June 20, 2013
La Sierra Votes
A School Grows in Alaska
“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.
16 28 8 6
16 Seventh-day Adventists
and Other Churches
WILLIAM G. JOHNSSON
Sure, we’re different.
But serious conversations
reveal how much
we have in common.
20 A Formula for Prayer?
REX D. EDWARDS
Preventing prayer from
24 Sexuality as Something
DAVID E. THOMAS
And the never-ending
struggle to keep it that way
28 A School Grows in Alaska
A school that teaches
7 Page 7
8 World News &
13 Give & Take
15 Cliff’s Edge
2 3 Journeys With Jesus
27 The Life of Faith
6 LAEL CAESAR
7 STEPHEN CHAVEZ
And Justice for All
ON THE COVER
For 150 years this movement
has never been afraid of
Lover? Or Seducer?
The path of true spirituality
is well-marked, as long
as we read the signs.
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, Quality Assurance/Social Media Coordinator Jean Boonstra, 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
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www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (531) 3
LETTERS FROM OUR READERS
Going in Circles
Stephen Chavez’s editorial
“Going in Circles” (May 16,
2013) is of profound importance
to Adventism. This is
the way we should have been
thinking all along, instead of
how a notion has been perpetuated
that if we associate
in other “circles” we will
become contaminated and/or
“lose our way.”
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada
I read Sandra Blackmer’s
(May 16). I remembered
something I heard a long
time ago about the authors
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster,
who were both Jewish. Here
is an interesting quote found
in the article “Superman,” by
Blair Kramer, in the Jewish
“Despite his superhuman
powers, Superman shared
some characteristic traits
with a majority of American
Jews in the 1940s. Like them,
he had arrived in America
from a foreign world. His
entire family—in fact, his
entire race—had been wiped
out in a holocaust-like disaster
on his home planet, Krypton.
Like German Jewish
parents who sent their children
on the kindertransports,
or the baby Moses set
adrift in the bulrushes,
launched him to Earth in
hopes that he would survive.
And while the mild-mannered
Clark Kent held a
white-collar job as a reporter
by day, the “real” man
behind Kent’s meek exterior
was a virile, indestructible
crusader for justice. This fantasy
must have resonated
among American Jews, who
felt powerless to help their
brethren in the death camps
“Superman obeys the Talmudic
injunction to do good
for its own sake and heal the
world where he can. Siegel
and Shuster had created a
mythic character who
reflected their own Jewish
Charlotte, North Carolina
April 25, 2013
April 25, 2013
Vol. 190, No. 12
Adventist Youth March
Human Su fering
More Than You Asked For
Vegetables Are Safer
I read Wilona Karimabadi’s
article “In the Kitchen With
Helen” (Apr. 25, 2013) and
was surprised to learn that
the ingredients for one of the
company’s lines, Artisan Bistro,
are a mixture of vegetables
and meat. I think this is
a step backward for our Adventist
health message. Many
studies have proven a vegetarian
diet is much healthier.
According to Genesis the
original diet did not include
meat, so we should make
food that does not include
animal products (no killing
in heaven, so no meat will be
served there). I know that
some meat is considered
clean in the Bible, but at this
time I don’t think that any
meat is really clean anymore.
Just consider how animals
are raised now and the
chemicals they put into animals
and the feed, etc. It is
even hard to find good vegetables
these days, but it is
still safer than resorting to
meat sources. We must stop
compromising our standards,
or we will not be
needed in this world anymore
because we will be just
like the world. Do we still
believe we have a unique
message, or are we going to
water it down so the world
will accept it? This is a question
we’d better consider
before we make any
Trenton, New Jersey
Special thanks to Bill Knott
for the editorial “Reclaiming
the Library” (Mar. 14, 2013). I
have been richly blessed and
gained a better understanding
of the Holy Spirit and the
responsibilities of Christians
through the writings of
some non-Adventists. A few
of my favorite books read for
pleasure and growth written
by non-Adventists are: The
Home Stretch, by Dale Evans
Rogers; Lessons I Learned in the
Dark, by Jennifer Rothschild;
Yesterday, Today and Forever, by
Maria von Trapp; and The
Purpose Driven Life, by Rick
Warren. I have just begun to
read The Lord Is My Shepherd,
by Robert J. Morgan (I
checked this book out from a
local public library).
Though Knott was speaking
of more scholarly works,
there are many books of
value and merit written by
available and worthy of our
I entirely appreciated Bill
Knott’s thoughts in
“Reclaiming the Library,” but
what I am responding to
now is what I perceive as a
trend by many, articulated in
one or two letters printed in
the Review: that put-down of
Adventists who hold in
higher regard our publications
and biblical understanding
of many issues
above that of other writers—
Christian or not.
I remember when The Purpose
Driven Life, The Prayer of
Jabez, and many others were
the read of the day, and many
“Christian” writers’ books
served (and still do) as
resources for Christian living,
guides for child rearing,
marriage improvement, etc.
My issue is that we as Adventists
have so much given
to us in the Spirit of Prophecy.
When will I—or any one
of us—have the time to read
most of these counsels
(much less all of them)? And
4 (532) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
must I use valuable time to
study the writings of people
who either willfully or ignorantly
ignore “Thus saith the
Lord”—people who mock
and criticize Adventists, or
who, in many cases, will not
read our books? Isn’t this a
reason one cannot walk into
just any Christian bookstore
and find a selection of our
If the advocates of reading
other authors’ materials are
referring to literature, art,
science, music, etc., then by
all means, read on! Otherwise,
in spiritual matters we
should be cautious to read
with discernment and
understanding. True, there
are lessons and insights to be
gained from others, but I
believe we have all the basics
to make it into the kingdom.
Do I Need a Gun?
I very much appreciated
Claude Richli’s article “Do I
Need a Gun?” (Mar. 14). I am
personally afraid to own a
gun. I am afraid that I will be
tempted to use it to kill
someone for whom God is
still striving. Who am I to
eternally separate another
man or woman from God’s
influence and power? As to
needing a gun to protect
myself, I have a hard time
imagining the Almighty, my
Father, saying, “Oh, Mike, I
wanted to protect you . . . If
only you had owned a gun.” I
just can’t imagine it.
“We need to see more of the faith that Doss lived.
His life conformed to the faith of Jesus.
—DAVID MANZANO, Harriman, Tennessee
Living on a farm, I owned
three rifles before I turned
21. I did not buy them to
defend myself; it was just a
“man thing.” Target practice
was a fun game. The thought
of shooting another person
was a completely foreign
idea. At 18 I chose to be
drafted into the army as a
noncombatant. With Jesus,
His teaching, and His promises
I do not need a gun.
Notice what Jesus told
Peter when the mob came to
attack Jesus. Peter took his
sword to defend Him, just as
many gun owners plan to do
if attacked. Jesus’ words were
“Put up your sword, Peter;
those who take the sword
will perish by the sword”
(see Matt. 26:51-53).
“Thou shalt not kill” (Ex.
20:13, KJV). These words
from God’s law guided Desmond
Doss. We need to see
more of the faith that Doss
lived. His life conformed to
the faith of Jesus. We choose
and plan what we will do,
and Matthew 9:29, “According
to your faith be it unto
you” (KJV), works out in our
lives. I choose to put my faith
in God’s promises.
Must Love God
Thank you for printing
Kimberly Luste Maran’s
“Must Love God” cover story
(Feb. 14, 2013). The article
was balanced and a real
blessing to me, and I am sure
to many other singles who
are following God’s leading
and will for their lives by
staying single. As we live in a
world that mainly accommodates
couples, I was comforted
and encouraged by
Maran’s statement that God
February 14, 2013
February 14, 2013
Vol. 190, No. 4
“Mi sion to Cities” Launched
in South England
Moving in the Same
does not require us to have a
mate. She mentioned that in
some cases a single person
can serve God more wholly
than one who is married, and
backed this up with examples
from the Bible. A text in
1 Corinthians 7:32-35 supports
Maran also gave a great
example for our admonition
of a single Christian who is
happy to be single for as
long as God wants her to be
single because she wants to
do God’s will and not her
own. I know that most single
Adventist Christians would
like to be married but only if
it is God’s will—and it must
be a husband or wife of
God’s own choosing. Praise
God that He is able to use
fallen human beings to finish
the work whether we are
single, married, poor, rich,
young, old, healthy, sick,
attractive, plain, educated,
uneducated, highly intelligent,
or average. He gives us
all the power to do His will
and to be a vital factor in the
world for His cause by giving
us a lifeline whereby we can
claim the awesome promise
in Philippians 4:13.
Thank you again. I have
shared this article with my
single Adventist friends and
Kurri Kurri, New South
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
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www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (533) 5
UNDERSTANDING IS NOT LIFE’S ONLY MORAL REQUIREMENT.
Misunderstanding that critical truth helps explain the chaos of humanistic optimism based on
faith in cognitive keenness. American board-certified internist and addiction medicine specialist
David Drew Pinsky, radio and television’s Dr. Drew, understands homosexuality. Drew’s video
entitled Understanding Homosexuality is categorical: “There’s no evidence that it can be changed.” 1
Robert L. Spitzer’s understanding changed after he won the fight against labeling homosexuality
a “sociopathic personality disturbance” in psychiatry’s diagnostic manual. 2 Twenty-eight
years he inflamed the world with a study on “reparative” or “conversion therapy,” turning most
subjects toward a “predominantly or exclusively heterosexual orientation.” 3
Addressing the problem such therapies create, the Pan-American Health Organization
(PAHO) recommended, inter alia, in 2012, (1) that they be denounced, (2) that public training
institutions teach “respect for diversity and the elimination of attitudes of pathologization,
rejection, and hate toward nonheterosexual persons,” that (3) the media expose homophobia
as a public health problem and “a threat to human dignity and human rights,” and that (4) people
practicing such therapies be reported “to the relevant authorities.” 4
Meanwhile, Spitzer’s understanding continues to develop. He has apologized for his 2001
study, allegedly deeply flawed because, inter alia, “only half of the participants engaged with a
therapist at all, while the others worked with pastoral counselors, or in independent Bible
study.” 5 One may or may not draw conclusions from this, on the predictive value of such nonscientific
activities as pastoral counseling and independent Bible study. To judge by Spitzer’s
apology, and by the PAHO directive, one may also doubt that any credibility remains within the
scientific community for therapies bearing the modifier “conversion” or “reparative.”
Nevertheless, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH)
is a professional scientific organization that works with anyone desiring relief from the personal
burden of unwanted homosexuality. 6 NARTH explains, too, “that the term ‘reparative’
never referred to trying to ‘repair’ someone,” but derives from the “reparative theory” that children
who receive inadequate same-sex bonding in childhood develop homosexual attractions
“as a ‘reparative drive’ for those unmet needs.” 7
Others besides Spitzer, PAHO, and NARTH also understand. Pastor Curtis Knapp, of New
Hope Baptist Church, Seneca, Kansas, and North Carolina pastor Charles L. Worley want homosexuals
all dead as quickly as possible. 8
Understanding homosexuality and its explainers is no easier than understanding human
nature. Available scientific frameworks cannot fathom humanity’s natural deceitfulness (Jer.
17:9). But the unfathomable God who knows our frame will teach us what we would never
learn by leaning on merely human understanding (Prov. 3:5). Faith in His original authority,
forgiving grace, converting power, and reparative genius gives world-conquering victory
(1 John 5:4), such as apparently experienced by people whose testimony Spitzer first received,
then rejected as unscientific. Intelligence and saving grace together accomplish infinitely more
than scientists and judgmental holiness seem to grasp. Understanding is not life’s only moral
html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. The term “sexual orientation disturbance” was introduced to the manual in 1973, “to identify people
whose sexual orientation, gay or straight, caused them distress.”
See again, n. 2.
NARTH Mission Statement, http://narth.com/menus/mission.html.
6 (534) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
And Justice for All
THIS QUARTER’S SABBATH SCHOOL LESSONS ABOUT THE MINOR
prophets (so-called) reminded me how little things have changed over the past two and a half
millennia. If you’re looking for some tame, bland messages about personal spirituality, you had
best look elsewhere. The messages of Joel, Amos, Nahum, Habakkuk, and others are messages of
judgment against the same things that plague our society today: greed, oppression, classism, and
indifference to the marginalized among us.
The messages of these prophetic activists is also a reminder that God’s heart is as concerned
with the nations of the world as it is for His own chosen people. And that often He uses others
as instruments to render judgment on His own people.
These voices remind us that truth in the abstract is unacceptable in isolation. In order to be
truly effective, words and ideas have to be combined with acts and deeds. What good is it to say
that we all come from one Creator if we cultivate a climate of inequality? Or if we ignore the
material and emotional needs of people in our society just so we can say we care about their
spiritual destiny? Or if we condemn others while hiding behind our own prejudices?
Author Anne Lamott wrote: “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image
when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” While we often claim to know the
mind of God, only our actions will show whether we truly do.
The prophetic voice says, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the
Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14). We know that justice will reign when Christ
returns, which is all the more reason to live it now. n
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day on the Adventist Review
Each Facebook page we share a sevenword
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giving the Adventist Review an interactive
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Here are seven of the most popular
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(indicated by the number of people who
“liked” the proverb). Two are shown as
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What Jesus seeks is engagement, not access.
No one dies of suspicion in heaven.
You cannot finish the work without work.
World News & Perspectives
LA SIERRA UNIVERSITY PHOTO
RIVERSIDE CAMPUS: Aerial view of the La Sierra University campus. The Seventh-day
Adventist school’s constituency voted major bylaw changes on May 23, 2013.
La Sierra Constituents Vote
to Reshape Trustee Panel
Union president can no longer chair university board.
By MARK A. KELLNER, news editor
CONSTITUENTS OF La Sierra University,
owned by the Pacific Union Conference
of Seventh-day Adventists, voted
May 23, 2013, to change key elements of
the school’s bylaws, responding at least
in part to requests from the Western
Association of Schools and Colleges
(WASC), a regional accrediting agency
whose recognition is crucial to obtaining
federal student loans and other funding.
Because of the moves, approved by a
vote of 69 to 10, the school is “changing
the way in which the board chair is
selected,” according to a statement
released by La Sierra, which is located in
Riverside, California. The school’s statement
said a two-thirds majority was
required to approve the bylaws change.
“Delegates approved bylaws changes
that require, in consultation with Pacific
Union Conference officers, La Sierra
University’s board chair to be elected by
the board itself from one of the four ex
officio member union officers, rather
than automatically being the union
president,” the statement said.
The decision means that Ricardo Graham,
president of the Pacific Union Conference
of Seventh-day Adventists, may
no longer be able to serve as chair of the
La Sierra trustee board. A further bylaw
change specifies “neither the chair nor
vice chair of La Sierra’s board can serve
concurrently as chair or vice chair of
another university or college board,”
which would eliminate an alleged “conflict
of interest.” Graham currently chairs
the trustee panels at La Sierra University
and at Pacific Union College, operated by
the church in Angwin, California.
La Sierra’s statement said the Pacific
Union Conference situation—in which
two colleges are part of the same Seventh-day
that both La Sierra
and Pacific Union
College have “faced
questions from the
on this issue that are
not faced by institutions
in the rest of the North American
Accreditation of La Sierra by WASC, a
private agency recognized by the U.S.
Department of Education as a regional
accreditor of educational institutions, is
crucial to allow La Sierra students to
qualify for federally backed student
loans as well as federal grants. WASC
accreditation also means students can
more easily transfer their credits to other
colleges and universities, as well as more
easily gain acceptance into graduate educational
programs at those schools.
Starting in 1996, WASC has raised concerns
about the La Sierra board, particularly
the fact that Pacific Union
Conference officials served on the boards
of both La Sierra and Adventist Churchowned
Pacific Union College: “The
[WASC] commission expressed concerns
about the need to train the board of
trustees, the need to delineate more
clearly the authority and responsibility
of both the board and the president, and
potential conflict between the needs of
the church and the capabilities of the
university,” WASC wrote in a 1996 letter
to La Sierra. Those complaints were reiterated
in 2010, when the school’s WASC
accreditation was reaffirmed for eight
years, and in 2011, when a WASC team
conducted a “special visit” to the school.
According to a 2011 letter from WASC:
“Among the concerns raised by the commission’s
review of the bylaws are the
expansive authority of the board to hire
and discharge not only the president but
[also] ‘the provost, vice presidents, deans,
administrative department directors,
academic department chairs, and faculty,’
authority usually reserved to the president.
There was also
concern over the general
lack of clarity
about the president’s
related to the nomination
of the governing
board, and the fact
that the board chair and other members
of the governing board hold multiple
positions in the church and the university
and also serve as chair or members
of more than one church-related educational
institution’s governing board.”
Graham, in a statement released by La
Sierra, made a tacit acknowledgment of
| www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
the WASC situation. “We all need to
appreciate the difficult task that our
articles and bylaws committee members
have had to complete,” Graham was
quoted as saying in the statement. “During
their nearly two years of study and
review, committee members have listened
to constituency delegate feedback,
and have used care to ensure the revised
bylaws meet current governance needs
while reinforcing La Sierra University’s
clear and unequivocal connection to the
Seventh-day Adventist Church and its
mission and philosophy.”
According to the La Sierra statement,
the voted bylaws task “the board of
trustees with ensuring that the mission
and major policies of the university
reflect the goals and objectives of the
Adventist Church. Other changes recognize
the limitations of expecting a board
to manage day-to-day details of a complex
Instead, that daily management
apparently will vest in Randal R. Wisbey,
the school’s current president: “The
president is identified as the university
officer accountable for implementing
the board’s broad policies into daily
operations,” the statement said.
The board, however, “will continue to
appoint the president, provost, and vice
president for financial administration,
and grant tenure to members of the
The bylaw change retains the current
numerical composition of the board,
the school said: “nine ex officio members
(the Pacific Union Conference president,
secretary, treasurer, vice
president; the Pacific Union Conference
education director; the presidents of the
Arizona, Southeastern California, and
Southern California conferences; and
the university president); and 14 members
elected by the constituency.”
Dropped was a provision that allowed
one of the 14 constituency-elected
members to come “from outside the
[Seventh-day Adventist] Church.”
Still under review is La Sierra’s accreditation
by the Adventist Accrediting
GERRY CHUDLEIGH/PUC PHOTO
INCREASED ROLE: Bylaw changes voted
by the La Sierra University constituency on
May 23 give more responsibility to the role
of LSU president, currently held by Randal
Association (AAA), associated with the
General Conference’s Education Department.
AAA is reviewing its endorsement
of La Sierra, an approval that is important
within the Seventh-day Adventist
community and may be linked to church
financial aid to the university.
According to the AAA handbook,
“accreditation is concerned principally
with the improvement of educational
quality in institutions operated by the
Seventh-day Adventist church around
the world. Accreditation of an institution
by AAA signifies that the institution
has a purpose appropriate to service the
educational needs of those in its constituency
and has the resources, programs,
and services sufficient to
accomplish the institution’s goals.”
Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, a veteran Seventh-day
Adventist educator who directs
the General Conference’s Education
Department, told the Adventist Review
that the AAA review is continuing.
“At its October 9, 2013, meeting, the
board of the Adventist Accrediting Association
will consider the report of the
review team that conducted a focused
visit to La Sierra University April 16-18,
2013,” Beardsley-Hardy said. “The AAA
board will also consider the bylaws that
were voted since that site visit, as well as
any other significant matters that may
occur prior to the AAA board meeting. It
will take time to know whether the
recently voted bylaws will strengthen
accomplishment of mission.”
She added that the La Sierra board
has substantial responsibilities in keeping
the school faithful to its mission:
ANN FILE PHOTO
“The board needs to express clearly the
goals, means, and primary constituents
served, and, as a Seventh-day Adventist
institution, explain what makes La
Sierra University distinctive from . . .
secular and private universities. The
board needs to determine and monitor
programs and ensure they are consistent
with the mission and purposes of a
Seventh-day Adventist university. The
board holds administration accountable
for carrying out the mission on a dayto-day
basis. Ultimately the faculty are
essential partners in accomplishing
mission, not only because of the power
they hold based on academic freedom,
PACIFIC UNION LEADER: Ricardo Graham,
president of the Pacific Union Conference
of Seventh-day Adventists, may no longer
continue as chairman of the La Sierra University
board of trustees if he retains his
board chairmanship at Pacific Union College,
according to bylaw changes voted
May 23 by the La Sierra constituency.
but because learning and the integration
of faith and knowledge in the various
disciplines take place under the
direction of the faculty. They need to be
fully converted, God-fearing mentors
and guides who live out the mission
every day,” Beardsley-Hardy said.
Founded in 1922 as a Seventh-day Adventist
academy, La Sierra grew over the
years and became a full-fledged college
in 1946. In 1967 it merged with Loma
Linda University and became that
school’s liberal arts wing, reorganizing
as an independent institution in 1990. n
—with information provided by La Sierra
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (537) 9
World News & Perspectives
LARGE TURNOUT: Thousands gathered in a square in the heart of São Paulo, Brazil, May
25, to celebrate religious liberty, in an event organized by the International Religious
Liberty Association, affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Thousands Rally in São Paulo,
Brazil, for Religious Freedom
Liberty is for all, Wilson, Köhler say; leaders
from 20 movements participate
By MARK A. KELLNER, news editor
A CROWD numbering in the multiple
thousands of people gathered in
Anhangabaú Valley, a square in the old
part of São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, to
celebrate and affirm religious liberty. The
rally was the culmination of a week of
meetings held by the International Religious
Liberty Association—a group
sponsored by the General Conference of
Seventh-day Adventists in which religious
liberty advocates converged to discuss
religious liberty matters.
“Religious freedom is a gift from God
that we should keep as a treasure,” Ted
N. C. Wilson, president of the General
Conference of Seventh-day Adventists,
said during the rally. Wilson, and Erton
Köhler, South American Division president,
were joined by leaders of 20 different
religious organizations at the
One of the clergy participants was
Sheikh Jihad Hammadeh, chair of the
National Union of Islamic Entities. The
representative of 1.5 million Muslims,
who express their faith freely in Brazil,
evaluated the event as very interesting
because “it was a way to reaffirm the
commitment to a pluralistic society
where there is mutual respect.”
Hammadeh said Brazilian legislation
ensures fundamental right of belief,
adding it is still necessary to work in
education so that people continue to
learn to understand beliefs different
from their own. All religious leaders
present at the event received a tribute
and a special keepsake for their efforts
to create an environment conducive to
the free exercise of belief.
Also present was Pastor Jabes de
Alencar, who currently leads the evangelical
Council of Ministers of São Paulo
State. Evangelical support for religious
freedom is growing, as these churches
themselves account for a growing share
TREASURE FREEDOM: Pastor Ted N. C.
WIlson, president of the General Conference
of Seventh-day Adventists, urges
Brazilians to treasure religious freedom in
remarks May 25, 2013 in São Paulo, Brazil.
of Brazil’s population.
Gilberto Carvalho, chief minister of
the Secretariat of the Presidency, representing
Brazil’s leader Dilma Rousseff,
spoke at the event. He pointed out that
the government must always act to
ensure the freedom of belief of citizens
and signal that these guarantees are
always in the plans of the federal
Netinho de Paula, Secretary for Racial
Equality for the Municipality of São
Paulo, represented mayor Fernando
Haddad and said he was pleased to participate
in an event of this magnitude.
Members of parliament and city
councilors were also present, many of
them responsible for the preparation of
state and municipal laws that guarantee
10 (538) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
religious freedom issues in their areas
of expertise. Paulo Frange, a São Paulo
city councilman, recently passed a law
that established May 25 as Religious
Freedom Day in the city. State legislator
Campos Machado, author of a similar
law for the state of São Paulo that designates
a specific regional Religious Liberty
Day, was also present.
TV Novo Tempo, a network owned by
the Adventist Church and which can
also be seen over-the-air in São Paulo
on channel 46, broadcast live throughout
the event, along with sister network
Novo Tempo Radio. Also, general media
and religious TV stations such as Radio
Globo and CBN aired reports from the
Pastor Edson Rosa, executive secretary
of IRLA in South America and organizer
of the event, said he believed the
festival showed a good representation
of religions concerned with respect and
tolerance. Moreover, he said, the event
served to publicize the cause of religious
freedom to a greater number of
people, which helps reinforce the
Before the rally, international religious
liberty leaders addressed an
International Symposium on Law and
Religious Freedom held by the Bar Association
of Brazil (OAB) in São Paulo. On
the evening of May 22 several international
religious liberty leaders presented
an overview on how the subject
is treated worldwide to the gathering of
While Brazil’s religious freedom was
acknowledged, participants were
concerned about reports that 40
percent of the world’s nations place
restrictions on the right of belief.
Marcos Costa, bar association
president, stressed the importance
of a regional commission created to
protect religious liberty: “We will
continue to support this committee
because we believe it is a matter of
respect and love for others,” the
Committee chair Damaris Kuo
RESEARCHER SPEAKS: Brian Grim, at right on Jumbotron screen, a senior researcher at
the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life, offered an overview of freedom
of conscience. He said 40 percent of the world’s countries have major restrictions on
religious freedom rights. His translator (left) is Adventist pastor Williams Costa, Jr.
told reporters there were daily
instances in which intervention to protect
religious freedom is required.
She cited, for example, an episode in
which Muslims arrested in Brazil were
not having their right to pray respected.
Another case in which Kuo was engaged
concerned art objects that might be seen
as hurting religious belief.
Speakers told the legal seminar that
the global religious liberty picture was
mixed at best.
Brian Grim, senior researcher and
director of the Pew Research Center’s
Forum on Religion and Public Life said
at least 40 percent of the countries have
a high restriction of rights to religious
freedom. Grim, however, noted that Brazil
has an admirable ability to deal with
religious diversity without internal
Ganoune Diop, the Seventh-day
INTERFAITH MEETING: IRLA representatives meet
with Odilo Scherer, center, archbishop of the Roman
Catholic Church in São Paulo.
Adventist Church’s representative to the
United Nations, stressed the official
statements of the United Nations that
guarantee the freedom of the individual
and the issue of respect and religious
tolerance. Diop stressed that these are
pillars to guarantee human dignity.
“We’re talking about freedom of
choice, decision-making, and that is in
essence what is provided in these U.N.
statements,” Diop said. One of the
secrets of this harmonious coexistence
among different faiths in Brazil seems
to be the laws that prevent a particular
religion and the state from overlapping.
In a separate meeting with IRLA officials
before the rally, Odilo Scherer,
Roman Catholic archbishop of São Paulo,
praised actions promoting religious freedom,
saying Brazil is a peaceful place
because there are no laws forbidding a
choice of faith and no persecution. Still,
Scherer said there was a need for
awareness not to exclude participation
of religious people in society. “If
you do that, it’s going to be a problem
and an obstacle for religious
freedom, especially when citizens
who profess any religion have less
opportunity and suffer discrimination,”
he said. n
—with reporting from Felipe Lemos,
ASN, in São Paulo, and Adventist News
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (539) 11
World News & Perspectives
Adventist Headquarters Staff Notes
GC’s 150th Anniversary
Sesquicentennial recalled with worship program, new exhibit
BY ANSEL OLIVER, Adventist News Network
EMPLOYEES OF the Seventh-day Adventist
Church headquarters building
sang old, “progressive” hymns and heard
remarks from top church leaders in a
brief afternoon ceremony May 21, 2013,
that marked the denomination’s 150th
It was on May 21, 1863, that a group
of 20 delegates officially established the
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Jim Nix, director of the estate of
church cofounder Ellen G. White, led
out in singing two hymns—“Long
Upon the Mountains” and “O Brother,
Be Faithful”—from the original 1861
hymnal, the songbook version used by
church founders at their meeting.
Nix said the songs and upbeat tempo
were selected based on a conversation
he once had with White’s granddaughter,
who reported that White liked
“hymns of ‘progress’. . . you know, a
hymn that moves along. Grandma did
not like slow hymns.”
Other presenters included Marvin
Robinson, a great-great-grandson of
White, and General Conference president
Ted N. C. Wilson.
“This anniversary is a call for you and
for me to move forward on that journey
. . . revived and reformed in Him,
empowered by the Holy Spirit to live
out the dreams and hopes of God Himself
as the Holy Spirit leads us,” Wilson
said. “God is calling us today to never
forget or to be fearful.”
The opening of a temporary display
on Adventist history in the adjacent
atrium followed the ceremony in the
headquarters auditorium, which was
attended by some 400 employees.
During the ceremony United States
Senate chaplain Barry Black, who is an
Adventist, offered the prayer.
Author and Finisher of our faith, You have
been our hope in ages past, and our hope for
years to come.
Thank You for this opportunity to commemorate
the 150th anniversary of the
Seventh-day Adventist Church and for the
privilege of unveiling a new exhibit on
PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS: From left to right, Jim Nix, Marvin Robinson, and Barry Black
Adventist history at this world headquarters
Lord, for a century and a half You have
used this church to bring deliverance to captives,
the recovery of sight to the blind, and to
free those who suffer.
Forgive us for the chapters in our history
when we were missing in action and unavailable
to help the lost, the lonely, and the least.
Lord, forgive us for being silent when we
should have spoken, and for speaking when
we should have been silent. Forgive us, O God,
for our sins of commission and omission. We
claim Your promise in 1 John 1:9, that if we
confess our sins, You are faithful and just and
will forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from
all unrighteousness. Thank You, Lord, for
Your forgiving power.
Continue to challenge us as a church when
we are too well pleased with ourselves, when
our dreams came true because they were too
small, when we arrived safely simply because
we sailed too close to the shore.
We recommit ourselves today to accomplish
Your great mission. We recommit ourselves
today to Calvary and the blood that
sets us free. We recommit ourselves, O God,
today to bring Your love to all who need
encouragement, to all who lack food and
clothing, to all who are cold and cheerless, to
all who are sick and shut in, to all who are
incarcerated, and to all who long for home
We recommit ourselves today to
dare more boldly, to venture on wider
seas, where storms will show Your
mastery, where losing sight of land
we will find Your stars.
O God of ages past, push back the
horizon of our hopes and lead us
into a future fueled by faith, focus,
And hasten the day when the Lord
Himself shall descend from heaven
with a shout, with the voice of the archangel
and the trumpet of God, and the dead in
Christ rise, then may those of us who are still
alive and remaining be caught up to meet our
blessed Savior in the air and to live with Him
throughout the ceaseless cycles of eternity.
Maranatha, even so, come, Lord Jesus. We
pray this prayer, in the majestic name of our
soon-coming Savior and King.
12 (540) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
© TERRY CREWS
WHAT’S GOING ON?
Where is this? And why is an upper room
being built on top of the Adventist church?
The lower church is the Seventh-day Adventist
hearing church in Pattukkottai, Tamil
Nadu, India. The new upper room being built
is a deaf church. Both groups will have
divine worship services simultaneously since
enthusiastic singing from one will not disturb
The day this picture was taken (in February
2013) a dedication service was held for
two Gospel Outreach-sponsored deaf lay
Bible workers—a man and a woman. Counting
this church, there are six deaf churches in
India, all of which were built with funds from
donors in Canada and are led by Gospel
Outreach-sponsored lay pastors.
—JOHN BLAKE, CLIVE, ALBERTA, CANADA;
SUBMITTED BY DAVE EKKENS, COLLEGE PLACE,
Weary after a 10-hour drive from our son and new daughter’s wonderful but
action-filled destination wedding, my wife and I arrived home and opened our
front door to a distinct mildew odor. A quick trip to the basement revealed that
water had flooded more than six inches throughout our finished, carpeted
basement while we were gone—the water had been sitting there for at least
In seconds my wife was on the phone bemoaning our predicament to our
daughter, who relayed the news to our not-yet-3-year-old granddaughter. She
told Maddi that Nana and Papa had a flood at their house. In words that put
all the calamity into perspective and melted our anxiety Maddi inquired, “Did
Nana see the rainbow?”
—BRUCE HIGGINS, SOUTH LYON, MICHIGAN
“We are losing a
because they see
no value in
—PASTOR WAYNE MORRISON, IN HIS
SERMON ON APRIL 20, 2013, AT THE
ADVENTIST CHURCH, HUTCHINSON,
CAMP MEETING MEMORIES
In the early 1940s my daddy
would take a week off from work
and take our family to the Oklahoma
Conference camp meeting. We
stayed in tents, and I had a good
time attending the primaryage
programs and Sabbath
church services during
which the conference
would pray for so
long that my knees
would hurt from
kneeling on the wood
shavings. I also looked forward
to going to the
store every afternoon
to get ice
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (541) 13
WHEN I WAS 21 YEARS OLD, IT HIT ME: TRUTH, AS IN THE TRUTH, HAD TO EXIST.
Of course, the reality of the premise that the truth had to exist didn’t deductively lead to the conclusion that
I could know it. My only issue was that, if humanly possible, I wanted to know it, no matter the cost.
Two years later, and at a “great” personal cost, I became a Seventh-day Adventist.
I joined the church at a time of intense theological controversy swirling around Desmond Ford’s challenges
to 1844 and the pre-Advent judgment. Yours truly, who six months before had been “floating” about
in the astral plane, suddenly found myself immersed into a new dimension: Adventism in the 1980s.
Amid the tumult, I saw early on that if Ford’s challenges to the day-year principle, the identity of the
little horn, the supposed “context” problem of Daniel 8, and so forth were valid, then the theological
foundations of Adventism were false, and, were I to remain intellectually honest, I’d have to bolt.
Fortunately, over time and with great help from new material from the Biblical Research Institute
at the General Conference and older material (such as Edward Heppenstall’s book Our High
Priest), I got firmly grounded in the 1844 teaching in ways I probably wouldn’t have, had the
controversy never arisen.
Excited about what I had learned, I wanted to share it with others, especially because I saw
so much confusion and misinformation among members about it. I eventually wrote a
book, 1844 Made Simple; and through the late 1980s I used to give a seminar at camp
meetings and churches under that same title. After a few years I got bored with preaching
the same thing, and though still interested in the heavenly sanctuary, I moved on.
Last year, realizing the potential offered by the digital age, I made a proposal to the General
Conference about redoing the seminar and putting it online. The proposal was approved, and a
few months later it’s up: 1844madesimple.org.
The bulk is a video presentation, much like what I gave decades ago. It basically shows the
parallels between Daniel 2, 7, and 8, and how the great pre-Advent judgment in Daniel 7, which
leads to God’s eternal kingdom, is the same thing as the cleansing of the sanctuary in Daniel 8,
and that it must occur after the 1,260 years of Daniel 7. After that I show how Daniel 9 narrows
that date down to 1844.
Mostly important, though, I show how the gospel is central to the judgment. I contend that
the only way to fully appreciate the gospel is to understand it in light of judgment. For
instance, in Daniel 7 judgment is given in “favor of the saints of the Most High” (verse 22, KJV). Why? How
can anyone stand when God will “bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether
it is good or evil” (Eccl. 12:14)? The key is found in Daniel 8:14, the cleansing of the sanctuary, when the
blood shed on the Day of Atonement covers their sins. “He will make atonement for the Most Holy Place
because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been” (Lev. 16:16).
Atonement is made because of His people’s uncleanliness, their sins, and their transgressions.
What? The saints weren’t perfect? No, which is why they needed the shed blood that dominates
the ritual. It’s the Day of Atonement, and atonement is what God has done to save them. The Day of
Atonement is about blood, the symbol of the perfect life of Christ sacrificed in their behalf, which
alone got the Israelites through the earthly type of the judgment, and which alone gets us through
the antitype, the pre-Advent judgment, which began in 1844.
At the site you can watch the video online or download it, either as a whole or in sections. Besides the
video, we have podcasts and resources for those who want to go deeper. Because the site is brand-new, the
podcasts and resources are scant, but we’re going to add more.
The Web site is there, and it’s yours.
Truth exists, and 1844madesimple.org is one attempt to give expression to a crucial aspect of it, the pre-
Advent judgment. n
CLIFFORD GOLDSTEIN IS EDITOR OF THE ADULT SABBATH SCHOOL BIBLE STUDY GUIDE.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (543) 15
and Other Churches
QUEST FOR UNDERSTANDING
From the earliest days of our movement Seventh-day Adventists have seen themselves as a
special people raised up by God to proclaim a distinct message to the world. This warning
message is to be sounded to all people in all churches and in all religions of the world.
But how should we relate to the actual churches themselves—to the organized bodies
of Methodists, Baptists, Evangelicals, and so on? Should we keep them at a distance,
declining all invitations to engage in fellowship or conversation? Or should we unite with them
in an attempt to fulfill the prayer of Jesus that His followers might be one (John 17:11, 20-23)?
Early on Adventist leaders decided upon a course of action that lies between these two poles.
On one hand, we strenuously resist all arrangements that would bind us or restrict the scope of
our worldwide mission. In the twentieth century as the ecumenical movement gained momentum
with its goal of organic unity of all the churches, Adventists respectfully declined to be part
of it. We have never had membership in the World Council of Churches, nor will we.
On the other hand, we Adventists do not seek to be an exclusive church that shuns relations with
16 (544) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
PHOTO: ANSEL OLIVER
LEADERS OF THE GENERAL
CONFERENCE OF SEVENTH-DAY
ADVENTISTS AND THE MENNONITE
WORLD CONFERENCE MET LAST
MONTH FOR FOUR DAYS OF FORMAL
CONVERSATION AT THE ADVENTIST
CHURCH’S HEADQUARTERS. THE
DELEGATIONS PLAN TO MEET AGAIN
other Christian bodies. On occasion we
participate with clergy of other denominations
in ministers’ fraternals, and so on.
When invited to preach in their churches,
we accept. We cooperate with them in
selected areas such as defense of religious
liberty and disaster relief.
This position concerning relations
with other churches finds support in
both the Bible and the work and writings
of Ellen White. Jesus, our example
in all things, associated with people
from all backgrounds, even with those
who opposed Him.
The apostle Peter counseled: “But in
your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an
answer to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope
that you have. But do this with
gentleness and respect” (1 Peter
3:15). We Adventists certainly
have a hope, so we take every
opportunity to share this good
news with anyone and everyone.
We share, not aggressively but
gently, not in the spirit of debate
or superiority, but respectfully.
In Our Past
Ellen White associated with other
Christians and Christian organizations.
A strong opponent of the liquor industry
with its attendant social ills, she frequently
accepted invitations to speak at
public meetings advocating temperance.
The pioneers of our movement
shared this openness to other churches.
As far back as 1870 we find the following
action voted by the Eighth Annual
Session of the General Conference:
“RESOLVED, that for the sake of our
blessed Redeemer we desire to cultivate
fraternal feelings, and maintain friendly
relations, with all who name the name
of Christ; and in particular with those
who in common with us hold to the
unpopular doctrine of the second
advent of our Savior near.”
For almost 100 years Adventist relations
with other churches have been
officially defined and guided by a policy
in the General Conference Working Policy,
O 110, “Relationships With Other
Christian Churches and Religious Organizations.”
In part it states: “We recognize
those agencies that lift up Christ
before men as a part of the divine plan
for evangelization of the world, and we
hold in high esteem Christian men and
women in other communions who are
engaged in winning souls to Christ.”
Time has shown the wisdom
of the decision taken by
our leaders long ago to interact
with other Christian
churches but to avoid any
union or connection that
restricts our mission. Worldwide,
Christianity is growing
IN OUR PRESENTATIONS
AND ALL INTERACTIONS
WE ENDEAVOR TO
BE GRACIOUS AND
fast, but the growth is among churches
that are not part of the ecumenical
movement—the Evangelicals numbering
about 500 million, the Pentecostals
with perhaps double that, and the newly
emergent indigenous churches of Africa.
Meanwhile, as the mainline churches
of the World Council of Churches have
declined in numbers, the Seventh-day
Adventist growth, enthusiasm, and youth
have become the envy of other bodies.
What changes a century has brought! We
who were small and passed over as being
insignificant and parochial have become
the focus of attention by other Christians.
More and more they want to know who we
are, what values we hold, what lies behind
our amazing growth and strength.
These are days of unprecedented
opportunity to share our faith with
leaders of these churches. When they
seek to know more about us and to
explore possible areas of cooperation,
shall we not joyfully engage them in
conversation? To do so isn’t in any
sense compromise; it is mission.
Thus, at all levels of the church, from
the local congregation to conference,
union, division, and General Conference,
Adventists today are interacting with
leaders of other Christian churches and
religious organizations. Way back in
1910, when the World Missionary Con-
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (545) 17
ference convened in Edinburgh, we were
there. The more than 1,000 persons representing
global Protestantism included
six representatives from the General
Conference. In 2010, at the 100-year anniversary
of the historic event, also held in
Edinburgh, Adventists were among the
official guests and played a significant
role in the conduct of the conference.
The Christian World Communions
(CWC) especially demonstrates the manner
in which Adventists engage with
other Christian leaders without binding
ourselves in message or mission. The
CWC, a gathering of the secretaries of the
major Christian bodies worldwide, represents
some 2 billion Christians and meets
annually for discussions and reports of
developments of interest to Christians in
The 185-page book is
(Frankfurt a. Main:
Peter Lang, 2010)
A History of Interfaith Relations
In Interchurch and Interfaith Relations: Seventh-day Adventist Statements and Documents, Stefan Höschele
submits the first extensive collection of statements and documents of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
regarding its interdenominational and interreligious relationships. The author (or rather editor, since it is
mainly a collection of texts written by other authors) is a lecturer for systematic theology and missiology at
Friedensau Seventh-day Adventist University in Germany.
The book is divided into three parts. The first part, “Interchurch Relations: Resolution, Statements, and
Other Texts,” contains decisions, explanations, and texts that describe the relationship of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church with other denominations. These texts are printed in chronological sequence and are briefly
introduced by the author.
For example, the volume documents the special relationship between Seventh Day Baptists, a small
denomination that also keeps the biblical Sabbath, and Seventh-day Adventists, in which extensive cooperation
concerning the spread of this pillar of belief was striven for and brotherly solidarity emphasized. Ellen G.
White’s comments on the topic differentiate between churches as institutions and individual Christians.
The second part of the book, “Interchurch Relations: Dialogue Documents,” presents documents that show
the outcome of formal and informal conversations between Seventh-day Adventists and the leaders of different
Christian denominations (e.g., World Council of Churches, Lutheran World Federation, World Alliance of
Reformed Churches, and World Evangelical Alliance). These documents show that the Seventh-day Adventist
Church increased the extent of the interchurch relationships to larger church associations after initial
efforts directed toward those closer to Adventist beliefs and interests. The establishment of the Council on
Interchurch Relations in 1980 by the General Conference sought to facilitate this task.
The theological depth of the documents is remarkable, since they also touch “hot potatoes” such as Seventh-day
Adventists’ self-understanding of “the remnant” and the interpretation of apocalyptic prophecy. As
a result of such conversations a better mutual understanding is gained, thus helping to reduce misapprehensions
without compromising our teachings.
The third part, “Interfaith Relations,” is dedicated exclusively to Seventh-day Adventist statements on
interreligious relationships. They involve the relationship of the Seventh-day Adventist Church toward world
religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism.
These texts demonstrate how much our church is dedicated to the right of religious freedom for all people
regardless of their specific faith commitment. The church takes Jesus’ mission imperative seriously, but also
tries to meet other believers (or unbelievers) with respect and emphasize common ground wherever possible.
The volume concludes with suggestions for further reading on the topic.
Interchurch and Interfaith Relations can be read with much profit. The texts help the reader grasp the tension
that we often find ourselves in: being critical toward ecumenical trends that may challenge biblical truth,
while at the same time seeking dialogue with other Christians and non-Christians. The book also sharpens
the awareness of an important aspect of the history of our church.
The question remains, though, how the cited documents have and will influence interchurch relationships
on the local level, since Höschele primarily focuses his collection on the level of the world church. This important
and often divisive issue definitely invites further research and careful biblical and theological thinking.
JENS O. MOHR, PASTOR OF THE STUTTGART-CENTER SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH IN GERMANY.
18 (546) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
general. The CWC is purely consultative—it
does not pass resolutions.
The CWC is loosely organized, with the
chair serving for two years on a rotating
basis among the various member communions.
The organizing and functioning
of the group depend upon the secretary,
who is also elected for a two-year term.
This is the sort of meeting of Christians
that Seventh-day Adventists have
felt free to be part of. And we have indeed
been made part of it! For 32 years without
a break, Bert B. Beach, then director
of the General Conference Public Affairs
and Religious Liberty (PARL) Department,
served as its secretary. Every two
years the chair rotated, but every time
the group asked the Adventist representative
to continue as secretary.
And that wasn’t all. When Beach retired,
the CWC turned to his successor, John
Graz, the current PARL director at the General
Conference. He has now served as
secretary the past 11 years. Thus, for the
past 43 years the key person in the CWC
has been a Seventh-day Adventist.
The CWC most often meets in Geneva,
Switzerland, but in 2011 it met in Silver
Spring, Maryland, at the Seventh-day Adventist
world headquarters. The work
involved with the multiple arrangements,
including a visit to Capitol Hill for discussions
with representatives from the White
House regarding religious liberty and
other concerns, was huge. Everything went
like clockwork; our guests were effusive in
their appreciation of the Adventist hosts.
And when the CWC met the next year, one
leader revealed that as a result of the visit,
he had adopted a vegetarian lifestyle!
Meetings like this can have huge and
lasting benefits. As Christian leaders
interact with Adventists and come to
understand us, misconceptions and
prejudice disappear. They see us and
appreciate us for our distinctive values,
lifestyle, and beliefs; they welcome us as
sincere, Bible-believing, and Bible-practicing
brothers and sisters.
A more recent development is the
Global Christian Forum. It is not an
organization; rather, it provides oppor-
tunities for Christians from many backgrounds
and countries to meet for
worship, fellowship, and discussion.
Ganoune Diop, associate director of
PARL, serves on its planning committee.
With the growing desire by leaders of
other churches to know more about us,
the Seventh-day Adventist Church has
become involved in official conversations
with a series of churches and
organizations. These conversations are
approved by the Administrative Committee
of the General Conference and
reported to the same body at the conclusion
of each discussion. Planning for the
conversations comes through the General
Conference PARL office, usually
with involvement of the General Conference
Biblical Research Institute.
We select the finest scholars in our
midst to represent our church. We aim
to be open, honest, and forthright, stating
the reasons for what we believe
without compromise or equivocation.
At the same time in our presentations
and all interactions we endeavor to be
gracious and winsome.
Some of these conversations have
been completed with just one round of
several days; others have extended over
two or more years. Some have had farreaching
results, especially the meetings
with representatives of the
Lutheran World Federation. This conversation
extended over four sessions
from 1994 to 1998 and was of such
value that all papers from both sides
plus recommendations we had arrived
at were published. The resulting book,
Lutherans and Adventists in Conversation,
1994-1998, includes among the recommendations
the following: “We recommend
that Lutherans in their national
and regional church contexts do not
treat the Seventh-day Adventist Church
as a sect but as a free church and a
Christian world communion.”
During the past quarter century, our
church has also engaged in conversation
with leaders from the World Alliance
of Reformed Churches, the
Salvation Army, the World Evangelical
Association, the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.), the Church of God (Seventh
Day), and some other smaller churches.
The most recent conversation involved
representatives from the Mennonite
World Conference. Adventists hosted the
first round, held at General Conference
headquarters in 2011. The following year
the Mennonites reciprocated; we met at a
retreat center near Basel, Switzerland.
This conversation was perhaps the
most rewarding of all those of the past 25
years. With roots in the Anabaptist reformation
of the sixteenth century, the Mennonites
share much in common with us,
such as “believer” baptism by immersion.
They strongly believe in separation of
church and state and practice a simple
lifestyle. Advocating peaceful means, they
refrain from bearing arms. Because of
their distinctive practices, the Mennonites
suffered for their faith, even to martyrdom.
Driven from place to place, many
found refuge in the New World.
The time together with the Mennonites
was deeply spiritual. Excellent papers
were prepared from both communions;
they are to be gathered together and
jointly published in book form.
In my judgment, all the conversations
with other churches have been of significant
benefit to Seventh-day Adventists.
Christian leaders have come to see us as
we are, without the distortions and stereotypes
that led us to be dubbed a sect
or a cult. And we ourselves have become
less exclusive, more open to work with
and learn from other agencies that the
Lord is using.
Truth can stand investigation; truth is
still the best answer. That is why we
can—why we should—engage other
churches as part of the fulfillment of
our divinely ordained mission. n
WILLIAM G. JOHNSSON, FORMER
EDITOR OF ADVENTIST REVIEW AND
ADVENTIST WORLD MAGAZINES, CHAIRS
THE ADVENTIST GROUP IN CONVERSA-
TIONS WITH OTHER CHURCHES.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (547) 19
Heart and Soul:
A F ø R M µ L ª
F Ø R
P R A Y E R ?
NEVER MAKE A PETITION
W H A T ’ S
T H E S E C R E T
O F 7 - 7 - 7 ?
BY REX D. EDWARDS
There was no mistaking the bold and colorful numerals, 7-7-7, that filled the
entire window space of this shop front in downtown Sofia, strategically situated
within one block of a busy intersection. Worship centers at the intersection’s
four corners embraced the store and its 7-7-7 window: a Muslim mosque,
a Jewish synagogue, a Russian Orthodox church, and a Roman Catholic
church. What a striking missionary strategy! I thought, until friends advised that the numerals
emblazoned on that window were unrelated to any international Adventist prayer initiative.
Instead, they only prescribed a gambling formula of success to patrons at this casino!
20 (548) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
This casino’s use of my church’s
prayer formula provoked me to wonder
about the efficacy of formulas for prayer.
I thought again, more fundamentally, on
the whole issue of the nature and purpose
of prayer. I wondered, for example,
if the number and dimensions of our
prayers actually gives them increased
efficacy? As if much speaking manipulates
God. I wondered too, about God
doing, because we pray, what we can
actually do for ourselves? What, I ask
myself, is the legitimate place of petition?
If God already knows our needs,
why ask? Answers to these questions
answer the frequent and fundamental
question: What is the virtue of prayer?
reservation or conditions on our part,
“bring [our] lives into harmony with [our]
petitions, that [we] may receive the blessings
for which [we] pray.” 3
is clean. It is a conditional universe in
which we live, where we may bring
about an effect by proceeding along the
road of its cause. Students know by
studying; matches ignite by being
struck. In the spiritual order we have the
words of Jesus: “Ask and it will be given
to you; seek and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened to you” (Matt.
7:7). We must prepare for God’s help by
asking, seeking, and knocking.
“It is . . . God’s plan to grant us,”
writes Ellen White, “in answer to the
prayer of faith, that which He would not
bestow did we not thus ask.” 4 Millions
of favors are hanging from silken cords.
Prayer is the sword that cuts them. “I
stand at the door and knock. If anyone
WHILE AT THE SAME TIME TRYING TO HIDE A SMOLDERING DISOBEDIENCE.
This article raises the question from
three not-unfamiliar perspectives. First,
though, comes a warning.
When Not to Pray
As a boy, Norman Vincent Peale once
found a large black cigar. He slipped into
an alley and lit up. It didn’t taste good,
but it made him feel grown-up. Then
Norman saw his father approaching.
Quickly he put the cigar behind his back
and tried to be casual. Desperate to
divert his father’s attention, Norman
pointed to a billboard advertising the
circus. “Can I go, Dad? Please, let’s go
when it comes to town.”
His father replied, “Son, never make a
petition while at the same time trying to
hide a smoldering disobedience.”
If we are unwilling to curb our selfish
habits, then we may quite truthfully say “It
does no good to pray.” Our prayers are useless
because our choices limit God’s freedom.
We have refused to fulfill the first
condition of prayer, namely, a willingness
to align with God’s laws. Likewise, the
reception of the Holy Spirit requires that
we “remove every obstacle,” 1 and work “in
accordance with [our] prayers.” 2 The God
to whom we pray desires that we, without
Sincere prayer implies an act of the
will, a desire for growth, a willingness
to sacrifice on our part; for prayer is not
passive, but is a very active collaboration
between us and God. If the will is
inoperative, our prayers are merely lists
of things we would like God to give to
us without any real relationship, without
effort on our part, or any willingness
to cooperate. Prayer is dynamic,
but only when we cooperate with God
through surrender. In dealing with others
it is possible to have one’s cake and
eat it, but with God that is impossible.
As Augustine is purported to have said:
“Without God, we cannot. Without us,
God will not.” Here now are three queries
that probe our issue—namely, the
purpose of prayer.
Does It Make?
Inasmuch as the will of God will always be
1 done, what difference does it make
whether we pray?
This is somewhat like saying: “My
friend will either get better or worse;
what good will it do to send for a doctor
and give him/her medicine?” In the
physical order medical power takes into
account the physical factors within a
sick body; in the spiritual order God’s
will makes allowance for our desire to
do better. It is true that in answering a
prayer, God will not do what He does
not will, merely because we asked Him.
But God will do that which without our
prayer He would not do.
By way of illustration, the sun may not
shine through a dirty window, but the
sun will shine through the window if it
hears my voice and opens the door, I
will come in and eat with that person,
and they with me” (Rev. 3:20).
This text reverses the order that many
people think to be the law of prayer.
They assume that when we pray, we ring
God’s doorbell and ask for a favor. Actually,
it is He who rings our bell: “I stand
at the door and knock.” God could do
much more for any of us if our wills
were more conformable—weakness is
always on the receiving end. Radio
broadcasts become available only when
a listener tunes in to them.
Are My Petitions Legitimate?
If the essence of prayer is not to make
2 God give us something, then is there a
legitimate place for petition?
God has two kinds of gifts: first, there
are those which He sends us whether
we pray for them or not; and the second
kind are those that are given on condition
that we pray. The first gifts resemble
those things that a child receives in a
family—food, clothing, shelter, care,
and watchfulness. These gifts come to
every child, whether the child asks for
them or not.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (549) 21
But there are other gifts, which are
conditioned on the desire of the child. A
parent may be eager to have their child
go to college. But by refusal to study, or
by delinquency, the child may make the
gift impossible. Concerning the first
kind of gifts, Jesus referred to them
when He said that God “sends rain on
the righteous and the unrighteous”
(Matt. 5:45). He spoke of the second
kind of gifts when He said, “Ask and it
will be given to you” (Matt. 7:7).
In families in which the economic is a
primary goal and in which prayers are
still said, they may very likely resemble
that of the prodigal: “Give me . . .” In families
in which Providence is primary,
prayer is more likely to be that of the converted
prodigal, who says to their father:
“Make me . . .” In proportion as we pray
to be more faithful and loving children of
God, there will be a corresponding
bestowal of those gifts that a heavenly
Father can give to His children whom He
loved so much that He died for them.
The person who thinks only of themselves
says only prayers of petition; one
who thinks of their neighbor says
prayers of intercession; one who thinks
of loving and serving God says prayers
of abandonment to God’s will. The price
of this prayer is too high for most people,
for it demands the displacement of
self. Many want God to do their will; they
bring their completed plans and ask
Him to rubber-stamp them without a
change. The petition of “Our Father” is
changed by them to read: “My will be
done on earth.” It is very difficult for
God to give Himself to those who are
interested only in the temporal. The
person who refuses to be brought to the
divine level is like an egg kept forever in
a place too cool for incubation, so that it
is never called upon to live a life outside
of the shell of its own incomplete development.
Every “I” is still an embryo of
what that person is meant to be.
Doesn’t God Already
If God already knows our needs, why
3 then inform Him about those needs?
Jesus says, “Your heavenly Father
knows that you need” all these things
(Matt. 6:32). The purpose of prayer is to
give God the opportunity to bestow the
gifts He will give us when we are ready
to accept them. It is not the eye that
makes the light of the sun surround us;
it is not the lung that makes the air
envelop us. The light of the sun is there
if we do not close our eyes to it, and the
air is there for our lungs if we do not
hold our breath. God’s blessings are
here—if we do not rebel against His
will to give. As Richard C. Trench
affirmed: “Prayer [is not] an overcoming
of God’s reluctance, . . . it is, in fact, a laying
hold of His highest willingness.” 5
If God sometimes seems slow to
answer our petitions, there are several
One is that the delay is for the purpose
of deepening our love and increasing our
faith. The other is that God is urging us.
God may defer for some time the granting
of His gifts, that we might ardently
pursue, not the gift, but the Giver. Or we
may be asking Him for something He
wants us to learn we do not need.
Jacob once asked God to bring him
home safely, promising that he would
give Him 10 percent of his income in
thanksgiving. But after wrestling with
the angel, he merely said, in the joy of
communion with God: “I have seen God
face to face” (see Gen. 32:30). The greatest
gift of God is not things, but God
Himself. Growing love asks less and
less, seeking only to give and give.
God does not always give us what we
want, but He always gives us what we
need. Often this is a gift so great and
generous that we should never have
asked for it because, until it came, we
did not know of it. Perhaps, after all,
“we shall see,” writes Ellen White, “that
our seemingly unanswered prayers and
disappointed hopes have been among
our greatest blessings.” 6
What About 7-7-7?
Notwithstanding the caution that
“we are not to know the definite time
either for the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit or the coming of Christ,” 7 what
can be said of a numeric and programmatic
formula for the full reception of
the Holy Spirit?
Let DeWitt Osgood answer: “It is not
the quantity of our prayers that Heaven
respects; nor our eloquence, no matter
how flowery our language; not our
arguments, no matter how logically we
present our requests; nor the time we
spend in them. Rather it is our yearning,
our heart cry for cleansing, and the
sincerity which prompts our prayer that
Heaven recognizes. God will never disappoint
the soul that in sincerity and
faith asks for the Holy Spirit.” 8 n
Ellen G. White, Selected Messages (Washington, D.C.:
Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958, 1980), book 1,
Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers (Mountain
View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1923),
Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain
View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 7,
Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain
View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 525.
Richard C. Trench, Notes on the Parables of Our Lord
(London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trübner, and Co., 1906),
Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain
View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1942), p. 474.
E. G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, p. 188.
DeWitt S. Osgood, The Promise of Power (Nashville:
Southern Pub. Assn., 1970), p. 98.
REX. D. EDWARDS, RETIRED
ASSOCIATE SECRETARY OF THE
GENERAL CONFERENCE MINISTERIAL
ASSOCIATION, IS A RESEARCH
ASSISTANT AT THE GC BIBLICAL
22 (550) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
Journeys With Jesus
I ASCENDED THE CONCRETE STEPS OF THE OLD BRICK BUILDING AND WAITED
for the gruff female guard to wave me through the metal detector.
“Come on,” she barked.
I smiled my thanks, but she remained impassive. I waited, uncertain where to go.She had already turned
back to her book.
Summoning my courage, I approached her. “Excuse me, ma’am. Where is family court?”
Her eyes flickered over my face, and then returned to her book. “Third floor.”
The elevator creaked on its journey up. As I stepped out and began walking down the corridor, my heels
clicked on the old linoleum. Almost every chair in the long hallway was filled. A baby cried as her mother
held her. Another woman rocked in unspoken anguish. Most were dressed in faded jeans. Old sweatshirts
covered too-thin bodies. The stale air felt tense. Armed police officers stood guard. Important-looking men
in business suits hurried past.
I glanced about. Then the elevator door opened, and my friend Sam* stepped out.
“Oh, Jill, thanks so much for coming!” Her voice choked as she gave me a hug. “Let me introduce you to
I shook hands with her family members and made small talk. Underneath our light exterior was
the unspoken question: Would Sam get her children back today?
I’d known Sam for only a few short months. The first time I’d met her she was wearing a navyblue
jumpsuit and orange crocs, courtesy of our local jail. Several of the women from our
church visit the jail every Monday night to share the Word of God with our sisters there. Sam
had regularly come to our meetings, reaching out for a new way of life. After her release she
began attending our church. She’d been working toward recovery. Reaching out to Jesus.
Fighting to get her children back. I’d promised to attend court with her today. I couldn’t do
anything except sit beside her and pray.
The sound of chains coming down the hallway startled me. A young man in street clothes
was led by two officers. Head down. Shackled hands. Eyes red from crying. He didn’t look
more than 16. The officers led him into a side room to await his time with the judge. A commotion
occurred opposite him. Two women exited the judge’s chambers. The younger one
cried so hard that she swayed and would have fallen, except the other woman caught her.
She’d been denied custody of her children. They passed by me on their way out. Years of drug use
had etched their mark on their faces.
The chains dragged by me again, this time into the courtroom. Time seemed to stand still. The air grew
stifling hot. I shifted my weight from foot to foot, prayed with my friend Sam, and paced the hall.
An hour passed. The young man came out, harried parents at his side. They had a brief consultation with
his lawyer in the corner. I spoke with his girlfriend while they talked. She was so beautiful yet so heartbreakingly
young. So much promise. So many choices made. So much suffering now.
The officers took the young man away to jail. His girlfriend reached out, tears streaming down her cheeks,
but she wasn’t allowed to touch him. Turning, she stumbled after his parents.
Where is the “glory” of sin now? It was gone. It had simply vanished. Here, there was only the stark reality
of Satan’s world. The end result of the beautiful allure of sin: death.
As I walked down the courthouse steps I thought of our precious Savior and how He had borne our death
so that we could go free. Free from our guilt and shame. Free from the reality of Satan’s world. Free from
our bondage to sin.
Dear Father, I breathed, teach us how to be Your witnesses, how to share the true freedom found in Jesus. n
* not her real name
JILL MORIKONE IS A MUSIC TEACHER, A CHURCH PIANIST, AND A HOST ON THE 3ABN TODAY COOKING SEGMENTS. SHE AND HER HUSBAND,
GREG, LIVE IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS AND ENJOY MINISTERING TOGETHER FOR JESUS.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (551) 23
BY DAVID E. THOMAS
WHY CAN’T WE GET THIS “SEXUALITY THING” RIGHT?
We live in a highly sexualized
society in which
sex is perceived to be
part of almost everything.
We have more
information about sexuality and sexual
behavior than a person might ever wish
to know. All this openness and information,
however, does not appear to be
helping us very much. It seems that
somehow we’re missing something—
such as a major foundational aspect of
human sexuality that we are not clued
into—leaving us with a rather large
personal and societal deficiency.
Beyond My Expertise
Many years ago a literature evangelist
put me in touch with two people in my
pastoral district who wanted help with
strengthening their relationship. The
man was an aspiring country-western
singer, and the woman had earned her
living as a stripper. They had met during
one of the man’s musical performances,
“fallen in love,” and then
moved in together.
The couple struggled with challenges
that were so severe and complex that it
quickly became clear that their situation
was beyond my skills to address. The
most noticeable challenge was the
young woman’s inability to trust anyone,
apparently because of the numerous
times she had been mistreated both
sexually and relationally. After I realized
I was in over my head, I graciously
bowed out and referred them to a more
I have always had the impression that
the woman’s mistreatment had somehow
infringed upon her sense of personhood.
In order to survive, she had
developed a defense mechanism comprising
many layers of opaqueness that
could not be penetrated, so I was never
able to help her (or them) at all.
The Beginning of Clarity
I later came across some information
that helped me begin to understand the
woman’s problem. It was a review of a
book titled Premarital Sex in America: How
Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think About
Marrying.” 1 It describes the work of two
sociologists, Mark Regnerus and Jeremy
Uecker, who examined statistics on 15,000
young adults, 300 of whom they personally
interviewed. The book review noted
their observation that the “sexual script”
of young adults today is quite different
from what it was a generation or two ago.
“Going on casual dates, progressing to
an exclusive relationship, getting married,
buying a house in the suburbs, having
kids—that was yesterday’s middle-class
American script, in which people tended
to have sex within marriage or shortly
before it, while society provided rules and
guidelines for every stage.
“Today’s sexual script looks much
different. Many young adults think they
will not be married for years. Although
marriage remains an ideal for the
young, they see it more as an end of the
romantic story than the beginning. Sex,
self-discovery, and freedom all end in
marriage, while financial responsibility,
the burden of children, and the likelihood
of divorce begin there. If the desire
of young adults for marriage is postponed,
their desire for sex and companionship
remains strong. So, though
many (especially women) hope for permanence,
they form temporary, exclusive
relationships that last only as long
as both parties remain interested.
“In other words, they embrace serial
monogamy. But serial monogamy has
few clearly defined rules.” 2
24 (552) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
All this sets up the researchers’ observation
that “those who are virgins or
those who have had only one or two previous
partners and are in a relationship
are the most emotionally healthy. The
more serial the monogamy, the greater
the likelihood of some kind of emotional
dissatisfaction or instability.” 3
Regnerus and Uecker describe what I
experienced when talking to the wouldbe
country-western singer and his girlfriend:
that somehow all the jumping
from one relationship to another
diminished or tarnished the life experience
of those involved. In their book the
researchers make the point that sex and
sexuality are not outside of or separate
from ourselves; but rather, sexual
exploitation and serial intimacies do
damage to personhood. All the sexual
information and open sexual behaviors
notwithstanding, we are not getting
this human sexuality thing right. Somehow
the grand promise of the sexual
revolution that told us that unbridled
and uninhibited sex would “free our
culture from its Victorian inhibitions to
usher in a whole new and joyous era of
free and open love untrammeled by
commitments” has not worked out. The
Freudian notion that a suppressed
libido is the underlying cause of all
kinds of personal and social ills is
appearing to be badly flawed. Various
statistics about unbridled sexual behaviors
do not show an increase in happiness,
but rather a significant increase in
unhappiness, sometimes to the point of
depression. Apparently there’s a deeper
dimension underlying human sexuality
than what we commonly understand.
It is in light of this that Ephesians 5:3,
4 intrigues me: “But sexual immorality
and all impurity or covetousness must
not even be named among you, as is
proper among saints. Let there be no
filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking,
which are out of place, but instead
let there be thanksgiving” (ESV). 4
Paul is laying out a pretty stringent
standard here. Believers are not even to
mention sexual immorality nor make
crude comments or jokes about it. He is
saying that believers should give thanks
for human sexuality and all it entails, and
part of that thanksgiving is to refrain from
diminishing or demeaning it even by
something as slight as a joke or innuendo.
I am struck once more by the possibility
that there is something about
human sexuality that lies deeper than
what we commonly perceive, something
that warrants our careful treatment of
it, something that calls for us to (dare I
use the word?) “reverence” it.
Some years ago research psychologists
G. W. Allport and J. M. Ross published
findings based on their formative work
on human self-understanding. Their
premise was that humans have two
dimensions: an internal one that is carefully
formed and monitored, and kept
largely hidden from others; and an external
one that we show to the public. They
saw the internal dimension as part of
what we commonly call “spirituality.”
The external dimension was the public
expression of that internal spirituality.
The first dimension they called “intrinsic
religion”; the second, “extrinsic religion.” 5
Allport and Ross contended that the
intrinsic dimension is the more significant
one, for it’s there that we bring
together various ideas and beliefs that we
hold to be true and viable and form our
code of life, or code for living. We assemwww.AdventistReview.org
| June 20, 2013 | (553) 25
le what I have come to call a “belief
grid.” Some of these beliefs are at a low
level at which we feel at liberty to use our
discretion, while others are at a very high
level, which might even involve us in lifeor-death
decisions. As we face the daily
task of living, we filter the opportunities
or difficulties that arise through our
belief grids in order to come to lifedirecting
decisions. This whole function
is protected by what we commonly call
our “conscience.” For humans, then,
intrinsic religion is not a play zone;
instead, it’s a zone of great seriousness,
because we know that if we do well by
our beliefs, we are able to retain a sense
of integrity. If we become duplicitous, we
can diminish ourselves significantly.
Another researcher, Kurt Lewin, 6 coined
a name for this inner dimension: our “life
space.” 7 The visual image this name suggests
is a “space” inside us in which life
happens. And the life that happens in the
inner space ends up influencing and
guiding what is seen on the outside.
Allport and Ross developed a list of
things that they saw domiciled in the
life space, which include highly personal
beliefs about life: identity and
sexuality, family and origin, expectations
of self and others, attitudes
ality. Interestingly, Allport and Ross link
identity and sexuality together as a pair,
which suggests an inherent understanding
that identity and sexuality are
parts of our basic makeup—part of who
we perceive ourselves to be.
Embedded in our belief grid and
linked to our sense of personhood is
our sexuality, domiciled within the
intrinsic realm of the human mind in
which we hold things sacred to us.
Implications of Infringement
Since sexuality is part of the intrinsic
zone in which we hold sacred things, if
it is not properly reverenced and is
treated tritely a person will feel diminished
and infringed upon. The misuse
of sexuality or the infringement upon it
by someone else becomes both offensive
and damaging, because the inner sanctum
of life was trampled upon. People
who have been victimized sexually, for
example, are often overtaken by a sense
of diminished personhood. It’s not
unusual for a victim of sexual mistreatment
to exhibit a sense of self-loathing,
even to the point of depression.
When such a person realizes the
depths of the offense they have suffered,
they sometimes become fearless,
THERE’S A DEEPER DIMENSION UNDERLYING
HUMAN SEXUALITY THAN WHAT WE COMMONLY
toward personal risk-taking, life goals
and relationships, personal hopes and
dreams, and ideas we use to make sense
of life. 8 They form the inner essence of
our lives and are “sacred” to us in that
we hold them in such high esteem that
we revere them. They not only give us a
sense of morality, direction, and purpose
but also our sense of identity. Who
you perceive yourself to be is derived
from these very ideas.
The order in which Allport and Ross
set things down is also intriguing. Identity
is mentioned first, because our
sense of who we are is foundational to
life. The second item on the list is sexu-
unafraid to confront the perpetrators of
the deeds done against them. They
struggle to feel whole again until they
have done so. Their very sense of being
clamors for justice and restitution.
If, indeed, sexuality is part of the intrinsic
zone, or life space, and linked to identity,
then it should be reverenced, protected,
carefully tended, and held as
sacred. I believe this is why Paul wrote the
counsel he did, and why for so many centuries
societies have attempted to protect
sexuality by the establishment of taboos.
Certainly, those taboos have not all been
good, but their existence testifies to an
inherent human understanding of a certain
“sacredness” to sexuality that is missing
almost entirely from current culture.
On the positive side, because sexuality
is domiciled in the life space, when it’s
respected, preserved, and guarded as
something sacred, it can become the
means of a deep bonding between two
people. When two people who have preserved
their sense of sexual integrity
consent, in love, to willingly offer themselves
to each other, it’s not just their
physical bodies that touch, but their
intrinsic dimensions as well. Love and
volition allow the intrinsic dimensions
to open without any sense of infringement.
Their sexuality becomes an instrument
of a profoundly intimate bond that
is theirs alone to enjoy and be blessed by.
It is this inner aspect of human sexuality,
the idea that personhood and sexuality
are linked, that is all but gone from popular
culture. This is what leaves us with
such a deficit in spite of all our knowledge
and information. It’s an aspect that Christians
are well situated to address powerfully,
if we would but reverence the gift
God has given us by way of this very complicated
thing we call sexuality. n
Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, Premarital Sex in
America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think About
Marrying (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
Quoted from a review in First Things, August/September
2011, p. 53.
Ibid., p. 55.
Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy
Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by
Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Harding Journal 9, no. 2 (1990). (This journal was once
associated with Harding Hospital, but is now defunct and
can no longer be found.)
Kurt Lewin was a notable person in the field of psychology
and best remembered for his pioneering work in
The idea of “life space” in Lewin’s thinking can be
quite expansive, enough to include all events in a person’s
past, present, and future that help shape and affect them.
But it begins with the internal dimension describing a
person’s motives, values, needs, moods, goals, anxieties,
and ideals. The term is used here in the internal sense.
DAVID E. THOMAS IS DEAN AND A
PROFESSOR OF THE PRACTICAL
THEOLOGY AND APOLOGETICS
DEPARTMENT AND CHAIR OF THE
FACULTY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
AT WALLA WALLA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY.
26 (554) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
The Life of Faith
Peter Upside Down
I SAW POPE FRANCIS YESTERDAY, THE PAPAL SUCCESSOR, ROMAN CATHOLICS
believe, to the original pope, Simon Peter. It’s easy for Protestants to feel cynical about that. We reject much
of what Catholics teach: we don’t pray to Mary, we don’t believe she was conceived immaculately, we don’t
believe we consume Jesus’ literal body and blood, we don’t believe Peter was the first pope.
But we should be careful not to dwell on other travelers when we’ve got a long way to go ourselves, collectively
and personally. As Romans 2:1 appropriately reminds us: “You who pass judgment on someone
else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself.” In every setting let’s seek
instead the path of redemption.
I’m in Rome at the start of a New Testament study tour that will also take me to Turkey and Greece.
I’ll then meet my own group in Israel—can’t wait! In a sense, I’m traveling backward through
Peter’s life; my itinerary is upside down, just as Peter was, according to tradition, crucified
Yesterday I was one of 250 people who each day get to go under St. Peter’s Basilica to an area
called the Scavi (excavations), which was rediscovered in the 1940s. One side of the necropolis
is filled with pagan graves dating as far back as the second century; the other side has Christian
graves dating to the first century. One particular box is filled with 22 bones from every
part of the body except the feet. The name of Peter is scribbled all over it. The theory is that
these are the bones of Peter, perhaps as he was cut right off the cross. (The site is a stone’s throw
from where Peter was previously thought to be buried. Perhaps he rolled over in his grave as the
basilica in his name was being built above him.)
Whether or not these are Peter’s actual bones, whether or not anyone even kept his bones, a
strong Christian tradition holds that Peter was crucified in Rome upside down at his request. He
didn’t see himself worthy to die as Christ did.
Yet Peter died in Rome—for Christ. This is the point. Peter died for his faith in Christ. This time he did not
Isn’t that beautiful? How completely privileged Peter must have felt to be asked the question once
again: “Are you one of His disciples?”
Imagine him throwing his head back: Am I one of His disciples? Am I one of His disciples? Why . . . YES, I
AM! I am Simon Peter, a disciple of Christ!
Rome is where Peter’s life ended but not where it started. Over the next few days we will also visit:
Joppa: where a maturing Peter was dramatically called by Jesus to preach to the Gentiles.
Jerusalem: where a sifted Peter, ashamed of Jesus, denied he knew Him.
Galilee: where a fisherman met Jesus for the first time.
When they met (John 1:42), Jesus looked straight at Peter. The Greek term is emblepo. It means to gaze at,
to look into the soul. The same word would be used once more in the Gospels (Luke 22:61) to describe the
way Jesus gazed at Peter after his denials.
Jesus knew the end from the beginning in Peter’s life. He knows yours as well. If you’re currently living a
period of denial of Christ, this doesn’t have to be the end of your story. Receive the grace of Christ that Peter
humbly received. Get back on your own road to Rome where you will stand resolute.
You may not be called pope someday, but you’ll know a better title, the only one Peter ever wanted: disciple
of Christ, son of the living God.
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you
also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:4, 5). n
ANDY NASH IS A PROFESSOR AND PASTOR. HE’S LEADING A TOUR TO ISRAEL IN JUNE 2014, ALONG WITH GUEST PRESENTER CLIFFORD
GOLDSTEIN. YOU MAY CONTACT HIM AT ANDYNASH5@GMAIL.COM.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (555) 27
Grows in Alask
PHOTOS BY STEPHEN CHAVEZ
CASUAL DAY: Principal Dane Bailey
makes announcements in the main
hallway before classes. Once a month
the kids get to wear jeans to school.
BY STEPHEN CHAVEZ
Tammy Leslie was looking
for a school for her 11-yearold
daughter, Aubry. The
School, one of the oldest
Christian schools in Palmer, Alaska, was
closing its doors at the end of the school
year. And Leslie, who had worked in that
school’s office for several years, was
thinking of enrolling Aubrey in Amazing
Grace Academy (AGA).
When Leslie told her friends what she
was thinking, someone told her, “Be
careful; I don’t think those people
believe in Jesus.”
“I’m fairly certain they do,” Leslie replied.
She contacted the school, and had a
conversation with Cerise Bailey, then
office manager of AGA. That conversation
led to others, and an introduction
to Cerise’s husband, Dane, who is the
principal and teacher of grades 5 and 6
at AGA. Aubrey was enrolled at AGA.
Leslie, who had a fairly good idea about
how a school should be run, was immediately
impressed. “This was much more
professionally run,” she says. “Had I
known how good the teachers are, I would
have enrolled my daughter sooner.”
That by itself would be a pretty good
story, but that’s not the end, far from it.
“We just started going to church here,”
says Leslie matter-of-factly. “I really
liked the people.” She and Aubrey not
only attended church—they attended an
Amazing Prophecies evangelistic series,
and a few days after my visit to Palmer,
they were baptized.
Guided by Prayer
The sign on the Glenn Highway into
Palmer that advertises the Palmer Seventh-day
Adventist Church and Amazing
Grace Academy is one of those
affairs that flashes the time and temperature,
interspersed with Bible quotations
or thought-provoking nuggets
such as “Pray without ceasing,” “In
everything give thanks,” and “Prayer is
the best wireless connection.”
Its emphasis on the Bible and practical
Christianity is one that’s reflected among
the faculty, students, and staff of AGA.
The following words are printed on the
wall over the main entrance: “Be it
known to all who enter here that CHRIST
is the reason for our school. He is the
unseen but ever-present teacher in our
classes. He is the model of our faculty
and the inspiration of our students.”
That would be a lofty objective for any
Seventh-day Adventist school. But it is especially
so for this one, in which most of the
students are not from Adventist homes.
The Adventists in Palmer have run an
elementary school for some 60 years.
But the campus was located eight miles
out of town. It primarily served the
church, but enrollment was never that
high, anywhere from 12 to 20 students
from year to year (once 40 students).
Then one of the church members
donated property on land that fronted one
of the main highways into town. A church
was built on the property, and later a school.
The school, an impressive building on
three levels, says something about the
faith and mission focus demonstrated
by the people who planned and built it,
especially considering that enrollment
at the time it was built hovered around
20 students, with a bank note of about
$500,000 to pay for the expansion.
Into this formative situation God
brought together a set of circumstances
that has forever changed the profile of
Seventh-day Adventists in Palmer.
First, the name of the school was
changed from Matanuska Valley Adventist
School to Amazing Grace Academy.
“We wanted something that would
resonate with the community,” says Stacey
Peterson, AGA board chair. “If you say
it’s Palmer Adventist School, people think
you have to be an Adventist to go there.”
Then the board invited Dane Bailey to be
principal and teach grades 5 and 6. “He’s a
spiritual man, a prayerful man,” says Peterson.
Adds Pastor Aaron Payne, “Ever since I’ve
known Dane his prayer has always been
not that God would bring students to the
school just for the numbers, but that He’d
bring people who needed to be here.”
Then Payne, not long after being
assigned to lead the Palmer church, prayed,
“God, what do You want me to do?”
“It hit me one day: Get rid of the debt!”
Payne asked his congregation for 100 percent
participation in paying off the debt.
When people asked how much he wanted
them to give, he replied, “I’m not asking
you to give money; I’m asking you to pray.
Then do whatever God tells you to do.”
Members responded. Payne reports
that more than 95 percent of the members
contributed to eliminating the debt.
But that’s when the Palmer church
deviated from a course most congregations
might have taken. The church board
decided that for every $100,000 the debt
was reduced, it would donate $1,000 to a
One-Day Church project somewhere in
the world. The result of that commitment
is five plaques of appreciation from
Maranatha Volunteers International for
buildings erected around the world,
thanks to the generosity of the Palmer
Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The arrival of Dane Bailey as principal,
along with the new building and the
higher profile, provided the school with a
sense of purpose. Enrollment rose to 35
the next year, and 52 the following year.
Then something happened that
nobody imagined: Matanuska Christian
School announced it was closing, leaving
dozens of families looking for alternatives
to public schools.
“I went over and did one of the last chapels
of the school year,” says Payne. “We
had an open house. I told them, ‘We’re not
pleased [by the closing of the school]; we
need as much Christian education as possible.
But if we can be a blessing to any of
your families, we’d like to be.’ ”
The following year enrollment at AGA
jumped from 53 to 72. And during the
school year just ending the enrollment
hovered at just under 90, most of whom
do not come from Adventist families. If
you go to the school’s Web site
(amazinggraceacademy.org), most of the
faces you’ll see are not Adventists.
“There’s a concern that you don’t water
down your message just to appeal to people,”
says Peterson. “We’re unabashedly
Adventist.” The local church sees the
for options for
were both baptized,
in Palmer the
first week of
earlier in the
school as one of its greatest outreach
tools. “They’ve bought into the idea of
mission and service and outreach,” he
says. “Our best recruiters are those families
that are not Adventist.”
Bailey, who came to AGA after teaching
in Chico, California, attributes the school’s
growth to a question he asked the staff at
the beginning of his second year as principal:
“How can we make sure these kids,
these families, know that our primary
purpose is spiritual?”
The answer to that question begins
first thing in the morning with staff worship,
most often led by Bailey. “I like to
set the tone by emphasizing the spiritual
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (557) 29
aspects we need to focus on,” he says.
The morning assembly is another
place where spirituality is emphasized.
All the students—from kindergarten to
tenth grade—sit on the floor in the
main hallway to sing a couple songs
(“The Wise Man Built His House Upon
the Rock” was most requested the week
I was there), have a few announcements,
say a prayer (specifically mentioning
the day’s “prayer kids”), and say the
Pledge of Allegiance.
More about the “prayer kids”: The
school calendar lists two prayer kids
every day, kids who are specifically
mentioned in prayer each day. “Every
day we get to pray and dedicate,” says
Bailey. “Every day we pray over our kids.
It creates a spiritual family. . . . I ask the
church to pray for our kids. We can’t
emphasize prayer enough.”
Indeed, prayer is
an essential ingredient
in both church
and school. The Sabbath
begins, after a brief
message during the
down the hall to the
where they pray for
the teachers, the students
inhabit those desks,
RECESS: Even if
you’re used to
recess on a frozen
playground can be
a challenge; hence
the need for a
and the challenges
they will face in the
coming year. Prayer
kids are also listed
in the church bulletin
The result is a climate
of real fellowship
students, teachers, staff, and parents. Parents
who drop off kids in the morning or
pick them up in the afternoon are often
greeted by a teacher (or two). Smiles,
handshakes, and hugs reflect the closeness
they feel for each other.
The week I was there culminated in
“Education Sabbath,” where parents and
friends joined the worship
service to watch their children
lead out in various aspects of
the service. The students sang,
played their instruments, read
Scripture, prayed, called for
the offering, and, most important,
shared their testimonies.
It was touching to see how seriously
they took their responsibilities, and hear
them share how a relationship with
Christ has touched their lives.
Also heartwarming is how Adventist
students befriend and support their
non-Adventist friends. They attend each
other’s recitals and other performances.
They support them in times of grief or
family tragedies. Not surprisingly, a
handful of students have become Seventh-day
Adventists because of their
contact with friends at AGA.
What the Future Holds
It would seem that Amazing Grace Academy
is well on its way to a bright future.
But it still faces some formidable challenges.
The first being the growth it’s
experienced over the past few years;
growth nobody foresaw. The increased
enrollment puts a strain on all the teachers,
but especially on Principal Bailey. You
can be principal and teach grades 5 and 6
when the enrollment is 60 or 70. But it
becomes increasingly time-consuming
when enrollment approaches 100.
Plus, a higher enrollment requires
more space. For several years AGA has
leased its upper level to Palmer’s Head
Start program; providing Head Start
with a place to meet, and giving AGA a
source of income to help with their next
project (more about that later). But the
lease is up at the end of next school
year, giving AGA more space, but eliminating
that income stream.
AGA currently offers a K-10 education.
The next obvious step is to make it a full
academy, something never before seen in
Alaska. With nearly 100 students it seems
a likely possibility. But the North American
Division has standards for academies that
AGA can’t yet meet. And a student body
that’s only 20 to 25 percent Adventist
would set off alarm
bells in some circles.
A final challenge
facing AGA is the proposed
building of a
much of the school
year outdoor activities
are chilly, to say
the least. The local
is a oncea-year
are invited to the
service, and students
out in worship.
requires teachers to keep kids indoors if
the windchill falls below 20 degrees
below zero (which happens often when
the wind blows 20 to 30 miles an hour,
sometimes more). A gymnasium would
not only benefit the school and provide a
place for its programs, but it would benefit
the church and be a place for the
community to hold special events.
The price tag for such a project is $1.5
million, but for a church and school
already used to sacrificial giving, that goal
is well within reach. A number of donors
have already stepped forward, but much
more has to be done (to see how you can
help, visit ouralaskandream.com).
In the past four years Amazing Grace
Academy has experienced tremendous
growth. But more important, it has
raised the profile of Seventh-day Adventists
in the community. The potential
from that kind of profile is inestimable.
“For example,” says Bailey, “we have
someone registered for next year who’s
from Mongolia. The kid has never experienced
Christianity. It’ll be real interesting
to present the gospel to that
family. But you pray about it.”
What else can you do? n
STEPHEN CHAVEZ IS COORDINAT-
ING EDITOR OF ADVENTIST REVIEW.
30 (558) | www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013
THE 6:00 A.M. ALARM RATTLED ME OUT OF MY DROWSINESS. I WANTED TO
snooze, but this Friday would be a busy one, so I slipped out of bed and into my cozy slippers with the day’s
agenda swirling in my head. On my list was my husband’s reminder that the UPS man would be delivering a
package that required a signature.
After early-morning errands and meetings, I pulled into the garage at 9:45 a.m., assured that the UPS truck
didn’t usually come until after lunch. Now I could get busy with the piles of things looming on my to-do list: vacuuming,
laundry, cleaning, and paperwork. I plunged into my chores with fierce determination to have a clean and
presentable home by the start of the Sabbath. Mirrors started to sparkle, clutter disappeared, lunch was served,
and my son went down for his afternoon nap. Superb! But no UPS truck yet. He’ll be here soon, I assured myself.
I continued with my dusting and mopping, and the house started looking rather spiffy. I decided to go down
to the basement to tackle the spare room. My piano technician husband had turned our guest room into a temporary
repair shop. Pianos came and went, but the telltale signs of occupancy were strewn about. Vroom, rattle,
whoosh—the dust, dirt, and gravel were soon swooped up, and the room was transformed.
Strange the UPS man hasn’t shown up yet, I thought. I’m just going to have to go to town now, because I can’t wait
any longer. As I marched out the door with my son holding my hand, my eye landed on a formal yellow sticky
note. The familiar UPS symbol was clearly emblazoned on the corner. Two little square boxes on the yellow
paper were checked with black ink: “First attempt” and “Will return Monday.”
“Unbelievable! I’ve been here all day,” I fumed. My husband was not going to like this.
“Of course you can’t hear the door when you’re in the basement with the vacuum on,” he said. “Why didn’t
you put a note on the door?” I had a lame reply, because I really had no good excuses or witty comebacks. I
knew that the UPS man was coming, and I’d been home waiting all day.
My husband continued: “That’s what’s going to happen to people when the Lord comes. He’ll come, and
people will be down in the basement, vacuuming!”
His quick analogy startled me. He’s not one for sermonizing, but his blunt response struck a nerve.
What if I am too busy with my earthly life to pay proper attention to the One who is coming soon
to give me eternal life? What if I’m not hearing Him knocking on the door of my heart?
My spiritual journey has been blessed with the assurance of salvation through faith in
Jesus. I know God loves me in an incomprehensible way. But have I allowed the busyness
of life to be a distraction? Have I let the soon coming of Jesus be the primary focus in my
life? He is coming soon, and unlike the UPS man, there will be no second chance at
Jesus talked at length about being ready for His coming and the work we should
be doing. Peter encouraged the believers to love each other deeply, and manage the
spiritual gifts God gives them with strength and energy. Our busy lives should be
filled with things that will lead us up to the light, not down into the basement.
Our very identity as Adventists indicates that we know what the Master wants. We
are looking forward to His soon second coming, and we have a special message to
share with all who will listen. There will always be the cares of this life, but as I’ve been
reminding myself lately: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and
all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33, KJV).
It’s been some time since I missed the UPS delivery that Friday, but by the grace of God
the priorities in my life are shifting. Jesus is coming soon, and what a day of delivery that
will be for those who seek Him first. n
SHAMA STOCK WRITES FROM CANON CITY, COLORADO.
www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (559) 31