What is an Adventist Book Center (ABC)?
When you walk into any one of the many Adventist Book Center (ABC) locations, chances are you’ll be greeted by pleasant gospel music in the background, friendly employees, and row after row of Christian books, movies, Bibles, study guides, kids’ games, and more.
This may sound similar to other Christian bookstores you’ve been to. So what makes Adventist Book Centers different? Here’s some background information about why we Adventists are so fond of our ABCs.
- How did Adventist Book Centers start?
- What do they sell at the ABC?
- The Bookmobile—for when there isn’t an ABC close by
- Favorite ABC reads
The story begins just over a decade after the Seventh-day Adventist Church was organized.
How did Adventist Book Centers start?
The Christian bookstores that became nicknamed “ABCs” had their humble beginnings in 1874. The still-young Seventh-day Adventist Church was active in sharing its newfound scriptural truths and formed several “tract and missionary societies” to hand out evangelistic literature.
As the literature collection grew, these tract societies established Adventist bookstores, since both material and demand were steadily increasing. Back then, they called them “Book and Bible Houses”. By 1972, they were referred to as Adventist Book Centers.
At first, the Southern Publishing Association was appointed to oversee the collective efforts of ABCs. Eventually, the larger Pacific Press Publishing Association took on the responsibility and still manages all ABC stores in the United States.
To spread the Advent message of Jesus’ second coming. And to make this message of hope accessible to as many people as possible, they produced Christian literature, music, church resources, videos…and the list continually grows.
What do they sell at the ABC?
The ABCs’ goal is to be a one-stop shop for Christian media, as well as gifts, games, toys, and other popular items, but with a Christian message and emphasis.
Some of the highest-selling items are:
- Bibles (multiple translations available)
- Christian testimonies and autobiographies
- Bible study guides
- Sabbath school lessons
- Vegetarian cookbooks
- Guidebooks to healthy living
- Christian music, movies, and documentaries
- Supplemental Bible study materials (journals, pens, highlighters, flashcards, bookmarks, etc.)
- Biographies of Christian & historical figures
- Christian fiction (based on historical or biblical events)
- Books by Adventist Church co-founder, Ellen White
- Christian decor and gifts (posters, mugs, pens, and notebooks)
Yes, food! Adventists from many miles away have been known to make dedicated ABC trips to stock up on their favorite vegetarian food products. Most stores carry quite the variety of canned, frozen, refrigerated, or dehydrated vegetarian meat substitutes like sausages, deli meat, hot dogs, patties, and more.
As far as the book selection goes, most contemporary Christian authors are featured alongside numerous books from the two major Adventist publishing companies, Pacific Press and the Review & Herald. You can find books dedicated to each major age group, and different language translations are available for some of the more popular titles.
And if you can’t find what you’re looking for in the store, chances are you can find it on the ABC’s website. Often the store employees can order it for you upon request.
When there isn’t an ABC close by, there’s the Bookmobile
Every so often, the local ABC will arrange a Bookmobile event. An ABC van full of the most in-demand media and merchandise makes pre-arranged stops in various communities.
This is especially popular for people who live farther away from an ABC and aren’t always able to make a long drive to the store for their favorite things.
Most Bookmobile locations and schedules are posted on the websites and Facebook pages of each individual store. Area churches and Adventist schools may also share this information in their own announcements.
Many people preorder items through individual stores and pick them up from the Bookmobile. But plenty of others enjoy the chance to browse the featured sales and specials.
To see if there might be a Bookmobile stop near you, check the announcements of the nearest ABC store.
Favorite ABC reads
Whether you’re interested in learning more about specific Bible subjects, finding things for your kids to enjoy, or if you want things to share with your friends or neighbors, the ABC has a generous assortment of options available.
Here are some favorites you can find on the ABC website:
- The Great Controversy: This book goes into detail about the spiritual battle between good and evil and how it has affected history.
- The Desire of Ages: This book has touched the hearts of thousands. It describes the perspective of Jesus Christ during His short time on Earth, and His plan to save humanity from sin. It’s a great book to help us reconnect with our Savior.
- Guide’s Greatest Stories set: This series is great for kids and grown-ups alike! Its thrilling stories are based on real-life events of miracles, mysteries, and faith-building adventures.
You can also search by category to find books for kids, devotional books for women, teens, dads, etc., or study books that focus on a particular book of the Bible.
If you live close to an ABC, stop on in!
The Adventist Book Center is meant to be a resource for your Bible study and Christian media needs. Find things for yourself or your family, or if you’re interested in sharing with your friends and neighbors, there are items to help with that, too.
This isn’t just another Christian bookstore. The staff are eager to help and are well-versed in matching a resource with whatever you’ve come in looking for. They can also help you get connected with a local church and provide information about other ministries and services that might be helpful.
Find your local ABC at the Adventist Book Center Directory. From there you can call the phone number provided, or look up your local ABC website to discover any social media accounts that can provide regular weekly updates.
That Sabbath would not be about a checklist of rules but about a mindset of rest. It’s a day to set aside daily cares and connect with God, our Creator. Out of our love for Him, we take the principles of the Bible and apply them in the way we keep the Sabbath.
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The secret rapture belief asserts that the followers of Jesus will be suddenly and stealthily “raptured” from earth and taken to heaven. Then, any people left on earth will face a period of great difficulty—before Christ’s second coming actually happens.
The Bible tells us that we keep the Sabbath by avoiding work. God made this law because he knew it would strengthen us and bring us joy, as well as give us time to reconnect with Him and recharge from our busy lives.
If you know of any Adventists, you may have noticed that they stop their work or business activities before sundown on Friday. What’s the reason behind this?
Christian growth is the experience of allowing Jesus Christ to work in our lives through the Holy Spirit and restore in us the image we were designed for—God’s image of selfless, other-centered love.
Seventh-day Adventist, like other Christians, believe that after the second coming of Christ, God will cleanse our earth by fire and then restore it back to Eden-like perfection.
As most Christians, Seventh-day Adventists hope for the time when sin and evil will no longer exist. The Bible teaches that God will bring an end to sin after a thousand-year period of time called the millennium.
The thought of dying can seem scary. And the idea of being resurrected—or coming back to life—can seem a little uncomfortable.
The second coming of Jesus Christ is an event the Bible prophesies will occur at the end of this world’s history. It’s called His second coming to distinguish it from His first, when Jesus was born to Mary and lived as a human before dying on the Cross.
What is Jesus doing right now?
The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes God made marriage and family as special blessings to reflect Him and His love for us.
The patterns of actions and words that make up behavior are central to any type of belief system because they flow from those beliefs. Seventh-day Adventists look to the Bible, with Jesus as the perfect example, for guidance on shaping our daily behavior.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that the biblical Sabbath is a beautiful gift of rest that God gave to us at Creation and that remains valid to this day. Falling on the seventh day of the week—Saturday—it connects us to God in a special way and offers us a weekly opportunity to be physically, mentally, and spiritually refreshed.
Love for God and our fellow humans is the overriding principle of the Seventh-day Adventist faith. And we express that love in an overarching way through how we manage the things—material and immaterial—that God has entrusted to us.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that God’s law reflects His character of love (1 John 4:8; Romans 13:10). It is perfectly summarized in the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai, showing us the practical application of loving God and loving other people.
Adventists believe the gift of prophecy is a spiritual gift that the Holy Spirit gives to specific individuals to help the church carry out Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:16–20). Prophecy helps strengthen, encourage, and comfort His people (1 Corinthians 14:3).
Seventh-day Adventists believe that spiritual gifts are talents that the Holy Spirit gives to believers and followers of Jesus Christ. These gifts are different but complementary, and they often equip followers of Christ with the ability to spread the good news about Jesus and encourage its members.
Like many Protestant Christians, Seventh-day Adventists believe in the practice commonly called the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. They drink grape juice and eat unleavened bread in obedience to Jesus’ direct instructions to do it in remembrance of Him (1 Corinthians 11:24–25).
Like many Protestant Christians worldwide and throughout history, the Seventh-day Adventist Church believes in baptism, a ceremony in which individuals go under water to publicly demonstrate dying to an old life and beginning a new life in Christ. We baptize people by immersion, as taught and exemplified in the Bible.
Seventh-day Adventists believe in biblical unity—the idea of believers in Jesus being united by the truth of the Bible and the common goal of representing God and His love to the world.
The “remnant” are a group of faithful believers that have existed throughout history and proclaimed God’s truth, love, and plan to save humanity. They “remain” with God even amid persecution and also when it seems everyone else has rebelled against God or compromised their beliefs.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that the idea of the church is an important biblical concept.
Adventists believe that salvation is a gift that anyone can receive through belief and commitment to Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death.
Jesus Christ, a person who lived in first-century Palestine, is the foundation of the Adventist faith. This is because it’s only through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus that any of us have hope of life beyond the toil, suffering, and death of this world.
The Bible unveils a supernatural struggle between good and evil which Adventists often refer to as “The Great Controversy.”
Seventh-day Adventists believe that God is the creator of our world. They come to this conclusion from the first book of the Bible—Genesis. The account there tells us that God took six literal days to form the earth and all it contains, including us humans.
Like most Protestant Christians, Seventh-day Adventists believe in God the Father as part of the Godhead. We call Him Father because of His role towards Jesus. Jesus Himself encouraged us to also call Him Father.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that humanity was created perfect and that, at our very core, we crave this kind of perfection and unity with God. But unfortunately, the Bible teaches that we chose to be wise in our own eyes and disobey God, which led to a natural tendency to be sinful, evil, and selfish.