Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

November 2008
Vol. 4, No, 11

This edition has a great deal to recommend it. I was particularly impressed by the ADRA materials. However, its juxtaposition to the advertisement for the eStore Music Cruise, “7 Days in the Western Caribbean” sponsored by the Quiet Hour was a bit unsettling. Two Black Eyes have been awarded, and I have some critical comments.

IS THE GENERAL CONFERENCE NECESSARY? General Conference president, Jan Paulsen, recently spoke with the Adventist World editor, Bill Knott, about the purpose and future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world headquarters.
CELIAC DISEASEL by Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless
AND THERE WAS LIGHT: A vision, a mission, and the story of this journal by Bill Knott

According to Gabriel E. Maurer and Angel Manuel Rodriguez, the Ten Commandments is a PERSCRIPTION FOR FREEDOM and THE NEW COVENANT IN HEBREWS and “should be internalized, shaping our character and actions. It’s not a burden but a joyful expression of our covenant relationship with God; a covenant instituted through the gracious blood of Jesus.”

Gentlemen, have you read Galatians 3? Here are some excerpts from The Faith or Observance of the Law chapter that might jog your memories.

“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?”

“All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.’ Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, ‘The righteous will live by faith’.”

“What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.”

“Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.”

Bill, I was applauding your editorial, EVERY GOOD GIFT, until I hit the “just” in your last sentence. Here is the sentence. “That great numbered throng gathered at the Father’s throne will include JUST those who have allowed the Lord’s good gifts to transcend all other human categories. I was willing to forgive the word “categories” as being a confusing word choice, but the “just” smacked of perfectionism and would certainly eliminate Sampson and David and even, I suspect, the entire “great numbered throng”!

I was disappointed with the two articles that described plans for evangelism in North America. Both SAY IT BOLDLY by Gary Gibbs and CHRISTIAN MARKETING 101 by Dan Day ignore the message and hype the marketing strategies. “It’s the message, stupid!” The 28 Adventist Doctrines that finally surface at the end of Revelation Seminars, Amazing Facts, and It is Written evangelism don’t sell and are viewed as irrelevant by target audiences. According to Monte Sahlin, “Conventional evangelism is largely stalled, despite the widespread use of satellite technology, Web sites, etc., and increased funding. The majority of baptisms in North America come from immigrants, despite the fact that these are not the focus of most of the evangelism initiatives. . . .There are very few real converts among the cultural mainstream of America—less than one per congregation per year.” (Surprisingly, this quote is cited in Marketing 101.)

FOUR LESSONS FROM THE POTTER’S HOUSE by Keisha McKenzie was so well written that it is painful to take issue with the central metaphor that she so beautifully develops, namely the efficacy of suffering. In my experience, extreme suffering only succeeds in creating goodness in a tiny minority of survivors. The notion that God is responsible for these “fiery trials” is reprehensible. It mocks the words, the life, and the death of Christ. In addition, it leaves the Devil without a job.

1 comment:

KM said...

Hi Andy -- I wrote the devotional on Jeremiah 18 you reviewed here; just saw your comment on it. I wrote that piece in 2001 and it reflected my sense of things at that phase in my life. It is often surreal to read things several years after the fact!