Thursday, December 20, 2012


This is the last edition of Adventist Perspective. It’s been an interesting adventure. However, I’m tired of reviewing Adventist periodicals on a regular basis. If you enjoyed the cartoons, 521 of them remain. The Perspective Magazine contains, among other things, an unpublished book by Sakae Kubo and Jane Spear’s stories of a childhood spent as the daughter of missionary parents in Ethiopia before WWII.

I will continue as moderator of Reinventing the Adventist Wheel and blog at Adventist Today.

Adventist Perspective is a window into my world. I hope you consider me a humorist and loyal critic rather than a blasphemer. I’ve tried to be honest about who I am and what I believe. That isn’t always easy to think through much less put into words, but it’s the challenge I leave with you.

As a going away present, I’ve included Christmas cartoons along with others that I like for personal reasons. They include my all-time favorite Noah’s Ark sendup.

Love and best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Timely Reminder

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

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.”

The Ordination Study Committee Member’s Lament

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

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dateline Shift Confuses South Pacific Division President

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

Reviewing the Adventist Reviews of November

November 8, 15, 22
Vol. 189, Numbers 31, 32, 33

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.

When I tried to work up the enthusiasm to review single issues, I couldn’t. Perhaps I’m becoming jaded or bored, but I felt overwhelmed by devotional pieces that seemed to smother my desire to be a better Adventist. Consequently, this is a Review trifecta in which I give props to those writers that engaged me intellectually.


Tithe that originates in the North American Division has long provided most of the Seventh-day Adventist world budget, but a dramatic membership surge in Africa, Asia, and Latin America is reversing that decades-old trend.

If the religious landscape continues its rapid population shift, funding provided by countries in the so-called Global South will likely overtake the amount given by the Global North within five years.

“Europe and the United States 
are no longer at the epicenter of the Christian world, because the majority of Christians now reside outside of these two continents,” secretary G. T. Ng told about 350 delegates.

The implications for Adventism are potentially far-reaching, Ng suggested, ranging from a redistribution of church funding to a “reverse missionary movement,” where the notions of “sending country” and “receiving country” are tossed aside.

In 1960 the Adventist Church sent out 490 long-term missionaries, and about 90 percent of them originated from North America, Europe, and Australia, known as the Global North. But in 2010 the Global North’s share of missionaries dropped to 54 percent, because of an increase in missionaries sent from the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, South American Division, and Inter-American Division.

“The paradigm,” Ng said, “highlights the potential for the Global South to evangelize the Global North.”

The explosive growth in Africa, Asia, and Latin America coincides with slow and stagnant growth in Europe and the United States, in part because of an aging membership, Ng said. All of the 15 union conferences whose membership declined between 2000 and 2010 were in the three European divisions.

In 1960 the church in the Global South had a membership of 675,000, or 54 percent of world membership. A half century later, by 2010, membership in the Global South had climbed to 16 million, or 91.5 percent of world membership.

The Global North, meanwhile, had 570,000 members in 1960 and reached 1.5 million, or just 8.5 percent of total world membership, in 2010.

* * *

LETTER TO A MISSIONARY DENTIST by Doyle Nick in the November 15 Review was a gem. It’s a MUST READ for potential mission dentists. The following is a sample of the advice offered.

Identify as quickly as you can the features of your adopted culture that are superior; there will be several. Embrace them, incorporating them permanently into your personal and family culture. This will enrich your life, make it possible for you to better appreciate your adopted home, and allow you to work on equal footing with those around you…

You must care for your practice and your profession. In some parts of the world, church leaders have considered dental clinics to be little more than a source of cash, and some clinics have been destroyed because all resources were drained, starving the business and depleting professional effectiveness. Educate those around you and resist this. Your practice must have modern equipment, current materials, and cutting-edge techniques. Anything less misrepresents our mission and our God. Likewise, be sure that you invest adequate time and money into your own professional development, knowledge, and skill. Take care of the staff members on your dental team, and be sure that while they are held accountable, they are also secure, well trained, and respected.

STRANDED! by Brittany Harwood provided the following arresting quote.

Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno wrote, “Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not God Himself.”

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The November 22 Issue included medical advice from my favorite duo of docs, Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless. As usual, they provide invaluable information about common medical conditions. For PSORIASIS sufferers, this is a MUST READ.