Date of Award

1989

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

George R. Knight

Second Advisor

C. Mervyn Maxwell

Third Advisor

Walter B.T. Douglas

Abstract

Problem and Purpose. The Millerite Movement foundered after the non-realization ofits expectation regarding the second advent of Christ in 1844. Of the groups that sprouted from the movement, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has grown globally in 145 years to become the largest and most influential. While Adventists kept key elements of the Millerite premillennialist eschatology, they added some unique features.

For example, they added: a sanctuary theology concerning Christ's mediatorial ministry and His work in a heavenly pre-advent judgment, the "third angel's message" (announced in Rev 14:12), and other teachings including the "latter rain," the "loud cry," health-reform, the seventh-day Sabbath and its special end-time relevance and a related concept of the mark and image of the beast through which they interpreted the Sunday-law controversy of the 1880s and 1890s.

The purpose of this study is to trace the development of Adventist eschatology from 1884 through 1895. To accomplish this purpose, three contextual factors have been treated: (1) national efforts to achieve Sunday legislation, (2) the doctrine of righteousness by faith that received a new emphasis in 1888, and (3) organized labor.

Method. This study employed the historical/documentary method of research using published primary sources. Secondary sources were utilized only for background purposes.

Conclusions. The findings show that two of the factors--righteousness by faith and organized labor--added new dimensions to Seventh-day Adventist eschatology. Prior to the period treated (1884-1895), obedience to the commandments was central in Adventist teaching in preparation for the second advent of Christ. During the period, however, a new emphasis was placed on faith. Adventists now had a mature understanding of the "third angel's message" about those "that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Rev 14:12).

With regard to organized labor, late nineteenth-century Adventists viewed the conflict between capital and labor as a crisis that presaged the second advent. As to Sunday legislation, even though it did not add new elements to Adventist eschatology, it did sharpen the focus of the eschatological beliefs already held by the denomination.

Subject Area

Eschatology, Seventh-day Adventists--Doctrines

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