“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who hears say, ‘Come.’
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.”
—Revelation 22:17, NRSV
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has officially published many encouraging statements welcoming all people.
“As imitators of Jesus we welcome all people, inviting them into our faith communities and sacrificially serving them. . . . Modeling the love of Jesus Christ, Adventists welcome people from all walks of life to join them for Sabbath School, the worship service, the communion service, Bible study groups, and other church-based activities.”
—North American Division Statement on Human Sexuality (Nov. 2, 2015)
“A religion that would lead us to be careless of human need, suffering or rights, is a spurious religion. In slighting the claims of the poor, the suffering, and the sinful, we are proving ourselves traitors to Christ.”
—Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 137
Christ sought by precept and example to teach the truth that with God there was to be no dividing wall between Israel and other nations (John 4:4-42, 10:16; Luke 9:51-56; Matt. 15:21-28). The apostle Paul writes, ‘The Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel’ (Eph. 3:6).
“Nor is there to be among Christ’s followers any preference of caste or nationality or race or color, for all are of one blood. The elect of God are a universal brotherhood, a new humanity, ‘all one in Christ Jesus’ (Gal. 3:28).
—“No Wall of Partition” in Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual
“Christ came to demolish every wall of partition, to throw open every compartment of the temple, that every soul may have free access to God. . . . In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free. All are brought nigh by His precious blood.”
—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 386
“We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all.”
—Seventh-day Adventist Church Fundamental Belief “Unity in Christ”
In practice, however, Adventist churches at times have been exclusive and repellent. We have closed doors to people who didn’t behave like us or think like us or look like us. We have cared more about being right than about being kind. We have confused acceptance with agreement. We have been too motivated by fear. We have turned away thirsty seekers of the free water of life.
Now is the time to be more intentional concerning the openness and warmth of our local church climates. As important as a mission or vision, a welcoming statement gives the church a face.
Below is a list of Seventh-day Adventist churches that have published a church welcoming statement. The breadth and richness of approaches is inspiring.
It was said of Jesus, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” (Fortunately “sinners” includes every one of us.) He lived and died with arms open wide in love to all. A similar welcome is extended by these churches.
New York City, New York
Central Coast Community Church
Wyong, New South Wales, Australia
Charlottesville Seventh-day Adventist Church
Colorado Springs Central Church
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dallas First Church of Seventh-day Adventists
Eagle Rock Seventh-day Adventist Church
Los Angeles, California
Florida Hospital Church
Fox Valley Adventist Church
Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia
Gardena Genesis Community
Glendale City Church
Green Lake Church
Healing Hope Seventh-day Adventist Fellowship
Hollywood Adventist Church
Kettering Seventh-day Adventist Church
LifeSource Adventist Fellowship
Long Beach Seventh-day Adventist Church
Long Beach, California
Markham Woods Church of Seventh-day Adventists
New Hope Church
North Creek Christian Fellowship
San Luis Obispo Adventist Church
San Luis Obispo, California
Summit Northwest Ministries
Post Falls, Idaho
Tierrasanta Seventh-day Adventist Church
San Diego, California
Toledo First Seventh-day Adventist Church
Woollahra Seventh-day Adventist Church
Woollahra, New South Wales, Australia
To add to this list, please email a link or screenshot showing a welcoming statement on the church’s website or bulletin to OpenDialogueResources@gmail.com.
“‘Look, I have set before you an open door,
which no one is able to shut.’”
—Revelation 3:8, NRSV