Thursday, September 27, 2012


Comic modified from Pearls Before Swine, by Stephan Pastis.
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

September, 2012
Vol. 8, No. 9

Adventist World is free online. For that reason, I only review or comment on articles that I believe to be of special interest. Online readers can now read the entire print edition. Just click on the cover in the bottom left of the home page, and every page of the entire magazine is yours! Editors, way to go!

This issue is dedicated to Adventist families. I’ll summarize. Be good Adventist adults, good Adventist parents, send your children to Adventist schools, pray that they marry good heterosexual Adventists (But be nice to people who have had the misfortune to marry nonAdventists), attend church regularly, have daily Bible study, pray earnestly, and do everything you can to keep your family from being influenced by the world outside the Adventist bubble. I have just two other irreverent comments.

ONE WHOLE HUMANITY: Third International Bible Conference Focuses On Biblical Anthropology as reported by Mark Kellner, was held in Israel. It might just as well have been held in Silver Spring. For Adventist theologians and so called “anthropologists”, the ancient world is anathema. For them, Ancient Middle East settings are 4000-year-old Biblical props.

Ted was there, of course, to make sure that Delegates to the 10-day conference strongly affirmed the president’s 

Wilson called on educators to lead a positive revolution on your campuses—a revolution back to the Bible with an historicist position and with an historical-biblical approach. His message also stressed the importance of the Adventist understanding of the sanctuary service, which, he said, holds the ultimate answer to the two distortions of Christian belief, legalism and ‘cheap grace.’

And then there is Fundamental Belief Number 23.

Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian a marriage commitment is to God as well as to the spouse, and should be entered into only between partners who share a common faith. Mutual love, honor, respect, and responsibility are the fabric of this relationship, which is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church. Regarding divorce, Jesus taught that the person who divorces a spouse, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery. Although some family relationships may fall short of the ideal, marriage partners who fully commit themselves to each other in Christ may achieve loving unity through the guidance of the Spirit and the nurture of the church…

Number 23 needs a rewrite, and I’d be glad to offer some corrective help!

  1. Marriage is not discussed in either of the creation stories found in Genesis.
  2. No two persons share “a common faith.”
  3. There are a number of good reasons why divorce is a good idea.
  4. Marriage partners, straight or LGBT, can’t always “achieve loving unity” no matter what help and assistance is provided, temporal or spiritual.
  5. Second marriages, by definition, are not adulterous.

Goodbye Rudi

Modified from the comic Non Sequitur, by Wiley 
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Even the primitive beliefs of boneheads change with the times.

Comic from Rubes, by Leigh Rubin.
(click for enlarged image)

Reviewing Adventist Today

September-October, 2012
Vol. 20, No. 4

After the last print edition, there was nowhere to go but up, and I’m happy to report that this issue is definitely up! I am particularly delighted with the easy access to the magazine’s pdf file! It’s easily worth the subscription price. Kudos to all concerned.

The title of J. David Newman’s editorial, GC PRESIDENT’S PLEA FOR UNITY WAS REALLY FOR UNIFORMITY says it all. I was particularly struck by his side note.

On a side note. The only power the General Conference has over a union is to remove it from the sisterhood of union conferences. But that poses a dilemma for the president. His membership resides in the Columbia Union. If the union is declared out of conformity with the will of the General Conference and removed, then Wilson would lose his membership in the Adventist Church. Since he would no longer be a member, he would have to resign as General Conference president.

KINGLY POWER: IS IT FINDING A PLACE IN THE ADVENTIST CHURCH? by Stanley E. Patterson is a thoughtful and thorough discussion of the politics of Adventism as related to the issue of women’s ordination, and a defense of the Union’s rights to ordain whom they wish. An Ellen White quote summarizes the argument:

It has been a necessity to organize union conferences, that the General Conference shall not exercise dictation over all the separate conferences.

Patterson concludes:
Proponents of the centralized model of authority challenged the newly adopted representative model at the 1903 General Conference Session. The delegates defended the idea that it was the people’s church and held to the distributed model of governance and rejected what was referred by some as “kingly authority.” It should not be ignored, however, that the tendency to control rather than to trust the voice of the body remains a temptation that has an insidious and persistent pull upon those called to lead. Remember

Plato’s tyrant; he started out as a protector! We must ask ourselves and, yes, even assess our organization to determine whether controlling behavior is impacting the church in a systemic manner. Are we still honoring the spirit of the 1901 reorganization? There is evidence that the church is functionally moving toward an
Episcopal model as the representative structure crumbles from lack of maintenance.

Patterson follows this article with another. SIX POINTS ON THE ISSUE OF ORDINATION OF WOMEN in which he discusses church structure, hierarchical permission issues, the histories of the various commutes appointed by the GC to study the issue of women’s ordination, conflicts in the church’s working policies, the meaning of the word, “unity”, and interpretations of biblical authority. He concludes:

Given that this matter has been under study for more than 60 years, some see the current action as further stalling tactics by a body that has authority to advise on the issue but does not have the constituted authority to make the decision for implementation. While the General Conference in session is recognized as the highest authority in the world church, it is not entitled to impose its actions on other levels of the church, in which it does not have constituted authority.

Following the Patterson articles is UNITY AND AUTHORITY IN THE CHURCH, the presentation made to the July 29 Columbia Union Constituency by Raj, Attiken, President of the Ohio Conference. He makes a persuasive case for what he calls, “Doing What’s Right, and ends his presentation with the following words:

We conclude that the action today by this body, to approve the ordination of persons to the gospel ministry without regard to gender, is within the rightful purview of this body and that to wait for another level of the organization to address it would be to abdicate our responsibility and privilege.

We conclude that the world church, at multiple General Conference sessions and Annual Council sessions, has amply demonstrated its inability to act decisively in this matter. We have no evidence that the regional and cultural biases have
changed on this subject.

We conclude that our action does not intrude upon or usurp the authority of any other level of the organization, but respects our collective commitment to delegated and distributed authority.

We conclude that the proposed action is not a violation of any biblical teaching or theological principle.

We conclude that gender-based discrimination in ministerial ordination is a practice that we must not condone any longer in the Columbia Union Conference.

We conclude that the action we are proposing is morally and ethically the right thing to do—and that the right time to do the right thing is right now.

In DOES ADRA HAVE A FUTURE? Monte Sahlin reviews the history of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency and concludes that the recent shakeup in administration is due to personality conflicts at GC headquarters and a significant turbulence in its strategic environment, including issues that will likely force major changes in the way it operates.

Sahlin approves the choice of Elder Robert Rawson, ADRA’s interim administrator, but recommends the selection of a new leader that will stir things up. In addition:

All of the board members and the entire staff need to spend two solid weeks in small groups brainstorming: What are the issues? What do we need to do? They need to listen to some hard-to-hear input from people capable of providing a fresh, outside assessment. They need to spend some quality time together in prayer.

GOD ENCOUNTERS is an interview with Adventist Pastor A. Allen Martin, one of the co-founders of a nondenominational organization whose aim is to help young people to establish a strong connection with God. It has become an international program with scheduled events designed to build an online community. is an open door to that fellowship.

A QUANTUM PARADOX OF TIME AND PROVIDENCE: DEATH BEFORE SIN AND MAN’S FALL AFTERWARD AS ITS CAUSE by Darrel Lindensmith is a title in search of coherent thought.

In MAKING PEACE WITH CHANGE, when Alden Thompson opines, Adventists resist admitting change in beliefs and practices…We know that change comes. We also need to know that it usually comes very slowly, he’s stating the obvious. However, when he asserts that typically changes happen quietly, without fanfare—like the dropping of circumcision from the list of requirements at the first General Conference in Acts 15, that statement certainly understates the kerfuffle that preceded that change!

Gary E. Fraser, MD, Ph.D. provides an analysis of The China Study critique in the last issue. Fraser claims Dr. Roger N. Trubey doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Reader, you’re on your own.

Adventist Man’s Satirical Look At Adventist Life should be funnier than it is. I’m not sure why. PERHAPS COMMENTERS NEEDED! while attempting to caricature varieties of online gadflies, the Man’s attempt at humor may be an unintended reminder of the exasperating, mind numbing, albeit addictive attempt to discover pearls of wisdom in the unending comments of commenters.

Misogynistic Reasoning

Modified from the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

“O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!”

Modified from the comic Non Sequitur, by Wiley 
(click to enlarge)

Reviewing the Adventist Review

August 23, 2012
Vol. 189, No.24

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.

This is the Tenth Anniversary of KIDS VIEW. The magazine is a stapled insert inside the Review on the third issue of each month, and is now a substantial eight pages and also published independently. THE VIEW FROM HERE by Wilona Karimabadi and Kimberly Luste Maran chronicles its ten year evolution.

Immediate plans involve a redesign and relaunch of its Web site that will soon include companion sites in French, Spanish, and Portuguese to make it possible for more kids around the world to have access. KidsView will continue to keep increasing its brand recognition as the magazine grows and evolves in order to keep up with its growing and evolving audience—which literally changes from year to year. 

A DIFFERENT MINISTRY by Julio C. Muñoz is a feature article describing the Risk Management division of the Adventist Church. It’s a MUST READ for every member who desires a clear explanation of how the church handles risk prevention, control of loss, and insurance. ARM’s child abuse prevention program, as described here, is thorough going and comprehensive; in Muñoz’s words, our most serious charge.

A priority for ARM and the Adventist Church is child abuse…Throughout the past 20 years ARM has paid slightly more than $1.5 million per year (a total of $30 million) in settling claims involving sexual misconduct in the United States for the entities we insure. This accounts for about 400 claims involving 526 victims.

Andrew McChesney’s current Moscow adventure has left him with this conclusion: The only way to be prepared for any occasion is to always wear a suit and tie. Find out why in his story about A SUIT AND TIE FIT FOR A CANADIAN MINISTER.

ORIGINS: BELIEFS HAVE IMPLICATIONS by Delbert W. Baker is the first of a two-part discussion of creation and origins. In the article, Baker concludes that:

Ellen White’s counsel about the dilemma dissolve principle is straightforward: when there appear to be discrepancies, we should deliberately place our confidence in the Bible. Why? Because both creation and evolution have to be accepted by faith, the safe path is to place our confidence in the Bible. Ellen White wrote about the danger if we don’t: “Those who doubt the reliability of the records of the Old and New Testaments too often go a step further, and doubt the existence of God, and attribute infinite power to nature. Having let go their anchor, they are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity”.

As usual, no middle ground is considered. Historical records that date thousands of years before the biblical 6000-year creation story exist in the Middle East and the Indus Valley. Given just these facts, Noah’s flood and the Tower of Babel stories have to be regarded as myth, given the biblical timelines.

I’m uncertain about many things, not just about the historical accuracy of a number of events chronicled in the Old Testament, and I know others who share my uncertainty. As far as I can tell, we remain church members in good standing and are not beating about on the rocks of infidelity, whatever that means.

Finally, A HOME IN MY HEART by Larisa Brass is a MUST READ story that powerfully defines the meaning of Christian love. (Larisa is the mother of six children, all adopted from Uganda.)

The flood story is always good for a laugh.

From Non Sequitur, by Wiley 
(click image to enlarge)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Authorized CHIP Bedtime Story

From Non Sequitur, by Wiley 
(click image to enlarge)

Reviewing Adventist World, NAD Edition

July, 2012
Vol. 8, No. 7

Adventist World is free online. For that reason, I only review or comment on articles that I believe to be of special interest. Online readers can now read the entire print edition. Just click on the cover in the bottom left of the home page, and every page of the entire magazine is yours! Editors, way to go!

Ted Wilson’s essay, FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE. Its defense of the “right to worship” is cogent and well written. The biblical citations he uses to defend his position are compelling.

Religious freedom is a fundamental freedom—a basic human right.1 It preserves an appropriate focus on personal, individual opportunities, yet it is also good for the well-being of societies and countries. Wherever it is honored and protected, justice, peace, and cultural progress inevitably increase…

Religious freedom bears the signature of a God of love, and plays an integral part in the great conflict between God and Satan, between good and evil. In the heart of the book of Revelation—Revelation 13 and 14—evil powers are described as oppressing, persecuting, and killing those who refuse to worship them (Rev. 13:14-17)…

Jesus prepared His disciples to face persecution, but He never allowed them to persecute others, or to take revenge…

However, his pious defense of religious freedom is at odds with official Adventist practice. Consider the case of Pastor Walter “Chick” McGill and Lucan Chartier, the leaders of a small congregation in the town of Guys Tennessee, who served time in a San Bernardino County detention center for the use of the name “Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church.”

Enditnow has become “enditnow: Break the Silence About Abuse”. The campaign has been expanded to include not just women, but children and men as well. Resources for the campaign are available at

VITAMIN B12, ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH? is one more outstanding health alert by Handysides and Landless. Their analysis of dietary practice is unbiased and based on up-to-the-minute science.

I was interested enough in THE BELT OF TRUTH by Dick Stengakken that referenced the Roman soldier’s cingulum that I wanted to learn more about the belt worn by Roman soldiers in the first century. If I’ve fired your interest, take a look.

If you are an early Adventist history buff, Part I of MICHAEL BELINA CZECHOWSKI’S story may be of interest. Nathan Gordon Thomas’ Part II will appear in the October edition.

I must confess that I look forward to Angel Manuel Rodriguez’ answers to questions that invariably evoke a smile. This one is no exception: WILL PEOPLE BE MARRIED IN HEAVEN? After citing Jesus answer and theological interpretations, Angel comes down on the side of the “no sayers.” However, his last line is classic, perhaps the result of his wife’s critique: Feel free to disagree with me.

By the time Mark A Finley pontificates about UNDERSTANDING GOD’S WILL, I’m wandering in a wilderness of trite phrases and confusing biblical texts.

He seems to be looking at Southern Florida!

From Non Sequitur, by Wiley 
(click image to enlarge)