Thursday, February 10, 2011

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition
February, 2011
Vol. 7, No. 2

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.

The events and stories chronicled in this issue are a testimony to the unconditional love and personal commitment to others, around the world, that characterizes Adventist commitment to service. Docs Handysides and Landless’ thoughtful and cutting edge advice undoubtedly saves lives and educates a worldwide audience. “To Suffer for Him” by Yevgeny Zaitsev is an account of Stepan Zaitsev’s witness during the days of Soviet Union persecution. And the editors published Edwin L. Christiansen’s letter championing women’s ordination. Wow!

And then there’s Ted Wilson’s inflammatory, divisive screed. I’ll have something to say about that at the end of the review.

In UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES, Bill Knott chronicles the exponential growth and popularity of Adventist World.

“When Adventist World was launched in September 2005, it was available in just two languages (English and Korean), and only in print. Five and a half years later, 1.5 million copies a month are printed in eight languages, and readers can access the magazine online in 13 language editions, including Arabic, Romanian, and Urdu (go to, and select from the language menu).”

In CAMBODIA, Adventist Students From Germany’s Marienhöhe Adventist Academy have begun an aid project at their partner school in Cambodia. In September 2010 the students of Marienhöhe Adventist Academy organized various fund-raising activities to earn the money needed to build dormitories for teachers and volunteers working at their partner school.

In MONGOLIA, Descendants, an Adventist Singing Group, supports evangelism as the Seventh-day Adventist Church grows in the country. Onstage the group performs a mix of locally composed songs, Japanese songs, and religious songs. They sing in English, Korean, Japanese, and Mongolian.
(picture grab)

In PERU, Adventist supported legislation guaranteeing the religious liberty of all citizens, a freedom already recognized by the South American country’s constitution.

In TANZANIA: ADRA U.K. is providing support and training for the albino community, which faces a lack of education, scarce job opportunities, and segregation in the region.

In the PHILIPPINES, Adventist Conversions help to end childhood marriages.

In the SUDAN, ADRA UK is providing food and services in the most dangerous country in the world. Lleqellyn Juby, the country’s ADRA director, reports. It’s a MUST READ.

These are today’s accounts of world service. A reminder of the Adventist tradition of unselfish love and service is “TO SUFFER FOR HIM” by Yevgeny Zaitsev. His grandfather, Stepan Zaitsev, served as a pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when he, along with thousands of others, was convicted as an “enemy of the people” in 1937 under Stalin’s famous article 58 of the Russian Penal Code.

LIFE-SAVING VACCINES by Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless calms the fears of readers who question the adverse effects of vaccines. As evidence of their position, they offer the findings of a Rotavirus study.

“People who are worried about vaccines think of adverse effects. These occurred in 9.7 percent of the vaccinated group, but also in 11.5 percent of the placebo group. This means that what are called ‘adverse’ effects are often just coincidental events ascribed to the vaccine, because there were more in the unvaccinated group.* The 60 percent reduction shown in this study, when multiplied by the millions of children who get rotavirus-related diarrhea, translates into millions of children who were saved the misery and possible death caused by the disease.”

* Statistical information taken from Shabir A. Madhi et al., “Effect of Human Rotavirus Vaccine on Severe Diarrhea in African Infants,” New England Journal of Medicine 362:289-298;, January 28, 2010.

GOD'S SOLID WORD IN A CHAOTIC WORLD by Ted N.C. Wilson is, as usual, an “in your face” insult to Adventist believers who question his authority as an interpreter of Scripture. It’s a “know nothing” sledgehammer assertion that he is the arbiter of what it means to be an Adventist Christian. He knows what motivates anyone that disagrees with him; he knows “the subtle, and not-so-subtle, ways in which the devil seeks to distance us [progressive Adventists?] from the Bible”. He is “the final authority on all matters of belief and of lifestyle”.

The following words are from his essay. The comments directed to Ted in italics are mine.

A Question of Authority
“Perhaps the main reason many do not accept the Bible as God’s Inspired Word is because they would then have to accept the authority of the Bible in their personal lives.”

Perhaps the “main reason many [in the Church and out of it] do not accept the Bible as God’s Inspired Word” is because you are attempting to make your excruciatingly literal interpretation of Scripture a test of Christian fellowship! Your comment about what motivates other people’s “personal lives” is a narcissistic display of arrogance.

“Accepting that God was and is actively communicating through His Word gives the Bible authority. It becomes the final authority on all matters of belief and of lifestyle. We cannot let scientific and sociocultural forces dictate what the Bible can mean. The apostle Paul’s words are as relevant today as when he first wrote to the believers in Rome nearly 2,000 years ago: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2).”

First of all, Romans 12:2 does not support your claim that the Bible is “the final authority on all matters of belief and of lifestyle”. Secondly, “scientific and sociocultural forces” are not concerned with “meaning”,i.e., morality. They deal with facts and theories.

“The tools or methods generally applied to literature are insufficient with which to approach the Bible. The Bible is superior to all human wisdom and literature. It is the norm by which all other ideas or methods must be tested. Rather than judging the Bible, everything will be judged by it, for it is the standard of character and test of all experience and thought (see 1 Cor. 2:15; 2 Cor. 10:5).”

First, these words raise questions about your extensive use of Ellen White as an authority. Second, check out your friends at the Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right website.

“We Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as the foundation for all our beliefs, and see in its pages our unique prophetic identity and mission. We must resist the subtle, and not-so-subtle, ways in which the devil seeks to distance us from the Bible and a plain understanding of what God has said is true. We must take all the Bible as authoritative; for how can we trust Christ as Redeemer if we doubt Him as Creator? Or how can we trust the implicit biblical statements about the literal Second Coming if we doubt the biblical account of a six-day creation in its plain, literal sense?”

“All our beliefs?” That’s certainly a “literal” stretch. (Need I mention “Hell” and our “Health Message”?) Are progressives “devil possessed”? And by the way, one can believe in a “literal Second Coming” and question the literal six-day creation of the universe.

“It’s a great blessing to know that even amid the uncertainty of the world around us we can rest with absolute confidence on the unchanging Word of God. The reading of the Bible, under the direction and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, will revive us and reform us. Let us as God’s people place ourselves individually and corporately under the authority of ‘the author and finisher of our faith’ (Heb. 12:2). Let us covenant to read His Word daily. As we do this we will discover a new power in our spiritual lives that will energize and empower us to proclaim eagerly the good news that the chaos, uncertainty, fear, and pain will not go on forever.”

It may come as a surprise, but these words, taken out of their context, elicit an Amen from this reviewer. Ted, come on, make the context go away.

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