Thursday, September 20, 2007

Review the Review

Adventist Review / September 13

Check out 15 million but Who's Counting in the Letters section. Monte Sahlin is the Director of Research and Special Projects, Ohio Conference. He makes it clear that only 30 to 50% of the church's membership attends services at least once a month, and there is no evidence to support the statement that the Adventist Church has 15 million members.

Clifford Goldstein's paraphrase of Job 38 is a beautiful tour de force. However, taken out of context it can be viewed as God putting down a legitimate request for understanding. On the contrary, these words are a reward for Job's honesty and stubborn insistence that God exists and that he can expect some sort of answer. The answer in this case is that evil is a mystery that we humans are not equipped to understand. These words are a reward from God in response to an honest inquiry.

Under title of Creation of a New Kind of Museum Timothy Standish suggests that the New Creation Museum located in Petersburg, Kentucky, may help to balance some of the indoctrination that has become commonplace and other museums. When the Review suggests that the displays in this museum might reflect reality, these comments might well discredit the magazine in the eyes of a reader with even a limited scientific education.

Unfortunately this review and most others advertise evangelistic campaigns with an anti-evolutionary theme. However, I was delighted to discover that there were no full-page SiFi advertisements for a revelation seminar in this issue. The work of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) was given too little space. Let’s spend our evangelistic money on ADRA rather than Revelation Seminars and Out of Thin Air, anti-evolution evangelistic series. As one of my friends commented, “They ain’t even talkin’ ‘bout the Gospel!” On the other hand, ADRA is the Gospel in action.


Anonymous said...

You might want to reconsider your view on evolution, and review the scientific data. Anyone who has seriously done so cannot possibly stand behind such a faulty theory.

On another note, as an Adventist, if we allow scholars to do away with the literal seven days of creation, we create a condition whereby our distinctive faith is null and void.

Do you still believe in the Sabbath as a holy day appointed by God himself?

Andy Hanson said...

What do you believe my view of evolution to be? As to your question about whether I believe the Sabbath to be a holy day, which day is it? We live on a reasonably round planet, and as a church we accept the International Date Line. Do you mean Friday sundown to Saturday sundown on the Sinai desert? What about the fact that the SDA church counts days as composed of standard, universally recognized 24 hour periods as a way of settling Sabbath observance problems in Finland? Of course the issue becomes silly if one imagines him/her self standing at the navigational North or South Pole. One step in either direction . . .

On a more serious note, I love the Sabbath. Its traditional observance has enriched my physical and spiritual life. I will never regard it as an arbitrary command, punishable by death (Old Testament) or as a test of Christian fellowship (Romans 14).

Monte said...

I am sorry, Andy, I guess I was not clear in my letter in the Adventist Review. I did NOT intend to give you the idea that "only 30 to 50% of the church's membership attends services at least once a month." That is simply not the facts of the matter. About 65% to 75% of the book membership attends at least once a month.

I also definitely did NOT intend to give the impression that "there is no evidence to support the statement that the Adventist Church has 15 million members." I suspect that about a third of those are inactive members, but there are much larger numbers of not-yet-baptized people who attend worship regularly, so that the most accurate number is about 25 million adherents, including active members, inactive members and non-members who attend regularly.

Monte Sahlin

Andy Hanson said...

Thanks for the clarification and the readership.

Andy Hanson said...