Thursday, August 4, 2011

Reviewing Adventist Today

Summer Issue, 2011
Vol. 19, No. 3

Adventist Today continues to tease, but fails to deliver. SLANTING THE TRUTH by J. David Newman, is just one unfortunate example. After discussing the “hows” and “whys” truth can be manipulated to serve previously determined ends, the reader expects a current example of how this “slanting” is being currently used by church authorities. No example is supplied!

The letters section included only one brief highly critical of the only thoughtful essay in the Spring Issue, WHERE IS WILSON LEADING US? and devoted 5+ columns to Desmond Ford’s convoluted critique of Darrel LIndensmith’s esoteric and incomprehensible analysis of Ford’s rejection of “historicism” (Desmond Ford and Historicism, AT, Spring, 2011)

Editor Newman needs an editor. His rambling, disjointed, quasi-historical essay, IS ELLEN WHITE REALLY A LESSER LIGHT? takes up 25% of this issue’s printed pages! The final answer is a predictable, “Yes”, accompanied by the comment: “it is too easy for the denomination to speak out of both sides of its corporate mouth when it comes to the authority of Ellen White. When it suits our purpose, we declare that we must follow exactly what the Spirit of Prophecy says, but when economic and other pressures bear upon us, we become pragmatic and find a way to rationalize her counsels.”

What to do with Alden Thompson remains a mystery wrapped in an enigma. In ELLEN WHITE: AN “EMERGING CHURCH” SPOKESPERSON? he makes a convincing case that Ellen was. But Thompson goes on to cite Ellen’s admiration of Martin Luther and John Calvin as similar spokespersons, irrespective of their murderous excesses.

“She praises Martin Luther for his teaching on righteousness by faith, his attack on papal abuses, and his work in translating the Bible into the language of the people.9 She does not tell us about his predestinarian theology, his brutal suppression of the peasant revolt, and his rabid anti-Semitism. She focused on points on which she could agree.

“Finally, in the chapter, “The French Reformation,” Ellen White describes the work of several reformers, John Calvin being the most prominent. She speaks highly of his efforts to establish the principles of Protestantism, but she does not mention his predestinarian theology or his heavy-handed rule in Geneva where 58 dissenters were killed and 76 banished during his rule (1541 to 1564). She looked on the positive side, focusing on points on which she could agree.” (Italics mine)

He concludes with following problematic declaration.

“In short, Ellen White was indeed a champion of the “emerging church.” She felt no obligation to attack or even mention points of disagreement. She simply practiced what she preached: ‘The Lord wants His people to follow other methods than that of condemning wrong, even though the condemnation be just.’ ”

WHAT SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT MUSLIM RADICALS? is David Pendleton’s review of Joel C. Rosenberg’s “Inside the Revolution: How the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson & Jesus Are Battling to Dominate the Middle East and Transform the World” (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale, 2009), 551 pages.

According to David Pendleton, the book warns of a future dominated by Muslim extremists unless peace can be achieved “through proselytism, the active and systematic conversion of Muslims to Christianity. Until theologians of Islam consistently condemn violence, he implies, adopting a peace-oriented Christianity may be the only immediate means to attain harmony among Middle East peoples…wholly secular efforts within Islam to achieve a permanent peace have proven to be ephemeral.”
America’s “peaceful influence” in the Middle East must surely dim that hope!

Alden Thompson reviews THE LOST MEANING OF THE SEVENTH DAY by Sigve K. Tonstad, (Andrews University Press: Berrien Springs, Mich., 2009), hardback, 575 pages. Thompson gently chides Tonstad for his failure to “take more seriously the role of ‘fear’ in winning broken people to God in a world where evil still reigns.”

TONSTAD ANSWERS TOMPSOM’s objection with one and a half tortured pages explaining his “generic apology of hope”. It seems to me that a reference to the woman caught in adultery would have been sufficient.

7 QUESTIONS, an interview of Clive Holland by the editor, provided welcome relief to those of us who are worried about the future of Adventist Today. Clive, the new president of Adventist Today’s board, is a guy who can rescue the foundering ship of Adventist Today if anyone can.

And ADVENTIST MAN is back! His brief sabbatical seems to have provided him with a renewed sense of mission! Brilliant!

1 comment:

Ceska said...

There is so much misinformation and negativity perpetrated by the media with respect to radical Islam and the Iraqi war that reading this was like a breath of fresh air. Joel Rosenberg is a respected advisor to presidents and friend to dignitairies alike. He researches the topics contained in this book well and presents a well-balanced assessment of the situation in the middle east from a diplomats point of view as well as an evangelical christian.