Thursday, February 28, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reviewing Adventist World: NAD Edition

February 2008

GENERAL COMMENTS: This is an issue that evangelical Adventists could celebrate wholeheartedly. Since I am not an evangelical Adventist, I have a few theological "bones to pick" with some of the statements of belief. However, on the whole, this edition of Adventist World is an inspiring read.

EDITORIAL: Bill Nott asks "Adventists to weep and plead before the Lord". Bill, do you honestly believe that these tactics moved our prayers to the front of the line?

Adventist leadership enabled the nationwide Christmas Food Collection Initiative to provide 3200 tons of food for local food banks to help Brazilians in need.

Dominican Republic
SDA leaders met with the Dominican Republic's President, Leonel Fernández Reina, “to discuss the church's work on the island and worldwide”. “The Adventist Church, with its more than 238,000 members operates 92 elementary and secondary schools, one university, six radio stations, and one hospital."

South Pacific
"Most of the 54 health clinics operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific are reportedly in need of more emergency care in the patients they serve. Some 70 percent don't have medical equipment to check blood pressure." There is now an Adopt a Clinic Program that will enable local churches to sponsor a clinic. A lot of interesting things are happening in the South Pacific that should make all of us proud! Check out this website. “”

The membership in the Adventist Church is growing. There are now 5000 members and 83 churches and companies.

WORKING TOGETHER, SEEKING CONSENSUS pretty much describes what happened at the 2007 General Conference's Annual Council. According to Jan Paulsen, the broadest possible spectrum of the Church was involved in decision-making. I'm not convinced. In the three pictures of delegates, I spotted only one woman. She was sitting at the back of a room full of men, her face partially obscured.

Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless made their usual outstanding contribution to Adventist World. REDUCING CANCER RISK reflects principals that "have been confirmed by the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Studies and are now formulated as prevention guidelines throughout the world".

CHURCH PLANTING, THEN AND NOW proclaims that it's a New Testament model that makes you evangelistic sense. I agree. However Jeff Potts and Don Schneider don't seem to be aware that planting a church in the Northern California Conference is next to impossible. If the requirements for a church plant obtained to many existing small churches, they would be without a pastor or official membership in the sisterhood of churches.

THE POWER OF HOPE by Adrian Bocaneanu, Director of the Hope Channel in Romania, is worth reading primarily because of the story of Beatrice, a seventh grader who attended school in Bucharest 25 years ago.

Lawrence G. Downing is a personal friend who has been a contributor to this blog. THE AWESOME DIMENSIONS OF LOVE is his gift to everyone who loves the words of John 3:16. Larry, I would make only one change if I had been asked to be your editor. When you say that we are saved "through faith, by our belief -- our trust -- in Jesus Christ", I would have urged you to change that phrase as follows: We are saved "through faith, by our belief -- our trust -- in the Gospel as preached by Jesus Christ." I know that you don't believe that salvation is a magic act.

FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES by Cesar Antonio Gonzalez is a well deserved tribute to the work of Nelson Rodriguez and REACH INTERNATIONAL, Inc.," a humanitarian aid organization based in Barrien Springs, Michigan. El Hogar de Niño's provides hundreds of poor rural children in Honduras with day care, elementary and secondary education, and a vocational nursing program. “”

The ADRA'S WORLD insert is a masterpiece of graphic art and content. In this issue ADRA provides additional proof that this program is the best thing the Seventh-day Adventist Church has going for it. It's disaster relief efforts are the Gospel message in real-time. ("In response to the tsunami disaster [of December 26, 2004], the ADRA network is continuing to provide aid valued at more than $39 million.")

FOUNTAINS OF TEARS is a heartbreaking account of the tsunami disaster related by the women of Sothikuppam, a village on the southeast coast of India. Each of these women lost at least one child.

The ADRA insert also provides an illustrated survival Kit that answers the question, WHAT DO DISASTER SURVIVORS NEED? This is vital information provided by a worldwide publication. Pastor Charles Sandefur, ADRA's President, is doing a brilliant job of directing a very special organization. ""

SALVATION AND SOCIAL ACTION by R. Steven Norman III provides a fascinating account of schools for African-Americans in the South following the Civil War. Edson and Emma White led an extensive Adventist educational effort.

2009 is DECLARED YEAR OF PASTORAL EVANGELISM by Ron Clouzet. The plans outlined here are well-meaning but doomed to fail for the following reasons: the emphasis is on increasing membership rather then personal ministry, the campaign as outlined is prescriptive in ways that will make local pastors and congregations cringe, and the language used to describe this evangelistic effort is vague and jingoistic.


Clifford Goldstein has written another book, LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS.

COMMITTED TO CARING by Adriel D. Chilson is a short biography of Adventism's first female physician. Katie Lindsay received her medical degree in 1875 and worked at the Battle Creek Medical and Surgical Sanitarium under Dr. J. H. Kellogg. She founded the hospital's first nursing school, and subsequently worked in South Africa and Colorado. She died in 1923. She was quite a lady.

MAKING SENSE OF CREATION by Graeme Loftus offers no new insight into the creation versus evolution debate. The assumptions of evolution he lists are outlined in a 1960 publication, and he uses only scriptural evidence to support the creation argument. There was one interesting quote he attributed to "someone" that I found interesting. "If Jesus hadn't limited the command to Lazarus alone, every dead person in the grave would have come forth at His words."

LIVING AS PEOPLE OF HOPE by Ellen White is impressive not only for its spiritual insights but the editorial excellence of its presentation. (Editors, a number of contributors to World and the Review need your skills as they struggle to present their ideas and information. Don't hesitate to provide them.)

Angel Manuel Rodriguez' is right. "The meaning of Christ's death remains an important subject of discussion in the church, and in some cases can be divisive.” Absolutely! SET FREE! is his attempt to support the notion that Christ died as "a penalty for our sins" by using lots of Old Testament quotations and misinterpreting Paul.

Rodriguez quotes Galatians 3:13. Taken in context, Paul is writing about the curse of the Mosaic Law. It is not Paul's intent to assert, as does Rodriguez, that the "legal demand of the [Mosaic] law was met by [the death of] Jesus". Paul is anything but a legalist!

In his Bible study, WHEN GOD CREATED REST, Mark A. Finley conveniently forgets that the rules for Sabbath observation originated at Sinai, not in Genesis 2:2.

DADDY'S SHOULDERS by Barbara Croce is a gentle reminder that God can be trusted.

LETTERS, as identified under the heading of WORLD EXCHANGE, THE PLACE OF PRAYER, or NAD LETTERS are an important part of Adventist World. I wish they were a featured part of the magazine and not split up and relegated to the back pages.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Adventist Church brokers Papua New Guinea peace agreement

Source: The National, PNG

Editor's note: I came across this information when I was attempting to locate information concerning the Adopt a Clinic Program in the February, Adventist World, in which individual churches team with medical clinics in the South Pacific to improve health care for local villages.

Two warring tribes in the Kainantu district of Eastern Highlands province, who fought each other for more than 10 years using firearms, have called on the Government to purchase all the firearms from them.

The call was made in Goroka last Wednesday by the leader of the Fomu clan, Brimsy Togonave, who claimed that the Government should purchase the firearms from the two warring tribes if a “lasting peace” was to prevail.

He said both tribes – namely the Fomu and IFO-United – were currently under a ceasefire agreement, initiated by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Mr Togonave admitted to The National that there were currently very high-powered and sophisticated firearms such as SLR, M16, SK-5, 303, long-range guns, AR-15 and sub-machine guns still in possession of the warriors on both sides. He did not disclose how these very high-powered weapons were brought into the area.

The tribal conflict, which started in 1996 and had been going on for over a decade, had reportedly resulted in the loss of over 500 lives and millions of kina worth of properties including coffee gardens and also caused misery and hardship to the women and children in the area.

Mr Togonave pointed out that both clans were in the process of agreeing on a traditional peace ceremony soon, in which pigs and other materials would be exchanged between the parties. Both parties had agreed on a ceasefire in 2004 and last year met to decide on a peace agreement in the presence of elders from the Adventist Church. “Obviously, the church had played a vital role in brokering the peace and ceasefire initiative amongst the two warring tribes. The Government had done absolutely nothing in this regard."

Togonave is, therefore, calling on the Government through its respective agencies, to arrange for development initiatives for the people of Ifo-United and Fomu so that they could rebuild their lives. The government should come up for constructive initiatives to rehabilitate the people in the area.

The Fomu tribal leader further pointed out that it should equally create business opportunities for them. “Many of us had lost a lot of properties and we are gradually rebuilding ourselves since the ceasefire commenced, and therefore, Government funding and resources are a desperate need of the hour."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Community Outreach

* See “2009 Declared Year of Pastoral Evangelism”, Adventist World, February 2008

Modified from Dilbert, by Scott Adams

That's Really Me, and That's The Way It Was

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

The Ordination of Women Can Only Be A Marriage Made in Heaven!

From the comic Dilbert, by Scott Adams

“I hope that the author would withdraw or at the very least drastically revise this book.”

Since the words and ministry of Ellen White are currently being discussed on Reinventing the Adventist Wheel, I thought I would comment on the way the Adventist Church continues to misuse her writings. I am particularly disturbed that “The Clear Word” continues to be sold to Adventist schools and advertised a “new easy English edition” that “will make God’s word come alive for those who are learning English”. Talk about an unsophisticated audience!

The following comments are taken from reviews of the “Clear Word” as it first appeared as “The Clear Word Bible”.

from CLEAR WORLD “BIBLE": A letter from David Newman, Editor of Ministry Magazine July 28, 1994

The author has intertwined so much of Ellen White into his commentary that the general effect has been to canonize Ellen White. The author adds to Scripture in Genesis 2:25 by following Ellen White and saying that Adam and Eve were clothed with a garment of light. Daniel 8:14 is now clear that the judgment began after 2300 prophetic years.

I fear what our critics will say when they find how much Ellen White has contributed to this "bible" without any credit being given to her at all. It would be interesting to find out what percentage of this work owes itself to Ellen White.

He [Blanco] should have made it far clearer on the cover and in the formatting that this is not another Bible but a personal commentary on Scripture. I hope that the author would withdraw or at the very least drastically revise this book.

Yours for the uplifting of God's true Word,
J. David Newman
Editor, Ministry Magazine

By D. Mills "dmills1555" (Anchorage, AK USA)
This review is from: The Clear Word Bible (Paperback)

I think it is almost blasphemous to rate a Bible as "one star," but I make an exception in this case. This book is dangerously deceptive. Anyone seriously contemplating buying this book (I hesitate to call it a Bible) should consider just a couple points:

- If this book is published by a mainstream Christian denomination, why is the organization reluctant to have its name associated with it?

- Why is this paraphrase not recognized or even utilized by ANY Christian organizations outside of the Seventh ay Adventist Church

- Why is it [now] called the "Clear Word," rather than the ‘Clear Word Bible’ . . . Originally, the SDA church responded to criticisms of this book by saying that it was not a Bible . . .They said that it was merely a "devotional." Of course it becomes hard to defend a book as merely a devotional that has all the trappings of a "Bible" (i.e. chapter and verse designations), so that argument was shelved fairly quickly. Now, it is being touted as an "expanded paraphrase," although no explanation is given for what exactly has been added.

I have no problem with the SDA church publishing its own Bible. I would just prefer that there be a little more honest disclosure. By intentionally omitting this important information, I believe they are bearing false witness.

Two States (as in conditions)

Dilbert Blog by Scott Adams
February 06, 2008 in General Nonsense | Permalink | Comments (244)
and Andy Hanson

Scott Adams:
“Humor is often about reducing things to their illogical least common denominator, and the two states [idea] forces you to do that.

“For example, I know a few people who switch exclusively between two states:
1. Talking
2. Too busy to listen

“Pick any person, or any situation, or any group . . . and see how easy it is to be funny with the ‘two states’ setup.”

Andy Hanson:
I know a few Sabbath School Teachers who switch exclusively between two states:
1. Asking a question
2. Supplying the answer

I know a few reviewers who switch exclusively between two states:
1. obsequious
2. insensitive

I eagerly await your humorous “two states” comments. Some suggestions:
I know a few bloggers or vegetarians or preachers, or conference officials, or evangelists or elders, or church members, or theologians, or creationists, or evolutionists, or theologians, or editorial writers, etc. who switch exclusively between two states:
(You get the idea, right?)

Lightbulb Jokes

modified for SDA’s from

A: Three. One to change the lightbulb, one not to change the lightbulb, and one to neither change nor not change the lightbulb.

A: Eight. One to call the electrician, and seven to say how much they liked the old one better.

A: The Progressives wish to issue the following statement:
"We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a lightbulb; however, if in your own journey you have found that lightbulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your lightbulb, and present it next month at our annual lightbulb Sabbath service, in which we will explore a number of lightbulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence."

A: Ten. One to change the bulb and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

Bumper Stickers

Selected from

Be ye fishers of men -- you catch them and He'll clean them.

The meek are getting ready.

Lord, walk beside me with your arm on my shoulder and your hand over my mouth.

Forget world peace--visualize using your turn signal!
(Check out FORGET WORLD PEACE—USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL by Don Schneider in the November 2007, Adventist World. I wondered where he got such a catchy title!)

If you believe you can tell me what to think, I believe I can tell you where to go.

Lord, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Reviewing the Pacific Union Recorder

February, 2008

Anyone who believes Adventists are not out there evangelizing should read this month's Recorder.

In Southern California the Central Filipino Church celebrated fifty years of "the congregation's involvement with evangelism", in Malibu, an evangelistic series was held despite fires, the Lincoln Heights Spanish Church's half century celebration emphasized "sharing in the community", San Gabriel Academy's "Journey to Bethlehem" event drew 1500 visitors, and pastors honed their evangelism skills in Simi Valley.

In Southeastern California, the Palm Springs SDA church's Christmas Float won a second place trophy in the non-profit organization category, and a "Go Fish" Conference provided "the most current research and information on the 21st century child".

In the Central California Conference, a former priest is preaching the “Three Angeles Messages” in Fresno, a "Prayer Conference Overflows with Teens", the Oakdale SDA Church hosted a six-week “Decoding Prophecy” seminar, and Steve Wohlberg, speaker/director of White Horse Media, in Fresno, California, presented "America in Prophecy" to 100 Pentagon personnel.

There was a Creation Conference sponsored by the Auburn Church in Northern California, and a church was planted in Granite Bay. In Hawaii the first Hispanic Congress was held at Camp Waianae.

The Pacific Union leadership and Adventist church members need to address the following questions: Why don't these energetic evangelistic efforts produce a significant growth in church membership? Could money and energy be better directed? An editorial and other news articles in this addition of the Recorder suggest a possible answer to these questions.

The editorial by Ricardo Graham, Pacific Union Conference President, is an admonition to individual church members to shape up, to get our vision priorities "into alignment" with God's. The focus here is not service to some greater community but inward introspection. Ricardo, acceptance of the twenty-eight doctrines of the Adventist Church is ephemeral even for you when it comes to aligning your vision properly. “I have found that I must repeatedly seek the Lord throughout my day. Not because He moves from me, but because I move from Him. I pray repeatedly, not because he doesn't hear me the first time, but because I don't hear Him the first time.”

Could it be that it is service to others that produces the Christian "vision priorities" so central to effectively sharing our faith? What would happen if the money and effort spent on purely evangelistic efforts were spent in support of service ministries like those reported in this issue?

Karen Hanson Kotoske reveals that in 1980 "the Lord found me through service". KOTOSKE HONORED FOR PHILANTHROPIC EXCELLENCE is an amazing account of what one woman has accomplished. She has established Amistad International, a nonprofit charity that funds projects in twelve countries. She raises $500,000 annually and claims, "It is incredibly exciting! It's been an incredible walk with God." For more information about Kotoske’s ministry, go to

ANTIOCH AND CARSON CHURCHES WORK IN GUATEMALA is an inspiring story of a gospel ministry that included basic medical care and a plan to establish a permanent medical clinic. In Provo, Utah, the Adventist Church is building a new youth center. For information about GRAFFITI LEADS TO NEW YOUTH CENTER call Linda Walton, 801-362-0330.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the Community Service Center ministers to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of 200 people each week. The Center also "recently 'adopted' Career Success High School, which provides education for single mothers with children and for teens who have had trouble in other schools". Last year the Center provided toys for over 250 needy children. For information about COMMUNITY SERVICE CENTER HELPS FAMILIES IN NEED call 602-258-9951.

GLENDALE ADVENTIST HELPS SOUTH AMERICAN HOSPITAL by shipping an entire catheterization lab to Asuncion, Paraguay," including windows, cabinets and even countertops . . . [to be] installed in a new room built specifically to house this cath lab. The lab will open as early as spring of 2008”.

Yami Bazan is La Sierra University’s new VP for Student Life. Loma Linda University dedicates the Jerry L Pettis papers. Ashley Riviera is a graduate of Pacific Union College and Harvard Law School and a recipient of the "Women to Watch" award given to young women who use their positions of leadership to aid the cause of women's rights. Alan J. Reinach, Esq. offers advice about religion and politics in an election year. And Mark F. Carr, Ph.D., argues that two principles should be most relevant in our thinking about making a living in 2008: "One is the principle of sacrifice, the other that of justice or fairness.”