following material is taken from a small pamphlet entitled, "Your Friends, the Adventists." It is published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association in Hagerstown, MD 21740.
Like many people, perhaps you don't really know very much about Seventh-day Adventists. There may be an Adventist hospital or school in your town, or a Seventh-day Adventist family may live on your street. You may have seen the name in the newspaper or even attended an Adventist church service. And perhaps you have wondered, "Who are Seventh-day Adventists? Where did they come from? What do they believe? What are they accomplishing in the world today?"
This small folder will give you a quick look at Seventh-day Adventists and answer many of your questions:
Seventh-day Adventists are a group of conservative, evangelical Christians numbering almost five million around the world.
The inmost heart and central core of belief for Seventh-day Adventists is Jesus Christ. He is the foundation of their faith. He is the basis of their religion. All that they believe, all that they teach, all that they do, all that they hope for, they center in Him and in His glorious work of salvation.
Historically the Seventh-day Adventist Church arose because of a renewed interest in Jesus. By studying his Bible, William Miller, a Baptist layman living in upstate New York, became convinced that Jesus would return to this earth around 1843 or 1844.
Yes, indeed. At the height of this revival, hundreds of thousands across America accepted Miller's views to some degree. Hundreds of ministers from all different churches joined Miller in preaching the coming, or advent, of Jesus.
Many of the people were relieved and forgot all about it. Others felt they had miscalculated the time and looked for Jesus to come at some later date. Still others said that Jesus had come spiritually to their hearts. A small group studied further in their Bibles and discovered that instead of coming to this earth in 1844, Jesus had taken a new role in heaven at that time, to begin the final stage of His work as Mediator between God and man.
Yes. They continued to study the Scriptures and gladly followed the things they learned. The little group grew slowly but steadily until in 1863 they officially organized as the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The group was known already as "adventists" because they believed in the soon advent or coming of Jesus. In fact, all those who belonged to the movement headed by William Miller were called adventists. After 1844 this group learned through their Bible study that Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is the Bible Sabbath, and that there is no Scriptural record that God ever changed it. They began keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, and so the took the name "Seventh-day Adventists" to distinguish themselves from other adventist groups.
No. Miller knew Jesus had not come when he had expected, but he could see no mistake in his prophetic calculations. He died shortly after 1844 still looking for Jesus to come at any time. Miller was never a Seventh-day Adventist, although the church had its origins in his movement.
Seventh-day Adventists base all their beliefs on the Bible. The following list, accompanied by only the basic texts, presents a summary of the church's major points of faith. Seventh-day Adventists believe:
That the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by the inspiration of God and are the only unerring rule of faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
In the Godhead, or Trinity, which consists of the eternal Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator and Redeemer of men; and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19, 1Peter 1:2).
That salvation is a gift from God which we receive through faith. All who enter God's kingdom must experience thenew birth and a transformation of life and character by the re-creative power of God through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Acts 2:37-39; Romans 3:21-26).
In baptism by immersion after one has been taught the gospel, and believes in Christ as Lord and Savior, repents of all sins, and makes confession (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-6; 10:10; Colossians 2:12).
That Christ, our Great High Priest in heaven, is now bringing to a close His work as mediator between God and man, and soon He will return to this earth in power and great glory. His coming will be literal, personal, and visible to all (John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:27-31; Revelation 1:7; Daniel 7:8-14; Hebrews 8:1,2; 4:14-16; Revelation 14:6-20).
In the Ten Commandments as God's moral law binding on all men in all ages (Exodus 20:3-17; James 2:10-12).
That the fourth commandment of the Decalogue requires the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, which is a memorial of Creation and a sign of sanctification (Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11; Ezekiel 20:12; Luke 23:56).
That man by nature is mortal and God "only hath immortality." Man receives immortality and eternal life as a gift from God only through his faith in Christ (Job 4:17; 1Timothy 6:16; Romans 6:23; 2Timothy 1:10).
Than man's condition in death is one of unconsciousness. The dead, both good and evil, remain in the grave until the resurrection. None go to heaven or hell at death (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10; John 5:28,29; 1Thessalonians 4:16,17; 1Corinthians 15:51-53).
That hell will be a real lake of fire where all sinners will be burned up, utterly destroyed, and cease forever to exist (Malachi 4:1-3; Revelation 20:14; Psalm 37:20; 2 Thessalonians 1:9).
In the support of the gospel through tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:8-11; Matthew 23:23; 1Corinthians 9:9-14).
In the ordinance of humility and the Lord's Supper as Jesus left example (John 13:1-17; 1Corinthians 11:23-26).
That the follower of Christ should regard his body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and therefore abstain from all intoxicating beverages, tobacco, coffee, unclean meats, and every soul-defiling habit and practice (1Corinthians 3:16,17; 9:25; 10:31; Proverbs 23:29-32; Deuteronomy 14:3-20).
That the followers of Christ should manifest true Christian modesty in dress and deportment and should shun all questionable worldly amusements such as the theater and dance (1Timothy 2:9,10; Matthew 24:37-44; James 1:27; 2Timothy 3:4,5).
In the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including the gift of prophecy, and that this gift has been operative through the work of Ellen G. White (Ephesians 4:8-11; Revelation 12:17; 19:10; Amos 3:7; Hosea 12:10,13).
Seventh-day Adventists uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ as the ultimate answer for all the world's ills. But they realize that to follow the example of Jesus, a personal work must be done to help people right where they are.
The church operates 155 hospitals and sanitariums around the world, besides 276 dispensaries, clinics, and medical launches. In many areas, these are the only medical facilities available. In a recent year nearly six million persons received treatment at a Seventh-day Adventist facility.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that the body, mind, and spirit are inextricably knit together. They believe that the body can affect the mind as well as the mind the body. They believe that God is concerned that the entire man be in the best possible condition, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Adventists have several community services related to health. The Five-Day Plan to Stop Smoking is one such service. This unique plan was developed by a Seventh-day Adventist physician and a minister. It has proved successful everywhere it has been presented and has helped thousands of men and women quit smoking in only five days. The 4 DK Plan dealing with alcoholism is a similar service. Cooking classes, heart disease teams, and narcotics education are other areas where Adventists are working to promote public health. Also, it was Seventh-day Adventists who developed and pioneered breakfast cereals and nonmeat, vegetable protein sources.
Nearly every local Seventh-day Adventist church has a "Dorcas Society" (named after the lady in the New Testament who did so many helpful things). These societies have supplies of food, clothing, bedding, and other necessities to aid families who for some reason need help. Similar facilities exist on a statewide level to assist in major disasters. The church operates a large number of specially equipped trucks to go into disaster areas with emergency services of food, water, clothing, bedding, and first aid. It ships thousands of pounds of clothing overseas. In an average year approximately nine million persons of all races and creeds will be helped in some tangible way by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The cash value of the food and medicine alone, which are given away amounts to some $11.5 million annually.
Although a relatively small church, Seventh-day Adventists operate the largest Protestant school system in the world. Approximately 4,400 kindergarten and elementary schools, 927 secondary schools, and 92 colleges, specialized schools, and universities provide education on every level. Total enrollment in a recent year was 657,035 students.
Of the 213 countries in the world, as listed by the United Nations, Seventh-day Adventists are proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in 185. The gospel is preached in 604 languages. Fifty publishing houses print the gospel in 175 languages. There are more than 24,000 organized Seventh-day Adventist churches around the world.
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