Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A picture's worth a thousand words.

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD edition
November 2010
Vol. 6, No. 11

Adventist World is free online. For that reason, I only review or comment on articles and editorials that I believe to be of special interest.

“Seventh-day Adventist leaders in Guatemala were chosen to participate in the Change of the White Rose…The Change of the White Rose of Peace ceremony came about after the signing of peace accords ending Guatemala’s 36-year civil war in 1996. Every day since then, a white rose is placed on the monument in the courtyard of the National Palace by an army honor guard or a distinguished person to symbolize another 24 hours of peace in the country.

“Confirming and completing a modern-day view of Bible history, a Seventh-day Adventist archaeologist and historian has unearthed important, pivotal ruins and artifacts from the 3,000-year-old Iron Age at a temple site in Ataruz, Jordan…“ ‘This is an extremely important find and one that has relationships to biblical history; it is very exciting,’ ” said Lawrence Geraty, president emeritus of the school and an archaeology professor [at La Sierra University].”

A REVIVAL OF TRUE GODLINESS in the Adventist Church will herald the Second Coming, according to Ted N. C. Wilson. When the Adventist Church “holds fast to the Bible truths by which God raised up this end-time movement, including the biblical teaching about the gift of prophecy. Of God’s many gifts to His remnant, this is one of His greatest. The Spirit of Prophecy offers counsel for almost every aspect of Christian life, and is as relevant today as when it was written decades ago. These are truly messages from heaven. Read the Spirit of Prophecy daily alongside your Bible. Believe it. Promote it. Use it. Teach it. Support it—and you will discover a new power in your spiritual life that helps you to rise and walk in newness of life.

“Let’s hold fast as well to the three angels’ messages; to the imminent second coming of Christ; to righteousness by faith in Christ; to the seventh-day Sabbath; to the Genesis account of the creation of this world in six literal, consecutive, 24-hour days of recent origin; to the sanctuary message; and to the Bible’s teaching about the state of the dead.

“Let’s remind ourselves that the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy call us to righteous living through the Holy Spirit’s power, to a healthy lifestyle outlined in Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy, and to music and worship styles that uplift Christ, not ourselves. Let’s pay special attention to what we have been taught about the conditions under which the Holy Spirit will be poured out to those earnestly seeking revival and committed to a message of reformation…

“A humbled and surrendered church will very soon also be a revived and reformed church. And a revived and reformed church will very soon be a church looking up into the eastern sky with joy and expectation as Jesus returns to claim His own.”

No mention here of, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.“ Sad.

THE CHALLENGE OF BEDBUGS by Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless provides everything you need to know about those pestiferous pests.

Check out A HOLE IN THE SOUL online. The video clip provides a well-produced and interesting attempt to “reach out to a secular world”. Gerald A. Klinbeil reports that the Australian Union Conference is sponsoring a series of thirteen 27-minute videos that tackle life’s “Big Questions”.

Richard Doss’ CATERING TO DIVERSITY provides a fascinating look at Kenya’s Maxwell Adventist Academy. It has to be one of the coolest SDA high schools in the world. It’s a place where missionary kids from all over the world “feel at home” and excel academically. (I would be ecstatic if one of my grandchildren had a chance to attend!)

HOPE FOR HAITI by Jimmy Phillips is one of the most compelling, thoughtful, and loving pieces I have read about that ravaged country and its people.

This one's for my creation science readers.

Comic from Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.
(click for enlarged image)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moving Spectrum Forward

Comic modified from Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.
(click for enlarged image)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

October 28, 2010
Vol. 187, No. 34

This issue had one very refreshing moment, courtesy of Stephen Chavez, and one mind blowing moment, thanks to Hyveth Williams. NO STRINGS and NO FEAR are MUST READ editorials!

Stephen Chavez' editorial, NO STRINGS, was a breath of fresh air.

"It occurs to me that too many people do things to call attention to themselves or their causes. If they get a few seconds on TV or a few column inches in the newspaper, so much the better. But Jesus calls us to love our neighbors not to draw attention to ourselves or to our causes, but because it’s the neighborly thing to do."

In NO FEAR, Hyveth Williams blew me away with words that put her on the shelf of my mind that I reserve for only the most Christian SDA writers and thinkers.

"The act of being disfellowshipped from a community of faith...was often used to control or influence the behavior of believers through negative reinforcement. Much as we love and value the communities, the groups, the churches, and even the families that surround us, the gospel truth is that we don’t have to belong to anyone but Jesus, who has the ability to set us free (John 8:36).

"Coming to this realization will make us blissfully happy, causing us to ride on the heights of the earth and be fed with the heritage of Christ (Isa. 58:14). When we are free in Christ, we become a terrifying force to the majority of society, because we cannot be controlled, cajoled, or manipulated, even with the threat of death (see 2 Cor. 11:21-33). Like Jesus, we may be threatened with false accusations, criticism, and rejection, but we will take the punishment rather than succumb to fear."

In SUMM(IT)ING IT UP Bill Knott marvels at the exponential growth of the Adventist Review since the Advent Review began as an eight-page, print-only paper in November, 1850.

"The languages of this growing ministry—once English only—have expanded in the past five years to include seven major world languages in print and 12 (most recently Romanian, Arabic, and Urdu) on the Web."

"A human network of dozens of editors, translators, designers, and proofreaders now circles the globe, supported by hundreds of press personnel in eight publishing houses from Indonesia to Korea to the United States to Germany. Except when Sabbath makes its welcome visit in each time zone, someone is working on Adventist Review or Adventist World every hour of every day of every week all year long."

FORGIVING FATHER, REPENTANT SON, ANGRY BROTHER by Clinton Meharry concludes his devotional essay with some questionable theology, but he makes this point: "Based on the importance of the three parties involved, it would seem appropriate to call the story “The Forgiving Father, the Repentant Son, and the Angry Brother.”

Our intrepid Moscow reporter, Andrew McChesney is determined to share his faith on the way to work. THE FIVE MINUTE WITNESS proved it could be done. The result was surprising!

THE DEVIL DOESN'T PLAY GAMES tells the story of Wilona Karimabadi's grandmother' life and times before, during, and after World War II. In addition, This is a tribute to a remarkable woman by her granddaughter, and the writer's love and respect shine through every word. The title refers to the great evil of war and a particular evil that might also have destroyed lives.

WATCH AND PRAY...LEST YOU WILL BE FOUND SLEEPING is a cautionary essay from Ellen White on the need for a keen, sanctified perception of reality. "This perception is not to be used in criticizing and condemning one another, but in discerning the signs of the times."

VIBRANT LIFE is Sandra Blackmer's interview with Heather Quitana, the editor of Vibrant Life, a magazine that has been advocating the Adventist health message for the pst 125 years.

"Quintana also promotes healthful living as benefiting not only individuals but the planet and God’s nonhuman creatures as well. Along with the Adventist Church’s wholistic perspective of personal health, we sometimes forget, she says, that there’s a connection to the health of the planet.

“ 'It’s not just about us,' Quintana explains. 'What’s healthy for us is also healthy for the planet. For example, in our special ‘Going Vegetarian’ issue this year [an undated issue released in May/June 2010], we have some really significant statistics and facts about what it means for the planet when someone eats a hamburger.' ”

HYPERTHYROIDISM is one more important medical bulletin by Drs. Handysides and Landless. In this article, Hyperthyroidism or Graves's disease and Parkinson's disease are explained, prognosis discussed, and appropriate medical follow-through recommended.

Jimmy Phillips concludes his series on falling in love--with God. MORE LIKE FALLING IN LOVE provides some salient advice to all lovers: "Transcend emotion; choose to love. And we’ll all live happily ever after."

HODDE, Erwin F.—b. June 29, 1918, Cincinnati, Ohio; d. July 19, 2009, Greeneville, Tenn.
HOFMANN, Dorothy June “Dottie”—b. July 12, 1927, Nevada, Iowa; d. Mar. 19, 2010,
Sunland, Calif.
HUNT, Roger W.—b. July 12, 1919, Bravo, Mont.; d. June 8, 2009, Avon Park, Fla.
HUTTON, Barbara Aileen Twiggs—b. Aug. 21, 1927, Gentry, Ark.; d. Dec. 9, 2009, Grants Pass, Oreg.
KYAMBADDE, Stanley B.—b. July 21, 1927, Namulesa-Kyaggwe, Uganda; d. Feb. 7, 2010, Kampala, Uganda.
LING, Irene—b. July 22, 1917, Kulangsu, China; d. Apr. 6, 2010, Loma Linda, Calif.
MEDFORD, R. Foster—b. Apr. 6, 1923, Coleman, Mich.; d. Dec. 29, 2009, Grants Pass, Oreg.

In WORDS ON A WALL; WORDS IN MY HEART, Kathryn Lay reflects on the following words that encourage and provide hope: "I know that I am never unloved. There is always Someone who loves me unconditionally, who loves me in spite of my flaws, who wants me to love others as best that I am able. And He is the God of the universe!"

Nobody’s perfect.

Cartoon modified from Over the Hedge: Stuffed Animals by Michael Fry & T. Lewis
(click to enlarge)


Dear Lord,
Thank you for fishing
for the memories
for the moments of my life
that are so necessary
for my spiritual
and emotional survival
In a world of chaos
that seems
at every turn to be
a jungle out there

My prayer is
that every reader
will make the time
to go fishing

The fishing I’m talking about
doesn’t require a pole
or hand line

Books or cooking work fine
or skiing or golf,
yoga or bird watching,
gardening or teaching,
swimming or story telling
riding or meditating
praying or skipping rope
or anything that resets the mind
that nourishes the soul
that makes it possible for us
members of the Christian community
to be as Christ commanded
spiritually whole
fishers of human kind
in a worried world
of disorder and confusion



Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Easy Choice, Right Ted?

Comic modified from Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

October 21, 2010
Vol. 187, No. 34

On the surface, this issue is just another "good old Review". But there are some surprises for the critical reader. TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY EDUCATION by Eric Anderson is timely and thought provoking, TERM LIMITS by Roy Adams is even handed and informative, and Cliff Goldstein's PAUL THE OCTOPUS is an unintended critique of creation science!

Mexican drug violence mistakenly claims the lives of Jose Ines Martinez, 18, and his sister Maribel, 26. Witness heard the shooters say they shot the wrong people.

Dickson Santongo, a senior news anchor at a SDA owned radio station in Kireka, Uganda, was beaten to death, possibly in connection with his announced candidacy for a local council election.

Walter R. L. Scragg, a retired president of two world divisions and a "tireless advocate" for Adventist World Radio, died on September 20. He was 84.

John Loor is the new executIve secretary of the Pacific Union Conference, and Fred Manchur is the new CEO of Kettering Health Network.

Atlantic Union College has retained its current regional accreditation and expects to achieve national accreditation before July 31, 2011.

Gerald Klingbeil argues that it's CRUNCH TIME in Adventist Church history.

"I cannot help noticing that this is crunch time for us as a church. In a world of relative values and convictions God calls us to base ourselves firmly on Scripture—including also the biblical concept of a literal seven-day, 24-hour, consecutive Creation week, undertaken by a powerful Creator who spoke life into being. I cannot understand this, I cannot replicate it in a laboratory. I believe it because over the years I have gotten to know the Creator personally, and because Scripture tells me so."

Gerald, I don't understand why you, along with Ted and Roy and Bill equate a belief in a "literal seven-day, 24-hour, consecutive Creation week" with Christian values. First of all, there are two creation stories in Genesis. Why can't an Adventist in good standing prefer the second one? Second, "Christian values" are derived from the teachings of Christ not the author of Genesis. Third, Cliff Goldstein, the Review's own conservative apologist and philosopher, counsels that "we [Adventists should] be careful not to tie our interpretation of Scripture to science". (See Cliff's Edge, this issue) And finally, the creation/science debate is an extremely divisive issue, and you argue that "Crunch time requires a concerted effort and—above all—[an Adventist] team that pulls together".

In PAUL THE OCTOPUS, Cliff Goldstein uses the Underdetermiination of Theory by Evidence, i.e., "Correct predictions never prove a theory right, but, simply, show that it has yet to be falsified", to make an unintended argument against creation science!

"How crucial, then, that we be careful not to tie our interpretation of Scripture to science. During the time of Galileo and Kepler, for example, the church used the Bible to justify error based on a science (i.e., Aristotle) that no one takes seriously now."

Wilona Karimabadi went to GC and came back with PROOF that "if you are a believer in God and trust Him to guide every last detail of your life, nothing happens 'just because'.

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY EDUCATION by Eric Anderson has a surprising liberal arts flavor!

"The reason we grade on important but secondary matters is that students’ freedom matters to us. Although Adventist universities and colleges have clear and distinctive commitments, it does not follow that they may indoctrinate; that is, tell students only one side of the story and reward them for agreeing with us."

"The cure for skepticism is sometimes more skepticism. In dealing with dogmatic Darwinians or cocky materialists or absolute moral relativists, the beginning of wisdom is sometimes to say, “Are you sure?” In this narrative, faith grows from doubting the world’s certainties."
"Even as they pray for you, your teachers and mentors must wait to see what choices you will make over the next few years. The most accurate spiritual grade they could give you now is probably an Incomplete.
"Before that Incomplete can be removed you will need to learn one central insight: understanding cannot be separated from participation. Educated people learn to analyze ideas, to debate interpretations, and to discover context. But that is not enough. At some point we must ask, “Is it true?” then act."

SMELLY KELLY--AND THE POWER OF SILENCE by Heather Marie Thompson is a reflection on the healing effect of silent companionship.

Roy Adams' TERM LIMITS is a balanced, informative piece that discusses it's pros and cons.

Arguments Against Term Limits
1. "The complexity of the modern church. Given the global nature of the contemporary church, it would seem unreasonable to expect a new president to master that kind of complexity and get critically important programs up and running until well into their first term..."

2. "A waste of talent, experience, and expertise. Why remove a competent, forward-looking incumbent simply because of some hard-and-fast tenure requirement, and perhaps replace them with someone less competent, less visionary?..."

3. "It can lead to administrative confusion and dysfunction..."

4. "It negates the choice of the constituency. The constituency may very well want to keep a particular leader at the helm a little longer..."

5. "It would politicize a GC session considerably beyond anything we see now."

6. "The “lame duck” effect. In the United States, where a president is limited to two four-year terms in office, the political community begins to write off the incumbent sometime around the seventh year..."

Arguments in Favor
1. "The need to keep abreast of the rapid modern pace. With contemporary developments taking place at breakneck speed, perhaps no CEO of any major enterprise can keep on the cutting edge for a period longer than 10 years..."

2. "The need to bring fresh thinking to the table..."

3. "The need to counteract the negative effects of incumbency..."

4. "The need to help relieve election-time unpleasantness. A considerable amount of bad feelings frequently accompany the removal of a CEO from office..."

For Adams, and me, the final argument in favor of term limits carries the day.

5. "Term limits carry the hope that no administration would last forever."

In the second half of his Adventist Heritage article, CONFRONTING A CRISIS, PART 2, Kameron DeVasher reveals what happened to the holy flesh movement in Adventism.

"In the first installment of this series we saw how the Indiana Conference became the stage for the holy flesh movement in the late nineteenth century. Led by conference revivalist S. S. Davis, the movement was composed of two unique characteristics: 'a sinless flesh' message and a charismatic worship experience. In short, people were encouraged to exchange their sinful natures for Christ’s sinless nature brought on by a full-body surrender in worship."

"The end of the holy flesh movement can be pinpointed to a single day—Wednesday, April 17, 1901. That morning Mrs. White rose and gave her testimony about what the Lord had shown her regarding the holy flesh movement. She pointedly stated: 'The late experience of brethren in Indiana has not been in accordance with the Lord’s instruction.' "

MIND RENUAL, Sally Lam-Phoon asks the reader to embark on a journey of self discovery.

"Consider this thought, based on a decade of research into spiritual transformation: 'Living deeply doesn’t require retreating to a mountaintop or embarking on a hero’s journey; rather, the convergence of life and practice is about the hero’s return—in which you bring the fruits of your journey of self-discovery back home, into your life, your family, and your community.' * True spiritual transformation cannot be limited to the privacy of an individual’s journey; it must impact the lives of others in its natural developmental path and embrace Jesus’ command to “go” (Matt. 28:18, 19)."

* M. M. Schlitz, C. Vieten, and T. Amorok, “Living Deeply,” in Measuring the Immeasurable, p. 457.

In A CATERPILLAR'S MESSAGE, Stephanie Knight reflects on what a caterpillar taught her about life and eath.

The Lost Word of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate

Reviewed by Lawrence G. Downing

Organized religion, in whatever form evidenced, has frequently placed itself in the role of a preservationist or protector of the established norms. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is one example among many. Over the years the church has taken leadership in pronouncements upholding the separation of church and state, the promotion of health principles: vegetarianism, anti-smoking/alcohol campaigns, and religions liberty matters. A present-day concern among a significant segment of Adventism is the creation/evolution debate. The call to preserve a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 has been sounded from all levels of the church.

In his inaugural presentation, General Conference president Ted Wilson said, “Go forward, not backward! Stand firm for God’s Word as it is literally read and understood...Don’t misinterpret the first 11 chapters of Genesis or other areas of Scripture as allegorical or merely symbolic. The Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches and believes in the biblical record of Creation which took place in six literal, consecutive, contiguous 24-hour days. If God did not create this world in six literal days and then bless the Sabbath day, why are we worshipping Him on the seventh-day Sabbath as Seventh-day Adventists? To misinterpret this doctrine is to deny God’s Word and the very purpose of the Seventh-day Adventist movement as the remnant church of God. Don’t go backward to atheistic or theistic evolution; go forward to the prophetic understanding that loyalty to God, the Creator and Redeemer, will be seen in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath as the distinguishing characteristic of God’s people in the very end of time.” (1)

Wilson’s call for a “literal interpretation” of Genesis is an invitation to take him at his word. The end-point, when this invitation is accepted, invites the hearer/reader to explore options that have the potential to lead one in directions quite different from those set out in Wilson’s inaugural speech. A “literal interpretation” of Genesis One, according to some reliable exegetes, allows the reader to accommodate the findings of current science while holding true to the original intent of the biblical text. This, in fact, is the proposition John H. Walton sets out in his book, The Lost Word of Genesis One Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate, (IVP Academic, 2009.)

Walton fully affirms God as creator. This belief, he holds, is an essential to the Christian faith. The proclamation of God’s creative power is at the heart of our understanding of the Bible and is first expressed in Genesis 1. Yet these few verses has caused a brouhaha that has challenged Christian churches over the centuries. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is one example.

Genesis 1, as interpreted by traditional Adventists, demands a belief in a short-term earth-chronology and a belief that all of creation took place in six consecutive twenty-four hour days. However, not all Adventists agree with how the traditionalists interpret the text. One can empathize with Walton when he writes, “Though simple in the majesty of its expression and the power of its scope, the chapter is anything but transparent. It is regrettable that an account of such beauty has become such a bloodied battleground, but that is indeed the case.” (2)

Adventists have not escaped the bloodletting. Charges and counter charges are hurled between those who adhere to and advocate the traditional Adventist interpretation of Genesis 1 and those who are less concerned about biblical chronology than they are about the processes that lead to the world as it is now. Under the current church administrative leadership, the debate between the two camps is likely to intensify, and the divide between the two factions will continue to expand. This is unfortunate and unnecessary. There are exegetical interpretations of Genesis 1 that allow both sides to coexist and open the possibility that there can be a degree of civility between the tow groups. (As an aside, is there not something in scripture that calls for toleration among believers?)

In ten propositions, Walton sets forth conclusions that arise from what he terms a “literalist” interpretation of the text. He understanding of the biblical creation account is set within the context of the cultural, linguistic and exegetical framework of other accounts of creation found in ancient non-biblical sources. His examination leads him to conclude that Genesis 1 is a description of function rather than an account of how matter came to be. The writer seeks to explain how the Creator God acted upon a nonfunctional state and through divine intent and act utilized matter for function purposes.

Walton posits that the sun, moon, seas and land are the things that exist that have material existence. Their "function” is the purpose that they serve, the reason they exist. Walton invites the reader to consider a "chair" and a "business" as his examples for how his thesis can be understood. The material in a chair can be analyzed, measured and detected with our senses. The material is what defines the chair and allows us to say it exists. He calls this "material ontology.” (3)

A business can also be said to exist. When we speak of a business existing " would clearly not be the same as a chair existing. Does a company exist when it has filed the appropriate papers of incorporation? Does it exist when it has a building or a website? In some sense the answer to these would have to be yes. But many would prefer to speak of a company as existing when it is doing business...Consider a restaurant that is required to display its current permit form the city department of health. Without that permit, the restaurant could be said not to exist, for it cannot do any business. Here existence is connected to the authority that governs existence in relation to the function the business serves. It is the government permit that causes that restaurant to exist, and its existence is defined in functional terms.” Walton calls this "functional" ontology. "In a discussion of origins we need to focus on the ontology of the cosmos. What does it mean for the world or the cosmos (or the objects in it) to exist? How should we think about cosmic ontology?” (4)

Walton addresses one of the foundational issues in the evolution/creation debate: How is one to understand creation? In today's world we look at existence in material terms. The material view of ontology determines how we think about creation. In essence, to believe that existence is “material” is to believe that to create something means to bring its material properties into existence. Consequently, we tend to focus on material origins. But what about the creation of a curriculum? What, asks Walton is “material” about a curriculum?

With this question Walton invites the reader to consider the question of cosmic ontology. Most people, he points out, do not consider alternative ontologies. When we think about the cosmos, we think material ontology; creation as a material act. When he examines writings from the ancient world, Walton finds an alternative view. He proposes that "... people in the ancient world believed that something existed not by virtue of its material properties, but by virtue of its having a function in an ordered system. Here I do not refer to an ordered system in scientific terms, but an ordered system in human terms, that is, in relation to society and culture. In this sort of functional ontology, the sun does not exist by virtue of its material properties, or even by its function as a burning ball of gas. Rather it exists by virtue of the role that it has in its sphere of existence, particularly in the way that it functions for humankind in a human society. In theory, this way of thinking could result in something being included in the 'existent' category in functional terms...In a functional ontology, to bring something into existence would require giving it a function or a role in an ordered system, rather than giving it material properties. Consequently, something could be manufactured physically but still not 'exist' if it has not become functional.” (5)

Walton reminds both the scientist and the theologian that their areas of study are distinct and the boundaries for each discipline should be respected. “Those who accept the Bible by faith accept also by faith a teleological view of origins. Empirical science is not designed to be able to define purpose, though it may theoretically be able to deduce rationally that purpose is logically the best explanation. As the result of an empirical discipline, biological evolution can acknowledge purpose, but…it must remain teleologically neutral.” (5) This boundary does not apply to theology. Theology can legitimately argue for a particular teleological point.

While Walton does not answer every objection that arises from the evolution/creation debate, he does, I believe, open an avenue that allows for both advocates of their respective positions to participate in a respectful dialogue. Neither group need demonize the other. An example of how Walton’s conclusions can be applied is found Brian Bull and Fritz Guy’s recent SPECTRUM article, “The Six ‘Creation Days’: Prologue to God’s Rest. (7) The authors use a method similar to that found in Walton’s book to address the evolution/creation debate that rages within the Adventist church and its educational institutions. The authors suggest the possibility for a reinterpretation of the texts upon which conservative Adventists base their conclusions and, as does Walton, they hold that a “literal” reading of Genesis 1 allows for more flexible conclusions than those advocated by church administrators and others.

These authors join with Walton to offer a word of hope that in the end reasonable people can and will follow a course other than one that condemns those that read the same Bible but come to different conclusions. Unlike those who read Genesis 1 and conclude that their reading of the text is incompatible with the conclusions of modern science, Bull and Guy, in agreement with Walton, affirm that science and religion can coexist.

1. Wilson, Ted, “Go Forward,” Adventist World—NAD September 2010, p. 11.
2. P. 7
3. P. 24.
4. Ibid.
5. P. 26
6. PP. 152, 153
7. SPECTRUM Vol. 38 Issue 3, Summer 2010, p 48-53.

John H. Walton (Ph.D., Hebrew Union College) is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. Previously he was professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Some of his books include Ancient Near Eastern Thought: Essential Bible Companion, Old Testament Today (with Andrew Hill), Genesis NIV Application Commentary, and IVP Bible Background Commentary (with Victor Matthews and Mark Chavalas).

It must be the Y chromosome.

Comic modified from Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.
(click for enlarged image)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Evangelism is no joke in the Pacific Union!

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing Adventist Today

Fall 2010
Vol. 18, No. 4

This issue is a sickening disappointment. The cover creature is repulsive, and the evolution vs. creationism debate is a silly, poorly articulated religious squabble over whether or not death occurred on this planet before Adam and Eve ate the apple. Take my advice and skip both Newman’s defense of the biblical assertion that sin came first and Taylor’s tedious recounting of the geologic evidence that organisms died millions of years before humans appeared on the scene.

TRUMP CARDS FOR CREATIONISTS by Beatrice S. Neall is not a report from a scientific authority; she’s a retired Bible teacher. Her “trump cards” are a compilation of citations from creationist publications and websites.

Science is science and religion is religion. I say enjoy the benefits and excitement of scientific inquiry and decide the philosophical truths regarding existence and meaning for yourself. Neither of these activities should disqualify you from calling yourself a follower of Christ or an Adventist.

In his editorial, COUNSEL FOR ELDER TED WILSON, David Newman makes a similar argument. “If revival and reformation is to come to our church, then Christ must be the focus of everything we are and do, not the special truths of the Adventist church.”

One bright spot in the issue is TIME FOR THE LAITY TO TAKE OVER by Milt Erhart.

“If the Adventist Church in North America is to survive, at least two changes should take place. First, each local conference’s structure should be folded into its respective union conference. The savings to the North American Division would be between $50 million and $70 million annually. Second, the local church should combine church expense and tithe as one and pay 10 percent to the union conference, plus 8 percent into the retirement fund.”

“Our unnecessarily employed religious hierarchy consumes funds that could be used to put Adventist education within reach of many loyal parents. . .When a conference official visits your church, just remember that his salary is the reason Adventist education is so expensive.”

CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC by Nancy Canwell is an appeal for Adventist adults to stop freaking out when their kids groove to weird riffs and loud bands.

In his essay, AN ADVENTIST CLAPHAM? Alden Thompson describes the Clapham Circle, a small community outside of London, that transformed the manners and morals of English culture in the 18th century. Then he relates their story to the Adventist community. “By God’s grace [Adventists] could break out of our sectarian isolation and make a difference in the world.”

Marcel Schwantes' 7 QUESTIONS interview with Cindy Tish, Associate Director of the Ellen White Estate, reveals the variety of ministries supported that institution. Dr. Tish is also a featured blogger on the AT website.

ADVENTIST MAN reveals the “ultimate authority in Adventism”.

It’s fundamentally just a Silver Spring Neighborhood Improvement Program.

Comic modified from Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.
(click to enlarge)