Thursday, March 15, 2012

Reviewing the Adventist Review

February 16, 2012
Vol. 189, No.7

WORD NEWS AND PERSPECTIVES is an important section of each magazine. I do not usually report on its contents because it is available at the online address I provide with every review.

This issue is not one I would share with nonAdventists for reasons that will soon be apparent. That’s not to say it’s without informative and inspirational content.

Kidoes to Elizabeth Lechleitner for her report that ABUSE PREVENTION [IS] A PRIORITY FOR ADVENTIST RISK MANAGEMENT. While it is unsettling to note that “ARM routinely handles a couple dozen cases of child abuse every year”, it is gratifying to know that child abuse cases that involve church personnel are dealt with openly and that church leaders are working with Shield the Vulnerable, a proactive program “to better protect children”.

Dixil Rodriguez’s SHOE BOXES AND PRAYERS is a reminder that God’s messengers of comfort and encouragement sometimes arrive when we least expect them bearing gifts in shoe boxes.

Monte Sahlin can be counted on to provide important information on CHURCH TRENDS gleaned from the Internet.

And Robin Erwin has nine suggestions for KEEPING “YOU COOL” DURING HOT COMMITTEE MEETINGS.

It’s three letters in the INBOX that deserve comments. The first, buy Kevin D. Paulson is the most disturbing.

“Anyone who knows and understands the biblical claims of the Sabbath, yet chooses to set these claims aside, has forfeited salvation as surely has the racist, the adulterer, the liar, or the spousal abuser…”

Kevin, your language is reprehensible. May I suggest a quote from the Apostle Paul. “So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” Romans 14:22.

Editors, your decision to publish Kevin’s declaration of “the biblical claims of the Sabbath” is an invitation to doctrinal ridicule. The Apostle Paul refused to be sidetracked in this discussion of the Gospel by such distracting and divisive pronouncements. “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord.” Romans 14:5

Then there’s Mildred White who uses an Ellen White quote to assert, “He who is imbued with the spirit of Christ abides in Christ....whatever comes to him comes from Christ…nothing can touch him except by our Lord's permission.” This sounds a lot like the notion that we Christians have Christ to thank for our troubles. It's the Devil that torments the wicked.

Sterling Cox takes Hyveth Williams to task for suggesting that professional athletes might be effective Adventist spokespersons. He claims that their lifestyle and “oversized salaries”, not to mention participation in sports on the Sabbath render them unfit.

Sterling, last time I checked, plenty of Adventists work on the Sabbath. And lots of other people work on the Sabbath with our tacit approval. Janitors mop the floors in hospitals and members of the armed forces are at their posts. Telephone company employees keep us connected and members of the police force protect our property. We eat vegetables that were picked on the Sabbath and purchase cars without asking if they were assembled on Saturday.

A devout Seventh-day Adventist, the internationally acclaimed conductor Herbert Blomstedt, does not rehearse on Friday nights or Saturdays. He does, however, conduct concerts on the Sabbath, since he considers actual performances to be an expression of his religious devotion rather than work.

Couldn’t this disclaimer work for a professional athlete like Grace Daley. Her beauty and skill are celebrated on the cover of this issue as a professional athlete in action, not in her present job, counseling clients at a health fairs. What if it was known that she didn’t practice on Sabbath, but considered her game performances during the Sabbath hours as an expression of her God-given talent? (Tim Tebow might be cited as an example of Christian humility and lifestyle.)

Finally, Alejandro Medina Villarreal makes an amazing claim IN EXCHANGE FOR YOUR HEALTH.

“God does not have to be comprehensible to be reliable. And we do not have to understand to be faithful. Whether or not we understand, we may know, with Paul, that our heavenly father is in control of our most excruciating experiences, and that despite all the fiery darts of the enemy, our life is hid with Christ in God.”

This kind of cliché driven expression of “faith” defies reason and common sense. It also leaves the reader wondering who is to blame for our suffering. Is it our Heavenly Father who provides “our most excruciating experiences” or the Devil with his “fiery darts”?

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