Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reviewing Adventist Today

October-December, 2012
Vol. 20, No. 5

J. David Newman’s editorial, WHY THE CHURCH NEEDS ADVENTIST TODAY AND OTHER NEWS SERVICES, makes a strong case for the “need for dissenting voices” when it comes to Adventist dogma.

LETTERS to Adventist Today are few and far between, according to AT editors. And Ariel A. Roth is to be congratulated in taking the time to write a lengthy response to “A Quantum Paradox of Time and Providence: Death Before Sin and Man’s Fall” by Darrel Lindensmith (September-October 2012). Unfortunately, his attempt to mix Biblical allusions with scientific evidence fails to support his conclusion.

One does not have to give up scientific integrity in order to believe in the biblical account of beginnings. There is significant data from nature that is hard to explain without the context of creation and the Flood.

AESTHETIS AND INTELLIGENT DESIGN by Bernard Brandstater fails to make the case that beauty is the signature of God, his unique identifier. An Ebola virus is “beautiful,” as is the mushroom cloud produced by a hydrogen bomb.

It is always enlightening to read the transcript of a speech that has a direct influence on Adventist church policy. SCRIPTURE, POLICY, AND UNITY is Randy Roberts’ brilliant argument for women’s ordination delivered on Aug. 19, 2012, the day the Pacific Union Conference constituency decided, by a vote of 79 percent to 21 percent, to ordain candidates to the pastoral ministry without regard to gender.

I authored an article in this issue. IS PROTECTING THE DENOMINATION’S NAME IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO SEND PEOPLE TO JAIL? My personal answer is a resounding “No”!

There is one piece of information that came to light after the publication date that I would like to include here. Walter “Chick” McGill was almost murdered while in jail because a number of violent inmates assumed he was a child molester because he could not provide a document explaining the reason for his incarceration. He remained in danger until newspaper stories proved his explanation. I had no idea that my press alert may have saved his life.

Unfortunately, the Adventist Church continues to litigate this case. As Luke Chartier told me, “They don’t seem to be satisfied with a beating; they want a crucifixion.”

HOW HISTORICAL DIVERSITY DIVIDES US by Albert C. Koppel documents the fact that failure to believe any or all of the 28 Fundamental beliefs can arguably be said not to be a test of one’s fellowship.

The world has changed a great deal since Civil War times, and “present truth” will certainly call for some adaptations in the way we allocate funds and articulate the tests of fellowship. But if we mismanage this process, we could find ourselves trying to fence up to 50 percent of our current membership out of Adventism, even as we make the path into  Adventism too narrow.

CHRIST IN US by Don Watson is a devotional piece that concludes: Jesus explained the simple one-step process to receive the Holy Spirit. “If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! ” (Luke 11:13, NIV)

THE 1901 GENERAL CONFERENCE—THE REST OF THE STORY by Alden Thompson has gone a long way to further my respect for the man. He has the audacity to quote Ellen White giving the brethren a tongue-lashing. Her words made it clear that she was not in awe of church authorities when they overstepped their authority.

“At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise plans and to restrict God’s work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God…”

Thompson concludes: Our task today is to do all in our power to ensure that the General Conference Session is “representative.” When it is, it deserves the confidence of the church.

In his own inimitable way, ADVENTIST MAN tackles the do’s and don’ts of ingesting meat substitutes and diluted coffee. Take his timeless advice and you will never again be “Bewildered at The ABC.”

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