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Sabbath Sermon: Alex Bryan, “A More Abundant Adventism”


Some Sabbaths, we highlight particularly significant sermons from around the Web. Walla Walla University Church Senior Pastor Alex Bryan’s August 1 message, “A More Abundant Adventism,” is such a sermon. In it, Bryan calls the Summer of 2015 a time of historic importance for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He suggests that two events this summer provided moments pregnant with important questions about the meaning of being a Seventh-day Adventist.

The first tolling bell (to borrow Bryan’s language) rang at the General Conference Session in San Antonio, and revealed a church characterized by tension. Intra-church quarrels about governance, articulating doctrine, methods of biblical interpretation, and ordination have left much of the world church “stressed, wounded, confused, and searching.”

The second bell was the 100th anniversary of Ellen White’s death. Adventists have entered the second century (emphasis supplied) since the burial of the church’s prophetic visionary.

Bryan proposed a set of questions for thinking about the meaning of being a Seventh-day Adventist:

What was, and is the purpose of being an Adventist? What should be our purpose in the future?  What made, and makes, our work unique? What should give us distinction in the days to come? If we remain a movement, in what ways must we move? If we remain a dynamic church, ever seeking present, progressive truth, where are the places we must innovate? In what ways ought the new post-prophet century resemble the last one, and in what ways might the new century (if the church is to be healthy and alive) grow and change in new ways? How can we in the present moment pursue an even more abundant Adventism?

Bryan suggests that one way of envisioning future Adventism is through eyes that see God’s presence permeating the world:

What would happen if we started to celebrate Atheists fighting disease in Africa, Catholics feeding the hungry in India, Presbyterians preaching the Gospel in New York, and Quakers waging peace wherever they are? What if Adventists became known as peerless proponents of the work of God in the world not only through our own commitments, but in the ample applause we render to others who are keeping His commandments as well?

The future is our opportunity, Bryan said.

Read the full transcript of Bryan’s sermon, published on the Walla Walla University Church website, or watch the archival video below from the Walla Walla University Church’s Livestream page. The sermon begins at approximately the 42-minute mark in the recording.

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