Advent Christian Church

An Adventist community prioritizing the imminent Second Coming of Christ and advocating for the conditional immortality of the soul.

The Advent Christian Church, established in the wake of the 19th-century Millerite movement, is an evangelical Protestant denomination that emphasizes the anticipated Second Coming (Parousia) of Jesus Christ. Originating from the teachings of William Miller in the late 1840s, the church was formally organized in 1860. Its theological foundation is deeply rooted in the doctrine of conditional immortality, a belief that diverges from the traditional Christian understanding of the soul’s immortality. This doctrine posits that only the redeemed will receive eternal life, while the unredeemed will face extinction after a final judgment.

Historical Background

The church’s formation can be traced back to the Albany Conference of 1845, which was convened in the aftermath of Miller’s failed prophecies regarding Christ’s return. Key figures in this foundational phase included Jonathan Cummings, who reinterpreted Miller’s predictions, and proponents of conditional immortality like Charles F. Hudson and George Storrs. Their teachings, emphasizing a reinterpretation of the soul’s fate post-mortem, led to a distinct separation from mainstream Millerite beliefs.

Core Beliefs and Practices

The Advent Christian Church holds to a statement of faith and a declaration of principles that affirm the Bible as the infallible Word of God, the deity of Jesus Christ, the necessity of regeneration by the Holy Spirit for salvation, and the eventual resurrection of both the saved and the lost. It uniquely stresses that death is a state of unconsciousness until the resurrection, rejecting the notion of inherent immortality of the soul.

Services are congregational in polity, aligning with Protestant traditions but distinctively observing Sunday worship, contrasting the Seventh-day Adventist practice of Saturday Sabbath. The church also merged with the former Life and Advent Union in 1964, further consolidating its presence and doctrinal stance within the Adventist movement.

Global Outreach and Current Status

As of the early 21st century, the Advent Christian Church maintains a modest yet stable membership within the United States, with approximately 25,600 members spread across 293 churches. Despite not experiencing significant growth since the early 20th century, the church claims a broader international influence, with around 100,000 members worldwide engaged in missions and partnerships in over 30 countries. The denomination is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals and the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, reflecting its active engagement in broader evangelical initiatives.

Doctrine and Social Stance

Doctrinally, the church emphasizes a premillennial view of Christ’s return, advocating for readiness and spiritual vigilance in anticipation of this event. Its declaration of principles outlines a comprehensive theological framework that includes beliefs in the creation and fall of man, the nature of death and resurrection, and the conditions for salvation. Additionally, the church holds a pacifist stance towards war, aligning with its interpretation of Christian teachings on peace and brotherhood.

The Advent Christian Church continues to advocate for a living faith in the imminent return of Jesus Christ, promoting a lifestyle of holiness and service in preparation for the Last Judgment and the establishment of God’s kingdom on Earth​​​​.

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