Adventists and Worship

Seventh-day Adventists believe in the Three Angels' Messages. The first of those three messages is found in Revelation 14:6-7:
Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. And he said with a loud voice, "Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water."

Developed Adventist theology sees a connection between Exodus 20:8-11 with the giving of the 4th commandment and this end-time message of Revelation 14:6-7. In that 4th Commandment we see that, in six days the Lord "made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."

Seventh-day Adventist scholars have long recognized that the book of Revelation borrows heavily from the Old Testament. And in order to understand Revelation's meaning, one must be familiar with the Old Testament. I believe that the SDA church is accurate in seeing a connection to the Sabbath commandment of Exodus 20 and this eschatological message found in Revelation 14.

But I'm not writing this entry without criticism of our application of this passage to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I am troubled that we Adventists have settled on our lees with this tremendous truth and forgotten that the message is about WORSHIP of the Living God.

What do I mean? God is not simply a "What" (an Entity); He is a "Who" (a Person). Something is so often missing when I step foot into many Adventist churches. I do not sense that we have come to meet a Lover, that we have come to thank a Friend, that we have come to celebrate a Risen Savior that's in the world TODAY! Oh! I know that the church has legitimate concerns about redefining worship as being some highly emotional experience. I'll grant you that. Worship is much more than how the Hammond B-3 and the praise and worship team can make you feel for 90 minutes in a carpeted sanctuary. True dat!

But saints, we're talking about God! He woke you up this morning, started you on your way, and gave you the activity of your limbs! He let you read this blog entry, so he gave you eyes to see. If you can't read it, then somebody's reading it to you, so He gave you ears to hear! If you understand what I'm writing about, He gave you a mind to think. Well, that same God also gave you a "heart" to feel. And if you're thankful that He keeps you from one Sabbath to another, protects you from dangers seen and unseen, provides for you by giving you a job, a social security check, a welfare check, or even a su-su to tithe on, YOU'VE BEEN BLESSED BY GOD! And I'm silly enough, liberal enough, radical enough (or maybe just grateful enough) to think that it's alright to enter into His gates with thanksgiving and to come into His courts with praise. That just doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

I'm passionate about this thing because I have a desire to reach AFRICAN-AMERICANS with the message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Blacks have a much greater incidence of high blood pressure and sugar diabetes in our community. The Adventist health message taught in half-baked fashion would be a tremendous blessing to our people. But we turn them off with our listless worship services! Listen to me, I'm talking about Negroes -- how to reach Negroes. (I don't care about being politically correct, this is my blog. And I want to make my point.) I'm talking about colored folk, the ones W.E.B. DuBois wrote about in The Souls of Black Folk. African-Americans, for the most part, want to attend a vibrant worship service. Trust me, most of the churches that are growing don't have folk walking the pewbacks or swinging from the proverbial chandeliers, but the congregants of those faith communities do seem excited about WORSHIP. They do come to church as if they're excited to be in the presence of God.

I just want to know, can I reason with the people who preach the Three Angels' Messages to WORSHIP Him when we gather together in corporate fashion? Or is that just too much to ask?

Man, if we could get that thing right where our people aren't just putting on or imitating other churches, but are genuinely thankful to our Creator God made us and Who sustains us and Who has promised He is coming back for us! If we could be unafraid and unashamed to give Him true praise, I think some folk -- Black folk born in America -- might just join our churches.


Popular Posts