Thursday, May 26, 2011

Drastic Changes at ADRA International

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

May 12, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 14

This issue should make Ted and the boys and girls at the GC happy. Finley defends the literal six day creation week, and all the other articles should easily pass official censorship. As you might suspect, I believe Finley's "defense" requires a comment or two.

Lael Caesar's uses ALPHABET SOUP as a metaphor for the recurring, simple message that Isaiah delivers to the besotted leaders of Israel who don't understand that they are headed for disaster. With his closing admonition, Caesar, like Isaiah, seems to metaphorically address the leaders of the Adventistchurch as well as the members! "Take your soup, dear child of God. God knows you still need alphabet soup."

In UNALIENABLE RIGHT, Bill Knott calls for church membership to be "freely chosen--and regularly renewed...This is no call for simply “cleaning up the books” or hasty discontinuance of members who aren’t often seen. But it is a call to honor the real choices that individuals have made. When by statement, lifestyle, or specific behaviors they make clear that they aren’t walking with this people, we do them no favors by insisting that their names remain on our records in hope they one day change their minds. The freedom to join the fellowship of Adventism has a matching right: the freedom to leave."

James H. Park uses FALLINGWATER, a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built over a waterfall, to remind the reader that "even a weekly osmosis of Living Water from Sabbath school and church is not enough to meet the needs of our spiritual lives that are daily challenged by the wilderness of the world."

In A STRUCTURE, A FOUNDATION, A HOME,Dixil Rodriguez talks about the necessity of building hope and faith and a home on a strong foundation.

To Be Seen TO BE SEEN is Elizabeth Haney's account of the way she helped her students at Southeast High School in Lincoln, Nebraska, "see" and help orphans in Uganda.

A REWARDING NEW CHAPTER: RETIREMENT! is the story of Larry and Carole Colburn active retirement near near Douglas Lake in Eastern Tennessee.

A CHOICE TO LOSE is Jimmy Phillips tribute to Chris Medina, a guy who didn't become the New American Idol, but whose life revealed "the highest form of love".

In CARING ENOUGH TO CONFRONT Steve Jencks reminds us of our Christian duty to be truth tellers.
"For too long we have viewed the words “confront” or “confrontation” as intimidating words. We seem to shun confrontation at every cost. We envision someone who confronts as reaming somebody out, letting them have it with both barrels, mowing them down. But confrontation is good and necessary when it is done with love and seeking redemption."

A LESSON OF HOPE by Deborah Fish is about her love for a horse called Hope. She had a bent nose and her imperfection made her worthless to almost everyone. However, Hope was needed as a companion to a lonely horse named Jade, and so her life was saved. It's a reminder that whatever our personal defects, we are saved by God's grace because we have a job to do.

BEYOND THE CREATION STORY is Mark Finley's defense of a literal six day creation.
"Seventh-day Adventists have been known for 150 years as the people of the Book. The Word of God is the foundation of all that we believe and teach. While we clearly recognize that all truth—including scientific truth— originates with God, we do not attempt to view the Bible through the eyes of science. Our understanding of biblical realities shapes our view of the world around us. While we may not always be able to fully explain every detail of the available scientific data, our interpretation of that data is informed by our understanding of Scripture...To exalt God’s gift of reason above God’s Word is catastrophic."

Eppur si muove.

Finley goes on to assume that people who don't believe that the Genesis 1 creation story is literally true, or prefer the other creation story in Genesis 2, must believe in Theistic or Darwinian evolution. The article also assumes that Adventists are in danger of losing their faith because there is a paucity of reasons to keep them from becoming agnostics or atheists. Both assumptions are ludicrous.

I believe this fanatical crusade in defense of creationism and the literal interpretation of the first eleven chapters of Genesis is the outgrowth of official fears that many of the fundamental doctrines of the Adventist Church are crumbling in the face of enlightened minds and reasonable doubts.


New: CUC Executive Secretary Dies
J. Neville Harcombe was 71.

New: Newbold College Board Appoints New Principal
The board taps Philip R. Brown, a vice president of Avondale College.

New: Religious Freedom Ambassador Keynotes Religious Liberty Event
Suzan Johnson Cook shares her vision.

New: Mission Board Reviews Plans to Centralize Mission Operations
Institute of World Mission to move to world headquarters.

Advent Prophecy: Present Truth

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flogging Dead Nets

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing Adventist Today

Spring, 2011
Vol. 19, No. 2

Sadly, the only article in this issue that deserves a serious read is Larry Downing’s WHERE IS TED WILSON LEADING US? Jonathan Gallagher’s, DR. A. GRAHAM MAXWELL: A THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE provides a comprehensive review of Maxwell’s theology. However, the “perspective” it seems to promise regarding the impact of his biblical exegeses on Adventist theology is missing. Still it’s worth reading. However, the rest of the articles

SCIENCE IS NOT ENOUGH by J. David Newman concludes, “There are some things that science cannot tell us. It cannot tell us there is a God. It cannot tell us that we are sinners. It cannot tell us that God came as a man to save us. Science does not tell us that we are saved through the blood of Jesus. Science does not tell us the meaning of life.” OBVIOUS

Des Ford’s esoteric response to an abstruse critique of his book on Revelation by Jon Paulien gets two columns. IRRELEVANT

DR. A. GRAHAM MAXWELL: A THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE by Jonathan Gallagher reviews the theology that made Graham beloved and revered.

“ ‘God is a friendly God, and He will save all friendly people. Why only friendly people? I think it’s just because heaven is a friendly place, and God is a friendly God who presides over the universe.’ ”

“ ‘You can force people to be your servants. But you cannot compel them to be your friends. … Which one of us would have dared to approach God with the incredible idea of John l5:l5? ‘We are no longer willing to be called your servants. We insist that from now on we be addressed as friends!’… I believe it is a great honor to be God’s servant, and especially to be regarded as a faithful one. It is also a high privilege to be called God’s child. But most of all, I’d rather be His friend. A trusting and trusted friend.’ ”

“These concepts Maxwell embodied in life. For him God is friendly and loves us—even to dying on the cross for us. God values nothing higher than our freedom and wishes to heal us, remake us, and spend eternity together with his trusted friends.”

WHERE IS TED WILSON LEADING US? By Lawrence G. Downing is a MUST READ. Downing uses Wilson’s own words to outline his theological beliefs. They include the following: an unequivocally claims that Adventists are the remnant people, as evidenced by seventh-day Sabbath keeping; Ellen White was a prophetic interpreter of scripture; these are “really” end times; the entire Bible, including the first eleven chapters, must be interpreted literally; Jesus is currently in the Heavenly Sanctuary securing the salvation of the elect; Adventist theology, i.e., the 28 Fundamental Beliefs, is TRUE and trumps scientific evidence and rational thought; that the spiritual reformation and revival of the Adventist Church is a necessary condition for the Second Advent.

Downing concludes his article with the following questions:

“The call for revival and renewal is a hallmark of churches or groups that are seeking to find new life or a renewed purpose. The faithful will offer their Amen, and others will shrug and await further developments. Left unanswered is whether Wilson’s pronouncements will promote unity within the church or contribute to further polarization. Will youth, young adults, and those whose views may differ from Wilson’s find assurance they are valued and welcomed in their church? Or will they find in his statements further evidence that they must look elsewhere for a spiritual home? Will his administration model inclusiveness and acceptance, or will it promote exclusiveness and uniformity? The next five years will provide answers to these and other questions.”

In light of Ted Wilson’s theology and his present control of every governing body in the General Conference, five years are not required to answer Downing’s questions. Wilson’s pronouncements will foment further polarization, and educated young people whose views differ from Wilson’s will increasingly “look elsewhere for a spiritual home”. Wilson’s radically conservative administration is based on “exclusiveness and uniformity”, and his dogmatism alienates thoughtful members of every stripe, especially teachers and professors in Adventist educational institutions.

In Julius Nam’s interview of Keith Lockhart that appeared in “Seeking the Sanctuary”, Spectrum Blog, September 21, March 2011, there is evidence that Lockhart and I seem to be reading the same religion page. He contends that a byproduct of tertiary education is skepticism of religious claims, based solely on “faith”, that appear to be with odds with social mores and rational processes.

JN: “You’ve written about the “revolving door” syndrome in Adventism where younger generations are leaving the church after attaining upward mobility through the church’s educational and health systems. If you were hired as a consultant to the North American Division, what advice would you give to halt, slow down, or reverse this trend?”

KL: “A good friend of mine at Newbold recently asked me if I would offer any advice. I was reluctant to get involved. However, for what it is worth, the answer is contained in your own question. You could bring the revolving door to a juddering halt by shutting down all Adventist educational institutions, especially the medical ones. You would prevent upward mobility then at a stroke, and you would probably be able to keep more members. But if that happened Adventism wouldn’t be Adventism, would it? So I don’t think that bulldozing Adventist institutions is a viable solution, nor am I recommending it!”

SOCIAL (IN) JUSTICE? by William F. Noel is a RECYCLED Republican rant.

“Is the modern concept of “social justice,” with taxpayer-funded programs designed to benefit minorities, God’s model for charity and something the church should support? Only if you enjoy disobeying God.”

“This system neither compelled giving nor taxed producers to help those in need. No group was considered “entitled” to receive because they had less than someone else. Specific acts of charity were the choices of individuals whose hearts were moved by awareness of need, with no government involvement. Recipients were expected to take what opportunity they had to work and to preserve their dignity as they returned to self-sufficiency. This is why the Apostle Paul ordered: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10, NIV).

“This contrasts sharply with the popular concept of social justice, which is based in liberal-socialist philosophy and hijacks the biblical model to promise an end to poverty after enough is taken from the rich. The path to this socialist utopia and total government control of life follows many action paths.”

DESMOND FORD AND HISTORICISM by Darrel Lindensmith is unreadable and IRRELEVANT.

PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Jeff Carlson is OBVIOUS. He’s a name-caller but wants to stay employed. I could admire this guy IF he named some of the punks! “Airtight theology” indeed!

“But I couldn’t be a Lutheran or Calvinist or any other type of Christian. There is no space in those churches for my theology. Parts of it, yes—but not the whole or even the majority. My theology fits in the Adventist Church. But how can many churches, which have such clear pieces of the practical character of Christ, be so deficit in biblical theology as I see it? And how can my denomination, with its airtight theology, be so full of punks? I feel like Peter saying, “Lord, where else would I go?” But honestly, I don’t like being here a lot of the time.”

Truth Decay: A Call for Accountability & Transparency by Albert Koppel is a RECYCLED critique of the secretive money allocating practices of the Adventist Church.

“Although my book, and others like it, has arrested the attention of the Church in North America, there is apparently a fear that the call for financial forthrightness in the world field will somehow produce an unmanageable backlash. Strong forces seem to oppose a climate of openness and transparency in the Church, preferring closed-door meetings and filtered statements.”

THE INFAMOUS FLEECE IS WOOL: THE 5 WORST REASONS TO ASK GOD FOR SIGNS by Vanesa Pizzuto has a catchy title but the ideas are RECYCLED.

“Reducing God’s will to a “destination,” rather than the process of getting to know him better and tuning our souls to the Holy Spirit, is a big mistake. It turns Christianity into a superstitious and shallow practice. We need first an intimate relationship with God. Then God may choose to talk to us through the Bible, through a friend, using circumstances or, yes, even a sign. And in all these ways we will be able to recognize his voice, because we will be accustomed to it.”

THE DAUGHTERS OF ADAM WHO WERE THEY? by Harold Frey is poorly written and unquestionably IRRELEVANT.

“We really don’t know very much, and that is why my most important question is this: What do the Genesis stories and the Bible as a whole intend to teach us?”

DON’T “GET IN TOO GREAT A HURRY AND EXPECT TOO MUCH OF DARKENED MINDS” is Alden Thompson’s attempt to apply this principle to “current attitudes toward Ellen White”. That seems an OBVIOUS tactic.

In 1874 Ellen White wrote, “ ‘cultivate a good temper—kindly, cheerful, buoyant, generous, pitiful, courteous, compassionate traits of character…Don’t get in too great a hurry and expect too much of darkened minds’…God saves people like us. Patience, time, and gentle energy can bring light to darkened minds.”

7 QUESTIONSFOR…ELDER TED N.C. WILSON were submitted by J. David Newman, editor of Adventist Today. Wilson’s assistant, Orville Parchment, sent J. David this reply: “Elder Wilson does not wish to answer these questions directly.” What could be more OBVIOUS?
  1. Our readers would like know the human side of their world leader. What would you like to share about yourself in 200 words?
  2. You are making revival and reformation a hallmark of your administration. Why is this so important?
  3. The 1976 Annual Council called for a similar revival and reformation. How does this call build on the previous call?
  4. Since the 1976 call did not bring its desired results, what lessons can we learn that will make a difference in this call?
  5. Are there limits to theological diversity in the Adventist Church? If the answer is yes, how do we determine those limits?
  6. Apart from the need for revival and reformation, what other major challenges does the Adventist Church face?
  7. How do you build consensus among the wide diversity of leaders at the General Conference, Division, Union, and Conference levels?
ADVENTIST MAN is now IRRELEVANT. In his place is a cartoonist named Heinrich. Please, editors, bring back the Masked Man of Mystery.

May 21 is only 3 days away!

Comic from Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.
(click for enlarged image)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


A critique by Andy Hanson

Note: This critique was shortened and framed in the larger context of a series of Hope Channel evangelistic efforts being produced by the Adventist Church. It can be viewed on the Spectrum Blog, thanks to its editor, Alexander Carpenter. The following is my extended critique of the five presentations alone.

Watching this series was a painful experience. For starters, the production values were abysmal—the audience never learned the name of the man who introduced the participants each evening, the camera work could only be rated “inexperienced amateur”, and the content of the five, ninety-minute broadcasts belied their promised titles.

Neither speaker appeared comfortable with their almost extemporaneous, tag team presentation of information. Timothy Standish babbled excitedly about the wonders of nature, and Ron Clouzet’s presentations were a jumble of theological and scientific references. He spoke when only a biblical worldview could satisfactorily establish what really happened.

Darwin was quoted often. His words revealed him to be very aware of the problems his evolutionary theory presented to the scientific community. He did not speculate about the origin of life, and only published The Origin of the Species after years of consulting with the leading scientific minds of his day. These honest reflections and carefully worded letters were used by the speakers to diminish Darwin’s credibility.

As I reread my notes, I have come to the conclusion that people who weren’t in attendance may think I’m overly critical. If you come to this conclusion, I suggest that you order this series of lectures and see for yourselves. It will be available in about six weeks. Email

Wednesday, May 4
My title: Poetry is Science?

  • The Big Bang theory was competently explained and then discredited by an appeal to logic.
  • The literal seven-day creation story was treated as fact.
  • Creation of the earth, sun, and moon took place in six literal twenty-four hour days.
  • When the stars were created was a matter of speculation. (There was no mention of the Genesis 2 creation story.)
  • It was assumed that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible at God’s direction.
  • There are a myriad of reasons, scientifically, to support the notion that our world is a very unique and special place.
Thursday, May 5
My title: Literal Confusion

  • All viewer questions considered were of the “softball variety”.
  • Differences between accepted scientific conclusions and the literal words of the Bible are due to misinterpretations of the Biblical text.
  • A Biblical world view takes into account supernatural acts and is therefore “unrestricted”
  • Evolution requires periods of impossible “spontaneous generation”.
  • How life began requires a “theological explanation” for both evolutionists and creationists.
  • There is a difference between theoretical Macro Evolution and observable Micro Evolution.
  • The earth was created 6000 years ago.
  • The biblical account of the Universal Flood is factual. (It was not mentioned that, according to the biblical chronology, the Flood occurred around 2500 BC.)
  • Basic animal “kinds” entered the Ark in pairs. (No mention was made of another account in Genesis 7.)
  • According to Standish, the Arc was “a very big boat”.
  • Waters above the earth and beneath the earth combined to cover the entire world.
  • It is possible that a miraculous wind evaporated enough water so that dry land finally appeared.
  • According to Clouzet, “There are a number of things we don’t have an explanation for.”
  • The humility of Moses is required as believers seek to understand other worldviews.
Friday, May 6
My title: Gee Wiz!

  • Viewers with questions regarding race and repopulation of the earth after the flood are told that Abraham lived 500 years after the flood.
  • Standish dazzles with stories about the incredible biology of life and gets carried away. This leaves Clouzet very little time to make his theological contribution.
  • “It’s incredible!”; “It’s amazing!” are a frequent refrains.
  • Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, still didn’t understand why things happen the way they do.
  • Clouzet: “It takes trust to figure out what we don’t understand.”
Saturday, May 7
My title: Lost in Geologic Time

  • Early on, it was clear that neither Standish nor Clouzet knew what they are talking about.
  • Apropos quote: “Don’t always believe people who speak with great confidence.”
  • ‘There’s not much chance that you will meet Darwin in Heaven.” (That is almost a direct Standish quote.)
  • The geologic column is like a layer cake.
  • The Grand Canyon’s exposed, extensive, unbroken sedimentary layers are evidence of a recent universal flood.
  • There is very little evidence of life in the Precambrian period.
  • Radio carbon dating is explained and critiqued. (No other dating method was mentioned.)
  • (There was no discussion of the age of dinosaurs, Neanderthals, evidence of primitive homo sapiens, genetic history, oil fields, or plate tectonics.)
Sunday, May 8
My title: Blind Guides

  • A disclaimer from Standish: “We are not archeologists, physicists, or geologists.”
  • “You’ve all seen the Discovery Channel.”
  • God’s creative power is revealed in nature because most natural things are “happy and cooperating”.
  • “No one can find out God from beginning to end.”
  • Herbivores are “good” animals and remain pretty much as God created them.
  • Sin turned some animals into “bad” animals like carnivores—a picture of serrated shark tooth flashes on the screen.
  • “Rational people are unsettled by violence in the natural world.”
  • Darwin was influenced by Milton’s deistic tendencies in Paradise Lost.
  • “Darwin wrote about a God he didn’t understand.”
  • “Everyone has a religion, even atheists.”
  • “Science has no position regarding evil.”

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The folks at ADRA are hard to impress.

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

April 28, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 13

This issue will offend no one. It’s full of good advice, and includes a bit of fascinating Adventist History, FATHER JOSEPH BATES, and a mission story, A CLOSE CALL, that almost never was. I also suggest a careful reading of the accreditation story detailed in World News and Perspectives.

La Sierra University is being subjected to scrutiny by the Adventist Accrediting Association regarding what the headline calls “Faithfulness to [the] Church’s Creation Belief.

In Bermuda, Adventist lay member Scott Smith has made the suggestion that churches shut their doors for a month and pastors and members take their ministry to gang members and their families.

The ADRA Board met on April 6 to acquaint themselves with the issues surrounding the agencies reorganization. Two new committees were established: a working committee to “consider the defining elements of ADRA, and a standing committee to oversee the group’s bylaws. “Questions about which level of governance—executive officers or the ADRA Board—was the right one to determine reductions in force had circulated since the February announcement” and has yet to be determined. A June financial report and future transparency in decision making were promised.

In OUT OF THE PICTURE, Gerald Klingbeil makes his argument for “real” church attendance.
“Don’t get me wrong: we are blessed with wonderful preachers and their easily accessible messages. However, church is not virtual. Church is people and fellowship and warm embraces, and yes—also somebody stepping on my toes. Church is local because that’s where our mission is. Church is a snapshot full of people—and when some are on their way out or even missing, the picture is not complete.”

SWEET TO THE SOUL is Kimberly Luste Maran’s encounter with suicide that has become a constant reminder “to be kinder and gentler with people, for I don’t know what they might be suffering with on the inside”.

Norman R. Gulley takes issue with anyone who argues that the Bible teaches predestination in WHO DOES THE CHOOSING?
“Jesus cried out to God in an utter sense of God-forsakenness. All human sin, yours and mine, plunged Him into that awful agony. In the depths of death the traditional divine decree is shattered, and replaced. It is not God who does the choosing—electing some, rejecting the rest; He chose to die for all. So all humans can elect or reject His gift. This stands predestination on its head and refutes the challenge of the great controversy. God respects human freedom to choose. What awesome love!”

Delbert Baker provides “a spiritual, responsible approach; an approach that is proactive versus reactive”.
  1. Deliberately affirm your faith, not your fears.
  2. Carefully watch world events (Matt. 24:42) and allow the signs that validate Christ’s words to affirm the sovereignty of God over the affairs of nations.
  3. Responsibly ask why these events are taking place.
  4. Know for yourself what Bible prophecies say about end-time events. Don’t depend on someone else’s interpretation. Study the books of Daniel and Revelation regarding the times in which we are living (Rev. 5. Embrace the empowering promise of the Holy Spirit’s presence to bring about revival and reformation in your life, and in the life of the worldwide church family.

“Seventh-day Adventists keep the Sabbath because God is our Creator, our Redeemer, and because we believe in His promise of a new earth. The Sabbath is our weekly reminder of His work of creation and redemption. Our name proclaims this beautiful message, a message of salvation and healing to be proclaimed “to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people” (Rev. 14:6).”

Nathan G. Thomas writes about the very first Seventh-day Adventist, FATHER JOSEPH BATES.

“It would be hard to overestimate the significance of this great man in the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. With his energy and influence in the initial foundational period, and with his complete acceptance of Ellen White as a prophet, Seventh-day Adventism was given the jump-start it needed to succeed as a denomination.

Dateline Moscow: Editor Andrew McChesney’s Christian tolerance and courtesy is on the line! The newsroom is sympathetic but silent. Will virtue prevail?

“My newspaper’s managing editor called me just as I woke up. He said one of the world’s largest metals companies had called to complain about an article on the front page of that day’s issue.

“ ‘They asked for your cell phone number, but I refused to give it to them,’ ” he told me. “ ‘Can you call back their representative, Ilya?’ ”

“Now I was fully awake. The Russian-owned company in question has a hard-nosed reputation that makes journalists shudder. A phone call inevitably means a long-winded complaint and a demand for a correction or a retraction. Standing up to the company can lead to consequences. One of our reporters once bypassed the company’s press office to track down factory workers for comment, and company management blacklisted the newspaper for a year, stonewalling all questions.”

A CLOSE CALL is Lamar Phillips’ story about God's ability to use our efforts in ways He sees best. It’s a mission story that begins with his car stalled on train tracks in front of an onrushing train!

ETC. BOOKMARK is a book review of “The Case for the Investigative Judgment” (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 2010), 350 pages, US$19.99, reviewed by Gerhard Pfandl, Ph.D., associate director of the Biblical Research Institute, General Conference of 
Seventh-day Adventists. Marvin Moore, longtime editor of Signs of the Times, responds to objections of critics, showing that the investigative judgment is in fact a biblical teaching.

THE PUMPKIN PIE INCIDENT by Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste that answers the question, “Does God really care about the mundane things in our lives?”

The GC In Executive Session

Modified from the comic Non Sequitur, by Wiley
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

BRI Research Proves Invaluable

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

April 21, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 12

If you give this issue a cursory read, it’s strengths and weaknesses pretty much define official Adventist orthodoxy. But a closer reading provides hints that progressive Adventists are not regarded as goats in another pasture. That said, I do have a reaction to the Goldstein essay.

PENTICOST AND MORE is still going strong. So far this year, 62,542 new members have joined the Adventist Church in the Inter-American Division.

Washington Adventist University has established a new campus on the property of Atlantic Union College, whose accreditation ends July 31.

The European Court of Human Rights has affirmed the right of Italy’s public schools to display crucifixes in classrooms.

Andrew University student, Ryan McCabe, painted full-length, life-sized portraits of 20 “high priority” children as determined by Compassion International and scheduled a public showing of his work. All the children were sponsored within 24 hours! All sponsors received the portrait of “their child”.

Hugh Martin, Composer and Del Delker’s Accompanist, died on March 11 at his home in Encinitas, California. He was 96.

In THE GREAT DIVIDE, E. Edward Zinke makes the following suggestion: “As we celebrate the passion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, let’s open our lives to its transforming power.”

MOVED BY THE SPIRIT by Stephen Chavez is a reminder about the way the Holy Spirit finds its way into our everyday experiences.

“The Holy Spirit has a way of reaching out and grabbing us in most unusual, unpredictable ways: sometimes in a line from a sermon or lyric from a top-40 song on the car radio; in a scene from an old movie or from a Bible verse previously unnoticed dozens of times; in the fragment of a dream or a reflection in the mirror while brushing your teeth. The Holy Spirit isn’t confined to a particular setting, nor does everyone experience the Spirit the same way.

“If there’s a secret to experiencing the Holy Spirit, it’s not to compare your experience with anyone else’s, but to be open to His leading.”

PERHAPS...IT IS THE RIGHT DECISION is both a statement and a spiritual philosophy for Martin Proebstle.

“My “perhaps” concerning the future is rooted in my trust in God in the present. Thus “perhaps” is not a sign of insecurity or of doubting God’s willingness to save, or even less God’s existence. It is in fact a sign of reliance and dependence on God; exactly because I realize my myopia in many life situations.”

BUZZING ABOUT THE BEEHIVE by Gina Wahlen reports on the Beehive ministries.

The Beehive is currently focusing on six projects, ranging from the Daniel Challenge to thrift stores to Christian consulting services. In addition to the six ongoing projects, the ministry is also involved in two international mission projects—the creation of agricultural schools in India and Haiti.

A CHECKLISH FOR CHRISTIANS by Mike Jones includes his personal moral checklist.

  1. My checklist reminds me to seek first the kingdom of God before I check the weather report, read the paper, or pray about other matters.
  2. Going to the cross does amazing things for me. When I personalize looking at Jesus hanging on the cross (I do this with 1 Peter 2:24), my old compulsions and obsessions have less control over me. I receive the amazing new life that Jesus promised.
  3. Getting a new heart enables me to love more fully as Jesus loved, and obtaining the mind of Christ gives me the software to think correctly and reprogram the hardware that is my messed-up brain.
  4. Knowing I have received both power over “all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:19) and wisdom (James 1:5) gives me far more courage to face my day than if I hadn’t obtained these gifts.
  5. For me, being “changed into a different person” (1 Sam. 10:6) every day is huge—a wonderful new way to live the Christian life. I don’t become a nicer person; I become a different person.
  6. Nothing beats heading into the war zone of each new day knowing that I’m fully protected by “the shield of faith” (Eph. 6:16). With the “sword of the Spirit” (God’s Word) (verse 17) in my mouth I can even win my battles because “the Lord will fight for [me]” (Ex. 14:14).
  7. With Jeremiah (“When Your words came, I ate them” [Jer. 15:16]), I “eat” Jesus’ promises every day and ingest His love, wisdom, grace, and power into my life. Think about the implications of having Galatians 2:20 become your reality rather than just words: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
Hyveth Williams knows what has to happen to get A TASTE OF NEW WINE!
“Let’s not be afraid to step up for a taste of new wine! Even as an institution we must be willing to say, as did Zacchaeus upon receiving Christ, if our church has taken anything from anyone by false accusation or by silence in the presence of sin, we will restore it fourfold” (see Luke 19:8). Just as the new wine of an experience of Christ cannot be put into the old container of a selfish character, neither can reformation and revival be forced into the old wineskin of a church that has not recognized and repented of the corporate sins of racism, legalism, and exclusivism, to name a few.”

During the 1903 General Conference session held in Oakland, California, Ellen White offered the following heartfelt prayer just before delivering a morning talk titled “Unity of Effort.” In this excerpt we see a deep longing for the Holy Spirit to work among people.

“O my Savior, Thou who has shown compassion to us all, again we ask Thee to grant unto us a rich portion of Thy mercy, Thy fullness, Thy compassion, Thy everlasting love. Come, Lord Jesus, and make us partakers of Thy divine nature, that we may overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. Oh, may the Spirit of Christ, the love of God, comfort every heart this morning! Banish darkness, turn away the deceptive powers of the enemy, and let Thy voice and Thy Spirit and Thy love come into our souls, that we may sit together in heavenly places with Christ Jesus; and Thy name shall have all the glory. Amen.”

In FACING THE EASTERN SKY, Wellington Manullang tells the story of Hatsue, a woman of childlike faith who wanted to be buried facing east so she could be “one of the first to Jesus when He appears”.

Andy Nash shares a unique perspective in ANOINTED ONE.

“A study of the anointing of Jesus with nard perfume followed by His triumphal entry on a colt into Jerusalem can be beautifully enhanced with nard itself. I ordered pure spikenard oil from (a very small amount costs $13.95). During a worship service we dispensed the perfume with diffuser lamps throughout the room for a beautiful experience. We found it deeply meaningful to realize that Jesus would likely have smelled like nard the entire final week of His life, giving off the fragrance of royalty wherever He went.”

THE FIT OF THE DRESS is important to Wilona Karimabadi.

“No two of us are the same—and that was His design because the Lord knows how to meet us exactly where we are. We need only to be open to the many ways He can reach us and teach us to learn all that we can from Him. And there are many methods to try, and more ways than we can fathom for the blessings of the Lord to fall on us.”

In A SAFE PLACE Cliff Goldstein expounds on his position concerning Adventism and evolution.

“As I have said numerous times: Adventism and evolution are mutually exclusive. If one is true, the other is false. Ergo, you can be an Adventist or an evolutionist, but not both. Our name, Seventh-day Adventist, implies a rejection of any creation story that’s premised not on the six days before the seventh but on eons of evolutionary hell.

"Because I’ve taken this unyielding position on what’s an unyieldable position, I’ve been accused—both in the flesh and in the fleshly androgyny of cyberspace—of advocating that anyone who believes in evolution ought to be thrown out of the church.

“That’s false. What I’ve said is that it’s hard to see how anyone who believes in evolution would want to be in this church…Evolution is an acid that erodes everything it touches. That would include the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, which have the central theme of creation and redemption, two truths nullified by evolution, even a “theistic” kind. (Who’d want to worship a theos who created like that, anyway?)”

In this piece Cliff opines that Adventism should be a “safe place” for individuals to struggle with evolutionary ideas. Bravo! Unfortunately, he implies that anyone who rejects the idea of a literal six-day creation or does not believe that “the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 [are] the central theme of creation” have no reason to call themselves Adventists.

His parting shot at Christian evolutionists “(Who’d want to worship a theos who created like that, anyway?)” is personal rhetoric. I, like Job, am unable to comprehend why things are as they are. However, I love the beauty and infinite complexity of this world, and I can worship the ”theos” that caused it no matter how it was created.

Rib Removal Leads to Loss of Paradise.

From Non Sequitur, by Wiley
(click image to enlarge)