Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reviewing the Adventist Review

March 22 2012
Vol. 189, No.9

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.

Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t have a great deal to recommend it other than CARPE DIEM, the lead editorial by Gerald A. Klingbeil and REFINED FOODS, another excellent treatise on healthy living authored by Handysides and Landless.

I do, however, have something to say about what is glaringly absent from almost all of the Adventist Reviews and Adventist Worlds I have read over the past years—relevancy.

Gerald A. Klingbeil’s inspiration for CARPE DIEM came from “a very engaging program on National Public Radio featuring Dr. Evan Lipson, a young oncologist from Johns Hopkins Hospital…Seize the Days [website] honors cancer patients and the ways they have made their days meaningful; it showcases their courage in order to inspire others; and it provides an avenue that helps family honor the memory of their loved ones.”

Carpe Diem inspired Klingbgeil to look at his priorities to make sure that his “first things” truly remain first. He ends the editorial with the request that readers send him their carpe diem stories at

Handysides and Landless conclude their essay on REFINED FOODS with these sensible words: “Fresh vegetables, lots of fruit, whole grains, legumes, and nuts, along with a little dairy or dairy equivalent, should form the basis of a healthful diet. Excessive texturized protein, processed foods, and ‘created’ complexes need to be viewed with caution. If you do choose to eat them, do so in moderation.”

Today, three print editions of the Review are mailed to fewer than 30,000 subscribers each month. Consequently, its theological impact on the Adventist community is negligible. The NAD edition of Adventist World is mailed to every member whose name appears on “the church books”, free of charge, in the attempt to keep individual Adventists connected to the church in some tenuous way since it has been estimated that only half of the official 1.2 million Adventists on the books attend church at least once a month. * (My brother gets the magazine, and he hasn’t attended church in twenty years.)

Both publications unfailingly canonize official church dogma. Consequently, Adventist young people aren’t motivated to read them, and Adventist professionals and working stiffs “don’t waste their time”. With a few exceptions, the rest of us old-timers venerate these periodicals as if they contain church sanctioned gospel that reflects a united voice.

The failure to elicit and publish opposing viewpoints permits the readership and Adventist hierarchy to persuade themselves that everything in Adventist land is hunky-dory. That everyone’s working hard to reform themselves and revive their commitment to Adventism. That only a few ragtag bloggers and malcontents are unhappy, and Cliff Goldstein can be depended on to defend any official position with supercilious ease.

I would argue that this lack of critical response should be interpreted as a sign of profound disinterest. It masks a growing disaffection created by a rigid formulistic church creed and, most glaringly, official pronouncements regarding biblical literalism and the misogynistic and homophobic attitudes embraced in church doctrine and policy.

* A Passion For Revival: An Interview With Lee Venden in the February 2012, issue of Ministry Magazine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

While I understand that the AR only reaches, let's say, 30,000 members, those who receive it usally share it with other members and sometimes people of other denominations.

It then "reaches" far more people than one might suspect. I do think that RELEVANCY is an important missing piece. There is too much patting the Church on it's own back, by itself, in the articles presented.

For example, the Church's leaders are, at this point in time (mid-late June, 2012), holding a serieds of "presentations on Biblical anthropology. The Adventist version of man's origins.
The meetings are being held in Israel.

One might think that a better use of the time and tithe money spent on the trip for the theology "experts" would be better spent on the very present subject of how Christians and religious Jews can bring them into what I will call "practice harmony" by finding a way to at least begin following the religious practices and holy times (the Sabbath and the yearly holy convocations and sabbaths. With no animal sacrifices, but "marked" as some Adventists do.

I think the matter of keeping all of God's commandments (the Ten Words, and the supportive statutes and judgments, spoke of in Ezekiel 36, 26 and 27. That is to say, the whole Law of God, not just an attempt to try keeping the Ten Commandments without a knowledge of how God wants them to be kept, in detail.

Without a clear understanding of the specific details of how God wants His Ten Commandments to be kept and observed, there is no way to be enables to keep and observe them.

Remember that, in the Torah, the words for "statute" vary depending on what gender, in Hebrew,the word statute is expressed in the five books of the Law of God.

The word, statute, when describing the animal sacrifices, was, and is therefore, in the masculine gender. That means that it ended when Jesus was crucified for us.

The word, statute, in Hebrew when referring to the Sabbath and the yearly holy days, is always in the feminine gender. That means that the statutes in which God commanded the yearly holy days as listed in Torah are attached to the woman, Christ's own Church.

The Sabbath and the holy days attach back to when God told Satan that He would put "enmity between thy seed, and her seed."The woman is represented as the Church, including our's today.