Church Incognito; Communal, Interracial, Intergenerational, my experience at a 7th Day Adventist Church

On Father’s Day weekend I went to the local 7th Day Adventist Church, and based on their interpretation of the Bible they meet on Saturdays not Sundays.

Upon entering I quickly got a feeling akin to family reunion, that these individuals having not seen each other for a week (perhaps more) were so glad to be in each others presence. I introduced myself to the greeter and shortly thereafter I made my way into the sanctuary.

It was crowded in a way that wasn’t unnerving, so I found myself midway between the front and the back, and I took time to get acquainted with my surroundings. There were a diverse group; inter-generational as well as interracial, and when it comes down to it I like being in churches such as that. It was also encouraging to observe that there was diversity in those who read the Bible, made announcements, etc.

The service started off with some hymns that I personally didn’t know, but out of respect (and definitely a love for hymns) I stood and was present to it all. After a few songs I bore witness to and partook in a corporate church exercise I had never done before; kneeling in prayer together from where we all happened to be seated beside our portion of prayer. I’ve prayed on kneelers in Catholic and Episcopalian churches, but this was kneeling in the most basic of terms.

Shortly after this the pastor gave his message about living in the end times, and how they, the 7th Day Adventist Church were The Remnant. That in following God by way of following the different doctrines and beliefs, they were going to be the ones who remained when it all went down. He also spoke about things going on in the world at large and the world around us, how there was conflict between Secular culture and Christian culture, and more to the point, the culture of the 7th Day Adventists. He touched briefly on ways other denominations did things that weren’t in line with what God wanted, in particularly Pope Francis and consequently the Roman Catholic denomination, all the while pointing out that this further proved we were living in the end times.

After the service I was invited to attend their potluck lunch, but since I was fasting because of Ramadan I just sat across the table from the pastor and we talked as he ate. It was enjoyable to talk to him and pick his mind, he found out I was involved in youth ministry and that I was in the Behavioral Health field and so he picked my mind as well. It was good to have a sincere and intellectual discussion about life and faith and everything in between, he furthered the sense ofย  it feeling like a family reunion in my mind. After lunch I took some time to talk to the people around me about what being a 7th Day Adventist meant to them, a lot of them referenced the view of being The Remnant, which is a part of Adventist doctrine and theology. One man was very talkative about his faith and what it meant to him, and I was greatly encouraged by the length and breadth of our discussion, especially because it never came across as preachy, rote rhetoric, or mere head knowledge, he did what he could to take his views as a 7th Day Adventist and practice them out in daily living. That is a kind of belief I can completely relate to.

Overall it was a worthwhile time spent amongst 7th Day Adventists. It was good to engage God in a new-to-me environment and to pick the minds of the pastor as well as members of the congregation. The Adventists I encountered were very charitable with their time and hospitable with what they had, the nature of the “Acts of the Church” as found in the Bible seems to be very alive and well amongst them and I gather that it wasn’t for show, that this is truly how they connect faith with living on a daily basis and not solely on Saturdays. And for me that has always been what keeps faith alive, application not mere memorization.

~Nathanael~

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9 thoughts on “Church Incognito; Communal, Interracial, Intergenerational, my experience at a 7th Day Adventist Church

  1. Did you also discover that they base their doctrine’s and teachings on the writings of Ellen G. White, a co-founder and “messenger” or prophetess? Her writings guide them through interpreting the Bible, and even add to it. Be very careful that you are not drawn in by the friendliness and apparent organization of the self-proclaimed “Remnant.” By the way, they also believe anyone who doesn’t keep the Biblical Sabbath of the OT (Saturday), will receive the Mark of the Beast. You can read more about this “cult” on my wordpress blog. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very good, well-meaning people in the SDA Church. However, they are being deceived by their dependence on Mrs. White’s writings, as I was for over 25 years.

    • We base our beliefs on the Bible and the Bible alone, David. There isn’t a single fundamental belief of Adventism that comes from outside the canon of scripture.

      If we were a cult, you wouldn’t need to resort to lies about us. Sorry you fell away.

      Mr. Vitkus, I remember meeting you the day you visited. I appreciate your assessment if our church and pray the Lord’s blessings on your journey.

      • Lies? I post quotes from Ellen White and Bible verses. She added so much to the scripture, including the Book of Revelation, which is forbidden! The Investigative Judgment is not Biblical. The Sabbath was never given to the Gentiles. EGW preaches false doctrines my friend. It took me 25 years to realize it.

  2. I enjoy your openness toward religion and exploring other faiths. I also like your seemingly unbiased description of this faith that has much stigma attached to it from within other denominations. Thank you for your perspective.

  3. Nathan, it was a pleasure to talk and get acquainted with you. Thanks for visiting us and for sharing such a kind review of our church. I would like to clarify two things, if I may: First, Seventh-day Adventists believe strongly there are true Christians in all denominations, but also that Christ wants believers to come together into a unity of faith based on Scripture. See John 10:16. Second we have no ill will toward any faith including the Roman Catholic system, but do hold to the traditional Protestant interpretation of prophecy on this subject once held by virtually every Protestant reformer. I did a good bit of historical research on this in grad school and would be happy to share what I found. Come see us again some time!!!

  4. Hi, Son. I have some comments and some questions that perhaps may serve as fodder for future blog entries.

    First, comments.

    I hold you in my heart dearly. I delight in knowing you and in God’s goodness poured upon you. I delight in God’s grace to you, providing you with work – which is more than merely work, but a life – work in the Behavioral Health field that wildly matches your talents and passions. I delight also in your ongoing and serious pursuit of answers to life’s important and persistent questions.

    And I delight in seeing you mature and excel as a writer, incredibly effective in sharing and truly communicating your experiences, feelings, observations, thoughts, and insights.

    Some questions.

    You have said you would unpack the views of a Red Letter Christ-Centric Universalist (RLCCU). I appreciate also what you have said about having an open-handed system of faith.

    So what are the views of a RLCCU? Does this reflect the words or life of Tony Campolo? Brian McLaren? Jim Wallis? A local pastor? Other?

    Always loving you,

    Your Dad

    • My views as a RLCCU come from life experiences, books I’ve read, people I meet and interact with and live in community with, and the ways in which I’ve read the Bible and have gleaned the contents therein.

      A very good question Dad Vitkus! ๐Ÿ™‚

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