An exploration of the rise and development of Seventh-Day Adventist spirituality : with special reference to the charismatic guidance of Ellen G. White, 1844-1915
The fundamental question to which a thorough consideration has been given in this research is, ‘What was the Adventist spirituality like that matured from 1844 to 1915’? In answering this question, the current work has proposed to identify and give a documented description and analysis of the crucial features that are most specific to Seventh-day Adventism, determinative of its spirituality. Underlying the above-stated enquiry into Aventism’s spiritual identity, there is a correlated quest at the heart of the current thesis. This is the role which Ellen G. White (1827-1915) and her charismatic ministry played in the shaping of Seventh-day Adventist spirituality primarily within its American socio-cultural context. With regard to this form of piety, the study has thoroughly documented that it is recognisable by a set of distinctive and interrelated features. These characterised the personal and communal spirituality of those who perceived themselves to live within the temporal frame of which they thought to be a yet unprecedented Era of human history and of the history of salvation: the very Time of the End. Having identified the aforementioned fact of the Adventist perception of history, the research has yielded further evidence to substantiate the following conclusions. In Adventism one is faced with a form of Protestant apocalyptic piety of the modern age, identifiable by the following five characteristics: 1) collective consciousness of being the End-Time Remnant; 2) a sense of eschatological crisis; 3) historicist biblical hermeneutic; 4) apocalyptic gospel; 5) a set of three institutions - publishing, health, and education - to promote a specifically ‘Aventist’ lifestyle. Adventist lifestyle has been found to be a representative mode of witnessing to the Adventist faith, with healthy living, six days of diligent work followed by a work-free observance of, and liturgical celebration on, the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday). From 1844 to the present time, Adventists pursued their spirituality as an act of obedience to the End-Time will and purposes of God. The research has documented that such an understanding of spirituality turned the apocalyptic corpus of the Bible into the prime source of Adventist piety and devotion.