Jul 09, 2013 Pretoria, South Africa
David Asscherick, the self-described former purple-haired punk rocker, is bringing spiritual messages each night to more than 3,000 young Seventh-day Adventists attending the denomination’s world youth conference in South Africa and those watching via live streaming.
Asscherick became a Seventh-day Adventist at age 23 after reading the book, “The Great Controversy,” which was authored by Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White.
“Is it good news that there is a God?” he asked the audience at the opening of his sermon this evening, the second night of the conference.
“It depends,” he said, going on to describe a view of God that some Christians had tried to teach him before he became a Christian himself.
Some Christians had told him God would send someone to hell if they didn’t accept Jesus Christ as their savior. Asscherick would challenge them to consider those who might not ever hear about the Christian gospel and be given the option to choose. He later came to the conclusion that, “If there is a God who allows people … to suffer unending, conscious torment for something that they never even had the chance to know … I would rather choose atheism.”
His evening devotionals have focused on what he says are “non-negotiable” truths that should be on the table – chief among them, he says, is that “God is love.”
“If God is … as described in First Corinthians 13,” the love chapter, “then I suggest this is the best possible news in all the universe,” he said.
Asscherick is the co-founder of ARISE, a supporting ministry of the Adventist Church. He also became co-director of Light Bearers when the two ministries merged in 2011.
Evening devotionals of the global youth conference are being streamed on Facebook.com/ImpactSA2013 and Facebook.com/AdventistNews.
Attendees of the world youth conference are also treated to nightly musical performances by several groups, including the featured South African a capella singers, “Reality 7.”
The six-member group was founded in 1992 by men who were raised in a children’s welfare home. The group performs fulltime ministry by singing South African gospel music at hospitals, schools and church events. On weekdays, several members mentor youth through the Abalindi Welfare Society Home in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal.
“It’s an honor for us to perform here, to show our international guests the African way of praising God,” said Themba Nkosi, the group’s manager. “It’s our prayer that God uses us.”
As the group performed their final song this evening, “I Feel Like Traveling Home,” two 24-year-old men from Botswana danced and waved their arms along with the song in the back of the hall.
“We like this group so much,” said Tshwaragano Aupiti, a nurse. “We just enjoy dancing, it blesses us,” he said with a huge smile. “When they sing I can feel the Holy Spirit.”
“They are singing the African way,” said Thubelihle Ncube, who works at a safari park.
At the end of the song, many in the audience applauded, shouted “Amen,” and 16-year-old Enzo Bocchino from Australia offered his appreciation with a short blast through an orange vuvuzela.