We played a bunch of music - a lot of contemporary gospel. The church appeared to be very solid doctrinally. The lesson during sabbath school (sunday school) was justification by faith. The songs were edifying.
It was your typical west indian mixed with african american worship service.
The things that stood out to me were the emphasis on doctrine and the fact that the doctrine wasn't focused on their distinctive (or at least what i thought to be their distinctive) as a denomination. There was only ONE reference made to the sabbath while i was there - and there weren't any antagonistic statements made toward non-SDA people.
Here's what stood out to me:
During the sermon, the preacher, a traveling evangelist, spoke about part of the changed life of the believer as one that is free from smoking, drinking alcohol and drinking soda. There isn't a biblical proscription against any of those things, but some people extrapolate that idea from the whole romans 12 "body is a temple" text. For the purposes of majoring in the majors (as opposed to majoring in the minors), i let those statements go.
But then towards the end of the sermon (which was actually a very nice sermon) during the altar call portion of the sermon the preacher said something to the effect of "repentance, faith and confessing the Adventist church as the TRUE church"
There was an OVERWHELMING response to his sermon so i didn't even think that it would be appropriate to find him and ask him about it (because they were planning to baptize people ON THE SPOT after the service - he had something like 30 people to baptize and i was STARVING!)
There is a VERY high chance that i will get called back to this church to play again since i have good friends that are musicians that play there faithfully.
I'd like to go back there with a clear conscience.
Here's an email that i just sent to the church's contact line:
Today during the altar call that took place after the sermon, the evangelist said something to the effect of "turning from sin, faith in Jesus Christ and confessing belief that the Adventist church is the true church".
Does your church (and/or the larger SDA umbrella organization) agree with his statement that the adventist church is the TRUE church? Confessing your church to be the true church means more than "we believe that our doctrine is correct", it also states that you believe all other churches to be false churches.
Today was my first time visiting your church. I enjoyed the worship service. I was encouraged to hear teaching on justification by faith prior to the 11am service. I was just curious to understand your stance on this issue.
I am not a reporter of any sort. I do not have any ulterior motives in sending this email and soliciting a response.
I am a christian. I am a member of Sovereign Grace City Church, a new church plant, in brooklyn. I am originally from brooklyn, ny and this is the second opportunity that i've had to attend an SDA worship service. I have many friends who are SDA.
I also took it upon myself to read up on SDA churches on CARM and it appears as though there are several problems with their doctrine in general. But it also appears to be the case that SDA church 1 does not equal SDA church 2 - so i'll get to the bottom of all this before i agree to play there again.