In 1844 an itinerant preacher named William Miller predicted the world was to end with the Second Coming (advent) of Christ. Soon the “adventist” movement was born and grew rapidly.
But Christ did not appear in 1844 and this resulted in what was called the “Great Disappointment.” But one group insisted the date of their original prediction had been correct and that what had really happened was Christ at that time entered into the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Sanctuary and began His “Investigative Judgment.” By 1846 the group had adopted the view that the Saturday Sabbath must be observed by Christians.
Seventh Day Adventist early leaders were Joseph Bates, James White, and Ellen G. White. Ellen White came to occupy a particularly central role as her many visions and spiritual leadership convinced her fellow Adventists that she possessed the gift of prophecy. Today the church has a worldwide baptized membership of over 16 million people. It has a missionary presence in over 200 countries and operates numerous schools, hospitals and publishing houses worldwide.
In the past, evangelicalism has had a hard time defining Seventh Day Adventism (SDA) because they appear to be both orthodox and heterodox (departure from accepted beliefs) in doctrine. Their orthodoxy includes: Inspiration of the Bible; The Trinity; Deity of Christ; Jesus' sacrifice was vicarious; Jesus rose physically; the literal, visible return of Christ. Some of their main heterodoxy teachings include:
THE SABBATH: The SDA’s teach that the Sabbath should be observed on the seventh day of the week, specifically, from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Refutation: Jesus fulfilled the law and our rest is now in the finished work of Christ on the cross. (Mat 11:28) Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (See also Heb 3-4)
HEALTH LAWS: Adventists recommend vegetarianism and expect adherence to the kosher laws in Leviticus 11. Refutation: (Col 2:16-17) So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (See also Acts 10-11; Romans 14)
SOUL SLEEP: Soul sleep is the teaching that when a person dies, his soul "sleeps" in an unconscious state until the time of the future resurrection. Refutation: (2 Cor 5:8) . . . to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (See also Luke 23:43; Phil 1:23)
On a personal note I have had wonderful fellowship with some SDA’s. For five years our church rented from a local SDA church and I had cherished times in Christ with the pastor. My only concern is that each SDA member realizes we are under the grace of Christ and not the law. (John 1:17) . . . the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.