Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Reviewing the Adventist Review

February 17, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 4

This issue left me scratching my head. A quick scan of titles and introductory paragraphs left me with the impression that a theologically progressive wind was blowing through open windows in Silver Spring. However, after reading the magazine from cover to cover, I was disappointed to discover that it wasn’t a wind; it was a fitful breeze.

LETTERS once again included comments that weren’t congratulatory. Commendable! Floyd Sayer took a shot at Hyvath Williams for her progressive attitude toward “worship styles, music, dress, and theology”. Ron Bergman included a zinger in his comments about Bible study. “Some even claim to be studying the Bible when they’re reading Ellen White’s books.” (Fuddy-duddy 1, Thoughtful Critic 1)

In his editorial, TEAMWORK, Gerald Klingbeil extolls the value of couples working in ministry. “I am wondering how much talent and passion the Seventh-day Adventist Church is losing by overlooking the great blessings and opportunities of couple ministry.” (Klingbeil 1, Misogyny 0. Too bad homosexual couples could not be included. Adventist Church 0, Homophobia 1.)

When Gina Wahlen checked out ELLEN WHITE'S E-MAIL ADDRESS one more time, and to her delight she discovered herself “on a backstage tour of heaven and earth”. (Thoughtful Critic 1, Disinterested Reader 0)

LET THE REBELUTION BEGIN by Jeffrey Rosario cites some troubling statistics that led him to believe that his “generation of Adventists is increasingly an endangered species: “There’s a 50 percent chance that a teenager who gets baptized in his or her mid-teens will leave the Adventist Church completely by the time he or she is 25.

“One in every five Adventist churches in North America doesn’t have a single child, teenager, or young adult. In fact, the median age in our churches is nearly 60—20 years older than the average American.

“According to a survey, seven in 10 youth (ages 18-30) who attended church regularly in high school reported that they stopped attending by age 23. Of that group, 34 percent said they never returned to church, even occasionally, by the age of 30. Translation: 1 in 4 protestant youth have left the church for good.

“Here is the bottom line: God expects greatness from us. Our movement began with young people who had a high-caliber Christian experience. It was “normal.” And if this is going to be a useful generation of Adventists who are worthy of their name, then we’d better ditch these low expectations and bring back some raw, biblical Adventism. It’s likely that Jesus will not return until we expect greatness from the current generation. Remember, Adventism is never more than one generation away from extinction.” (Intelligent Warning 1, Thoughtful Critic 0.) Jeff, it’s the current “raw [literal] biblical Adventism” that’s the problem.

SABBATH, MOVIES, AND THE PLAINS OF MOAB is David Tasker’s attempt to make Adventism relevant.

“Controversies over falling standards (e.g., music and appropriate worship styles) have always been with us. But are we learning from these interchanges? There is good evidence to suggest that while we have been preoccupied with standards, we may have in fact been distancing ourselves from the ideals of Scripture. This article illustrates the dilemma of failing to get it right in explaining one church “standard” (theater attendance) to ensuing generations, and suggests how Scripture deals with the issue of passing on values with credibility and power to the next generation. (Promoting the “ideals of Scripture” 1, Preoccupation with standards 0)

NEAR-DEATH DELUSIONS by Cliff Goldstein is a warning about taking reports of NDE’s, near death experiences, seriously. (Preoccupation with standards 1, (Promoting the ideals of Scripture 0)

THE DANGER OF UNBELIEF by Ellen White is an admonition to live life with humility and a mind open to the voice of God. (Open mind 1, Closed mind 0)

Shawn Brace makes an appeal for the “milk of human kindness” in CANCER FOR TWO, LOVE FOR ONE. “Sadly, in our attempts for theological purity and behavioral perfection, the milk of human kindness and, indeed, the Christian mandate to love are often glaringly absent. We, who boast of being God’s chosen in these last days, too many times forget that above all, Christ says that His disciples will be identified by their love for one another. (Christian love 1, Theological purity 0)

In PREPARING FOR THE HARVEST, Hyveth Willaims asks us to join her “in choosing love every day, for there is no occasion so terrible that hatred, bitterness, or betrayal is worthy of our energy. (Love 1, Hatred, bitterness, betrayal, 0)

LEARNING BY DOING by Amir Gulzar is the story of a courageous young evangelist, 12-year-old Bwambale Kataka Genick, in a place called Oicha in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Active concern for others 1, Disinterested observer 0)

REMEMBERING TO LAUGH by Andy Nash provides the following advice. ”As sober as life can be, when we don’t make space for pleasure in our homes and churches our kids will look for it elsewhere. We need times of solemnity and study; we also need times of levity and laughter—all generations playing together. That’s the church many of us grew up in and still want for our kids today.” (Laughter 1, Gloom 0)

Mark Kellner, himself, is in THE VERY BEST PLACE TO BE when he publically calls it to our attention that the gospel message is not exclusively Adventist. He references Captain Stanley E. Ditmer of the Salvation Army who served others, met their needs as human beings, and preached “the gospel” for 51 years. One of Kellner’s treasured memories is meeting the man who “wrote a song that the Salvation Army sings to this day”. This is the first verse and chorus.

“I shall not fear though darkened clouds may gather round me;
The God I serve is one who cares and understands.
Although the storms I face would threaten to confound me,
Of this I am assured: I’m in His hands.”

“I’m in His hands, I’m in His hands;
Whate’er the future holds I’m in His hands,
The days I cannot see, have all been planned for me;
His way is best, you see;
I’m in His hands.”

(The Gospel 1, Theological purity 0)

No comments: