FAQ About Adventists

Who are Seventh-day Adventists?

Seventh-day Adventists are a global family of Christians who hold the Bible as the ultimate authority. There are, however, a few distinguishing characteristics that set them apart from many other Christian denominations, including upholding the importance of the biblical Creation and the 4th commandment, the Seventh-day Sabbath, Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, and the second coming of Christ. For more, see https://www.adventist.org/church/what-do-seventh-day-adventists-believe/

What are the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs constitute the church’s understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture. Revision of these statements may be expected at a General Conference Session when the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language in which to express the teachings of God’s Holy Word. Currently, Adventists hold 28 fundamental beliefs that can be organized into six categories—the doctrines of God, man, salvation, the church, the Christian life and last day events. In each teaching, God is the architect, who in wisdom, grace and infinite love, is restoring a relationship with humanity that will last for eternity. See, https://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental-beliefs/

Who was Ellen G. White? Why is she important to Seventh-day Adventists?

Ellen G. (Harmon) White (1827-1915) was one of the co-founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church along with her husband, James, and fellow church founder, Joseph Bates. Ellen described being called by God at the age of 17 to be His prophetic messenger to the former Millerite believers out of which developed the Seventh-day Adventist Church (established 1863). She authored more than 40 books and 5,000 articles on such topics as health, education, and family life, as well as extensive writing on Bible history and Christian living. Her most popular book is Steps to Christ (1892), which has been translated into more than 165 languages. Ellen was a much sought-after speaker, both within and without the Adventist Church, and was featured in 2015 by Smithsonian magazine as one of the 100 most significant Americans of all time.

While Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen White was inspired by God to draw attention to the Bible and its principles, they do not place her writings on the same level as the Holy Scriptures, “which stand alone—the unique standard by which her writings and all other writings must be judged and to which they must be subject” (Seventh-day Adventists Believe, Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Silver Spring, MD, 2018, p. 264). Her ministry is recognized as a fulfillment of Christ’s promise that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide and instruct His followers until His return (John 14:26; 16:13; Ephesians 4:11-14).

Further information regarding Ellen White’s life and her writings may be found at whiteestate.org | ellenwhite.org | egwwritings.org.

Can you briefly tell me the history of Seventh-day Adventists?

Seventh-day Adventists are, doctrinally, heirs of the Millerite Movement of the 1840s. Although the name “Seventh-day Adventist” was chosen in 1860, the denomination was not officially organized until May 21, 1863, when the movement included some 125 churches and 3,500 members. Work was largely confined to North America until 1874 when the Church’s first missionary, J. N. Andrews, was sent to Switzerland. The first non-Protestant Christian country entered was Russia, when an Adventist minister went in 1886. On October 20, 1890, the schooner Pitcairn was launched in San Francisco, California, and was soon engaged in carrying missionaries to the Pacific Islands. Seventh-day Adventist workers first entered non-Christian countries in 1894 – Gold Coast (Ghana), West Africa, and Matabeleland, South Africa. The same year saw missionaries entering South America, and in 1896 there were representatives in Japan.  The Church now has established work in 213 countries.

The publication and distribution of literature were major factors in the growth of the Advent Movement. The Adventist Review and Sabbath Herald (now the Adventist Review), the general church paper, was launched in Paris, Maine in 1850; the Youth’s Instructor in Rochester, New York, in 1852; and the Signs of the Times in Oakland, California, in 1874. The first denominational publishing house at Battle Creek, Michigan, began operating in 1855 and was duly incorporated in 1861 under the name of Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association.

The Health Reform Institute, later known as the Battle Creek Sanitarium, opened in 1866, and missionary society work was organized on a state-wide basis in 1870. The first of the Church’s worldwide network of schools was established in 1872, and 1877 saw the formation of state-wide Sabbath school associations. In 1903, denominational headquarters moved from Battle Creek, Michigan, to Washington, D.C., and in 1989 to its current location in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The distinctive Seventh-day Adventist message may be summarized as “the everlasting gospel,” the basic Christian message of salvation through faith in Christ, in the special setting of the threefold message of Revelation 14:6-12, the call to worship the Creator, “for the hour of his judgment is come.” This message is epitomized in the phrase, “the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook [Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press, 2019), 4.)

See also https://www.adventist.org/church/what-do-seventh-day-adventists-believe/history-of-seventh-day-adventists/

What are the statistics of the SDA Church?

2018 Statistics of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

Membership

21,414,779

Churches

88,718

Companies

72,843

Divisions

13

Unions

137

Conferences

698

Schools (all levels)

8,807

Hospitals and Clinics

651

Publishing Houses

60

Food Industries

22

Ordained Ministers

20,434

Commissioned Ministers

990

Total Active Employees

321,410

Tithe per Capita

$124.69

Other statistics and updates can be found in the Adventist Yearbook (http://www.adventistyearbook.org/), Annual Statistical Report (http://www.adventiststatistics.org/), and/or the ASTR Statistics page (http://www.adventiststatistics.org/)

Where can I find information about Seventh-day Adventists?

  • The official website of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination (http://www.adventist.org/).
  • The official news website of the Seventh-day Adventist church (http://news.adventist.org/).
  • The online Adventist Directory features contact information, locations and directions for Seventh-day Adventist churches, schools, hospitals, conferences and other entities (http://www.adventistdirectory.org/).
  • The Adventist Yearbook is a vast resource with information on SDA employees, entities and businesses (https://www.adventistyearbook.org/).
  • The online archive contains over 1.5 million pages of downloadable manuscripts, minutes, books, reports and periodicals pertaining to the SDA church—this website serves as the archive for almost all the major periodicals in English (https://documents.adventistarchives.org).
  • Adventist Statistics features a wealth of ready statistical information about the SDA denomination that can be viewed online or downloaded as Excel spreadsheets (http://www.adventiststatistics.org/).

I can’t find the answer to my research query. How can I access the Church archives for my region?

The General Conference Archives welcomes denominational employees, scholars, teachers, students, journalists, professionals, and church members engaged in bona fide research projects. However, permission to the GC Archives is not automatic, and even once you are approved, because we are a working archive, it is necessary to arrange any visits in advance.

Send an email to archives@gc.adventist.org expressing your research interest and you will be sent several forms to fill out processing your request. Once these forms are completed, non-students are asked to send a letter from a conference, union or division employee stating his/her personal knowledge of you and your research. If a student, a letter from your professor describing your research project and why you need to use the GC Archives is required. Your request will then be processed and evaluated and we will contact you to schedule a visit.