The term Adventist
generally refers to someone who believes in the Second Advent of Jesus
(popularly known as the Second coming
) in the tradition of the Millerites
The Adventist family of churches are regarded today as conservative Protestants.
While they hold much in common, their theology differs on whether the intermediate state is unconscious sleep or consciousness, whether the ultimate punishment of the wicked is annihilation or eternal torment, the nature of immortality, whether or not the wicked are resurrected, and whether the sanctuary of refers to the one in heaven or on earth. The movement has encouraged the examination of the Old Testament, leading some to observe the Sabbath and others to use the name "Jehovah" for God.
Modern Adventism began as an inter-denominational movement. Its most vocal leader was William Miller
. Between 50,000 and 100,000 people in the United States supported Miller's predictions of Christ's return. After the "Great Disappointment
" of October 22
many people in the movement gave up on Adventism, some gave up on Christianity, whereas others gave up on predicting dates for the Advent (second coming
The Albany Conference of 1845 was attended by 61 delegates. Following this meeting, the "Millerites" then became known as "Adventists" or "Second Adventists". The delegates couldn't agree on theology, and four groups emerged from the conference: The Evangelical Adventists
, The Life and Advent Union
, the Advent Christian Church
, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church
The main body organized as the American Millennial Association, a portion of which was later known as the Evangelical Adventist Church. Unique among the Adventists, they believed in an eternal hell and consciousness in death. Their main publication was The Advent Herald (later called Messiah’s Herald), and another was the Signs of the Times. They declined in numbers, and by 1916 their name did not appear in the United States Census of Religious Bodies. It has diminished to almost non-existence today.
The Life and Advent Union was founded by George Storrs in 1863. He had established The Bible Examiner in 1842. It merged with the Adventist Christian Union in 1964.
The Advent Christian Church officially formed in 1861, and grew rapidly at first. It declined a little over the 20th century. Small splinter Primitive Advent Christian Church from a few congregations in West Virginia.
The Advent Christians publish the four magazines The Advent Christian Witness, Advent Christian News, Advent Christian Missions and Maranatha. They also operate a liberal arts college at Aurora, Illinois; and a Bible College at Lennox, Massachusetts.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church officially formed in 1863. It believes in the sanctity of the seventh-day Sabbath as a holy day for worship. It published the Aventist Review and Sabbath Herald. It grew to have a large wordlwide membership and a significant network of medical and educational institutions.
Miller did not join any of the movements, and spent the last few years of his life working for unity, before dying in 1849. Charles Taze Russell, founder of the Jehovah's Witnesses, attended a meeting by Jonas Wendell and was partially impacted by Adventist beliefs.
The Handbook of Denominations in the United States
, 12th edn., describes the following churches as "Adventist and Sabbatarian (Hebraic) Churches":
- Advent Christian Church General Conference, founded 1860 with 25,277 members in 302 churches in 2002 in America
- Branch Davidians, founded in the 20th century, a breakoff of Shepherd's Rod
- Christadelphians, founded 1844 with an estimated 25,000 members in 170 ecclesias in 2000 in America
- Church of God General Conference, founded 1921 with roots back to the 1840s, with 7,634 members in 162 churches in 2004 in America
- Church of God (Seventh Day), founded 1863 with an estimated 11,000 members in 185 churches in 1999 in America
- Church of God and Saints of Christ, founded 1896 with an estimated 40,000 members in approximately 200 congregations in 1999 in America
- Jehovah's Witnesses, previously known as International Bible Students before 1931, founded circa 1870, with 1,029,652 members in 11,930 congregations in 2003 in America. "Russell was deeply influenced by Adventist thought" (p. 268)
- Seventh-day Adventists, founded 1863, with 15.6 million baptized members worldwide in 2007
- Worldwide Church of God, founded 1933 with an estimated 63,000 members worldwide in 2004
The Seventh-day Adventist Church
is a denomination
which, as its name suggests, is best known for its teaching that Saturday, the seventh day of the week, is the Sabbath
and is the appropriate day for worship. The denomination grew out of the Millerite movement
in the United States
during the middle part of the 19th century, and was formally established in May 1863.
Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement
The Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement
is a division from the Seventh-day Adventist Church
created by disagreement over military service on the Sabbath day during World War I
Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association
The Davidians (originally named Shepherd's Rod
) are made up primarily of disfellowshipped former members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
. They were originally known as the Shepherd's Rod and are still referred to as such. The group derives its name from two books on Bible doctrine written by their founder, Victor Houteff
, in 1929. In these books (The Shepherd's Rod Book Volumes 1 and 2
) Houteff made reference to verse 9 in the sixth chapter of the biblical
book of Micah
- "The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: Hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it."
Advent Christian Church
The Advent Christian Church
is a "first-day" body of Adventist Christians founded on the teachings of William Miller
Primitive Advent Christian Church
The Primitive Advent Christian Church
is a small body of Adventist Christians which separated from the Advent Christian Church
. They have a common early history. Adventists who had adopted the "conditional immortality" views of Charles F. Hudson and George Storrs
formed the Advent Christian Association
in Salem, Massachusetts
Church of God General Conference
Many denominations known as "Church of God
" have Adventist origins.
The Church of God General Conference
is an Adventist Christian body which is also known as the Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith
and the Church of God General Conference (Morrow, GA)
. The Church of the Blessed Hope
, some of whose congregations use the name Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith
are a separate denomination.
United Seventh-Day Brethren
The United Seventh-Day Brethren
is a small sabbatarian Adventist body.
In 1947, several individuals and two independent congregations within the Church of God Adventist movement came together to form the United Seventh-Day Brethren, seeking to increase fellowship and to combine their efforts in evangelism, publications, and other ministries.
Church of God (Seventh Day)
The Church of God (Seventh-Day)
separated from Seventh-day Adventists in the 1860s. The Worldwide Church of God
splintered from this. The Church of God (7th Day)
split off in 1933.