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The Advent Christian Church
An Introduction

The Advent Christian Church is an evangelical denomination with about 35,000 members in 325 congregations in Canada and the United States. In addition to its North American membership, the Advent Christian Church maintains mission work in eleven countries--India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Mexico, Honduras, Croatia, Nigeria, Liberia, and Ghana--with about 28,000 members in congregations established in those countries.

The Advent Christian Church was one of six Christian denominations that grew out of the ministry of William Miller (1782-1849). A U.S. Army Captain who fought in the War of 1812, Miller was converted from Deism in 1818 and began several years of intensive Bible study that led him to conclude that Jesus Christ would return to earth personally and visibly around the year 1843. During the 1830s, Miller preached that message in small-town congregations throughout New York, New England, and eastern Canada. Upon arriving in Boston in 1840, Miller met Joshua Himes, a pastor whose journalistic and public relations skills would bring Miller's message to national attention.

Miller never intended that this work would lead to the establishment of a new denomination. But during the early message attracted huge interest and a number of followers. By 1844, nearly a thousand lecturers had fanned out across the Northeast United States to proclaim that Jesus Christ would return to earth on or around October 22, 1844. When that didn't happen, the Adventists (as Miller's followers came to be known) slowly organized into six distinct groups, each with a somewhat different understanding of the Adventist message. The Advent Christian General Conference--the second of the six groups to organize--was formally established in 1860.

In addition to the mission work mentioned above, the Advent Christian Church maintains a denominational office in Charlotte, North Carolina and regional offices in Princeton, N.C. (Southern); Lenoir N.C. (Appalachian); Rochester, N.H. (Eastern); St. Louis, Mo. (Central); and Lewiston, Idaho (Western). Agencies affiliated with the Advent Christian General Conference include Aurora University (Aurora, Ill.); Advent Christian Village (Dowling Park, Fla.); Alton Bay Christian Conference Center (Alton Bay, N.H.); Berkshire Christian College (Haverhill, Mass.); and Vernon Advent Christian Home (Vernon, Vt.). Through Berkshire Christian College, the denomination sponsors the Center for Advent Christian Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in S. Hamilton, Mass.

The Advent Christian Church maintains membership in the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE); the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA); and the Evangelical Foreign Missions Association (EFMA)..

Resources: Midnight and Morning: The Millerite Movement and the Founding of the Advent Christian Church, 1831-1860 by Clyde E. Hewitt (Venture Books, 1984).

Millennial Fever and the End of the World: A Study of Millerite Adventism by George R. Knight (Boise, Idaho: Pacific Press, 1993).

This information was submitted by Reverend Joseph Pritchett, Pastor of Bethlehem Advent Christian Church

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