Adventists

Christian groups holding as a distinctive tenet the expectation of an imminent and literal Second Advent of Christ. Adventism has been found in all periods of church history; early noteworthy proponents include Polycarp, Ignatius, Papias, Hermas, Justin Martyr, and Montanists. Reaction against Montanism and Donatism led to a lull until about 1000, when interest revived. Exponents in later centuries include Joachim of Floris, the Hussite Taborites, and the Anabaptists. In Britain, John Napier, Joseph Mede, Isaac Newton, and in Germany, the Pietists, Campegius Vitringa, and J.A. Bengel held adventist views, as did eighteenth- and nineteenth-century sects such as the Ronsdorf sect, the Shakers, Irvingites, and Mormons. A well- defined interchurch movement in the USA came into being with William Miller,* who taught that Christ would return in 1843 and 1844. When the predictions failed, Miller frankly admitted his error and gave up the movement. Dissensions arose, leading to the formation of the Seventh-day Adventists,* and a later splinter group, the “Church of God (Abrahamic Faith).” Another Adventist group, the Advent Christian Church, was organized about 1855. Smaller bodies include the Life and Advent Union, the Primitive Advent Christian Church, and the United Seventh-day Brethren. Adventists in the strict sense of the definition are found in most denominations, and there are also interchurch organizations such as the Prophetic Witness Movement International.