Sabbath protesting

Are Adventists today still reformers?

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Joseph Bates in Tell the World.

Whether you worshipped on Sunday or Saturday was a real issue in northern Connecticut in 1847. All people went to church in that community. The Millerite Adventists (those who had believed Jesus would come in 1844) were prominent and debate on the issue raged in the various publications of these people. Some publications chose to back Sunday worship, others had a balanced approach, but a small group wanted to promote the Sabbath as the day of worship. Public Bible debates over the Sabbath were held. The people who later became Seventh-day Adventist pioneers held the first Bible Conference in 1848 in the same area. Joseph Bates, a former sea captain and one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was part of this Bible Conference.

Bates had been involved in other social issues—he was a reformer against tobacco, alcohol and slavery as a sea captain. When he retired he became more involved in religious reformation as a Millerite Adventist. In 1845 he read a tract by pastor T M Preble and was convicted about the continual holiness of the seventh-day Sabbath. In 1846 he published “The Seventh Day Sabbath, A Perpetual Sign”, which linked the Sabbath to creation, the law, the sanctuary and end-time prophecy.

So from our heritage Seventh-day Adventists have been part of the ongoing reformation and adopted contemporary methods to share their new-found truth. Are Adventists today still reformers? What has changed in our life recently? What are you and I doing in our lifestyle to make us more faithful as disciples of Jesus? Are we part of the public debate on issues of sexuality? Religious freedom? Freedom of speech? Marriage? The use of government funding? The environment? Are we clearly believing the Bible alone, grace alone, faith alone and Christ alone—the hallmarks of the Reformation 500 years ago?

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