Crazy Christianity: Seventh-Day Adventist

What it’s all about:

The Seventh Day Adventist church arose out of a movement that took place back in the 1840’s led by a man named William Miller. Miller was a Baptist who self-converted to Adventist after his thorough reading of the Bible led him to discover prophecies of the coming of Christ. He focused mainly on a passage in the book of Daniel:

“Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, ‘How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?’ And he said to me, ‘For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.’” Daniel 8:13-14

Daniel 8:14 became his obsession (I added verse 13 for a little context) as he tediously calculated (via the very popular day-year principle) that 2300 days really meant 2300 years. He determined that the start date would be 457 B.C. when the decree to rebuild Jerusalem by Artaxerxes I of Persia took place. It was 1818 when Miller made the discovery, through his calculations and interpretations, that the second-coming of Christ would be in 1843. He spent the next few decades honing in on his discovery and eventually began lecturing the public on his findings in 1831. (Source) He gathered and attracted many followers (known as the Millerites) but, after the prophesied date came and went and others attempted to predict new dates based on different calendars and those dates came and went without issue, most of the Millerites fell off the bandwagon and went back to their initial religions.

chmillhpSome Millerites did stay, however. These people decided that the text did not intend to show us the exact date or year in which the coming of Christ would occur, but merely when the cleansing process would begin. These people became known as the Adventists due to their emphasis on the imminent second-coming and later, became known as the Seventh Day Adventists due to their strict observance of the Sabbath Day. The church really took off when a woman named Ellen G. White had a spiritual vision in which she realized that the church needed international expansion. She created a missionary program and “by 1945, the church reported 210,000 members in the US and Canada, and 360,000 elsewhere; the budget was $29 million and enrollment in church schools was 140,000.” (Source)

The problem was most people viewed the church as a cult due to its unorthodox belief systems (the sabbath day is now on a Saturday?!) and its strangely large amount of church leaders living by Arian doctrine. But, after the church adopted the Trinity in the early 20th Century, all was good by the protestants and it began to take an even stronger foothold. (Source)

Today, the Seventh Day Adventist church preaches mostly about how much god loves you and how safe you are in his hands. Their website says things like, “God keeps a family album-and your picture is in it. God loves you and has a plan for your life.” (source) and is constantly reassuring its readers/followers that god is always there for them. They still put a huge emphasis on the Sabbath Day with many of its followers never doing anything secular, whether for leisure or work, on Saturdays outside of church functions and gatherings (I should note that certain things like nature walks and family activities are encouraged on sabbath days). Also, the second coming of Christ is still central to the church in many ways. They teach that death is only a “peaceful pause before the resurrection” saying, “death is almost like a wintery promise of spring.”  (source) They believe (similar to the Jehovah’s Witnesses I talked about here) that when you die you are simply awaiting the return of Christ to take you home and the “millennium” of the 1,000 year reign of Christ over Earth will be a time in which all the wicked will be judged.

Some distinctive teachings include the doctrine of an investigative judgement, in which god will individually look back on all the things you have said and done in your life to determine whether or not you are worthy of being saved and continuing on to heaven.

Judgment3bw

Also, they include foot washing in their practice of partaking in the Lord’s supper. This is supposed to symbolize the commitment to love others as Jesus loves them. (source) They only initiate the practice of taking the Lord’s supper about 4 times a year, however, and they are made to segregate themselves by gender in order to complete the ritual (although, some married couples are allowed to participate together).

Baptisms are completed with a full body dunk to symbolize “dying to self and coming alive in Jesus. Seventh-day Adventists practice full immersion baptism because by being fully buried beneath the water [they] symbolize that God’s grace fully fills [them] with His new life for the future.” (source)

Why it’s harmful to society:

Seventh Day Adventists are living in a state of constant anticipation for the coming of Christ. I would argue that living in this state would be scary and stressful, especially for children who have a limited understanding of the doctrine. Imagine growing up thinking that your death is imminent and could happen at any moment! Not that this isn’t the case with or without religion, but who in their right mind would remind their children of that? Also, wives are commanded (by the Bible, of course) to be completely submissive to their husbands, however, the church is much more lenient on things like birth control (as long as its intended use is not for abortion purposes) and even abortion if it is being considered for reasons other than birth control, convenience or gender selection.

starving_childrenAnother cause for concern is how rapidly they are spreading. Today, missionaries are reaching people in over 200 countries! As of June 2011, the church was said to have 17,214,683 members with only 7% of them residing in the United States. It is one of the fastest growing religions in the world because of its missionary efforts in developing countries (mostly in Africa and in the Central and Southern Americas). (Source) Is it just me or does it seem wrong to travel to developing countries offering much needed medical attention and food while indoctrinating the people with your religious beliefs? If I was poor, starving, sick and uneducated and someone came offering a remedy to my misfortunes while speaking about the second coming of Christ, I think I would start believing, too!

Another bummer, although not detrimental, would be the sabbath observance on Saturday as opposed to Sunday. Pretty much everything is already closed on Sundays anyway (heck, you can’t even buy a car in the state of Colorado on Sundays!) so wouldn’t it be easier to follow the strict sabbath rules? Think of all the things they are missing out on! But, I guess that isn’t really the point, now is it?

Why it’s not as bad as the others:

Seventh Day Adventists put a huge emphasis on health. Most follow strict diets, with about 35% of members adhering to vegetarianism. They abstain from all foods listed as “unclean” in the Bible as well as alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. They are encouraged to get adequate exercise as well as plenty of rest to take care of their bodies and, because of this, research is finding that Adventists live significantly longer than most people do.

“Research funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health has shown that the average Adventist in California lives 4 to 10 years longer than the average Californian. The research, as cited by the cover story of the November 2005 issue of National Geographic, asserts that Adventists live longer because they do not smoke or drink alcohol, have a day of rest every week, and maintain a healthy, low-fat vegetarian diet that is rich in nuts and beans. The cohesiveness of Adventists’ social networks has also been put forward as an explanation of their extended lifespan.” (source)

This is a really cool side effect of a really strict doctrine in which I see nothing but good coming to society as a result. Another positive aspect of the Adventist religion is their tolerance for other religions and their firm stance on religious liberty. While some have criticized their seemingly exclusive behaviors, the church has time and time again rebutted with its beliefs that all Christians are doing their best to worship the same god. And, while they may not agree with other practices or interpretations, those religions should be granted the same respect and freedom all Adventists desire. (source)

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59 comments

    1. Great reading in-between-the-lines-skills. Have you been to an actual doctrine-keeping SDA church where they sacrifice children on alters and speak in tongues? Neither has anyone else.

      Adventism isn’t a cult, nor are they associated with the occult, friend.

      1. Hi Megan,

        Death Cult does imply human sacrifices, rather the mindset of the cults followers. They long for death, their own death and the death of everyone and everything. They want it all to end. That, Megan, is a death cult.

    2. It isn’t a death cult at all. We worship the living God. We focus on end times prophesy and second coming of Jesus Christ as a positive aspect of humanity, not as a negative. Were do you get the negative connotations in that. We focus on all parts of biblical truth, but prophesy is fulfilling faster and faster and cannot be denied. We look forward to the return of our Lord and Savior. It isn’t something to be feared unless you are wicked in your ways. You should work to understand before you judge anyone by the opinion of a very biased author who isn’t giving you the whole story.

      1. Hi DC

        I’m afraid to say, it most certainly is a Death Cult, but then again, Christianity as a whole is. Since the Hammer of the Arians (Bishop Hilary of Poitiers) predicted the mass liquidation of all earthly species in 365 CE Christianity has produced a continuous supply of socially derelict luminaries who’ve longed for nothing short of the total and complete annihilation of our home world. All told, in the last 1,700 years there have been more than three-hundred prominent captains of Christianity who have announced with excited yips of childlike anticipation that their god was about to lay waste to all life on earth. In this generation alone there have been over forty major public incidents where socially-reckless, apocalypse-hungry Christian leaders have proclaimed that their god was here and it was time to die. It’s a ghastly number, but it is a number reflected in the multi-billion dollar Christian apocalypse industry that has in just the last twenty years produced 29 End Times films, 60 documentaries, and some 1,120+ grotesquely warped End Times books, of which the Left Behind series has alone sold over 40 million copies. Add into this mix literally thousands of Christian End Times websites, thousands of blogs, and scores of geographically-specific Christian-only Survivalists groups and what we have is the largest and (somewhat antithetically, albeit hilariously) longest-lasting Death Cult in the history of humanity.

  1. It’s so interesting how it started (the world is going to end in 1843) and that it’s still going! Clearly with any brand of nonsense you can easily indoctrinate millions of people. The more I learn about religion, the more it worries me.

    1. Least they admitted they were wrong and amended their doctrinal beliefs as a united front according to the bible instead of blindly following one guy. That’s more than most can say.

  2. Reblogged this on paarsurrey and commented:
    Paarsurrey says:

    Jesus did not die on the Cross; he was put on the Cross but delivered from it in near-dead , nevertheless alive. He was treated, in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea for the injuries inflicted on him on the Cross when he was recovered to travel he migrated to India.

    Jesus’ s Second Coming therefore was not physical; it was symbolic. This has already taken place in the form of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908, the Promised Messiah.

    The prophecy of Daniel has therefore been fulfilled.

    Thanks

        1. God himself tells us that His word is the only one to heed, and that any man who adds to or takes away from, is of Satan. So saying people should read “some other guys book” to find out why “Christ was not dead on the cross” when the Bible CLEARLY states that He was – well, that’s just anti-Christ, now isn’t it. Peaceful or not, I am afraid your prophets and messiahs are blasphemous.

          1. God himself tells us this? I don’t remember him telling me anything. When did he tell us this?

            You’re not, by chance, referring to words in a book written by men, are you? Because if so, that’s not “God himself.” Just FYI.

        2. Then there is no salvation…and it’s all a lie..we can just continue to be unsaved wretches..because Mohammed sure can’t save anyone..he’s dead ..and Jesus sure isn’t’ going to come back and tell everyone he fooled his mother and his disciples which would have made him a liar.

        1. That was not very nice or intelligent. Obviously didn’t get the message of ANY prophet.
          I apologize for his rudeness.

    1. please explain the roman soldier piercing his heart and getting water and blood for me ? cause as far as i am aware that is indicative of catastrophic heart failure

      1. I’ve never heard anyone say his heart was peirced. The Bible says his side was pierced, not his heart. And that is all I’ve ever heard. Maybe this clears that up for you. But if you did a Google search I’m sure you have figured that out already.

  3. I was raised Mormon and they were always big about how they (we) were the fastest-growing church. It wasn’t until I started researching things for myself that I realized that the Seventh Day Adventists had been growing a lot faster than the Mormons, and for more years.

    1. That’s pretty surprising actually, especially given the extensive missionary efforts of the Mormon Church. I suppose it’s all about where you go, how in need the people you run into are, and who gets there first! Better to go to a country with little to no religious practices than to a country like Mexico (I personally know a bunch of Mormons that have done their missionary work here) in which most citizens are firmly planted in their religion- like Catholicism.

      1. Yes, it really surprised me. The speed of growth of the Mormon church was presented and accepted as a sign of its divine mandate. To see that a “heathen” church was growing faster was quite a shock, and helped me question how I had always viewed things.

      2. Ever heard of free will? People make their own decisions. Starving African children make their own decisions just the same as chubby white children.

    2. That’s becsuse Mormons have a harder time answering a straight-forward question about their beliefs, and in today’s day in age, nobody likes that. Also, in most religions today, it’s all tradition that no one can provide reason for. Tis why atheists are most often considered more logical of people. Most religious people don’t even know what they’re practicing, giving the minority a bad rep. Adventists surprisingly know what they’re practicing and have actual bible-support; that reaches a lot of people. When 1+1=2, and not Joseph Smith+ idk-the-book-he-wrote-that’s-been-amended-3,319 times- said-so-and-then I-prayed-about-whether-it-was-true-and-I-feel-like-it-is-so-that’s-what-I-believe= undefined, people get excited and start telling other’s as to be expected.

    3. That’s amazing because both are cults…offspring of Mother Church Catholicism…the other churches are distant cousins though 7th Days are unique in thinking Jesus was Archangel Michael…they claim “Trinity’ but it’s a different Trinity. Guess one will have to ask God if His Son who was with Him From the Beginning and Is THE WORD and not an angel cares or not.

      1. Appreciate the comments. In reference to whether or not Jesus cares if Seventh Day Adventists consider Him to be an Angel and The Word at the same time, first that’s a moot point because that is NOT what SDA’s believe. We do believe that Jesus was Michael the Archangel in his pre-human form. But the fact that Jesus was the Archangel Michael doesn’t mean that he was a created angel. It means that he was the “head” of the angels, or their commander and chief, so to speak. My understanding of that is that the Archangel Michael and the Word are one and the same. In that form, he, Micheal, who is also the Word is the Creative Agent of the Godhead. That person, for lack of a better term, of the Godhead came down and became a man named Jesus. Not sure if that helps but it’s my best shot and explaining it this morning before I head to church. Get out and take a nice Sabbath walk today and enjoy His awesome creation. Then ask the Lord if that’s true or not…I believe he will answer you. If we don’t get it all perfectly right here, Jesus will clear it up for us when He returns at the first resurrection! Have a blessed Sabbath! Chuck

  4. Actually the SDA chruch was founded by Ellen White, a woman. Don’t believe me there is a whole museum dedicated to her. She had “visions” about the “end of times” but mostly of mundane stuff like healthy diets (this is where the vegetarian and vegan stuff comes from).

    The Sabbath was observed on Saturday in the Old Testament hence why it is celebrated now on Saturday.

    I have never heard nor seen anyone have their feet washed when I attended and SDA church and the school that the church ran. I also asked a friend of mine who it still in the church and she said there is no such thing.

    The mission trips that I have personally been on never went around preaching the word of Christ. We actually cleaned up places, built schools, dug wells for communities to receive fresh water, etc.

    Nobody thought their death was imminent or anything. The preacher never even said anything like that. So no nobody grew up thinking that.

    Wives were not told to be submissive either. If anything they were equals in the SDA church.

    Idk where you get your information from you should really fact check before publishing. No I am not some bitter Adventist, I am an atheist thank you. I just don’t like seeing misinformation being spread on either side.

    1. Brittney you are as misinformed as the author of this terribly written article. First off Ellen G White is not the founder of the Seventh day Adventist church. No more than Peter is the cornerstone of the church. Christ is the Cornerstone. The formation of Adventism was in whole not credited to any one man or in such misrepresentation a woman. The Church did begin as a movement led by William Miller. Many Adventists misrepresent EGW as equal to the Bible when she is nothing greater than a prophetess of no lesser importance than those found in the Bible. She herself places the Bible as the standard of all doctrine and reform; she does not exalt herself as others have done against her. She places a key role in the Adventist walk in that she continues the prophetic gift in modern or current times and offers a better understanding for the preparation of Gods peculiar people for Christ’s return which all protestant churches taught at their birth: Christ is returning for a peculiar people.

  5. I am trying to think of the percentage of all religions that are totally and completely moronic,,Oh Yeah–It’s100%–the same percentage for the alleged humans the republicans are trotting out for the presidential election

  6. well you didn’t bash us to bad..but you forgot one major piece. they are the only church that understands the sanctuary and can preach the whole message. the sanctuary is huge in the bible. it has so many different meanings.. Ive been to a lot of churches but seventh-day Adventist preach truth straight from the bible and can interpret all prophecy and all scripture correctly if you compare to most. id love to see a debate with a seventh day Adventist. my moneys on us every time.

  7. there is a lot of scripture that congregations don’t understand and are dumbfounded. but seventh day advent reveal truth. not just saying that because I’m one. you know truth when you hear it

  8. From doing my research and being friends with adventists they certainly are a pack of nutters. The seem to be very oppressed and controlled by what they are taught.They believe that all non adventists are the devil,and that they must live to please God to ensure a place in heaven. The ones i know are fanatics about diet and vegetarianism..mad!!

  9. As long as Adventist claim the Trinity, they are just as much a cult as all the other so called protestants. No such thing in the Bible as a Trinity; three in one and one in three. The Father and son are the God head and there is no third person at all. God’s Spirit is His own Spirit, not a third person.

  10. A lot of this article is quite true, some a little stretched of an imagination and some just not true at all – but any idea that the ‘Sabbath is now Saturday’ would show ignorance for fact, easily checked to find it has always been Saturday, and was changed to Sunday in the 4th century by the pope. If God set aside 1 day for man to remember Him, to keep the day holy and to rest from work, should we not be doing this on the very day He chose???

  11. Deceptions are sugar-coated and gold-plated. Having been born and raised in the seventh-day-adventist church I can say that anyone that has anything to do with adventist beliefs is mentally ill. Hang around them long enough and you will discover the depth and length and breadth of destruction their beliefs hold sway on society, the family, and the individual. But oh you say, look at all the good; sure, a bright flash in the eyes is always blinding and there are none so deaf and dumb and blind as those who self-impose it.

  12. Thanks for an swesome advertisement for the 7th Day Adventist church. Even though some of your statements are slanted, and some details are left out that could lend more clarity to the whole truth about our church, the evidence about God’s remnant church on earth still shines through bright and clear. I will admit that our church is crazy…but it’s “crazy good,” not bad. I actually think you are under conviction and should consider joining our church. You would be a great advocate for the truth once you got all the details you need. I suggest you read the Great Controversy” by Ellen White, as well as “The Desire of Ages.” God bless you brother, and I hope we get to meet sometime. Perhaps we will high- five each other on the way up at the resurrection and the translation of the righteous when Jesus returns. I hope so!

  13. Actually, many missionaries for the SDA church are medical missionaries. There are many SDA doctors and nurses who have served in poor countries. There are also many who serve at teachers. I was a SDA missionary in South Korea for a few years and I was a teacher. I no longer believe in SDA, but I don’t like how this article accuses SDAs of going to poor countries just to convert people and not help them. The church also has ADRA, the Adventist Development and Relief Association, which is much like the Red Cross.

  14. I would suggest that the author currently should go to the Bible then make his suggestions and perhaps go back to an Adventist church and hear the message through open ears

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing this. Despite their delusions, sounds like you think more Adventists in the world will make the planet a better, safer, healthier place to live. Hmmm, better place to live? Healthier? Less crime? May Adventists spread their “delusion” across the planet until Jesus returns! Seriously though, when you get a chance read the the Great Controversy by Ellen White cover to cover. In fact, I’ve included a link below so you can listen to it on audio verse chapter by chapter. I bet it will be one of the biggest blessings of your life. And if you ever feel like stepping out of your Common Sense closet into the Light maybe we can talk about it in person some time. Maybe we can even take a Sabbath hike somewhere and you can experience the blessing of the Sabbath firsthand. I’ll bet you’ll be glad you did! God bless you as you continue to seek the Truth about this life! Chuck

      https://www.audioverse.org/english/audiobooks/books/946/the-great-controversy.html

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      1. the concept of the overview is to use reverse psychology. saying traveling to another country giving needed medicine and food and also including your faith which is why you brought those things is bad? the author is contradicting himself, answering his own question for you.

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