Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reviewing the Adventist Review

January 20, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 2

The “historical-critical” method of biblical scholarship informed Alex Cortez’ essay, READING WITH UNDERSTANDING. Petra Houmann Howe added an extra-biblical bit of information about Jesus’ childhood in YOU HAD TO HAVE BEEN THERE, and Cliff Goldstein asserted in CONFESSIONS OF A PHILOSOPHER that “unless you can answer the problem of death, you have no answer to the problem of life”.

While I’ll have an observation or two concerning the aforementioned, there will be no separate COMMENTS section in this review.

In TRANSFORMATION, an editorial by Gerald Klingbeil, he argues that “true transformation is a heart issue. It comes from within. It requires a mind-set change—not a change of social, legal, or any other circumstances.

Carlos Medley notes the impact of one small act of kindness in HE MADE A DIFFERENCE.

NEAL C. WILSON PASSES TO HIS REST is a brief, informative, and well written biography of President Wilson. Kudos to Mark A. Kellner.

The title of Melissa Breetzke essay says it all. LET THEM HAVE SEX…LATER.

The illustration that accompanies SUPER-SIZED CHURCHES by Clinton Wahlen is a not-do-subtle indication of how he feels about nonAdventist megachurches.

Note to Editors: In READING WITH UNDERSTANDING by Felix Cortez uses the officially discouraged “historical-critical” method of biblical scholarship* in his effort to share his thoughts in reading the Bible with understanding.

“Epistles are not theological expositions. They are pastoral messages that contain counsels and teachings (as well as greetings, news, and other things), written to produce a specific effect in a particular audience. In other words, they were designed as a solution to a problem or a set of problems. Therefore, in order to understand a letter, we need to understand the situation or the problem it’s addressing. Every interpretation of a letter, or of any section of it, implies, then, a reconstruction of its historical situation.”

* ”The historical-critical method of explaining the Bible, however, puts the scholar or individual above the plain approach of the Scriptures and gives inappropriate license to decide what he or she perceives as truth based o the resources and education of the critic. This type of approach leads people to distrust God and His Word.” Ted Wilson, page 11, Adventist World, September 2010

CONFESSIONS OF A PHILOSOPHER is Clifford Goldstein’s latest installment of his Cliff’s Edge essays. In it he quotes Bryan Magee, an Oxford professor who “was overwhelmed, almost literally so, by a sense of mortality.”

“Magee wrote eloquently about his struggle with meaninglessness, the realization that no matter what he did ‘none of it would make the slightest difference to me or to anyone else when all of us were nothing, as everyone was going to be, including everyone not yet born; …that there was no meaning in any of it, no point in any of it; and that in the end everything was nothing.’ “

“Magee expressed what I’ve [Goldstein] been harping on for decades now: unless you can answer the problem of death, you have no answer to the problem of life. Death ruins everything. It voids all that comes before it. It’s not the great equalizer; it’s the great neutralizer, the great destroyer even.”

Cliff, I see things differently. Unless I can deal with the problems of life, I have no answer for the problems death presents. Life is the greatest gift, and my dead heroes live on in my mind, and they accompany me wherever I go. They provide guidance and inspiration and comfort every hour of every day. I have children and grandchildren who will live after I die. Death doesn’t frighten me. I’m part of an ecosystem in which death makes life possible.

Our separate take on existence my hinge on our theology. Christ’s life is what makes living significant for me--what He taught and the manner in which He celebrated the good and confronted the evil in the world. Christ died because men killed him, not as a blood sacrifice offered up to appease an angry god. For you, it seems, Christ’s sacrificial death is an all-important affirmation that your life has significance.

REKINDLING OUR PURPOSE reflects the outlook of Andrew W. Kerbs.

"I am only 21 years old as I write this. I am young, but I am acutely aware that I am a part of the next generation (and hopefully the last) of Seventh-day Adventists. With this in mind, it leads me to be concerned. Upon graduating from academy, I didn’t know too much about the heart and soul of Adventism. It took personal study and devotion to get me there, a journey well worth the effort, but a journey not shared with many others of my generation, as I’ve come to find.

“And so I state the problem: Though our schools may teach our doctrine, we have lost every ounce of urgency. In other words, a church that touts itself on preaching the three angels’ messages shouldn’t be celebrating its 160th birthday; it should be mourning it! We have lost (or betrayed) our identity and therefore our purpose.

“It is time we wake up. It is time we rekindle the flames of urgency and biblical fervor that once drove our church. It is time we stop riding the fence of compromise and make a choice.”

YOU HAD TO HAVE BEEN THERE by Petra Houmann Howe recounts what she learned as someone who didn’t “fit in” socially because she was a “highly mobile” missionary kid. The essay is thoughtful, and my only criticism is her extra-biblical statement that Jesus “grew up getting picked on and cuffed about by bullies in tough Galilee”.

PARTY UNLIMITED is the story, recounted by missionary to the Philippines Maritess Robles-Branson, about a birthday party for 12 that unexpectedly became a party for an entire village.

In CRESTING JOY, Associate editor Gerald A. Klingbeil shared an experience with dolphins with poetry and a photograph. The experience was “a symmetry of joy”.

No comments: