Further Study: Church: Rites and Rituals

Read The Ministerial Association of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, chapters 15-18, in Seventh-day Adventists Believe.

“Baptism is a most sacred and important ordinance, and there should be a thorough understanding as to its meaning. It means repentance for sin, and the entrance upon a new life in Christ Jesus. There should be no undue haste to receive the ordinance. Let both parents and children count the cost.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 93.

“The Passover pointed backward to the deliverance of the children of Israel, and was also typical, pointing forward to Christ, the Lamb of God, slain for the redemption of fallen man. The blood sprinkled upon the door-posts prefigured the atoning blood of Christ, and also the continual dependence of sinful man upon the merits of that blood for safety from the power of Satan, and for final redemption.” – Ellen G. White, The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 201.

Discussion Questions

  1. When was the last time that you washed someone’s feet in the foot-washing service? Why is this such an important practice?
  2. Read 1 Peter 3:20-21. What analogy does Peter use to help to explain the meaning of baptism?
  3. Early Christians were accused of many things of which they were not guilty, including cannibalism. One of the reasons were the following verses: “Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him’ ” (John 6:53-56, NKJV). What is Jesus teaching us with these words? Why is it so important that we understand the spiritual meaning of texts such as these?
  4. In class, discuss in more detail the communal aspect of the Communion service. What are ways in which it should help your church to better understand what our obligations are to each other and to the outside community as a whole?


Further Study: Church: Rites and Rituals — 5 Comments

  1. The ordinance without the humility, as shown in service to others, is dead like faith without works. Ordinance of Humility comes to life in true story. Check out this real life story: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/nypd-boots-homeless-man-photo-145219581.html

  2. The rites and rituals in the form of sacraments and ordinances are important institutions that form the basis for our identity as sect waiting for blessed hope in the coming of the Lord and the King. Further, we are cultured to practice a lifestyle that is fitting for heaven.

    Life after the baptism goes through inevitable leaps and bounds. It is not all roses but there are thorns and thistles among the roses. In life, we hit the highs and lows and its like a roller-coaster. But when it comes to communion service, it is such a wonderful feeling to prayerfully come prepared to participate in the ordinance of foot-washing with all humility acknowledging what Christ was able to do on the rugged cross at place called Calvary to revitalize our spiritual life.

    The rituals lesson advocated are not mere rituals for members to get accustom to. The rituals are not end in itself. The rituals are a means to and end culminated in Christ's return. Baptism is one of occasion but ordinance of communion service is a continual reminder in case we forget of the blessed assurance of salvation.

    • Nickson, in all the years of being an Adventist I have never heard of any liturgical practice that we have as being called a sacrament. I believe our lessons for this week made that clear and explained why that is so.

      I am also a bit uneasy with the SDA church being called a sect. That term has the connotation of being some sort of fanatical offshoot which we are not. I realize that the early church was considered a sect of Judaism (Acts 24:5,14; Acts 28:22) but in no way are we considered a sect of Protestantism or of Catholicism. If anything they think of us as a cult with strange heretical doctrines in spite of the fact that our faith is solidly based on Scripture.

      • Having been raised an SDA, I too have never heard of our ordinances called sacraments nor of us being referred to as a sect. Cult, yes. My personal opinion as to they 'why' we are termed a cult (always with negative connotations) has to do with Mrs White.
        I weary of hearing that we are a cult because we are 'led' and began under the guidance/influence of Ellen White. We are compared to the Mormons with Joseph Smith.
        Foot-washing, communion, and baptism were all done BY Christ and His example is good enough for me.
        I don't believe we exclude others who have been baptised some way other than by immersion, and I don't believe we condemn them either. Christ alone is Judge, Lord, and final determiner of what is in a person's heart.
        Jesus said "If I be lifted up, I draw all men to me". We should lift Him up by our actions, our love, and our lives and allow Him to draw others to His love and example.

  3. To suggest that the communion service is a sacrament is to deny the power of God to transform lives. It is the power of the blood of Jesus,shed on Calvary, that transfrom lives. The rites and rituals are expressions of the changes that has occurred in the lives of believers. Even in preparing for the communion service the bible tells us that we can take it unworthily. This means that we must have an experience, prior to participating in the service, that make us worthy participants. This occurs when we go to Jesus, confess our sins, accept his righteousness by faith and thus we are made worthy and ready. In terms of the concept of sacraments, we would not need to go to Jesus first, rather we would allow the sacraments to change us. This concept, I believe, is indeed erroneous.


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