Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Reviewing the Adventist Review

January 13, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 1

This issue is pretty standard stuff with the exception of one MUST READ story. It’s I JUST WANTED TO VOLUNTEER by volunteer hospital chaplain, Dixil Rodriguez. The writing is superb, and her account of what happened at 2:00 am in a hospital emergency room will both move you to tears and make you proud to call yourself a follower of Christ. My critical comment regarding WE’RE ALL ONE ARMY will appear at the end of the review.

I UNDERSTIMATED HIS POWER by E. Edward Zinke is a testimony to what happens when you read the Bible with an open mind.

PRACTICING VERSUS PREACHING is a reminder by Wilona Karimabadi that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

The WINDS OF RENEWAL, FLAMES OF REFORMATION by Hyveth Williams is a call “to go where the needs are great” after the inspiration provided by “spirit-filled gatherings”.

I JUST WANTED TO VOLUNTEER by Dixil Rodriguez is what happened when she decided to enter the chaplain certification program. It meant that she committed herself “to on-call hours, 24-hour shifts, and a sacred ministry”. I’ve read the Review for many years, and this is the finest written testimony of what it means to be a Christian that I have encountered. If you don’t have a subscription, borrow a copy of this issue and read this story.

David Asscherick’s advice is PREPARE. PREPARE. PREPARE if you decide to run a marathon. “My marathon quest turned out to be about so much more than personal physical fitness. It has proved more important than toned calves and a lowered body mass index (BMI). It has opened a window to my soul. It has been a call to personal religion and personal revival—alone, in the inward being and in the secret heart. It has been a call to unrushed prayer, undeferred Scripture study, and unfeigned ministry. It has been a call to radical self-evaluation and a thorough spiritual inventory.”

HE CALLED, GOD ANSWERED is the improbable story of Mathew Gamble’s coversion told by Wilona Karimabadi. It begins in Jamaica. “At age 19 ‘I decided to travel to Jamaica in hopes of learning firsthand about the Rastafarian religion,’ Gamble remembers. After two weeks in the Caribbean nation he met a Rasta named Peter who provided him with all the marijuana he desired—including two pounds of the stuff stashed in his bags as he arrived in Miami. Somehow Gamble made it through customs undetected. ‘When I didn’t get caught coming through customs, I started believing for the first time in my life that a power greater than me was looking out for me,’ Gamble says. And in that highly unusual moment, his quest for truth and understanding of spiritual things was born.”

In IT’S YOUR CALL Jimmy Phillips tells us how he ended up writing a column for the Review.

AN APPEAL is an Ellen White recounts the story of Cornelius to encourage members to recognize the financial needs of the church.

Amy Lee Sheppard advises us that BUCKING THE TREND of giving up on our spiritual new year’s resolutions can be avoided if we “stay focused on Jesus”.

Justin McNeilus claim that WE’RE ALL ONE ARMY is a quote from Bill Knott’s interview with Justin McNeilus, president of Generation of Youth for Christ (GYC). I know I’m not in that army, in spite of McNeilus’s assertion that “this movement isn’t “conservative”. I’ve read this article and checked out GYC’s conference speakers and seminar leaders. GYC is also affiliated with Hope Media Ministry. But I’ll let McNeilus try to make his case.

“This movement isn’t “conservative”—it’s Adventist; it’s centered on the Bible; it’s right in the center of God’s will for His remnant church…We want a strong working relationship with the youth ministries of the Adventist Church…We were officially part of the delegation to the Atlanta General Conference session; we’ve been invited to serve on key committees, such as the new Revival and Reformation initiative. We’re meeting and interacting with top church leaders in youth ministries and other departments.”

I’m a survivor of the Missionary Volunteer and Youth Congress movement of the 50’s and 60’s. We too were assured by evangelists and charismatic youth leaders that they were preaching THE TRUTH, that we were living in END TIMES and that our generation was THE ONE THAT WOULD FINISH THE WORK and usher in the return of Christ. Only three of the graduating class of my Adventist high school and less than a dozen of my college companions at Pacific Union College are Adventists. And by no stretch of the imagination would any of us be comfortable at a GYC convention.

Why did the Adventist youth movement of my day fail? Because, over time, irrational doctrines breed cynicism. Because along the way, we met and even married wonderful people who weren’t Adventists. Because we read the Bible rather than the Adult Quarterly. Because calling ourselves “the elect” fostered a kind of egotism that we were ashamed of. Because of the realization that we are going to die rather than “be caught up in the air”. Because of bureaucratic pettiness. Because of the Church’s official misogyny and homophobia. Because we had children and grandchildren whom we loved more than we loved Adventism. Because we could be followers of Christ without being afraid.

What I am saying is that emotional, anti-intellectual, conservative “movements” like GYC don’t accomplish much in the long run in spite of all the hoopla. They are ineffective in achieving their own long-term goals and can be spiritually harmful to the young innocents who blame themselves for delaying the Second Advent.

1 comment:

Andy Hanson said...

The following is a comment from a friend.

Your comments on the GYC phenomena and Justin McNeilus resonated in my head.If I were a sociologist I'd spend some time doing a study on this group and on those who support it--like the McNeilus family.

When rumors about GYC first began to circulate a few years ago I contacted the Adventist Today editor and Irv Taylor to suggest that AT should assign a reporter to cover this group, dig around a bit, and do a story. They agreed this should be done,but did nothing.

To me GYC is one of the more interesting and bazaar groups to arise within the SDA world for some years. My understanding is that two Korean guys first started the ball rolling on the movement and the Koreans dominated. Obviously this is not the case now--if indeed it ever was. I don't know. What does appear to be the case is that this bunch is the darling of some GC people--an audience for the right wing voices--Doug Batchelor, Pipin, and others of the same ilk. I've talked to a couple of those who attend the gatherings and they eat up what the talking heads dish out. And we wonder why we feel less and less that our church home is less and less pertinent?