Thursday, May 10, 2012

Reviewing the Adventist Review

April 26, 2012
Vol. 189, No.12

WORLD NEWS AND PERSPECTIVES is an important section of each magazine. I don’t usually report on its contents because it is available at the online address I provide with every review. However, this issue proves the exception.

This issue is one you can share with nonAdventist friends and family. While I have a comment or two, the content is Christian rather than Adventist. Larry Blackmer’s four pages of twenty-two nature photographs celebrate spring, and provides a reminder that THIS IS MY FATHER’S WORLD.

The report, IS THE WORLD CHURCH MISSING OUT ON $12 BILLION IN TITHE? tackles the elephant in the room when it comes to the accurate reporting of church membership. GTI accounting promotes increased accuracy.

“Claude Richli, associate publisher 
of Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines, publishes the GTI as a 
personal venture. Though not an official publication of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the annual ranking can help administrators compare countries in similar regions and uncover trends.

"This year’s GTI introduced a new measurement called the total tithe potential, which shows the total tithe that should theoretically be received in a country if all Adventist Church members were faithful in tithing 10 percent of their income. 

“This year’s edition also offers stark evidence of how an audit of membership rolls reveals a more accurate gauge of members’ financial support. Nations that had big gains in ranking on the index this year—including Togo and Bolivia—were areas in which Adventist Church leaders have recently conducted membership audits.

“Togo jumped to number seven on the ranking, up from the thirty-eighth spot last year. Richli attributed the jump entirely ‘to the courageous decision on the part of its leadership to drop all missing members,’ he wrote in the report.

“In 2010 Togo reported 5,343 members, a 52 percent drop from 11,028 the previous year.

“That move, Richli said, showed that active members in Togo were as faithful as their counterparts in affluent countries. The church’s action in Togo, however, puts a spotlight on the ‘obvious need’ for membership audits in many countries.

“Unfortunately, Richli said, about one third of countries surveyed contribute less than 10 percent of total tithe potential. He said that figure ‘clearly shows that in those countries, church rolls are vastly inflated.’”

Good news! HUNGARY’S ADVENTIST CHURCH GETS OFFICIAL NOD. “John Graz, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department director for the Adventist world church, said Seventh-day Adventists in Hungary and around the world have reason to give thanks. “’My hope,’ he added, ‘is that the government of Hungary will continue to reassess the way it deals with religious minorities. Religious freedom is best served when a government makes no legal distinction between religions, and extends the same protections and privileges to all.’”

I guess it’s one thing for a government to advocate religious freedom, and another when the General Conference acts to obliterate the tiny Creation Seventh Day Adventist church in Guys, Tennessee, in a trademark dispute.

The inspiration for TITANIC LESSONS by Delbert W. Baker is Proverbs, and he reminds us “that we are all seriously sinkable and ultimately dependent on factors outside ourselves”. That said, the following are five lessons to be learned from the wreck of the Titanic: delete pride, expect challenges, be cautious, take leadership responsibilities seriously, and don’t be so preoccupied with your own problems that you forget to help others.

Andrew McChesney benefited from an oddity in Russian law that saved him a 200-euro fee and provided a lesson in UNMERITED GRACE, RUSSIAN-STYLE.

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS by Martin G. Klingbeil and NOTHING TO BE AFRAID OF by Marcos Paseggi are worth a thoughtful reading. Klingbeil’s piece is grounded in Biblical archeology and Paseggi’s makes an important point about friends and enemies.

However, their theological assumptions about God seem to me to be very different. Klingbeil: “God is always in absolute control of the lives of His children.” Paseggi: “The Holy Spirit is ready to impress human hearts. He may not act unless we properly commit to collaboration with Him.”

Can these suppositions be reconciled? If yes, how? If no, why not? And is thinking about the way God acts in the world important?

ALSAYBAR, Josefa—b. Nov. 19, 1921, Philippines; d. Oct. 18, 2011, Avon Park, Fla.
BELCHER, Anna B.—b. Mar. 5, 1920, Norfolk, Va.; d. Feb. 22, 2012, Burtonsville, Md.
BROWN, Mary Marilyn—b. May 1, 1926, Sioux City, Iowa; d. Feb. 13, 2012, Lincoln, Nebr.
BURTON, Wilbur A.—b. Mar. 20, 1931, Okla.; d. Dec. 5, 2011.
DIRKSEN, Michael E.—b. Feb. 1, 1952, Hutchinson, Kans.; d. Jan. 25, 2012, Kans.
HARRIS, Lester E., Jr.—b. June 4, 1922, Washington, D.C.; d. Feb. 1, 2012, King and Queen Court House, Va.
MCMILLAN, Betty Jo.—b. July 22, 1924, Atlanta, Ga.; d. Dec. 11, 2011, Knoxville, Tenn.
PERRAULT, Joanne G.—b. Jan. 4, 1944, St. Paul, Minn.; d. Jan. 1, 2012, Lincoln, Nebr.
RITTENHOUSE, Harvey L.—b. Dec. 8, 1918, Tacoma, Wash.; d. Feb. 11, 2012, Sterling, Mass.
WATTS, Lois May (Shepherdson)—
b. May 25, 1919, Kirksville, Mo.; d. Nov. 13, 2011, Loma Linda, Calif.
WRIGHT, Kenneth A., Jr.—b. Union Springs, N.Y.; d. Sept. 11, 2011, Winchester, Va.

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