Monday, December 17, 2007

Reviewing Adventist World

December 2007
Vol. 3, No, 12

The feature article, EMPOWERING WOMEN IN INDIA, is what the Gospel is all about. My only criticism is the cover picture. While it graphically reinforces the idea that the women helped are poor and determined to learn, the photo tends to strengthen the stereotypical “mission” view of the people “in foreign lands”. The two women whose faces are in focus seem to have been singled out because they appear to fit that stereotype. I teach and have taught a number of Indian women, and I’m convinced that the cover shot would have made them uncomfortable. On the other hand, the photos that accompany the article would be viewed as presenting a more realistic and informative “picture” of what happens in the “Literacy Circle” program.

Bill, ditch the title FROM THE EDITOR’S PEN. Don’t you have a computer with a world-processing program? I know you're “cutting edge”, not an old “fuddy-duddy”. Besides, I get this visual picture of you writing in a pen!

WORLD REPORT, particularly the words of Jan Paulsen, is encouraging and enlightening. He encourages young people impact society by holding political office and questions the lasting effect of “tent” evangelism! When I was growing up, these words, spoken publicly, would have cost a pastor his ministerial license or a “call” to Boron, California.

In a Comment following this review, a reader crunches the numbers included in the World Report, GROWING CHURCHES, GAINING MEMBERS. Interesting reading!

My mother suffered from undiagnosed PERNICIOUS ANEMIA, and it contributed to her death at seventy-two after at least twenty years of increasingly psychotic behavior and dementia. I never knew the brilliant teacher and writer who read me “Oliver Twist” almost before I could imagine a world beyond my backyard. A blood test can save a life and a family. Handysides and Landless are MD’s that continue to make a vitally important difference in the “Adventist World”.

When he Don Schneider writes that the disciples “looked forward to their future delivery from sin, to the Messiah’s death” as they participated in the Last Supper, it reconfirms my belief that all writers need an expert to look over our final drafts. As a person who corrects typos and grammatical errors as he reads an already posted blog for the sixth or seventh time, it’s not SO EASY TO FORGET that writers needs editorial help.

Lincoln E. Steed, Editor of “Liberty Magazine”, reminds us that “the attacks on the wall of separation [of church and state] been so insistent, so transparent.

EMPOWERING THE WOMEN OF INDIA is a must read, thanks to the efforts of Loren Seibold. When he writes, Hepzibah Kore, is the “human angel” behind the “Hope for Humanity” ministry, I believe him. He is not only a pastor, he is a first rate journalist whose reporting is the result of “on-the-spot” interviews and extensive travel in India. Check out

MORE, BETTER, HIGHER: REFLECTIONS ON THE SUPERIORITY OF JESUS is the central argument of the book of “Hebrews”. However, Ekkehardt Mueller’s theology does not reflect the words of Jesus or Paul’s clear rejection of Law keeping as “Christian”. Mueller’s words are in quotes.

“He [Jesus] redeemed us, and through Him we have access to God’s throne with full confidence.” This opinion is clearly in conflict with John 16:26, 27. (In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.)

The following statements hint at salvation by works. “Yet this prelude [referring to verses in Hebrews 7-11] is important, for it provides the opportunity to gain eternal life through Jesus Christ.” “We obey His commandments and by his grace live by the principles that governed His life here on earth.” Paul comments on Law extensively in Romans and elsewhere, but the following words are from Romans 4:13. (It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.)

Finally, Mueller’s quote “If we want to boast, then let us boast in our Lord Jesus Christ”, is a perversion of Jeremiah 9:24. (But let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me.)

The RE-FORMATION IN ICELAND by Gavin Anthony is bound to be successful. They are extending to the community “an invitation to experience a quality of life that can be found nowhere else” and members of the Church have committed themselves to reflecting the character of Christ.

La Sierra University students are REALIZING POTENTIAL, SERVING THE WORLD. They are demonstrating what is possible when energetic students are energized by a faculty and curriculum that emphasizes community and world service! Fantastic!

Arthur W. Spalding got his reputation as an outstanding educator, the old fashioned way, he earned it. The proof is MEETING THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN, an essay from his four-volume history of the Church, “Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists” published in 1962, nine years after his death.

It brings me no joy to criticize Adventist theologians, (It means longer hours doing the review, for one thing.) but it is again necessary. SATURATED WITH MEANING by Gerald A. Klingbeil is poorly written and saturated with weird theology. Listen to this.

The Lord’s Supper celebrates the fundamental concepts of “our Christian walk, namely: (a) that salvation does not come from within, but, rather, is a gift made possible only through the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ; (b) that service and humility are not just theological concepts, but are, rather, elements to be put in practice; and (c) united we stand, divided we fall”.

“When you and I participate in the Lord’s Supper without having repented of hurtful thoughts, wrong deeds, and selfish motives. . .we keep on carrying these sins with us, instead of ‘uploading’ them to our heavenly Sin-bearer and having them wiped away from our record.”

The quotes from Ellen White continue to be inspiring and timeless. ACTIVE IN WORD AND DEED appeared 100 years ago in the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald.

Sometimes I think Angel Manuel Rodriguez just doesn’t get it. Angel, do you ever really listen to yourself? In THE REVELATION OF SALVATION you claim that “God’s wrath is an expression of divine love; it reveals a God who cares for us to the point of showing us how painful sin is for Him.” God cares for us by hurting not only us but himself? Sadism and masochism as love?

What a relief! THE DAY THE ANGELS SANG by Mark Finley isn’t an embarrassment, and I loved Jeane De Haven’s “old time” missionary expression of God’s love for all of us in the Adventist World.

Of course I love you all, editors and writers, even when we disagree. It’s been a blast! I hope to inspire or provoke readers to actually turn the pages of the real Adventist Review. Readers, thank you for motivating an old man to improve his thinking and writing skills and, thereby, delaying the eventual onset of Alzheimer’s.

Upon reflection, in an irritating, ironic way Angel’s argument isn’t quite ridiculous. It’s 2:40 in the morning, and my back is hurting. Given my present situation Angel might with justification assume that infamous look of confident superiority, raise his gentle fist and say, “Notice, Andrew, that in my case, at lease, you have inflicted pain by hurting yourself!"

Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Best Wishes to All, and a Good Morning!



Andy Hanson said...

You're being a bad influence on me. Instead of just throwing away the December Adventist World Magazine I got today, I skimmed it. Well, kinda skimmed it. I got to page 5.

Membership increased by a million. Actually, membership increased by 680,000 by the time they subtracted those who left. During the same
time, given the estimated world population growth rate of 1.167% and a 6.6 billion population, the world population increased by about 77 million.

I suppose that percentage-wise, that's good: the SDA growth rate is higher than the world population growth rate, but in terms of sheer numbers it's sometimes helpful to put things in perspective. Even more interesting was the tidbit that 10-12% of membership losses are due to deaths. That means 88-90% of membership losses are due to people finding something else to do.

I am uncertain what they mean by "ratio of accessions to losses", but if it means what seems obvious, then going from 45% to 24% is not something to be excited about. Maybe there are some mixed-up numbers there.

Enough -- I need to get something useful done now.

Anonymous said...

Not sure I agree with you about the cover photo. It appears like a stereotype to us, but it is everyday life for the folks we're teaching to read, and I don't think they'd feel at all uncomfortable with it.

Maybe you're saying that it's not good for us to see them that way? That thought may have some traction.

In any case, thanks for the kind words about my article! I hope to write a piece soon about how our Worthington church has supported a class for prostitutes in Kolkata's red light district.

Loren Seibold
Worthington, OH