The Seventh-day Adventist® Church was born out of the Millerite movement of the 1840s when thousands of Christians searched for greater understanding of biblical prophecy. Among these believers was a group in New England that rediscovered the seventh-day Sabbath. They chose the name "Seventh-day" which refers to the biblical Sabbath, Saturday, ordained by God at Creation. "Adventist" means we're looking for the return of Jesus Christ.
Over the next 15 years, former Millerites, meeting in a sequence of "Bible conferences", identified a series of Bible truths forgotten since the days of the early Church. The key beliefs they adopted were:
- That Christ's second coming is imminent and will be literal, not metaphorical, seen by all the world
- That the seventh day, Saturday, not Sunday, is God's Sabbath and the obligation to keep it is perpetual
- That God does not eternally torment sinners, but rather that the dead "sleep" until the second coming and last judgment
- That Christ ministers in the heavenly sanctuary, thereby mediating to us the benefits of His death on the cross, saving us by His righteousness, not our own deeds
- That in the last days Christians will be tempted by apostasy, but will be called back to divine truth — the "third angel's message" of Revelation 14 — by a small "remnant" of faithful believers
- That the remnant would be marked by a recurrence of the prophetic ministry
- 1849 - First paper, the Present Truth, was printed in Middletown, Conn.
- 1850 - First issue of the Second-Advent Review and Sabbath Herald printed in Paris, Maine.
- 1860 - Name of Seventh-day Adventist adopted by the church.
- 1863 - First General Conference and formation of the SDA church on May 21, 1863.
- 1871 -First college opened which became Andrews University.
- 1871 -J. N. Andrews sent to Switzerland as a missionary.
- 1885 -Missionary work begun in Australia.
- 1915 -Ellen G. White dies on July 16, at St. Helena, CA.
- 1941 -Opening of Theological Seminary at Takoma Park.
- 1942 -Voice of Prophecy radio show begins broadcasting coast to coast.
- 1950 -Faith for Today TV show begins.
- 1955 -SDA membership hits 1 million.
- 1986 -SDA membership hits 5 million.
In 1863, the new Sabbath keepers officially organized into a denomination with 3,500 members worshipping in 125 churches.
They soon began sharing their faith outside of North America, first Switzerland in 1874, then in Russia, Ghana, South Africa, Argentina, and Japan.
Today, as one of the fastest growing Christian Protestant churches, approximately 18 million baptized Seventh-day Adventist members live in 204 countries of the world. This includes nearly 1.2 million in North America.
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