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March 21, 2013

A Faith of Don’ts?

Church to Receive $45

Million in Reparations

The Perfect 10

6

8

14

People leave the Adventist Church only because they’ve had a bad

experience, right? Not anymore. A new study indicates that more and

more church members are leaving because they’ve changed their beliefs.


“Behold, I come quickly . . .”

Our mission is to uplift Jesus Christ by presenting stories of His

matchless love, news of His present workings, help for knowing

Him better, and hope in His soon return.

18 24 8 6

COVER FEATURE

18 Beyond Belief

Andy Nash

Do those who leave the Adventist

Church still consider

themselves Adventists?

ARTICLES

14 The Perfect 10

Cecilia Luck

A young adult’s take on

the Ten Commandments

24 One (Happy) Meal

With a Pie on the Side

Leonora Spencer

The word “compassion”

takes on a whole

different meaning.

DEPARTMENTS

4 Letters

7 Page 7

8 World News &

Perspectives

13 Give & Take

17 Cliff’s Edge

2 3 Back to Basics

EDITORIALS

6 Wilona Karimabadi

A Faith of Don’ts?

7 Lael Caesar

Righteousness

ON THE COVER

We used to say, “Once an

Adventist, always an Adventist.”

New research is showing

that’s no longer true.

26 In the Wilderness:

The Epidemic

Gerald A. Klingbeil

The children of Israel

lose their focus, then

find it again.

29 Etc.

30 Journeys With Jesus

31 Reflections

Next Week

A Poem in Progress

What to do when signs

seem to indicate we’re going

in the wrong direction.

Publisher General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ® , Executive Publisher Bill Knott, Associate Publisher Claude Richli, Publishing Board: Ted N. C. Wilson, chair; Benjamin D. Schoun,

vice chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Lisa Beardsley-Hardy; Daniel R. Jackson; Robert Lemon; Geoffrey Mbwana; G. T. Ng; Daisy Orion; Juan Prestol; Michael Ryan; Ella Simmons; Mark Thomas; Karnik

Doukmetzian, legal adviser. Editor Bill Knott, Associate Editors Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil, Coordinating Editor Stephen Chavez, Online Editor Carlos Medley, Features Editor Sandra

Blackmer, Young Adult Editor Kimberly Luste Maran, KidsView Editor Wilona Karimabadi, News Editor Mark A. Kellner, Operations Manager Merle Poirier, Financial Manager Rachel

Child, Editorial Assistant Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste, Assistant to the Editor Gina Wahlen, Marketing Director Claude Richli, Editor-at-Large Mark A. Finley, Senior Advisor E. Edward

Zinke, Art Director Bryan Gray, Design Daniel Añez, Desktop Technician Fred Wuerstlin, Ad Sales Glen Gohlke, Subscriber Services Steve Hanson. To Writers: Writer’s guidelines are available

at the Adventist Review Web site: www.adventistreview.org and click “About the Review.” For a printed copy, send a self-addressed envelope to: Writer’s Guidelines, Adventist Review, 12501 Old

Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600. E-mail: revieweditor@gc.adventist.org. Web site: www.adventistreview.org. Postmaster: Send address changes to Adventist Review, 55 West Oak

Ridge Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21740-7301. Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts in this issue are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by

permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are © Thinkstock 2013. The Adventist Review (ISSN 0161-1119), published since 1849, is the general paper of

the Seventh-day Adventist ® Church. It is published by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ® and is printed 36 times a year on the second, third, and fourth

Thursdays of each month by the Review and Herald ® Publishing Association, 55 West Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21740. Periodical postage paid at Hagerstown, MD

21740. Copyright © 2013, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ® . PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. Vol. 190, No. 8

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www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (227) 3


inbox

Letters From Our Readers

Must Love God

»»

Thank you for printing

Kimberly Luste Maran’s article

“Must Love God” (Feb. 14,

2013). After I lost my wife to

cancer, someone suggested

an Adventist online dating

site. I appreciated the ease

that I could “check out” the

938 women between the ages

of 52 and 72 who had registered.

I was given a percentage

of how close they came to

what I was looking for in a

wife. I told the Lord that I

was too old for this dating

thing—I asked Him to just

pick someone out for me. He

picked out Linda, and we are

very happily married. I am so

glad that we spent a great

deal of time writing and talking

on the phone before we

actually met. In this way we

had learned enough about

each other before “chemistry”

was brought into the

relationship.

I lived in Oregon, and

Linda lived in Virginia, so

there was little chance that

we would otherwise ever

meet. We both prayed the

“scary prayer”—if this relationship

would bring glory

to God, bless it. If not, break

us up.

We wanted our marriage

to be more than just two

people having a wedding. We

wanted a marriage that could

be used by God for His service.

Four months after we

were married, I was asked to

come out of retirement and

pastor again. The Lord

exceeded my expectations

and has given me a wife who

has a heart for the ministry

and health evangelism.

Charles Shultz

Richmond, Virginia

Moving in the

Same Direction

»»

Gerhard Pfandl has written

an article about unity and

division in the church (see

“Moving in the Same Direction,”

Feb. 14). Pfandl certainly

had some good points,

including the fact that unity

comes from common faith

and experience more than

organization. In that vein, it

is important to have a clear

vision of what it means to be

Seventh-day Adventist. Otherwise,

there comes a point

at which a “big tent”

becomes too big. May it

never be that an Adventist is

defined merely in terms of

observing Saturday and a

loosely defined profession of

Jesus Christ.

Second is the statement on

the remnant. George Knight

has ably pointed out substantial

differences between

statements in the 28 fundamental

beliefs and the baptismal

vows (The Apocalyptic

Vision and the Neutering of

Adventism, p. 78). The fundamental

beliefs articulate the

remnant in general terms of

a message, whereas the vows

state it in terms of the Seventh-day

Adventist denomination.

Knight points out

how many can accept the former

but perceive the latter as

overwhelming conceit.

The final point ties into

Galatians 1:8, 9. If you take

that text literally, even the

third angel of Revelation 14

must be anathematized if it

preaches a false gospel. Incidentally,

that text factored

greatly in making the Reformation

possible. Martin

Luther used that text to say

that the true foundation of

the church was the preaching

of the gospel, not the papal

office being descended from

Peter.

Ron Thomsen

Katy, Texas

“It is not what Jesus our Savior

instructed us to do in remembrance

of Him.”—susan stormont, Buchanan, Michigan

Let Me Serve You

»»

Here are my thoughts in

response to Gerald Klingbeil’s

editorial “Let Me Serve

You” (Jan. 24, 2013). Sharing

in the foot washing can be a

warm time of prayer and service.

It is not, however, the

Communion. It is not what

Jesus our Savior instructed

us to do in remembrance of

Him. More and more our

members seem to be putting

a stronger emphasis on the

foot washing than on the

emblems of the cross. The

Communion bread and juice

are our reminders of Christ’s

shed blood and body crucified

for us. This was how He

gave Himself to save us, and

not in the washing of feet.

Foot washing overshadows

the Communion remembrance

service, and is given

too strong a focus.

I do not think Jesus

intended foot washing to be

more than a very important

lesson on humility both for

His disciples at the moment

and for us who have

followed.

Susan Stormont

Buchanan, Michigan

Unstoppable Growth

»»

Ronny Nalin’s article

“Unstoppable Growth” (Jan.

10, 2013) was fantastic and

4 (228) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


Thank You

»»

I just want to thank you for

the splendid articles the

Review produces week after

week. I am comforted, espewell

written! It went right to

the core of our Laodicean

condition. My thanks to

Nalin for his insights.

As an aside, I read almost

every article printed in

almost every edition, and I

appreciate the Review very

much. Monte Sahlin’s

“Church Trends” feature suggested

that I should send

you an e-mail and let you

know!

Lorna Peterson

Manteca, California

Share the Tide

»»

Bill Knott’s January 10 editorial

entitled “The Blooddimmed

Tide” was excellent

and should be shared with a

broader audience than those

who are readers of the Adventist

Review. How can we make

a dent in violence if it is promoted

on a continuous basis

by Hollywood, video games,

etc.? Knott’s well-written editorial

should, in my opinion,

be shared widely—and not

just in Adventist circles.

Thank you for this—and

other—excellent articles.

Fred C. Schnibbe

College Place, Washington

What Is a Mystic?

»»

Eric Anderson’s article

“What Is a Mystic?” (Jan. 10)

was excellent and long overdue,

and I highly commend

editor Bill Knott for including

it with the terminology

that was used, especially

given the half-truths, misunderstandings,

and false accusations

that have been

circulating in recent years.

For example, accusations

have been leveled against

“emptying the mind.” When

a Christian (mystic or otherwise)

“empties” their mind,

that person is very specifically

emptying the mind of

self, and opening the mind

and inviting Christ and His

Spirit to come in and fill it.

Anderson was very careful

in his choice of words, and

he gave very acceptable definitions

for his usage of them.

I appreciated his vulnerability

and example in sharing

his personal journey with

Review readers.

A mystic is one who is

devoted to seeking “the mystery

of godliness,” which

according to Paul’s words in

1 Timothy 3:16 is “great: He

appeared in the flesh, was

vindicated by the Spirit, was

seen by angels, was preached

among the nations, was

believed on in the world, was

taken up in glory.”

I want to say with the

inspired apostle, “My goal is

that they may be encouraged

in heart and united in love,

so that they may have the full

riches of complete understanding,

in order that they

may know the mystery of

God, namely, Christ, in whom

are hidden all the treasures

of wisdom and knowledge”

(Col. 2:2, 3).

Merle J. Whitney

Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania

»»

I am writing in regard to

Eric Anderson’s “What Is a

Mystic?” While it is true that

we need a much deeper personal

experience with God, is

it necessary to repeat the

same mistakes that occurred

around the turn of the twentieth

century with our

church’s brush with pantheism?

Do we really wish to see

God’s judgment poured out

on our institutions again for

drinking the forbidden, mystical

waters?

Daniel Winters

Osaka, Japan

The Gehazi Syndrome

»»

Thank you for posting Gerald

Klingbeil’s article “The

Gehazi Syndrome: Suffering

Familiarity With the Holy”

(Adventist Review posted this

article online on February 8,

2013, www.adventistreview.

org/article/6025/archives/

issue-2013-1503/the-gehazisyndrome;

the article originally

appeared in the May

2010 Ministry magazine). The

four points included at the

end of the article were most

helpful.

Eric Ollila

Bay Roberts, Newfoundland,

Canada

cially since Alice, my wife, is

no more, and the Review now

helps to fill the companion

gap. Alice had roots going

back to the Sisley family of

girls, from England, whom

Ellen White predicted would

be missionary-minded—and

so it was. Our family was

able to serve three years in

Benghazi, Libya, and short

terms in other countries.

Keep up your good work—

it cheers me.

Don Fahrbach

Munising, Michigan

Correction

»»

In the December 27, 2012,

obituary for Dr. Frank Strickland,

his sister Ruth Sipkens’

name was misspelled. We

regret the error.

We welcome your letters, noting,

as always, that inclusion of a letter

in this section does not imply that

the ideas expressed are endorsed by

either the editors of the Adventist

Review or the General Conference.

Short, specific, timely letters have

the best chance at being published

(please include your complete

address and phone number—even

with e-mail messages). Letters will

be edited for space and clarity only.

Send correspondence to Letters to

the Editor, Adventist Review, 12501

Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD

20904-6600; Internet: letters@

adventistreview.org.

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (229) 5


Editorials

Wilona

Karimabadi

A Faith of Don’ts?

“So where do your children go to school?” a classmate in

grad school asks.

“A private school—Seventh-day Adventist, actually. I’m Seventh-day Adventist,” I reply.

“Oh, yes, I had a friend back in the day who was Adventist.” I cringe, knowing what would come

next. “Yeah, we hiked together through Yosemite one summer. She wasn’t allowed to use a blowdryer

on Saturday,” she says. And there it was.

“Oh, you’re Seventh-day Adventist,” my new Jewish friend says. “I dated an SDA guy. It made it

pretty easy on Sabbath.” Well, that was slightly better. Sort of.

Over my life there have been many similar conversations with new friends who find out which

church I belong to and ask the questions I dread hearing. “So you’re Adventist, right? You guys

don’t _________, and you don’t _________, and you don’t eat __________, and you don’t

__________, and you don’t drink _________, right?” Feel free to fill in the blanks.

And even in our own circles, there have been too many unhelpful statements that include the

word “don’t”: “Don’t wear lipstick. You won’t go to heaven if you wear lipstick.” I heard that one

from a friend who was told this at boarding academy. And in a beginners Sabbath school classroom

a girl (now a grown woman and mother of three) recalls being extremely distressed at

hearing the following: “Don’t misbehave now, because naughty children don’t go to heaven.”

Huh?

Is this what we are really all about? Of course not. But how many “on the outside” know that?

You’ve likely been in similar situations. You tell someone you are Seventh-day Adventist, and

either they know of us and start listing the “don’ts” we may be known for, or we are confused

with another faith group—also defined by the “don’ts” they are known for. And I’ll be the first to

fess up that in my younger days if someone at the neighborhood playground asked why I was

unavailable on Saturday, my answer never explained things in a positive light. “Well, I won’t be

here because we ‘don’t’ come here on Saturday. I can’t watch that cartoon with you because we

‘don’t’ watch cartoons on Saturday.” Forgive the childish answers, but how adept were any of us

5-year-olds at explaining adherence to the fourth commandment and knowing what the word

“Advent” meant? Perhaps we’ve all been guilty of perpetuating the notion that our belief system

is best defined by a running list of all the things we “don’t” do.

Aren’t you tired of that?

It’s time to flip the switch on being defined by all the things we don’t do, because you and I

know that’s not who we really are. Do others know that?

I realize there are those among us who may find it enhances their spiritual walk to adhere to a

clearly articulated list of behaviors and activities they choose to refrain from. But we need to

remember that if our job is to impact people for Christ—to show them who He really is through

the difference He makes in our lives—practicing a faith of “don’ts” says nothing.

Serve, listen to, understand, educate, and immerse yourself in people who need you—people

who happily live well outside your comfort zone. Build up a broken person through the outpouring

of Someone who lives within you. Put aside the lists and parameters that serve as a primary

source of how you operate in this world, and let Jesus do the talking in any way He sees fit.

Don’t you want someone to say (and if they already have, I’m thrilled): “Oh, you’re a Seventhday

Adventist? You folks are the ones that do___________, and do__________, and you do live

____________, and you really helped ____________, and that made our lives better”?

Feel free to fill in those blanks here and in your daily lives with more Jesus and less “don’t.” n

6 (230) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


Righteousness

When God says righteousness, He means business. Which

means that He’s serious about it, and that He’s talking to Wall Street. Righteousness is not more

natural to God than is business. The two do not pertain to distinct and incompatible worlds

where Chicago’s commodities trading contrasts with Solomon’s Temple, or New York’s

stockbroking opposes Moses’ wilderness tabernacle. In reality, unscrupulous business dealing

is only one more variety of human, filthy-ragged righteousness, regardless to how many bucks it

seems to make. The book of Proverbs may not be seen as Christianity’s exhaustive statement on

a theology of righteousness. But it does provide strong evidence that for God righteousness is

demonstrated in exemplary business conduct.

Business and righteousness have a common origin. Their single source is the One whose successful

start-up, named Universe, operates exclusively on His personal investments, while allowing

Apple and Exxon to play bit parts in His Earth subsidiary. Agriculture and economics are for

Him the very stuff of righteousness. In Proverbs, cash flow, cultivation, and going to work early

are all inextricably linked together as proofs of righteousness.

More than any other Old Testament text, Proverbs focuses on the righteous person. By way of

illustration, the Hebrew term tsaddiq, which labels him, occurs more times (67) in the 915 verses

of Proverbs than it does in Psalms (52 times in 2,461 verses). These numbers demonstrate the

intensity of focus on righteousness in a book that gives attention to such matters as respect for

property and boundary markers (Prov. 22:28; 23:10), and the value of precious metals in relation

to heavenly wisdom (Prov. 3:13-18; 8:10). Ultimately, the wages of unscrupulous scheming is

punishment. In Proverbs God talks righteousness by talking business.

When God says righteousness, He means business. n

Lael

Caesar


World News & Perspectives

photos: Tomáš Kábrt, Czecho-Slovakian Union Conference

DEAL SIGNED: Seventh-day Adventist pastor Mikuláš Pavlík, Czecho-Slovakian Union

Conference president, signs an agreement with Prime Minister Petr Necas of the Czech

Republic on February 22, 2013, in Prague. The Adventist Church will receive US$45 million

over the next 30 years as reparations for property seized under the former Communist

regime, which ended in 1989.

■■Czech Republic

Adventist Church Signs

Pact for US$45 Million in

Communism Reparations

Over 30 years, Czech Republic will repay

movement for theft of property.

By Mark A. Kellner, news editor

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in

the Czech Republic will receive US$1.5 million

annually for the next 30 years, a total

of US$45 million, under a pact signed by

church leaders and Prime Minister Petr

Necas on February 22, 2013, in Prague.

Seventh-day Adventist pastor

Mikuláš Pavlík, Czecho-Slovakian Union

Conference president, was one of several

officials of religious organizations

that signed an individual agreement

with Necas.

“Signing the Treaty Settlement means

the legal process is complete, and we

now have redressed the property damage

committed by the Communist

regime against the Seventh-day Adventist

Church,” Pavlík said.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is

among 17 religious organizations—

including Jewish, Protestant, and

Roman Catholic communities—that are

sharing in a US$3.1 billion settlement

from the government.

Prime Minister Necas, according to

media reports, called the settlement “an

act of justice” following a restitution

plan approved by the Czech parliament

in 2012.

“By signing these agreements, we

complete steps to remedy the property

damage the Communists caused,”

Necas said at the ceremony. “In the early

nineties we as a state came to restitution

as the most efficient and just

means to achieve the transformation of

our economy. The church had been

excluded, but today we have completed

this act of justice.”

Necas, who also leads the nation’s

Civic Democratic Party, said the deal

“laid new, modern ground” for relations

between state and church. Under

Communist rule, for example, Roman

Catholic priests’ salaries were paid by

the state, which maintained strict control

over that church’s operations. The

Seventh-day Adventist Church refused

state payments until 2008, when accepting

such money for overall purposes,

but not salaries, became a prerequisite

for receiving property settlements.

CHURCH LEADERS: Representatives of 17 religious organizations, Jewish, Protestant,

and Roman Catholic, gather in the office of the Czech Republic for the ceremony.

Adventist pastor Mikuláš Pavlík is second from right in the first row.

8 (232)

| www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


Adventist officials in Prague said the

church lost property worth US$52.1

million when the Communist regime

seized its holdings in 1952. The Czech

republic, church officials said, is the last

formerly Communist nation to reach a

settlement of this kind with religious

organizations.

Opposition Social Democrats tried to

block the arrangement, seeking a court

injunction hours before the individual

agreements were signed. Though not

granting an injunction, the state constitutional

court is expected to issue a ruling

on the Social Democrats’ complaint,

media reports indicate.

J. P. Lorenz, a pastor, organized the

first Seventh-day Adventist congregation

in Prague in 1902. A union conference

was organized in the area in 1919,

according to the Seventh-day Adventist

Encyclopedia. n

—with reporting from Tomáš Kábrt,

Czecho-Slovakian Union in Prague

■■NOrth AMerica

Vegetarian Diet Report Is Launched

at Loma Linda University

Adventist school hosts Sixth International Conference on Vegetarian Nutrition.

By Herbert Atienza, media relations specialist, Loma Linda University Health, writing from Loma Linda, California

A groundbreaking report on the

benefits of a plant-based Mediterraneanstyle

diet—news of which captured

global headlines—was released at a scientific

conference held at Loma Linda

University.

A session at the Sixth International

Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition

(6ICVN) saw the first public presentation

of an international headlinemaking

landmark study by Spanish

researchers that made a head-to-head

comparison and determined that plantbased

Mediterranean diets are better at

reducing heart disease risks than a lowfat

diet.

Miguel Ángel Martínez, M.D., M.P.H.,

Ph.D., lead investigator of the study

called PREDIMED, for “PREvención con

Dieta MEDiterránea” (“Prevention With

a Mediterranean Diet”), said 6ICVN was

a good place to unveil his study’s findings

because they stand on groundbreaking

research conducted at Loma

GLOBAL SENSATION: Tony Yang (standing), assistant vice president for public affairs at Loma Linda University Health, addresses a

news conference, held in conjunction with the Sixth International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, to announce the findings of a new

landmark study on plant-based diets. The study garnered global headlines and media attention. Sitting on the panel (left to right): Dr.

Miguel Ángel Martínez, lead investigator for the PREDIMED study and professor at University of Navarra, Spain; Dr. Joan Sabate, 6ICVN

chair and chair of the Nutrition Department at Loma Linda University School of Public Health; and Dr. Sam Soret, associate dean for

public health practice at Loma Linda University School of Public Health.

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (233) 9


World News & Perspectives

Linda University, such as the landmark

Adventist Health Study and a study on

walnuts and heart disease.

“It is a good opportunity to celebrate

the findings from these studies from

two decades ago; it’s like closing the

loop,” he said. “Our findings are very

supportive of the research of those pioneering

studies at Loma Linda.”

More than 800 scientists, researchers,

and public-health experts gathered for

the 6ICVN event, organized by Loma

Linda University School of Public

Health. The event is held every five years

and is the premier gathering of the

world’s experts in plant-based nutrition

and health.

At this year’s gathering, held February

24-26, 2013, at Loma Linda University

Drayson Center, delegates participated

in dozens of seminars, workshops, and

presentations exploring such topics as

DELEGATES WELCOME: Dr. Richard Hart, president of Loma Linda University Health,

welcomes more than 800 delegates to the Sixth International Congress on Vegetarian

Nutrition, held February 24-26, 2103, at Loma Linda University Health. Next to him is Dr.

Joan Sabate (center), 6ICVN chair, and chair of the Nutrition Department at Loma Linda

University School of Public Health, and Dr. David R. Jacobs, Mayo professor, division of

epidemiology, University of Minnesota.

LARGE ATTENDANCE: More than 800 delegates attended the Sixth International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, held February

24-26, 2013, at Loma Linda University Health.

10 (234) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


the link between diet and longevity, how

plant-based diets can help prevent and

treat major chronic diseases, and the

sustainability of plant-based diet

lifestyles.

“I have been attending the Vegetarian

Congress since the fourth one,

because I’m a vegetarian and there are

many new things that I learn,” said

delegate Hiroshi Yamaji, 52, of Tokyo,

director of health ministries for the

Japan Union Conference of Seventhday

Adventists.

“I feel very blessed by the lifestyle I

have,” he continued. “I have been a

practicing vegetarian since I was born,

and I see the benefits in it. I am glad

there is now strong scientific support

for it.”

Delegates received a rousing welcome

from Loma Linda University Health officials

at the start of the events.

“It’s a real privilege for Loma Linda to

be identified with this congress, which

is the premier international conference

for research in plant-based diets,” said

EXHIBITS A DRAW: Delegates to the Sixth International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition

check out the exhibitor booths during the event, held February 24-26, 2013, at Loma

Linda University Health.

Richard Hart, M.D., Dr.Ph., president of

Loma Linda University Health, during

his welcome. “Loma Linda has pioneered

efforts that now allow us to

gather here. Vegetarianism is no longer

an Adventist thing or a novelty. It has

become a science-based way of life for

many people.”

Joan Sabate, M.D., Ph.D., 6ICVN chair,

and chair of the Nutrition Department

at Loma Linda University School of Public

Health, noted the event has grown

each time, and this year’s attendance

easily surpassed the expected 700

delegates.

“The interest from both the Adventist

community and the scientific community

is increasing,” Sabate said.

“Vegetarian nutrition is one of the

stalwart research themes of Loma Linda

University School of Public Health,” said

Tricia Penniecook, M.D., M.P.H., who is

dean of the Loma Linda University

School of Public Health. “During the

congress, scientists, practitioners, academicians,

students, and members of

the community at large learned more

about how a vegetarian lifestyle can be

taught and implemented in practical

ways.” n

■■NOrth america

One Project

Draws Adventist

Leaders to

Chicago

Two-day meeting

celebrates “supremacy of

Jesus” within movement.

By One Project staff

Why would 750 leaders from around

the world meet for two days in the

“Windy City,” Chicago, Illinois, in early

February? The answer was simple: Just

Jesus. Leaders and laypersons of all ages

gathered for the One Project on February

11, 12, 2013. This was the third gathering

of the One Project in North America

(Atlanta 2011, Seattle 2012, Chicago

2013). With spaces capped at 750, seats

SPEAKER: Timothy Nixon, associate chaplain at Andrews University, addresses delegates

at the One Project conference.

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (235) 11


World News & Perspectives

were sold out a few months in advance

of the gathering. The motto—“Jesus.

All.”—is born from the One Project’s

mission to celebrate the supremacy of

Jesus within the Seventh-day Adventist

Church.

“When we dreamed up the One Project,

the love for Jesus was overwhelming.

When we prepared for each

gathering His love was overwhelming.

When we experienced the gatherings

we get to bask in the presence of His

overwhelming love,” said Japhet De

Oliveira, cochair of the One Project

board. “Our gatherings follow a really

simple process. With 20-minute reflections

on Jesus, followed by our immediate

live responses, and then the

facilitator-led table recalibrations. Like

Ellen G. White, we find Jesus to be the

desire of the ages—every age—including

this one. We desire His love, His

truth, His leadership.”

“When I first heard about the One

Project,” declared Rod Long, of Sydney,

Australia, “I wondered how we would

talk about Jesus for two days. Now I

wonder how we will ever exhaust that

subject! The program elements reflect

my experience: Conversations I had

about Jesus (and there were lots), how

Jesus intersects with all aspects of my

life and experiences, and how the

One Project recalibrated my ‘Jesus

perspective.’ ”

De Oliveira said, “Each year Alex

Bryan, cochair of the One Project, suggests

a subset theme and for 2013 it was

Just Jesus. It is part of our Seventh-day

Adventist DNA with Jesus followers like

the late and dearly loved Morris Venden.

We simply cannot stop talking

about Jesus, and Just Jesus is more than

enough.”

At the Chicago gathering, the movement’s

Hope Channel arranged for live

streaming of the One Project to 450-

plus sites across the globe. One gentleman

came to the Chicago gathering, but

because of a brain injury he suffers

from sensory overload. As a result, he

was only able to join the larger group

during the reflections while the lights

were dimmed and the sound was

focused. During the recalibration

(group discussion) after each reflection,

he would have to leave the room. His

brother, who was participating via the

live streaming, joined him via phone,

and they were able to dialogue one on

one for a recalibration of their life in

Jesus.

On April 5, 6, 2013, thanks to the support

of the Norwegian Union and working

closely with Pastor Victory Marley,

the One Project will be offering the first

gathering in Norwegian with limited

English translation. In July the One Project

will be in Newcastle, Australia, and

then in early November it will be on the

campus of Newbold College in England.

All of these gatherings are limited in

size.

The next North American gathering,

Seattle in February 2014, is already at

50 percent capacity. Other site locations

under consideration are Brazil,

Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and

many other options in the U.S.A. For

more information, visit us at www.

the1project.org. n

AROUND THE TABLE: Delegates to the One Project conference exchange ideas during breakout sessions.

12 (236) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


adventist life

This past fall my son Javad came home

from school excited about an upcoming

field trip to a local farm and pumpkin

patch. “Please, come with us! I want you to

take care of my classmates and me,” he

said. Since he actually remembered to tell

me about this ahead of time rather than

the day before, I told him I would ask for

the day off to go on the trip. He replied,

“Ask your boss [Bill Knott] to let you go. If

he’s a Christian, he will!”

—Wilona Karimabadi, Ellicott City, Maryland

Sermon in seven

What motivates sacrifice?

Do you agree with this?

Sacrifice is

about love,

not about

courage.

share with us

We are looking for brief submissions in these

categories:

Sound Bites (quotes, profound or spontaneous)

Adventist Life (short anecdotes, especially from

the world of adults)

Jots and Tittles (church-related tips)

Camp Meeting Memories (short, humorous and/

or profound anecdotes)

Favorite (Church) Family Photos (must be high

resolution min. 1000 px JPEGs)

Please send your submissions to Give & Take,

Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver

Spring, MD 20904-6600; fax: 301-680-6638; e-mail:

marank@gc.adventist.org. Please include phone number,

and city and state from which you are writing.

© terry crews

think about it

This is the story of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could

have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it,

but Nobody realized that Everybody would not do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody

could have done.

—Author unknown, submitted by Edson Simon, Clackamas, Oregon

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (237) 13


40 Below

THE

en PERFECT

by Cecilia Luck

Perfect then, perfect now:

the commandments are still relevant

For Today’s pop culture.

Between the ages of 7 and 10 I was involved in a number of children’s musicals at

church. One song in particular is still ingrained in my head, and heart, after more than

20 years. The song “The Perfect 10” puts the Ten Commandments into a rhyme. Then

the chorus says that “they’re just as true as they were way back when.” God hasn’t

changed over the course of history, and neither have His laws.

What is the one thing that currently dominates the majority of our time and energy? Pop

culture. It’s everywhere: the Internet, movies, television, music, magazines and books, video

games, etc. It seems Hollywood has done its best at trying to turn these laws into suggestions—

recommendations that can be disregarded as long as the reason is deemed acceptable. But

these laws are practical and pertinent. Using the Ten Commandments as our guide, let’s

embark on a quick journey to see just how these laws apply today, and how they can help us

get back (and stay) on track toward our future, eternal destination.

14 (238) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


Number 1: “You shall have

no other gods before Me” (Ex.

20:3).*

Not long before the

Mount Sinai experience,

the Israelites had been

released from their

bondage in Egypt, a

country whose polytheistic

religion would

have definitely been

ingrained in their

minds. Not only this,

but the land they were

promised was also

inhabited with worshippers

of gods other

than God. Through the

biblical account we see

how easily the Israelites

were taken in by the surrounding

influences. Egyptian

life did rub off on them.

So at Sinai, God first

reminds the former slaves of

His place in their life. We

aren’t much different today.

“No other gods” may have taken

a different meaning these days,

but what we’re doing is basically

what the Israelites were guilty of—

anything that takes higher priority than

God is, in fact, a god. It comes down to

balance: time on the computer and

entertainment, necessities and enjoyments,

both have their place, but God

must come first.

Number 2: “You shall not make

for yourself an idol” (verse 4).

“You shall not make for yourself an

idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven

above or on the earth beneath or in the

water under the earth. You shall not

worship them or serve them; for I, the

Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting

the iniquity of the fathers on the

children, on the third and fourth generations

of those who hate Me, but showing

lovingkindness to thousands, to

those who love Me and keep My commandments”

(verses 4-6).

In the first part of this commandment

an idol is defined as an image or

representation of a god as an object of

worship. Again, the Israelites were surrounded

by idols while slaves in Egypt.

Anubis, the god of the afterlife, and Ra,

the sun god, are just a couple of the

many deities worshipped and physically

represented throughout Egypt.

By telling the Israelites not to make

any idols, God was turning their minds

back to Him, the Creator. The Creator

God alone is to be worshipped, not any

created thing. We may possess items

that hold sentimental value for us, but

unless we form unhealthy attachments

to them, they aren’t objects of worship.

The second half of the commandment

states that God visits “the iniquity of the

fathers on the children,” but shows “lovingkindness”

to those who love Him and

keep His commandments. Is God saying

that every son or daughter of a drunk, an

adulterer, an abuser, etc., will be visited

with iniquity? No! We aren’t held responsible

for the sins and mistakes of our parents.

The notion that we are responsible

for the actions of our predecessors—and

that we should be punished for it—is

prevalent in Hollywood’s film industry.

But the truth is, we are held accountable

to God only for our own actions. If we

don’t learn from our parents’ sins and

mistakes and we follow in that path, then

we are held accountable.

Number 3:

“You shall not take the

name of the Lord your

God in vain, for the

Lord God will not

leave him unpunished

who takes His name in

vain” (verse 7).

Ancients believed

that God’s name was

so sacred and holy it was not even to be

spoken. Today His name is so disrespected

that it’s nauseating. I cringe

every time I hear—or see—it being misused.

The misuse is so rampant that it’s

hard to block it out. How many times,

for example, have you seen “omg” in

texts or on Facebook or Twitter? It’s like

a breath of fresh air when a movie, TV

show, or a message board is free of it.

We can’t force others not to take His name

in vain, but we can do our part in being an

example of how God should be respected

and honored in our everyday conversations.

Number 4: “Remember the sabbath

day, to keep it holy” (verse 8).

The Sabbath was, and still is, a blessed

and holy gift. After six days of creating,

God set aside the seventh day for rest

and enjoyment of—and with—His creation.

Today we can’t seem to stop for

anything. Unfortunately for some, Sabbath

is their busiest day.

Remember . . . God commands us to

remember. Take this time to remember all

that God has done. God also commands

us to rest—this is a test of obedience.

Take this day to enjoy a break. Climb a

tree. Call a friend you haven’t spoken

with in a while. Shut off your computer.

Forget about the demands and problems,

and all that pop culture offers that

follows us through the other six days.

Remember the seventh day and rest in

it. Also, remember that it’s lawful to do

good on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:12). So

rest—and go do some good.

Number 5: “Honor your father

and your mother” (Ex. 20:12).

Sometimes this commandment is

easier said than done. To honor means

to have a high respect or esteem for

The Bible is clear. It’s a matter

of putting what we are

supposed to do into practice. If

we do, God will honor that.

someone. We don’t see this often in the

parent/child relationships portrayed on

TV or film, and rarely do we find this

honor toward parents in everyday life.

Just watch any major reality show

involving kids, parents, and competition,

and you’ll see what I mean.

And how are children, no matter their

age, supposed to honor the parents who

neglect and/or abuse them? Or parents

who don’t teach them proper values or

morals? Perhaps honoring the Father in

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (239) 15


heaven in spite of the circumstances

would compensate for the honoring of

earthly parents who don’t honor their

role as they should?

For parents who don’t share the same

belief system or won’t admit to the

change they need—love and honor them

where they are, even if you don’t agree.

As I said, it’s easier said than done, but it

will make those relationships smoother

in the long run.

Number 6: “You shall not murder”

(verse 13).

From children’s video games to PG-13

and R-rated movies, our society has become

desensitized to murder and violence. We

loathe terrorists who murder innocent people,

yet we have no problem sitting through

a movie in which murder is portrayed as

both a crime and as justice served.

We can’t ignore murder. It’s a very

real part of our sinful world. But we can

prayerfully sensitize ourselves again to

the reality that murder is disgusting

and deplorable. It’s life being taken.

How can we not be sensitive to that?

Number 7: “You shall not commit

adultery” (verse 14).

How is it that society has come to the

place that we actually feel sorry for the

one committing adultery? Again, Hollywood

has done a good job of making

adultery seem socially acceptable. We

may sympathize with the one who feels

something lacking and sees the need to

cheat on their spouse, thereby excusing

their behavior. This is not acceptable. I

don’t know the stresses that married

people sometimes experience. I am,

however, the product of a home in

which divorce as a result of adultery

occurred—and I know its damaging

effects. In spite of what pop culture has

deemed all right, people need to do

what is right: honor the vows made on

the wedding day, stay faithful.

Number 8: “You shall not steal”

(verse 15).

The excuses for stealing are many, but

there is no good reason. As we see in

pop culture, stealing not only refers to

material possessions (we can surely

recall, for example, stories about celebrities

caught shoplifting); there are

other things that can be stolen as well:

time, love, ideas, etc. In the end it’s true:

the one who steals never prospers.

Number 9: “You shall not bear false

witness against your neighbor” (verse 16).

There’s a reason Solomon, in Proverbs,

puts a lot of focus on two evils:

lying and gossiping. They hurt. They

destroy relationships. They break trust.

They damage reputations. In today’s

society these consequences aren’t often

considered. With our broken human

nature, we do this without thinking.

Once again, the blatant acceptance of

this behavior has contemporary media

and entertainment written all over it.

(Have you glanced over the tabloids at

the grocery store lately?) We are surrounded

by the world’s seeming

approval of it. Even if done with the

“best” intentions, bearing false witness

still has negative effects. The character

of a person can easily be damaged. And

whether the information about a given

person is true or not, we know exactly

what we are supposed to do. The Bible is

clear. It’s a matter of putting what we

are supposed to do into practice. If we

do, God will honor that.

Number 10: “You shall not covet

your neighbor’s house; . . . or anything

that belongs to your neighbor” (verse 17).

A want or desire isn’t necessarily a bad

thing, especially when it’s something

like a better-working car, a good education,

etc. It really depends on what the

desired object is—and our reason for the

desire. We also tend to want not only

what is not ours, but also something that

belongs to another person—and the

object of desire is not ours to want.

While there are a plethora of modernday

examples I could use, my mind

keeps going back to David. He didn’t

banish that initial thought of desire like

he should have. And even though he was

a man after God’s own heart, the breaking

of this commandment led David to

break the sixth, seventh, and eighth

commandments as well. This all started

with the simple act of desire for another

man’s wife who was not his to desire.

When we do see this in modern

media, we should, no matter what the

venue, be brought to a higher state of

contemplation and contentment for

what is ours. The more content and

thankful we are for what God has

blessed us with, the less the want of

anything that isn’t ours to desire will

enter our minds.

Be the Change

The Ten Commandments are still relevant.

And here is something else to consider:

how we interact with the modern

media “enemy.” Sure, we can choose, for

example, not to own a television, or try

to avoid the negative influences that

come out of pop culture. But the disregard

for God’s commandments isn’t just

going to disappear if we ignore it. Those

evils are still going to be created, shown,

read, heard—and they’ll influence those

who watch and read and hear them.

It’s not just about us avoiding it. It’s

about trying to change contemporary

mind-sets for the good. Try to make a difference.

We can be the positive change in

pop culture. Isn’t this how Jesus, through

His life on earth, showed us how to be?

He came face to face with sin and interacted

with the perpetrators—and He

changed things. He didn’t ignore His

surroundings. We should do the same. n

* All biblical quotations and references in this article

are taken from the New American Standard Bible, copyright

© 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977,

1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Cecilia Luck writes from

Collegedale, Tennessee.

16 (240) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


Cliff’s Edge

Erst Kommt Das Fressen . . .

In To Have and Have Not Ernest Hemingway expressed with paper and

ink some moral dilemmas of flesh and spirit. “I don’t know who made the laws,” said a man who committed

sin—a crime, actually—to feed his family, “but I know there ain’t no law that you got to go hungry.” A boy,

a Cuban revolutionary, declared that he would do anything to free his country from tyranny: “I do things I

hate. But I would do things I hate a thousand times more.”

To eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil implied that those who ate would know good from

evil, but the distinction isn’t always so distinct. Erst kommt das Fressen, wrote German Communist Berthold

Brecht, dann kommt die Moral (“First comes food, then comes morals”). We might utter gut-stuffed

protests against Brecht, but who could argue that one’s discernment between right and wrong blurs

on an empty stomach (especially your child’s)?

Mark Twain’s Huck Finn convinced himself that his own soul was damned to hell because he

helped Miss Watson’s slave escape. In the 1600s Thomas Hobbes said that good and evil have

no meanings apart from what humans, in a specific time and place, decide it is. Four hundred

years before Christ, Socrates battled moral relativism pretty much for the same reasons people

battle it today, 2,000 years after Christ. Niccolò Machiavelli argued that the political leader

must “learn how not to be good.” Nietzsche said that we have to get “beyond good and

evil,” because these concepts have worn out their usefulness. From The Rules of the Game,

a pre-World War II French movie, a character says, “The truly terrible thing about this

life, monsieur, is that everyone has their own reasons.” In 2010 atheist jihadist Sam Harris

in The Moral Landscape sought to establish a scientific basis for morality, claiming that “morality

should be considered an undeveloped branch of science.” Eighteenth-century philosopher Jean-

Jacques Rousseau called conscience “thou infallible judge of good and evil,” which helps explain

the German Reich chancellor’s sentiment: “If I live my life according to my God-given insights,

then I cannot go wrong; and even if I do, I know that I have acted in good faith.”

In the Foundation of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) Immanuel Kant attempted to create a basis

for morality on pure reason, before, and even apart from, experience or consequences. He thought

he found it with the Categorical Imperative, his metaphysical law for morality: “Always act

according to that maxim whose universality as a law you can at the same time will.” In other

words, do only what you want everyone else to do. Sounds nice, but what if you universally

will that everyone with one Jewish grandmother die in Auschwitz?

Morality is either like sunshine, coming from above, transcendent; or it comes from within us, human

creations such as free funk jazz and abstract expressionism. If the latter, then if all humans decided that

anyone with one Jewish grandparent deserved death, how could it be wrong? If morality’s a human concoction

alone, as subjective as tastes in music or in shoes, then Stalin’s gulags are no morally worse than the

American prison at Guantanamo Bay.

I’m not denying that atheists don’t or can’t live by moral codes that make them good citizens, in some

cases better than their theistic neighbors. (After all, when was the last time an atheist flew a jetliner into a

skyscraper?) Atheists just can’t base morality on anything absolute. Maybe they don’t want to, but this

subjectivism can end up justifying a lot of wrong.

The only answer is a morality from above, one transcending culture, prejudice, jurisprudence, tradition,

logic, custom, even conscience (see the chancellor’s quote). That’s what God’s moral law, the Ten Commandments,

is: a transcendent universal morality, the eternal template for good and evil. The law shows us

exactly how God Himself defines these things.

Of course, we’re still stuck with human subjectivism: some who believe in “Thou shalt not kill” go ape

over abortion but have no problem with lethal injection; others, vice versa. So we’re not done with the

debate, but at least with God’s law we have the absolute starting point. n

Cliff

Goldstein

Clifford Goldstein is editor of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. His latest book, Shadow Men, is available from

Signs Publishing in Australia.

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (241) 17


Cover Feature

People leave the Adventist Church only

because they’ve had a bad experience,

right? Not anymore. A new study indicates

that more and more church members are

leaving because they’ve changed their beliefs.

BY ANDY NASH

Picture a Seventh-day

Adventist church somewhere

with 200 members

attending. Over

time, 100 of these members

will leave the

church and in a sense

be replaced by 100 new members—and

then some. (The Adventist Church is one

of the fastest-growing denominations

in the world, and the fastest in the

United States. 1 )

But the 100 church members who

leave—the ones who used to worship and

fellowship, eat haystacks, and sing “Side

by Side” with us: Why do they leave?

Past studies indicated that if someone

left the Adventist Church, it was almost

always because of bad experiences or

relationships, not because they changed

their beliefs.

In a 1998 report, “Why Do Adventists

Quit Coming to Church?” prepared by

the Center for Creative Ministry, Adventist

researcher Monte Sahlin wrote:

“Three out of four leave for reasons having

to do with their relationships with

people and groups, while less than one

in five leave because they no longer

believe in some teaching of the church.”

Sahlin cited the work of other Adventist

researchers, including Roger Dudley,

director of the Andrews University Institute

of Church Ministry. “Generally

speaking,” said Dudley, “poor interpersonal

relationships in the church” were

the primary reason members left.

“Very few people,” added Gottfried

Oosterwal, then-director of the Institute

of World Mission at Andrews University,

“indicated that they had left

because of a disagreement over doctrine.

Many had questions and doubts,

but no basic disagreements with the

main tenets of the Adventist faith.”

Even more emphatic was Harold K.

West, Florida Conference ministerial

director, based on his 1975 study of

departing church members “There was

absolutely no proof,” said West, “that

anybody left the church because they no

longer believed in the doctrines.”

Interviews with former Adventists

supplemented the center’s 1998 report.

“After my baptism,” said one former

member, “I would wait each week in

the foyer. No one would talk to me, no

one spoke.”

“The church I attended,” said

another, “was so cold I could ice-skate

down the aisles.”

“It’s the Theology,

Not the People”

While relationships will always factor

into any church member’s experience, a

new study suggests a shifting landscape

in which more and more people are

leaving the Adventist Church primarily

because they’ve changed their beliefs.

The study, “Former Seventh-day

Adventist Perceptions of the Seventhday

Adventist Church,” was conducted

in 2011 by Southern Adventist University’s

School of Business under the

direction of marketing professor Lisa

Goolsby. Goolsby was approached by

Pastor Jerry Arnold and member Ken

DeFoor of the Collegedale, Tennessee,

Community church about exploring

the reasons members are leaving the

church. More than 600 former Adventists

from throughout the U.S. were

invited to answer questions online;

190 participated.

When asked why they quit attending

the Adventist Church, 49 percent of

18 (242) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


espondents cited disagreement or disenchantment

with Adventist doctrine,

while another 10 percent cited their

own lifestyle choices being out of harmony

with church teachings. Only 38

percent of responses cited a bad personal

experience or “other” reason for

leaving. (The respondents were able to

cite more than one reason.)

When respondents were invited to

give open-ended feedback about their

departure from the Adventist Church,

68 percent of the comments concerned

Adventist doctrine, 47 percent concerned

judgmental attitudes or other

problems within the church, 31 percent

concerned cofounder Ellen G. White,

and 15 percent concerned legalism. (The

respondents were able to submit multiple

comments, which were then

categorized.)

“I could no longer stay within a system,”

wrote one respondent, “that I

knew to be unbiblical and with which I

disagreed. . . . The ‘tipping point’ came

when I realized we couldn’t expect our

sons to tell us the truth if we were modeling

a lack of integrity by being active

members of a church they knew

we no longer believed. . . . We

did not leave because we were

in any way hurt, angry, bitter, or

disgruntled. We left with great

grief and great loss, and we left

because the Lord Jesus revealed Himself

to us so compellingly that we knew we

could not dishonor Him by remaining

in a system that does not know who He

really is or what He really did.”

“There are many SDA churches,”

wrote another former member, “that

are open, loving, and focused only on

Christ, but this is not the problem. The

problem is with the doctrine of the SDA

Church. The doctrinal beliefs of the SDA

Church are completely unbiblical; this is

the reason I will never attend an SDA

church again.”

“If Adventism,” said another, “would

catch hold of the truth of grace and ‘It is

finished,’ it would be a great package.

I . . . cherish my memories of growing

up in a warm, family-based, healthy,

safe environment. Independent Bible

study led me down a different path.”

Another respondent encouraged

“much more investigation into the fact

that many have left because of doctrinal

[reasons] and often, no other reasons.

There is too much focus on people being

hurt. . . . Doctrinal issues are ignored.”

Doctrinal differences weren’t the only

reason cited; the experiential element

was still very much present. A divorced

single mom with special-needs children

described feeling ostracized by church

members who were “snobbish.” She

said that members with money seemed

more accepted.

We left with great

grief and great loss.

Another former member described

the church as failing to reach out to his

family “in their time of greatest need.”

An inactive church member wrote,

“Although I consider myself an Adventist,

I do not currently attend the local

church due to the judgmental, resistant

attitudes that prevail in my area.”

Still, compared to previous studies,

the shift toward beliefs as the leading

reason for leaving was striking. One former

member wrote: “It’s the theology,

not the people.”

Asking Questions

Pastor Arnold, who helped initiate the

study, said the data align with what he’s

seeing up close and personally. “I have

had conversations with many young

adults who do not embrace every teaching

of the Adventist Church,” Arnold

said. “Some have perspectives that are

not reflective of the official teaching of

the Adventist Church. Some understand

the official teaching and disagree with it

on some points.”

Arnold said the two subjects that he

gets asked about most are the doctrine

of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly

sanctuary and the proper use of Ellen

White’s writings.

“People still leave the church over

their feelings being hurt,” Arnold said.

“But one of the main underlying factors

is the mistreatment they got because

they were questioning. If we can

keep a positive relationship with

them while they are processing

things, it communicates that

they are welcome and wanted in

our fellowship.”

DeFoor, who left the Adventist Church

and later returned, said he represents a

boomer generation that had difficulty

separating salvation in Christ from personal

behavior such as Sabbathkeeping.

“I know we say that the church doesn’t

teach this,” DeFoor said, “but certain

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (243) 19


Former Adventists tend to be a sharpminded

group that demands solid exegesis,

not pat answers. It isn’t enough to

say “the pope changed Sabbath.” We

must first show from Scripture alone

how Sabbath rest and salvation rest continue

to coexist in the New Testament,

just as they did in the Old Testament. 3

We must also be willing to explain

the uncomfortable but historical truth

that the early Christian church began to

distance itself from the Sabbath largely

for the purpose of distancing itself from

the Jews. 4 At a time when both Christians

and Jews are asking questions,

sincere questions, about each other’s

faith, 5 the Adventist Church is perfectly

positioned to teach and model the

Judeo-Christian faith of Jesus Christ:

one that celebrates “new treasures as

well as old” (Matt. 13:52).

3. We should clear up false understandings.

For a myriad of reasons,

many former Adventists seem to have

serious misunderstandings of Adventist

beliefs. One survey respondent wrote:

“Keeping the Sabbath does not save anyone.”

Another respondent wrote that

she believed Ellen White was inspired by

God—but that she is not our way to salvation.

“I don’t think you have to believe

in her to be saved,” she wrote.

It’s truly sad that these former members

were taught so erroneously; that

they attended our churches and never

learned of the all-sufficient grace of

Jesus Christ. We must all bear responsibility

for this and think about the messages

we’re sending to our children and

our members. Consider, for example,

how often we pray “Thank you for the

Sabbath” compared to how often we

pray “Thank you for Jesus.”

Many survey comments falsely

reflected an impression that Ellen White

dreamed up Adventist beliefs—when in

reality her own study and writing complemented,

and often trailed, that of

other Adventists. Former members, to

be fair, have to recognize that it’s

human nature for gifted spiritual leaders

to end up becoming too important

to their most ardent supporters.

Recently an evangelical congregation

decided that a certain woman’s teachpeople

give the strong impression that

it does teach this.”

Based on his outreach to other former

Adventists, DeFoor said that the

Adventist Church needs more emphasis

on the teaching and preaching of the

Gospels. “We need to understand that it

must be Jesus first,” DeFoor said. “That

will lead us to a better understanding of

our heavenly Father.”

Goolsby said the Adventist Church

isn’t the only faith community seeing a

transient membership. She cites a 2008

Boston Globe article, stating that “44

percent of Americans have left the religion

traditions in which they grew up.” 2

“Social media has connected our

lives,” Goolsby said. “We are now more

aware of what our friends, family, and

contemporaries are doing, thinking, and

feeling. If those friends have issues or

questions about their church or their

belief system, they are generally speaking

out through social media. This

causes people who might not otherwise

have questions or issues to suddenly

start asking some of the hard questions.”

Goolsby said a fundamental question

to consider is whether the Adventist

Church is a “one-size-fits-all” religion.

“Does the member,” she asked, “have to

take it all or take nothing? And how

does that fit with the plan of salvation?”

Sahlin, who wrote the 1998 report,

said that his current research also

reflects changing perspectives among

former Adventists. “The relational

issues are not as acute as they were in

the seventies, eighties, and nineties,”

Sahlin said. “They are still there, but

there is this newer issue of how people

experience Christian faith.”

Sahlin said that newer faith issues

among Adventists are “largely driven

by the evangelical critique of Adventism—that

it’s based on salvation by

works because of its insistence on the

Jewish Sabbath and because of an

extrabiblical prophet from which they

get their doctrines.”

Many Adventists today, Sahlin said,

aren’t prepared to handle this critique.

“The fallout of our own theological

debates of the 1980s and 1990s,” he said,

“was a new generation that is uncertain

about its faith and not well equipped to

respond to the evangelical critique.”

Sahlin said that Adventists have quit

making their own biblical critique of

the evangelical faith, such as that found

in The Great Controversy, Ellen White’s

1911 work. “We have tried not to be different,”

said Sahlin, noting that in the

more recent church-published Great

Hope, critiques of other denominations

are largely absent.

“I had to study

my way out of

the Adventist

Church before

I could study

my way back

into it.”

A New Challenge

The reality of members leaving

because of doctrine poses a new—yet

old—challenge for the Adventist

Church. How should we respond? Here

are five suggestions:

1. We should reembrace conversations

about doctrine. The Adventist

Church was founded on doctrine, even

at the expense of relationships. In the

mid-1800s, members of other Christian

churches (including Ellen White, a

Methodist) spent entire nights comparing

the teachings of Scripture with the

teachings of their own churches—

including eternal torment in hell, Sunday

sacredness, and a new teaching, the

secret rapture. When these members

left their home churches to become Seventh-day

Adventists, their existing relationships

were often strained.

Ironically, some of their spiritual

ancestors are now leaving the Adventist

Church to return to these same teachings—and

experiencing the same relational

strain. Rather than feel defensive

or judgmental, we should welcome

respectful dialogue about Scripture

with others. It will benefit everyone.

2. We must provide the best possible

scriptural answers to honest inquiries.

20 (244) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


ings had become too influential—so

they banned all classes using her materials.

The woman? Beth Moore, a leading

Christian writer and teacher. The

church’s problem wasn’t Beth Moore;

the church’s problem was finding a

sense of balance. The same is true for us.

4. We must recognize that sometimes

the enemy is us. We can all think of

toxic Adventist congregations or ministries

that we frankly wouldn’t recommend

to anyone. Rather than urge

members (or former members) to endlessly

“stick it out” in bad-apple Adventist

churches, we should encourage

them to find a healthier Adventist

church—or plant a new one full of grace

and truth in fresh airspace. New organisms

grow faster anyway.

We must also recognize—and so

must former Adventists—that every

faith community has toxic elements

that poorly represent the wider group.

The Baptist Church deals with deluded

members who scream “God hates you”

at soldiers and gays. Even when functioning

normally, every faith community

has its strengths and weaknesses.

One former Adventist described her

children’s experience in their new

denomination: “I found the strict rules,

severe guilt, and the concept of burning

forever in hell a terrifying concept to

foist upon children.” Truly every

church, like every church member, at

some point cries out: “Who will rescue

me from this body that is subject to

death? Thanks be to God, who delivers

me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

(Rom. 7:24, 25).

5. We should at least honor the integrity

of those who have left. Right or

wrong, it takes courage to leave what

you’ve always known. Even as we grieve

the departure of those who used to

worship with us, we should honor their

integrity—especially when compared to

Adventist thought leaders and members

who reject the authority of Scripture,

stay in the church, and try to force it

into their own image. This type of member

does much greater damage to the

kingdom of heaven than former Adventists

who retain a high view of Scripture

and are seekers for truth.

Where They Agree/

Where They Disagree

Former Adventists’ levels of agreement with Adventist doctrines

(from highest to lowest):

The life, death, and resurrection of Christ (71.58 percent support all of

the doctrine; 28.42 percent support part or none of the doctrine)

The Trinity (71.05 all; 28.95 part or none)

The Lord’s Supper (65.79 all; 34.21 part or none)

Creation (64.74 all; 35.26 part or none)

Second coming of Christ (60.53 all; 39.47 part or none)

The experience of salvation (56.84 all; 43.16 part or none)

Baptism (57.89 all; 42.11 part or none)

New earth (55.79 all; 44.21 part or none)

Unity in the body of Christ (55.79 all; 44.21 part or none)

Marriage and the family (55.26 all; 44.74 part or none)

Death and resurrection (55.26 all; 44.74 part or none)

Spiritual gifts and ministries (52.11 all; 47.89 part or none)

Stewardship (50.00 all; 50.00 part or none)

Christian behavior (48.95 all; 51.05 part or none)

The law of God (47.89 all; 52.11 part or none)

The Sabbath (45.79 all; 54.21 part or none)

Millennium and the end of sin (44.74 all; 55.26 part or none)

The great controversy (44.74 all; 55.26 part or none)

Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary (40.53 all; 59.47 part or none)

The church (36.84 all; 63.26 part or none)

The gift of prophecy (36.32 all; 63.68 part or none)

The remnant and its mission (28.95 all; 71.05 part or none)

In the Adventist Church’s earliest

days, there was no creed but Scripture;

the only litmus test was the final

authority of the Word of God. It should

be no different today—as long as someone

continues to prayerfully plumb the

depths of Scripture, there should be

room for them in this church. As one

returned Adventist put it: “I had to

study my way out of the Adventist

Church before I could study my way

back into it.” We should not feel threatened

by such journeys.

Perhaps the former members who

pose the most confusion are those who

now seem to find their identity in being

“former Adventists”—not unlike

divorced persons forever identifying

themselves as someone’s former

spouse. Ironically, publications and

Web sites centered on being “former

Adventists” have grown wearisome

even to other former Adventists. “It’s

like they’ve just moved their chairs to

the other side of the table,” said a former

member.

The message that seems to emanate

from these groups is that Adventists

can’t possibly know the assurance in

Christ that they do. This is a bold assertion

to make about anyone. Even as

Adventists have been guilty of misjudging

others, former Adventists should be

careful about doing the same toward

the people they used to worship with.

Members who have left would do much

better to keep their focus on Christ and

their new Christian communities and

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (245) 21


avoid the inherently negative spirit of

former Adventist groups.

Is It Join Hands or

Sing Songs?

At the close of the survey, respondents

were asked: “Would you try the

Adventist Church again?” Forty-six percent

said they would.

These 46 percent are more than a figure.

They’re moms and dads who

squeezed into tiny cradle rolls chairs

next to us. They’re old roommates who

still show up at alumni weekend. They’re

boomer men and women who battle lingering

frustration about the way they

were raised and still aren’t sure who the

“real” Adventists are. They’re good, sensitive

people who hated worrying about

the time of trouble but who aren’t too

wild about eternal hellfire, either.

They’re Christians who, deep in their

hearts, are fine with most Adventist

doctrine, with most Adventist culture,

with most Adventist people—but who

simply wish for an Adventist Church in

which Scripture is authoritative and

Jesus Christ reigns above all.

They’re also the people who can help

get us there. We would be blessed to

have them back. n

1

G. Jeffrey MacDonald, “Adventists’ Back-to-Basics Faith

Is Fastest-Growing U.S. Church,” USA Today, Mar. 17, 2011.

2

Ellen Goodman, “Shopping for Religion,” Boston

Globe, Feb. 29, 2008, p. A15.

3

For a more in-depth discussion of New Testament

Sabbath references, see Andy Nash, “Unrest Over a

Rest Day,” Adventist Review, Feb. 9, 2012.

4

“Christians must not judaize by resting on the

Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring

the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians.

But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let

them be anathema from Christ” (Canon XXIX, Council

of Laodicea, A.D. 364).

5

In Why the Jews Rejected Jesus (New York: Random

House, 2005) Jewish author David Klinghoffer writes:

“No authentic Messiah would inspire a religion that

ended up calling upon the Jews to reject the manifest

meaning of Sinai” (p. 215).

Publishing).

Andy Nash is a journalism and

religion professor at Southern

Adventist University. His new

book is called The Haystacks

Church (Review and Herald

22 (246) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


Back to Basics

Rock Solid

Last month was bizarre! The pope resigned. A meteorite struck

Russia, injuring about 1,500 people. The world-famous South African “Blade Runner,” Oscar Pistorius, was

arrested for murder. Things are looking pretty shaky. The world needs a rock on which to lean.

The human family has always been fascinated with rocks. In the book Patriarchs and Prophets Ellen White

painted a poignant picture of the one Moses struck in the wilderness (Num. 20:8-11). Popular legends circulated

among the rabbis of Paul’s day. They told elaborate, almost grotesque, stories about it; some suggesting

that the rock was round, like a beehive, and rolled along the desert behind the people, stopping

where they halted in their journey so that they never thirsted again. Some said the smitten rock was a

divine act unique to their society and sufficient to assure salvation for their people.

Paul detected the development of a similar attitude regarding Christianity among the believers in

Corinth and addressed it in his first letter to them. He made a daring challenge to such erroneous

concepts and underscored the danger that closely resembled the errors of Israel.

He wrote, “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors

were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into

Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual

drink; for they drank from a spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.

Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did”

(1 Cor. 10:1-6).

Paul used the experience and privileges of ancient Israel to emphasize that they were all under a

cloud of salvation. They followed their human leader with such dedication that Paul described them

as those who were “baptized [immersed] into Moses” when they passed through the divided waters

of the Red Sea. They also ate the same spiritual food, a kind of communion, or Lord’s Supper; and drank

the refreshing water that flowed from the smitten rock to quench their thirst, water being a symbol of

the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).

But they failed to realize that the Rock was Christ. Not a likeness of Him, but Christ Himself. To Paul,

that Rock was not simply something familiar and common, but something more intimate and tender:

Christ our Righteousness. Yet many of those who witnessed the miracle of the smitten rock in the wilderness

failed to see this. They fell by the wayside. They suffered the ultimate punishment for sin: not making

it to the Promised Land.

The same can be true of us if we do not accept Christ as a person with whom we develop an intimate

relationship that is driven by faith. When we lack the power of a vivid imagination, we too can doubt His

promises and make the same mistake as ancient Israel. We can forget that it is Christ, and Christ alone, who

girds us with mysterious strength to meet the challenges of life. It is Christ who supplies all our needs and

inspires new hope every moment of every day. It is Christ who is ever-present, and from whom nothing can

separate us (Rom. 8:37-39). He is our rock and our salvation.

God has given our generation a greater opportunity than was afforded the Israelites: Christ has been

revealed in Jesus, the one who was smitten for us, and by whose stripes we are healed (Isa. 53:1-6). Christ

lives in His believers. From His gracious lips come invitations beckoning us to know Him more intimately,

trust Him more completely, and enter into the joy of His fellowship more consistently.

Those invitations dare us to count on Him, lean on His strength, and bask in the light of His truth. Then

we too shall drink and keep on drinking of that spiritual rock. Unlike early Israel, we know that Rock is Jesus

Christ, who offers salvation to all who believe (John 1:12).

Hyveth

Williams

Hyveth Williams is a homiletics professor at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (247) 23


Adventist Life

One

(happy)Meal

With a Pie on the Side

Trusting

God for

our daily

“bread”

BY LEONORA SPENCER

In July 2005 the rain came down, the

wind blew, and suddenly and unexpectedly

I was without a doubt displaced.

(Displaced sounds more

palatable than homeless.) Abruptly,

my car became my “new” home. I could

not believe it! Life as I knew it had

changed. What at first seemed to be an

easy resolve, overnight became a relentless

nightmare. It was hard to accept that

my insurance company, which happily

received my payments annually, had

become my worst enemy,

Living out of my car was interesting,

to say the least. Many nights I fell asleep

in my back seat with a hammer for protection

and a flashlight to see what I

needed to hit—all the while asking,

“God, where are You?” and pleading,

“Please help me.”

Throughout my life I’ve experienced

some very exigent situations; yet no

matter what happened, I could always

find enough faith and Scripture to see

my way through. This time, however, the

events were unprecedented.

Broadening Perspectives

This sudden new life as a reluctant

vagabond resulted in my questioning

everything and everyone, including God.

Before then I had presumed that if I

were ever in dire need, I would be able

to turn to obvious resources. Not so. I

did, however, uncover a group of choristers

singing similar tunes of “I’m praying

for you.” I came to abhor those

words. I didn’t want anyone to shoo me

away with “I’m praying for you.”

Instead I needed someone to stop and

simply pray with me, or perhaps ask,

“What can I do to help?”

During that time I found it difficult to

pray for myself. My faith also was

derailed by those who, like Job’s comforters,

suggested that my “predicament”

was the result of some secret sin

or that God was trying to teach me a lesson.

Out of sheer frustration, if not

anger, I countered with such comments

as: “Since we’re all sinners bound to

experience adversity, what will happen

when it’s your turn?” Perhaps, I pon-

24 (248) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


dered, my “lesson” might be an opportunity

for others to show compassion or to help in

some way. Obviously, though, their words

and actions indicated that my situation

involved only me.

Until the Storm Passes

I was born to a country

girl who once witnessed a

person get struck by lightning.

She therefore taught

her children and grandchildren

an unwavering

code of conduct during a

storm: “Be still until the

storm passes!”

Until the storm passes—

that is what my state of

affairs had become: a

storm, a really bad storm.

So I did what I had been

taught; I became very still. In the silence I

came to understand that life is not ultimately

about the “storms” or the losses.

Instead, it’s about learning to trust God.

We need to “be still” and to submit our

I needed

someone

to pray

with me, or

perhaps

ask, “What

can I do to

help?”

lives completely to Him.

When I finally totally surrendered my

life to God, He impressed these words

upon my heart: “Lord, teach us to pray”

(Luke 11:1) and “Give us today our daily

bread” (Matt. 6:11). As I meditated on

these Bible verses, I realized that in

spite of my circumstances

and regardless of all of my

questions, the Holy Spirit

had given me the words I

needed to begin to talk to

God again. And so I began:

“Give us today our daily

bread.”

This scripture illuminated

my path and allowed me to see

the “bread”: gas in my car;

clean clothes to wear; a sample

pair of hose; stamps found;

food court samples; a kind

representative for my lender, who gave me

a few months of reprieve; a call from a caring

friend; a “buy-one, get-one-free” sale;

friends who opened their homes to me; a

free oil change; and on and on and on. Day

by day, whatever I needed, God provided!

Thankful in All

Circumstances

I truly am thankful for my time of

homelessness. It was a two-and-a-halfyear

journey that I’ll never forget. It

taught me to consider, catch sight of,

and, above all, appreciate my “daily

bread”—and to trust God more fully

than I ever had before.

In the end I lost my two-year battle

with the insurance company. When I

received the news, I distracted myself by

cleaning out my car. And wouldn’t you

know it, I found what I needed for that

day: enough change for one (happy)

meal with a pie on the side!

God’s Word is sure! Thank You, Lord,

for our daily bread. n

Leonora Spencer is a writer

residing in Georgia.

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (249) 25


Biblical Studies

in the

Wilderness

the Epidemic

BY GERALD A. KLINGBEIL

This is the second installment of a series of articles focusing upon the book of Numbers—a

must-read for those waiting to enter the Promised Land. 1 —Editor’s note.

Not again!” Young Michal turned around to see who had uttered these

words so passionately. She had been busy since early morning. It was

Friday and tomorrow it would not be there. It was whitish and sweet

like cake with honey. Michal loved it—but then she had not known

much else. When it had first been found around the camp somebody

had wondered “manna”?—“what is it?”—and that had become its name. Michal liked manna,

and mother had become quite the expert in preparing it in different ways. At times she would

grind it into some type of flour; on other days she would boil it in a pot or bake it into a cake.

Nobody had seen manna grow—every morning it was just there, like the few dew drops on the

forlorn grass shoots.

“I am sick and tired of this sweet, soft nothing,” Michal heard the female voice speak again.

“I wish I could eat something else.” “Oh, do you remember the wonderful fish dish with onions

and garlic that your aunt used to make for us?” another voice said wistfully. “Yes, and those

melons—weren’t they just delicious? Egypt, well, those were the good ol’ days.”

There was silence as people bent down and picked up more manna for the Sabbath. Michal

searched to link the voices to faces—but was unable to do so. She loved manna and sneaked a

handful of the sweet stuff into her mouth. It tasted like—well—more. Yes, it was sweet, and yes,

it had a unique texture. But when Michal closed her eyes while eating, she could smell and taste

a different land, with green pastures and soft winds rippling through the treetops. She thought

she could hear the noise of lazy waves lapping on a shore—it just sounded like freedom. 2

Not Again!

Complaining seems to be part and

parcel of human nature. “Not again!” my

Hebrew students would exclaim when I

reminded them of their weekly quiz.

“Not again!” we shout when we wrestle

with the “why.” Not again! is us—you

and I—shaking our heads (and at times

our fists) at God.

Not again! became a trademark of

Israel’s wilderness experience. Numbers

recounts numerous occasions

someone complained about something.

In Numbers 11:1 the people complain—

about something. Scripture is not clear,

but in response God sends fire that consumes

some on the outskirts of the

camp. In typical fashion Israel cries out

to Moses, who in turn intercedes before

the Lord on their behalf, and the fire

subsides (verse 2). Only one verse into

chapter 11 the mixed multitude (or

“rabble,” as verse 4 states) decide that

they have had it with manna—and crave

the culinary riches of Egypt: Who will

give us meat—and fish, and cucumbers, and

melons, and leeks, and onions, and garlic?

(cf. verse 5).

The list could go on and on. A people

in the wilderness, unhappy about food,

water, leadership, God’s direction,

and—ultimately—the future. A people

who had heard the voice from the mountain,

who had marched through the

waters, who had seen God’s mighty

acts—and yet this all didn’t seem to

matter when it came to the nitty-gritty of

26 (250) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


daily life. Their God seemed to be far

removed. Their trust was underdeveloped.

Their commitment was vacillating.

Somehow that sounds familiar. We too

struggle with the reality of God in the

nitty-gritty of daily life. We too are quick

to shout and scream—and murmur—

when we feel that life is not fair. We too,

at times, raise our fists toward heaven

and shout “Why?” completely forgetting

that God sheds more tears about our

pain than we can ever produce.

The book of Numbers has a very

unique structure, pivoting around the

two generations of Israel—old and new.

Interestingly, a quick scan of the first 10

chapters of Numbers results in many

references to faithful compliance: God

tells Moses (and, by extension, Israel) to

count all the men aged 20 and above—

check (1:54). God organizes their living

space and the camp arrangement—check

(2:34). When God wants a census of the

Levites, Moses and the people comply

(3:16). The firstborns are to be numbered

and redeemed—check (3:42).

When the Levites need to be formally

ordained for their special ministry,

Moses and the people follow through

(8:20). Every time there is a fulfillment

formula that sounds something like

this: “And X did Y according to the word

of the Lord.” God speaks—Moses and

the people comply. What else is needed?

It works—don’t fix it.

And yet, isn’t there more to this life

with God? The master-slave mentality

still seems to shine through here. Obedience,

yes, but is there not another

important element that should characterize

the human-divine relationship?

Beginning in Numbers 11 the facade

begins to crack. Instead of obedience (or

at least compliance) we find complaints,

suspicion, and even open rebellion.

Everybody is affected. It starts with the

mixed multitude and catches on with

the people, affecting even Moses as he

complains to God about his lot of leading

a wayward people. Miriam and

Their God

seemed to be far

removed. Their

trust was

underdeveloped.

Their

commitment was

vacillating.

Aaron weigh in and criticize not only

Moses’ leadership but also his marriage

and tribal loyalty. When the going gets

tough, when the time gets longer, erstwhile

obedient Israel suddenly becomes

suspicious, complaining, and doubleguessing

Israel.

X-ray of a Complaint

An example of the anatomy of murmurings

can be found in Numbers 12.

The chapter follows a veritable collection

of complaints described in Numbers

11. It seems that murmurings tend

to multiply—the spirit behind them is

contagious. You remember the colds or

flus that affect the entire family during

winter—somehow they always catch on!

In Numbers 12 the first two verses

teach a significant lesson: The purported

reason of the complaint may not always be its

true cause. The Hebrew text in verse 1 tells

us that Miriam and Aaron talked against

Moses because of his Cushite wife. Twice

the ethnic origin of Zipporah is mentioned,

which is another way of pushing

our nose into the problem: A Cushite, a

foreigner, an outsider—“can you imagine

that?” However, while Moses’ marriage

(and questions of influence) may

have been an issue, the real complaint

goes much deeper: “God does not only

speak through Moses—He has also spoken

through us.” The core issue of Aaron’s

and Miriam’s murmurings did not

involve some abstract theological point

of contention concerning revelation.

Miriam and Aaron felt cut out—they

wanted to belong to the inside circle.

Verse 2 closes with the ominous: “And

the Lord heard this,” reminding us that

there is a heavenly dimension to our complaints

and murmurings—especially when

they happen inside the church.

God’s response to this complaint is

quick and decisive. After Aaron, Miriam,

and Moses have gathered at the

entrance of the tabernacle, the Lord

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (251) 27


comes down in a pillar of cloud.

This is a crucial moment affecting

divine leadership and communication—thus

God’s swift response.

Apparently Aaron and Miriam had not

been part of the 70 elders that God had

empowered to share Moses’ leadership

duties in Numbers 11:16-25. Perhaps

they were jealous of Moses’ privileged

standing with God. Perhaps they had

gotten used to being the top dogs and

now felt unappreciated. The Bible is not

entirely clear as to the true reason for

their murmurings. However, Scripture

is unequivocally clear about God’s

response. “Why then were you not

afraid to speak against my servant

Moses?” (Num. 12:8).

Here is another valuable lesson from

Numbers 12: When we murmur and mumble

against other people (or God), we forget

who we really are and what our position in

life is. We are not the center of the universe.

We are frail human beings with

large egos, often lacking sound judgment

and a true recognition of our

place in life.

Leprosy

Can you imagine the shock on everybody’s

face as the cloud lifted? Miriam

was covered with whitish patches on

her skin: leprosy. Everybody stepped

back—aghast. Leprosy meant isolation.

Leprosy meant no access to God

through the sanctuary. 3 Leprosy meant

dying every day while everyone watched

from afar. Aaron pleads for his sister—

and Moses (the object of their murmurings)

prays to the Lord. This is not a

nicely formulated prayer spoken in

well-measured cadences. It is a shout of

anguish, a cry that reverberates down

through the ages. “Please heal her.” The

Hebrew text employs the same word

used to describe Moses’ intercession

during the earlier murmuring attack

noted in Numbers (11:1). It had already

appeared in similar contexts in Exodus

15:25 and 17:4 when Moses cried to God

to provide water for the people. I like

this valuable lesson from Numbers: Our

murmurings cause pain (both for ourselves

and for others). God heard Moses’

anguished cry—and restored Miriam.

The Domino Effect

Epidemics are not very selective. In

the fourteenth century the Black Death

raced through Europe and decimated

the population of an entire continent by

an estimated 50 percent.

The spirit of murmurings and complaints

is similar to an epidemic. Within

a worldwide church it multiplies

quickly (unfortunately the relative anonymity

of the information age often

makes the “infection” rate more rapid).

While we may complain about one

thing, the real issue at stake is often not

mentioned and represents a hidden

agenda. In our murmurings and railings

against God (or anybody else) we

We are frail

human beings

with large

egos, often

lacking sound

judgment

and a true

recognition of

our place

in life.

often forget who we really are—clay,

fragile earthen vessels, a race in rebellion.

Ultimately, our murmurings

always cause pain. We hurt people. We

wound ourselves, and we cause pain to

the One who gave Himself so that we

would be able to choose life.

Yet, there is another type of domino

effect. 4 It moves more quietly and may

not always be clearly visible—yet it is as

powerful as the epidemics (past and

present) that ravage entire continents.

Sixty-three years ago, somewhere in a

neighborhood of post-World War II

Cape Town, South Africa, an overworked

and worn-out woman, pregnant with

her sixth child, lay in bed, sick and worried.

A devout Catholic and married to a

hardworking husband who was not

really interested in religion, with a

house full of hungry and lively children,

she felt very discouraged.

An Adventist neighbor had put her

name down for prayer at an evangelistic

meeting that was underway in town.

The evangelist, a native of England, in

turn visited the family and offered to

pray. His soft-spoken prayers reminded

Eileen of God’s unending love. A Bible

study ensued, marked by many visits

and shared scripture and a husband

who slowly began to discover this God

of Scripture. Following many months of

Bible studies Eileen and Albert decided

to be baptized and began a lifelong

journey of spiritual growth. A visit and

loving prayer changed the course for an

entire family touching many generations—my

wife’s extended family—for

Eileen and Albert were my wife’s grandparents.

Both of them have passed to

their rest—they await the coming of

Jesus somewhere in a cemetery in Cape

Town. Yet, their decision changed not

only their lives, but also my wife’s

and—ultimately—my life.

Stemming the tide of negative sentiments

takes courage. Speaking out

when the majority roars for blood

requires pluck. Numbers teaches us

that we can avoid this epidemic of negativity

and murmurings. We are called to

stick to the Master and walk humbly

before God. We are invited to consciously

decide to be the positive influence

in the midst of a sea of negativity

and criticism (remember Caleb and

Joshua!). It’s not an easy task—but it’s

God’s way: one kind act, one encouraging

word, one gentle hug that generates

another kind act and more encouraging

words and many gentle hugs—and ultimately

beats the epidemic. n

1

See Gerald A. Klingbeil, “In the Wilderness: Of Tassels,

Wanderings, and the Promised Land,” Adventist

Review, May 10, 2012, pp. 20-22.

2

This fictional narrative is based on Numbers 11.

3

That’s most likely also the reason Aaron was not

struck by leprosy—it would have made the priestly

service impossible.

4

Gerald A. Klingbeil, “The Domino Effect,” Adventist

Review, Apr. 26, 2012, p. 6.

Gerald A. Klingbeil is an

associate editor of the

Adventist Review who has seen

the antidote against the

epidemic at work in his own life.

28 (252) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


Bookmark

Life Is Good: The

Best Is Yet to Come

William G. Johnsson, Review and Herald

Publishing Association, Hagerstown,

Maryland, 96 pages, $8.99, softcover.

Reviewed by Stephen Chavez, coordinating

editor, Adventist Review.

The question many people are asking

about religion today is not Is it the

truth? but Is it relevant?

An increasing number are

deciding that religion is

not wrong or misguided—

it’s just irrelevant.

William Johnsson, former

editor of Adventist

Review, has produced a

book that in fewer than

100 pages doesn’t argue

the existence of God; it

merely explains how some

of the simplest life experiences point

inexorably to the reality of a loving, personal,

divine Being.

In a personal, nonthreatening, nonjudgmental

way, Johnsson explains his

convictions about life and

the hereafter. He acknowledges

that after looking at

the same evidence, people

may come away with different

conclusions. In fact,

the first half of the book

examines the claims of

some of society’s greatest

skeptics. But he concludes:

“We live in perpetual trust

that Someone bigger than

we are has drawn us to Him.”

For anyone who’s struggled with

doubt, or those who know someone

who has, this book is an invaluable,

thought-provoking resource. n

At Rest

BIEBER, F. W. “Bill”—b. Apr. 13, 1916;

d. Oct. 29, 2012, College Place, Wash. He

served as a religion teacher at Oshawa

Missionary College and as MV and educational

superintendent of the British

Columbia, Wisconsin, and Northern

Union conferences. He also served as

principal of Wisconsin Academy and

president of the South Dakota and

Idaho conferences. He was predeceased

by his wife, Viola; and one son, Billie

Bruce. He is survived by one daughter,

Sherene Bieber.

FRAME, Robert R.—b. Nov. 23, 1915,

New South Wales, Australia; d. Nov. 5,

2012, Hendersonville, N.C. He served in

the treasury office of the South Pacific

Division, then as secretary-treasurer

and later as president of the Papua New

Guinea Mission. He served as assistant

treasurer, secretary, and president of

the South Pacific Division, associate secretary

of the General Conference, and

president of the Adventist Media Center.

He is survived by his wife, Peggy;

one son, Peter; one daughter, Judy; and

two granddaughters.

LELAND, John H.—b. Mar. 1, 1924,

San Diego, Calif.; d. July 30, 2012,

Ooltewah, Tenn. He served as a medical

recruiting officer for the Kentucky-

Tennessee Conference and as a practicing

physician in Crestwood, Kentucky.

He also served in prison ministry at the

Kentucky State Penitentiary. He is survived

by his wife, Floreen; two sons,

James and John; three daughters, Joleen

Horine, Jennifer Huck, and Anne

Blanchard; 10 grandchildren; and seven

great-grandchildren.

MARTIN, Chester L.—b. Sept. 5, 1918;

d. Oct. 28, 2012, Port Charlotte, Fla. He

worked in printing for Washington

Adventist University and the Review

and Herald Publishing Association. He

is survived by his wife, Camilla; one

daughter, Sharon F. Dickson-Kadel;

three grandchildren; and six

great-grandchildren.

MARTZ, Dowell Edward—b. Sept. 29,

1923, Livonia, Mo.; d. Feb. 9, 2012,

Bakersfield, Calif. He served as a physics

professor at Pacific Union College. He is

survived by his wife, Mabel; two sons,

Martin and Marc; and two daughters,

Merri and Marjorie Emerson.

MILLER, Henry R.—b. Feb. 15, 1930,

Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; d. May 18, 2012, Mesa,

Ariz. He served as a teacher in Easton

Elementary School in Pennsylvania and

Thunderbird Elementary School in

Arizona. He is survived by his wife,

Anna; one son, Hugh R.; and one

step-grandson.

MOORES, Robert M.—b. Aug. 4, 1944,

Oshawa, Ont.; d. Dec. 14, 2012, Halifax,

N.S. He served as secretary-treasurer of

the East African Union and Maritime

Conference; as treasurer of the China

Island Union Mission and Trans-

European and Northern Asia-Pacific

divisions. He also served as an auditor

for the West and East Indonesia unions

and the Far Eastern Division. He is survived

by his wife, Eileen; three daughters,

Heather Harrington, Holly

Bruestle, and Merrilee Moores; one

brother, Clarence; one sister, Glenda

Madgwick; and three grandchildren.

PATCHEN, Glenn A.—b. June 26,

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; d. Nov. 5, 2012,

Wenatchee, Wash. He served as an

obstetrician/gynecologist. He is survived

by his wife, Valerie; two sons, Greg

and Garth; one daughter, Genelle Pepple;

one brother, Gary; one sister, Gloria

Kupferman; and seven grandchildren.

RICHARDS, Sibyl P.—b. Apr. 24, 1923,

Mobile, Ala.; d. June 11, 2012, Westfield,

Ind. She served as a teacher at Battle

Creek Academy and as girls’ dean at

Wisconsin Academy. She is survived by

one daughter, Mary Ann Smith; and

three grandchildren.

SHANK, E. Ruth—b. Nov. 7, 1932,

Clayton, Ohio; d. Apr. 18, 2012, Sebring,

Fla. She served as a parish nurse for

Florida Hospital Heartland in Avon Park

and Sebring. She is survived by four

sons, John, Joe, Eirek Heintz, and Donald

Trembly; and one daughter, Disa

Gibbons.

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (253) 29


Journeys With Jesus

Jill

Morikone

A Selfless 6-Year-Old

It was a typical day at school. I was halfway through my morning’s

work of teaching piano—halfway through listening to scales, finger exercises, hymns, and gospel songs,

reading chord charts, and teaching improvisation. Some students had practiced hard, and some hadn’t.

Some kids were incredibly gifted, and some made up for that lack by diligence and perseverance. The

morning had gone well—nothing earth-shattering, just the normal routine of daily life.

I stepped out of the music room into the hallway to find my next student, little knowing that my

morning was about to change.

The teacher had just dismissed her multigrade class for recess, and I paused to watch the

exodus. Children ran down the hallway, eager to get to the gym for playtime. Their voices rose

as they laughed and argued, as kids everywhere do. I smiled as little girls joined hands to play

jump rope, while the boys started shooting baskets in a corner. What a joy to have freedom

from classes for a moment. Doesn’t every child love recess? (Doesn’t every teacher love

recess?)

As I turned to enter the classroom, the moment happened. Just as I reached for the

door handle, the door opened suddenly, and I found myself looking down at a very

cute little guy. Navy-blue pants and a light-blue polo. A short, almost buzzed, cut of blond

hair. He was our only first grader this year.

“Good morning, James.* How are you?” My question came out almost automatically. Rhetorically.

I smiled at him and turned to enter the classroom.

His response stopped me in my tracks. “Hi, Miss Jill. How is your day going today?”

Had I just heard right? Had a little boy—a first grader—actually asked about my day? I let go of the

handle and allowed the door to shut behind me. We were alone in the hallway. Oh, there was

lots of commotion, but we were somehow shut in—he and I—in this moment of time. I

stooped down and looked into his brown eyes. “Thanks for asking, James! My day is going

very well—especially now. How about you?”

The moment had almost passed for him. He was already reaching into his locker for his

midmorning snack. “Oh, it’s going really good.” He pulled out his lunch box.

Still blown away by his interest in others, by his unselfishness, I tried again. “And what’s

made your day so good, James?”

He grinned as he munched on some crackers, crumbs on his fingers and around his mouth.

“That’s easy. I have food right here to eat, and I have two good friends.”

Food and friends. That’s a pretty good combination, I thought as he ran off to play. But in reality he had much

more than that. Oh, he had a good home, good parents and siblings; but somehow I sensed that wasn’t all.

His was an unselfish heart. A caring heart. A heart that thought of others even though he was only 6 years

old.

As I entered the music room with my next student, the day seemed different. Brighter somehow. All

through the rest of the morning I pondered the sermon I had seen—lived out through the life of a child.

What was God, through this experience, calling me to do? Was He asking me to “get out of myself”? Yes.

Would my worldview change if I lived each day speaking an encouraging word, seeking to lift up my sister

or brother, searching for ways to bless others? Absolutely.

Wasn’t this our gospel commission: Go, therefore, and teach and love others; preach and show Jesus;

baptize and live His life (see Matt. 28:19, 20)?

It’s a calling He’s placed on my heart. What about yours? n

* not his real name

Jill Morikone is a music teacher, a church pianist, and a host on the 3ABN Today cooking segments.

30 (254) | www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013


Reflections

The Beauty of Scars

I have worried too much in my life, even about little things such as

scars. As ridiculously vain as it may sound, the imperfections of scars annoyed me, for they told the secrets

of my less-than-graceful moments.

At the end of my sophomore year of college I shattered my patella while horseback riding. The orthopedist

offered me a choice: surgery or take my chances with casting. The former choice, he added, would leave a

visible scar. I found myself in the casting room moments later. Why? Because scars scared me. That changed

one day when my perspective shifted through the words of a dear friend.

Kimi was one of my roommates in an apartment of four during a mission service year in Pohnpei, a

Micronesian island in the Pacific. After a day of teaching, the four of us could often be found discussing life.

On this particular day I was selfishly lamenting over yet another scar when Kimi nonchalantly said, “Scars

just mean you lived.” I don’t think I ever told her how much those words meant, how they changed my view.

But it was true. Scars have a way of telling a small piece of our life story. The scar holds a memory, an adventure,

a risk, and a point in time. To live greatly, scars are often required.

However, scars run deeper than mere discolorations or raised, jagged lines on the surface of your skin.

Emotional scars cannot be hidden. The face speaks volumes from stone-cold eyes to a single tear to a grimace

to a furrowed brow to disengagement, etc. And sadly, our world is

full of such scars.

While I have learned to take Kimi’s advice and accept my external

scars, I find myself reserved in other venues of life. I’m honored to hear

others candidly express their stories, yet I often limit what I share.

While grateful that life has been kind to spare me from the jading of

emotional scars, I continuously find myself putting up walls. Perhaps

it’s my personality, or perhaps my old fear of scars overshadows things.

I build walls because walls prevent scarring.

Walls also prevent you from living fully.

There are survival scars. When I consider the cancer survivor, the

multitrauma survivor, the prisoner of war, the mother saving her child,

I see their scars as badges of honor. They have conquered their scars and

emerged stronger than before. I find myself admiring their characters,

and the scars suddenly look beautiful.

When I ponder what it means to live a truly great life of valor, of

honor, of compassion, and of altruism, I think of Christ. Then it struck

me. Christ’s perfection allowed His hands to be pierced and scarred by nails in order to save us, to erase our

filthy scars eternally. His scars removed ours. Now, His scars remain in representation of the gift. I picture

Christ’s hands in my mind, and I’ve decided His hands hold the most beautiful scars our world has ever

seen. I keep thinking that I should not let the beautiful scars be without cause. Perhaps I should give more.

Perhaps I should risk more. Perhaps I should stop letting walls prevent me from living an authentic life of

purpose.

Kimi was right. Scars mean you lived. I understand now what I could not before: scars hold true beauty.

And I need to wholeheartedly clasp Christ’s scarred hands in thanks. n

Stacey Cunningham writes from Loma Linda, California.

www.AdventistReview.org | March 21, 2013 | (255) 31

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