Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reviewing the Adventist Review

March 10, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 7

For me, this issue was a SDA potluck. Bill Knott’s Vegetarian Meatloaf and Shawn Boonstra’s Frychick gave me heartburn. Carlos Medley, Dixil Rodriguez, and Jill Morikone brought food that provided much needed palliative relief, and a gulp of Monte Sahlin’s constructive analgesic analysis relieved the burn. The rest of the food was filling but bland.

Ted Wilson called for prayer and humility in a featured sermon at a three-hour televised event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. 13,000 people attended.

James E. Graves, Jr., has been confirmed as a member of the Fifth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals.

Dorothy Amey, cancer survivor, former missionary, and teacher, is actively involved in providing food for hungry Californians. She works in the SDA Pantry program of the Camarillo, SDA Church.

Dwayne Leslie has been appointed Associate Director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department and Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs for the world church.

David Ln, renowned Adventist pastor in China, died four days before his 94th birthday. His funeral was held in Loma Linda, California on February 20.

This issue emphasizes integrity as a fundamental manifestation of the Christian life. For followers of Christ, integrity means more than having strong moral principles; it means living an examined life, speaking your truth thoughtfully, without consideration of audience or livelihood. It means expressing what you believe humbly, with an open mind, with the understanding that your truth isn’t THE TRUTH, but an approximation of ultimate Truth.

Christ understood the moral dilemmas of every age. He understood that when Christians attempt to live a life of integrity, our choices are often limited and the consequences of our actions are difficult to determine. That’s why he simplified the Law for us—love each other as best you can and make an honest attempt to live as He lived. To make what he meant even clearer, in Mathew 25:31-40, he described what will happen at the Second Coming.

This is why it is painful to read EFFICIENT—OR SUFFICIENT—FAITH? Bill Knott’s defense of living a life of “doctrinal distinctiveness” as evidence of integrity.

“Seventh-day Adventists ought never to be afraid of doctrinal distinctiveness. The [28] truths we hold to be self-evident in Scripture are not a set of market-tested consensus statements, but the full-orbed wheel of biblical faith that takes seriously all that Christ has told us is important.”

Far less painful are the following definitions: for Ellen White, integrity, is GOD’S ESTIMATE OF CHARACTER that reveals “something radiating from within” that reveals “true goodness, purity, meekness, lowliness”. For Judith Nembhard, WALKING IN INTEGRITY means living a life that goes “beyond outward conformity to a religious creed and center on inner commitment. When faced with a moral dilemma, people of integrity choose to adhere to what they know to be right rather than what is accepted”.

STIRRED, BUT NOT SHAKEN by Shawn Boonstra is another polemic about the meaning of the recent tsunamis and earthquakes. As Adventists we should know that “the prophetic hourglass is nearly out of sand”, and that “each successive catastrophe is also a clear message to God’s church”.

In 1905, my five-year-old mother, along with her dolly, had to be evicted, by broom handle, from her under-the-bed shelter after attending a revival and reformation sermon in which an Adventist evangelist predicted that wars and catastrophic natural events “proved” that the Seven Last Plagues were in the offing, and the Final Judgment was no more than a year away. Enough Already.

A WALKING FAITH, the brief editorial by Carlos Medley focuses on the seasons as metaphors that reveal God’s goodness.

NO ONE IS ON THEIR OWN by Ferdinand Regalado reminds the reader that it wasn’t only Abram that was called out of Ur. God called Sarah and the rest of the family as well.

SEARCHING THE OBVIOUS by Dixil Rodriguez is a conversation with a kindergartner. Moralizing about what she learned and shares with her readers would spoil the story. It’s a MUST READ. (Dixil’s contributions alone are worth the cost of a subscription.)

PEDDLING HEAVEN'S TREASURE by Birol C. Christo is a parable about what it means to have open minds and open hearts.

DEFINING DISCONTENT by Jimmy Phillips is his reflection on what can happen when you spend so much time worrying about doing the right thing that you “lose sight of Jesus’ words: ‘Do not worry about tomorrow’ (Matt. 6:34) and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:39).’”

CHURCH TRENDS is the latest information from Monte Sahlin on how to discover the spiritual impact of your church on the people who attend. He’s offered a survey if you want one. Email him at

GLOW STORIES are stories “that result from an outreach initiative in multiple North American Division conferences based on the concept of church members carrying Adventist literature with them wherever they go and handing it out, free of charge, at every opportunity”.

WHAT'S IN YOUR DASH? by Jill Morikone is another MUST READ that asks the reader to consider, “What is your dash looking like so far?”

“A dash on a gravestone [is simply] a punctuation mark between someone’s date of birth and date of death. A line etched in stone. How could a line really encompass the living, breathing part of a person? Someone’s whole life with its joys, sorrows, emotions, and accomplishments will all be reduced someday to a single line—simply that, a dash?”

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