Thursday, November 15, 2012

Reviewing the Adventist Review

October 18, 2012
Vol. 189, No.29

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 issue leaves the reader with a positive feeling that there will be greater honesty and generosity in the way we as Adventists conduct ourselves.

Bill Knott begins things with his editorial, HOLY CONVERSATIONS.

The way forward for an Advent people too easily divided by our differences in culture, language, history, and opinion is also inescapably dialogical, even when good dialogue requires the services of a translator or a mediator. A candid self-examination reminds me that not every preference of mine should be doctrine for my sister. Some ideas, however much I like them, are not central to the faith of Jesus. They must correctly be identified as in the negotiable margins that allow two different individuals to hold a civil conversation, talk about their common truths, and even agree to respectfully differ when necessary. Any faith community in which every opinion is sacralized ceases to be holy—or wholly Christ’s.

On the next page, Sandra Blackmer echoes Knott’s concerns.

We each choose how to respond to less-than-ideal circumstances, to criticism, to controversy. We determine whether to become defensive, to lash back, to make excuses, or to try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective and ask ourselves if there’s something we can do to improve things.

Joanne Davis, speaking at the GLOBAL MEDIA COMMUNICATIONS SUMMIT, argued:
Now is the time to make every change necessary to reach the world. And Greg Dunn echoed the refrain: “If ever there was a time to break out of the mold and to step up our game, it is now.”

Education, not doctrine, is celebrated with the LAUNCH OF THE CHURCH’S FIFTH MEDICAL SCHOOL IN PERU.

Clearly Cedric Vine was LISTENING TO THE SPIRIT when he wrote the following:

It is the theologians and administrators who play catch-up, seeking to interpret and understand the acts of the Spirit in light of Scripture…The preamble to the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Statement of Fundamental Beliefs captures nicely the dynamic role of the Spirit in guiding the church: “These beliefs…constitute the church’s understanding and expression of the teachings of Scripture. Revision of these statements may be expected at a General Conference session when the church is led by the Holy Spirit to a fuller understanding of Bible truth or finds better language in which to express the teachings of God’s Holy Word… While Scripture remains a constant, our interpretation of Scripture may require further growth and development. This truth requires that as a church, whatever procedures we use to deal with internal issues, we must always surrender to the dynamic leadership of the Holy Spirit. He will lead us into “all truth” (John 16:13)—if we are willing to be led.

Honesty and humility triumph as Cliff describes the death of his parents in a DEATH IN THE FAMILY.

My father died this summer. He shot his wife in the head, crawled into bed next to her, put the gun in his mouth, and shot himself. He was 86, almost blind, had leukemia, emphysema (the man had smoked for 72 years), and such terrible shakes that he could barely put food in his mouth. (He had joked with his brother-in-law a few weeks before their deaths, “If I don’t do this soon, I’m going to miss.”) His wife of 34 years had, among other things, kidney failure, severe osteoporosis, and spinal cancer. Life had become miserable, even worse…

My dad’s ending wasn't an Adventist one. But he wasn't an Adventist, so what did I expect? How glad I am, though, that a loving God, with a compassion I can’t conceive, is judge, and that I will be able to say, “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments” (Rev. 16:7), whatever His judgment on my father is.

RESPONDING TO THE CALL OF MINISTRY by Ashley Batiste. It is a MUST READ account of Christian service that is the definition of worldwide Gospel Ministry. The National Association for the Prevention of Starvation (NAPS) ministry doesn't stop at responding to national disasters. Instead, it goes beyond to bringing hope, love, and support to remote, less-known places.

Andy Nash asks an important question in MAX LUCADO’S CONFESSION: Would my own church leaders feel safe being this honest with their congregations—with their colleagues? Or is this honesty only for someone else?

It pains me to report that there is a canker in the rose of this excellent, generously Christian issue. THE INCOMPLETE GOSPEL by Andrew W. Kerbs discounts the life and teachings of Christ and is shockingly parochial. His argument: Without the fuller understanding of the work accomplished in the sanctuary, what happened at Calvary would be little more than a moving story of another murdered prophet.

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