Monday, June 8, 2009

Reviewing the Adventist Review

May 21, 2009
Vol. 186, No. 14

While I have a “bone to pick” with one of my favorite editorial writers, I’ll save it for a final comment because there is a lot to recommend in this issue. For starters, Earl Zager’s letter in INBOX raised once again the idea that some Adventist schools, as Charters, might positively influence public education policy and provide the Church with increased credibility, particularly in cities like Washington D. C. and New Orleans.

Megan Brauner writes that G. T. Ng has a message on church growth that couldn’t be more serious or important. He is an Associate Secretary of the General Conference who overseas records tracking membership growth for several world church regions. As his presentations show, loss of membership is significant. BAPTISM IS NOT THE END OF THE ROAD, according to Undersecretary of the World Church, Larry Evans. “Focusing too much on a single aspect of growth, such as increase of membership, has played a part in the loss of new members. In the current administrative model, pastors and administrators receive credit only for new members added.”

Megan Brauner also reports the Adventist Church is part of an INTERFAITH GROUP COLLABORATING EFFORST AGAINST MALARIA. That group is composed of Muslim and Christians united in the efforts of Nigerian Interfaith Action against Malaria.

INSTEP WITH THE PROGRAM by Reg Burgess and Matthew Herzel documents the progress of the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as it leads the march toward a more healthful lifestyle through the InStep for Life program. “The NAD InStep for Life program is meant to unite Seventh-day Adventists across North America and give them an achievable health goal. Participants increase the number of steps they can comfortably walk each day, until they reach 10,000 daily steps—the baseline for optimum health. By following this exercise program for a few weeks, it becomes a lifestyle that significantly improves health, fitness, and overall mental attitude.”

WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY by Gary l. Hopkins, Duane McBride, Stuart Tyner, Rene Drumm, and Wendi Kannenberg strongly supports the following conclusion: “Jesus’ words in Matthew 25 provide the best program for youth retention, and scientific research provides strong support for activities based on these words of Jesus. Youth and young adults who are engaged in service are significantly more likely to engage in positive behaviors, avoid high-risk behaviors, and develop a mature Christian faith that keeps them committed to the church.”

Karen Green councils that ANGER IS A MISUNDERSTOOD EMOTION. While anger can be a dangerous emotion, it is also important to acknowledge “we are in control and no person or situation can ‘make’ us angry”. Anger does have some positive aspects, however. “Feelings of anger can signal that there’s something troubling in a situation and that it needs to be resolved. . .Many injustices are happening in our society, and people should become angry enough to do something about them. Expressing anger can relieve strong feelings and emotions, which if kept inside could later have adverse effects.”

I wish Fredrick A. Russell were a better writer (or would avail himself of some additional editorial assistance), because he says some very important things. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND JEREEMIAH WRIGHT is a thoughtful defense of religious liberty.

Because I know both a juvenile and adult sex offender, I heartily support Out B. Faithful’s support of THE VICTIMS AMONG US: HOW DO WE RESPOND TO PEOPLE WITH A PAST. Thankfully, I, like her, belong to a faith fellowship “that embraces sinners rather than pushing them away”.

In BAD THINGS GETTING NORMAL, Roy Adams condemns “the increasing acceptance of the homosexual life style” along with immorality, gambling, common law shack-ups, and “the rise of verbal obscenities in public discourse”. While the life styles of some homosexuals are reprehensible, so are the life styles of many heterosexuals. This singling out and blanket condemnation of homosexual “life styles” is reprehensible and one of the “normal” things of the past that’s, thankfully, becoming a very “bad” thing today.

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