Author Faculty (Discipline)


Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2007

Publication Details

This article was originally published as:

Jankiewicz, D. (2007). Model of religious authority. Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 18(1), 15-34.

ISSN: 1550-7378


220499 Religion and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified


The years immediately prior to the fateful day of October 22, 1844, were marked by much confusion and fanaticism in the ranks of Adventist believers. All who joined the movement accepted its fundamental tenet that Christ would return somewhere between 1843 and 1844; however, Millerite Adventism was not an organized movement, with clearly de-fined ways of understanding and interpreting Scripture. Thus, during the-se pre-Great Disappointment years, the leaders of the movement were caught on the horns of dilemma: on the one hand, William Miller, Joshua Himes, and others labored to project a public image of their movement as orthodox and sane; on the other hand, they and their followers believed that all people, not just certain individuals, could interpret the Scriptures for themselves in the light of the Holy Spirit. This resulted, at times, in a variety of bizarre ideas among some of those who joined the movement. Understandably, this jeopardized, to some extent, the credibility of the Millerite movement.1 This example from early Adventist history illustrates the perennial problem of religious authority in the church.


Used by permission: the author

© 2007 Darius Jankiewicz

Darius Jankiewicz is affiliated with Avondale College of Higher Education as a Conjoint Senior Lecturer.

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