Seventh-day Adventist worship

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A Seventh-day Adventist Church

The Seventh-day Sabbath is seen as an important aspect of worship. Seventh-day Adventist believe it is day which God set aside from the beginning, specifically for holy purposes, on which all Mankind should rest from their labor during the week and come together to worship the Creator. One Adventist author wrote, "Worship involves an attitude of mind and heart which enables man to love God with all his being."[1]

Worship service[edit]

The major weekly church worship service occurs on Saturday, typically commencing with Sabbath School which is a structured time of small-group study at church. Most Adventists make use of an officially produced "Sabbath School Lesson", which deals with a particular biblical text or doctrine every quarter. Special meetings are provided for children and youth in different age groups during this time (analogous to Sunday school in other churches).

After a brief break, the community joins together again for a church service that follows a typical evangelical format, with a sermon as a central feature. Corporate singing, Scripture readings, prayers and an offering, including tithing (or money collection), are other standard features. They would normally have bible class and AY (Adventist Youths) and vespers to close the Sabbath.

Special religious ceremonies[edit]

The weekly church service can also include a baptism which is done in the form of immersion, in which the candidate is submerged completely under the water. Adventist teach that baptism symbolizes and declares our new faith in Christ and our trust in His forgiveness, and buried in the water, we arise to a new life in Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit.[2] The 15th Fundamental Belief states "By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings. (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38; 16:30-33; 22:16; Rom. 6:1-6; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12, 13.)."[3][4]

Music style & Guidelines[edit]

Adventist worship is generally restrained and carefully organized.[5] Ellen White, on the topic of appropriate music, referred Adventists to the Bible and her writings. She encouraged believers to use judgement and hindsight when considering music that is uplifting. She said, "Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted. God calls upon His people, who have the light before them in the Word and in the Testimonies, to read and consider, and to take heed. Clear and definite instruction has been given in order that all may understand. But the itching desire to originate something new results in strange doctrines, and largely destroys the influence of those who would be a power for good if they held firm the beginning of their confidence in the truth the Lord had given them. " [6] In her book Education, White writes about the use of music for the uplift of souls. She writes that music "is one of the most effective means of impressing the heart with spiritual truth. . . . As a part of religious service, singing is as much an act of worship as is prayer. Indeed, many a song is prayer. . . . Heaven's communion begins on earth. We learn here the keynote of its praise."[7] According to White, "Music, when not abused, is a great blessing; but when it is put to a wrong use, it is a terrible curse."[8]

The Adventist leaders used her advice and have based a theory of Adventist worship music on verses such as Job 38:7, 2 Samuel 6:15, Psalm 150:3, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Phillipians 4:8, Revelation 4:9-11, 14:1-3, and 19:1-8. These verses advocate the use of music to uplift and praise God. The General Conference voted to propose a list of general music guidelines based on the principles that "music is not morally and spiritually neutral" and that "we cannot be indifferent to it." This led to the following nine principles, summarized here:

  1. Music should actively glorify God. Anything else weakens a relationship with Him.
  2. Music should strive for heavenly perfection.
  3. Music should be socially acceptable.
  4. Music should be appealing and uplifting.
  5. Music should implement melody, harmony, and rhythm effectively and enjoyably.
  6. Lyrical music should be rich in content and of sound Biblical qualities.
  7. Lyrical and instrumental musical elements should complement.
  8. It maintains a judicious balance of spiritual, intellectual, and emotional elements.
  9. We should recognize and acknowledge the contribution of different cultures in worshiping God. Musical forms and instruments vary greatly in the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist family, and music drawn from one culture may sound strange to someone from a different culture.


Holy Communion service[edit]

Adventists usually practice communion four times a year. The communion is an open service that is available to members and Christian non-members. It commences with a foot washing ceremony, known as the "Ordinance of Humility", based on the Gospel account of John 13. The Ordinance of Humility is meant to symbolize Christ's washing of his disciples' feet at the Last Supper and remind participants of the need to humbly serve one another. Participants segregate by gender to separate rooms to conduct this ritual, although some congregations allow married couples to perform the ordinance on each other and families are often encouraged to participate together[citation needed]. After its completion, participants return to the main sanctuary for consumption of the Lord's Supper, which consists of the pastor and elders consecrating and sharing unleavened bread and unfermented grape juice with the members.

See also[edit]


  • Holmes, C Raymond. Sing a New Song (Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press, 1983)
  • Pease, Norval F. And Worship Him (Nashville: Southern Publishing Association, 1967)
  • Graybill, Ronald (1994). "Adventist Worship". In Robert E. Webber (ed.). The Complete Library of Christian Worship. Volume 2, Twenty Centuries of Christian Worship. Nashville, Tennessee: Star Song. pp. 98–100. ISBN 1-56233-012-8. |volume= has extra text (help). Also "Adventist Model of Worship" by Ronald Graybill, p248–49
  • Zackrison, Ed (1993). "Adventist Churches". In Robert E. Webber (ed.). The Complete Library of Christian Worship. Volume 3, The Renewal of Sunday Worship. Nashville, Tennessee: Star Song. pp. 3–7. ISBN 1-56233-013-6. |volume= has extra text (help). Also "Adventist Worship" by Merle J. Whitney in the section "Models of Renewing Worship", p128–31
  • Whitney, Merle J. (1994). "Adventist Churches". In Robert E. Webber (ed.). The Complete Library of Christian Worship. Volume 4, Music and the Arts in Christian Worship, book one. Nashville, Tennessee: Star Song. pp. 3–4. ISBN 1-56233-014-4. |volume= has extra text (help)
  • Whitney, Merle J. (1993). "Adventist Churches". In Robert E. Webber (ed.). The Complete Library of Christian Worship. Volume 5, The Services of the Christian Year. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson. pp. 3–4. ISBN 1-56563-191-9. |volume= has extra text (help)
  • Whitney, Merle J. (1993). "Adventist Churches". In Robert E. Webber (ed.). The Complete Library of Christian Worship. Volume 6, The Sacred Actions of Christian Worship. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson. pp. 3–4. ISBN 1-56563-192-7. |volume= has extra text (help)
  • Whitney, Merle J. (1994). "Adventist Churches". In Robert E. Webber (ed.). The Complete Library of Christian Worship. Volume 7, The Ministries of Christian Worship. Nashville, Tennessee: Star Song. pp. 3–4. ISBN 1-56233-017-9. |volume= has extra text (help)
  1. ^ Beach, Bert B. (1972). "Seventh-day Adventist Worship". In J. G. Davies (ed.). A Dictionary of Liturgy & Worship. London: SCM Press. pp. 345–46. ISBN 0-334-02883-3. Also printed as The Westminster Dictionary of Worship (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1972); ISBN 0-664-21373-1
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Malcolm Bull; Keith Lockhart (2006). Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream (2nd ed.). Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-253-21868-1.
  6. ^ 2nd Selected Messages, p. 36-38., Ellen White
  7. ^ Education, pg. 168
  8. ^ Testimonies, vol. 1, pg. 497.
  9. ^ "Seventh-day Adventist Philosophy of Music - Guidelines," General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Annual Council on October 13, 2004.

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