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The Advent Christian Church is a "first-day" body of Adventist Christians founded on the teachings of William Miller.

History

William Miller

Though the first Advent Christian Association was founded in Salem, Massachusettsmarker in 1860, the church's formation is rooted in the adventist teachings began by Baptist preacher William Miller of Pittsfield, Massachusettsmarker. For many years, Miller studied the prophecies recorded in the Old Testament book of Daniel and the New Testament book of Revelation. After many calculations, he announced in 1831 that the Second Advent would occur in 1843 or 1844. Thousands of people believed him, and sold their possessions. His followers, called Millerites, waited for the coming of Christ and the end of the world, yet were disappointed.

The Albany Conference, which began in 1845, was one of the major groups which resulted. It included many major Millerite leaders such as Miller himself. The Advent Christian Church has its roots in this group.

Jonathan Cummings

Jonathan Cummings (1817–1894), a disciple of Miller who reset Miller's prediction of Christ's coming as 1854, was also influential on the individuals who founded the Advent Christian Association. A third root of the Advent Christians is found in the rise of the doctrine of conditional immortality among Adventist preachers such as Charles F. Hudson (1795–1881) and George Storrs (1796–1879). Rejecting what they believed was a Greek philosophy (immortality of the soul), they taught that though man was created for immortality, that immortality had been forfeited in the fall of Adam. They believed that only the redeemed would receive eternal life; the dead unconsciously would await the resurrection and final judgment. At the time of judgment, the wicked would suffer extinction. These teachings separated them from some within the Millerite movement.

Aurora Universitymarker (Aurora, Illinoismarker) began as Mendota Seminary in Mendota, Illinoismarker in 1893. In 1900 the church adopted a "Declaration of Principles". A small New England body, called the Life and Advent Union (org. 1863 by John T. Walsh and George Storrs), merged into the Advent Christian Church in 1964.

Beliefs

The doctrine of the Advent Christian Church includes belief in the Bible as the infallible rule of faith and practice, salvation available for all conditioned on repentance, faith, & faithfulness to God, and the imminent return of Jesus Christ. The doctrine of "the unconscious intermediate state of the dead" and "conditional immortality" - We believe that death is a condition of unconsciousness to all persons, righteous and wicked; a condition which will remain unchanged until the resurrection at Christ's Second Coming, at which time the righteous will receive everlasting life while the wicked will be "punished with everlasting destruction;" suffering complete extinction of being - separates them from a number of other evangelical Christians. This is commonly called soul sleep. The church accepts two ordinances - water baptism by immersion, and the Lord's supper.

Advent Christian theologians, such as John H. Crouse, advocated an historicist view of the Book of Revelation, regarding it as a description of events from the time of the early church up to the second coming (e.g., the rise of the Catholic Church which they believed was the "scarlet beast", the Reformation, etc).

In ministry, the church cooperates to provide missions, education, publications, homes, and a camp. The General Conference of the church meets every three years. Denominational headquarters are located in Charlotte, North Carolinamarker.

Statistics

In 2006, the Advent Christian Church had about 25,600 members in 293 churches, not very different from the 28,300 it had in 1925, with relatively stable membership during the intervening years. The largest concentration of churches is on the eastern coast of the United Statesmarker in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The church holds membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association, and the National Association of Evangelicals.

See also



References

  • Churches and Church Membership in the United States (1990), Glenmary Research Center
  • Encyclopedia of American Religions, J. Gordon Melton, editor
  • Handbook of Denominations in the United States, by Frank S. Mead, Samuel S. Hill, and Craig D. Atwood
  • Midnight and Morning: The Millerite Movement and the Founding of the Advent Christian Church, by Clyde E. Hewitt


External links




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