Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reviewing the Adventist Review

December 16, 2010
Vol. 187, No. 39
www.adventistreview.org/issue_toc.php?issue=2010-1540

GENERAL COMMENTS

This issue is full of good advice and devotional encouragement. My only comment will be a short response to Mark A. Kellner’s editorial. Bon app├ętit!

COMMENT

REVIVAL, REFORMATION,…AND TITHING is a Mark Kellner appeal for “a faithful tithe” from every Adventist. “It is my sincere belief that if every Seventh-day Adventist in the North American Division were to return a faithful tithe, we would end up with tremendous resources to finish the work, and serve our fellow believers. I believe the latter rain would more quickly fall.” Kellner also argues that those who don’t tithe are robbing God and delaying the “latter rain”.

Perhaps an argument can be made for directing tithe to other “unofficial” church ministries. According to Reflections on the Future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America: Trends and Challenges by David Beckworth and S. Joseph Kidder in December 2010 issue of Ministry Magazine, “In terms of economic productivity, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the NAD was spending about $41,000 in 2005 per convert…This indicates inefficiency in resource management with much of the donated money to the denomination being spent to support the structural system of the church in various levels and organizations.”

REVIEWS

A TEMPLE REBORN, by Carlos Medley, is a cautionary reminder that Adventists should not ignore educational trends in higher education.

“In her report to the General Conference Executive Committee, Beardsley announced plans to strengthen the Adventist mission and identity on our campuses. Among the many goals announced is the priority of increasing the number of Adventist teachers where needed, and helping all teachers model Adventist values and lifestyle. Another goal is to strengthen the role of religion and theology faculty and promote the integration of faith and learning in all course work.

“While I’m encouraged to see our GC education leaders sounding the alarm and sensitizing church officials of these goals, it will take the full cooperation of pastors, parents, administrators, education leaders, and faculty around the world to make a difference. It will be an extremely laborious task, but one that can’t be ignored if we are to see Adventist identity and mission reborn in our schools.”

Matt Kohls’ THE BIZARRE BIRTHDAY PARTY is a parable about a birthday party in which the guests bought presents for each other.

CHRISTMAS IN MY HEART—AND BEYOND is a tribute to Kimberly Luste Maran’s mentor, Joe Wheeler, the author of 73 books that include the famous Christmas in my Heart series, “the longest-running Christmas series in America. Wheeler’s comments about story telling and Adventism are particularly relevant.

“We tend, as Adventists, to think that God has a pipeline only to us. But I nevertheless feel that story may represent the one thoroughly neutral ground where [every person] could meet. Instead of us feeling that we have to crystallize into a set of ‘thou shalts,’ which can tear us apart, we need to live the [biblical] dyadic. And if we are to come together, I don’t know of anything else that could do it other than story—the way Christ used it.

“We don’t have to be doctrinaire. We don’t have to be judgmental. All we have to do is share stories, and let the stories—the kind that Christ told—carry their own freight. Christ didn’t bang His readers over the head with a moral at the end of His stories. He let the story have its own effect. Early Adventism had its greatest growth period with story, and we essentially have deserted it. I feel that God is calling us back to it.”

According to S. R. Morris, WHY JESUS WAS BORN IN A MANGER should not be a mystery. “Jesus was laid in a manger so that we would know that we have a High Priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities (Heb. 4:15). Even though our sins are like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6), even though like sheep we have all gone astray (Isa. 53:6), He stands at the door and knocks (Rev. 3:20).

LISTENING TO HBAKKUK is worth the time it takes to read this often neglected prophet, according to Tina Billups. “A significant theme embedded within Habakkuk is that of worship, a theme very near and dear to Seventh-day Adventists…After describing the cruel conquest of Judah, Habakkuk writes in verse 11 that the Babylonians attribute their success to their god (“ascribing this power to his god”). There is a clear echo of the timeless conflict between good and evil, true worship versus futile worship.”

THE IMPACT OF A (REVO)LUTION has been profound in the life of Leslie Mutuku. “REVO is a grassroots movement based on love. REVO stands for revolution, and the event taking place at our school was going to be raising money for the Gakoni Orphanage in Rwanda, an Adventist-operated supporting ministry in Africa, where an alumnus from our school is the director.”

The doctors, Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless have some surprisingly candid comments about foods that are ORGANICALLY GROWN AND GENETICALLY MODIFIED. “To date, though emotional arguments are made, there is no hard data that inorganically grown food is nutritionally inferior to organic, or vice versa—that organically grown food is nutritionally superior, and there’s absolutely no nutritional evidence of danger relating to genetically modified foods.”

JOY IN THE SYSTEM is A. J. Church’s testimony that when he “gave up on the world years ago, immediately God was waiting there for me. Saturation with the systems of humanity disarranged my heart and mind. But when I found Jesus and His law, I found the only harmonious system in the universe.” He found joy.

Andy Nash councils, “If you’re in the desert, talk to those who have been there. They will help you find rest for your soul.” It’s a process of FINDING REST AGAIN.

If you PRAY MORE, DO LESS, Gina Wahlen argues that your life will be more open to Christian service. “Spending more time on my knees has given me a quiet peace, opening my eyes to how I can be more efficient in what I should be doing and less worry about what I’m not doing. In addition, it has opened more opportunities for others to experience the joy of working in God’s vineyard harvest.”

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