May 21, 1863: The Seventh-day Adventist Church is founded. Adventism is a branch of Protestantism which began in the early 1800s during the movement of the Second Great Awakening revival. William Miller began the movement and predicted when the Second Coming of Jesus would take place with many people following his preachings. During the preparation for the coming of their Savior, many religious minorities formed. Some of these smaller groups merged their ideas and they came to be adopted by the Seventh-day Adventists. Many groups “did the math” to figure out the exact date of Jesus’ return based on Daniel 8:14. Miller was among those and predicted October 22, 1844 as the date. When the date passed without fanfare, many quit believing. Hiram Edson did not.
Edson believed that the date marked the moment in time when Jesus moved to the “second apartment” of the “heavenly sanctuary” and would continue to prepare for his Second Coming from there. He and his friends, O.R.L. Crosier and Franklin B. Hahn, continued to study scripture and published a paper with their results – Day-Dawn. They gathered a following and established guidelines for true believers to follow, rejecting many established church traditions, including the celebration of Sunday as the Sabbath. The true Seventh Day, according to them, was Saturday and liturgy would be celebrated on that day as proscribed in Scripture.
Their theology is based on 28 Fundamental Beliefs which were formalized by the General Conference in 1980 with an additional belief added in 2005. To be a member, one must accept one of the two baptismal vows. The 28 Beliefs are not meant to be recited as a creed as they believe in only one creed: “The Bible, and the Bible alone.” There are a few of their beliefs which are not shared by the majority of Christians. They do not believe in a separate body, mind, spirit, but a totality of being without a separate soul. The evil will not suffer damnation to hell; they will be completely destroyed at death. Ellen White, a spiritual leader, proposed a philosophy called the “Spirit of Prophecy” and her writings continue to be a source of inspiration.
Today, there are over 18 million practitioners of the faith. Their worldwide religion has 74,299 churches and 67,669 companies (not businesses, but a subset of churches). There are 175 Seventh-Day Adventist hospitals and 136 nursing homes. They support education through 5,714 primary schools, 1,969 secondary schools, and 113 tertiary institutions. They run the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, a humanitarian agency to provide individual and community help during a disaster. Their current leader is Ted Wilson who took office in 2010 as the 20th President of the General Conference.
We started, and while passing through a large field I was stopped about midway of the field. Heaven seemed opened to my view, and I saw distinctly and clearly that instead of our High Priest coming out of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days [calculated to be October 22, 1844], He for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary; and that He had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to the earth. – Hiram Edson
From the beginning, the Adventists were regarded with grave suspicion by the great majority of evangelical Christians, principally because Seventh-day Adventists were premillennial in their teaching. That is they believed that Christ would come before the millennium. – Walter Martin
This misfortune, which for a time seemed so bitter and was so hard to bear, has proved to be a blessing in disguise. The cruel blow which blighted the joys of earth, was the means of turning my eyes to heaven. I might never had known Jesus Christ, had not the sorrow that clouded my early years led me to seek comfort in him. – Ellen White, after a childhood head injury
A man must not swallow more beliefs than he can digest. – Havelock Ellis
Also on this day: And leave the driving to us! – In 1914n Carl Wickman began busing.
Amelia – In 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
Bobby Franks – In 1924, Loeb and Leopold committed a murder.
St. Alex – In 1725, the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky was instituted.
Charles Lindbergh is First – In 1927, Lindbergh landed outside Paris.