When the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada was born, Canada was still a very young country with a population less than six million. The name “Seventh-day Adventist” was chosen in 1860, however, the denomination was not officially organized in Canada until 1901. Since then, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada has grown from a handful of individuals who carefully studied the Bible in their search for truth, to a Canada-wide church community of approximately fifty thousand members. Many thousands of others regard the Adventist Church as their spiritual home or roots.
Doctrinally, Seventh-day Adventists are heirs of the inter-faith Millerite movement of the 1840’s. As the name Seventh-day Adventist suggests, the two foremost doctrines of the church centre around the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) and belief in the second advent of Jesus Christ.
Between 1831 and 1844, William Miller – a Baptist preacher in the United States — launched the “great second advent awakening” which eventually spread through most of the Christian world. It was in the 1860’s that Seventh-day Adventists took root in Eastern Canada and in the 1880’s and 90’s in the West. Several leaders emerged who established the foundation of the Canadian Church. Standing out among these leaders were a young couple – James and Ellen G. White – and a retired sea captain named Joseph Bates.
Ellen G. White, a mere teenager at the time, grew into a gifted author, speaker and administrator, and became the trusted spiritual counsellor of the Adventist family for more than seventy years until her death in 1915. Early Adventists came to believe – as have Adventists ever since – that she enjoyed God’s special guidance as she wrote her counsels to the growing body of believers.
Canadian Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as their only creed and hold the 28 fundamental beliefs to be the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs constitute the church’s understanding and expression of Scripture.
President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada from 1981-1989