Download PDF - Adventist Review

adventistreview.org
  • No tags were found...

Download PDF - Adventist Review

www.adventistreview.org

June 20, 2013

La Sierra Votes

Bylaw Changes

Sexuality as

Something Sacred

A School Grows in Alaska

8

24

28


“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

COVER FEATURE

16 Seventh-day Adventists

and Other Churches

WILLIAM G. JOHNSSON

Sure, we’re different.

But serious conversations

reveal how much

we have in common.

ARTICLES

20 A Formula for Prayer?

REX D. EDWARDS

Preventing prayer from

being formulaic

24 Sexuality as Something

Sacred

DAVID E. THOMAS

And the never-ending

struggle to keep it that way

28 A School Grows in Alaska

STEPHEN CHAVEZ

A school that teaches

grace? Amazing!

DEPARTMENTS

4 Letters

7 Page 7

8 World News &

Perspectives

13 Give & Take

15 Cliff’s Edge

2 3 Journeys With Jesus

27 The Life of Faith

31 Reflections

EDITORIALS

6 LAEL CAESAR

Understanding

7 STEPHEN CHAVEZ

And Justice for All

ON THE COVER

For 150 years this movement

has never been afraid of

principled dialogue.

NEXT WEEK

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

Steve Hanson. To Writers: Writer’s guidelines are available at the Adventist Review Web site: www.adventistreview.org and click “About the Review.” For a printed copy, send a self-addressed envelope

to: Writer’s Guidelines, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600. E-mail: revieweditor@gc.adventist.org. Web site: www.adventistreview.org. Postmaster:

Send address changes to Adventist Review, 55 West Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21740-7301. Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts in this issue are from the Holy Bible, New International Version.

Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are © Thinkstock 2013. The Adventist Review (ISSN 0161-

1119), published since 1849, is the general paper of the Seventh-day Adventist ® Church. It is published by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ® and is printed

36 times a year on the second, third, and fourth Thursdays of each month by the Review and Herald ® Publishing Association, 55 West Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown, MD

21740. Periodical postage paid at Hagerstown, MD 21740. Copyright © 2013, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ® . PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. Vol. 190, No. 17

Subscriptions: Thirty-six issues of the weekly Adventist Review, US$36.95 plus US$28.50 postage outside North America. Single copy US$3.00. To order, send your name, address, and

payment to Adventist Review subscription desk, Box 1119, Hagerstown, MD 21741-1119. Orders can also be placed at Adventist Book Centers. Prices subject to change. Address changes:

addresschanges@rhpa.org. OR call 1-800-456-3991, or 301-393-3257. Subscription queries: shanson@rhpa.org. OR call 1-800-456-3991, or 301-393-3257.

www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (531) 3


inbox

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.”

DOUGLAS DEVNICH

Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

Superman

»»

I read Sandra Blackmer’s

editorial “Superheroes”

(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

Virtual Library:

“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,

Superman’s parents

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

of Europe.

“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

values.”

RENEE FORD

Charlotte, North Carolina

www.adventistreview.org

April 25, 2013

April 25, 2013

Vol. 190, No. 12

Adventist Youth March

Against Violence

Human Su fering

and Creation

More Than You Asked For

9

14

22

In the

Kitchen

With

Helen

VegeTAriAn

Food goeS

MAinSTreAM

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

concessions.

HERB SPAIR

Trenton, New Jersey

Reclaiming the

Library Revisited

»»

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

non-Adventist Christians

available and worthy of our

time.

CAROL IRAM

Woburn, Massachusetts

»»

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

publications?

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.

TREVOR CONNELL

Dallas, Texas

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.

MICHAEL DANT

Ooltewah, Tennessee

“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.

DAVID MANZANO

Harriman, Tennessee

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

www.adventistreview.org

christians and

February 14, 2013

February 14, 2013

Vol. 190, No. 4

“Mi sion to Cities” Launched

in South England

Moving in the Same

direction

Rogelio’s Testimony

online dating

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’s statement.

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

10

14

23

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

others.

MONICA SAWERS

Kurri Kurri, New South

Wales, Australia

We welcome your letters, noting,

as always, that inclusion of a letter

in this section does not imply that

the ideas expressed are endorsed by

either the editors of the Adventist

Review or the General Conference.

Short, specific, timely letters have

the best chance at being published

(please include your complete

address and phone number—even

with e-mail messages). Letters will

be edited for space and clarity only.

Send correspondence to Letters to

the Editor, Adventist Review, 12501

Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD

20904-6600; Internet: letters@

adventistreview.org.

www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (533) 5


Editorials

Lael

Caesar

Understanding

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

requirement. n

1

www.hlntv.com/video/2012/06/04/hate-pulpit-prompting-attacks-gays.

2

www.nytimes.com/2012/05/19/health/dr-robert-l-spitzer-noted-psychiatrist-apologizes-for-study-on-gay-cure.

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.”

3

Ibid.

4

http://new.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=6803%3A%5C%22therapies%5C%22-to-changesexual-orientation-lack-medical-justification-and-threaten-health-&catid=740%3Anews-press-releases&Itemid=1926&lang=en.

5

See again, n. 2.

6

NARTH Mission Statement, http://narth.com/menus/mission.html.

7

http://narth.com/2012/12/dr-julie-hamilton-on-dr-oz-show-what-you-didnt-hear-on-tv/.

8

www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/kansas-pastor-curtis-knapp-gays-death_n_1556061.html.

9

Ibid.

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

Stephen

Chavez

Find us here on Facebook:

www.facebook.com/AdventistReview

The name of my Judge is Jesus.

Say It in Seven

Sunlight compromises the light of most stars.

day on the Adventist Review

Each Facebook page we share a sevenword

proverb. Created by associate

editor Lael Caesar, these seven-word

sayings are inspirational, thoughtprovoking,

and creative. They appear in

a graphic format to make them instantly

appealing. Facebook users often

comment on or “like” the proverbs,

giving the Adventist Review an interactive

element to our growing ministry.

Here are seven of the most popular

seven-word proverbs in recent weeks

(indicated by the number of people who

“liked” the proverb). Two are shown as

they appeared on Facebook.

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.

■■PACIFIC UNION

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

Adventist

union—has meant

that both La Sierra

and Pacific Union

College have “faced

questions from the

accrediting agency

on this issue that are

not faced by institutions

in the rest of the North American

Division.”

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

role, provisions

related to the nomination

and composition

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

8 (536)

| 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

institution.”

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

faculty.”

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

R. Wisbey.

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

University

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.

■■SOUTH AMERICA

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

rally.

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

ASN PHOTO

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

government.

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


ASN PHOTO

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

scene.

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

concept.

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

area attorneys.

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

attorney said.

Committee chair Damaris Kuo

ASN PHOTO

ASN PHOTO

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

conflicts.

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

Network

www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (539) 11


World News & Perspectives

■■WORLD CHURCH

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

anniversary.

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.

Black’s 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

building today.

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

and friendship.

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 fortitude.

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.

Amen. n

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 other.

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,

WASHINGTON

ADVENTIST LIFE

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

five days.

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

SOUND BITE

“We are losing a

generation of

young people

because they see

no value in

pretending.”

—PASTOR WAYNE MORRISON, IN HIS

SERMON ON APRIL 20, 2013, AT THE

HUTCHINSON SEVENTH-DAY

ADVENTIST CHURCH, HUTCHINSON,

MINNESOTA

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

school. I

remember the

church services during

which the conference

president

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

cream.

—GLEN LEE

CHASE, OGLE-

THORPE, GEORGIA

www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (541) 13


Cliff’s Edge

1844madesimple.org

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

Cliff

Goldstein

CLIFFORD GOLDSTEIN IS EDITOR OF THE ADULT SABBATH SCHOOL BIBLE STUDY GUIDE.

www.AdventistReview.org | June 20, 2013 | (543) 15


Cover Feature

Seventh-day Adventists

and Other Churches

THE NEVER-ENDING

QUEST FOR UNDERSTANDING

BY

WILLIAM G.

JOHNSSON

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

NEXT YEAR.

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

WINSOME.

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.

Present Opportunities

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

available from

Forschungen zur

Geschichte und

Theologie der

Siebenten-Tags-

Adventisten 10

(Frankfurt a. Main:

Peter Lang, 2010)

for US$58.95.

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.

Official Conversations

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:

Theology

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


Relevant Questions

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

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.

What Difference

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

Know Everything?

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

possible reasons.

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

1

Ellen G. White, Selected Messages (Washington, D.C.:

Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958, 1980), book 1,

p. 123.

2

Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers (Mountain

View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1923),

p. 512.

3

Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain

View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 7,

p. 274.

4

Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain

View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 525.

5

Richard C. Trench, Notes on the Parables of Our Lord

(London: Kegan, Paul, Trench, Trübner, and Co., 1906),

p. 331.

6

Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain

View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1942), p. 474.

7

E. G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, p. 188.

8

DeWitt S. Osgood, The Promise of Power (Nashville:

Southern Pub. Assn., 1970), p. 98.

RESEARCH INSTITUTE.

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

True Freedom

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

my family.”

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

Jill

Morikone

* 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


Adventist Life

BY DAVID E. THOMAS

Sexuality as

Something

Sacred

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

capable counselor.

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.

Biblical Counsel

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.

Deeper Dimensions

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-

UNDERSTAND.

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.

Reverencing Sexuality

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

1

Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker, Premarital Sex in

America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think About

Marrying (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

2

Quoted from a review in First Things, August/September

2011, p. 53.

3

Ibid., p. 55.

4

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.

5

Harding Journal 9, no. 2 (1990). (This journal was once

associated with Harding Hospital, but is now defunct and

can no longer be found.)

6

Kurt Lewin was a notable person in the field of psychology

and best remembered for his pioneering work in

group dynamics.

7

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.

8

Harding Journal.

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

upside down.

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

deny Christ.

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

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


A School

Grows in Alask

PHOTOS BY STEPHEN CHAVEZ

Feature

CASUAL DAY: Principal Dane Bailey

makes announcements in the main

hallway before classes. Once a month

the kids get to wear jeans to school.

AMAZING

GRACE

ADVENTIST

ACADEMY

AND ITS

COMMUNITY

OUTREACH

BY STEPHEN CHAVEZ

Tammy Leslie was looking

for a school for her 11-yearold

daughter, Aubry. The

Matanuska Christian

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


a

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.

Steady Growth

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

LOOKING FOR

OPTIONS:

When Matanuska

Christian

School closed

its doors,

Tammy Leslie

went looking

for options for

her daughter,

Aubrey. They

were both baptized,

and

Tammy now

works at

Amazing Grace

Academy.

TIME FOR

SCHOOL:

School begins

before dawn

in Palmer the

first week of

spring. The

temperature—25

degrees—was

10 degrees

warmer than

earlier in the

week.

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

before school

begins, after a brief

message during the

worship service,

members migrate

down the hall to the

school classrooms

where they pray for

the teachers, the students

who will

inhabit those desks,

RECESS: Even if

you’re used to

harsh winters,

recess on a frozen

playground can be

a challenge; hence

the need for a

gymnasium.

and the challenges

they will face in the

coming year. Prayer

kids are also listed

in the church bulletin

each week.

The result is a climate

of real fellowship

between

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

gymnasium. For

much of the school

year outdoor activities

are chilly, to say

the least. The local

school district

REHEARSING:

“Education Sabbath”

is a oncea-year

event in

which parents

are invited to the

church’s worship

service, and students

from

Amazing Grace

Academy lead

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).

Higher Education

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


Reflections

Delivery Day

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

delivery.

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

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines