Uplifted: Restoring Godâ€™s Image
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
The Woman Who Built a Nation
Protection and Respect By Bill Knott
About the Cover Tanya Bejenar is the treasurer of the Hebrew-speaking church in Tel Aviv, Israel. She is originally from Moldova. Although Hebrew is not her first language, she speaks it fluently and is an active Sabbath School teacher in the Hebrew language. Cover Photo: Tor Tjeransen / ADAMS
Focus 10 Uplifted: Restoring God’s Image 12 Learning From the Master 14 Teamwork Makes the Dream Work The Word 20 The Woman Who Built a Nation 26 Bible Questions Answered My Church 16 Global View 18 Spirit of Prophecy 19 Millennial Voices 22 Faith In Action 24 Looking Back Living Faith 27 Health and Wellness 28 May I Tell You a Story? 30 Growing Faith—Children’s Pages
he pounds the maize with her grandmother’s wooden pestle, worn smooth from the grip of decades. Fine ground meal collects in the bottom of the mortar, waiting for her practiced hands to shape it into the small corn cakes to feed a family of seven. She deserves your respect. She smooths the folds of her black gown as she waits to argue the most important case of her career before her nation’s supreme court—the one that could win Sabbathkeeping students in her country the right to take their national exams on some other day. She deserves your prayers. She fingers the keys of the old church organ in the empty sanctuary this Thursday night, practicing the hymns that the congregation will sing for Sabbath’s worship service. “Lord,” she whispers, “help these old fingers to work one more time.” She deserves your gratitude. She stares at her mathematics book, a slight smile pursing her lips. “We’re ready, Jesus,” she murmurs from her study desk, anticipating tomorrow’s test—the one that will solidify her hard-earned reputation as the best math student in the school. She deserves your admiration. Around the world of Adventism, millions of women are holding this remnant movement together with sweat and love and patience and skill. They anchor families through difficult times, and anchor congregations when factions threaten to divide. They share the Word in sermons preached across kitchen tables and across the airwaves, using gifts the Spirit has given, winning hearts for Jesus. They make Bible stories come to life for toddlers in Sabbath School, and smile as 25-year-old medical students in their classrooms finally grasp the marvelous chemistry of nutrient absorption in the human body. They hand out soap and hygiene kits to families staggered by earthquakes, floods, and famines, and hand out hope in small prayer circles where wounded hearts find healing. It should be unnecessary among the followers of Jesus to say that each of them—each woman and girl created in the image of God—deserves the respect, consideration, and protection every human deserves. But a thousand stories every day remind us that the old and sinful lure of dominating power makes women victims far more frequently than men. Women and girls disproportionately experience loss, poverty, powerlessness, and violence, including—sadly—even among those who say they keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. It should not be. And when we really understand God’s truth, it will not be. As you read the special articles in this edition of Adventist World, pray for a heart made kind by grace, and the courage given by Jesus to protect all who are vulnerable.
We believe in the power of prayer, and we welcome prayer requests that can be shared at our weekly staff worship every Wednesday morning. Send your requests to email@example.com, and pray for us as we work together to advance God’s kingdom.
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Special Annual Council Coverage
Andy and Naomi Weaver, along with their eight children, attended Annual Council in Battle Creek, Michigan. Born into an Amish community, they found the Adventist message through an Adventist neighbor and the reading of The Great Controversy and The Desire of Ages. Baptized in 2013, they have established the West Salem Mission in Ohio, United States, to further reach their Amish community.
You can view his testimony at: https://goo.gl/MoTV4D. Please view Monday, October 15, 2018, 8:00 a.m., and advance to 2:12:58.
Photo: Brent Hardinge/ANN
AdventistWorld.org December 2018
Special Annual Council Coverage
Annual Council Delegates Vote to Adopt Compliance Document
World Church Executive Committee approves steps recommended by Unity Oversight Committee
By Adventist World and Adventist News Network
Ted N. C. Wilson chaired the discussion on compliance, assisted by Karen Porter, associate secretary, and Joanne Stango, recording secretary. Photo: Brent Hardinge/ANN
Following more than five hours of presentations and discussion, delegates to the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s annual meeting of its full Executive Committee approved a recommendation from the church’s Unity Oversight Committee (UOC) to create a new compliance process to assist with the need to implement church policies and voted actions. The action, expressed in a vote of 185 to 124, with two abstaining, approved a document entitled Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions. The decision was an extension of a vote by the General Conference Executive Committee at its October 2017 meeting. That action referred an earlier proposal, made in 2017 4
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by the same Unity Oversight Committee, back for further study. THE VOTED DOCUMENT
The document outlines a process for addressing matters of noncompliance within the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In summary, the process begins with perceived noncompliance being reported to the administrative level of the church closest to the matter. The document emphasizes the need for “Christian due process,” including prayer and dialogue and “a supportive atmosphere.” As part of the process, the noncompliant entity would be asked to provide evidence of compliance or a plan to “achieve sustained compliance.”
If no resolution is reached at the closest administrative levels, the General Conference Administrative Committee (ADCOM) may refer the matter to one of five advisory committees. These committees, termed “compliance committees,” had earlier been endorsed by ADCOM. After studying the matter, the compliance committee may make recommendations to ADCOM for disciplinary measures. ADCOM may then refer the recommendations on to General Conference and division officers and the Executive Committee. The document next outlines a process of appeal as well as disciplinary measures. These disciplinary measures may be voted only by the Executive Committee, and may include official
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warnings and public reprimand. In the event of persistent noncompliance, potential removal from Executive Committee membership by a two-thirds majority vote is allowed according to the Bylaws of the General Conference Constitution. THE DISCUSSION ON THE FLOOR
The afternoon session began with Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who chaired the afternoon session, reminding attendees that “the origins of the document come from you. It’s your document. It’s in your hands. It is not my document.” Wilson clarified there would be no recommendations coming from the compliance committees at this year’s Annual Council meeting. Wilson then asked for all to participate with a “sweet spirit and a Christlike demeanor. We want a very open kind of setting. We want to move ahead with an open and gracious spirit. We are here to do the will of the Lord.” Michael Ryan, chair of the UOC, introduced the history of the document and presentations by David Trim, director of Archives, Statistics and Research; Karnik Doukmetzian, lead counsel for the Seventh-day Adventist Church; and Hensley Moorooven, Adventist world church undersecretary. Ryan moved the adoption of the document, and Moorooven subsequently read the document aloud.
Seventy-one delegates and invitees lined up at five microphones to address the proposed document.
Seventy-one delegates and invitees lined up at five microphones to address the proposed document. “This afternoon we are experiencing the church at its best,” said Mark Finley, well-known evangelist and retired General Conference vice president. “It’s healthy for a church when leaders speak their mind openly and honestly. What I see this afternoon is a church wrestling with an issue.” Finley went on to speak in favor of the document, saying that “the document does not lead to or foster kingly power. In fact, it presents safeguards against kingly power.” He affirmed the role of policy in a united church: “Policies are mutual agreements, but they do govern our actions as church leaders. And I pray that we will support it together.” “The Seventh-day Adventist Church isn’t going to fail,” said Dan Jackson, president of the church’s North American Division. “God is going to lead His church to a glorious conclusion.” Jackson, however, cautioned about approving the document: “I believe adoption of this document will change relationships within the church. It runs contrary to the pioneers, and to sound business practice. The atmosphere of this document will not unite. North American Division members will feel they have been pushed to the periphery of the church.” “Faith without freedom is only a chain, a colorless flower,” said Tamas Ocsai, president of the Adventist Church in Hungary. “Freedom of conscience is important for Adventists. My serious concern is: Do we really want to use our recent document to hurt the unity of our beloved church family?” “I’m in favor of this document,” said Esther Abayo from the East-Central Africa Division. “All of us believe that compliance is necessary. The only fear I see is people afraid of consequences coming from noncompliance.”
The document emphasizes the need for “Christian due process,” including prayer and dialogue.
“I think most people in the local church are thinking more of advancing and fulfilling the mission of the church,” offered Adan Ramos Lagos from the Inter-American Division. “I believe we have enough working policies, and we should be abiding by them.” “We will be more successful in our mission and our relationship will be much deeper because here we learned to understand each other in spite of the difference of opinion,” added Mikhail Kaminskiy, president of the Church’s Euro-Asia Division. Mario Ceballos, director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries for the world church, the last delegate to speak, offered a pastoral perspective: “The greatest test of faith is when you don’t get what you want, but still you are able to say, ‘Thank You, Lord.’” CONCLUDING REMARKS
Wilson expressed appreciation to the Executive Committee members for the good spirit exhibited during the afternoon. “I am extraordinarily impressed with your patience. I also want to express my deep appreciation to you as a body as to the way you have spoken. That speaks volumes.” “As we leave here tonight,” concluded Wilson, “let us leave united in shedding light on all those who need to know about Christ’s soon return.” To read the entire voted document online, visit the following web page: goo.gl/MsYWTb AdventistWorld.org December 2018
Special Annual Council Coverage
Treasury Report Emphasizes Accountability, Faithfulness in the Use of Funds
Juan Prestol-Puesán says the church is extremely careful in managing church monies.
By Marcos Paseggi, Adventist World
Ray Wahlen, undertreasurer of the General Conference, presents information and statistics as part of the financial report. Photo: Brent Hardinge/ANN
The Seventh-day Adventist Church takes the use of church moneys very seriously, said General Conference (GC) treasurer Juan Prestol-Puesán in presenting the Treasury Report on October 14, 2018. Prestol-Puesán’s report, which opened the business sessions of the 2018 Annual Council in Battle Creek, Michigan, United States, shared some of the ways the church ensures a careful managing of its funds. “Tithe is sacred,” he noted, “and we do not deal with it trivially.” SUBSTANTIAL TITHE INCREASE
Prestol-Puesán said that so far this year the church has been blessed with a 9 percent increase in tithe from the North American Division (NAD). It has also experienced good increases from other 6
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countries around the world. “We think it is the result, at least in part, of a renewed emphasis that church leaders have been giving to stewardship,” he said, something that has also contributed to the overall financial health of the church. “The financial statement shows a better picture than a year ago,” revealed Prestol-Puesán. “Even as our income is slightly lower because of lower investment returns, our expenses are lower, and the net results still show a positive number.” It is remarkable, said PrestolPuesán, since the strengthening of the U.S. dollar affects the funds received from countries with other currencies. But “the process of hedging on certain currencies has reduced some of the negative effects of the reduction in the exchange rate of key currencies,” he reported.
Prestol-Puesán devoted considerable time of his report to provide clarification about the use of an “extraordinary tithe,” a term used to designate sizable tithe returns given under special circumstances. The GC received the last installment of those funds in late 2017. Adventist Review has reported on the topic in a specific news story.* “We wish to assure the church that the reason why this matter is critical is that we deal with tithe carefully,” he said. “Extra caution is exercised to deal with [tithe] in the most respectful and appropriate manner.” FINANCIAL OBJECTIVES
Financial objectives of the current church administration continue to be clear, said PrestolPuesán. They include operating on a balanced budget, maintaining ad-
Special Annual Council Coverage
Photo: Brent Hardinge/ANN
equate levels of liquidity and working capital to honor the obligations of the world field, and providing a meaningful support service to the regions and programs that interact with the General Conference. Other objectives Prestol-Puesán mentioned include continuing allocations for operational efficiencies (within the GC building space reallocation program) and maintaining a high level of quality training for treasurers around the world. He also pledged to keep working in cooperation with other departments to achieve even better efficiencies. OPERATING UNDER THE CAP
Associate treasurer Ray Wahlen next presented four items recommended by the Strategic Planning and Budgeting Committee. Among them he highlighted that for the second straight year, the in-house operating budget of the General Conference has been held under the 2 percent operating cap. The operating cap (calculated as 2 percent of global tithe) is the limit for expenditures at the GC headquarters, including salaries and related expenses. Wahlen also reported that budget reserves now top US$13.9 million. “This is the planned portion of the total that was set aside in 2016 to assist the church through the period in which the GC Executive Committee voted to reduce the tithe percentages from North America [NAD].” (Every division other than North America contributes 2 percent of their tithes to the General Conference, while North America contributed 6.35 percent in 2018 and will keep lowering that contribution to 5.85 by 2020 as per voted GC policy.) Wahlen said that financial leaders are thankful that budget reserves keep growing. “We praise the Lord that we did not need to use this reserve in 2017, and it is anticipated that this will be the case in 2018,” he said.
Another important recommendation in the Financial Report involved continually enforcing the accountability for the use of tithe. “By policy, all the tithe-based entities of the church must prepare a structured report on the use of tithe both for their organization and the entities that report to it,” explained Wahlen. The General Conference and the 13 church divisions around the world have already completed their reports, and it is expected that by 2019 union conferences, as well as local conferences and missions, can also complete the process. “All levels of the church must begin to report this information on an annual basis,” he emphasized. One final recommendation deals with the use and allocation of the 2020 General Conference session offering. It refers to an item on the Annual Council agenda, which recommended: “To designate [the special offering] for the One Year in Mission program.” It was reported that detailed guidelines for the use of funds will be prepared by General Conference Youth Ministries, with input from Presidential, Secretariat, and Treasury. COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR
As the chair opened the floor for comments, several Executive Committee members approached the microphones strategically placed across the hall, mostly to thank Prestol-Puesán for the clarifications provided. “Thank you for the explanations you provided about the use of tithe,” said Inter-American Division treasurer Filiberto Verduzco, summarizing what seemed the general feeling of many church leaders. Requesting further clarification, Norwegian Union president Victor Marley asked about a commitment the GC Investment Management
Juan Prestol-Puesán, General Conference treasurer, presents the Treasurer’s Report at Annual Council 2018, in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Committee made earlier this year to make sure no church funds are invested in corporations that manufacture weapons or are related to it. “Has the action [to divest in those companies] been implemented?” he asked. Prestol-Puesán assured him that that was the case. “Yes, we have divested completely from any suspicious investments,” said PrestolPuesán. “However, there is no way to know every detail of every company in which we invest. But it demands constant overseeing.” GOD WILL PROVIDE
In reflecting on the challenges of the financial management of church funds, Prestol-Puesán quoted a statement of church cofounder Ellen G. White, who wrote, “Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing.”† He concluded by thanking the many supportive leaders and treasurers around the world that facilitate the work of the church and by sharing his unwavering confidence in God’s leading. “The Lord [will] fight the battle for us,” he said. Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), p. 481. †
*The story can be read online at goo.gl/N8ed4X. AdventistWorld.org December 2018
Special Annual Council Coverage
Annual Council Secretary’s Report Highlights Mission
Report emphasizes Seventh-day Adventist mandate to mission.
By Desiree Calixte/ANN Staff
most international Church in the world?” Ng inquired. “It’s because of prophecy!” But, he cautioned, the work is not finished. Using Revelation 10:11 as a mandate, Ng quoted, “ ‘You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.’ ” “These are our marching orders of the Church,” he said, “to spread the gospel all over the world, to proclaim the three angels’ messages.” Concluding his remarks, Ng brought attendees back to Battle Creek. The first 30 years after the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church signaled unparalleled global expansion. “We caught the vision in the early days!” said Ng. “Right here in Battle Creek!” MISSION REPORT
General Conference secretary G.T. Ng introduces the Secretary’s Report at Annual Council 2018 in Battle Creek, Michigan. Photo: Brent Hardinge/ANN
“Where are you physically? and Where are you prophetically? are the two questions we’re going to try to answer during this report,” stated G. T. Ng, executive secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, during the opening remarks of his statement to the 2018 Annual Council delegates. 8
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Known for his quizzes, Ng asked attendees to answer facts about each division. His final question? How many countries and territories does the United Nations recognize (235), and how many countries does the Adventist Church work in (213)? “How in the world did we become a global Church? Probably the
Following his introduction of the Secretary’s Report, Ng introduced Gary Krause, director of Adventist Mission. Krause highlighted several entities that make up the mission family at the General Conference. These include the Office of Archives, Statistics and Research (ASTR); Inter-Division Service Employees (ISE); Deferred Mission Appointee program (DMA); Adventist Volunteer Service (AVS); and the Institute of World Mission (IWM), which gives missionaries cross-cultural tools and training as they enter the field. During his report, Krause highlighted Adventist Mission’s many initiatives, including its “Total Employment Tent Makers Program.” Total Employment allows people to seek job opportunities in their field in challenging places, to engage their communities and share the love of Jesus.
Special Annual Council Coverage
Krause also featured the six Global Mission Centers, a film contest for young adults, and the Adventist Mission Web site that hosts a variety of mission stories, videos, and news items. ENCYCLOPEDIA REPORT
Krause then turned the time over to David Trim, director of ASTR, who introduced Dragoslava Santrac, the new managing editor of the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists (ESDA) project. Santrac stressed the significance of this new online information system, saying, “Leaders of God’s church, church members, the new encyclopedia is not a luxury; it’s necessary.” Santrac outlined the goals for ESDA as follows: To have the ESDA online with at least 2,500 articles and accompanying photos, video, and audio materials launched at the 2020 GC Session. To continually update and expand the ESDA online. To publish the print edition after the first 8,000 articles are available online. In closing, Santrac emphasized, “There are many biblical, theological, and historical resources published by other denominations that our church members can use and find useful, but who will produce an encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists if not us? And if not now, when? Please make ESDA one of your main priorities in the following two years. Together we can achieve the goal to launch the ESDA online in 2020. Together we can make ESDA speak God’s truth and faithfulness to our children and this world until Jesus comes.” According to Santrac, articles will be released on ESDA online starting early next year, with a desire that all divisions and unions are equally represented.
In his statistical report, Trim shared that the Adventist Church has now reached a reported membership of more than 21 million, with latest figures as of June 30, 2018. Last year was the fifteenth year, and the thirteenth in a row, where more than 1 million accessions in a year were reported to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Executive Committee members learned that in the 53 years starting in 1965, there have been 37,138,884 members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Of those, 14,521,008 have chosen to leave, with a net loss rate of 42 percent. In effect, 4 out of every 10 church members are slipping away. Even with those statistics, Trim highlighted accessions are rising and that in 2017, someone became a Seventh-day Adventist every 23 seconds. He attributes this growth to church planting. In the last 12 months, 2,500 new congregations were established—502 churches and 1,998 companies. “If we look at the total numbers over the last 20 years, you can see very steady growth,” said Trim. “To such an extent that the worldwide ratio for Adventists to the population is now at 361 people for every Seventh-day Adventist globally.” Trim continued, “If we use numbers to identify trends in mission, they can help us. If we rely on numbers to shore up our identity, they will harm us.” Referencing Zechariah 4:6, Trim concluded that it’s “‘not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord.”
future of this new tool that makes it easier to connect missionaries with service opportunities. Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, highlighted the need for mission and the use of technology. Referring to VividFaith he said, “The more opportunities we have to serve and share our faith, the brighter and clearer people will see Jesus reflected in each one of us. When the app launches, it is hoped that there will be at least 100 opportunities listed from all across this globe.” INTRODUCTION TO ADVENTIST MISSION
During the last segment of the Secretary’s Report, Cheryl Doss, IWM director, along with representatives from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, introduced a new mission textbook titled Introduction to Adventist Mission. It’s the first textbook of this kind produced by the Adventist Church. Wilson offered a prayer of dedication, asking that the Lord “would use the results of this book to the further expansion of the Adventist mission around the world.” Photo: Brent Hardinge/ANN
To help facilitate mission opportunities, the Adventist Church released VividFaith, a new app that networks people interested in serving. Italo Osorio, architect of VividFaith, asked committee members to focus on the
David Trim, director of Archives Statistics and Research (ASTR), presents during the Secretary’s report to the Seventh-day Adventist Church Executive Committee’s Annual Council 2018. AdventistWorld.org December 2018
Uplifted: Restoring God’s Image Jesus’ example provides the blueprint for how He expects us to treat people.
od smiled, remembering the sheer joy of shaping Adam’s perfect body out of clay. Now His loving fingers were sculpting Eve, a perfect woman made from Adam’s flesh. It was not enough to speak His children into being, like the rest of creation. God wanted to make them with His own hands, impress His own image on their hearts, and create them for loving relationships. They were equal and complementary. They would care for each other, their family, and all of creation (see Gen. 1:26-28). We are all equally precious to God, created to live in harmony with each other, blessing each other, being humble, lifting each other up, and protecting each other, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or any other difference. No human being is more important than any other. No one is entitled to 10
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put others down, abuse them, hurt them, or control them. For thousands of years, through pride and selfishness, many have misused their power and opted for oppression, coercion, abuse, and violence. Children, women, “outsiders,” and other vulnerable people are most at risk. But destructive and devastating imbalances of power are not part of God’s plan, whether the power is between master and slave, Jew and Gentile, adult and child, or man and woman. Those who wield power over others are often motivated by pride, greed, selfishness, violence, and lust. Worst of all, they misrepresent the unselfish, loving, and protective character of God. THE JESUS PARADIGM
Jesus was born into a world broken by those who had misused their spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual powers. He came to move relationships toward the loving mutuality that God originally intended, putting things right again, healing those who are broken; Photo: Annie Spratt
lifting up those who are crushed; and showing us how to live with servant hearts. All of His social interactions were infused with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22, 23). When the woman caught in adultery is thrown at His feet like a bag of garbage, He writes, and carefully erases, a series of private comments in the sand, showing respect for everyone’s dignity. He accepts her, forgives her, and turns her world around. For what may have been the first time in her life she understands what it means to be truly loved. Jesus goes out of His way to meet a Samaritan woman drawing water from a well in the noonday heat. Jews looked down on Samaritans, and the Samaritans looked down on her. But Jesus refuses to judge her, or to abuse His position as a male Jew. He chooses to become vulnerable, and simply asks her for a drink of water. She is startled by this man who treats her with gentle dignity, even though He knows the darkest secrets of her heart. As they talk she regains her value as a human being, secure in God’s love, and leaves with the confidence to evangelize her entire town (John 4:1-42). Jesus is jostled by a woman who has bled for many years. She’s exhausted, impoverished, and downtrodden. She believes her only hope is to touch the hem of
Jesus’ robe and disappear into the crowd. Jesus senses the cry of her heart and the faith in her touch. He holds His power humbly. He doesn’t say ‘I healed you.’ He says her faith has healed her (Mark 5:34). He restores her dignity as well as her health. A widow shyly drops two pennies into the offering box and hurries away. But Jesus notices. In a voice just loud enough for her to hear, He expresses his deep appreciation for her faithful generosity. She walks away, tears in her eyes, knowing she is more precious to God than all the money in the world. Overwhelmed by love and gratitude, Mary pours perfume over Jesus’ feet. When Simon and Judas use the moment to shame and insult her, Jesus silences them. He will not tolerate their prideful attitude or verbal abuse. In sharp contrast to their cruel cynicism, Jesus speaks kindly and eloquently. He publicly honors Mary and firmly puts the abusive men in their place. He invites us to speak out and follow His example. IMITATING JESUS
Jesus showed deep respect for women, children, lepers, tax collectors, and Samaritans. He welcomed them warmly. He lifted them up when society broke them down. He would not tolerate anyone’s superior and hurtful
Uplifting Relationships As you meet people in your everyday life, notice your response to them. Reflect on your thoughts, challenge them, and act in ways that lift up those around you. Do you feel superior to those you are with? If so, where has this idea come from? Why do you feel this way? How
attitudes toward any of His created children. He spoke up and spoke out to defend the vulnerable, even when His was the only voice. He used His power to rebalance a world infused with Satan’s continual hunger for superiority. Proverbs 31 describes a noble woman. She is proactive in her home, her work, and her community. She is respected alongside her husband. She runs several businesses, but she is humble and caring enough to rise up early and make food for her servants. There is also a backstory: her husband honors her and calls her blessed. Whenever someone is empowered and uplifted, the encourager is blessed, the uplifted person is blessed, and the entire community around them is blessed. Paul summarizes Jesus’ way of treating people: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Rom. 12:10, NIV). When we misuse our power and disrespect others we fall much lower than those we’re pushing down. But when we follow Jesus’ example of loving and respecting others, we’re all uplifted, and we grow closer to God’s original design for all of our relationships.
Karen Holford is a certified family therapist and family ministries director of the Trans-European Division with headquarters in England.
can you see others as equal to you in the eyes of God? How might you take a step down, like Jesus, and lift them up? Do you feel inferior to those you are with? If so, where has this idea come from? Why do you feel this way? How can you see others as equal to you in the eyes of God? What might Jesus say or do to lift you up again? How can you see every person you meet as a fellow human being made in the image of God, worthy of your love, respect, support, and protection? What can you do to lift up those who are downtrodden in your context, just as Jesus did in His? AdventistWorld.org December 2018
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12).*
e live in times when the front pages of daily papers and news outlets are full of seemingly unending reports of sexual harassment, abuse, and neglect of women. This is not a new phenomenon. If Jesus lived among us today, most probably He would stand in a public place and read aloud from the same scriptures: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18). CREATION FOUNDATIONS
Learning From the Master How Jesus modeled respect and care for women 12
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A foundational expression of God’s respect for humanity can be traced to the very beginning, when God resolved to create humanity in His own image. Women, like men, bear that same image of God even though sin has marred it in all humanity. Although Adam was created first, he viewed Eve as an equal the moment he first saw her (cf. Gen. 2:23). Taking a rib from Adam to create Eve engendered love and respect between man and woman. Paul alludes to this by stating, “He who loves his wife loves himself” (Eph. 5:28). God loves and respects both men and women. He expects all humanity to do the same, including women respecting themselves. Even after sin, men and women became recipients of God’s grace. Jesus’ regard and respect for women was very evident in His life and ministry; it was actually revolutionary. Graeco-Roman and contemporary Jewish cultures prevalent during His time on earth considered women inferior to men. Photo: Sharina Mae Agellon
He demonstrated an attitude and relationship to women that was very different from the traditional practices of His time. Many examples in the Bible demonstrate this; we can refer only to a few here. RESPECT AND LOVING CARE
It is often said that if you want to know how a young man will treat his wife, see first how he relates to his mother and sisters. The Bible does not record much about the relationship between Jesus and His mother. But three recorded incidents give us glimpses of a cordial and respectful relationship. When Jesus was left behind by His parents at the Temple, they found Him engaged in discussions with teachers of the Temple. His mother inquired as to why He had treated them like that. Jesus responded, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). This was not a rude, disrespectful response. It was meant to educate the parents. Mary was not offended by the response but rather “treasured all these things in her heart” (verse 51). After this short respectful exchange, Luke records that Jesus went to Nazareth “with them and was obedient to them” (verse 51). At the wedding in Cana Mary, Jesus’ mother, came and reported to her Son that there was no more wine for the visitors. Even though His time had not come, Jesus proceeded to provide wine. Mary’s act of bringing this request to her adult Son indicates that a trusting and respectful relationship existed between them. Jesus’ act at the wedding affirmed heaven’s attitudes toward women. As Jesus hung dying on the cross, He looked at His mother and said, “Woman, here is your son.” Then, looking to John the beloved disciple, Jesus said, “Here is your mother” (John 19:25-27). Jesus cared deeply
for His mother. At death He still made sure His mother was provided for. It is God’s will that children should honor their parents and Jesus did. To Jesus Mary was more than just a mother; she was a daughter of God, whom God loved and Jesus respected. CROSSING CULTURAL DIVIDES
Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well is yet another countercultural demonstration of how Jesus treated women. He broke down cultural barriers of prejudice by sitting at the well in broad daylight and respectfully asking the woman for a drink. The woman was shocked: “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (John 4:9). Jesus did not look at women through the lenses of traditions and culture; He viewed them as God, who had created them, would view them. Recognizing the demons in the life of the woman, Jesus offered her the best gift—the water of life. “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (verse 10). Jesus did not abuse or harass her; He sought to elevate and restore her worth. When Mary anointed Jusus’ feet, Judas proposed that the money spent for the perfume should have been donated for the cause of the poor. Jesus immediately came to Mary’s defense. “‘Leave her alone,’ Jesus replied. ’It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial’” (John 12:7). When a group of Jewish women brought their children to Jesus for a blessing, an act that was very much countercultural, the disciples held them back. Jesus took notice, interrupted His teaching, and ordered, “Let the little children come to me, do not hinder them”
Jesus cared deeply for His mother. At death He still made sure His mother was provided for. (Matt. 19:14). Jesus affirmed the value of both children and women across cultures in all generations. THE ULTIMATE LOVE
A woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus by the teachers of the law and Pharisees. Conveniently, they had forgotten to bring the man with whom she had committed adultery. Jesus bade the woman’s accusers to stone her if they were sinless, but none did and they all left. Turning to the woman, He said: “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” When the woman replied that no one had, Jesus replied, “Then neither do I condemn you” and “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:10, 11). Without condoning adultery Jesus rebuked the unjust treatment the accusers had sought to bring upon the woman. Jesus esteemed women and defended them against belittling cultural practices. Christ’s ultimate expression of equal love and respect for men and women can be seen plainly on the cross. He gave His life for all. Cultural practices that underrate, vilify, harass, or abuse women work against the spirit of Jesus. Rather, His currency is love and mutual respect, freely given to all who are in need of truly amazing grace. All Scripture quotations have been taken from the New International Version. 1
Geoffrey G. Mbwana, originally from Tanzania, serves as a general vice president at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States. AdventistWorld.org December 2018
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work How a Malagasy couple learned together and blessed an entire community.
or anyone watching the news on television or scanning news reports on a smartphone or tablet, headlines often contain multiple reports of assault and mistreatment toward women. In fact, such stories can be found every single day in every part of the world. But for one farmer on the island nation of Madagascar, off the eastern coast of Africa, it is not enough to hear of these stories and simply feel bad about them. Instead, he sees action as central to his beliefs as a servant of God. Along with his wife, he has become a health-care provider working for women in their region to receive quality care for themselves and their families. Jean (42) and Hanta (37) Rasamiarisoa are a farming couple who work long hours each day to make a living off the land and raise seven children. Like most women in her nation, Hanta cares for their children in the home, prepares meals, and washes and makes clothes for the family. 14
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“In the Malagasy culture, caring for children is traditionally seen as a woman’s work,” says Mireille Ravoninjatovo, communications officer for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Madagascar. “However, in the Ampitana community, located in south central Madagascar, this husband and wife have teamed up to promote mother and child health and hygiene care.” TEAMING UP
For years Jean and Hanta’s community was plagued by pneumonia, diarrhea, and malnutrition. The death toll in the Ampitana area kept climbing. In 2014 ADRA implemented the USAID-funded ASOTRY project in Madagascar. ASOTRY means “harvest” in Malagasy, and the project is a five-year food security program. ADRA worked with the Photo: ADRA International
Jean and Hanta, spouses and team partners, have improved the well-being of their entire community by working together.
Ampitana village to appoint women to become lead mothers for this initiative, which enabled them to receive special health-care training to combat malnutrition by increasing access to food and improving disaster preparedness. A major component of ASOTRY is encouraging women as caretakers to promote mother and child health to reduce child mortality and growth issues. After intense training, the lead mothers meet with women in care groups and share what they learned. Lead mothers also visit women in their homes to give them detailed instructions about nutrition, breastfeeding, prenatal care, and personal hygiene issues. Since the ASOTRY project started, more than 2,000 women have become lead mothers, and more than 16,000 women from the village have benefited from the program’s activities.
“When Hanta and Jean heard about the ASOTRY project, they were reluctant and refused to take part,” Ravoninjatovo says. “A major problem was that Hanta was illiterate, and Jean and Hanta feared that as a result of that challenge she would not be able to train and pass on the lessons taught to other women.” But other members of the community wanted Hanta to become a lead mother and insisted that she enroll. The couple eventually agreed, and Hanta started the training program. As she feared, Hanta initially couldn’t read the lessons taught during her classes and struggled to keep up with the other trainees. But Jean encouraged her to stick with it, assisting his wife with the care group she organized and helping to enlist women she could visit. The couple shared the training sessions together, and found the experience both informative and practical. All this occurred while the couple operated a busy farm and raised a large family. Sometimes Jean left the farming behind to accompany his wife in her outreach to area women, even teaching lessons himself about prenatal care, danger signs, and breastfeeding. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Since the ASOTRY program was implemented, tremendous changes have been made through the efforts of lead mothers, including Jean and Hanta, who were willing to train women and families about better health-care practices. “People relieved themselves in public, didn’t wash their hands with soap, and didn’t go to the hospital when they were sick,” says Jean. “Now, community members wash their hands with soap, they visit the hospital, and some households in our community have their own latrine or have made arrangements with other families to share one.”
Jean and Hanta noticed that their children have also developed healthier habits after listening to their parents’ lessons and haven’t become sick as often. “The community suffered greatly from diarrhea and malaria,” Jean says. “Today they know how to prevent those illnesses through the education my wife and I have taught them.” Hanta is proud of the work she has accomplished and continues to serve as a lead mother. “I enjoy being a lead mother, but I almost stopped because of my illiteracy,” she says. “My husband volunteered to help me, and I continued. Now I have no difficulty doing this activity because he helps me.” ASOTRY also provides a literacy program that Hanta enrolled in. Her reading skill levels have improved, expanding her effectiveness as a lead mother. She and her husband are still providing health education in their village. “I work with her because I enjoy the knowledge that the project shares, and I appreciate the changes I’ve noticed in the community,” Jean says. “I want to be a model for the other fathers in my village.” ADRA continues its involvement with ASOTRY in Madagascar and other regions of Africa. Farmer families like the Rasamiarisoas have access to improved tools and equipment, providing villages with savings and loan options, and increasing access to veterinary support services. Most important, projects such as this demonstrate God’s love and care for all His children—men, women, boys, and girls—with a little help from committed families who are willing to work and serve together.
Kimi-Roux James serves as communication specialist at ADRA International. For more information about ADRA, visit adra.org.
AdventistWorld.org December 2018
The following is an excerpt from the sermon delivered at Annual Council, October 13, 2018.—Editors
The Past With a Future Looking back to move forward
December 2018 AdventistWorld.org
hat a privilege to be in Battle Creek, Michigan, as we focus on “The Past With a Future: Looking Back to Move Forward Led by God.” The Lord has been leading His people and is about to accomplish His final work through them, proclaiming the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, and the fourth angel’s message of Revelation 18, calling people to come out of confusion and into full Bible truth. The three angels’ messages have at their core the righteousness of Jesus Christ and turning people back to the true worship of God in preparation for Christ’s soon coming. Contemporary society is full of influences that seek to derail and destabilize God’s church from its heaven-entrusted mission of proclaiming prophetic truth in anticipation of Christ’s return. My message is for every church member around the world, including each of us here in Battle Creek, since we are all local members somewhere. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23). Let us hold fast the confession of our faith as the pioneers did. They faced many obstacles and antagonism, just as we do. But let us hold fast to our belief in God’s truth, His Word, and His love for His church. This church will not fail; it will not fall apart. Our church, God’s church, will go through to the end through the power of the Holy Spirit. STAND FIRM
I urge everyone to plead for the latter rain as we see the world around us disintegrating. God will pour out His Spirit on all who humble themselves and conform their lives to His will as revealed in His Holy Word and in the Spirit of Prophecy. Stand firm for the biblical truth that the Godhead is constituted by three divine, equal Persons from eternity. There are those who proclaim some aberrant, confusing anti-Trinitarian heresies. Our pioneers faced this and were led to a right understanding by the Scriptures and the guidance of Ellen White’s writings. Hold fast and stand firm for God’s truth! He is with us. There may be some who introduce and flaunt worldliness in personal dress, lifestyle, and conduct. Brothers and sisters, stand firm for God’s simple truth and lifestyle! Some may overemphasize social issues while neglecting biblical truth and its relevance today. There are appropriate social issues we need to address, but always within the context of God’s last-day warning. Jesus exclaims, “Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Rev. 3:11). You may face those who attempt to neutralize Sabbath observance and biblical creation. Stand firm for God’s truth that this earth was created recently in six literal days, and the Sabbath is God’s creation memorial. Let us “remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Ex. 20:8). You may encounter those who show contempt for anyone living a simple, healthy plant-based lifestyle according to biblical Photo: Daniel Fossum
and Spirit of Prophecy counsel. Kindly stand firm for God’s truth! HOLD FAST
Some in your church family may manifest a strange independence of spirit leading to disunity. But there are many in the church resisting these attempts, and the Lord will prevail! The pioneers faced similar situations, and the same God who guided them is still leading us today. Christ charges us: “Hold fast . . . till I come” (Rev. 2:25). There are influences outside and within the church attempting to change God’s institution of biblical marriage between one man and one woman. Stand firm for God’s Word as it confirms biblical marriage, biblical human sexuality, and the biblical family as instituted by God Himself. There may be those in your local church who show a lack of spiritual respect for church authority. My brothers and sisters, be of good courage and stand firm for God’s truth! You may meet some who share disparaging remarks and a disinterest in the Spirit of Prophecy. Friends, the Spirit of Prophecy is one of God’s greatest gifts to His last-day remnant church. Continue to stand firm! Some may promote unscriptural methods of church growth, revealing a distrust for God’s Word and inspired counsel—keep resisting these attempts. Hold fast to God’s Word. “Test all things; hold fast what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). Some discard the unique role of God’s Advent movement in favor of ecumenical influences. Avoid ecumenical compromises and stand firm for God’s truth! Others attempt to downplay, distort, or destroy Christ’s provision of righteousness by faith by denying His justifying and sanctifying power. But God’s instruction remains relevant: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in
my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12, 13). DAILY SURRENDER
“Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church,” writes Ellen White. “When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.”* Christ will reproduce His character in us as we daily surrender our will to Him. Stand firm for God’s truth and His righteousness! There may be some who de-emphasize the distinctive Christ-centered doctrines of the Bible, criticizing God’s prophetic timetable, including the pivotal ending of the 2300-day prophecy in 1844. Many in the church, however, are resisting these attempts; you are not alone. “That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us” (2 Tim. 1:14). There may be those in your local church who introduce worldly music and unbiblical worship styles. There are, however, many in the church who are resisting these attempts. “Hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (Heb. 3:6). Some discourage wide circulation of heaven-inspired books such as The Great Controversy. Ellen White, however, declared that The Great Controversy should be distributed more than any other book she produced. Stand firm for God’s truth!
Jesus Christ is the true leader of this church. He is the only one who can guide us safely to our heavenly home. generation and see Jesus come in their lifetime?” What a privilege to realize that Christ wants to come back as soon as possible. We can be ready and share this hope through complete dependence on Christ! United in our hope of Christ’s soon coming, stand firm for God’s truth! The Seventh-day Adventist Church has been called to a unique place in history. God intends that His church move forward, led by Christ Himself. Difficult days lie ahead as the devil throws everything he can against the forward advance of God’s Advent movement. We know that the omega is coming that will test all who rely completely on God to avoid overwhelming deception. As long as we—both individually and as a united body—keep our eyes fixed on Christ, we are safe. Let’s stop looking to each other or to so-called outside experts, to worldly influences or errant theological thinking. Let’s stop looking to humanly devised church-growth methods and turn our eyes upon Jesus. Jesus Christ is the true leader of this church. He is the only one who can guide us safely to our heavenly home. * Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1900, 1941), p. 69.
THE LAST GENERATION
Church family, there are those in our ranks who disparage our hopeful expectation to be the last generation before Christ’s soon coming. I ask, “Who would not want to be part of the last
Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Additional articles and commentaries are available from the president’s office on Twitter: @ pastortedwilson, and on Facebook: @Pastor Ted Wilson.
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Spirit of Prophecy
The Birth of Christ
An unfathomable mystery
Bethlehem’s manger is still the divine Son of God? Though we cannot understand it, we can believe that He, who made the worlds, for our sakes became a helpless babe. Though higher than any of the angels, though as great as the Father on the throne of heaven, He became one with us. In Him God and [humanity] became one, and it is in this fact that we find the hope of our fallen race. Looking upon Christ in the flesh, we look upon God in humanity, and see in Him the brightness of divine glory, the express image of God the Father (Selected Messages, book 3, pp. 127, 128). THE INCARNATION
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:14).
e cannot understand how Christ became a little, helpless babe. He could have come to earth in such beauty that He would have been unlike the sons of men. His face could have been bright with light, and His form could have been tall and beautiful. He could have come in such a way as to charm those who looked upon Him; but this was not the way that God planned He should come among the sons of men. HUMAN IN EVERY WAY
He was to be like those who belonged to the human family and to the Jewish race. His features were to be like those of other human beings, and He was not to have such beauty of person as to make people point Him out as different from others. He was to come as one of the human family, and to stand as a man before heaven and earth. He had come to take [humanity’s] place, to pledge Himself in [humanity’s] behalf, to pay the debt that sinners owed. He was to live a pure life on the earth, and show that Satan had told a falsehood when he claimed that the human family belonged to him forever, and that God could not take [humanity] out of his hands. Men first beheld Christ as a babe, as a child. . . . The more we think about Christ’s becoming a babe here on earth, the more wonderful it appears. How can it be that the helpless babe in 18
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In contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind cannot comprehend. The more we reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. How wide is the contrast between the divinity of Christ and the helpless infant in Bethlehem’s manger! How can we span the distance between the mighty God and a helpless child? And yet the Creator of worlds, He in whom was the fullness of the Godhead bodily, was manifest in the helpless babe in the manger. Far higher than any of the angels, equal with the Father in dignity and glory, and yet wearing the garb of humanity! Divinity and humanity were mysteriously combined, and [humanity] and God became one. It is in this union that we find the hope of our fallen race (Signs of the Times, July 30, 1896).
This excerpt is taken from Lift Him Up (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1988), p. 75. Seventhday Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.
The Heart of God’s Plan
ut what are they among so many?” (John 6:9). It was the question asked when five barley loaves and two small fish were brought to Jesus amid a hungry crowd. It was also the question I asked as I struggled to embrace my calling. “I barely have five loaves and two fish. There are people in the crowd who have more than I do. I’m too small, and my contribution is insignificant. Would it make a difference if I went up to Jesus and gave Him my all?” A brief glance into my conversations with God. God had been my friend and counselor since my early teen years. The many moves I experienced as a pastor’s kid and missionary kid led me to the one constant. As He spoke to me, I knew I wanted to serve Him. I dreamed of becoming a missionary, but I never imagined pursuing theology and serving God as a vocation. So when He spoke to me clearly and opened only one door, I couldn’t comprehend His plan. The call became real. I ran away from it like Jonah, made excuses like Moses, wrestled with it like Jacob; and there remained deep restlessness. But God relentlessly pursued and persevered until I gave in. I finally obeyed and entered into this pact halfheartedly. My journey in the seminary began. I dreaded introductions and dodged them to my best ability. The looks of surprise, bewilderment, and dismay haunted me. In India the career choices of children brought pride to the family. But I was treading a path less traveled, which brought little or no honor to my family. Once more I tried to talk God out of His plan for me with logical arguments. I said, “I am not tailored for ministry; I am sensitive and
fragile; people will never accept me for who I am; there are many out there who are better than I am,” and so on. He patiently listened to me for years and finally answered, “When you are weak, you are strong.” I paused, bowed my head, and replied as Mary did: “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). All the while I had been asking the wrong questions. I needed only to be still, believe, and surrender. From then on I tuned out the voices and looks of discouragement, and held on to the support of God and my loved ones. I replaced the fear of loss, ridicule, and failure with the promises of God. Now I continue to hold on to the Author’s hand and follow in obedience to His will. Living in His strength, I persevere on this road. The next time you find yourself in the middle of a crowd that is needy and you hear God saying, “Give them to eat,” do not look inside your basket or be distracted by the voices in the crowd. Just look to Jesus. Bring Him your barley loaves and fish. He will feed the multitude. His command is a promise. Believe that He will provide the means to accomplish His work and that He is leading you into the future He has in store for you. Embrace your calling and find yourself in the heart of God’s plan.
Beersheba Maywald, originally from Tamil Nadu in India, is persuing a Master’s degree in Religion with a New Testament focus at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in Silang, Cavite, Philippines.
AdventistWorld.org December 2018
The Woman Who Built a Nation
ome stories in Scripture are just plain difficult to understand. Yet if we pay careful attention, we may discover unexpected blessings and helpful lessons for our own lives. Rizpah’s story falls into this category. Most of us may have never heard her name. She appears only twice in Scripture. The first time she emerges she seems to be a pawn caught between two powerful men. Ish-bosheth, one of King Saul’s surviving sons, has been made king of Israel by Abner, Saul’s mighty general. At the same time, Judah had anointed David king. There was strife and civil war in Israel. Second Samuel 3 describes the strife within Ishbosheth’s camp. The insecure, slightly paranoid king of Israel suspects treason all around him. In 2 Samuel 3:7, 8 he insults his general, Abner, by accusing him of having slept with Rizpah, Saul’s concubine. At a distance of three millennia, we may not grasp the enormity of this accusation. Concubines were wives of lower status whose children were considered part of the husband’s household and his rightful heirs. Ish-bosheth’s accusation was serious—it suggested an act of open rebellion (cf. Absalom in 2 Sam. 16:21, 22). But for Ish-bosheth, Rizpah was just a nameless piece 20
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of royal real estate; in fact, in 2 Samuel 3:7, 8 he calls her “my father’s concubine.” It seems as if Rizpah isn’t a person with a name, feelings, and a history. Instead, she is a pawn in a royal gamble. Like so many others through history, she was thought of as powerless, voiceless—an object to be manipulated. Abner’s reaction (“this woman” in verse 8) similarly reflects Ish-bosheth’s indifference toward Rizpah. Abner’s pride, however had been severely hurt by the accusation, and he decides to join David’s camp, marking the beginning of the end for Ish-bosheth. Soon David is crowned king over all the 12 tribes of Israel (2 Sam. 5:1-3). JUSTICE
Rizpah’s second appearance in the biblical text can be found in 2 Samuel 21:1-14. It’s a difficult story that happened in difficult times. We are told two crucial pieces of information. First, “there was a famine” lasting three years. The second piece of information involves King David himself. Faced with the unexplainable drought, he “inquired of the Lord.” David, the anointed of the Lord, continues to run to God when he feels inadequate or helpless. Here is the good news of 2 Samuel 21:1: God is still talking to His people. God isn’t far removed, uninterested, or too busy. The message, however, is ominous: “There is bloodguilt Photo: Mathilda Khoo
on Saul and on his house, because he put the Gibeonites to death” (verse 1, ESV).1 Bloodguilt, especially when designated by God Himself, cannot be resolved by cash or gifts. Bloodguilt requires the shedding of blood (cf. Gen. 9:6; 37:22; Num. 35:33; Deut. 21:7). We aren’t told the exact nature of Saul’s bloodguilt involving the Gibeonites. No gruesome details or shocking revelations—just a simple verdict. We are told that the Gibeonites (who were part of the Amorites or Canaanites living in Canaan during the time of the conquest; cf. Joshua 9) suffered from Saul’s genocidal zeal. David’s address to the Gibeonites is straightforward and very personal. “What shall I do for you? And how shall I make atonement, that you may bless the heritage of the Lord?” (2 Sam. 21:3, ESV). David takes this very personally. The rest of the dialogue is quickly summarized. The Gibeonites understand that bloodguilt requires the shedding of blood—but not just any blood. They ask for the lives of seven descendants of Saul—and David agrees to the terms. We cringe at this turn of events. This doesn’t sound like the God of the New Testament who offers willingly (albeit with tears in His eyes) His Son as a sacrifice to take away the sin of the world—or does it? Can the story of David and the Gibeonites help us understand the good news of salvation in more powerful ways? In both stories, we are reminded that atonement requires the shedding of blood. The next part of the story reintroduces Rizpah into the biblical narrative. Two of the seven descendants of Saul who were executed “on the mountain before the Lord” are her sons. According to the biblical text, all this happened “at the beginning of the barley harvest” (verse 9, ESV), sometime at the end of March or the early days of April. A QUIET GUARD BECOMES A NATION BUILDER
This is Rizpah’s moment, and she appears on the scene without a royal announcement or the blast of a trumpet. Rizpah doesn’t talk; she acts. She stays when the shame is made public. She protects the corpses of the executed members of her family against desecration and destruction. If the reference to the beginning of the rainy season refers to the autumn rainy season, then Rizpah guarded the bodies for six months! Imagine the hardship of fending off predators and suffering the accusing looks of the people who walked past—day in and day out. In biblical times the ultimate retribution against an enemy was the desecration of his corpse by savage animals (cf. 2 Kings 9:36). Rizpah doesn’t allow that to happen. We never hear from Rizpah during her vigil. We never hear her voice while two powerful men argue over her. We never see her claim a stake in the struggle for
power and influence. Rizpah simply acts. Her powerful quiet witness speaks volumes and even reaches David’s court—and heart. In fact, it is Rizpah’s unselfish service that ultimately paves the way for David, the nation-builder. When the king is told that Rizpah has faithfully guarded the dead bodies of the men of Saul’s household, something in his heart seems to “click.” Finally, David acts, and he orders the remains of Saul, of Jonathan, and all the other deceased members of Saul’s family be taken to their ancestral resting place in the territory of Benjamin. It’s the beginning of national reconciliation. It’s only after the burial of the deceased of Saul’s family that “God heeded supplications for the land” (verse 14, NRSV).2 The famine was broken. WHAT CAN WE LEARN?
Here are three lessons we can learn from one of Scripture’s shadow figures. God can use anybody to change the course of history. Imagine David’s story without Rizpah. There most likely wouldn’t have been a united monarchy; civil war may have prevailed. Even more significant: there wouldn’t have been national reconciliation. The Benjamites would have felt marginalized, which, most likely, would have led to unrest—and more civil war. I know God’s possibilities are endless, but Rizpah was available and willing to step into the breach. God doesn’t want us to play power games. Rizpah didn’t instigate a coup d’état at Ish-bosheth’s compound on the other side of the Jordan. Her silent appearance is a good reminder that there are moments when we need to “be still” and watch for God’s hand working in our lives. Other moments require boldness, vigor, and action. Understanding God’s goal for us in a given situation isn’t always easy. Our natural bent—male and female—is toward control and dominance, instead of humble service and godly action. Rizpah knows what she needs to do. She knows that she is safe only under God’s protective shield. How did she know that? Who told her? What made her stay and bear the shame? Somehow she must have recognized that her worth was anchored in the One who controlled even powerful King David—Yahweh, the Lord of Israel. Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 2 Bible texts credited to NRSV are 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. 1
Gerald A. Klingbeil is an associate editor of Adventist World who enjoys reading the lesser-known stories of Scripture.
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Faith in Action
“What Are They Among So Many?” W
e finally find Shanifa* standing by the statue waiting for us in Bourj Hammoud, a poor, crowded suburb in Beirut, Lebanon. We have some groceries to deliver to her from the Middle East University church. She is older than I expected, and she looks thin and careworn. Her eyes, however, sparkle with anticipation. She is happy to meet us. Three students and I follow her down the street and up the narrow, stuffy steps to her apartment. Inside, her husband is sitting on a couch with a breathing machine over his nose and mouth. He looks very sick—like the living dead. We deposit our grocery bags on the cluttered living room floor and sit down on comfortable but worn furniture. Shanifa starts pulling out medical bills and showing us all the medicine her husband needs and the overwhelming hospital bills she has. Sometimes her husband opens his eyes; sometimes they are closed. I wonder how much longer he will live. He pulls his bathrobe around him for warmth. Shanifa seems just to need someone to talk to, though she is clearly desperate for help. Ever gracious and hospitable, she passes candies and sweets around as we chat. Our students wonder aloud whether they might be able to get insulin (for the husband’s diabetes) from Egypt, which would be cheaper. Shanifa’s problems and financial stress just keep pouring out, and she repeats her problems again and again, as if, perhaps, we didn’t believe her the first time. 22
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Shanifa then wants to know if we would like to visit her daughter, a 10-minute walk away. She wonders if we have anything we could give her daughter, but we are already out of groceries. She says her daughter has a little girl who has special needs. We say a prayer for this needy household; then we are off to our next visit. Shanifa leads us down a crowded street with cars passing much too close for comfort, and into another dark and dreary apartment block. Inside we find her daughter, Luna, with little Ariane sitting on her lap. The patient mother is trying to feed her terribly disabled daughter with the tiny, twisted body. Don’t cry! I remind myself. We are here to share just a little love and support. But I have a daughter too, and this is hard on a father’s heart. In an instant I am keenly aware of my own blessings, while at the same time overwhelmed by the hopelessness of the situation I am experiencing. Ariane doesn’t look like much more than a baby. I ask her age. She is 21! She has to wear diapers. She can’t speak, but she can smile! The mother looks older than what she probably is. She tries patiently and lovingly to feed the daughter, who has problems eating
Photos: Qasim Sadiq, Firdaus Ansari, Mosoianu Bogdan, Samridhhi Sondhi, Ali Marel, and Marie Couffon De Trevros
because of what seems to be a gum infection. They want to show me what the problem is, so I go over. Then the mother wants to show me something else on Ariane’s side. I have to tell them that I am not a medical person and that I can’t help. How frustrating! Luna explains that no one helps them because her husband is a foreigner. She asks me to pray for them. What can I say? Their situation is so desperate. During the prayer I mention how Jesus is always with us even through difficult times. I ask for a blessing on the family and for the angels to be with them. MORE POVERTY
Luna asks if we can visit their friends, whom she describes as very, very poor. We say goodbye and continue to head up many more dirty sets of stairs to make yet another visit. We finally arrive at the door, and an older gentleman with only two very crooked teeth welcomes us in. The stuffy room reeks so much of cigarette smoke that it is hard to keep from coughing. There is very little air in the room. The man’s wife, terribly thin, is bedridden. We sit down and visit. I am surprised that the husband speaks English. I have to listen very hard, but I manage to carry on a conversation.
There is a beautiful painting of Jesus standing on the water and saving Peter, who is sinking. On the wall behind me is a portrayal of the Last Supper. I learn that these pictures were painted by their son. The room has a few simple chairs and two beds. The wife is able to sit up, and we learn that she has heart problems. If I understand properly, she has a stent in her artery. She is also diabetic. She is just so thin. A huge bundle of cigarettes sits on the table next to her, presumably her husband’s. The husband shows us her foot, which has red toes that are kind of squished together and look raw and sore. He says his wife can’t sleep because of the pain in her legs. Diabetes is taking its toll on her life. Soon our third visit draws to an end. We offer another prayer and make our way back through the crowded street. The students apologize to an angry shop owner who complains about where our car is parked. He seems OK in the end. One of the students turns and asks, “Can we go somewhere before we go back to campus?” We are all deep in our own thoughts and need to share our experience and debrief before heading back. We end up at the mall for a bite to eat and a chance to talk after the traumatizing and heartbreaking visits.
SO MANY NEEDS!
There are so many needs. And so much of what we saw is preventable. Sharing the love of God can make such a difference, but I feel so helpless. What we did is like a drop in the bucket. Even the few groceries we brought remind me of the disciples’ comment about the five loaves and two fish: “What are these among so many?” (John 6:9). We visited three apartments in Bourj Hammoud. There are probably hundreds of apartment blocks in this suburb and thousands of poor people who need practical and spiritual help. What are three visits in the face of such needs? But we have to do what we can. Sometimes we are too comfortable in this world. But today I came face to face with the toll that sin is taking on humanity. What can we do among so many needs? So little. Not enough. But we must try. I realize that God calls us to make a difference, even if it is just in one person’s life. * Personal names in this story have been changed.
George D. Jackson is dean of the Arts and Sciences Department at Middle East University in Beirut, Lebanon.
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eventh-day Adventists are found today throughout the entire globe thanks to evangelistic efforts spearheaded and funded largely by North Americans since the mid-nineteenth century. The movement may have its roots in other lands even earlier, and 2018 may rightfully be celebrated as a significant bicentennial. This is affirmed on the basis of a recently recovered manuscript, thought to be lost, dating from around 1818, and authored by someone who not only believed in the soon Second Coming, but also in the biblical Sabbath and the unconscious state of those who are dead. BEFORE THE MILLERITES
Francisco H. Ramos MejĂa Herald of Protestant truth
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The Millerite movement, begun in the United States in the 1840s, was preceded by the European Advent Awakening in the late 1820s. This Advent awakening was heavily influenced by the book The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty, written by Jesuit priest Manuel Lacunza (b. Chile, 1731-d. Italy, 1801), while he was exiled in the Papal States in the 1790s. This work showed that the Bible places the Second Coming before, not after, the millennium. All of Christendom at the time thought the event would be postponed until after all the governments of the world would be subject to the Christian church in millennial peace and prosperity. Edward Irving translated Lacunzaâ€™s manuscript into English in 1825, and enthusiasts in prophecy began to study it in earnest during the Albury Park Conferences (1826-1831) near London, England. Public dialogue on the issue spread to other venues, publications, and books. Soon the understanding of the Second Coming happening before the millennium came to be accepted by evangelical churches. Traditional churches, Catholic or Protestant, were, however, too tied to their governments to accept the ideas of Lacunza and Albury Park, which did not require the conversion of the world but only the worldwide preaching of the gospel as prerequisite for the Second Coming. William Miller reached his own premillennial conviction in 1816-1818 after checking the biblical foundations of the Christian premillennial ideas of his time. When the echoes of the English Advent Awakening reached the shores of North America Miller was invited to preach, thereby launching the North American Advent movement. While Miller is the most important precedent of Seventh-day Adventism in the North America of the nineteenth century, he differed from modern Seventh-day Adventists on two important points. Miller rejected the seventh-day Sabbath and the unconscious state of Illustration: Brett Meliti
the dead. The biblical Sabbath, however, was accepted by a group of Millerites led by Joseph Bates and James White between 1848 and 1850. George Storrs, another Millerite preacher, convinced them concerning the unconscious state of the dead. MEANWHILE, IN SOUTH AMERICA
But in South America another man preached the entire package of doctrines that now characterize Seventh-day Adventists decades before Bates and White did. Francisco H. Ramos Mejía (or Mexia, 1773-1828), educated in a Catholic seminary in Argentina, acquired Lacunza’s work in 1816 or 1817. Ramos Mejía wrote abundant notes on its pages, defending not only premillennialism but also the unconscious state of those who are dead. In 1820 he was ordered by the government in Buenos Aires to cease and desist from observing and spreading the message about Saturday as the biblical Sabbath. Seventh-day Adventist scholars in Argentina and the United States had some inkling of the existence of the writings of Ramos Mejía, thanks to a 1913 article in a Protestant journal published in Buenos Aires. Try as they might, however, they were unable to secure any of those writings until 2016, when a sizable portion of his manuscripts was donated anonymously. Other manuscripts have perished, destroyed by descendants offended by his opinions that stood opposed to Roman Catholic theology. The donation is now housed in the library of River Plate Adventist University in Argentina. THE IMPORTANCE OF RAMOS MEJÍA
Ramos Mejía, an Argentinian patriot, was elected city council member of Buenos Aires (1810-1811), worked as a cattle rancher, taught religion to local indigenous people, and served as their representative for agreements established with (and repeatedly violated by) the federal government. His closeness to the native population fed the mistrust and suspicions of the government, which ordered Ramos Mejía to return from Indian territory in 1821 and confined him to another ranch, Los Tapiales (near the present city of Ramos Mejía, in metropolitan Buenos Aires) until his death. Ramos Mejía is of historical interest for Protestants because in spite of being educated by Jesuits, he came to exhibit evangelical viewpoints. He especially rejected the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine of the Mass, which he condemned as idolatry. For him “the righteous lives by faith before Jesus.”* Ramos Mejía also considered the doctrine of the pope as Jesus’ vicar “an ancient iniquity” in view of the real priesthood and headship of Jesus Christ. He stated, “Where is the antichrist? Revelation 13:3”—referring to the text that
People of diverse cultural backgrounds may reach the distinctive tenets of Seventh-day Adventism directly from the Bible.
says, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.” Ramos Mejía considered the work of Lacunza of great interest. He based his hope for life beyond the grave solely on the resurrection: “Man and his soul, or however the latter may be called, will dissolve, for ‘to dust you shall return’ [Gen. 3:19]. But later it will rise again, Gentlemen!” His concept of humanity was very modern: “If the body of man is just dust, his spirit is nothing else than its organization for rational life, since spirit and life is the same thing (see John 6:63).” Ramos Mejía contrasted “the delicate law of the Sabbath, which proceeds from the will of the Creator,” against the “discordant note” of Sundaykeeping. He maintained that while Sunday superficially resembles the Sabbath (like Cain’s sacrifice), it misses its inner significance. While Abel’s lamb prefigured the Lamb of God, Cain’s vegetables were just a “discordant note.” Hence the observance of Saturday as the true day of rest must be “restored to its pristine state.” Adventists in North America recovered such biblical concepts as the seventh-day Sabbath and the unconscious state of the dead without the help of Ramos Mejía. But his writings demonstrate that people of diverse races and cultural backgrounds may reach the distinctive and characteristic tenets of Seventh-day Adventism directly from the Bible, independent from human authors or missionaries. The last warning of heaven to this world must go “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Rev. 14:6). The recent reappearance of a 200-year old Spanish manuscript seems like a sign from providence to remind us of our responsibility to urgently spread this biblical message far and wide. * Unless otherwise noted, quotations in this article are from “Ramos Mejía, el primer adventista moderno,” by Juan Carlos Priora in Revista Adventista, March 2017.
Aecio E. Cairus, Ph.D., now retired, was a professor and Ph.D. program director for the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS) in the Philippines. He lives in Loma Linda, California, United States.
AdventistWorld.org December 2018
Bible Questions Answered
Law and Law Q
What is the meaning of the phrase “the law of Christ”?
The phrase you quote is found in both 1 Corinthians 9:21 and Galatians 6:2. We should examine both passages.
of love summarizes the law, but it does not do away with it. This is corroborated by the fact that the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22, 23 is grounded on principles of God’s law. More to the point is Romans 13:8, in which Paul repeats the idea that love fulfills the law, then proceeds to quote a few commandments from the Ten Commandments to show that love expresses itself in obedience to them (verse 9). The fact that Paul reaffirms obedience to the Ten Commandments (e.g., Rom. 7:7; Eph. 4:28; 5:3-5; 6:1-3; Col. 3:5) clearly shows that summarizing the law in love does not bring the law to an end.
1. THE PROBLEM:
3. 1 CORINTHIANS 9:21:
The role of the law in the Christian life continues to be debated. This is based partly on the fact that Paul wrote about the law in both negative and positive terms—something ended, yet was established by faith. It is also based on the Protestant dichotomy between law and gospel. Consequently, the “law of Christ” is often understood to designate that which took the place of the Old Testament law in the Christian church. For some, this law represents the ethical teachings of Christ, or the law of love that allegedly has taken the place of the Jewish law. But these possibilities are simply scholarly guesses. Fortunately, many New Testament scholars realize that the dichotomy between faith/gospel and law does not come from Paul, something Adventists have always believed and taught (cf. Rom. 9:30-32).
In this passage Paul speaks about his willingness to adapt to his audience in order to accomplish his mission: “To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law” (NIV). Paul in principle equates God’s law with Christ’s law! What does this mean? The “law of Christ” simply means the law as taught and exemplified in the life of Christ (e.g., Matt. 5:17-32), not the law as taught by Jewish leaders. In Christ one finds the true intent of the law, and in that sense it has become the law of Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 3:12-16). This is the law established by faith in its proper place (Rom. 3:31). Obedience to the law flows from love, not from an attempt to find acceptance by God. Christ did not do away with the moral values of God’s law as found in the Old Testament.
2. GALATIANS 6:2:
It is true that within its context the “law of Christ” is directly connected to Christian love as the fulfillment of the law (Gal. 5:14). In Galatians 6:2 a specific illustration of this principle is provided: “Carry each other’s burdens [loving each other], and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (NIV). This does not mean that the law of love has replaced the Old Testament law, but that the law is truly fulfilled when obedience is an expression of Christian love. Yes, the principle
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Angel Manuel Rodríguez has served the church as a pastor, professor, and theologian.
Health & Wellness
Fighting Genetics Is it a losing battle? I am a 29-year-old African American female and have high blood pressure and prediabetes. These problems run in my family, and I’m discouraged because it seems that no matter what I will do, my genes will continue to determine the state of my health. Is this so, or is there some hope for me?
t is indeed discouraging to have to work through the problems of high blood pressure and early diabetes, particularly at a young age. They say that you can choose your friends but you cannot choose your parents, which means we have no say in our genetic makeup. But there is good news. Another very well-known and perhaps overused saying states that “genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger!” One of our earlier columns in Adventist World’s sister magazine Adventist Review (www.adventistreview.org/1808-67) covered the topic of epigenetics, the relationship between genetics and DNA. Lifestyle can indeed influence the extent to which even our faulty genes are activated and the effects they may have. So although one may inherit genetic tendencies to illness, lifestyle interventions can make a big difference in both quality and length of life (longevity). A number of risk factors for hypertension, including family history, may result in a lifelong risk for high blood pressure. But the good news is that the risk for hypertension can be modified and sometimes even prevented by the application of key lifestyle practices. Modifiable risk factors include weight gain and obesity (these often begin in early childhood), unhealthful nutrition, excessive salt intake, inadequate potassium intake (potassium is normally consumed mainly through fruits and vegetables), insufficient physical exercise, and alcohol consumption. Working with whichever risk factors are present can bring about significant change in blood pressure, and the best results are obtained when one addresses all the risk factors because the beneficial effects add up. The challenge, however, is that only a few adults change their lifestyle following a diagnosis of high blood pressure. It is very difficult
to maintain ongoing change; we need motivation. The best motivation? We are bought at a price! Despite family history and all the other factors related to hypertension, the science is robust that careful application of lifestyle changes make a huge difference across ethnicity, gender, and age group.* You asked if there is hope for you. There is indeed. Once you decide to change your lifestyle, identify an accountability partner and a knowledgeable lifestyle-oriented physician and move forward with the changes you plan to make. Having someone who helps keep you accountable makes a world of difference. At the same time, we urge you to place your life and choices in God’s hands. Because of His promises we encourage you to attempt lifestyle changes. The apostle Paul stated: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). He further reports God’s reassurance: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). * The Journal of the American Medical Association, 320, no. 13 (2018): 1338-1348.
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.
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A PNG Christmas W “May I Tell You a Story?” BY DICK DUERKSEN
e’ve spent a lot of time trying to get people into our churches,” said Pastor Dale, “with only a smattering of success. They are afraid of us, angry that we want to take away their traditions, and although a few are baptized when we hold a series of meetings, many of them go back to their old ways right away. It’s hard to get anyone to change.” I saw sadness in Dale’s face. He had worked as a missionary for many years, so I asked if he had found a way to bring the life of Jesus to the people he served in the rainforests of Papua New Guinea. “Only one way,” he said. “We conducted annual training workshops for our young church leaders, prayerfully seeking how God would like us to work with the people around us. After a while we decided to turn everything upside down. Rather than wait for people to come to church, we’d take the church to the people.” *** As part of their training, a score of youth began imagining what the church would look like if it had no walls, no pews, and no windows. Only ears, eyes, hands, legs, and hearts. The team studied the Gospels and the book of Acts to see how Jesus and the disciples brought church to people. They also considered discipleship principles found in the
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final chapters of The Ministry of Healing, a ministry book written by Adventist pioneer Ellen White. “My favorite part,” says Pastor Dale, “is where she writes that ‘the strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian.’* Reading those words got us imagining better ways to be more lovable Christians.” The New Guinea youth developed beautiful programs to address basic needs of people who were struggling with sickness or were in major life transitions, such as marriage, becoming adults, or having their first child. As part of their training, youth were required to go into the community and practice. *** Several of the youth found a man who was “sick unto death.” He was unable to get around well so his house and yard needed attention. He needed food as well as friends. But the fellow wasn’t friendly. In fact, he despised Adventists and had tried his best to prevent the youth from having their training workshop in his village. He’d even sent out spies to sneak around their camp and report back on what they were doing. “The youth came back to class,” Dale remembers, “and didn’t even mention they found someone needing help. They
were afraid to help him, and it took considerable encouragement for them to return to his house.” After respectfully greeting him, one of the youth stepped forward and explained that they had been learning how to serve people in the community. When they found out that he was sick, they decided to practice what they were learning. They wanted to spend a whole day caring for him and doing anything that he needed done. “You want to serve me for a whole day?” he asked incredulously. “Yes, sir,” they replied. “Would you mind?” Shocked, he nodded his head in agreement. The next morning 17 youth came to his house armed with machetes, rakes, axes, shovels, rags, and soap. They also brought several days’ worth of good nutritious food. While one group raked and cleaned around the outside of the house, another group entered the house and gave it a thorough cleaning. They even washed his clothes by hand and hung them out to dry. Several of the young women made a delicious meal, while strong young men carried their patient to the creek and gave him a bath. While he was out, the mat he slept on was cleaned. At the river the young men washed their new friend thoroughly, singing and laughing as they worked. Hair, body, nails, along with lots of soap and cool water, all applied by caring hands and loving hearts. It was his best bath ever. Back at the house all was ready; a delicious meal was served to him on clean dishes. The man was overwhelmed, but the youth weren’t done yet. They talked about herbs that he might find helpful. They sang to him. They shared Bible promises and invited him to come to God and ask for help and healing. *** The sick man was quiet for a while. He knew that nobody else would take care of him like this. The thought would never
even cross their minds. To think these youth had cleaned his house, washed him, cut firewood for him, brought him many days’ worth of food, and even cooked some for him. And the singing and prayers—and all without pay! As tears ran down his face he addressed the youth, “Our people don’t know how to do what you have done for me today. But they need to know! They need to know how to take care of people like this. Please tell your trainer that we will give you land. We need a permanent training program here, so that all of our youth can learn to do what you have done!” That evening at class the youth told and retold their experiences with the man in the village. “I now understand what ‘lovable’ means,” one of the young people proclaimed. “It means forgetting myself and diving deep into the needs of someone else. It means washing an unfriendly person’s hair and cleaning their clothes. It means singing happy songs where people are sad. It means choosing to love very unlovable people, even those who try to harm us.” A few weeks later the old man walked up to one of our lay pastors. “I want to be baptized!” he said. “But we have never studied with you,” replied the lay pastor, “and you have never come to church. Why do you want to be baptized?” “I was sick the other day and one of your youth saw me. He cleaned my house and yard and cut my firewood. He cooked for me and even carried me to the creek and washed me. If that’s what Christianity is, then I want it!”
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.
* Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), p. 470.
Adventist World is published monthly and printed simultaneously in Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, and the United States.
Dick Duerksen, a pastor and storyteller living in Portland, Oregon, United States, is known around the world as “an itinerant pollinator of grace.”
Vol. 14, No. 12
Executive Editor/Director of Adventist Review Ministries Bill Knott International Publishing Manager Chun, Pyung Duk Adventist World Coordinating Committee Si Young Kim, chair; Yukata Inada; German Lust; Chun, Pyung Duk; Han, Suk Hee; Lyu, Dong Jin Associate Editors/Directors, Adventist Review Ministries Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil, Greg Scott Editors based in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA Sandra Blackmer, Stephen Chavez, Costin Jordache, Wilona Karimabadi Editors based in Seoul, Korea Chun, Pyung Duk; Park, Jae Man; Kim, Hyo-Jun Operations Manager Merle Poirier Editors-at-Large/Advisors Mark A. Finley, John M. Fowler, E. Edward Zinke Financial Manager Kimberly Brown Management Board Si Young Kim, chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Chun, Pyung Duk; Karnik Doukmetzian; Han, Suk Hee; Yutaka Inada; Gerald A. Klingbeil; Joel Tompkins; Ray Wahlen; Ex-officio: Juan Prestol-Puesán; G. T. Ng; Ted N. C. Wilson Art Direction and Design Types & Symbols To Writers: We welcome unsolicited manuscripts. Address all editorial correspondence to 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600, U.S.A. Editorial office fax number: (301) 680-6638 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.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. Unless otherwise noted, all prominent photos are © Getty Images 2018.
AdventistWorld.org December 2018
Fun-filled pages for younger ages
When God Called Dorcas to Do Something Big BY CHARLOTTE ISHKANIAN
leven-year-old Dorcas from Papua New Guinea attended children’s Bible camp in a town almost two hours from her home. She loved the crafts and the Bible stories she learned. And she loved memorizing the Bible texts that the leaders challenged the children to learn. Toward the end of camp Dorcas had an idea. As soon as she returned home to her village, she asked her father to make some copies of Bible verses to share with friends at school. When school started again, Dorcas shared her verses with two of her best friends. The girls accepted the cards, which were nicely decorated, and agreed to learn the Bible texts 30
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together. But when they met the next day, the girls had a surprise for Dorcas. UNEXPECTED SURPRISE
The next morning Dorcas’ friends met her on the playground. But instead of just two girls, 10 children met Dorcas during recess! They all wanted Bible verse cards and they all agreed to memorize the Bible texts. Dorcas gave each child a card and invited them to come back the next day to practice the verses. Every day more children came to Dorcas during morning recess to say their Bible verse and get another card. Within two weeks 20 children were learning Bible verses during school recess!
DORCAS’ BIBLE CLUB
Dorcas told her mother how many children were coming to her group, and Mother suggested that the children meet under the family’s house, where it was cool and dry. (Houses in parts of Papua New Guinea often are built on stilts to catch the breeze. It was a perfect place for a meeting.) Dorcas invited her friends to come to her house on Wednesday and Friday evenings. All 20 friends came, and they invited more friends. Dorcas and her mother planned a program for the children. They sang songs, Dorcas told a Bible story, and they did crafts. The group kept growing. Soon 100 children, and some parents, were comIllustration: Xuan Le
BY WILONA KARIMABADI
Bible Treasure And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” (Romans 10:15, NIV).
It’s Your Turn! ing to Dorcas’ house for Bible studies. On Sabbath 50 or so came for worship. A NEW CHURCH
One day Dorcas learned that several adults had given their hearts to Jesus and wanted to be baptized. Dorcas let God lead her, and a whole new church was planted in her village. Recently, when the grown-ups were baptized, Dorcas was too. We can do big things for God if we follow the ideas He gives us. Imagine starting a whole church with just a few Bible verses written on cards!
You don’t have to be grown up to do important work for God. The fact that you are young may make your work even more effective. So what can you do? Take Dorcas’ example and think outside the box, and go one step further by telling us about it. E-mail your witnessing ideas to kidsview@ adventistreview.org. We’d love to print them in an upcoming issue to give other kids wonderful ideas they can try themselves!
(This story was first printed In KidsView, March 2009.)
AdventistWorld.org December 2018
THE DEAD TALKING TO THE LIVING AND THE LAST GREAT DECEPTION Seventh-day Adventists have a unique belief on the state of the dead, but what happens when reports of communication with loved ones are increasing around the world?
Watch what happened when Mark Finley met up with 5 millennials with no prior knowledge of this topic.
Topics in the series include: Is God One, Two or Three? What is the Last Great Deception?
A 7-PART SERIES DIGGING DEEPER INTO CORE BELIEFS OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS. READ, LISTEN OR WATCH.
“Are the dead talking more now? And are we a part of the conversation?” Adventism and the Judgment In but not of Babylon... Creation vs. Evolution - What millennials really think of the issues.
For more information go to www.AdventistReview.org/DiggingDeeper
Adventist World English Edition - December 2018