Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reviewing the Adventist Review

July 21, 2011
Vol. 188, No. 20

Due to a variety of factors, time and old age being two of them, my future reviews will be limited to comments and reflections. I am counting on the Internet address provided to supply a summary of the content of each Review editorial, news release, and article.

This issue has one MUST READ essay. GOING WRONG WITH CONFIDENCE by Bert Williams a Civil War essay with immediate application. His concluding remarks should cause every Adventist to cringe at the dogmatic language of the Church Manual and call to mind the words written “To the Readers of This Book” on pages vii and viii introducing “Seventh-day Adventists Believe: a Biblical Exposition of 28 Fundamental Doctrines”. *

“History has not been kind to the Christians of the Civil War era, especially to those on the Confederate side who died to defend an indefensible system of unimaginable cruelty and bondage. Their certainty—even to the point of shedding their own blood and that of their enemies—in no way made their ideas sounder or more biblical.

“And though it can be reasonably argued that Christians on the Union side were closer to the biblical ideal, the ferocity with which they went about promoting their beliefs in the post-war Reconstruction era effectively inoculated many Southerners against the gospel the abolitionists said they were carrying. The manner in which they acquired political and economic control in the name of their victorious ideal way eventually undermined their influence on the reunified society.

“The lesson in all of this is not that Christians should avoid having strong convictions about the morally-fraught issues of our society. By temperament, training, and education, we will have opinions—and should. Early Adventism activism on the issues of slavery, lynching, and alcohol points to a godly, non-partisan engagement with the big moral questions of our culture. But we should also have the grace and humility to hear—and answer—the hard questions of those who disagree with us, and to consider the possibility that other viewpoints may, at times, have both merit and righteousness.

“When a crowd of persons starts moving in the same direction, they can so easily convince each another to go too far in promoting what seems right—or, worse, to even head the wrong way in the certainty supplied by numbers.
* “We have written this book with the guidance of a clear directive continually reminding us that ‘if you search the Scriptures to vindicate your own opinions, you will never reach the truth…We have not written this book to serve as a creed: a statement of beliefs set in theological concrete.”

In LAW AND FREEDOM, Clifford Goldstein makes the argument that “morality without law is as impossible as is thought without mind”. Obviously. However, Goldstein makes two assumptions that are problematic.

The first is that morality is arbitrary: “Is it sinful to have red hair? Why not? Because God’s law doesn’t forbid red hair. If it did, as the law forbids covetousness, then red hair would be sin. But it cannot be sin if no divine law defines it as such.” The idea that we were created to obey arbitrary laws makes God a failed puppet master.

The second if that “morality is based…on the Ten Commandments”. That kind of thinking got Jesus killed. Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

The New Testament makes it clear that the Law of the Universe is love. The many laws given to the Israelites on Sinai were given to provide a framework for civilized behavior until Jesus came to announce that His Kingdom is based on love, not the sacrifice of sheep and goats or Sabbath observance; that we are created to resonate harmoniously in a universe whose only law is love.

IT’S TRUE: YOUR BEHAVIOR AFFECTS YOUR GENES by Andy Nash and “AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF” by Addison Hudgins are definitely worth a look.

FAGAL, Harold Edward—b. May 5, 1923, Ilion, N.Y.; d. Dec. 24, 2010, Riverside, Calif.
Haynes, William L.—b. May 14, 1923, Grand Junction, Colo.; d. Oct. 26, 2009, Caldwell, Idaho.
KEIZER, Leslie Edmund—b. Nov. 25, 1925, Indonesia; d. Feb. 23, 2011, Calhoun, Ga.
MEIER, Humberto J.—b. Brazil; d. Mar. 11, 2011; d. Entre Rios, Argentina.
MORGAN, Mary Elizabeth—b. Nov. 22, 1923, Everett, Mass.; d. Jan. 18, 2010, Avon Park, Fla.
TAYLOR, John Wesley IV—b. Feb. 2, 1933, Bolivia; d. Nov. 26, 2010, Collegedale, Tenn.
TORKELSON, Oscar E.—b. Oct. 16, 1920, Everest, Kans.; d. Nov. 4, 2010, Greenbrier, Tenn.
WHEELER, Ernest E.—b. Feb. 24, 1925, Clyde, Ohio; d. Feb. 12, 2011, Longmont, Colo.
WILDMAN, Durward B., Jr.—b. Oct. 10, 1930, Mishawaka, Ind.; d. Nov. 30, 2010, Mohrsville, Pa.
WOLCOTT, R. Andrew—b. Mar. 11, 1921, Bryan, Ohio; d. Oct. 19, 2010, Lyles, Tenn.
WOODS, Thelma F.—b. Oct. 15, 1913, Mexico, Maine; d. Sept. 25, 2010, Longwood, Fla.
WILLIAMS, Benjamin J.—b. Jan. 13, 1917; d. Nov. 12, 2009, Portland, Oreg.

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