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The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

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The

Radical

Plan AN N UA L COUNCIL R E PO R T S E E PA G E 3

ISSN 255003/09614


D ec e m b e r 2017

C O V E R

The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

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D ec e mb e r 201 7

S T O R Y

Radical Commitment

By John Bradshaw

The

Radical

Plan

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F U N D A M E N T A L

Christ’s incarnation was so far-reaching that we’re still talking about it.

ANNUAL COUNCIL REPOR T

B E L I E F S

Our World: Between Past and Future

By Ronny Nalin

The planet began with perfection; we can look forward to perfection again.

16 Finding Our Way Home D E V O T I O N A L

S E E PA G E 3

10 Never Give Up the Truth W O R L D

V I S T A

By Ted N. C. Wilson

Knowing the truth means living it.

13 God With Us S P I R I T

O F

22 Creating Space A D V E N T I S T

By Ellen G. White

We are not alone.

L I F E

P R O P H E C Y

By Shawna Vyhmeister

When the directions seem muddled, look for the landmarks.

By Jennifer Sigler and Micheal Goetz

What happens when young people find something to do in church?

24 Escape on the Rooftop A D V E N T I S T

H E R I T A G E

By Michael W. Campbell

Maybe Clarence Crisler isn’t a well-known name. But his service is no less remarkable.

D E PA RT M E N T S 3 W O R

L D

R E P O R T

12 W O R L D H E A L T A Topic Revisited

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B I 26 

B L E Q U E S T I O N S A N S W E R E D

“This Is How I Write”

27 B I B L E S T U D Y Natural Disasters, the Bible, and God’s Love 28

I D E A

E X C H A N G E

www.adventistworld.org Available in 10 languages online

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C O V E R

P H O T O :

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A N N I K A / T H I N K S T O C K


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ANNUAL COUNCIL REPORT Marcos Paseggi, Adventist World

Annual Council Focuses

on World Mission

W O R L D

Presentations emphasize building bridges of understanding

A D V E N T I S T

he public relations strategists considered the announcement a missed opportunity. All the inherent potential in a story certain to make a major cultural impact was squandered by a last-minute decision to leak the news to a small group of socially insignificant laborers with no training in media relations. Further, the announcement happened in the middle of the night, when the news cycle had quieted for the day, and the usual coverage in the main outlets couldn’t be assured. Even the large choral group that had been assembled to celebrate the announcement seems to have missed the moment for maximal impact, oddly choosing instead to present their musical celebration to a tiny audience in an obscure bit of rolling farmland. The couple themselves, while having some publicity potential, didn’t help their cause by their relative silence at a moment when clear, articulate spokespersons were needed. It was even said of the mother that instead of seizing on the public interest in the story, she “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” By all accounts, it took some years for her to realize just how big the story was. And yet, it is the story that the world can never forget—the story that above all others dominates the consciousness of this planet each December and, in fact, all through the year. While little about the narrative of Jesus’ birth found in the Gospels conforms to the playbook of the media elite, it has shown enormous “staying power,” engaging millions—hundreds of millions—of people year after year, century after century, with its timeless story of hope and promise. It is the counterpoise of what seem opposites: omnipotence hidden in fragility; riches disguised in the garments of poverty; change arriving in the person of a baby. And yes, you too will tell the story once again this year—to a child, a parent, a niece or grandson, for you also find it completely unavoidable. It is the event from which we date all our realities, the decisive hinge on which the gate of history swings. “God with us” is one of the oldest stories on this planet, and yet, amazingly, the story seems forever new. Relive the story—and the grace—once again this year.

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he 2017 Annual Council—an annual business meeting of around 450 Seventh-day Adventist invitees and members of the General Conference Executive Committee from around the world—convened at A number of Mission to the Cities resources the denomination’s were handed out to committee members. headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, on October 5, 2017. The fall session, during which department reports are shared, and documents, plans, and policies are voted, opened with the Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Conference, an annual event that informs, trains, and empowers leaders on a specific topic. The 2017 conference focused on the joys and challenges of global mission, especially as the church moves to share God’s message with various people groups. “Our goal is to rekindle the original vision of the early Christian church for mission,” said Office of Adventist Mission director Gary Krause. “In a sense, there is nothing new, because mission is essential for our movement.” Krause explained that the challenge is how to adapt the timeless truths of the Bible to the great diversity of people groups around the world. “Our goal is to share the good news in a way that is meaningful and attractive to people who are very different from us,” he said. Global Mission Centers

Part of the day was devoted to sharing the contributions of Global Mission Centers to the goals of Adventist Mission. Global Mission Centers were created by the world church to “help Adventists to know how to build bridges of understanding and friendship with people from major world religions and philosophies,” according to the centers’ Web sites. There are six centers, engaged in finding avenues of understanding within urban populations for people of East Asian religions, South Asian religions, Adventist-Jewish relations, Adventist-Muslim relations, and Continued on next page

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ANNUAL COUNCIL REPORT secular people. Each one shared a presentation on its goals, plans, and resources. The World’s Major Religions

Mission centers directors emphasized that every major religious group is in itself unique, including elements of not only religion but also of culture and worldview. The Hindu center works to build bridges between Adventist believers and Hindus, assisting people interested in relating to Hindus with training and resources. With the increase of Muslim populations in the West, the Global Center for Adventist-Muslims Relations provides advice, training, and resources to Adventists, while encouraging genuine and meaningful personal interactions. It also advises members how to build friendship relationships with respect, and how to make sincere efforts to meet Muslims where they are. In the case of Buddhists, understanding their worldview is essential for meaningful relationships. Beneficial conversations begin with understanding the Buddhist mind-set, mission center leaders emphasized. On the other hand, interacting with Jewish believers involves a different set of assumptions, according to the World Jewish-Adventist Friendship Center. Presenters emphasized the “deep knowledge of Scriptures” that many Jewish people have, and those interactions should acknowledge their contribution to faith. To the Secular and Postmodern

The growing secular and postmodern population includes challenges of its own. “After Christians and Muslims, the largest ‘religious’ group in the world is precisely the 1.2 billion of nonreligious people,” shared Center for Secu-

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lar and Postmodern Studies director Kleber Gonçalves. “It is one of our biggest challenges: how to communicate with people who are just not interested in religion. It is a challenge not only in the West but everywhere.” A significant opportunity, said Gonçalves, is engaging young people within secular and postmodern environments. “We have learned that relationships are essential,” he emphasized. Gonçalves said that the church needs “young people connecting with others, trying to learn and speak the language of the city.” Young people with proper motivation are very enthusiastic, noted Gonçalves. Reaching Big Cities

Large urban concentrations, where more than half of the world population now lives, present a specific set of challenges for the gospel, said Global Mission Urban Center director Doug Venn. “There are 89,167 urban dwellers for every urban Adventist congregation,” he shared. The center’s goal, he said, is to find ways of engaging with that growing segment of the world population, which is expected to reach 70 percent by 2050. The center is involved in several initiatives to impact large urban centers with the hopeful message of Christ. I Want This City, for example, is a 13-part television series that follows Venn for nine months in Bangkok, Thailand, one of the most unreached cities in the world. While unsettling, the program discusses candidly some of the greatest challenges of contemporary mission in urban centers. The Balance Between Outpost and City Centers

The LEAD Conference concluded with additional presentations and a

Homer Trecartin, director of the collective Global Mission Centers, presents during the LEAD conference. M Y L O N

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panel discussion. Among the concluding presentations, David Trim, director of the Department of Archives, Statistics, and Research, shared insights from Ellen White’s writings on mission to the cities. Trim emphasized that White—a founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—had a tremendous burden for the cities, indicating even into her 80s that if God gave her strength, she would be in the cities. White also wrote in favor of outpost centers, rurally located mission centers. Trim shared that White envisioned the outpost centers—ideally located in close proximity to large cities—as a place for members involved in large city mission to regenerate and rest. Homer Trecartin, director of the church’s collective Global Mission Centers, also clarified this point. “If we’re going to finish this work, we can’t do it only from outpost centers,” he said. “We have to have dedicated Seventh-day Adventists living in the cities,” while at the same time finding ways for them to recover in a rural setting, concluded Trecartin. He sounded a hopeful note at the end of his remarks. “I have pleaded with people to take assignments in cities, and they have responded,” said Trecartin. n


God’s Methods Only

By Adventist World Staff

the Cities To Reach Church president issues impassioned plea to evangelize urban centers.

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“Christ’s laborers are still few in the large cities of the world,” said Wilson. “God is pleading with us to reach these massive secular fortresses with the life-giving message of the gospel.” Building on Jonah’s story, Wilson said that while many members have taken seriously God’s call to reach the cities, many have “sailed to Tarshish instead.” Tarshish is the city Jonah sailed to in order to run away from God’s call. “Have we given lip service and only superficial attention to the great task of reaching millions in the metropolitan centers of the world?” Wilson asked. “Have we truly challenged our members to reach out to others?”

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od’s longing desire is for His followers to go into all the cities to teach, preach, and heal in His name, said Seventh-day Adventist church president Ted N. C. Wilson. His remarks were part of his annual Sabbath address to the members of the world church’s Executive Committee during the worship service at the denomination’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States, on October 7, 2017. Based on the Bible story of the prophet Jonah, whom God called to evangelize the ancient city of Nineveh, Wilson called on every member to consider focusing every effort to reach the large urban centers of the world.

Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, shares the Annual Council sermon on Sabbath morning.

As we follow God’s command to reach the cities, we should avoid applying human ideas and adopt heavenly inspired methods, said Wilson. Those methods have been clearly stated, he said, in the written messages of church cofounder Ellen White, whom Seventhday Adventists believe to be inspired. Wilson explained that this practical approach strives to portray Christ’s character to others, and includes dozens of possibilities. Among others, he mentioned youth-driven community service initiatives, health clinics, vegetarian restaurants, integrated media and social media evangelism, counseling centers, and personal witnessing to family and friends. “These are the profound concepts from heaven [to work] the large metropolitan centers of the world,” Wilson said. Moving past theoretical definitions, however, Wilson invited several church leaders to share how they are applying these methods in cities around the world. Leaders who approached the podium to share what they or those under their leadership are doing included Teenie Finley, who together with her husband, Mark, developed a training center in the U.S. state of Virginia. In it they offer training to pastors and lay members, as well as activities designed to engage the community. Living Hope Center includes a church meeting space for 270 people, a media center, a school of evangelism, and a community health center. The center’s health programs—on natural cooking, stress management—and their archaeology, prophecy, and doctrinal seminars attract hundreds of people from surrounding communities. Continued on next page

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ANNUAL COUNCIL REPORT “It is our desire to follow Christ’s method and to give the rest of our lives in training others in Christ’s selfless ministry,” concluded Finley. Following Finley, Gary Krause, director of the Office of Adventist Mission, shared what centers of influence in urban areas are doing to address the unreached areas around the world. Other leaders shared ongoing community initiatives in populous cities such as Hanoi, Vietnam, and Cairo, Egypt, where the church has pledged to show Jesus’ love in practical ways.

to share a major TMI and evangelistic initiative planned for Tokyo and other large Japanese cities in 2018. McKey shared about past and ongoing TMI initiatives in Rwanda, Romania, Nepal, and the Philippines. In preparation for the 2018 TMI event in Japan, 48 Adventist Japanese pastors were invited to the Philippines to lead an evangelistic series. Their efforts resulted in 1,400 baptisms. Preparations are also in place for a similar outreach in India in 2019.

Every Member and Ministry Involved

Against these and other initiatives, Wilson reaffirmed that TMI calls for involvement in every area of church activity. “[We must] use everyone, women, men, young adults, including children, in reaching out to the people of the great cities,” he said, as he introduced Linda Koh, world church Children’s Ministries director, inviting her to share what children are doing to share God’s love in cities around the world. “How to reach millions of children in the cities [is the question],” said Koh before sharing some of the programs that are working to bring young children to Jesus, such as Vacation Bible Schools, health expos, sports days, music festivals, and others. Koh explained that success is achieved when children come to love and accept Jesus. “Many children come to us and tell us, ‘Jesus is now my friend forever,’ ” she said. A comprehensive health ministry is also vital for TMI, said Wilson. Adventists pastors and health professionals can work together. By way of example, he called on world church Health Ministries director Peter Landless to provide examples about how health initiatives are supporting the mission of the church in big cities.

Wilson emphasized that reaching the big cities is a “massive work,” one that cannot be accomplished only by paid pastors. “We need Total Member Involvement [TMI],” he said in a nod to a world church initiative that looks to get every member involved in mission. “TMI has energized laypeople in a marvelous way,” Wilson said. “In many [church regions] it has become a very motivating vision that has transformed churches into powerful soul winning agencies.” Adopting a more personal tone, Wilson then appealed to every leader and member to get on board. “I am personally asking that all fields . . . emphasize this amazing TMI method,” he said. “Let us revitalize our church members in every area of church mission.” According to Wilson, TMI is a process that includes Bible study and outreach, but also health and lifestyle reform, a wise use of financial means, well-ordered biblical families, and other life-enhancing changes. “All of this is possible as we lean on Christ for our every need,” he said as he invited TMI worldwide coordinator Duane McKey and his wife, Kathy,

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Children and Health Initiatives

“Comprehensive health ministry believes every member is a medical missionary,” Landless said before reporting on the success of initiatives such as mega- and small health expos, tobacco cessation and addiction recovery programs, fun walks and runs, and cooking schools. He highlighted the US$600 million in charity health care provided by church members around the world each year, and the 50 million health-related books distributed. “We can be part of this if we believe the [health] message, live the message, and teach the message,” Landless said before concluding, “From the heart transplant to the simple loaf of bread, there may be more religion than in many sermons.” A Final Appeal

At Wilson’s request, Global Mission Urban Center director Doug Venn appealed for members to get actively involved in sharing God’s message in the cities. “We need to be convicted and recommitted to reaching the cities,” said Venn, who called on church leaders to be “rebaptized,” together with him, “for the Mission to the Cities priority.” Venn also made a special appeal to tap the energy of young Adventist members. “We need to unleash the energy of young people so that they can use their creative abilities to bring Jesus to people living in cities.” Wilson closed his message by making yet another plea to give the evangelistic work in the cities the attention it deserves. “Please take the Mission to the Cities challenge seriously, and submit it to God in prayer for your planning in every city around the world,” he said. “The time to work our cities is now!” n


Above: David Trim, Adventist Church director of Archives, Statistics, and Research presents one of several Annual Council reports. Left: G. T. Ng, executive secretary of the General Conference, presents during the Secretariat Report. P H O T O S :

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By Adventist World Staff

Adventist Membership Grows, but Challenges Remain Report highlights milestones as well as historical challenges.

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eventh-day Adventist membership around the world is growing at an increased rate, said David Trim, director of the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research (ASTR), in the opening presentation of the church’s Secretariat’s report. Trim’s presentation, which highlighted statistical trends, announced that as of June 30, 2017, the Adventist Church had 20,343,814 baptized members around the world. He explained that the increase includes the fact that an auditing process, which attempts to account for members who left the church, has slowed after several years of steady implementation in most regions of the

world. Members’ mortality rates are also lower, he said. The membership auditing process, however, must go on, said Trim. “Knowing the real numbers helps us to be good stewards, and assists us in our strategic planning,” he said. Membership auditing “is a vital tool in pastoral ministry.” Trim also shared with Executive Committee members that member loss rate is quite high: 39 percent, or two out of each five new members. “Let me remind you that members do not usually leave because of theological differences, but because they go through a crisis in life or experience conflict in the church community,” he

said. “They might feel unmissed, uncared for, unimportant. After a few years they just slip through the cracks.” Despite losses, Trim said that total accessions are going up, as many places around the world are experiencing missional success. “A person is baptized into the Adventist Church every 23 seconds,” said Trim. “For the past two years baptisms have averaged more than 3,000 a day.” And the number of new churches is growing, one of the best indicators of steady growth. A great challenge remains, said Trim, in what is known as the 10/40 window, a geographical location comprising 69 nations in which most of the population is not Christian. “While around 40 percent of the world population lives in that region, fewer than 3 million Adventist members live there,” said Trim. “It means just 10 members per 10,000 inhabitants.” Trim closed by reminding delegates that counting is always a means, not an end in itself. “It helps us to know how we are doing, and to know where to go,” he said. “But if we use numbers to define ourselves, they will harm us.” Mission to the World

Adventist Mission director Gary Krause told those assembled that missionaries serving in regions other than their own number 814 adults, plus their families. Most travel from North America to serve in other church regions, he said. A plan to send dental and medical professionals around the world has 62 missionaries serving, plus another 31 preparing to do so. Under the umbrella of Adventist Mission the Institute of World Mission (IWM) provides cross-cultural training for missionaries serving overseas. IWM also offers a reentry trainContinued on next page

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ANNUAL COUNCIL REPORT ing for missionaries returning to their home countries. Adventist Volunteer Services, also part of Adventist Mission, has 1,200 intradivision volunteers, 411 of them from the North American Division and 270 from the South American Division—the two leading regions that have placed international volunteers. Global Mission pioneers, who serve and plant churches in isolated areas, often with no Adventist presence, total more than 2,000 in 130 countries, said Krause. Last year Adventist Mission allocated US$2.3 million to 687 church planting projects around the world. Krause said that they are tapping into the latest methods and technologies to serve people better. “Thanks to a new Global Mission Strategic Priority System, which maps the world areas with greater needs in terms of Adventist presence, we’ll be able to reward projects in cities and highpriority areas,” he said. Lessons From History

G. T. Ng, world church executive secretary, shared a presentation focused on several defections and crises throughout Adventist history. “There is no such thing as plain sailing,” said Ng in discussing crises such as the 1888 theological crisis and the Kellogg crisis in early twentieth century. “There are ups and downs.” Ng believes those past experiences inform the present, as they demonstrate how God’s guidance somehow outdid human disturbances and helped the church to move on even before each crisis subsided. “While the church is far from perfect, inspired counsel tells us that there will not be the coming out of another church,” Ng emphasized. “Mission must go on.” n

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By Adventist World and Adventist News Network

Annual Council Votes to Continue

Dialogue on Unity and Reconciliation Process

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ollowing nearly six hours of discussion and debate, a majority of members of the Executive Committee of the General Conference (GC) of Seventh-day Adventists voted during their Annual Council meeting to send a document entitled “Procedures for Reconciliation and Adherence in Church Governance: Phase II” back to the Unity Oversight Committee for further review. “The body has spoken,” said Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the Seventhday Adventist Church. “It will go back to the committee. By God’s grace we will find a way of bringing something together again.”

The Scope of the Second Document

The document outlines the second phase of a process of reconciliation voted during last year’s Annual Council that sought to initiate standard procedures for maintaining church unity in matters involving noncompliance. Areas addressed include fundamental beliefs, voted actions, or working policies of the church. Phase I was voted at the 2016 Annual Council. The Phase II document emphasizes the Executive Committee’s commitment to “preserve the governance and organizational structure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on all levels” in the context of “godly for-

bearance, Christian charity, and redemptive grace.” “I believe that the church has been forbearing,” said Wilson during the day’s discussion. “Our purpose is to redeem. But we have to respect what the world church votes.” Policy Within the Church

The Phase II document that was referred back to the originating committee also makes an unapologetic case for the need of church policy, anchoring its roots in biblical references, along with principles articulated by church cofounder Ellen G. White. “Throughout Scripture, organization has been a priority for God’s people,” says the document. “Church organization is also a clear biblical mandate and foundational biblical teaching for God’s end-time people.” While recognizing that “the policies of the church are not infallible,” the document explains that policies offer “the best judgment of a representative group of church leaders at a given time on how denominational entities live and work together.” The General Conference Working Policy is the result of votes taken by representatives from around the world during either a General Conference in session every five years, or during the annual meeting of the Executive Committee. The Phase II document is built on existing voted policies such as B 15 05,


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Left: Zuki Mxoli, a member of the General Conference Executive Committee, participates in the discussion on Monday afternoon. Right: Executive Committee members vote on one of several motions during the Phase II document discussion.

which clarifies “the authoritative voice” of General Conference Working Policy and B 15 10, which requires global adherence to Working Policy. The document recognizes that “noncompliant practices can be very complex expressions of cultural, ethnic, theological, communication, and economic values, beliefs, and practices,” and “differentiates noncompliant practices into three categories.” Category 1 deals with the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Category 2 deals with voted actions of the General Conference Executive Committee that are “designed for global implementation,” and that if not implemented “would adversely impact church unity.” Category 3 involves “policies, initiatives, and practices that are local in nature, and not in violation of actions voted in General Conference session or voted by the General Conference Executive Committee and would not impact church unity.” Background to the Document

An introductory report was given by Thomas Lemon, GC general vice president, and chair of the Unity in Mission Oversight Committee. Lemon

was charged with facilitating followup to the voted 2016 Unity in Mission document. “We took the process that you voted last year as a pastoral mandate, an opportunity to engage with people all around the world,” Lemon explained. Lemon said that while there are compliance issues, he saw “no sign of rebellion” in his interactions with the entities he engaged. “Unity and the commitment to the message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is as strong as I have ever seen.” Prior to discussion from the floor, G. T. Ng, GC executive secretary, explained that while the document addresses the matter of the ordination of women to ministry and “was triggered” by the issue, it is much broader in scope: “it is about governance.” Ng reminded members that “personal conscience is not on trial, but church governance is.” Comments From the Floor

The 14-page document was read aloud by Hensley Moorooven, GC associate secretary. Committee members and then addressed comments to the chair from various microphones on the floor.

Some urged the Committee to approve the document and move forward; others supported referring the document back to a committee for further refinement. Those supporting referral raised questions about the constitutionality of certain segments of the document. One thing was clear: despite strong convictions on both sides of the matter, no one suggested a split within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “I want to give this body some assurance,” said Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division. “We have absolutely no intention to split the Adventist Church and to start our own church in North America. We will not split from this church. We are committed to the work of this church, both in North America and around the world.” Votes and Actions

The vote resulted from a motion to refer the document to the General Conference Constitution and Bylaws Committee. The action was subsequently amended to refer the document back to the Unity Oversight Committee, and was voted on by secret ballot, carrying 184 to 114. n

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W O R L D

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t didn’t seem like much of a movement at the time. In fact, things seemed pretty bleak. The dark early-morning hours of October 23, 1844, were filled with choked sobs and bitter tears across the eastern portions of North America and beyond. Thousands of believers had eagerly anticipated seeing their Savior face to face; but He hadn’t come when they expected Him. Questions swirled in their minds. Had they been misled? Was the Bible reliable? Was their faith misplaced? What were they going to do now? Many turned their backs on the Bible, and all they had previously believed. Others ridiculed their former friends. Yet there was a remnant, a group who, though disappointed, did not give up on God. A remnant of dedicated believers—mostly young people—kept searching the Scriptures until strong, biblical answers for their questions were found. The prophecies had not failed. Under God’s guidance, they learned the truth of Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. They discovered that the seventh day was still God’s holy Sabbath day, and that when people die they remain in an unconscious state of “sleep” until the resurrection. They built their faith upon God’s holy Word, the Bible, and they were not disappointed. They became part of a long line of faithful believers through the centuries who have stood for the truth (see John 14:6). God continued to guide this fledgling movement, unfolding truths and shining a light on the path they were to follow. Thus began the Seventh-day Adventist movement: those who hold the faith of Jesus and proclaim the three angels’ messages (found in Revelation 14), who look forward with hope to the soon return of Jesus Christ.

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Never Give Up the By Ted N. C. Wilson The Church Is in God’s Hands

Today, however, some fear for the future of God’s church. They hear the age-old adage “Where is the promise of His coming?” Others wonder aloud if there is such a thing as a remnant church. Still others question the veracity of Scripture, questioning the truth of a literal, six-day creation, or dissecting the Bible in such a way as to remove its meaning. But as dark as things may appear, we can rest assured that we do not need to fear, because this church is in God’s hands: He will see it through. Notice these wonderful promises: “Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not pre-

Focus

pared for; not one opposing force has risen to counterwork His work, that He has not foreseen. All has taken place as He predicted. He has not left His church forsaken, but has traced in prophetic declarations what would occur, and that which His Spirit inspired the prophets to foretell has been brought about. All His purposes will be fulfilled. His law is linked with His throne, and no power of evil can destroy it. Truth is inspired and guarded by God; and it will triumph over all opposition.”1 Praise God for these precious promises! We can exclaim with the apostle Peter, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:16, KJV).


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Truth on mission Never Give Up

Never give up the precious truths God has given through His Word! In a world increasingly filled with chaos and catastrophe, what a tremendous blessing it is to know that we can rest with absolute confidence in the unchanging Word of God. Throughout the course of human history, and against relentless satanic attack, God has preserved His holy Word. The Bible contains an accurate account of our origins, a reliable record of our salvation, and a glorious glimpse at our soon-coming deliverance. As Seventh-day Adventists we accept the Bible as the foundation for all our beliefs and see in its pages our unique prophetic identity and mission. With the power of His truth, God

carved out of this chaotic world the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are to be God’s remnant people, to lift up Christ, His righteousness, His three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, and His soon coming. As God’s remnant people identified in Revelation 12:17 as those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ,” we have a unique message of hope and a mandate to proclaim God’s grace to the world. The Challenge of Distractions

It’s sometimes easy, however, to become distracted from the mission we have been given. At the Annual Council meeting of the General Conference Executive Committee in October, two young women living in the North American Division, Heidi Carpenter and Ranela Kaligithi, shared their hearts with the committee members during a morning worship service. Focusing on mission, Kaligithi explained, “I want to be so filled with God’s love in my heart that the natural result is to reach out to a lost and dying world. That’s why we’re here. . . . “[But] the issue we face as a church is distractions. We are so distracted that we lose out on God’s ideal for us. . . . “Jesus was focused in spite of the chaos around Him,” she continued. “There are times when, like Jesus, we must be especially laser-beam focused . . . to fulfill the commission that God has given to us. It is a matter of life and death for some.” Noting the effects of saving just one person, Kaligithi cited Ellen White: “The salvation of one soul is the salvation of many souls.”2 “This means,” Kaligithi continued, “that when just one shy church member decides to put it all on the line and gives themselves completely to God, winning just one soul, in effect

they have won many souls. To fulfill the commission that Jesus has given to each one of us, we need as many people focused in on this mission as possible.” Where Is Your Focus?

Where is your focus today? Is it on winning others to Christ? Or are there so many distractions in your life that it’s hard to focus on anything? As we are on the doorstep of a new year, now is a good time to rethink priorities, to rethink what is most important, not just now, but for eternity. And the good news is that we don’t have to do this alone. We are promised that when we, in all humility, lean completely on the everlasting arms of our Lord, He will work through us in a mighty way to give the final message of mercy to a dying world. Our success in finishing this work depends on our submissiveness to the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. It depends on humbling ourselves before our Creator and denying self so that Jesus can control us and overcome our sin. I invite you to “turn your eyes upon Jesus.” Keeping our eyes on Jesus, and claiming His promises, let’s each lay all distractions aside and move forward in our God-given mission to save souls for Him! He is coming soon! n 1 Ellen

G. White, The Acts of the Apostles (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), pp. 11, 12. Review and Herald, July 10, 1888.

2 In

Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You may follow him on Twitter: @pastortedwilson and on Facebook: @PastorTedWilson. December 2017 | Adventist World

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H E A L T H

Topic Revisited Dairy and physical health

By Peter N. Landless and Zeno L. Charles-Marcel I am upset to read the study published in the Adventist Review online1 suggesting that dairy products may protect against colorectal cancer. If it says “may,” why print the stuff? Why not suggest we should also drink alcohol?2

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hank you for the question and for your concerns. Although we did not write the report in question,3 you raise interesting and important points. One of the unwritten rules of our health columns is that Adventist World and Adventist Review (Ask the Doctors and House Call) are not the platforms for polemics. There is never an intent to upset readers or incite division. Our desire—and that of the publishers—is to share clearly, informatively, and factually the gracefilled and balanced health message entrusted to the Adventist Church. Epidemiologic health studies and clinical trials that study the health of populations and patients often raise as many questions as they answer. The use of the word “may” is typically used in the conclusions of many such studies, as outcomes are not totally predictable in every individual. Additionally, in the study described in the report, two outcomes are being studied: the effects of calcium on the risk of colon cancer, and the risk of dairy on rectal cancer. These findings have emerged from data analysis on 77,000 Seventh-day Adventists enrolled in the Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS2). Much of these individuals’ calcium came from nondairy sources, allowing a more robust comparison. The word “may” does not indicate “fluffy” science as much as it

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conveys a strong association. This brings us to the next issue: selective science. It is convenient, and even pleasing, to accept data that suit one’s viewpoint, persuasion, and conviction. We may be excited by the protective benefit of dairy in colorectal cancer, but grudgingly ignore the benefit of a total vegetarian diet in the reduction of the risk of prostate cancer. Integrity demands that we acknowledge the facts and carefully weigh the best applications. It is noteworthy that the population studied in AHS2 generally consumes less dairy than the average person in the United States. Our Working Policy for the world church recommends a balanced vegetarian diet for our members. This includes a total vegetarian diet with adequate supplementation of vitamin B12 (always), and vitamin D (where needed), and a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (includes the use of dairy products and eggs). The Adventist Health Ministries Department recommends that when dairy is part of the diet, it should be used sparingly—as a condiment, if you please—and that low-fat products take preference. We need to remember that we are a global church; many territories do not have economical vitamin B12-fortified dairy equivalents, nor easy access to supplementation. We therefore avoid vilifying dairy products, which provide such essential nutrients as vitamin B12 to our people living in such regions. To compare dairy products to alcohol (with tongue in cheek) and suggest drinking it would also be healthful is unfortunate. There are

indeed studies suggesting that there may be health benefits from alcohol; however, the consensus of all responsible bodies is overwhelmingly that alcohol is addictive, destructive, and, in fact, adds no advantage to an otherwise intentionally healthful lifestyle. The primary reason not to drink alcohol remains a spiritual constraint. Dairy is not in the same category. Our desire is that we will be balanced and consistent and that we will in kindness and courtesy share the blessings of healthful living entrusted to us with all those we serve. In our daily ministry we do well to remember Jesus’ words: “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them” (Matt. 15:10, 11, NIV). Lord, guide what goes into my mouth, and please—filter that which comes out! n 1 www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story5444-consumingdairy-may-protect-against-colorectal-cancers-study-says 2 This question has been abbreviated. 3 Yessenia Tantamango-Bartley, Synnove F. Knutsen, Karen Jaceldo-Siegl, Jing Fan, et al., Public Health Nutrition 20 no. 14 (October 2017): 2577-2586.

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. P H O T O :

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S P I R I T

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God With

nly by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, “with healing in his wings.” Malachi 4:2, KJV.

US

The Plan Revealed

For God so loved the world . . .

By Ellen G. White T H I N K S T O C K

The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of “the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.” Romans 16:25, RV.* It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16, KJV. Lucifer had said, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God . . . ; I will be like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:13, 14, KJV. But Christ, “being in the form of God, counted it not a thing to be grasped to be on an equality with God, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:6, 7, RV, margin. This was a voluntary sacrifice. Jesus might have remained at the Father’s side. He might have retained the glory of heaven, and the homage of the angels. But He chose to give back the scepter into the Father’s hands, and to step down from the throne of the universe, that He might bring light to the benighted, and life to the perishing.

O F

The Incarnate God

Nearly two thousand years ago, a voice of mysterious import was heard in heaven, from the throne of God, “Lo, I come.” “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. . . . Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” Hebrews 10:5-7, KJV. In these words is announced the fulfillment of the purpose that had been hidden from eternal ages. Christ was about to visit our world, and to become incarnate. He says, “A body hast thou prepared me.” Had He appeared with the glory that was His with the Father before the world was, we could not have endured the light of His presence. That we might behold it and not be destroyed, the manifestation of His glory was shrouded. His divinity was

veiled with humanity—the invisible glory in the visible human form. . . . So Christ was to come in “the body of our humiliation” (Philippians 3:21, RV), “in the likeness of men.” In the eyes of the world He possessed no beauty that they should desire Him; yet He was the incarnate God, the light of heaven and earth. His glory was veiled, His greatness and majesty were hidden, that He might draw near to sorrowful, tempted men. n * Texts credited to RV are from The Holy Bible, Revised Version, Oxford University Press, 1911.

Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. These excerpts were taken from her book The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), pp. 22, 23.

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B E L I E F S

Our

By Ronny Nalin

NUMBER 6

World Between Past &

Looking at the kosmos through the lens of the

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ife is an incredible gift. When considering the complex interactions that make it possible, we experience a deep sense of awe. Even the inorganic components of our system, from the soil where crops are grown to the air we breathe, are part of a beautiful balance that binds earth’s inhabitants to their planetary dwelling. Our world, however, is also the stage where painful events and distressing conditions are witnessed on a daily basis, including diseases, natural catastrophes, lack of resources, and harshness of climate in many regions of the earth. Looking at this puzzling conglomerate of good and evil, we ask: Is this the way God designed the world to be from the beginning? Did He plan for our lives to be in constant turmoil, between joy and suffering, ecstasy and grief? In the pages of the New Testament we find a coherent answer to this question, addressing the conditions of our world from a cosmic perspective. The World: A Noun With Many Facets

As is the case with many other words, the word “world” has distinct meanings and can be linked to various concepts. This is true also for its use in the New Testament, where in fact there are at least three different Greek words that are often translated as “world.” The first and most common is kosmos. Kosmos can refer to the entirety of the physical universe, as in Acts 17:24, where Paul describes “the God who made the world [kosmos] and everything in it.”1 More often, however, the emphasis is specifically on the terrestrial domain (e.g., Matt. 26:13; Rom. 10:18). The world is the stage where the predicament of the human condition unfolds: “Sin came into the world [kosmos] through one man” (Rom. 5:12). Therefore, in the New Testament kosmos is often used with a spiritual connotation, becoming a synonym for an approach to life antithetic to God’s principles. For example, James states that “whoever wishes to be a friend of the world [kosmos]

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becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4) and John declares that “the whole world [kosmos] lies under the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). When considering this negative connotation of the word kosmos, we are left in awe at the realization that God loved this kosmos to the point of giving His only Son to rescue it (John 3:16). The second Greek word translated as “world” is oikoumene. This noun is used to refer more to the inhabitants of earth rather than the planet itself. We find it in such verses as Acts 17:31, where Paul says that God “has fixed a day on which he will have the world [oikoumene] judged in righteousness,” or Luke 2:1, where it is reported that Emperor Augustus decreed “that all the world [oikoumene] should be registered.” Finally, the Greek word aion can also at times be translated as “world.” Aion more properly indicates a period of time, an age, the temporal background in which things can happen and be. Therefore, when Paul says, “Do not be conformed to this world [aion]” (Rom. 12:2), he refers to the present age, the economy of things in a world corrupted by sin. The World: Not the Same as in the Past When we consider what the New Testament says about the world we live in, we notice that discontinuity with the past is a key concept. Peter, for example, talking about the earth before the flood, says that “the world [kosmos] of that time was deluged with water and perished” (2 Peter 3:6). The expression “of that time” implies a contrast and distinctiveness between the present and the antediluvian world, which is now lost to us. However, an even more significant change that altered the conditions of the world after Creation was the entrance of sin (Rom. 5:12). God’s creation now suffers under the bondage of corruption (Rom. 8:20-22). In the present world the powers of darkness (Eph. 6:12) have extended their influence to the point that their commander is called “the ruler of this world [kosmos]” (John 14:30) and “the god of this world [aion]” (2 Cor. 4:4).


Future

New Testament The World: Not the Same as in the Future

Clarity, Resilience, and Hope

The good news of the New Testament, however, is that there is also going to be a clear discontinuity between the present and future state of things. In many passages a distinction is made between what we are experiencing now and what is to come (e.g., Rom. 8:38; 1 Cor. 3:22; 1 Tim. 4:8; Heb. 13:14). On the one side, we have “this world [kosmos, aion]” (John 12:25; Rom. 12:2; 1 John 4:17) or “this present world [aion]” (2 Tim. 4:10). On the other hand, we have explicit references to an “age to come [aion]” (Matt. 12:32; Eph. 1:21) and a “coming world [oikoumene]” (Heb. 2:5). Interestingly, the word kosmos is never used to refer to the future world, perhaps because of its association with the negative aspects of the present reality.2 By using different terms, such as “new heaven and new earth” (Rev. 21:1), or aion and oikoumene, New Testament writers stressed an unmistakable change from the old system of things. The new dispensation will not be a mere modification of the present one, but something completely new: “Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away. And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new’ ” (Rev. 21:4, 5).

Embracing the New Testament description of an original world, now fallen but to be made new in the future, impacts the way we live our Christian witness in several practical ways. When considering the past, we are given more clarity to avoid attributing to God evil realities with which He is not associated. While living in the present, we are encouraged to be resilient, considering how God’s hand is still visible in the kosmos, notwithstanding the millennia of evil and degeneration after the Fall. Finally, when looking forward toward the future, we are filled with contagious hope and anticipation for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). n

Creation

God has revealed in Scripture the authentic and historical account of His creative activity. He created the universe, and in a recent six-day creation the Lord made “the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” and rested on the seventh day. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of the work He performed and completed during six literal days that

1 All

Scripture quotations have been taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission. 2 See G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, and G. Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament: Abridged in One Volume (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), p. 462.

Ronny Nalin, Ph.D., is an associate scientist

at the Geoscience Research Institute of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and lives with his wife Elisa and two daughters in Mentone, California.

together with the Sabbath constituted the same unit of time that we call a week today. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; 5; 11; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Isa. 45:12, 18; Acts 17:24; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; 11:3; Rev. 10:6; 14:7.)

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F R A N C I S C O

A N Z O L A

Finding My Way

Home

By Shawna Vyhmeister

When He sends us somewhere, He promises to be right there with us.

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ur vehicle jerked to a stop as my husband swerved behind a parked car to allow the oncoming traffic to pass on the narrow street. Where were we? Why were the streets so small and crowded, and yet people still parked freely on either side? Where was the shopping center we were looking for? The tension mounted as the light faded and the battery on the cell phone/GPS drained lower and lower. We had arrived in Lebanon only a few weeks earlier to work at Middle East University. We were in need of basic

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provisions as we prepared to move out of the campus guest rooms and into our own apartment. The busy school schedule left little time for essentials, much less the luxury of leisurely shopping, so we had been hoping to find what we needed quickly and hurry home. “We need to turn left at the next intersection.” Ron’s voice brought me back to the present as he handed me the cell phone and pulled out from our temporary parking spot. The map seemed clear enough; however, the roads always seem narrower and more clogged with traffic in real


life than what was shown on the map. But alas, the “next left” was an overpass, and it flew by without any opportunity for turning. After several other detours and 45 minutes of seeing parts of Beirut I hope to never see again, we finally arrived at our destination and were able to go about our shopping. We found the cleaning supplies, staples for setting up the kitchen, and even a vacuum cleaner, which had the added bonus of being on sale. In one of those serendipitous moments, we even discovered the shopping center had a place where we could recharge our cell phone while we shopped. God’s way of taking care of details is amazing! Soon we had accomplished our mission and were ready to return home. By now, of course, dusk had given way to complete darkness. Having experienced the challenges of city streets and traffic and the lack of accuracy of the GPS in guiding us to our destination, I braced myself as we got into our car for the return trip. The darkness certainly didn’t make things easier. True to form, there were many miscues and U-turns, but on the bright side of things, at least we saw a different part of town than we had on the outbound journey. Searching for Landmarks

Middle East University, where we serve, sits atop a beautiful hill with a breathtaking view of the city of Beirut and the Mediterranean Sea behind it. One of the oldest cities in the world, the area was settled some 5,000 years ago, and there are letters from the fourteenth century B.C. written to an Egyptian Pharaoh calling it “Biruta.” In this beautiful setting, the roads begin to make more sense. Most of them were built long before modern traffic jams were a problem. Without cars, the narrow streets were no concern. Nor was parking an issue then, as it is now. But driving in this modern metropolis today, with its narrow, one-way streets and irregular intersections, holds many challenges, particularly for the uninitiated and easily confused. Once on the main highway, I began to relax a little as a few familiar landmarks whizzed by. But there was always that stretch of road between the highway and the familiar winding path up the mountain leading to the university. Every time we crossed that area, it looked different. Navigating it in the dark was particularly challenging, especially for me. As Ron turned this way and that, following some interior logic known only to males and homing pigeons, I again felt my blood pressure rising. How would I ever learn to find my way in this place that we now called home? Then I saw it. There in the triangle-shaped intersection near the base of our hill was a tall reconstruction of Christ on the cross. Even at night it was bathed in light. My ten-

sion eased as I realized I could find my way home from here. Then a sense of wonder completely erased the tension as I realized this has always been the case. If we can find our way to the foot of the cross, we can always find our way home from there. Even in a strange, new country, the cross of Christ makes us brothers and sisters—family. Everything makes sense and falls into place if only we can see Christ. In this new and confusing place, this simple lesson of trust has helped me to settle in and feel at home. Of course, there are challenges and stresses in living overseas in a new country. But there are also blessings in abundance. Not surprisingly, the people here are wonderful, the food is delicious, and the climate is—well, Mediterranean. But there are also centuries-old tensions in the Middle East. There are incredible needs among the refugees, who come from war-torn Syria and from other nearby countries because of unrest. There are profound needs at the university where we work. There are nearly impossible challenges as we attempt to share the gospel in this part of the world, where only an estimated 3 percent of the population is Christian. But it doesn’t matter what the situation is around us. I am reminded of Exodus 4:11, 12, which tells of Moses’ apprehension at the immense task laid before him—one he felt completely incapable of fulfilling. “The Lord said to him, ‘Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (NIV). No matter where we go on God’s errands, our needs are God’s opportunities, and all His biddings have already been worked out in His plan. God has given us a job to do, and He has promised to help us along the way. The unrest in this region has turned into unique opportunities to spread the gospel. Our inadequacy as a tiny church in a huge place has forced us to depend on God, which is not a bad thing, really. And we have this reminder every time we drive home: Christ, lifted up on the cross. That is our guide, our landmark. It doesn’t matter where we are from or where are going to. As long as we can see the cross of Christ, we know where we are: we are almost home. n

Shawna Vyhmeister, Ph.D., is professor and research director at Middle East University, Beirut, Lebanon.

December 2017 | Adventist World

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C OV E R S T O RY By John Bradshaw

Radical Com N

ew York City’s Roosevelt Island is a narrow, two-mile-long strip of land in the East River between Manhattan and the west end of Long Island. It is known today for the iconic aerial tramway connecting the island with Manhattan’s upper east side. But in the nineteenth century it was known for different reasons, embroiled in a scandal that captured the attention of an entire nation. In 1887, Roosevelt Island was known as Blackwell’s Island, and was home to a hospital, a penitentiary, and other institutions constructed by the city of New York, including the Blackwell’s Island Asylum. The asylum was intended to be a state-of-the-art facility, which would utilize the most progressive treatment methods available. What New York City ended up with was a filthy, dangerous, overcrowded mental hospital where residents were often fed rotting or rancid food, subjected to barbaric treatment, and frequently guarded by convicts from the nearby penitentiary. Stories of the rampant abuse and cruelty perpetrated at Blackwell’s Island Asylum often appeared in newspapers. The New York Times featured an article in 1879 titled “Tormenting the Insane.” In 1887 journalist Nellie Bly pretended to be insane in order to be admitted to the asylum, so that she might author an exposé on the reality of conditions there.

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It often takes a radical commitment to a cause to bring about lasting change.


mmitment She reported on the shocking realities of her 10-day stay in the overcrowded asylum in the New York World, a newspaper owned at the time by Joseph Pulitzer, and in Ten Days in a Madhouse, a book published the same year. Bly described the asylum as a “human rat trap. It’s easy to get in,” she wrote, “but once there it is impossible to get out.” After being admitted, she stopped acting as though she was insane. However, “the more sanely I talked and acted,” she later said, “the crazier I was thought to be by all.” As a result of Nellie Bly’s stay at the Blackwell’s Island Asylum and the ensuing publicity her reporting received, the city invested $1 million into the facility, released immigrant patients who had been admitted simply because they could not be understood, and fired numerous staff. It was Bly’s act of becoming one with the forgotten, the downtrodden, the mistreated, that led to monumental changes that improved the lives of thousands of people.

He Came Into His Own

It could easily be said that the world Jesus entered 2,000 years ago was a madhouse. At the time of Jesus’ birth, Galilee was ruled by a paranoid tyrant who ordered the execution of every infant child in the town of Bethlehem. Nazareth, the town in which Jesus was raised, had such a poor rep-

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utation that one of Jesus’ future disciples asked if anything good could come out of the place (John 1:46). The dark world of the insane asylum entered by Nellie Bly was cruel and unforgiving. The world entered by Jesus was monstrously worse. By the time Jesus came to earth, “sin had become a science, and vice was consecrated as a part of religion.”1 What would drive someone like Nellie Bly to take on an assignment so risky, so potentially dangerous? Bly was an outsized personality. Later in life she became an inventor and a successful businesswoman. In between times she set a record for the fastest journey around the world, arriving back in Hoboken, New Jersey, 72 days after her departure. Born a year before the Civil War in the United States ended and raised near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bly lived a colorful life of adventure and notoriety. But few would argue that the lasting contribution she made to the world was her service to the unfortunate. It often takes a radical commitment to a cause to bring about lasting change. Think of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., or Nelson Mandela, all of whom brought change at an enormous cost to themselves. Yet it is the incarnation of Jesus— Jesus, the divine Son of God, coming to the earth to live as a man—that represents the most staggering demonstra-

tion of selflessness ever witnessed. This wasn’t 10 days in an asylum followed by an attorney’s demand for release, then articles, books, adventure, and wealth. This was the Sovereign of the universe leaving heaven—“eye hath not seen nor ear heard”—and entering a world without a moral rudder where enemies of God were seeing to take His life. Jesus was still a baby when His earthly father fled Bethlehem with his family so Jesus would not be killed.

On Point

But the incarnation of Christ would not be like any other birth in history. Jesus was born for a purpose, a singular purpose. And that purpose is still being worked out in millions of lives. Speaking of Jesus, Paul wrote in Philippians 2:6, 7: “Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (NASB).2 Jesus was a man on a mission. The inmates on Planet Earth must have the opportunity to know the true God and experience salvation from sin. Imagine for a moment if Nellie Bly’s mission had ended in failure. What would those suffering in the New York City lunatic asylum, women forced to sit all day on hard benches in enforced silence, the broken souls doused in ice-cold water, totally cut off from the

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C OV E R S T O RY

outside world, what would they have done? “Two months would make her a mental and physical wreck,” Nellie Bly wrote. It’s as well her mission ended in success. But what if Jesus’ mission should end in failure? Matthew 1:21: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” This is what the Incarnation meant. A people saved from sin. In terms of the arc of salvation, the Incarnation and Jesus’ death on the cross are matters of the historical record. But His work is still not entirely done. One day, as He spoke to a group of Jewish leaders, Jesus made a fascinating statement. Having been accused of blasphemy and Sabbathbreaking, Jesus said in John 5:40, “But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t tell them that their problem was their sin. He could have, and He would have been right. But Jesus approached them from another angle. His audience, however, refused to recognize that the solution for sin was in their midst. They were not willing to come to Him, in spite of what they knew about Jesus and His mission. They were fully aware that Zechariah the priest had lost his ability to speak owing to God’s intervention. No priest in Jerusalem is struck mute without making a major stir. These leaders had heard the report of the shepherds who claimed to have seen and heard angels announcing the birth of the Savior. They knew that a group of philosophers had visited Jerusalem and asked about the Messiah. They knew of Jesus’ visit to the

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Temple when He was 12 years old, and they had heard John the Baptist announcing Jesus to be “the Lamb of God” (John 1:36). It was well-known that Jesus had changed water into wine, healed the sick, and cast our demons. They knew! Yet they were still unwilling to “come to Me that you may have life.” Jesus knew that in coming to earth He was entering hostile territory. “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11). The Light shone in the darkness, “and the darkness did not comprehend it” (verse 5). In spite of Daniel’s prophecy revealing when Jesus would be anointed as Messiah—and therefore, the approximate time of His birth—the very people charged with preparing the world for the Messiah’s advent were themselves asleep at the wheel of salvation. Right Into Our Hearts

The Incarnation was a marvel, a miracle, a supernatural phenomenon. The Creator of the universe, born of a woman. Yet 2,000 years ago the incarnation of Jesus was ignored by the people who should have celebrated it most. Could history possibly repeat? The question for God’s people today is What do we do about the Incarnation? Like the religious leaders in Jesus’ day, we also know. We know what they knew—the water into wine, the raising of the dead, the eyes of the blind being opened, and the lame walking and leaping and praising God—and we know more besides. We know how God has worked miraculously and providentially during the past 2,000 years, and we’ve seen Him work in our lives. We’ve had prayers answered, we’ve

experienced miracles, or at the very least we have heard of how God has worked in the lives of others. All that evidence that Jesus is the Son of God, that He came into the world to give us everlasting life. Jesus didn’t come to the earth simply to impress us with what divinity is capable of doing, or to soften our hardened hearts with enchanting mental pictures of a baby born where cattle were sheltered. Jesus came to earth on a mission. The Incarnation was that breathtaking event that set in motion His earthly ministry, giving the entire human family the opportunity to possess eternal life. In fact, the incarnation of Jesus is inextricably linked to His present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. Hebrews 2:17 says, “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Explaining that further, the writer continues, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (verse 18). The Incarnation was for a purpose. It speaks of a Savior who came to a madhouse of a planet not only to give, but to keep on giving. Jesus came to a world filled with misery and desperation “to aid those who are tempted.” The Incarnation is God’s assurance to us that thousands of years into the future, Jesus as high priest would offer aid to all who struggle with sin. Familiar with our battles, He wouldn’t leave us to struggle, forgotten, with no one to help. Jesus understands from experience the challenges we face and has

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pledged to give strength to every last person who would reach out for help. We’ll sing “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night” this Christmas, and so we should. They are beautiful songs that evoke strong emotions and take us in our hearts close to the heart of God. And we will remember that the incarnation of Jesus was for a purpose. Jesus came into this world to save us from sin, and a little more than 30 years after He was born in Bethlehem He ascended to heaven so that we could “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Every sinner aware of his or her need of God’s grace can remember the Incarnation, and know that Jesus was born for a purpose. He “came to restore in man the image of his Maker. None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. He came to expel the demons that had controlled the will. He came to lift us up from the dust, to reshape the marred character after the pattern of His divine character, and to make it beautiful with His own glory.”3 The incarnation of Christ is your assurance He will do just that for you. n 1 Ellen

G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), p. 37. quotations marked NASB are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. 3 E. G. White, pp. 37, 38. 2 Scripture

Jesus knew that in coming to earth He was entering hostile territory.

John Bradshaw is

speaker-director of It Is Written media ministries and lives with his family in Tennessee, United States.

December 2017 | Adventist World

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A D V E N T I S T

L I F E

By Jennifer Sigler and Micheal Goetz

Creating S

ace

Campion Academy promotes teen “ownership” of church.

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in mentoring students and giving them “ownership” of their church. Goetz, principal Don Reeder, and others brainstormed on ways to strengthen student discipleship on campus. They agreed that young people should be trained through mentoring and by providing them with opportunities to “own” their local church. The mission plan they developed was “to equip young Seventh-day Adventists as leaders in their church and as gospel missionaries wherever they went.” They began by enlisting the help of the academy staff and asking them to encourage students to participate in church services. The boys’ deans then recruited dorm students to be parking greeters on Sabbath morning. The students greeted visitors as they pulled up in their cars; directed them as to where to park; helped carry potluck food; and provided umbrellas when needed. They played an important role in church hospitality. Program Growth

Today the Campion church and academy are working together even more fully to “encourage the growth of a generation that knows how to connect with a local church, become involved, and join in the mission,” Campion chaplain Rob Carlson explains. Campion church has since moved beyond just student parking greeters. They’ve identified numerous additional possibilities for student participation in everything from providing

S I G L E R

Embracing the Vision

J E N N I F E R

W

aiting for a flight out of Chicago, Campion church pastor Micheal Goetz watched travelers at the United Airlines customer service counter trying to negotiate alternate flights after theirs had been missed or canceled. The lines were long, and the staff behind the counter were busy. He then noticed some young people wearing bright-yellow United shirts moving up and down the lines asking if they could answer questions or provide clarifications. They were unable to solve many of the problems, but they were doing their best to assist and listen. Based on this experience, Goetz concluded three things: 1. Young people were clearly identified as members of the United team. United “owned” them, and they had ownership in United. 2. While they weren’t making corporate decisions, flying the planes, or adjusting flight plans, the young interns were contributing, and it seemed likely that their futures would include United. 3. Although what the young people were doing didn’t appear to be of major consequence, customers seemed to appreciate someone reaching out to them. The interns were important to the overall effectiveness of United Airlines. This business model struck Goetz as being parallel to the church’s goal of discipling young people. Because Campion Academy, in Loveland, Colorado, United States, is located next to the Campion church, he envisioned the entire campus collaborating

music to helping in Sabbath Schools, ushering, and more. The academy Bible teachers also now require students to log at least 10 experiences of church involvement or service throughout the school year. “I mostly like doing praise time or playing the violin,” says sophomore Ashley Halvorsen. “Even if it wasn’t required [for Bible class], I’d still be playing up front.” The success of the program depends in part on church members who are willing to mentor teens. Carey Jordan leads the junior Sabbath School class, along with the help of a core group of Campion students. She depends on students to lead praise time and teach the lesson each week. “If I know they’re coming, I can give them something to do,” says Jordan. Other departments are also willing to mentor. Elders explain how to call the congregation to worship, and the worship pastor rehearses praise songs with student musicians. Junior James Freeman helps run the cameras and the sound for church services. “They trained me,” he


L O I J O H N N Y

Above: Campion Academy and homeschool students help lead praise time at the Campion church’s international-themed worship service

Campion last year as a senior. “They let us be involved.” “We don’t just go [to church] there,” adds senior Logan Carle, who plays his bagpipes during praise time. “We’re actually part of it.”

Left: An enthusiastic member of the parking team welcomes vehicles to the campus.

Collaborating for Mission

D A N T U R K

Below: Junior Kryssie Starrett distributes bread and grape juice during Sabbath communion service at the Campion church.

explains. “I was brand new to the task. I think it’s nice that it’s not just the adults who run the program. They’re letting the teenagers who are good at this kind of stuff help out too.” “I love this church,” said Celine Lumowa, who led one of the praise teams for the academy’s weekly chapel and vespers services when attending

“There’s a great desire for the church and school to work together,” says Carlson. “It’s exciting to be part of that!” Carlson works with the spiritual life committee, which includes the principals of Campion Academy and H.M.S. Richards Adventist School, church pastors, and Bible teachers. The group meets monthly to envision and implement spiritual goals. Principal Reeder encourages the group to focus on the objective of Adventist education: to support the mission of the church. Adventist schools, he says, are a tool the church is using to take the gospel to the world. “We’re tired of hearing the statement ‘Our kids are leaving the church,’ ” says Reeder. “We believe that by training students to participate in and be a part of the church, when they leave Campion they will be trained to lead in their home churches and be less likely to leave the church.” Reeder presents Philemon 6 as the basis for this belief: “I pray God will give you a chance to share your faith so you can know the fullness of Christ” (Reeder’s paraphrase). Only in taking ownership of their church and faith can young people know the fullness of our Savior, he says. Campion’s church-academy collaboration has allowed many students

to find a niche of involvement, and once students take ownership of their church, they catch a vision of what more church could be. It’s good for us to be able to interact with our church,” says sophomore Delainey Kamarad, “but it would be cool if we could open it up to some bigger opportunities—such as reaching out to the community instead of doing things just at the church.” The United Airlines Model

The model used by United Airlines has played itself out on the Campion campus: Young people have identified themselves as part of the team. They see themselves as a contributing part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. While they don’t sit on boards and committees, these young people are contributing to the overall ministry of the church through various ministries. And the buy-in at this level will lead to continued commitment in the future. Church attenders are touched and encouraged when a young person offers to carry in their food, brings them an umbrella, and tells a story to children in Sabbath School. The overall impact and effectiveness of the Campion church to its community is made better because of the participation of the ministry “interns.” As Delainey notes, there’s more work to be done. As more teenagers catch the spark of the church’s mission, Campion Academy aims to continue to work hand in hand with this force of young people. To learn more about Campion Academy, go to www.campion.net. n

Jennifer Sigler teaches English at Campion Academy in Loveland, Colorado, United States. Micheal Goetz is pastor of the Campion church. December 2017 | Adventist World

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A D V E N T I S T

H E R I T A G E

A

fter Ellen White’s death in 1915, C. C. Crisler was, like most of her staff, looking for a job. His opportunity came at the 1915 Annual Council, where he worked temporarily as a stenographer. After a report on the great missionary activities taking place, A. G. Daniells, church president, called on Crisler to go as a missionary to China. Presumably, Crisler talked over this invitation with his wife, Minnie (1874-1963), and daughter Beatrice. They soon accepted a call to the Asiatic Division. Within a few weeks Clarence Crisler was on a “tour” through eastern Asia with a group of new missionaries and church leaders. He left aboard the ship China on November 2, 1916. His family followed him the following March.1 Making of a Missionary

Crisler arrived in time to participate in the formation of the Asiatic Division Conference, a pivotal meeting that placed missions into unions as part of a world church division. He was also elected as secretary, tasked with literature development.2 Naturally, he helped to coordinate not only publishing initiatives but work related to the medical and education field as well. With the eruption of World War I, the church was forced to reallocate resources into places of comparative safety. As a result the church poured a significant amount of funds and the placement of missionaries into Asia. This “golden age” of Adventist missions was a crucial time to develop new materials. Crisler was driven to share, in these lands, the good news about Christ’s soon return.3 He secured books, maps, and other resources, and went to work

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By Michael W. Campbell

Escape on the

Rooftop

The missionary adventures of Clarence C. Crisler P H O T O :

G E N E R A L

C O N F E R E N C E

A R C H I V E S


learning the language. The Chinese people, he wrote, “are among the most lovable of all peoples on earth.”4 The great challenge was how to reach so many people, a work that could be done only through divine intervention. Crisler believed a key to the success of the work was training, and empowering local leaders who would, over time, become the most effective means of reaching their own people. Life on the Edge

M I C H A E L

W.

C A M P B E L L

Life in China during his tenure was, at times, far from peaceful. Some will remember the Boxer Rebellion, when many Christians were killed. Crisler recognized that the mandate of their mission outweighed the cost. The most dramatic story of “life on the edge” was during severe persecution in Hunan, China. As warlords from the north battled Communist

factions, this was truly a “time of stress.” Crisler was thankful for dedicated workers loyal “to the fundamentals of our faith.” Because of tensions in that region, he had been unable to visit the workers for many years. An opportunity opened for them to meet February 17-22, 1927. According to Crisler’s personal account, the day before the meeting several who were formerly a part of their group trapped believers inside a church to kill them. Members escaped one by one by crawling away on the rooftop. Although the mission compound was closed by officials, a storm prevented their enemies from following them to a mud hut outside the city. Crisler described it as one of the best meetings they ever had, culminating with a celebration of the Lord’s Supper on the mud floor. After their escape, some went into hiding, and a few even died. It was the beginning of one of the most severe persecutions the church had faced up to that point.5 Such stories were not unusual from Crisler, who on several occasions reported being chased and shot at by bandits, and who recognized just how dangerous life was when he wrote the obituaries of other missionaries and church workers.6 “Many have been persecuted and imprisoned,” he related.7

transported his family and mission leaders to his funeral.9 His tremendous example of commitment and sacrifice served as inspiration for many future missionaries. One group of students, upon hearing of his death, committed their lives to active evangelism. Crisler’s deep love for the Chinese people made him one of the most influential missionaries in that land.10 I recently went to see if I could find Crisler’s grave in northwest China. I found his remains, hidden for many years, on the side of a hill, awaiting the call of the Life-giver. While gathered around his tomb, a small group of us knelt in prayer, asking God to help us be faithful until He comes again. n 1 See

Legacy

note in Review and Herald, Mar. 22, 1917, p. 24. Division Conference: Summary of Proceedings of the First Session, Shanghai, April 5-24, 1917,” Review and Herald, June 21, 1917, pp. 16, 17. See also Crisler’s personal reflections: C. C. Crisler, “Asiatic Division Conference Session Notes— No. 2,” Review and Herald, June 14, 1917, pp. 11, 12. 3 C. C. Crisler, “Asiatic Division Conference Session Notes— No. 2,” Review and Herald, June 14, 1917, pp. 11, 12. 4 C. C. Crisler, “Advance Returns From China,” Review and Herald, Oct. 30, 1930, pp. 12, 13. 5 This account is based upon C. C. Crisler, “Our Faithful Chinese Workers in Hunan,” Review and Herald, May 12, 1927, pp. 9, 10. 6 Note of letter by C. C. Crisler quoted by H. W. Miller, M.D., “Delivered From Bandits,” Review and Herald, Jan. 31, 1935, p. 24. 7 Cf. “Our Fallen Coworkers,” Review and Herald, June 11, 1931, p. 21. 8 Frederick Lee, “A Challenge to the Remnant Church,” Review and Herald, Apr. 23, 1936, p. 1; M. E. Kern, “Death of C. C. Crisler,” Review and Herald, Apr. 9, 1936, p. 24. 9 A note on a photograph from the funeral at the Ellen G. White Estate observes that the airplane used was from General Chang. Published reports in the Review and Herald discreetly refer to Miller securing a plane from “a friend.” 10 For a detailed study, see Michael W. Campbell, “Power, Print, and Martyrdom: C. C. Crisler and the Development of Seventhday Adventist Missions in China, 1916-1936,” Ching Feng: A Journal on Christianity and Chinese Religion and Culture 13, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 177-195.

Church members were shocked to learn that Crisler had died on his way to help establish the Adventist message in Tibet. He wasn’t well when he left, and while attempts were made for an airplane to retrieve him from a remote village in northwest China, it did not arrive in time. He died of pneumonia.8 The borrowed airplane

is an associate professor of historical/theological studies at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS) in the Philippines.

2 “Asiatic

Michael W. Campbell, Ph.D.,

December 2017 | Adventist World

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B I B L E

Q U E S T I O N S

“This What was the function of the secretaries Paul used when he wrote his letters?

A N S W E R E D

Is How

I Write

Scholars have been studying the art of letter-writing around the time of the New Testament, comparing it with what we find in the apostolic letters. I will share with you some of this information to see how it helps us understand Paul’s practice. 1. Paul and Secretaries: Paul points to his use of secretaries when he says, “See what large letters I use as I write you with my own hand” (Gal. 6:11; see also Philemon 19),* or “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand” (1 Cor. 16:21; Col. 4:18). The practice of adding a greeting at the end of the letter functioned as a signature, demonstrating that the letter was genuine. This is also suggested when he writes, “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write” (2 Thess. 3:17). Such a practice was important at a time when some may have been sending out false letters under Paul’s name (2 Thess. 2:2). In one case Paul explicitly mentions the name of the Christian secretary he used (Rom. 16:22). Although he was himself literate, Paul used secretaries quite often. 2. Writing Letters: Writing letters was an acquired skill that required, among other things, schooling in reading, handwriting, and the art of structuring and preparing different types of letters (for instance, letters of introduction, petition, personal, official letters related to matters of the state, and public and private letters). In the Greco-Roman world, epistolary handbooks were used for training scribes, who were expected to have the proper tools and who charged for their services. Their primary responsibility was to produce a letter that contained the message its author intended to communicate. According to information available, authors could ask their secretaries to do one of at least three things: He could give the secretary a brief description of the purpose of the letter, and the secretary would write it. In some cases the author could dictate the letter word by word. This may not have been a time-consuming task, because there was shorthand technic for both Greek and Latin that a good secretary was expected to possess. But since the system was not

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uniform, the secretary had to transcribe the letter immediately to avoid errors of content. In other cases, authors would sit with their secretaries and delineate the main content to be used to prepare the letter. The secretary would take notes on a wooden table covered by wax, thus facilitating the taking of notes. The author would read the letter, and, if necessary, correct its content, add to it, and finally approve it. 3. Paul as Letter Writer: Although Paul could have written some of his letters, his use of secretaries suggests that he was aware of the importance of the technical skills of secretaries. First, since his letters were an exposition of the gospel and its impact on the life of the believer, we can conclude that his secretaries may have hardly had any influence on their content. Paul could have dictated the letters to the secretary. Second, since the letters were of such religious importance, Paul would have used secretaries who were believers. Some of them may have traveled with him and were well acquainted with his theology. His letters are in many cases similar to oral speeches. In that case he would have provided a detailed content of it, allowing the secretary to write the full letter. This would explain some of the literary differences we find when comparing some of Paul’s letters. Third, Paul would have revised the letters, perhaps adding, rearranging the content, deleting sections, etc., until he felt that the content was what he intended to say. Fourth, in some cases a final rewriting of the letter may have been necessary, giving Paul the opportunity to give to the letter its final literary structure. What is important for us is that at the end of the process we have Paul’s message to the church under the inspiration of the Spirit. n * Bible texts are from the New International Version.

Before his retirement, Angel Manuel Rodríguez served as a pastor, professor, and theologian.


B I B L E

S T U D Y

By Mark A. Finley

Natural Disasters, the Bible, and God’s Love

E

ven a casual look at our world reveals a dramatic increase in natural disasters. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods have become commonplace. The human toll resulting from nature’s havoc is enormous, and the economic consequences are straining the economy of many nations. Thinking people everywhere are asking where God is in all this. Is God responsible for what we see happening in the natural world? How can we make sense out of what’s going on around us? In this month’s lesson, we will search for answers from God’s Word.

1 How does the Bible describe God’s character? Read 1 John 4:8, Jeremiah 31:3, and John 3:16. The essence of God’s character is love. Love defines God. He is unselfish, kind, giving, and compassionate. He wants only the best for His creatures.

2 Read James 1:17 and Psalm 84:11 and reflect on God’s intentions for all His creation. God wants only the best for each one of us. He is not the author of the natural disasters that so often plague our world.

3 In John 10:10, contrast Jesus’ purpose for our lives with Satan’s purpose. Scripture teaches that a conflict between good and evil is waging in the universe. Lucifer, an angelic being of glorious brightness, rebelled against God in heaven. He claimed that God was unfair and unjust. When earth was created he tempted Adam and Eve to rebel against their Maker. When they disobeyed God, this earth was plunged into the chaos of sin (Rev. 12:7-9; Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:12-15; Gen. 3:1-7).

4 What is the result of sin and rebellion on the natural world? Read Romans 8:19-23.

5 How did Jesus describe these ever-increasing natural disasters just before His glorious return? Read Luke 21:25-28. The signs in the natural world, the ever-increasing frequency of these natural disasters, are the birth pangs of a world soon to be delivered by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (1 Thess. 5:1-7).

6 What language did John use in the Bible’s last book to describe God’s protective power over Planet Earth? What are the angels doing? Read Revelation 7:1. To understand the symbolism of “winds,” read Jeremiah 49:32. Only the protective hand of a loving God keeps nature from exhibiting its wildest fury and destroying planet earth. From time to time winds of destruction blow. But were it not for the protective power of God, disaster would follow disaster with relentless fury.

7 What promises did God give to reassure us in times of crises? Read Psalm 89:8, 9; Isaiah 25:4, 5; and Psalm 46. We live in a world of good and evil. Sometimes believers, followers of Christ, are caught in the midst of the conflict. They experience suffering; their homes are destroyed; sometimes their lives are taken. But God’s Word assures us that He is our refuge, our security, our hope in whatever we face in this life. One day all the storms will cease, and we will live in the joy of eternity forever. n

All nature “groans” in pain, longing for deliverance from this sin-polluted planet. We can expect these signs in the natural world to increase continually, until the coming of our Lord to deliver this planet in rebellion and to restore it to its original Edenic state. P H O T O :

J U S T I N

H O B S O N

December 2017 | Adventist World

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IDEA EXCHANGE

Although the world is filled with chaos, confusion, and fear, our only hope and sure safety is the ultimate presence of God. —Jimmie Lee Martin, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Letters

Total Member Involvement

I thank the Adventist organization for sending us Adventist World magazine. This has helped me so much, especially in preparing myself for the second coming of Jesus, as written in Revelation 14:6, in the Total Member Involvement program. Masareka Timothy Uganda Understanding Creation

I enjoyed reading Marcos Paseggi’s coverage of the Faith and Science Conference (October 2017). I hope

PrayerW

you include more articles dealing the intersection of faith and science in future issues. The impression I get from Paseggi’s article, and from other church publications, is that one’s belief about creation is limited to a binary choice: either the biblical creation story of six days or theisitic evolution with the conventional, neo-Darwinian concept of evolution. I wish our church could entertain discussion of other options besides those two. This is not the place to discuss their details, but other views

do exist, and some are compatible with the Bible. As long as we allow our members only one option, we force them into difficult and unnecessary conflicts with a lot of science. Dennis Murphy M organtown, West Virginia, United States

Letters Policy: Please send to: letters@adventistworld.org. Letters must be clearly written, 100-word maximum. Include the name of the article and the date of publication with your letter. Also include your name, the town/city, state, and country from which you are writing. Letters will be edited for space and clarity. Not all letters submitted will be published.

PRAISE

God is able; I know He is. Please pray I have unwavering faith for my healing. Eartha, via e-mail

Please pray for my husband, a hardworking man, and for my children. Manar, Jordan

I would like to know more about Jesus. There is no Adventist church near my home. Ali, Iran

My health is not good, and I am struggling to buy my medicines. Srikanth, India Pray for our work in health and evangelism. Toivo, Finland

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I am in need of prayers that God will lift me out of the difficult job situation I am in. James, Uganda

Prayer & Praise: Send prayer requests and praise (thanks for answered prayer) to prayer@adventistworld.org. Keep entries short and concise, 50-words or less. Items will be edited for space and clarity. Not all submissions will be printed. Please include your name and your country’s name. You may also fax requests to: 1-301-680-6638; or mail them to Adventist World, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600 U.S.A.


A Season of

Hope

The extended team of Adventist Review Ministries (ARMies)—employees and consultants—which bring you digital and print versions of Adventist Review, Adventist World, KidsView, and ARTV, wishes you God’s richest blessings for the coming year. (front row, left): Stephen Chavez, Zanele Sokupa, Wilona Karimabadi, Gerald Klingbeil, Daniel Bruneau, Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste, Sandra Blackmer. (back row, left): Kim Brown, Kristina Penny, Marcos Paseggi, Lael Caesar, Sharon Tennyson, André Brink, Jared Thurmon, Bill Knott, Costin Jordache, Evan Bambrick, Rico Hill, Merle Poirier.

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Ps. 31:24).

Love Divine! H

ymn writer Charles Wesley was born in Epworth, England, on December 18, 1707. He followed his brother John to Oxford, where he started out as a good student and a fun-loving troublemaker. Before his years at Oxford were through, he became a devoted member of a prayer group led by John. Other students called them “Methodists” because they were so methodical in their devotion. Charles joined John on a mission to the North American colony of Georgia; but the mission was a total failure, and a depressed Charles went home after about a year, leaving John behind. In 1738 Charles had a religious awakening. He wrote in his journal: “I felt a violent opposition and reluctance to believe; yet still the Spirit of God strove with my own and the evil spirit, till by degrees He chased away the darkness of my unbelief.” A few days later, John Wesley had a similar conversion, which he described with the famous line: “I felt my heart strangely warmed.” With their newfound conviction the brothers traveled around the countryside on horseback, preaching to coal miners, prison inmates, and anyone who gathered in the open air to hear them. Charles Wesley published more than 4,400 hymns during his lifetime, which include “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” Source: The Writer’s Almanac

December 2017 | Adventist World

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IDEA EXCHANGE “Behold, I come quickly…” Our mission is to uplift Jesus Christ, uniting Seventh-day Adventists everywhere in beliefs, mission, life, and hope.

84 Years Ago

Publisher The Adventist World, an international periodical of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The General Conference, Northern Asia-Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists®, is the publisher. Adventist Review Ministries Board Ted N. C. Wilson, chair; Guillermo Biaggi, vice chair, Bill Knott, secretary; Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, Williams Costa, Daniel R. Jackson, Peter Landless, Robert Lemon, Geoffrey Mbwana, G. T. Ng, Daisy Orion, Juan Prestol-Puesán, Ella Simmons, Artur Stele, Ray Wahlen, Karnik Doukmetzian, legal advisor Executive Editor/Director of Adventist Review Ministries Bill Knott Associate Director of Adventist Review Ministries

G E N E R A L

C O N F E R E N C E

A R C H I V E S

O

n December 20, 1933, the first four Adventist believers were baptized at Ngoma, Rwanda. Seventh-day Adventist work in what is now Rwanda was started by D. E. Delhove, from Belgium, shortly after World War I. In 1920 Henri Monnier, originally from Switzerland, opened the Buganza Mission near Lake Muhazi. When the Great North Road was laid through the mission site, a new site was found near Ruhengeri, to which Monnier and Alfred Matter moved the mission in April 1921. There Matter and his sister, Maria, started the Rwankeri dispensary. Monnier remained at Rwankeri from 1921 to 1940. This long stay, and his thorough understanding of the people and their language, enabled him to translate large portions of the Bible that were accepted by the British and Foreign Bible Societies and incorporated into the present Runyarwanda Bible.

According to the Global Report on Internal Displacement (2016), 31 million people were displaced within their own countries. Internally displaced persons don’t usually get attention until they cross international borders. Conflict and violence forced 6.9 million people from their homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, and Iraq. Disasters, particularly floods, displaced 24 million people, mostly in South and East Asia. Source: The Rotarian

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 Editors based in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA André Brink, Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil (associate editors), 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 Mark A. Finley, John M. Fowler Senior Advisor E. Edward Zinke Financial Manager Kimberly Brown Manuscript Evaluation Coordinator Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste 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 Jeff Dever, Kim Pollock Consultants Ted N. C. Wilson, Juan Prestol-Puesán, G. T. Ng, Guillermo E. Biaggi, Mario Brito, Abner De Los Santos, Dan Jackson, Raafat A. Kamal, Michael F. Kaminskiy, Si Young Kim, Erton C. Köhler, Ezras Lakra, Israel Leito, Thomas L. Lemon, Solomon Maphosa, Geoffrey G. Mbwana, Blasious M. Ruguri, Saw Samuel, Ella Simmons, Artur A. Stele, Glenn Townend, Elie Weick-Dido 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

31 Million

E-mail: worldeditor@gc.adventist.org Web site: www.adventistworld.org 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. Adventist World is published monthly and printed simultaneously in Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States.

Vol. 13, No. 12 S T O C K U N L I M I T E D

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Anniversary

Obituaries

FuNk. Alan and Helen (nee Ward) celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on 19.10.17. They have three children Terry, Carol and Vikki; and seven grandchildren. Alan met Helen as a result of being invited to her 17th birthday party by her brother John. They were married two years later. Alan farmed in Gunnedah (NSW) and Boggabri, then ran an engineering shop in Gunnedah with his son Terry for 17 years before moving to Adelaide, SA, in 1994. Helen was employed at G J Coles as an assistant on the sweets counter. They joined the Church in 1979 and were baptised by Pastor Otto. Helen served as treasurer at Gunnedah church for 16 years. Alan played the banjo and mouth organ. Both continue to attend and serve at Morphett Vale church, SA.

BERGMANN, Doreen, born 29.11.1921; died 12.10.17 in Cooranbong, NSW. In 1950 she married Arnold Bergmann, who predeceased her in 2015. Doreen is survived by her two children Dallas and Ian. She took a great interest in the life of Martin Luther and the Reformation period. Doreen had a passion for supporting ADRA and the mission work of the Adventist Church in its endeavour to reach the lost. Doreen loved her family and her Lord, and now awaits the coming of Jesus. Roger Nixon JOSEPHS, Olive May (nee Buller), born 5.3.1921 in Port Adelaide, SA; died 24.8.17 in Nunawading, Vic. On 18.12.1945 she married Pastor Harold Josephs, who predeceased her. Olive is survived by her children Shirley and Mike

Tarburton (Blackburn), Bev and Peter Moss (Cooranbong, NSW) and Darrell Josephs (Sunbury, Vic). Olive was baptised in 1936 in Adelaide (SA), worked at the Warburton (Vic) Sanitarium factory, 1940-41, and studied at Avondale 1942-43. She was a clerk in the Sanitarium factory office in Adelaide until her marriage. She and Harold spent 40 years in ministry in five conferences in Australia, including five years in the Southern Asia Division. She was very active in many aspects of Church work, continuing into her retirement years. Olive was a great organiser and loved people. No task was too great for her to tackle. Above all, she loved the Lord and looked forward to His coming. Trevor Rowe, Dave Erickson

MASOn, John (Alex), born

22.1.1922 in Thessalon, Ontario, Canada; died 26.10.17 in Cairns, Qld. He was predeceased by his wife Mary. John is survived by his

children Michael and Penny (Mrs Geoff Rowley); two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Alex spent his life working with youth and following his Lord. The funeral service was held at the Cairns church. Johnny Murison

FINALLY Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. —Francis Chan

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