Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reviewing the Adventist Review

September 17, 2009
Vol. 186, No. 26

This is a solid issue. I have a couple of comments and a question or two, but on the whole, the editors have produced a thoughtful balance of informational and devotional thought, along with a MUST READ cover feature and a classic mission story.

In a June 18, 2009, editorial, “What Determines Where We Go?” Roy Adams “hoped that some reader, somewhere, would embrace the challenge of taking the gospel to some dying place—even to Vardø. We’d clearly failed, I hinted in the editorial, since Sister Juliussen had now died and the church was sold. But two responses to my editorial lament demonstrated I hadn’t heard THE REST OF THE STORY.”

WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM FACEBOOK by Catherine Lester is a MUST READ. She believes “there is a unique feeling of freedom when interacting online. People are trending toward lots of self-revelation. Sounds like the perfect place to talk about matters of the heart, matters of salvation.” TTYLIH by Kimberly Luste Maran agrees that “virtual friendships connect people on the most basic, human levels. . .The opportunities for churches and members alike to minister to needs and help others accept their invitation to heaven. (TTYLIH is the text message, “Talk to you later in Heaven.”)

NOAH, THE FLOOD AND YOU by Marcia Mollenkopf provides “seven coping strategies from the story of Noah that are useful in the storms of life.”

It’s always fun and a bit unnerving to read the adventures of Andre McCesney, our living on the edge, SDA Russian journalist. His ALL THE WAY TO DAVOS doesn’t disappoint. It begins, “I didn’t want to attend future Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s preinduction party in the same black corduroy slacks and rumpled blue-striped shirt I had worn for the past four days. But I didn’t seem to have any choice.”

TOOLS OF THE TRADE, Monte Sahlin’s book reviews, are always offered in the spirit of Christian ministry. The material he recommends is worth checking out, as are his latest suggestions: Strategic Disciple Making by Aubrey Malphurs, Youth Ministries from AdventSource, and Why I am a Sabbath-keeping Christian by Dan Jarrard.

RUBY FERRIS: PIONEER MISSIONARY by Laurie Falvo is a MUST READ recounting of the mission life of Rubina May Ferris who was born in 1899 in rural Australia. Together with her husband, Norman, Ruby helped pioneer the Adventist work in the South Pacific’s Solomon Islands. When Ruby passed away at 103, she left behind a diary called Nana’s Memoirs. Selections from this memoir are included in this biographical account of her experiences.

Why KIDSVIEW included a weird piece about William Miller adapted from a Junior Sabbath School lesson, accompanied by a beast infected prophetic chart predicting the Second Coming in 1843, is beyond me.

In A STRANGE KIND OF FELLOWSHIP, Fredrick A. Russell must mean “relatively minor trials” when he writes, “There comes a precise point in the midst of the trial that we begin to delight in the trial and what God is doing with us while we’re in there.” Psychiatric counseling would be recommended if Russell’s “delight in the trial” involved the murder of a family member.

SEVENTH-DAY COMMITMENT, reported by Jimmie Tramel is the story of Louie Bishop, a 24-year-old golfer who is so talented that he earned a scholarship to the University of California, Davis and an invitation to compete in the U.S. Amateur Tournament, even though he does not play golf on Saturday. His Adventist upbringing regarding Sabbath observance has made it impossible for him to conscientiously compete on Sabbath. He has been taught that he must renounce his faith if he competes in sanctioned amateur events that require play on Saturday or decides to become a professional golfer.

It’s ironic that lots of Adventists work on Sabbath without “renouncing” their faith,* but athletes can’t. Athletic events can be mentioned from the pulpit and discussed in the hallways after church, but playing professionally or just playing is “sinful”. Paul, in his letter to the Romans,** condemns this kind of arbitrary “my way or the highway” theology.

* This list is intended to be illustrative not exhaustive: doctors, medical support personnel, nurses, vets, administrators, preachers, elders, deacons, Sabbath school teachers, musicians, diplomats, missionaries, armed forces members, Adventist radio and television technicians, employees of Adventist hospitals and medical facilities

**Romans 14

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