Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Reviewing Adventist World: NAD Edition

March 2008

GENERAL COMMENTS: Adventist World makes a claim to be The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists. This edition comes close to living up to that claim. I consider it definitely worth reading.

From the Editor's Pen by Bill Knott includes a reference to me. I am one of the "15 million restless souls" that call ourselves Adventists.

France: Saleve Adventist University honors "Righteous Alumni" who gave and risked their lives to rescue hundreds of Jews and others who resisted Nazi terrorism. This story is a must read.

Ugandan Daniel D. Ntanda Nsereko was elected one of the 18 judges of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands. Nsereko and his wife, Helen, are members of the Broadhurst Seventh-day Adventist Church in Botswana.

Billy Wright, reporting from Taipei, Taiwan, reports that the 1500 delegates to The Second World Conference on Youth and Community Service participated in thirty community service projects prior to the conference's start. Leslie Pollard of Loma Linda University was impressed. "For the first time in my 30 year leadership career, I witnessed the awesome power of our twentysomethings and thirtysomethings as they unleashed their enthusiasm, vision, and spirituality on a specific community."

From Sri Lanka, Hans Olson reports that the number of Seventh-day Adventist congregations has grown from 28 to "nearly 50" since 1997. 4000 students are enrolled in five different Adventist schools.

Jan Paulsen's essay is another must read for all Adventists, especially for people who are considering a career in the military. Unfortunately, as a citizen of the United States, my taxes buy soldiers, bullets, and bombs. The question remains, who among us is a noncombatant?

Allen R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless don't mince words when asked the question, How Does Poverty Impact Health? "International efforts at improving conditions surrounding childbirth have not been very successful. . .The SAFE Motherhood initiative shows, for a variety of reasons, almost no improvement. An absence of truly strategic intervention is apparent. Such failure is also ours as a church, because we have lacked cohesiveness of purpose and shown a tendency to pursue individual and self-satisfying projects. . .We need to work strategically and cohesively. Problems of such major proportions as poverty are not attacked by local feeding programs. Our church must join hands with other communities of faith and address the needs of the poor, especially their health needs."

This essay by Ron E. M. Clouzet, Secretary of the North American Division Ministerial Association, is a disappointing response to what he calls "a crisis of faith". It absolves Adventist doctrine, leadership, and evangelistic strategies for the less than two percent growth rate of the church in North America. He laments, "Most people in North America hardly notice that Adventists exist", and goes on to comment, "Something is not working." That “something” is us. We unlike the "little flock" that "survived the Great Disappointment" have not made the "enormous personal and corporate sacrifices" necessary to evangelize our neighbors.

2009 has been designated by the North American Division as The Year of Pastoral Evangelism, and the goal is to baptize 100,000 new members. In Clouzet's words, "It will take real faith at work to accomplish the kind of growth I'm talking about. It will take much prayer, genuine surrender, and earnest searching for the Holy Spirit by our members." We are assured that armed with our Biblical exposition of twenty-eight fundamental doctrines along with "the staple of Adventist evangelism, Bible prophecy and the time of the end message . . . millions await our ministry."

This cover story is another must read. Birgit Philipsen is the first female regional director of ADRA/Africa. Kimberly Luste Maran is the author of a well-written biographical sketch of an amazing innovator, an astonishing linguist, and a brilliant administrator. In addition Maran has included a description of how ADRA works and the ways in which readers can contribute their time, energy, and money to this worldwide Adventist ministry.

Nathan Brown visited so-called "miracle church". He discovered that it "seemed to have more internal problems than most, and the focus on outreach seemed to be . . . at the expense of real caring". Brown's concluding words are a stark contrast to Ron Clouzet's frenetic emphasis on baptisms. "If we were able to pay less attention to trying to create another 'miracle church', we might direct more attention to the real purpose of the church as part of the kingdom of God in our respective corners of the world.”

Freelance journalist Josephine Akarue relates this mission story from Cote d'Ivoire. It is a testimony to what is possible when Women's and Personal Ministries Departments decide to hold an evangelistic campaign on the campus of the University of Cocody in Abidjan, "once a hotbed of social unrest” during the country's five-year civil war.

LLU and LLUMC dedicated the Jerry Pettis Congressional Papers. First Lady Barbara Bush, and the Honorable Shirley Pettis-Roberson were in attendance.

Bert Williams, Editorial Director for Christian Record Services for the Blind summarizes the outstanding work of this organization in his lead paragraph. “What do a New York probation officer, an Oklahoma priest, a Kenyan Adventist lay member, to Tennessee songwriters, and Alabama diabetes awareness advocate, a Florida writer, and a retired General Conference administrator have in common? The answer: they are all legally blind, they all lead active and productive lives, and they all value the spiritual support they receive from Christian Record Services for the Blind.”

Sabbath School U is a weekly television program telecast by the Hope Channel produced at the Media Education Center at Andrews University. "These programs focus on four basic principles: fellowship, outreach, Bible study, and missions. Each program explores ways teachers and leaders can use these emphases to breathe new life into Sabbath school."

The Review and Herald Publishing Association, in partnership with Griggs University, has launched a radio talk show dedicated to home-based education. The program airs Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. on Life Talk radio. It also airs live on and

The Lifelines Health Series for 2008 is now available. Check it out.

Atlantic Union College has rewritten its curricula "to focus the entire school in preparing students for community service and contemporary Christian leadership”.

The SONscreen Film Festival is hosting its sixth festival event April 10-12 in Simi Valley, California. The Southern Adventist University's student production, Secret of the Cave, is now available at Blockbuster, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy.

Daniel Weber documents the amazing story of Adventist prisoners who have been converted in Moldavia's prisons. (Moldavia is a country between southern Ukraine and in northern Romania.) Adventist pastor Pavel Girleanu works in seven prisons for men and women in addition to pastoring three churches. Thanks to his efforts, ADRA is able to provide volunteer transportation to the prisons for family members and personal hygiene kits for prisoners.

Roy Adams reminds us that the Holy Spirit "is our greatest need as a church", and "the spirit never leaves us to do things that are repugnant or stupid in the particular culture or setting in which we function".

In the Adventist Review and Sabbath Herald of January 2, 1879, Ellen White wrote the following words that are as timely today as when they were written. "The world is our field; with a firm hold on God for His strength and His grace we may move forward in the pathway of duty, as colaborers with the Redeemer of the world. Our work is to spread the light of truth and advance the world of moral reform, to elevate, ennoble, and bless humanity. We should apply the principles of Christ's sermon on the mount to every move that we make, and then trust the consequences with God."

Angel Manuel Rodriguez' attempts to answer the question, "How could King Jehoram of Judah receive a letter from Elijah if Elijah was taken to heaven before the death of Jehoshaphat, Jehoram's father? Rodríguez begins his answer with these words: "This question is not about history, but about the reliability of the Bible, caused by what some see as an apparent contradiction between 2 Kings 1-3 and 2 Chronicles 21: 12-15."

Manual, this question is about history. These are accounts of what happened years before different authors recorded the story. Contradictions far more egregious than this one appear in the New Testament. One needs only to read the four different stories of the Resurrection or the conflicting accounts of Jesus' ancestry. A faith based on the "reliability" of biblical history cannot stand the test of even cursory Bible study. It cannot provide a solid foundation for the Christian life.

Once again, Mark Finley gives the reader the impression that "true worship" is a matter of doctrinal conformity.

Dr. Cedric Ross Hayden is one of fewer than a dozen athletes who has climbed the highest mountains on all seven continents and skied to both the North and South Poles. He is a member of the Fall Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church in Fall Creek, Oregon.

These letters and prayer requests continue to be a vital connection between readers around the Adventist world.

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