Thursday, May 5, 2011

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.

1 comment:

Ian said...

In the July 23, 2009, issue of the Review, Francis Collins, M.D. was feature as an example of ‘service for its own sake'. His story is certainly an excellent example of selfless service. However, in his book referenced in the article, he promotes theistic evolution and is in fact one of its most prominent supporters. I wonder what Cliff thinks of this.