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March 2018


Above All


About the Cover Gerald Daniel Obando Cari is at home in two worlds. Born and raised in Peru, he has spent the past two years with his parents in Salvador, Brazil, where his father is pastor of a growing district in the historic part of town. He is about to begin a new adventure as a tenth grader in a boarding academy in Engenheiro Coelho, São Paulo, more than 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) from home. Gerald loves soccer and swimming and enjoys reading books about history. He wants to put his favorite text, Proverbs 16:3, into practice. “I’d like to become a medical missionary— someone who is able to help physically and spiritually.” Cover Photo: Gerald A. Klingbeil

Focus 10 Longing for God The Word 18 Devotional 22 What We Believe 26 Bible Questions Answered My Church 15 Millennial Voices 16 Global View 24 Discovering the Spirit of Prophecy Living Faith 20 Faith in Action 27 Health & Wellness 28 May I Tell You a Story? 30 Growing Faith—Children’s Pages


March 2018

orty years ago, on the first Friday night I ever spent in Paris, I wrote these lines from the third floor of a crowded youth hostel: “Above the tape player on the other bed, I seek the Lord. Somewhere, far above this neon-lighted city, His Holy Spirit waits to hear and gladly answer.” Like other short bursts of prose I recorded in that dog-eared journal, it reflects key pieces of my Adventist upbringing—the habit of Sabbath-welcoming prayer; the confidence that my prayer is meaningful to a kindly God; and the distractions that so frequently accompany even the prayer-filled moments of my life. The “tape player on the other bed” that a careless roommate turned on in my devotional moment has become a potent symbol through the years for all things that make the experience of prayer both challenging and vital. Truth is, though, I can no longer pretend that the distractions are all caused by others. My ability to distract myself from my most important conversation seems infinite, or at least unending. Left-over fragments of yesterday’s work; worries about the day ahead; the cacophony of voices emerging from the newsfeed on my smartphone; the loss of focus when some urgent, forgotten task pushes through my intercessions and requests—all these conspire to keep me from the quiet and unhurried time with Jesus that my heart requires and my body needs. Decades later, I am still seeking the Lord—on Friday nights, in every morning, through every waking hour of the day—above the many pieces of my life that easily sidetrack me. That may, in fact, be the greatest learning of the years—that faith endures; that God is patient; that grace continues to extend to me the privilege of talking with my Creator. As you read this month’s cover feature, “Longing for God,” find some uncrowded, quiet place to start a crucial conversation with the Lord who is always eager to hear and gladly answer.

News Moment

A member of the Carajรก tribe, in the state of Tocantins, Brazil. Nine Adventist volunteers are spending one year in the area assisting with outreach initiatives. Photo: South American Division March 2018


News in Brief

“There is no place in either kingdom or church for the predatory immorality [of sexual abuse].” “We have

New French Theological Journal The School of Theology on the Campus Adventiste du Salève, the Seventh-day Adventist University of France, has released the first issue of a new theological journal called Servir: Revue adventiste de théologie (Serve: Adventist Review of Theology). The journal, published in French, is intended to encourage theological research and in-depth reflection.

–Dwight Nelson, senior pastor of Pioneer Memorial church at Andrews University, commenting on the recent disclosure of hundreds of high-profile cases of sexual harassment.

5% A rating given to an area in Scotland, making it one of the lowest on the country’s Social Deprivation Index. The local Adventist Church has just acquired a lease for a town center building, allowing the church’s members to create a community healthy living center for its residents. The building includes an 80-seat auditorium, as well as a commercial grade kitchen. 4

March 2018

Arabic Farsi Turkish Kurdish English French

known for some time In the Middle East and that caffeine North Africa the Christian Steps to Christ is is associated classic now available in these with heart six languages. Almost all Adventist Church disease, members now will be reduces the able to read the book in their native language. quality of sleep, and increases “Opioid overanxiety and doses claim depression.” the lives of

–Ross Grant, CEO of the Australasian Research Institute (ARI) at Sydney Adventist Hospital, an Adventist health institution. ARI released a study showing that caffeine sits alongside red meat, stress, and lack of sleep as key factors negatively impacting health. The factors are associated with oxidative stress—a biochemical condition linked to accelerated aging and the development of lifestyle diseases such as heart disease and certain types of dementia.

approximately 91 Americans per day.”

–Wonha Kim, director of the Center for Christian Bioethics at Loma Linda University Health. The Adventist health-care institution recently organized a panel of experts to discuss issues surrounding the opioid addiction and abuse epidemic.

News in Brief

“Sure, we have big shoes to fill, but it’s always been God’s work, and we will be faithful to the task he has called us to do.” –Darren Garlett, the first indigenous minister appointed as director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia.

Japanese Adventists Prepare for the 2020 Olympics Adventist leaders in Japan are making plans to intentionally interact with the Olympics when they are hosted in Tokyo in 2020. At its recent annual leadership meeting the Japan Union Conference discussed the need to begin planning for various outreach methods, and ways in which to share the gospel. Japan has a population of about 120 million, with fewer than 1 percent who are Christian. Out of the 1 percent Christian, only about 15,000 are Seventh-day Adventists.

“Before I make a decision, I get down on my knees and ask the Lord, ‘Is this right before You, Lord?’ ” –George Konrote, president of Fiji, in an interview given a few days before he addressed more than 500 young people from 13 island nations at the Trans Pacific Union Mission Youth Congress in Sabeto, Fiji.

266 The number of families that will remain in the Hassan Sham U2 refugee camp and will not return to their homes. Since December 2013 the bloody conflict between the Iraqi Security Forces and ISIS has forced many people to flee the region of Mosul, Iraq, to escape violent attacks. Now that the situation is more stable, hundreds of people are on their way back to their homes, but still many families cannot do the same. The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and the organization Adventist Help are coordinating an emergency medical center in the refugee camp. Photo: ADRA Iraq/Kurdistan March 2018


News in Depth

Church in South America Passes Statement Opposing Death Penalty

Document was drafted with input from the world church’s Biblical Research Institute.

By Adventist World Staff

Delegates from the eight countries that make up the South American Division (SAD) church region recently voted to accept an opinion statement on capital punishment and its promotion within local churches at the regional yearend meetings in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. The statement was drafted by the Biblical Research Institute (BRI), the world church’s advising body on theological matters, after a specific request from the regional church. The document contextually discusses biblical texts and passages that seem to support the application of the death penalty by governments, to conclude that “Adventists believe that violence and capital punishment have no place within the church. In other words, it is not the task of the church to take human life.” WHAT THE DOCUMENT SAYS

The document states that even though the Bible does not ignore the suffering of those affected by heinous crimes, the question is raised whether capital punishment

is an appropriate response. The application of capital punishment “is often fraught with procedural difficulties” and “is irreversible,” something that “should make us very cautious.” The key task is to get to know the biblical view of capital punishment by studying biblical texts on the topic in various contexts, states the voted document. It is also important to understand it from “a robust biblical anthropology,” as over the years the Adventist Church has issued official statements “against violence, war, and euthanasia, and in favor of tolerance and noncombatancy,” it reads. “The church shares the biblical teaching of the immense value of all life and the sanctity of human life especially, which was created in the image of God,” reads the statement. Accordingly, it “seeks to preserve and protect human life.” After explaining that under the Old Testament theocracy, “the death penalty is mentioned in a variety of cases,” the statement goes on to read that “in the New Testament [the capital punishment]

Photo: Gerald A. Klingbeil 6

March 2018

legislation is not applied to the Christian church.” It adds: “With His first advent, Jesus brought to an end the Jewish theocracy and established His kingdom ethics.” Citing a specific example of an incestuous relationship mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5, the document states that in the New Testament, “capital punishment is no longer practiced by the people of God.” Within that context, “killing heretics, as practiced by some Christian churches in the past, is not only unwarranted but absolutely wrong and unlawful from a biblical perspective,” the document reads. GOVERNMENTS AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

The statement goes on to discuss two specific biblical texts—Genesis 9:5, 6 and Romans 13:4—that are commonly used to support the execution of the death penalty by governments. After a contextual analysis, the document voted acknowledges that “currently, there is no agreement on the interpretation of these texts in the larger Christian community or in the Adventist Church.” It adds: “Consequently, there is also no agreement on the issue of whether, from a biblical perspective, governments are allowed or even required to institute capital punishment.” In the closing paragraph of the document, BRI Ethics Committee members—who drafted the document—recommend church members not to get involved in campaigns promoting the death penalty. “The mission of the church is not to promote death but to announce life and hope,” it states.

News in Depth

In Colombia, Adventist Leader Advocates for an “Inclusive Society”

Adventist Church religious liberty director meets with government officials.

By Bettina Krause, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty

Photo: International Religious Liberty Association

As war-weary Colombia confronts the challenges of peace-building following decades of conflict with rebel groups, a Seventh-day Adventist leader has reminded government officials that minority religious groups have a valuable part to play. “An inclusive dialogue, one that draws in voices from all parts of Colombian society, will help foster a strong and lasting peace,” said Ganoune Diop, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director for the Adventist world church, during a meeting with Colombia’s minister of the interior, Guillermo Rivera Flórez. At the meeting, which took place November 9, 2017, at the minister’s office in the capital city of Bogota, Diop spoke about shalom, the Hebrew word for peace. “This is a word that encompasses the idea of ‘completeness’ and the inclusion of all parts,” he said. “There can be no shalom—no deep and durable peace—without broad participation from all sectors of society, including the voices of nonmajority religious groups, as well.”

Since the late 1950s Colombia has endured ongoing unrest and violence as both left-wing insurgency groups and right-wing paramilitary organizations have fought against the government. The conflict was marked by the widespread use of torture, killings, and hostage-taking. According to reports, renegade groups also engaged in large-scale cocaine cultivation and drug trafficking as a way to fund their activities, which has in turn fueled the rise of powerful drug lords. According to estimates by Colombia’s National Center for Historical Memory, the conflict uprooted more than 5 million Colombians from their homes, and killed more than 220,000 people, most of them civilians. Although a landmark peace agreement was forged in 2016 between the government and rebel groups, the task of healing the scars of the past and building a new, post-conflict society is daunting. More than 80 percent of the Colombian population identifies as Roman Catholic, which, until 1991, was the official state religion. Although freedom of religion or

belief is constitutionally protected in the country, Diop says members of minority churches in Colombia still sometimes find it difficult to have their voices heard within the broader public discourse. “These denominations, including the Adventist Church in Colombia, are eager to be productive partners in forging a more stable, inclusive, and peaceful society,” he said. Diop met with interior minister Rivera as part of a delegation of global Christian leaders who were in Colombia for a meeting of the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions (CS/ CWC). The CS/CWC is an informal gathering of leaders from various Christian communions that meets in a different location each year for bilateral and multilateral conversations to dispel prejudice and hostility, and to share concerns, information, and news about their respective denominations. Diop has served as secretary of the CS/ CWC since 2014, and the Adventist world church has been represented at these annual meetings for more than 50 years. March 2018


News Focus East-Central Africa Division (ECD)

3,792,471 ECD membership as of November 2017

Burundi Radio Programs Gains Global Audience on WhatsApp An Adventist radio program aired on the national radio station in Burundi has gone global through WhatsApp, especially among Kirundi language speakers. The program, Ijwi Ry’Inzamba Y’Iherezo (The Voice of the Final Trumpet) is hosted by the Adventist Church in Burundi. It airs every Saturday and has gained an international appeal from radio listeners around the world.

“These camps should be a beginning of a partnership between the government and the Adventist Church in the eradication of poverty and drug addiction.” Jolly Kagira, a government representative in Uganda commenting on more than 3,000 free medical camps set up by the Adventist Church throughout the country that offer both medical care and Bible studies.

2,500 Number of inmates ministered to by a prison initiative operated by the Newlife Seventhday Adventist Church in Nairobi, Kenya. Church members organize Sabbath School classes for inmates, allowing for spiritual growth within that community. Recent classes have been as large as 400. Since the launch of the initiative in 2012, about 1,000 inmates have been baptized

Adventist members in Rwanda gather for a monthly community service day. The Rwandan government has commended the church for its commitment to service. (^-)

Adventist University Graduates a Record 657 Students in Rwanda Adventist University of Central Africa (AUCA) recently graduated a record 675 students, 386 (57%) female. For the first time, the university awarded MBA and Master of Education degrees.

“While not alone, you are on your own now, so go out to serve God and your fellow men wherever the Lord leads.” Blasious Riguri, ECD president and AUCA chancellor, challenging the university’s graduates to serve their communities upon graduating.

Photo: Rwanda Union Mission 8

March 2018


By Glen Townsend, President South Pacific Division

Photo: Xan Griffin

Where Are They? Going back to a church and a community where you once pastored or fellowshipped is always an emotional experience. It’s encouraging to see the stalwarts who labored with you in the various community and evangelistic events that were run, still faithfully serving God to the best of their ability. There’s the joy of seeing former Adventists you had visited, who never showed an inkling of returning to church, but who are now fully committed disciples of Jesus. It’s satisfying to see people you baptized and left as babes in the faith now on the church board and leading Sabbath School ministry to children. There’s the complete wonder of seeing those you ministered to in Bible studies and seminars, who never made a decision at the time, now rejoicing in the truth of Jesus and involved in helping others find new life through faith in Jesus. I would like to stop writing right now, thank God, and just dwell on the above stories, but that’s not the complete picture. There are those you remember fondly who are not there anymore.

After inquiring, you discover a few have passed away and await their joy in Jesus. Others have transferred to new churches. But other stories just bring heartache. There’s the Sabbath School teacher who was excellent at building a group and engaging people in the Scriptures, who no longer chooses to fellowship at the church because of hurtful untruths spread around. There’s the woman who led in an exercise class that had many community people participating, who no longer attends because the church board did all they could to block and stop her ministry because of the clothes people chose to wear while exercising. There are the kids I grew up with in Pathfinders and Sabbath School, now successful lawyers, architects, and businesspeople, who are just not there. Nobody seems to know why. There is a doctor, a mechanic, and a florist, but none of them find church attractive. Some are antagonistic; others just drifted. Seeing these things hurts. They are the 50 percent of all Adventists globally who statistically do not associate with us anymore. Local churches are very fluid. The power of the Word of God and the Spirit change lives that are challenged with relational breakdowns, financial debt, lack of meaningful

work, abuse from a partner, jealous retribution from a friend. But sometimes these human frailties impact others and give people a reason to leave the church. There is much latent pain within many churches as those who used to be there and are not anymore are our son or daughter, cousin, brother, sister, uncle, father, mother, best friend. Not having them in church hurts. We pray and know that God hears and acts, but God never chooses to force the will of these people who are loved more by Him than us. We know this, but it still hurts. As we pray for others, we need to pray for ourselves so that we can endure to the end (Matt. 24:13). For life in the church can be an emotional roller coaster. How else can we deal with such pain? Besides prayer, we can choose to be different. Let’s use the pain of loss to move us to become more real: listening, praying, supporting, and advising each other without any judgment (Matt. 7:1, 2; Rom. 13:8; Col. 3:13). That’s what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. That’s the kind of church we are all looking for. This article first appeared in the Adventist Record magazine. March 2018



Longing for God The paradox of prayer



e have all heard about the importance of prayer for our spiritual life. We have heard that prayer gives strength to resist temptations. We have heard stories in which prayer had the power to remove fear and instill hope. We have heard how prayer has even subdued demonic forces and how prayer literally changed people and the course of events. We have heard that prayer helps us to be more effective in our work for God and that prayer is as essential for our spiritual life as breathing is for our physical life. We know about prayer! Yet we often do not pray. The paradox of prayer is that while we desperately need it, we often readily avoid it. Perhaps we have become tired in a dull routine of asking God again and again to help us or grant our wishes. Perhaps we use repetitious prayer phrases that have become hollow and shallow. Perhaps we just have lost our grip on God. We know intellectually that we can ask God for anything and that nothing is impossible for God. Yet our spiritual reality often looks so very different. DOES IT REALLY WORK?

I remember vividly a young student who had listened to a presentation about the ABCs of Bible prayer1 that I had shared with a group of young people in church. About three weeks later she saw me again and was quite upset and agitated about what I had said about prayer. “It doesn’t work! What you told us is not true,” she exclaimed.


March 2018

Image: Diana Simumpande

“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him.” – Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 93. March 2018


When I asked what had happened, she told me her story. She shared an apartment with another young woman, who had quite a different sense of cleanliness and order. Her roommate would leave piles of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink for days, and her sense of orderliness was at great odds with what she felt comfortable. Rather than working to improve the relationship with her roommate, she started to pray that the roommate would become more orderly. That way, it turned out, she would not have to become more patient, but the other person would have to accommodate her level of comfort. It’s not wrong to pray for other people. After all, that’s what we do when we pray for conversions and a change of heart. But could it be that all too often our prayers, though frequently disguised in a pious cloak, are, in the final analysis, based on wrong motives? Aren’t our prayers often tainted by selfishness rather than guided by a genuine love for others?

I might pray for the conversion of my spouse because then my life will be easier. I might ask God for specific things because I have become used to a certain standard of living, and I am not content with less. I might pray for health because I am afraid of pain and do not want to live a life encumbered by illness. Perhaps I even pray for success in God’s cause because I will play a significant role in it and my influence will be strengthened if what I pray for becomes reality. FINDING THE CENTER OF PRAYER

All too often we are at the center of our prayers, rather than God. All too often we use prayer as a spiritual vending machine, where everything revolves around our “want to have.” Instead of focusing on things in our prayers, we need to refocus on God and make Him central. Seeking and enjoying God’s presence in prayer is much more important than the things He gives us. Could it be that we need to rediscover prayer that is pleasing to God?2 Such prayer begins with

personal communion with God rather than with our list of wishes and requests. When our wishes are not anchored in a living relationship with Him, they reflect more our desires and our ideas of well-being than God’s will. But once we understand that our relationship with God and our adoration of His character is the center hub of our prayers our prayers regain a totally new focus. We begin to think and pray from God’s perspective and start to view our requests and wishes and even our whole life and circumstances through His eyes. This is what biblical characters successfully did. They give us an example to emulate. When a great multitude of enemies threatened to destroy the kingdom of Judah, and King Jehoshaphat did not know how to prevail against such overwhelming enemy forces, he started his prayer not by listing his great need for help or by asking God to do something. Instead he focused on God and His abilities and started to recount God’s faithfulness by retelling God’s saving

Ten Important Bible Texts About Prayer If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land (2 Chron. 7:14).

Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, for to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up (Ps. 5:1-3).

Image: Josh Applegate

acts in past history (cf. 2 Chron. 20:5-12). “Our eyes are upon You,” he ends his prayer (verse 12). Rather than focusing on the difficulties before him, Jehoshaphat focused on the One who is the Master, even of our difficulties. Looking at our reality from God’s perspective, our difficulties appear in a new light. When we consciously think about God’s character, His qualities and abilities, and express our adoration for them, our prayers are filled with new spiritual life. Suddenly they have an element of reverence and admiration. No longer are our problems the center of our prayers—God is the center. Such prayer does not bring God down to our level. Rather, it lifts us up to His presence. Prayer does not change God. It changes us. Such God-focused prayer allows us to become honest with ourselves and with God. In the light of His love and His holiness we begin to see ourselves, our desires, and needs differently. Understood that way, prayer becomes a premier expression of our love for God!

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech (Ps. 17:6) The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth (Ps. 145:18). Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you (Jer. 29:12).

“It is our privilege to open our hearts, and let the sunshine of Christ’s presence in. My brother, my sister, face the light. Come into actual, personal contact with Christ, that you may exert an influence that is uplifting and reviving. Let your faith be strong and pure and steadfast. Let gratitude to God fill your hearts. When you rise in the morning, kneel at your bedside, and ask God to give you strength to fulfil the duties of the day, and to meet its temptations. Ask Him to help you to bring into your work Christ’s sweetness of character. Ask Him to help you to speak words that will inspire those around you with hope and courage, and draw you nearer to the Saviour.” – Ellen G. White, Sons and Daughters of God, p. 199.


Why would God even answer our prayers? When we approach God in prayer, we have no résumé to recommend us. We have no track record of impressive accomplishments. We don’t have exemplary love or wisdom that would commend us as being worthy. We have nothing that would place God in our debt or would obligate His favor toward us.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matt. 7:11). Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them (Mark 11:24).

So why would God answer our prayers? The answer is simple: “Because God is his own reason for answering. Prayer finds its hope not in the qualifications of the one praying, but in the character and plan of the God who is hearing.”3 God answers prayer because He is love and He tenderly loves us. And because God is God, He delights to give us far more and beyond what we can understand and request. God first and foremost grants us

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered (Rom. 8:26).

in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer (Rom. 12:10-12).

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging

with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4:6).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, March 2018


the blessing of His presence. And in that relationship God delights, if we ask great things of Him. Such a prayer relationship with God savors time spent in the presence of our Maker and Redeemer. Unfortunately, we have become accustomed to an instant prayer mentality. Our culture does not support a pace of life that naturally cultivates prayer that takes time. Taking time means learning to wait. But our life rhythms are more often set by microwaves and McDonald’s. When we bring God our prayer wish list, we expect to receive His answers in mere seconds. We want it instantly: “Give me patience, Lord. And please give me patience right now!” we whine. And while God listens to our hurried and often selfish “McPrayers,” they will do little for us in terms of nourishing our spiritual life or opening our ears to God’s will. Hasty prayers will not have the profound impact that comes only through perseverance in prayer. Jesus did not live in a fast-paced culture like ours, but He faced an even more pressing time challenge. He had only three short years to complete His plan of salvation. Only a few months of ministry meant that a lot of people would go unhealed, untaught, and undiscipled. But at the end of His life Jesus could still declare: “It is finished.” While perhaps He did not accomplish all He could have, He nevertheless accomplished all He needed to. And prayer helped Jesus to discern His priorities in the quiet moments of communion with His Father. It helped crystallize the important priorities and dissipate the merely urgent ones. Spending prayer time in the company of our Creator and Savior God will also have a profound impact on our existence. Once we start meeting regularly with God in prayer we change. Our values change. Some things that once seemed so important become less significant and lose their fascination, while others gain new significance. We will see people differently. Prayer in the presence of God is a most profitable means of obtaining a pure heart. It gives us new direction and motivation to see things from God’s perspective. Such prayer is a wonderful opportunity to allow Him to shape us into His image.

“It is prayer that unites hearts. It is prayer to the Great Physician to heal the soul that will bring the blessing of God. Prayer unites us with one another and with God. Prayer brings Jesus to our side, and gives new strength and fresh grace to the fainting, perplexed soul to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. Prayer turns aside the attacks of Satan.” – Ellen G. White, Our High Calling, p. 177.

For this and many other practical prayer ideas, see Frank M. Hasel, Longing for God: A Prayer and Bible Journal (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 2017), pp. 121–124, but see also the important prerequisite “Prayer That Pleases God,” on pp. 43-45. 2 Ibid., pp. 42–45. 3 Paul David Tripp, A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2009), p. 53. 1

Frank M. Hasel, originally from Germany, serves as an associate director of the Biblical Research Institute at the General Conference.


March 2018

Image: Ben White

Millennial Voices

Are You Really a Seven-day Adventist?


ello, this is your church pastor speaking. You have been nominated to be our assistant youth leader.” I froze. How was a 23-year-old expected to lead the youth of a 3,000-member congregation? My church is one of the 50 Adventist churches that serve the 6.5 million residents of metropolitan Nairobi, Kenya. My mind raced through dozens of excuses detailing my inadequacy for this huge leadership task. Surely they could find older, better qualified, and more experienced church members that would be perfect for the job, right? Indeed, I would have given the stammering Moses stiff competition at his own game of excuses at the burning bush. The greatest challenge we faced as youth leaders was how to attract youth to church, capture their attention, and keep them actively engaged during Sabbath afternoon youth programs. As in many other places in the world, our church was often packed during the Sabbath morning divine worship service, whereas the afternoon programs would be attended by a precious handful. How could our church programs compete with the allure that postmodern secular society has to offer? As we pondered this question, we felt we needed to embrace unconventional and innovative methods that strike a healthy balance between spiritual maturity and contemporary relevance. We aimed to ignite our youth’s passion for Christ. We started a special afternoon youth service dubbed “Ignited.” During this one-and-a-halfhour program, we had a mainstream television station news anchor “host” the service. Between sessions of praise and worship, interactive interviews with prominent personalities concerning their spiritual journeys were featured, as was music by seasoned Adventist musicians. The service concluded with youthful, Christ-centered preaching. Abel Kirui, an Adventist world-class marathon runner and Olympic medallist, was one of the local celebrities we interviewed. He shared his personal testimony akin to the likes of Eric Liddell (of Chariots of Image: Frederick Kimani

Fire fame) and Desmond Doss (Hacksaw Ridge). His powerful stance to not compete on Sabbath was a great inspiration to the youth to stand up for their faith in the workplace. During another service we interviewed the niece of Chinua Achebe, a prolific African author and contender for a Nobel Prize in literature. She shared her family’s encounters with Adventism, and the little known spiritual side of her famous uncle. All our programs aimed at inspiring our young adults to become active participants in their own faith journeys in all areas of their lives. Christ needs to be made real, tangible, and personal in our daily lives, not just an ancient historical figure we hear about on Sabbath. The reality facing many young Adventists in today’s world is indifference. Growing up as a third-generation Adventist, where attending church on Sabbath was a checkbox to be ticked off in my weekly list of routine activities, I finally understood the need for a paradigm shift in my own thinking. Routine religion must be transformed into a relevant lifestyle of worship, actively impacting every area of our lives—seven days a week. This includes dying daily to our own desires in order to live for Christ 24/7. A twenty-first-century Paul would challenge Seventh-day Adventists to be transformed into seven-day Adventists. He summed it up succinctly: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). How can a sacrifice become “living” when its sole purpose is death? That’s what being a seven-day Adventist is all about.

Frederick Kimani, M.D., is a consultant physician based in Nairobi, Kenya, who is passionate about building bridges between God and young people through music. March 2018


T Global View

Gaining True Enlightenment Accepting God’s Word as it reads

he man had the best of intentions. During his 77 years, he had accomplished more than most, yet there was another project he longed to carry out. Carefully he gathered the necessary items: a sharpened razor, glue, and “six printed volumes published in English, French, Latin, and Greek of the Gospels of the New Testament.”1 Placing the items on a flat surface, he began the meticulous work of cutting out what he believed to be the relevant parts of the Gospels. He then pasted his selections together, telling “a chronological and edited story of Jesus’ life, parables, and moral teaching. Left behind in the source material were those elements that he could not support through reason or that he believed were later embellishments, such as the miracles and the Resurrection.”2 These he called “things impossible, of superstitions, fanaticisms, and fabrications.”3 JEFFERSON’S BIBLE

This Bible, used by Thomas Jefferson, was the original source for the new Bible he created. Note where he cut passages from its pages.


March 2018

Completed in 1820, this 84-page handcrafted book came to be known as Jefferson’s Bible, although it was originally titled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually From the Gospels in Greek, Latin, French, and English by the compiler himself, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, third president of the United States of America, was well educated, gifted in multiple areas, and the principal author of the United States’ Declaration of Independence. He was also a deist: one who insists that “religious truth should be subject to the authority of human reason rather than divine revelation.”4 Deists deny that the Bible is the revealed Word of God and reject Scripture as a source of religious doctrine. Jefferson viewed Scripture

Image: Hugh Talman/Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

via the eighteenth-century “Enlightenment,” using a naturalistic lens and accepting only those things that could be explained from a naturalistic, or scientific worldview.5 In putting together his Life and Morals of Jesus, Jefferson believed he was preserving the pure teachings of Jesus while stripping away unnecessary fabrications that were added later. This eighteenth-century “enlightened” practice is in wide use today. Known as the historical-critical method, it continues to put human reason above divine revelation in Scripture, ruling out supernatural intervention and seeking to find meaning through humanistic assumptions and understandings. Although those employing the historical-critical method today no longer use a razor and glue to put together their own version of Scripture as Jefferson did, the result is the same: a poorly constructed humanistic version of a divinely inspired book. THE PROTESTANT HERMENEUTIC

In contrast to this is the historical-biblical method,6 the Protestant method of biblical interpretation that was used by Martin Luther and other Protestant Reformers, and has been used by Seventh-day Adventists since the beginning of the Advent movement. It is also the way the Bible writers themselves seem to interpret Scripture: comparing scripture with scripture. Unlike the historical-critical method, the historical-biblical method (also known as the historical-grammatical method) assumes that there is a Creator God who is active throughout human history, accepting that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). It recognizes that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9), and that human reason cannot therefore sit as judge above God’s Word. When God created human beings, He endowed them with reason, giving them the ability to observe, analyze, and draw conclusions.7 So through prayer, guidance of the Holy Spirit, and sanctified reason submitted to God and His will, we are well able to have a clear understanding of God’s Word. FIRST AND HIGHEST DUTY

Divine inspiration tells us: “It is the first and highest duty of every rational being to learn from the Scriptures what is truth, and then to walk in the light and encourage others to follow his example. We should day by day study the Bible diligently, weighing every thought and comparing scripture with scripture.”8 We are also instructed about how to understand Scripture: “The language of the Bible should be

explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed. . . . If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error.”9 Finally, we are admonished to use our minds as we study Scripture, but always with a humble, teachable spirit, depending on God for wisdom. Ellen White wrote: “We should exert all the powers of the mind in the study of the Scriptures and should task the understanding to comprehend, as far as mortals can, the deep things of God; yet we must not forget that the docility and submission of a child is the true spirit of the learner. Scriptural difficulties can never be mastered by the same methods that are employed in grappling with philosophical problems. We should not engage in the study of the Bible with that self-reliance with which so many enter the domains of science, but with a prayerful dependence upon God and a sincere desire to learn His will. We must come with a humble and teachable spirit to obtain knowledge from the great I AM. Otherwise, evil angels will so blind our minds and harden our hearts that we shall not be impressed by the truth.”10 One of my favorite Bible passages is John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” God’s Word is powerful. Through this collection of sacred writings produced over 1,500 years, God speaks with one voice. Across ages, languages, places, and cultures, God’s unchanging truth is proclaimed through His revealed Word, the Bible. While we don’t worship the Bible as some religious relic, we worship the God of the Bible, whose voice can still be heard clearly speaking through His Word today for all who will listen. “Thomas Jefferson’s Bible,” American History, Smithsonian Institution, p. 4, JeffersonBible/history/page-4.cfm. Ibid. 3 Thomas Jefferson to William Short, Aug. 4, 1820, letters-of-thomas-jefferson/jefl261.php. 4 Darren Staloff, “Deism and the Founding of the United States,” National Humanities Center, 5 “Thomas Jefferson’s Bible,” p. 3, 6 Richard M. Davidson, “Interpreting Scripture According to the Scriptures: Toward an Understanding of Seventh-day Adventist Hermeneutics,” May 20-21, 2003, p. 10, uploads/2017/07/interp-scripture-davidson.pdf. 7 See Ángel Manuel Rodríguez, “Human Reason and Biblical Hermeneutics: An Introduction,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 27, no. 1-2 (2016): 85-97. 8 Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 598. 9 Ibid., p. 599. (Italics supplied.) 10 Ibid. 1


Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Additional articles and commentaries are available from the president’s office on Twitter: @PastorTedWilson and on Facebook: @PastorTed Wilson. March 2018



When Failure Is (Not) an Option


t dawned on me that I had been looking at the poster for the whole semester. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind was always a nagging question about the validity of its message. Campus had been plastered all over with the poster (even in the bathrooms!), and it was hard to miss. Across its top one could read in bold letters: “When Failure Is NOT an Option.” There were, of course, lots of other posters surrounding it that vied for my attention. Consequently, I had never really read it completely, but somehow the message had subliminally struck home. Eventually I decided to read the whole thing, which turned out to be an encouraging invitation of the university’s Disability Support Services, directed at struggling students to overcome their limitations and succeed. Excellent! So far, so good! Nevertheless, I’m still confounded by the initial message. Not, of course, in connection with struggling students, but with an achievement-obsessed society we live in,

which has made success the ultimate goal in life, and clearly does not tolerate failure. I recall talking to a friend about raising teenagers (we have two at home); during the conversation she turned to me and said that the worst thing for her daughter was the thought that she might fail at something. Grades in school, sports, even Pathfinders, and dating—we have to succeed at everything, often at great emotional expense. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL ANGLE

A recent study conducted in Germany showed that every seventh learner is sent for extra tutoring by their parents, although their grades are quite good, adding hours and hours of extra afternoon classes to an already-overfull schedule. Behind this are not necessarily failing students, but parents who like to see their children succeed—and only succeed. What the child learns is not necessarily more algebra and grammar, but the idea that “I have to continuously be bringing home excellent results, and if I can’t, I need help. Serious help, because otherwise I will endanger my academic and, eventually, social progress. And progress there must be; consequently: ‘I must not fail.’ ” Child psychologists have raised the alarm and speak of depression and anxiety, even burnout, at an increasingly younger age.1 They suggest that part of the problem is that children are not learning to fail, and thus are failing to learn from their failures. In addition, a society that does not tolerate failures further contributes to the spiral of better and best. This leaves an enormous amount of insecurity and self-doubt in its wake. Then, when life happens with all its inevitable failures and likely disappointments, we are utterly unprepared for it. This is certainly not a call for mediocrity and discouragement of any striving for excellence. Rather, it’s an invitation to reflect if it’s not time to jump off the bandwagon of better and best, looking for a healthier way to learn and master life, even eternal life. THE THEOLOGICAL ANGLE

The Bible is full of people who failed: there is a Moses who strikes first the Egyptian, and later the rock one too many times; remember David, who fails royally (pun intended) to control his desires toward a beautiful but married woman; there is Peter, who fails to leave the sword in the sheath and curses unspoken; and Paul, who fiercely persecutes the early followers of Jesus, only to see the complete failure of his entire previous life when Christ Himself confronts him on the road to Damascus. The list could go on and on! As a matter of fact, it was

Their failures eventually drove them into the arms of a forgiving and loving Savior.

exactly their failures that eventually drove them right into the arms of a forgiving and loving Savior and turned them into powerful heroes of faith. Along the way they learned two fundamentally important things. First, when I fail, I realize that I need to trust less in my own achievements and more in the power of God’s grace: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9, ESV).2 Failure is a step toward forgiveness and strength in Christ. On the contrary, when failure is not an option, I might find myself on the side of a distorted perfectionist image of God’s righteousness. Second, when I fail, there is a chance that I will become more compassionate with the people around me. In looking back on Peter’s experience, Ellen White comments: “Remembering his own weakness and failure, he was to deal with the sheep and lambs committed to his care as tenderly as Christ had dealt with him.”3 A healthy recognition of our own failures makes us more forgiving of the shortcomings of others and helps us develop Christlike empathy. So failure is unfortunately but definitely an option in a sin-stricken world. It’s not an option I would necessarily look for or strive for voluntarily, but it’s an option that I know sooner or later will come my way. And that’s OK! I don’t have to pressure myself into constant success, falling apart at the first failure. Similarly, I recognize that I do not have to pressure my children into being overachievers. They should know that they are allowed to fail, that they can grow by learning from their mistakes; and that divine grace provides for all of that. I pray I’ll still say the same when the next grade report comes home. 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. 3 Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 516. 1


Martin G. Klingbeil, D.Litt., is professor of biblical studies and archaeology and associate director of the Institute of Archaeology at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee, United States. March 2018


Faith in Action


Reaching a unique audience for Christ


t’s noon on a hot August day in Paris. It’s the kind of weather that makes people want to find a seat in a cool café to sip a tall glass of ice-cold Perrier. But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, crowds of people from all over the world are waiting in a huge courtyard, standing in the direct blast of the noonday sun. What are they waiting for? It’s not a movie star, a sporting event, or a politician. And it’s certainly not a religious service. On this stiflingly hot afternoon crowds are swarming to get into the Louvre art museum. As one summer visitor comments: “The Louvre’s art collection is epic, but so is the line. It took us hours to get in!” Hours to get into an art gallery? It’s extreme, but long lines for great art aren’t unusual. Whether it’s London’s National Gallery, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Uffizi Gallery museum in Florence, great art draws huge crowds. All this got Australia’s Neale Schofield thinking. If we want to reach mass audiences in the great cities of the world, what better place to start than with the art people love so much? he reflected. After all, much of the art


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so highly valued by modern secular societies was created to communicate deep spiritual truths. Is there a way to rediscover the spiritual secrets behind the world’s greatest art works, he pondered, and, in the process, reintroduce the Greatest Artist to secular audiences? Schofield, who earned his master’s degree in art and religion from the University of London and currently manages Hope Channel New Zealand, got busy developing an innovative outreach series to do just that. He titled the resulting TV series Masterstroke. “I worked with the team at Adventist Media in Sydney to develop a concept that weaves the art we all know with the intriguing stories behind it,” Schofield says. “The message of every show is the art may be complex, the stories twisted, and the artists broken, but the news behind it? It is more spectacular than the collective beauty to be found in all the glittering galleries of this world.”

into a bitter dispute with Gauguin and cut off his own ear, van Gogh planned to become a Protestant pastor. The show challenges the audience to ask the intriguing questions that follow from van Gogh’s complex life. How did his religious ideas influence his art? How did his relationship with God change throughout his life? And what secrets of his art can we unlock from knowing the story of his life?  “A show about great art has to include great art,” says Schofield. “Obviously, we couldn’t secure originals, so I found artists whose technical skills are outstanding. They made reproductions that on screen are not distinguishable from the originals. Our team also animated some of the best-known paintings in history, to bring them to life in a unique way.” Between the cutting-edge animations, the urban-warehouse set, the on-location footage, and the contemporary storytelling, the shows have an unusually sophisticated feel.



How innovative is Masterstroke’s storytelling? It effortlessly melds into its episode on Vincent van Gogh that years before he fell

The storytelling isn’t limited to household names. In the second series of Masterstroke Neale tells the

Image: Courtesy of Masterstroke

Masterstroke appeals to an audience Adventists seldom reach. If we want to reach mass audiences in the great cities of the world, what better place to start than with the art people love so much?

incredible story of one of the most influential—although frequently overlooked—artists in history: Artemisia Gentileschi. Gentileschi is the only premodern female artist consistently ranked among the greatest artists in history. Although born in the 1600s, she lived a life that could be ripped from today’s headlines. She was raped by a powerful man who used the system to try to protect himself. She was tortured after she went public with her charge against him. But eventually she was vindicated. All along the way she painted the most evocative images taken from Scripture and associated religious sources to express a fundamental truth: the God of the Bible is no respecter of persons. His justice applies even to the rich, the powerful, and the famous. It’s a lesson as important today as it was 400 years ago when she painted her masterpieces. A UNIQUE AUDIENCE

As intended, Masterstroke appeals to an audience Adventists seldom reach. “Since the first series aired, I’ve heard from people all over the globe,” says Schofield. “What is interesting is that the demographics are very different from anything else I’ve worked on. Many of the people we’re hearing from are best described as wealthier, well-educated urbanites.” One of the more surprising developments came from an elite private boys’ school in Melbourne, Australia. “I was contacted by their twelfthgrade class. Incredibly, their teacher found Masterstroke online and is using it as part of their curriculum,” Schofield says. “These students come from the demographic we almost never reach.

But great art? That is something that connects us. And learning more about what the art means, the context, and the message? That appeals to them. “It’s simple really,” Schofield continues. “It’s just about meeting people where they are, finding common ground, and then sharing the love of Christ in that context.” FUTURE PLANS

Two full seasons of Masterstroke have been filmed, and there are plans to complement the TV shows with a book and online lessons that combine art history and the gospel. “We need to use every avenue we have to reach our dying world,” concludes Schofield. “Masterstroke is designed to reach those hundreds of millions of people willing to line up on the hottest of days just to experience the rich beauty of great art. We want to introduce those exhausted, hot crowds in our great cities to cool springs of living water.” It’s a laudable goal—and Schofield has found an intriguingly unique way to do it.

James Standish is a lawyer who lives with his wife and two children in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, where he runs a consulting firm, focusing on government relations and media.

You can watch episodes of Masterstroke online at March 2018


What We Believe

The Trinity

One God in Three Persons A closer look at the relevant data


he Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of salvation.”1 This took place in heaven prior to the agreement that Christ would function as the Savior.2 Concerning Christ, the coming Messiah, Scripture says His “goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). The preincarnate Christ is the “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6). “Christ was indeed glorified, even with the glory which He had with the Father from all eternity,” writes Ellen White.3 No wonder Christ knew He was “equal with God” (Phil. 2:6). Christ “was equal with God, infinite and omnipotent,” notes Ellen White, and “Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity,” “a distinct person.”4 “In speaking of His pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God.”5 Fellowship means a relationship with each other. Jesus declared to Martha at the death of Lazarus: “I am the resurrection and the life. . . . Whoever . . . believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25). Ellen White comments: “In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. ‘He that hath the Son hath life.’ 1 John 5:12, KJV. The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.”6 When on earth, Christ was confronted by Pharisees about His age. He said to them: “I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). Commenting on this claim, Ellen White writes: “Silence fell on the vast assembly. The name of God, given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence, had been claimed as His own by the Galilean Rabbi. He had announced Himself to be the self-existent One, He who had been promised to Israel, ‘whose goings forth have been of old, from the days of eternity.’ ”7 “Self-existent” means having original life, underived from anyone else.


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What about the Holy Spirit? “We need to realize that the Holy Spirit . . . is as much a person as God is a person.”8 The Holy Spirit is “the Third Person of the Godhead,”9 and “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, [are] the three holy dignitaries of heaven.”10 “The eternal heavenly dignitaries—God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit.”11 CHRIST SPEAKS WITH AUTHORITY

Christ was soon to leave His disciples. To comfort them, He said: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him [personal pronoun] nor knows him. You know him [personal pronoun], for he [personal pronoun] dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:16-18, ESV).12 Two chapters later Christ said, “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him [personal pronoun] to you” (John 16:7, ESV). Then Christ names some of the Holy Spirit’s responsibilities (verses 8-11). Christ continued: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he [personal pronoun] will guide you into all the truth” (verses 12, 13, ESV). In these two chapters Christ speaks of two Persons—Christ and the Spirit of truth. The Holy Spirit is Christ’s “representative” and “successor” on earth.13 HOLY SPIRIT’S FURTHER FUNCTIONS

It takes a Divine Person to give human birth to Christ (Matt. 1:20), to author the Old Testament (Acts 28:25-27) and the New Testament (1 Peter 1:20, 21; cf. 1 Thess. 2:13). It takes a Divine Person to be an administrator of the church in the book of Acts: giving guidance (Acts 8:29; 10:19, 20; 11:12, 28; 13:2-4; 16:6, 7; 20:23, 28); filling believers (Acts 4:8, 31; 8:17; 9:17; 10:44, 45; 11:15, 24; 13:9, 52; 19:6); giving languages (Acts 2:4), teaching (John 14:26), bringing to remembrance Christ’s words (John 14:26), comforting (Acts 9:31), being a witness (Acts 5:32). He intercedes (Rom. 8:26); can be grieved (Eph. 4:30); sanctifies (1 Peter 1:2; cf. John 17:17); produces fruit in Christians—love, with all of its

Image: Johny Goerend

qualities (Gal. 5:22, 23); gifts church members for different ministries in the church (1 Cor. 12:4-11); and brings the risen Christ to live in His followers (John 17:26; Gal. 2:20, 4:19; Eph. 3:17; Phil. 2:13; Col. 1:27). At the close of the Jerusalem Council the leaders recognized the Holy Spirit as a person, saying, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things” (Acts 15:28). The Holy Spirit says: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God [cf. John 3:16], and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor. 13:14). “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: The Father, the Word [John calls Christ the Word (John 1:1, 14)], and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one” (1 John 5:7). In Scripture each person in the Trinity is called God. The Father calls Christ God (Heb. 1:3, 8), Christ calls the Father God (John 8:42). Peter remonstrated with Ananias: “You have lied to the Holy Spirit” (Acts 5:3, NIV),14 and in so doing, “you have not lied just to human beings but to God” (verse 4, NIV). So inspired writings define God as three persons in the Godhead, a communion of love, with life original, self-existent, unborrowed, and underived. Ellen G. White, Counsels on Health (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1923), p. 222. Compare here more in Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1890), p. 36. 3 Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), pp. 38, 39. 4 Ellen G. White, Evangelism (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1946), p. 615; Ellen G. White, in Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Apr. 5, 1906. 5 Ellen G. White, in Signs of the Times, Aug. 29, 1900. 6 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), p. 530. 7 Ibid., pp. 469, 470. (Italics supplied.) 8 Ellen G. White manuscript 66, 1899, in Evangelism, p. 616. 9 E. G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 671.  10 See Ellen White’s understanding of Matthew 28:19 in Ellen G. White manuscript 92, 1901. In The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Ellen G. White Comments (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1956), vol. 5, p. 1110. 11 Ellen G. White manuscript 145, 1901, in Evangelism, p. 616. 12 Bible texts credited to ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 13 Ellen G. White, Lift Him Up (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1988), p. 179. 14 Bible texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. 1 2

Norman Gulley, Ph.D., professor emeritus, Southern Adventist University, has served as pastor, missionary, and teacher and lives with his wife in Collegedale, Tennessee, United States.

Read more about What We Believe at March 2018


Discovering the Spirit of Prophecy

Compilations and Condensations Making Ellen White’s writings more accessible


llen White was one of the most prolific writers of all time. She left an extremely large and valuable mine of books, articles, letters, and unpublished materials. At the time of her death in 1915, only 24 books from her pen were in print, and two more were almost ready for publication. Over the years, many new compilations and, more recently, some condensed books and editions in today’s language have been published. Some have questioned the validity and reliability of such new publications. For them, only the books published during her own lifetime are of real value and should be taken seriously. So it is crucial for us to understand the nature and purpose of those new publications.


Two main reasons have led the trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate to prepare new compilations from her writings. The first was Ellen White’s own desire and provision for them to be produced. In her last will and testament (1912) she granted the trustees of her estate the responsibility for “the printing of compilations from my manuscripts.”1 Ellen White’s writings were not only to be kept safely in the files of her estate, but also to continue to speak to the people “as long as time shall last.”2 In her own words: “The matter that has been brought before the people must be brought before them over and over again. The articles that are printed in our papers are soon forgotten by the readers. They must be brought together, reprinted in book form, and placed before believers and unbelievers.”3


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The same principle applied to her unpublished writings. She explained, “I have much written in the diary I have kept in all my journeys that should come before the people if essential, even if I did not write another line. I want that which is deemed worthy to appear, for the Lord has given me much light that I want the people to have.”4 The second reason for the preparation of new compilations is the emerging needs and challenges of the church. One could argue that all believers should study the writings of Ellen White for themselves; that’s the ideal. But from a practical perspective, not everyone has the time and expertise to master her huge body of written work. Compilations can help readers find in one single volume the main quotations dealing with a given topic. If readers want to double-check the original content from which the quote was taken, they can do so by accessing the Web site Some readers may wonder if personal letters should ever be included in those compilations. We should remember that many books of the New Testament are open letters (or epistles) to specific churches, even personal letters. If no letters can be used in a compilation from inspired writers, then much of the New Testament would need to be discarded as well, which is completely unthinkable. CONDENSATIONS AND EXTRACTS

The most significant condensations of Ellen White’s standard books are of the five volumes of the Conflict of the Ages Series. The book Patriarchs and Prophets was condensed and published as From Eternity Past (1983); Prophets and Kings, as From Splendor to Shadow (1984); The Desire of Ages, as From Heaven With Love (1984); The

Acts of the Apostles, as From Trials to Triumph (1984); and The Great Controversy, as From Here to Forever (1982). The content of some smaller missionary books, published for mass distribution, was extracted from larger books by Ellen White. For instance, The Great Hope (2012) was taken from The Great Controversy; and Story of Hope (2016), from The Story of Redemption. In both cases, the attention of the reader is called to the original standard book. These condensations and extracts should never be regarded as replacing the standard books from which their content is derived. They are intended (1) to provide helpful glimpses of the basic content of those books at a more affordable price, and (2) to reach a busy generation that would never buy and/or read the original book. As a rationale, one could say that it is far better for someone to read at least excerpts of a given book than not to read it at all. TODAY’S LANGUAGE

Ellen White’s writings are now more than 100 years old, and reflect the literary style of that time. Some words she used have changed meaning over time. For example, she used the word “intercourse” with the notion of socializing, instead of intimacy,5 and the word “nicest” with the sense of delicate instead of kindness.6 So how do we make some of her most popular writings understandable for new generations unfamiliar with that language? One attempt was the issuing of Steps to Christ in a simpler everyday language, published as Steps to Jesus (1981). Other books have been updated with modern English. For example, the book Education was adapted

Image: Stefan Schweihofer

as True Education (2000); The Ministry of Healing, as The Ministry of Health and Healing (2004); and the above-mentioned condensed versions of the Conflict of the Ages Series, as Beginning of the End (2007), Royalty and Ruin (2008), Humble Hero (2009), Unlikely Leaders (2010), and Love Under Fire (2011). All those publications—compilations, condensations and extracts, and today’s language editions—are intended to make the writings of Ellen White more accessible and understandable to our contemporary world. Whenever the language is updated, it is carefully reviewed by competent readers to ensure that the thought remains the same as in the original. This process is carried out under the assumption that the Holy Spirit gave to prophets the divine message that they expressed in their own human language.7 As already pointed out, none of these adaptations are intended to replace the original books, and they carry new titles to further distinguish them. Published in Herbert E. Douglass, Messenger of the Lord: The Prophetic Ministry of Ellen G. White (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1998), p. 571. For a more detailed discussion of compilations from Ellen White’s writings, see pp. 528-533. 2 Ellen G. White, Selected Messages (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958, 1980), book 1, p. 55. 3 Ellen G. White, Counsels to Writers and Editors (Nashville: Southern Pub. Assn., 1946), pp. 145, 146. 4 E. G. White, Selected Messages, book 3, p. 32. 5 E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 2, p. 123. 6 Ellen G. White, Fundamentals of Christian Education (Nashville: Southern Pub. Assn., 1923), p. 15. 7 See E. G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 15-23. 1

Alberto R. Timm, Ph.D., is an associate director of the Ellen G. White Estate at the Seventh-day Adventist world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States. March 2018


Bible Questions Answered

One Tree, Two Branches Q A

What is the meaning of the statement “And so all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26)? The phrase has been interpreted in different ways. For some, the reference is to the whole nation of Israel; or the nation as a whole but not each individual; or to all the Jews who are alive in the land of Israel when Christ returns. As usual, we need to pay close attention to the context of the passage, and to Paul’s teaching about the faithful Israel. 1. HARDENING OF ISRAEL

In discussing how people are saved, Paul uses the image of an olive tree to represent the people of God in the Old Testament. With the coming of the Messiah, some of the natural branches, some Jews, had been broken off; while some of the wild branches, the Gentiles, had been grafted in (Rom. 11:17-21). In verse 25 Paul explains the broken-off branches as the hardening of some Jews. The other Jews constitute the faithful remnant who found in Jesus the Messiah (verses 5, 6). The hardening is not final, and shows that God is still working with them; He has not rejected them (verses 1, 2). In this passage the mystery Paul discusses is not only the mystery of the hardening of some Jews, but the fact that during their hardening the mission to the Gentiles is taking place: “Until [while] the full number of the Gentiles has come in” (verse 25, NIV). The idea is not that the hardening occurs “until,” but that it happens while the Gentiles are being evangelized. The fullness of the Gentiles means that God is working to save as many of them as possible. In other words, God is using the hardening of some Jews as an occasion to make Gen-


March 2018

tiles part of the faithful Israel (the olive tree). Perhaps by witnessing what God is doing among the Gentiles, unbelieving Jews will not persist in unbelief but will be regrafted by the power of God (verse 23). 2. “AND THUS ALL ISRAEL”

Who is Israel in this passage? Some have argued that in Romans Paul uses the term to refer specifically to ethnic Israel. But this is clearly not the case. In Romans 9:6 he states: “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (NIV). To be an Israelite is more than to possess an ethnic identity; it is rather to have the faith of Abraham, “the father of all who believe” (Rom. 4:11, NIV). This concept is central in Paul’s understanding of justification by faith: “Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you’ ” (Gal. 3:7, 8, NIV). God’s saving grace through faith in the Messiah, announced to Abraham, is now universally available to the Gentiles who also put their faith in Christ, the Messiah. Based on the context, the word “thus,” or “in this way” (houtōs), indicates that God will save “all Israel” by preserving a faithful remnant, by seeking to soften those who are hardened, and by grafting in the Gentiles through the proclamation of the gospel. Therefore, the phrase refers to the true Israel of God who have incorporated Gentile believers into the faith of Abraham (Gal. 6:16).

Angel Manuel Rodríguez lives in Texas, United States, after a career serving the church at various levels.

Health & Wellness

Does Lifestyle Really Matter? Isn’t taking medication for high blood pressure enough? You have covered various aspects of the topic of high blood pressure (hypertension). It seems that treatment is effective and that the complications of hypertension are decreasing. I am 40 years old and take my blood pressure tablets regularly. Do I really need lifestyle changes?


ypertension (high blood pressure), or the “silent killer,” has been the topic of a number of questions we’ve received over the past 15 years. This is because it’s a common problem. In 2015 it was estimated that: • More than 1.3 billion people worldwide had high-normal/early hypertension with a blood pressure (BP) reading of 130-139/85-89 millimeters of mercury pressure. • Between 1975 and 2015 average BP readings had stayed about the same for men and slightly decreased for women.1 These estimates are concerning, as there has been a strong emphasis on awareness and also treatment of hypertension. Despite health education and awareness efforts globally, only 57 percent of people with hypertension know their condition, and only 40.6 percent receive antihypertensive drug treatment, with 13.2 percent optimally controlled. This disparity between the number of hypertensive patients, their access to treatment, and BP control is greatest in middle- and low-income countries.2 These figures are alarming and deserve considered, intentional action. Recently the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology have lowered the definition of high blood pressure to allow for earlier intervention. The greatest impact expected is in younger people under the age of 45. The implication, or warning light, for not only the United States but for blood-pressure management around the world is that we need to be lowering blood pressure, with the main emphasis on nondrug approaches.

We carefully follow peer-reviewed health science literature. There has recently been a notable increase in articles, reviews, and recommendations related to the management of hypertension. The main message has been the key role of lifestyle approaches and interventions. These include: • weight loss and maintenance of ideal weight/body mass index • Daily exercise • cessation of smoking/tobacco use • avoidance of alcohol • diet rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, and unsaturated fats • avoidance of red meat, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates (cakes, sugar-containing beverages, and sweets) • reduced sodium (salt) intake Medications are needed by many for BP control. Lifestyle modifications are essential for all in the control and even reversal of high blood pressure. The word “reversal” is used with caution because once the lifestyle measures help achieve the desired goal, they need to be maintained for life. Not surprisingly, all the above lifestyle interventions are intrinsic to the Adventist health message! This information can help us to be a positive influence in our communities as we actively make the difference to health and wellness through screening programs, and identify risk factors such as hypertension. Lifestyle matters! We can identify safe walking routes, start exercise clubs, teach healthful nutrition, share hope, and encourage wholeness even though we are broken. This can be true comprehensive health ministry that extends the healing ministry of Jesus.

1 2

Peter N. Landless, a board-certified nuclear cardiologist, is director of Adventist Health Ministries at the General Conference. Zeno L. Charles-Marcel, a board-certified internist, is an associate director of Adventist Health Ministries at the General Conference. March 2018


God’s Press H “May I Tell You a Story?” BY DICK DUERKSEN


March 2018

ernán operates a small printing press in his Quito, Ecuador, home. Though he prints materials for many local businesses, his favorite work is printing evangelistic materials for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Whenever possible, he slips away from the office to give Bible studies or to speak in lay evangelistic meetings. When the Ecuador Union was invited to distribute literature and hold evangelistic meetings in Cuba, Hernán quickly volunteered to be part of the team. Hernán had always dreamed of being a missionary, and now he was being given a chance to live his dream. For several months he took on extra jobs and worked late nights to raise the money for the trip expenses. Eager to do his very best in Cuba, he practiced his Bible presentations again and again while working at his press. On the day of departure Hernán and his family knelt together beside their press and prayed a very specific prayer. “Dear God, please bless Papa Hernán as he goes on Your mission to Cuba. May all his work there help people fall in love with Jesus. Amen.” Hernán spent the whole flight from Quito to Havana reviewing his notes and dreaming about the new friends he would be making in the meetings.

“No more presswork,” he smiled to himself. “This week will all be evangelism for Jesus.” Hernán spent the first couple days in Cuba preparing the meeting room and assembling the materials they would be distributing around the city. Rather than visit Old Havana and the old Spanish fort, Hernán met with local members and prayed for success in their work. “Hernán!” Hernán looked up from his breakfast to see who was calling his name. “Hernán, I am so glad that you came along with the team from Ecuador.” The Cuban Mission president, dressed in a nice gray suit with a bright-green tie, was walking over to Hernán’s table, both arms lifted high in greeting. “I am so glad you are here. We need your expertise at the mission office.” “How can I help you?” Hernán asked. “We have a terrible problem. I just learned that you are a printer and that you know how to fix presses! Well, we need you. Our printing press is a very old one that has worked OK for many years. However, today it refuses to work. But we must have it working right now to finish printing the Voice of Prophecy Bible studies you and the evangelistic team

will be using this month. I am so glad that God sent you to Cuba to help us!” Hernán stood very slowly, his mind in a terrible turmoil. “I will see what I can do,” he smiled. But his mind frowned, I came to Cuba to do evangelism, not to repair a press! Hernán’s body shuddered as he told me the story, remembering the frustration, stress, and hope of that day in Cuba. “God had kept their old press machine working for more than 35 years, but now it would not move paper through the rollers. When we got to the pressroom, the teenage workers cheered, and asked me for a miracle.” Hernán, the visiting printer from Ecuador, tried every solution he could imagine, then gave up—almost. “Maybe if we take it completely apart,” he suggested, “we might see how to fix it.” The trustworthy old press was soon an iron skeleton, its innards strewn across the room like a printer’s junkyard. Hernán and his four teenage assistants stood among the parts, sweating bare-chested in the oppressive heat and humidity. “A small lever is missing,” Hernán told the young men, “so the press cannot feed the paper! The part is not here, and I don’t know how to make a duplicate!” That’s when the mission president walked back into the room and was immediately overwhelmed by the sight. “Oh, no! The press is destroyed! We must print Voice of Prophecy Bible lessons and Sabbath School lessons for all of Cuba. Now, instead of fixing it, you have destroyed our press!” Hernán shuddered again, reliving the worst moment of his life. “I am trying to fix it.” Hernán’s explanation brought much waving and shouting from the church leader. “Please! Put it back together right now!” Hernán calmly explained about the missing lever, and said that he thought the only thing left to do was to pray. “We’ll pray, then I will start the reassembling.”

“Everyone stood there in the room, shocked,” Hernán told me. “Then they all turned and left the printshop! Everyone! They all ran away when I said we ought to pray! They left me alone with the broken press.” Hernán knelt and prayed, alone, press parts strewn across the floor. Hope his only friend. “Eternities later,” Hernán remembers, “all of the people paraded back into the room. But this time their faces were washed and their hair combed, and each wore a clean shirt. The president looked at me and said, ‘OK. Now we’re ready to pray. Hernán, you start.’” But Hernán, still bare-chested and sweaty, couldn’t pray. “I wanted to tell them how alone I had felt when they left the room, how afraid I was that maybe I really had destroyed their press! Now I was too choked up to say anything, even to God.” The president and the others each prayed earnestly. After the prayers were finished, Hernán stood, opened his eyes, and looked down at the floor. There, right between his feet, where a few minutes ago there had been nothing but a dirty cement floor, lay the missing part! That evening, after Hernán and the teenage workers had reassembled and oiled the machine, everyone came to see if the press might work again. No one breathed as Hernán guided a blank page through the “renewed” press. It came out looking awful. “The first one is always bad,” Hernán encouraged as he twisted dials, adjusted rollers, and silently prayed to the heavenly Printer. “Let’s see what it does now.” As God’s press produced a perfect Voice of Prophecy Bible lesson, the room filled with a celebration of thanksgiving and praise!

Publisher The Adventist World, an international periodical of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The General Conference, Northern Asia-Pacific Division of Seventhday Adventists®, is the publisher. Executive Editor/Director of Adventist Review Ministries Bill Knott International Publishing Manager Chun, Pyung Duk Adventist World Coordinating Committee Si Young Kim, chair; Yukata Inada; German Lust; Chun, Pyung Duk; Han, Suk Hee; Lyu, Dong Jin Associate Editors/Directors, Adventist Review Ministries Lael Caesar, Gerald Klingbeil, Greg Scott Editors based in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA Sandra Blackmer, Stephen Chavez, Costin Jordache, Wilona Karimabadi Editors based in Seoul, Korea Chun, Pyung Duk; Park, Jae Man; Kim, Hyo-Jun Operations Manager Merle Poirier Editors-at-Large/Advisors Mark A. Finley, John M. Fowler, E. Edward Zinke Financial Manager Kimberly Brown Management Board Si Young Kim, chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Chun, Pyung Duk; Karnik Doukmetzian; Han, Suk Hee; Yutaka Inada; German Lust; Ray Wahlen; Ex-officio: Juan Prestol-Puesán; G. T. Ng; Ted N. C. Wilson Art Direction and Design Types & Symbols To Writers: We welcome unsolicited manuscripts. Address all editorial correspondence to 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600, U.S.A. Editorial office fax number: (301) 680-6638 E-mail: Web site: Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible references are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission. Unless otherwise noted, all prominent photos are © Thinkstock 2017. Adventist World is published monthly and printed simultaneously in Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States. Vol. 14, No. 3

Dick Duerksen, a pastor and storyteller living in Portland, Oregon, United States, is known around the world as “an itinerant pollinator of grace.” March 2018


Growing Faith

Fun-filled pages for younger ages


in the South Pacific


God, I can’t take this much longer,” gasped Timmi-Ti. “If You are going to save me, it must be soon!” It had all begun on Timmi-Ti’s home island, Bora Bora, located in the South Seas. Timmi-Ti’s boat had been loaded with watermelons, bananas, and papayas. The marketplace was on another island about a day’s boat ride away. But while still some distance away from the island, both motors—the regular one and a spare—had stopped working. With no oars onboard, Timmi-Ti would have to find another method of rescue. Suddenly he looked up and saw a plane! He furiously waved a shirt at the aircraft, but it flew by. By sunset that evening, Timmi-Ti was still adrift. He had a handful of small items on board: a tiny pair of fingernail scissors, a piece of twine, a long pole, a stubby


March 2018

pencil, and a few sheets of paper. Day after day passed with no sign of rescue. After the fruit was gone, Timmi-Ti used the scissors, pole, and twine to catch an occasional fish. Days turned into weeks, and Timmi-Ti kept praying to be rescued. Thankfully, he’d memorized many Bible verses, and he regularly recited them. By now his skin was parched from the sun, his eyes were red, and his lips were cracked and bleeding. Sometimes sharks circled the boat, just waiting for the worst to happen to Timmi-Ti. Timmi-Ti was barely alive. That’s when he uttered his most desperate prayer to God. Timmi-Ti had been lost more than four months. Now, on day 154 of his nightmarish adventure, in the early-morning mist he saw a mountain rising out of the sea. Could it be possible? Was land in sight? Suddenly he felt the current carrying him in the other

direction! Quickly he tied one end of his shirt to the boat, then jumped into the water. He would swim to shore and pull the boat along in his teeth! As he got closer to shore, Timmi-Ti saw people! At last he stumbled onto the shore and collapsed. People gathered around him and rushed the exhausted man to a hospital. Timmi-Ti had drifted 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) to American Samoa. Back home, a funeral had been held for him. Imagine the shock when this man of God strolled into his village back on Bora Bora! What did he say to them? “If I hadn’t memorized so many verses from the Bible, I would never have been able to hold on.”

Special thanks to Dorothy Aitken, whose longer story in the July 7, 1970, issue of Guide served as the basis for this story.

Illustration: Xuan Le

noticeboard Weddings

survived by his wife (Alstonville); children Colin (Sydney) and Suzanne (London); two grandchildren; and one greatgrandchild. John was baptised in 1951 and served as a deacon for 50 continuous years in several churches. He was known for his Christian zeal, happy disposition and sense of humour. He was also a unique musician of several instruments, including the gum leaf. John served his Lord well through generous giving to missions and ministries, as well as having a ready supply of literature for distribution. Peter Howard, Beth McMurtry

Hipwell-manks. Daniel Robert

Hipwell, son of Colin and Heather Hipwell (Kyabram, Vic), and Claire Michelle Manks, daughter of Malcolm and Virginia Manks (Woodleigh), were married on 2.2.18 at Woodleigh Vale farm. Stephen Kane


Hughes, son of David and Stacey Hughes (Kingaroy, Qld), and Emma Jane Ostrofski, daughter of David and Aileen Ostrofski, were married on 15.10.17 at The Grove, Bundaberg. Stephen Kane


DUNNE, James Paul, born 10.7.1956; died 20.1.18 in Box Hill Hospital, Vic. He was predeceased on 2.1.18 by his brother Evan. Paul is survived by his former wife Carolyn; children Carlie, Tyson and

Chestnut, John William Gordon, born 4.1.1925 in Lismore, NSW; died 3.12.17 in Alstonville. On 21.3.1951 he married Paula. He is

Jordan; grandchildren Ava and Lucca; his twin sister Anne Martin and his brother Peter. Paul will be sadly missed by his family and friends. He died in the hope of Christ’s soon return. Ian Howie, Moe Stiles

of Prophecy writings have been passed down to his descendants as a memorial of his love for God and his firm belief in the soon return of Jesus. Mel Lemke, Martin Thomson

WALLIS, Arthur Ernest Haydn, born 22.8.1928 in Footscray, Vic; died 9.6.17 in Cooranbong, NSW. He was married to Mary Wallis, who predeceased him in 1988. He is survived by his children Sandy and Haydn Wallis (Mernda) and Leonie and Wayne Thomson (Cooranbong, NSW); grandchildren Stephanie and Matthew Wallis, Cameron and Martin Thomson; and greatgrandchild Aria Thomson. Arthur served as a deacon at Preston church (Vic) for many years. His strong hands and generous heart were used to bless others. His well-marked Bibles and Spirit

Finally The giant in front of you is never bigger than the God inside of you. Next issue: Adventist RECORD, March 17

Note: Neither the editor, Adventist Media, nor the Seventh-day Adventist Church is responsible for the quality of goods or services advertised. Publication does not indicate endorsement of a product or service. Classified advertisements in Adventist Record are available to Seventh-day Adventist members, churches and institutions only. All advertisements, appreciation, anniversary, wedding and obituary notices may be submitted via <> or online at <>.












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Adventist World - March 2018  

Longing for God | Are you really a Seven-day Adventist? | Does lifestyle really matter?

Adventist World - March 2018  

Longing for God | Are you really a Seven-day Adventist? | Does lifestyle really matter?