Thursday, September 23, 2010

Reviewing the Adventist Review

September 9, 2010
Vol. 187, No. 30

GENERAL COMMENTS
This issue is pretty standard fare. There are two editorials. One calling for civility in dialogue, the other gently reminding members that attendance at the GC session is not a ticket to Heaven; an interesting historical piece that chronicles a late 19th century crisis in the church; a circumspect admonition directed to church leaders; a warning to non tithe payers; an essay about the “scars of darkness”; an explanation of the word “Shema”; an outreach initiative; Olympic lessons of perseverance, self-denial, and trust; a reflection on the importance of a heavenly destination; a reminder that many of our neighbors need more than just our prayers, and a rather na├»ve but sweet ode to love and marriage. Details follow the news.

WORLD NEWS AND PERSPECTIVES
Tom Hughes, an Adventist pastor and biker road 1,300 miles from Ohio to South Dakota’s Sturgis biker rally to distribute 1,200 copies of Steps to Jesus: the Ride of Your Life, a.k.a. Steps To Christ.

Ted Wilson took part in the two-day 100th anniversary of the Adventist Church’s presence in Venezuela. 13,000 packed the Caracas Polyhedron on August 7, and 7,000 Adventists gathered in the Feria Bicentenario Center in Barquisimeto.

Shirley Burton, Former GC Communication Director, died on August 16. She was 83.

The U.S. Humane Society president, Wayne Pacelle addressed an appreciative audience of GC employees on August 17.

COMMENT
Bill Knott calls for civil dialogue WHEN WE DISAGREE.

“The spate of bitter and public attacks—some by denominational employees—upon the decisions and collective wisdom of the church at its recent General Conference session in Atlanta has surely marked a new low, even for a ‘dialogical faith’ that has clearly been both blessed and chastened by its history of disagreements.”

Bill, I’m all for reasoned debate, but governance by fiat, i.e., the proclamation that an official literal interpretation of the Bible trumps scholarly and scientific evidence, makes dialogue impossible. All that is left is argument accompanied by feelings of vindication on one side and frustration and despair on the other.

Perhaps those official proclamations created Carlos Medley’s vague feeling of unease and prompted him to write DON’T MISS OUT.

“While I came away from the session…I couldn’t help feeling like I missed something…Jesus warned us, ‘Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?” Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you”’  (Matt. 7:21-23).

REVIEWS
CONFRONTING A CRISIS—PART I by Kameron DeVasher is an account of the Holy Flesh movement that swept Adventism at the end of the 19th century.

“Borrowing the Salvation Army Band model that was popular at the time, S. S. Davis and his revival team turned the typically cognitive Adventist worship service into a patently Pentecostal worship experience, all in the hopes of bringing people to full-body surrender to Christ that would transform their sinful nature into Christ’s sinless nature.”

SCARS OF DARKNESS by Clifford Goldstein uses the story of Arai, a disfigured Hiroshima survivor, to describe the devastating effects of evil. According to Goldstein, there is no moral middle ground. Our task as Christians is to determine “what actions, what words, what motives are Christ’s, and what actions, words, and motives are Satan’s; that’s knowing the difference between good and evil.”

In TITHING: WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? Mark Kellner quotes G. Edward Reid, Stewardship Director for the North American Division extensively.

“One of the biggest things I encounter is people who get sideways of somebody in the church or in the conference office, and say, ‘I’m going to send my tithe to XYZ’... but the tithe, according to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, is totally nondiscretionary…It is holy and not to be diverted...When Jesus returns He’s going to say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ to the group who managed their money faithfully.”

GOING FOR THE GOLD by Wayne Wasiczko compares Christ to an Olympic champion.

“By finishing the race He’d begun, Christ made it possible for all of us sinners to receive eternal life. May each one of us persevere in our personal race, crossing the finish line with Christ, and receiving from Him the most important medal imaginable: eternal life.”

When Andrew McChesney, our intrepid Moscow reporter, is asked, “Where are you from?” his answer is a mysterious IT DEPENDS. But even though he doesn’t know where he’s from, he knows were he’s going

Debbie Rivera explains the Jewish word, SHEMA.

“Jewish culture interprets and applies this passage to families. Twice each day—morning and evening—parents repeat the Shema (“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!”) to their children, beginning in infancy. As the children grow they learn to repeat these words themselves, and then continue to do so twice daily for the rest of their lives. Jews also repeat the Shema if they are in danger, and these are the last words they speak when they are taking their final breath on this earth. The Shema was not meant simply to be memorized, however, but reasoned, discussed, and understood.

GIVING LIGHT TO OUR WORLD (GLOW) is an outreach initiative in a number of NAD conferences based on the concept of church members carrying Adventist literature with them wherever they go and handing it out—free of charge—at every opportunity.

Fredrick Russell ‘s WE HAVE THE WHO; NOW FOR THE WHAT challenges our new GC leadership to pay prayerful attention to “where the bus is going”

“The Nominating Committee, with the counsel and input of the General Conference president…dealt with the who part of the leadership team at almost every level of the General Conference organizational sphere. But if leadership stops with just getting the right people on the bus and little attention is given as to where the bus is going, all the forward momentum of the fifty-ninth General Conference session will evaporate in short order.

“My prayer is that before our new leadership team gets immersed in day-to-day activities of 
committees, boards, and travel, it carves out time to head to the “mountain,” for the singular purpose of asking God for direction in advancing the mission of the church.”

Monte Sahlin faithfully chronicles CHURCH TRENDS, and he argues that “this I no time to retreat or cut back in mission-driven investments.

“There are many hurting families in both the church and the community. If the Spirit of Christ truly animates your congregation, it will be doing more to meet the needs of these families.
“There is a chapter on helping the unemployed in Ellen White’s The Ministry of Healing. There is also a practical how-to manual for working with the unemployed in the book Ministries of Compassion, which you can obtain from AdventSource at www.adventsource.org  or (800) 328-0525. It is based on the successful pilot project at the Samaritan Center near Chattanooga, Tennessee.”

Krystal Green reminds readers that JESUS NEVER DEMANDED A PRENUP when he created Adam and Eve.

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