When did the Seventh-day Adventist Church begin?
The Adventist movement can trace its influences back to William Miller, a farmer turned Bible teacher who predicted that Jesus would return to Earth sometime between March 1843 and March 1844, based on his interpretation of Old Testament passages and other Scriptures. His followers began selling their possessions, anticipating the rapture. When that didn’t happen, Miller said it would happen on a new date: Oct. 22, 1844. That prediction didn’t come true either, of course.
The church still considers his original prophecy (though wrong on its dates) one of the central tenets of its faith — that Jesus will soon return. “He was wrong in his prediction, because he predicted the date of when Christ would come,” says G. Alexander Bryant, the executive secretary for Seventh-day Adventists of North America “What we learned from William Miller is that no man knows the date or the hour when Jesus will return.”
How many Seventh-day Adventists are there?
The Adventist Church boasts 1.2 million members in North America; with more than 18.7 million members worldwide it is among the fastest-growing denominations. The Pew Research Center found it to be the most racially diverse religious group in the U.S. earlier this year.
What makes Adventists unique?
Unlike most other Christian denominations, Seventh-day Adventists attend church on Saturdays, which they believe to be the Sabbath instead of Sunday, according to their interpretation of the Bible.
“It’s not just that we worship on the Sabbath; we honor that day as a day of rest,” Bryant says. “We don’t engage in secular activities, we don’t work during that time, and we look at that time to be rejuvenated.”
There is also an emphasis placed on health and wholeness, partly drawn from White’s writings. That includes abstention from alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs and even meat. The church has an approach it abbreviates as “NEWSTART” — nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest and trust in divine power.
So, are all Seventh-day Adventists forbidden to do anything on Saturdays and to eat any meat?
Not really. Bryant emphasizes that the church takes very seriously setting aside and respecting the Sabbath, but that it also recognizes that some work must take place, such as in the medical field. (The church also has a vast network of hospitals.)
Carson has said he tries to respect the Sabbath, but he has campaigned and made stops on his book tour on Saturdays. “Sabbath is still a precious day for us. We go to church as often as we can. Even if we’re on the road we treat it as a different day than all the others,” he told an Adventist news network in 2013.
“We do not believe that the only way you can be saved is to keep the Sabbath,” says Bryant, noting that the Bible is their only source for their doctrine and that Adventists don’t believe other churches to be heretical if they worship on Sundays instead of Saturdays.
As for some of the dietary guidelines, they’re just that — guidelines. Not eating meat also isn’t a requirement to be a Seventh-day Adventist, though it is encouraged.
“We don’t beat people up if they don’t choose it, because we still believe it is a personal choice,” Bryant says. “But we believe [vegetarianism or veganism] is the healthier choice.”
Do their beliefs differ from traditional evangelicals?
Not much. Aside from different days of worship and an outsize emphasis on health and nutrition, doctrinally the two are about the same. Evangelicals and Adventists believe in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone, and many of their original members came from other related denominations, like Methodism, or even some from Roman Catholic traditions. The current Seventh-day Adventist Church considers itself to be Protestant.
“If you know our faith, you can’t say we don’t have the same beliefs as other Protestants,” Bryant says.
Randall Balmer, a professor of religion at Dartmouth College, concurred that there weren’t many differences in beliefs or theology. But some of the notable stylistic differences may be why Adventists can be viewed very skeptically by some evangelicals.
“I think there’s kind of a cultural difference and a residual suspicion because they worship on Saturday rather than Sunday,” Balmer said. “My observation is that Seventh-day Adventists are looked askance [at] to some degree. It’s not because of anything heretical in what they believe, but it’s just kind of a cultural difference.”
Are there other notable Seventh-day Adventists in politics?
Senate Chaplain Barry Black, who gained notoriety for his pointed prayers during the government shutdown two years ago, is the first Seventh-day Adventist chaplain in Congress. Two House members also hail from the church: Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas; and Raul Ruiz, D-Calif., who like Carson is a doctor. Former Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., was also a Seventh-day Adventist.
What is a steward?
Stewards were created to ‘image’ God and to represent His interests. To be a living image, stewards must mirror God’s love, character and purpose. God’s stewards are to demonstrate what He is like. Creation and redemption place stewards in close relationship with their Master. Stewards are disciples of Jesus Christ.
What is tithe?
Tithe is one tenth of your increase from either money or product that is returned to God. It is holy and belongs to Him, the Owner of all of our material possessions and lives. (Leviticus 27:30). The returning of tithes is an expression of our faithfulness to God.
Is there a difference between tithes and offerings?
Yes. Tithes are returned while offerings are given. Offerings are our response of love and gratitude to God’s blessings and goodness. In giving tithes and offerings we worship God and advance His mission to make disciples in the world.
How is the tithe distributed?
Within the SDA church tithe is received by the local congregation and sent on to the local conference/mission/field office. This is the central “storehouse” for distribution in keeping with Church Policy.
What type of music do you sing?
Our anointed and talented worship teams provide a passionate, contemporary blended style of music. We blend our music with a balance of worship, contemporary and meditative songs intended to help our congregation experience a a fulfilling worship experience. We are a contemporary style church, but we value the “old hymns” as well. Most of all we strive for our music to be a reflection of our love for God.
"Jesus took the nature of humanity, in order to reveal to man a pure, unselfish love, to teach us how to love one another."
(Heaven, pg. 74) ~ Pr. Dr. Oheneba Odei Agyei