Page 1

The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

Apr i l 2 01 6

Talking

FAITH , Protecting FREEDOM

22

Our Greatest

Strength

43

Daniel: The Blessings of

Obedience


North American Division | n a d

Apr il 2016 C O V E R

The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

24

Apr il 2016

Talking

FAITH, FREEDOM

Our Greatest

43

Strength

F U N D A M E N T A L

Dialogue helps us understand and be understood.

The Zika Virus:  Looking for Answers

Obedience

V I S T A

By Jordan Stephan

Some people talk about unity; some people live it.

30

N A D

By Scott Christiansen

F E AT U R E

Along with questions about origin and transmission are the theological ones.

8 Being Like Jesus W O R L D

B E L I E F S

Talking Faith, Protecting Freedom

Daniel: The Blessings of

22 Our Greatest Strength

By Ganoune Diop

Protecting

22

S T O R Y

38

A D V E N T I S T

By Ted N. C. Wilson

The best way to share our faith is to reflect Christ’s character.

L I F E

Ten Things I Learned From Church Planting

By Júlio César Leal

20 A Story to Tell

Start small and go from there.

By Ty Gibson

An epic story in seven acts

By Gibson Caesar with Lael Caesar

It’s always rewarding to see how God has led.

D E V O T I O N A L

40 Another Native Son A D V E N T I S T

H E R I T A G E

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

6 10 11 14 17 18

L D

R E P O R T

News Feature A One-Day Church NAD News NAD Update NAD Perspective NAD Letters

19 W O R L D H E A The Zika Virus

L T H

B I 42 

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

43 B I B L E S T U D Y Daniel: The Blessings of Obedience 44

I D E A

E X C H A N G E

A Question of Slavery

www.adventistworld.org Available in 12 languages online The Adventist World® (ISSN 1557-5519), one of the Adventist Review® family of publications, is printed monthly by the Pacific Press® Publishing Association. Copyright © 2016. Send address changes to your local conference membership clerk. Contact information should be available through your local church. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. Vol. 11, No. 4, April 2016.

2

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

C O V E R

I M A G E :

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


WORLD REPORT By Carolina Félix, South American Division

Brazil’s Player of the Year

Stands for Sabbath

J A I M E

C O S TA

Soccer goalkeeper stuns the country’s sporting world.

P H O T O S :

The young couple between me and the airline window smiled as I slid into my aisle seat. After I buckled my seatbelt, the husband leaned forward. “We’re Jim and Amy,” he said, offering his hand. “Glad we’re flying together.” Unaccustomed to such graciousness from airline seatmates, I returned the smile, and murmured a question about their reasons for making this three-hour flight. “Oh, we work for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We’re on our way to a convention,” Amy said cheerfully. “What are you headed to?” “A speaking appointment,” I said wearily. I wasn’t eager to launch into a theological conversation when I was already tired and hoping to sleep. In moments, they had deftly extracted from me my identity as an Adventist pastor and editor, and my plans to preach at a camp meeting far from my Maryland home. “Really?” they said, eyes widening with obvious delight. “Would you mind terribly if we asked you some questions about your faith? You see, we’ve never actually met a real, live Seventh-day Adventist, and there’s a lot we’d like to know.” So unfolded my favorite airline conversation ever—a thoughtful interchange that ranged from the seventh-day Sabbath to the Second Coming to Adventist lifestyle practices. We even talked about the Spirit of Prophecy— after a grinning 20-year old two rows back (who had obviously been listening) urged Jim and Amy, “Ask him about Ellen G. White!” Three hours later, after many questions and earnest prayer, we parted in the airport terminal, sensing that we had done something Jesus very much wanted us to do. There are millions like Jim and Amy out there—dedicated followers of Jesus who just now are gathered in some other faith, but still fully attentive to the Great Shepherd’s voice. “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice” (John 10:16) Jesus says. How will they hear unless we start conversations, build friendships, and share faith? As you read this month’s feature on how the wider Seventh-day Adventist Church talks with other world faiths, pray for those whom the Spirit is even now leading into a conversation with you.

Left: Carlos Vítor da Costa Ressurreição, 30, says he wouldn’t be playing soccer if it weren’t for God. Right: Ressurreição stretching during practice with his team, Londrina Esporte Clube.

A

n up-and-coming soccer goalkeeper has stirred up a storm in Brazil’s sporting world by announcing that he will no longer play matches scheduled from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Carlos Vítor da Costa Ressurreição, 30, who was baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church last month, disclosed his decision at a news conference, sparking a wave of surprise, sympathy, even anger from fans and sports commentators who struggled to understand his rationale. The furor is in no small part linked to the fact that Ressurreição has made a number of important saves in the past year that moved his Londrina Esporte Clube up from Serie C to Serie B in the Brazilian National Championship, the main soccer league championship in the country. Ressurreição was named player of the year, resulting in a job offer from Serie A team Chapecoense that would have doubled his salary. Ressurreição turned down the job because it wouldn’t have allowed him to observe the seventh-day Sabbath as mandated by the fourth commandment, according to the newspaper Lance! Continued on next page

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

3


WORLD REPORT Moreover, Ressurreição’s future is up in the air because a number of Serie B matches are held on Friday nights and Saturdays. His team has announced that it will not renew his contract when it ends in May. But Ressurreição is clinging to his convictions, telling the news conference on January 20 that he wouldn’t even be playing soccer if it weren’t for God. A year before his baptism, he said, he spent four long months at home in Salvador, in the state of Bahia, without a signed contract with any team. During that time his wife, Gabriela, was approached by a friend at a hair salon and offered a partnership in producing handbags. The two women subsequently created their own label and formed a business that grew quickly, Ressurreição said. “In a short amount of time the profit grew larger than my salary had been in the soccer club,” he said. “That was the moment I understood that

God had several possible ways to care for my family.” After this realization, Ressurreição set aside his fears about not being able to land a soccer contract and instead began a process that he called “intimacy with God.” He started to study the Bible and pray every day. “My faith is not based on words said by a pastor or anything like that,” he said. “I studied the Bible and came to the conclusion that I needed to grow spiritually.” As he studied, he became convinced that his mother-in-law, Tânia Rocha, a Seventh-day Adventist, had been right when she had told him about the Sabbath 12 years earlier. He was baptized on December 27. The uncertainties that Ressurreição now faces may be as daunting as those that he had when he didn’t have a soccer contract a year ago. But he expressed calmness about the future when a reporter asked him at

Die Faith

By Andrew McChesney

Willing to for Their

Two married couples tell why they moved to the Middle East

L

arge tears welled up in Juanita’s eyes. She drew her young daughter close in her arms. But her voice remained resolute as she spoke about the possibility that she might die for her faith in the Middle East.

4

“When you are sure of the call of God and the call of the church, it is easier to go to dangerous places because you know that God will be with you,” Juanita said. “He will help us.” Her husband, Carlos, nodded his

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

the news conference whether he was prepared to choose between his faith and his career. “Without any doubt, I choose my faith,” he said. “Many others came before me, giving me this opportunity to choose.” But he isn’t sitting around. As the clock ticks down on his current contract, he has started a Bible study group with his teammates. “I’m at peace because my life is in the hands of God,” he said. “As long as there are teams that respect my beliefs, sports will always be an option. If not, the Lord has already shown me in the past that He will take care of me.” Ressurreição’s stand is winning admiration from some sports commentators. “I’m not religious, but I’m touched by Vítor’s choice,” said Ayrton Baptista, Jr., a sports blogger with Globo Esporte, one of the best-known sports Web sites in Brazil. “His faith speaks loudly.” n

head solemnly. He said he had been thinking about Arabs who made international headlines giving their lives for a cause they believed in, no matter how wrong the cause might be. “Why can’t we believe in our cause and be willing to give our lives, too?” he said. “This is the true cause; it is the cause of Jesus.” Carlos, Juanita, and their daughter are among 17 Seventh-day Adventist families who arrived in the Middle East from South America in February 2015. The highly-trained professionals gave up comfortable jobs in their home countries to spend the next five years working in one of parts of the world where it is most difficult to share the gospel.


A R / M C C H E S N E Y A N D R E W

Juanita and her daughter hold hands and together hold the daughter’s doll.

The past year has been filled with Arabic lessons, intensive planning, and complicated paperwork as the couples inch closer to securing jobs in restricted-access countries. Their goal is to serve as tentmakers: front-line, self-supporting Adventists who share their faith in the workplace. Juanita and Carlos spoke about their efforts in a candid interview. Adventist World is not using the couples’ real names nor disclosing their location because of the sensitivity of their work. Tears formed in Juanita’s eyes when she was asked how she had weighed the risks as a mother. Before leaving South America, she said, she and Carlos signed a document granting custody of their daughter to her maternal grandparents in the event something happened to them. Juanita said she had no doubt that God had called not just her and Carlos but also their daughter to serve in the Middle East.

“God has called us as a team, the three of us,” she said, holding her cooing daughter on her lap. “The call is for her as well, even though she doesn’t know it.” The girl has already helped her parents make inroads in a culture where it’s difficult for foreigners to make friends with Arabs. Not only are men and women strictly segregated, but Arabs and foreigners often live in their own worlds as well. The other day, Carlos was playing with his daughter at an outdoor playground when her antics caught the attention of an Arab father who had a child of the same age. The two men started conversing and ended up exchanging phone numbers. Soon Carlos’ new friend invited him to a one-on-one game of ball. “My daughter is making a lot of connections,” Carlos said. Personal relationships are especially important in the Arab world,

where literature evangelism, public meetings, and other outreach efforts common elsewhere are banned, church leaders said. No Adventist believers have been killed for their faith in the Middle East in recent memory, said Homer Trecartin, president of the Adventist Church’s Middle East and North Africa Union. “We have had some close calls, but I am not aware of any who have died,” he said. But Trecartin openly tells potential volunteers that they must be willing to die if they accept a call to serve in the Middle East. “I don’t want people to come and help us for the adventure and thrill,” he said. “I want them to come because they really believe that God has called them and they are willing to go, even if it means they never return home.” All the self-supporting families who arrived in the Middle East last year were selected in a process that involved being screened by the church’s South American Division and approved by the Middle East and North African Union. The South American Division is covering many of the families’ expenses as they settle down to work. Meanwhile, Carlos said he didn’t know whether God would call him and his wife to make the ultimate sacrifice. He said he didn’t know whether they were ready to die. But he said he believed that God would prepare them if that time came. “We know God will give us the strength to face any difficulty,” he said as his daughter, now off her mother’s lap, joyfully toddled around the room. “If He calls us to make that sacrifice, it would be an honor, of course. We are at peace. If we are within the will of God and serving Him, we are happy.” n

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

5


WORLD REPORT

M

ission pilot Gary Roberts has flown airplanes from the United States to destinations in the Philippines, Angola, and South America. Once he even airlifted an ill baby elephant for medical treatment in Chad. All those experiences helped prepare Roberts for the delivery of a mission plane from Austria to its new home at Adventist Aviation Indonesia in Papua, a complex trip that involved stops in nearly a dozen countries, obtaining permits from 17 countries, and more than 80 hours of flying time. The flight was also personal. Roberts was piloting a plane to replace a plane that had crashed 20 months earlier, killing his father, veteran mission pilot Bob Roberts. It was not only his father’s legacy, however, that compelled Roberts to make the 16,335-kilometer (10,150-mile) flight over the Middle East and southern Asia, countries located in the so-called 10/40 window (between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator) that have the highest level of socioeconomic challenges and least access to the gospel message. “There is still a great need in many of the countries,” Gary Roberts said of the countries that he flew over and prayed over during his trip. “I just ask you to continue to uplift them and our church administration there.” He also expressed gratitude for people around the world who had prayed for him during the sometimes perilous journey filled with setbacks but also opportunities to share God. The Pilatus PC-6 Porter airplane will be used for mission outreach in the 10/40 window of southeast Asia. Acquiring the Plane

Obstacles always seem to accompany trips of great magnitude, and

6

By Teresa Costello, Southern Asia-Pacific Division

Mission Pilot’s Remarkable

10,000-Mile Trip An Austria-to-Indonesia flight carries on his father’s work.

Roberts faced the first when he carried out an initial inspection of the aircraft in Vienna and found corrosion in the engine. “It was bad enough that we thought we would have to send the engine to a shop to be opened up, cleaned, and inspected before we could bring it here,” said his wife, Wendy, who closely followed the flight from their home in Papua. The plane’s owner, a resident of Jordan, called off the sale when he found out about the rust. But several months later he contacted the Adventists and offered the plane at a significantly lower price, taking into account the reality that the required repairs would cost an estimated $150,000. Then the Adventists learned that the plane’s paperwork had not been kept up-to-date, and they spent considerable time sorting that out. After that, Gary Roberts traveled to the owner’s home in Jordan to seal the deal. Following the purchase, Roberts decided to fly the Swiss-built plane to its factory in Switzerland to have the work done on the engine. That’s when a big miracle occurred, his wife said. “When he arrived, they put their scope, the camera, into the engine, and it was clean!” she said.

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

The factory inspector had seen the engine photos sent earlier by the Adventists, and he asked Gary Roberts with astonishment, “Are you sure this is the same engine?” “We believe God healed the engine,” Wendy Roberts said. Up and Away

Many months passed while the Adventists processed the paperwork and importation permission to bring the plane into Indonesia. Gary Roberts finally headed to Vienna in midNovember to pick up the plane. The plan was to meet his copilot, Dwayne Harris of Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services, and fly out of Vienna on November 19, 2015. Harris’ flight from Manila to Vienna, however, was delayed by an ill passenger, so he and Roberts agreed to meet instead in Athens, Greece. Harris arrived in Athens on November 20, only to learn that Roberts had faced a delay getting a visa for India and would only arrive with the plane on November 22. It was vital to stay on schedule. Roberts had started planning the itinerary and securing permits for the trip in February 2015. Some permits were valid only for a certain time period, and


Left: Gary Roberts landing a new mission plane in Papua, Indonesia, after a 10,150-mile flight. Right: Gary Roberts being greeted by his wife, Wendy, and daughter, Cherise, at Adventist Aviation Indonesia on Dec. 8. any unexpected delay could require him to submit a new application. Roberts landed as planned on November 22, but strong winds forced them to wait until November 23 to leave for the next planned stop, Egypt. Early the next morning, November 23, Roberts and Harris flew to Egypt with minimal complications. At an airport on the Mediterranean shore a young woman who helped refuel aircraft asked Roberts what he was doing with the plane. He told her that he worked for God. “God?” she replied with surprise. “Is there even a God?” Roberts said he was reminded that Christians have a duty to share their faith wherever they go. “We still have a lot of work to do, even in modern countries,” he said. The next day, November 24, the pilots encountered unexpected ice as they flew over Saudi Arabia en route from Egypt to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. “Across the desert, you’d think it would be nice weather because you’re over a dry desert,” Harris said. “But it was the worst weather of the whole flight.” The plane started picking up dangerous ice as it cruised at 3,050 meters (10,000 feet). The pilots requested and

P H O T O S :

C O U R T E S Y

O F

G A R Y

R O B E R T S

received permission to change their route and descend to about 2750 meters (9,000 feet). The bad weather and resulting diversion caused the plane to land several hours after sunset. The Last Leg

In Abu Dhabi the two pilots parted ways. Harris, who hadn’t secured an Indian visa, applied at the Indian embassy, and Roberts took off on a commercial flight to Indonesia to attend the previously scheduled yearend meetings of the East Indonesia Union Conference, for which he was a delegate. Ultimately, Harris wasn’t able to obtain the visa, and he flew home to the Philippines. Roberts returned to Abu Dhabi after four days. Technical issues delayed his departure by one day. From there Roberts flew almost nine hours with good weather to India. Next he flew to Chittagong, Bangladesh. Bolstered by many people worldwide praying for the journey, Roberts continued on to Thailand, to Borneo, and then to several stops in Indonesia before reaching the Adventist Aviation Indonesia headquarters on December 8. Roberts became the first known Adventist mission pilot to fly around

the world longitudinally in a small aircraft. At the airstrip he was met by his wife, Wendy, and daughter, Cherise. Roberts and his family moved to Indonesia after the death of his father to continue his work with Adventist Aviation Indonesia. The elder Roberts and one passenger died on April 9, 2014, when the Quest Kodiak plane he was piloting struggled to become airborne on takeoff and crashed into a bridge at the end of the runway at the headquarters of Adventist Aviation Indonesia. Gary Roberts now flies in the same areas his father once flew. The arrival of the new plane means that Adventist Aviation Indonesia will be able to expand its work of spreading the gospel in practical ways. The plane will be used to transport pastors, Bible workers, missionaries, and literature to areas inaccessible by vehicles. In addition, the plane will act as an ambulance, ferrying people from remote areas to medical care in larger towns. “We pray that many will be saved for eternity because of this tool God has given us to reach those in remote places,” Wendy Roberts said. Contact Gary Roberts at medical aviation@gmail.com. n

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

7


W O R L D

V I S T A

Being Like

O

ne of the most important verses in the Bible is found in 1 John 4:8: “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus repeatedly stressed the importance of love. When asked, “Which is the first commandment of all?” (Mark 12:28), Jesus responded by quoting a wellknown passage from Deuteronomy: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30, 31). After washing His disciples’ feet, Jesus told them, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34, 35). The beloved apostle John echoes this important theme in 1 John 4:7, 8: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” John continues in verse 16: “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us” (verses 16-19).

A Beautiful Diamond

Like a beautiful diamond, God is multi-faceted. The God of love is also the God of truth. We read in Deuter-

8

Speaking the truth in love

onomy 32:4 that “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.” The changelessness of God’s love is balanced by the changelessness of His truth. “For I am the Lord, I change not,” He says in Malachi 3:6. God doesn’t change, so His truth remains the same. In His prayer to the Father, Christ stated, “They [His followers] are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world” (John 17:17, 18, KJV). God’s Word—the Bible—is His truth, and because it is His truth, it is changeless. Jesus sends His believers out to share His truth. And because His truth runs contrary to the world, it’s often met with hostility and rejection. Nevertheless, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:4-6). Speaking the Truth in Love

Jesus gives many examples of how to speak the truth in love. One of the best known is in John 4, where Jesus speaks with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. The Jews avoided interactions with Samaritans because they considered them to have an impure, twisted form

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

of religion. But Jesus reached out to everyone. He knew He had a work to do in Samaria and trusted God to lead Him. Furthermore, He wanted to set an example for the disciples, revealing that their work would be broader than just to Israel. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well, He thirsted not only for a cup of water, He longed to heal her soul. Because Jesus was not afraid to speak the truth in love, an encounter that began with a simple request turned into an effective twoday evangelistic outreach. A Difficult Conversation

The conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well wasn’t easy; Jesus had to say some hard things. He wanted her to see her need of the living water He had to offer, and how the way she had lived her life up to that point had been keeping her from Him. After the woman expressed a desire for the living water Christ was offering, He gently brought her need to the forefront. “Go, call your husband,” He said, “and come here” (John 4:16). Admitting that she didn’t have a husband, Jesus responded, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband” (verses 17, 18). The truth hurt, and the woman didn’t want to talk about what she had hoped would remain secret. Seeking to divert the conversation, she brought up a long-standing theological controversy: “Sir, I perceive that You are a


Jesus By Ted N. C. Wilson

those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23, 24). True worship, Jesus said, is in spirit and truth—you can’t just have the spirit or just the truth. You must have both. “In spirit” means to be in accordance with God’s spirit of love and following His way. Truth is always according to His Word; that’s where truth is defined. Those who worship in spirit and truth are the true worshippers that the Father seeks. God is the focus; He’s the source of truth, and it’s His Spirit that draws us to worship, know, and love Him. No Ordinary Man

prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship” (verses 19, 20). Jesus didn’t dismiss the diversion immediately, but instead watched for an opportunity to again bring the truth home to her heart. “Woman, believe Me,” He told her, “the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father” (verse 21). But Jesus goes farther, stating: “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews” (verse 22). This was a hard truth for a Samaritan to hear, nevertheless it was imporI M A G E :

L D S

M E D I A

tant. Paul acknowledged this truth in Romans 3:1, 2: “What advantage then has the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.” In Spirit and Truth

As Jesus spoke with the woman at the well, he sought to lift her thoughts above form, ceremony, and controversy. He longed to free her from the bondage of sin and prejudice. “The hour is coming, and now is,” Jesus continued, “when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and

The Samaritan woman sensed that the Person with whom she spoke was no ordinary man. And even though He had confronted her with some difficult truths, Ellen White observed, “she felt that He was her friend, pitying and loving her. While the very purity of His presence condemned her sin, He had spoken no word of denunciation, but had told her of His grace, that could renew the soul.”1 Sensing Christ’s warmth and acceptance, she dared to broach the question on her heart: “I know that Messiah is coming . . . When He comes, He will tell us all things” (verse 25). Immediately Jesus responded, “I who speak to you am He” (verse 26). Ellen White observed: “As the woman heard these words, faith sprang up in her heart. She accepted the wonderful announcement from the lips of the divine Teacher.” With a heart filled with joy, she “hastened on her way, to impart to others the precious light she had received.”2 Truth As It Is In Jesus

Today God has revealed the truth for these last days: truth as it is in Jesus, in His righteousness and salvation, in His Three Angels’ Messages, in His sanctuary service, in His health message, and

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

9


V I S T A

1 2

One-DayChurch By Carrie Purkeypile,

Maranatha Volunteers International

A One-Day Answer to a 12-Year Prayer I NT E R N AT I O N A L

in His soon return. We Seventh-day Adventists must not keep these truths from the world. It’s not our truth, it’s God’s truth. He wants it shared with everyone, in order to save everyone. We are called—even amongst ourselves—to speak the truth in love, even when the truth goes against culture, worldly wisdom, or values. Our speech and convictions must always be accompanied with compassion for those who may not agree with us, whether they be in the church or in the public. We should share our convictions, based on God’s holy Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit, with love and compassion demonstrating Christ’s eternal love working in us. The message entrusted to God’s remnant people is trans-cultural and timeless as indicated in Revelation 14: “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (verse 16). Our message is as relevant today as when it first sounded in the 1840s; in fact, it’s even more relevant now because we’re closer to the time of Jesus’ return. Now is the time for total member involvement and total faithfulness to God’s Word. Now is the time for us to be “speaking the truth in love,” that we “may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does it share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:15, 16). n

A

M A R A N AT H A VO L U NT E E R S

W O R L D

Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 189. Ibid., pp. 190, 191.

Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

10

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

Church members arrive to watch the construction of their One-Day Church frame, and cook lunch for the workers (inset). Within months walls for the building had been completed.

In the early 2000s Adventists in Godzo, Zimbabwe, decided that they needed a place of their own to worship. They pooled their resources and dove into the construction of four walls. But as often happens in rural southern Africa, construction stalled when it came to purchasing metal sheeting, support beams, and roofing materials. The walls built with so much dedication and enthusiasm wilted and crumbled under the sun, wind, and rain’s merciless routine. The walls built in 2002 were never completed, never graced with a roof, all for a lack of funds. The congregation continued meeting wherever they could, most recently in a rented classroom of the local public school. A dozen years after starting their building, an answer arrived in the form of a One-Day Church. When Maranatha’s crew pulled into Godzo and unloaded the steel frame and solid aluminum panel roof, years of prayer were answered. Church members were ecstatic! Everyone gathered: either to watch, help, or prepare a celebratory meal for the crew. Just one year later the Godzo Adventist Church is a beautiful building, complete with hand-hewn pews, windows, and bright, welcoming doors. Given the chance to have a solid structure and roof, members wasted no time in building walls for the church for which they’ve been praying for more than a decade! ASI and Maranatha Volunteers International collaborate to fund and facilitate One-Day Church and One-Day School projects. Since the project’s launch in August 2009, more than 4,500 One-Day Churches have been built around the world.


NAD NEWS

Adventist Health Roseville employees join with facilities employees to participate in the California International Marathon each December. A D V E N T I S T

Adventist Health-Roseville Receives

Well Workplace Award

A

dventist Health-Roseville is one of only 28 companies nationwide—and the only one in California—to receive goldlevel recognition in 2015 for its commitment to worksite wellness. The Wellness Council of America (WELCOA) uses a rigorous set of criteria when evaluating organizations that compete to be recognized as among America’s healthiest companies. System-wide, Adventist Health’s worksite wellness initiative is known as LivingWell, a whole-person health and wellness program that encourages employees to take an active role in their well-being. LivingWell offers classes, activities, and challenges to

help employees set and achieve health goals. Team activities, such as participating in the California International Marathon each December, provide employees with the opportunity to come together as a group to improve their health. Last year Scott Reiner, Adventist Health System/West president, and the executive cabinet challenged each Adventist Health facility to form a LivingWell team. In 2016 they’ve challenged hospitals to apply for WELCOA’s Well Workplace Award at the bronze level or above. There are four designations of the Well Workplace Award—bronze, silver, gold, and platinum. Each of these designations is based upon progressive development

H E A LT H

V O L U N T E E R

and implementation of an organization’s wellness initiative within the context of seven critical benchmarks. The Roseville LivingWell team got a jump-start on the 2016 challenge when Jill Waters, LivingWell team cochair and innovation resident, led the charge to complete and submit the application in December. Waters worked with Seth Leamon, a resident in the Central Valley Network, to develop a guide for all entities to use to complete the application. The executive cabinet has also challenged Adventist Health employees to maintain their BMI (body mass index) by 2017, defying the annual weight-gain trend in America. Reaching this goal means that Adventist Health employees will collectively keep off 300,000 pounds by 2020, the equivalent of four fully loaded 18-wheel truck trailers. The ultimate goal is to lower health risks, increase employee energy to serve patients, and enjoy time with family and friends. —Shelby Seibold, Adventist Health Continued on next page

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

11


NAD NEWS

B R E A N A

S O L I D AY

shoot, edit, and produce their films before they are shown to a jury of professionals and premiered at a redcarpet, black-tie event. Price initially developed his career as a composer for contemporary dance. In 1996 he was invited by composer Michael Kamen to orchestrate and program electronica for the film Event Horizon (1997). He went on to coproduce the music for other productions, such as The Iron Giant (1999), X-Men (2000), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), and HBO’s epic World War II miniseries Band of Brothers (2001). Price has written and recorded original scores for several films with Southwestern Adventist University associate professor of communication Kyle Portbury, including: “Swan Song” (2008), “The Mountain Within” (2009), and Beyond the Search (2012). —Darcy Force, Southwestern Adventist University

The Creation Wall, in the main entrance of Kettering College, has bronze reliefs for each day of creation.

12

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

U N I V E R S I T Y A D V E N T I S T

■■ Michael Price, Emmy Awardwinning composer of the hit BBC series Sherlock, has been confirmed as one of the judges for the upcoming Brain Games 48-hour film challenge “South by Southwestern,” hosted by Southwestern Adventist University. Brain Games is an annual event hosted by Southwestern Adventist University designed to challenge academy students in a variety of ways. The 2016 Brain Games is a 48-hour film challenge scheduled for March 30 to April 1. Students from academies across the nation will participate in this challenge, testing their teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving skills in creating a short film. Each team will be made of up six academy students and a Southwestern communication major. The university students will serve as both liaisons and advisors for the teams, and to provide advice for the project. The teams will have two days to

S O U T H W E S T

■■ Kettering Health Network CEO Fred Manchur and Kettering College president Nate Brandstater drew back the curtain on the Creation wall installed at Kettering College in the fall 2015 term. It consisted of eight sculpted and painted bronze panels, one for each day of Creation, and one to reflect the beginning of time. Three more Creation walls have been installed at other Kettering Health Network facilities. “I have often admired the Creation wall in some of the other Kettering Health Network hospitals, and was pleased when I heard that Kettering College was going to get its own,” said David VanDenburgh, professor and chair in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. “It is a great testimony to our faith, and our understanding of what it means to be created in God’s image on this earth. Genesis is a far more important piece of scripture than is commonly appreciated.” The wall is located inside the main entrance of Kettering College. —Jessica Beans, Kettering College

Emmy Award-winning Composer to Judge Brain Games

C O U R T E S Y

Kettering College’s Creation Connection

Michael Price accepts the 2014 Emmy Award for composing the music for the BBC series “Sherlock.” Price will judge the 2016 Brain Games at Southwestern Adventist University.


youth director, challenged Adventurers and their parents not only to memorize the Bible, but also to share with others what they learned. For next year’s competition they will be studying selected chapters from the books of Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and First and Second Timothy. —Youth Department, Texas Conference Adventurers who competed in the Texas Conference Bible Adventure celebrate their victory and look forward to the next level of competition.

Hundreds Compete at Texas Conference Bible Adventure ■■ Adventurers from all over Texas came together in Houston on January 16, 2016, for the Texas Conference Bible Adventure. They had to reach first place in their respective areas of the state to compete at the conference level. This year 509 Adventurers, grades one through four, participated at the area level forming 93 total teams. One hundred eighty-two of those Adventurers qualified to participate at the conference level. Their challenge consisted of learning the first 20 chapters of the book of Exodus, the same as their older fellow Pathfinders. Young Bible scholars, aged 6 to 10, answered questions taken from the Bible correctly and enthusiastically. They were eager to put their Bible knowledge to the test with other Adventurers throughout North America. This is the second year the Bible Adventure has taken place in the Texas Conference. At the end of the meeting, Paulo Tenorio, associate

Oregon Conference to Offer Spanish and English TV Programming ■■ In early 2016 the Oregon Conference began airing 24-hour television programming in English and Spanish. The channels, 36.3 (English) and 36.4 (Spanish), broadcast Hope Channel and Esperanza TV, and plan to film more local programming to create channels that speak to non-Christian Portlanders in a more localfriendly style. Bringing Hope Channel to Portland was only a dream for Oregon Conference president Al Reimche when channel 36 came up for sale five years ago. At the time, 36 was an out-of-use analog channel. The seller offered a low price to 3ABN’s affiliate network, Better Life TV. Better Life was eager to move into the Portland area, but purchasing another channel proved too expensive. That’s when Reimche stepped in. With support from the North American Division (NAD), the Oregon Conference purchased channel 36. The seller even helped license the channel for digital TV, meaning that, among other things, the conference could now have several channels: 36.1, 36.2, 36.3, and 36.4.

Reimche invited Better Life to begin broadcasting immediately, and in October 2010, channel 36.1 went on the air. The network has since added Better Health TV on channel 36.2. But Reimche still wanted to see the Hope Channel on Portland screens. As the conference media program grew, so did his dream. Finally, in 2014, the Oregon Conference media center became an affiliate of the Hope Channel and announced plans to release English and Spanish channels with locally produced programs. Now, after years of preparation under communication director Gary McLain and media center director J. C. Muñoz, the channels are ready. Reimche stresses that locally produced content is key to reaching unchurched Portlanders. Reimche hopes church members will understand when the shows aren’t familiar or churchlike. “The Portland area is unique,” Reimche says. “Being the most unchurched area in the United States, it takes special programming to enter the market. . . . Preaching is not necessarily going to reach them.” “I have a feeling that if we create content for the Portland area people, it’s going to go way beyond Portland,” McLain says. Producing the quality and quantity of shows necessary to reach a secular audience is a daunting task, but Reimche, McLain, and Muñoz all believe God plays a significant part. “We are dreaming with little here. We know it’s going to be difficult,” Muñoz says, “but we believe God can bless us. So we are starting.” “I pray about it every day,” McLain says. “I’ve been amazed by what we have been able to accomplish so far. I think that’s because of God’s hand in it.” —Rachel Scribner, Oregon Conference

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

13


N O R T H

A M E R I C A N

D I V I S I O N

C O M M U N I C AT I O N

N A D U P D AT E

Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division, prays for those who stood to dedicate themselves to sharing Christ with their communities at this year’s Just Claim It Conference.

H

undreds of Seventh-day Adventist young people pledged to share the gospel with the world after Daniel R. Jackson, president of the Adventist Church in North America, urged them to be involved in completing the church’s mission. “God did not choose my generation to finish the work on this planet. He has called your generation,” Jackson told an audience of 1,000 young people at the conclusion of the threeday Just Claim It prayer conference in Ontario, California. “You will finish the work reaching the lost,” he said on Sabbath, February 20. “Jesus is coming soon, and He is calling you. Your church needs you. The church wants you. This work will be finished by your generation.” Jackson thanked the more than 80 teens who volunteered to lead small study groups each day of the confer-

14

By Dan Weber, communication director, North American Division

Young Vow People to

Change World

Prayer conference attendees challenged to reflect Christ. ence, which was themed “The World Changers.” He asked them to join him onstage for a prayer of dedication. Turning to the audience before his prayer, he asked them to stand and dedicate their lives to serving Jesus and sharing Him with others. The young people stood as they made the promise. The conference, organized by the

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

North American Division’s youth department, was packed with prayer sessions, spiritual meetings, and recreational activities. Attendees took time out on Friday to assemble 1,000 kits filled with soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and other essentials for distribution at homeless shelters in the nearby Los Angeles area. This Just Claim It conference, held


N O R T H

every two years, was the fifth sponsored by the North American Division. The next conference will be held in Toronto, Canada, in early 2018. Sabbath’s prayer of dedication followed a special time of prayer Friday evening. At the end of the evening program, Armando Miranda, Jr., associate youth director for the North American Division, invited attending pastors and youth leaders onto the stage for a prayer of dedication for their service to young people in their churches. Hundreds of attendees then followed the pastors to the conference’s Gethsemane prayer room, where each pastor spent several minutes with each young person, praying for their personal requests and anointing them if requested.

A M E R I C A N

D I V I S I O N

C O M M U N I C AT I O N

Youth and young adults come to the Gethsemane Prayer Room for prayer, counseling, and annointing the Friday evening of the conference. Jackson, in his remarks on Sabbath, told the story of the first time he built a house, and the tensions that arose when the building inspector advised him that he might have built it on the wrong property. The potential conflict ended when Jackson told

ALL YOUR MINISTRY NEEDS FROM

the inspector who had laid the foundation. The builder had a reputation for never making mistakes. “We need to have a foundation built on Jesus,” Jackson said. “He must be in the middle of everything we share or do.” n

AZ

Whether you’re looking for resources for your Pathfinder Club or you need new ideas for family ministries, stewardship or the youth group, AdventSource has you covered.

Contact us today to learn more! 402.486.8800 | adventsource.org

Continued on next page

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

15


3ABN CAMP MEETING

3abncampmeeting.org

Don’t miss this live event! John Bradshaw

Carlton Byrd

John Carter

Kameron DeVasher

Ivor Myers

Danny Shelton

Mollie Steenson

C.A. Murray

Shelley Quinn

David Shin

Join special guest speakers and your 3ABN family as they share this year’s theme, “Christ, Calvary, and the Sanctuary.” Live from the 3ABN Worship Center Engaging Sermons & Seminars • Children’s Programs • Complimentary Meals •

John Lomacang

Kenny Shelton

Brenda Walsh

Roy and Earlenne Hunt

Can’t be there in person? Watch it on 3ABN with MYSDATV Other ways to watch

Order at mysdatv.org Questions? Call 618-627-2300

• Live 24/7 Streaming –3abn.tv • Stream 3ABN directly to your TV • No monthly fee • Music, program guides, photos and more • Multiple languages

• Three mysdatv boxes* to choose from - Including a compact pocket size • All Adventist content

Available Streams (For an updated list visit: mysdatv.org)

• Mobile Devices–(iPhone, iPad, AndroidTM) download the 3ABN app • Roku–Stream 3ABN directly to your TV, visit Roku.com • Dish–Channel 9393, visit dish.com • Verizon FiOS –Channel 291, visit buyverizon.com

*Must have internet connection.

For more information visit 3abncampmeeting.org or 3ABN.tv or call 618-627-4651


NAD PERSPECTIVE

Secret

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). Thank You, Jesus, for Golgotha.

By Daniel Weber

Information

T

he media are buzzing with news of an encrypted iPhone, and the secrets that may or may not be on it. This information, if it does exist, may be able to prevent future terrorist attacks. But at what price does society put privacy above security? When does information become more important than the potential invasion of people’s private matters? We Christians have been given some important information, lifechanging data that affects everyone on the planet. The Breath of Life television ministry and producer Jeff Wood are making sure that this saving information becomes available to all. The collaboration has given us a Seventh-day Adventist Easter special on ABC television this year, called “The Rising.” Directed by Carlton Byrd, senior pastor of the Oakwood University church, and produced by Jeff Wood, a long-time veteran of Adventist television programming, the film both presents a message of hope reflecting the special flair of Oakwood University, and mirrors the vast diversity of the Adventist Church throughout North America. Byrd divided his sermon into four sections: Gethsemane, Golgotha, Friday Evening to Sunday, and Ascension/Anticipation. Sermonettes are separated by a narrative vignette presented by the gardener, portrayed by actor Jonathan Hickey. The vignettes

Friday Night to Sunday

serve as a retelling of the events that played out during Jesus’ capture, trial, crucifixion, resurrection, and return to heaven. Powerful performances of traditional hymns frame a message of hope in the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Here’s a synopsis: Gethsemane

In the garden the weight of the world pressed down on Jesus. His suffering was so intense that drops of blood appeared on His forehead as perspiration. Jesus prayed three times, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39). Jesus came to earth and took the form of a man for this very reason. Jesus was born to die, to pay the price for our sins. He came to taste the cup of God’s wrath in our stead. Jesus’ prayer didn’t change the outcome. He still absorbed the torture, the pain, for us. Golgotha

It’s not a high hill, but it is symbolically the highest hill in the world. There humanity’s sin intersected with God’s love. Jesus was the key to unlock the door of salvation. If Jesus hadn’t gone to Golgotha, who would have fulfilled the prophecy of salvation? God had a plan of salvation in place before the world was formed. What kept Jesus on the cross? Love!

Jesus died on Friday; His body was taken off the cross. His body rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. Even in death He was obedient to God’s commands. We think we must fight to win. No Christian is able to win. We fight because we have already won. We fight to protect, not to occupy. Satan is a defeated foe. His attacks on us can never be greater than his attack on our Lord at the cross. Jesus’ power over Satan at the cross is the same power that we claim today. We possess power and authority over the kingdom of darkness. Satan was defeated 2,000 years ago. We have this same power today. Jesus died on Friday; He rested on the Sabbath. Jesus rose on the third day. Because He lives, we also live! The Ascension

God’s power didn’t stop at the resurrection. It continued at His ascension. Before Jesus left the earth, He said, “I’m coming back.” This same Jesus who was taken up into heaven will return again! He came as a babe to save His people. At His second coming He is coming with the voice of the archangel to rescue His people. This is good news, life-changing news. We must not keep it secret. n

Daniel Weber is communication director for the North American Division.

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

17


NAD Letters

A Great Man

I read with interest the profile of the great Adventist educator Thomas Geraty in the December 2015 issue. My experience with him was somewhat more mundane. Our family was in line at the departure gate of an airport in the Philippines, ready to return to our mission work in Taiwan after a monthlong evangelistic series. At the gate we were informed that we had overstayed our visa by one day, so there was a fine of US$37. The day before, we had cashed in all our Philippine money and had no U.S. money. What to do? Staying another day was not possible. Just then I looked behind me and there was Geraty, returning to Singapore. I went to him, explained our problem, and asked if he had any U.S. money on him. He looked in his wallet and found just enough to take care of the fine. Thankfully, we went through customs and boarded the flight to Taiwan. I repaid Geraty a few days later. Robert Bird Mora, New Mexico Why Are We Confused?

Was anyone else besides me shocked at the four theological controversies given by Gerhard Pfandl in “Who Are We and Why Are We Here?” (January 2016). If Adventists are questioning

18

whether the Bible is inspired or reliable, then we are in grave danger. All four “conflicts” are clearly answered in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Fran Wilson West Carrollton, Ohio

Those of us who live in North America are fortunate to have many dietary options. But for Adventists in many parts of the world, dairy products, eggs, even meat, are necessary for optimal nutrition.—Editors.

Meat-eating and Aging

Fond Memories

Thanks for another fine edition of Adventist World. I feel impelled to comment on Andrew McChesney’s article on the hazards of meat eating (December 2015). Of all the literature I’ve read concerning vegetarianism, I’ve yet to note any that mention how the consumption of meat has an effect on premature aging. The pituitary gland located in the brain emits a hormone that causes a person’s cells to age and limit growth. Animals have a shorter life span than humans; therefore, when we eat their blood, we receive the animal’s aging hormone added to your own. The ramifications of this phenomenon are worth considering. Milton Lenheim Madera, California

I commend you on your excellent article on Karachi Adventist Hospital (KAH) in Pakistan (January 2016). I was administrator of KAH from 1986 to 1990, and my wife taught in the overseas school. While we were there, the hospital added a 10-bed pediatric unit on the second floor of the administration building immediately adjacent to the main hospital. At the time, KAH was the only hospital in Pakistan recommended by the American embassy for Americans traveling in that part of the world. Allen and Airlie Fowler S herwood Park, Alberta, Canada

Eggs and Yogurt?

In the article “Fiber Up,” in the January 2016 edition of Adventist World, I was surprised to find eggs and yogurt listed as recommended. When were those items approved as healthy choices according to our beliefs? Therese Young Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

Glory to God Only

I am writing about the article on the street named after Ellen G. White in the March 2015 edition of Adventist World. I have read many of her books; I even own some. But nowhere does she seem to accept praise or any kind of reward for her work. She always gave glory to God. I truly believe she wouldn’t be pleased with this recognition as it was not her style. I think it was a good idea, but from what I have read of her, she’d be against this glory. Louville J. Sanderson Florida


By Peter N. Landless and Allan R. Handysides

W O R L D

H E A L T H

P I X A B AY

ZikaVirus

Can anything we do make a difference? I am worried because my daughter is pregnant, and all the news about the Zika virus and microcephalic babies is making me nervous. What advice do you have to offer?

T

he Zika virus was isolated in 1947 from a rhesus monkey in the Zika Forest near Entebbe, Uganda. The recent explosive outbreak of Zika virus infection in Brazil, and the temporally associated spike in the incidence of microcephaly and of the Guillain-Barré syndrome (a paralytic disorder), have caused tremendous anxiety and concern. Epidemics often have a “tipping point,” where the background rate of an infection is higher than the norm. With the Zika epidemic, this probably corresponds to the increased numbers of infected mosquitoes and, consequently, humans. The virus belongs to the arboviruses, or arthropod-borne diseases, such as dengue. Additionally, and of concern, the virus may be transmitted by sexual contact. A large number of infected individuals remain asymptomatic, making control more challenging, because documentation of the disease’s progress in a community becomes difficult. The symptoms are of a viral infection—with fever, rash, and joint pains—and might have permitted the infection to remain obscure. An association with Guillain-Barré (paralysis) raises significant concern. The potential to damage babies (teratogen) has caught global attention. Zika is associated with abnormal brain development (microcephaly) in the fetus,

which may later be associated with convulsions and learning disabilities. Many questions have not yet been answered. For example, does the infection have to occur at a specific time in the pregnancy to be associated with fetal damage? What percentage of mothers infected at such a specific time have babies that are affected? Does prior infection offer long-lasting protection, and if so, for how long? We shall learn a great deal about this Zika virus now that its association with major problems has been described. But for now, what does one do? Avoidance of mosquito bites becomes the number-one priority. This is particularly true for anyone contemplating pregnancy. This would have been to simply defer going to places where mosquitoes are known to carry the virus. The problem now, however, is that mosquitoes in our own backyards may be carrying the virus. Public health measures of cleaning up the environment and removing even small amounts of water sufficient for the breeding of mosquitoes need to be implemented. This reduces the number of mosquitoes. Individual householders may consider spraying the walls of their houses inside and out with a permethrin-containing spray to kill mosquitoes. Insect screens should be checked and repaired. Programs that include spraying or even the introduction of genetically modified male mosquitoes that produce nonviable larval forms need to be considered by regional health authorities.

Experience with malaria has demonstrated the difficulty of mosquito control, so avoidance of bites is a major strategy. Insect repellents are recommended, especially those containing DEET. A pregnant woman, however, may wish to have more of this on her garments than on large areas of skin. Permethrin-impregnated mosquito netting could become a feature of living even in nonmalaria areas. The concern for pregnant women also affects their partners because of the potential of person-to-person sexual transmission. The Brazilian health minister suggested couples might even defer having a family because of present uncertainty. Microcephaly may be associated with cognitive handicap, and this is a lifelong challenge. In the long term, a vaccine may become available and help to contain the epidemic; in the short term, the concerns we have discussed are important. Some may feel the size and importance of the problem may be exaggerated, but “better safe than sorry.” n

Peter N. Landless, a board-certified nuclear cardiologist, is director of the General Conference Health Ministries Department. Allan R. Handysides, a board-certified gynecologist, is a former director of the General Conference Health Ministries Department.

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

19


D E V O T I O N A L

A

to Tell By Ty Gibson

T

he Bible is not a textbook of systematic theology, nor is it a proof-text manual; it is not even a book of good moral advice. The Bible is, rather, a story. It’s a grand narrative rich with intersecting characters in an unfolding saga of infinite love, horrific loss, and glorious restoration at last. At the center of the story is a singular, towering figure. Every prophecy and parable, every song and symbol, every wailing prayer for justice and weeping plea for mercy, every cry for help and longing for love, every episode and act of the story, whispers His name. The entire Old Testament basically says, He is coming. The entire New Testament says, He has come. A promise made and a promise kept! That’s the whole Bible, the whole story, in a nutshell. In the Old Testament we hear God saying, I will faithfully love you at any and all cost to Me. No matter your posture toward Me, I will never stop loving you. I will come to your world and enter into your pain. I will bear your shame.

20

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

I will absorb your sin into My love and overcome its power to destroy you. In the New Testament we hear God saying, See, I am here, and I will fulfill every aspect of My promise to you. I will love you to the utter end of Myself. All the rage and hatred you can heap upon Me will not conquer, nor even weaken, My love for you. And when I am lifted up on the cross in self-sacrificing love for you, I will draw you back to Me. Summing up the relation of the two testaments, Paul brilliantly observed, “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20). In Christ, God has shown His love to be faithful and true by fulfilling every promise He made through the prophets. The story unfolds in seven epic acts: Pre-Creation: Once upon an eternity, God was all there was. Before all of creation, for eternal ages past, God existed as an expression of other-centered love: Father, Son, and Spirit, the eternal Three as One. The God of the biblical story is not a solitary self, but rather a self-giving

1


In its various forms and phases of development, the covenant is God’s pledge to continue fallen humanity in spite of our rebellion.

loving

friendship, a social unit of nonstop outgoingness. Selflessness defines God and is the foundation of reality. Creation: The physical universe, with all of its rational, thinking, choosing beings, was born from divine love as an expression of God’s character. Creation is simply the demonstration of God’s love in material form. We exist because God is love, and in order to love as God does. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually human beings were engineered to reflect God’s self-giving love back to Him and to one another. Fall: Sin entered the picture as the desire to live for self above and before others, thus generating mistrust, which led to isolation, which led to death. The fall of humankind was basically a falling out of love with God and one another. Sin is not the breaking of arbitrary rules imposed by a controlling God, but rather is anti-love, resulting in breakdown of relationships. Covenant: In response to the Fall, God remained true to His character. The key concept of the biblical story is God’s faithfulness. The story in Genesis reveals how God’s relationship with His people is summed up in the word covenant. In its various forms, the covenant is God’s pledge to continue loving fallen humanity in spite of our rebellion. He will follow through with His plan to save us at any cost to Himself. To accomplish the covenant plan, God establishes in Israel the biological and theological lineage through which His plan will be fulfilled. The prophets of Israel become the channel through which a series of covenant promises and prophecies are proclaimed, all of them pointing to Jesus. Messiah: The Christ event—His birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension—constitute the complete fulfillment of God’s covenant promise. Jesus is God’s love embodied in human form. In Him, covenant is kept from both the divine side of the relationship and from the human side. As God, Jesus was faithful to humanity. As human, He was faithful to God. Salvation is historically, objectively accomplished in Christ as the complete fulfillment of the covenant.

2 3

4

5

6

Church: The body of Christ is His covenant community. Its mission is to bear witness, through words and actions, to the transforming reality of God’s love. As the good news of God’s faithfulness is communicated to the world, salvation, liberation, and healing happen for every person who says “yes” to the message. Saying “yes” is what the Bible calls “faith,” which is exercised when individuals identify with Christ and live for Him. This is the subjective experience of redemption in Christ Jesus. Re-Creation: As the Bible story reaches its climax, everything contrary to God’s love will be eradicated. Only that which is good and beautiful will remain for all eternity. The story promises the final removal of evil and the restoration of all things to God’s ideal. Redeemed humanity will finally enter into the eternal bliss of other-centered, social integration God had planned from the beginning. God’s love will reign supreme in every heart as the only motive behind every thought, feeling, and deed. This is the whole Bible at a glance, and this is the message God raised up the Advent movement to proclaim to the world. Our understanding of the Bible serves its true purpose only when we tell this story. It is the most enchanting and moving and mind-blowing story that can be told, because it tells of a God who loves each of us more than His own existence; one who would rather die forever than live without us. If we tell this story, our own people, as well as those we try to reach, will spontaneously jump into the narrative to play their part. n

7

Ty Gibson is lead pastor of the Storyline Adven-

tist Church in Eugene, Oregon, United States. He has authored eight books and codirects Light Bearers, an international publishing, teaching, and media ministry.

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

21


F U N D A M E N T A L

B E L I E F S

Our

Greatest

By Jordan Stephan

NUMBER 14

Strength

(which we often see as a weakness)

I

n the center of the lobby of the men’s dormitory at Walla Walla University stands a stone monument with a Bible verse engraved into it: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1, NIV 1984). Adventists would stand firmly against a congregation that didn’t keep the Sabbath. A church that preached an incorrect view of the state of the dead would cause an uproar. But what about a church that is in disunity? That certainly wouldn’t make headlines on the Adventist Review Web site, or would it? If unity in Christ is a fundamental belief of our church, why are we so indifferent when this unity is challenged?

An African Illustration

Few people travel to Africa without taking an opportunity to see the incredible wildlife unique to this part of the world. I’ve had the chance to see many animals while living in Kenya, from regal lions to lumbering rhinos. Two African animals help make an important point: zebras and ostriches. Undoubtedly, these two animals are not the superstars of African safaris. They’re the animals you delete from your full memory card to make space for more elephant and lion photos. Zebras are little more than pretty donkeys, and it is a proven scientific fact that ostriches aren’t terrifying. But the way these two species interact is remarkable. Zebras have poor eyesight, but they make up for it with an incredible sense of smell and hearing. Ostriches, on the

22

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

other hand, have limited hearing and smell, but with their big eyes they have sharp vision. The two animals will often graze in similar areas to help protect each other from predators, relying on the other species for what they lack. Just as these animals work together using each other’s strengths, so too should we look for strengths in others to strengthen our church as a whole. But does that happen? If there were a career to be had pointing out flaws in others, many people would bring home a hefty paycheck. (And if you read that and thought of someone in your life, then maybe you would bring home a nice check as well.) In our churches, do we see a certain woman as the one who is best at organizing service projects, or do we see her as the one who leads the worst praise team each month? Does the teenager get encouraged for bringing his friends to church, or do we call him out because those friends have tattoos and earrings? Like film critics and art collectors looking for originals, we are experts at finding imperfections. What Unifies Us Most

Paul makes the best comparison for what church unity should be like in his letter to the Romans. “For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Rom. 12:4, 5).1 Look at the circle of believers in your home church. We all know those who are gifted to be the legs, willing to go wherever God asks. Others are certainly chosen to be the


UNITY

in the Body

of Christ

The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. (Ps. 133:1; Matt. 28:19, 20; John 17:20-23; Acts 17:26, 27; Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 5:16, 17; Gal. 3:27-29; Eph. 2:13-16; 4:36, 11-16; Col. 3:10-15.)

eyes, blessed with the ability to see people in need. Some are the ears, able to bite their tongues and simply listen, while others still are the hands, able to fix and heal. And we each have that one friend who proudly claims to be the mouth. Christ-centered unity does not come when churches cultivate same-minded people with a singular gift. Diversity, rather, is what brings healthy, unified growth. What ties us together is often the very thing we think is tearing us apart: differences. A Question for You

Do you think the Seventh-day Adventist Church is unified? Yes or no? Many Seventh-day Adventists, especially from my generation, might say “no.” I myself would even have said no before starting this article. But I recently had a conversation with a Roman Catholic student here at Maxwell Academy that changed my perspective. After discussing Catholic practices that I find interesting, I was curious to hear what he thought of Adventism. Being at an Adventist school, he is required to study our curriculum and attend our Sabbath services. I asked if there was anything about Adventism that he admired. His answer surprised me: “You guys all seem really close, like a family.” This conversation served as an eye-opener for me. We can often be oblivious to something about ourselves until someone else points it out. Is it possible that we as a church are more unified than we think we are? The unity of our church has been under attack by some in the past couple years. The most divisive topics bring with them the most ardent opponents with strong (even extreme) convictions. I always saw this as a sign of weakness in the church. But this conversation caused me to rethink this stance. If few things are being shaken more violently than our unity,

and Satan targets areas where he feels most threatened, then what does that say about our church’s unity? Is it possible that Satan targets our unity because it’s on the brink of being our greatest strength (read John 17:20-23)? This idea is hard to imagine because we tend to focus on the wrong things. Christian unity is not about agreeing with one another or thinking the same way. We can disagree and still be unified. The point of unity is not to be unified with each other, but rather to be unified in Christ. Ellen White spoke to this when writing about the disciples: “They would have their tests, their grievances, their differences of opinion; but while Christ was abiding in the heart, there could be no dissension. His love would lead to love for one another; the lessons of the Master would lead to the harmonizing of all differences, bringing the disciples into unity, till they would be of one mind and one judgment. Christ is the great center, and they would approach one another just in proportion as they approached the center.”2 The things that divide us today will soon fade as we look to Christ. That’s true unity, and it can be our church’s greatest strength. How good and pleasant that would be, indeed. n 1 Unless

otherwise noted, Scripture quotations have been taken 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 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), p. 296.

Jordan Stephan is a fourth-year theology student at Walla Walla University. He is taking a yearlong break from his studies and is a student missionary in Kenya, where he serves as boys’ dean and teacher at Maxwell Adventist Academy. April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

23


C OV E R S T O RY

Talking Protecting

FAITH,

FREEDO Dialogue + religious unique witness

24

Adventist World - nad | April 2016


S

DOM liberty =

I M A G E :

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

By Ganoune Diop

eventh-day Adventists shower me with questions when they learn that I represent the Adventist Church at meetings of Christian ecumenical organizations. “How exactly do Adventists view Christian unity, interfaith relations, and ecumenism?” they ask. “Why do Adventists choose to accept and maintain only observer status and not membership among Christian ecumenical organizations?” My answer is simple: It is legitimate for all people of goodwill to unite to save lives, to protect lives, and to affirm the importance and sacredness of life. It is even urgent for all people to partner to make this world a better place for all human beings, contributing to better health, education, and humanitarian work in all dignity, freedom, justice, peace, and fraternity. All the services and activities of the Seventh-day Adventist Church seek to promote life, and life in abundance. In the fulfillment of the church’s mission, Adventists mingle with other Christian organizations. In reference to its position in global Christian organizations, the Adventist Church has held observer status at meetings and been open to cooperation with other churches in areas that do not compromise its identity, mission, and message. The rule of thumb is not to hold membership in any ecumenical body that eradicates or erases the distinctive Adventist voice in reference to the sovereignty of God the Creator, the Sabbath, and the Second Coming. In principle, Adventists choose not to be involved in doctrinal alliances with other churches because of the Adventist adherence to a wholistic and integrated approach to biblical doctrines and because of that seeks to uphold doctrines that Adventists consider to have been sidelined, changed, or forgotten in the course of church history. That said, “unity” is not a bad word. Adventists value unity just as

God does. Unity is grounded in the existence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Adventists promote unity for the sake of mission, to make Christ known to all people groups, languages, tribes, and nations. Christians can also unite to make the world a better place through the promotion of health, education, humanitarian work, and the promotion and protection of human rights. But Christians must keep in mind that they will miss their primary calling if they do not unite to uphold and model spiritual values grounded on the everlasting gospel. The theological virtues of faith, hope, and love are paramount in the Christian mandate and gift to the world. These virtues can best flourish when religious liberty is a reality. Religious liberty for Adventists is the antidote to syncretistic ecumenism. It is a call to embrace truth with the inalienable freedom of conscience, freedom of religion or belief, freedom to express publicly one’s beliefs, freedom to invite others to share one’s convictions or to join one’s community of faith. Ecumenism Up Close

A subtle cluster of interrelated topics in the arena of interchurch and interfaith relations that needs much clarity is the issue of unity, visible unity, and ecumenism. Other words are sometimes brought into the conversation as if they mean the same thing. They are “collaboration,” “partnership,” and “interchurch (or interfaith) dialogue.” The word “ecumenism” is used differently in various contexts. The word can refer to unity among the world’s Christian churches, but people usually use it to describe a general sense of cordial relations, dialogue, or partnership for a project. Historically, the first church councils were called ecumenical in

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

25


C OV E R S T O RY

Delegates to the Third International Forum on Religion and Peace, a gathering of leaders from across Russia’s religious and political spectrum, met in October in the Great Hall of Moscow’s President Hotel. The event included scholars, public officials, and religious leaders representing the Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish, Catholic, and Islamic communities. Ganoune Diop, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the General Conference, represented the Adventist Church at the event and is pictured at far left.

the sense that many churches interacted to define orthodoxy. This is not the sense it is given today. Some denominations, such as Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, use it in this sense because they believe they are the guarantors of orthodoxy. But to label any partnership among Christians as doctrinal ecumenism may be uninformed, uneducated, and far-fetched. Spiritual honesty is also needed in identifying and evaluating the real content of interchurch relations. Defining Unity

The concept of unity has a solid biblical and theological foundation. The blessing God intended to spread through Abraham and through his descendants was destined to all the families of the earth. God wants all His people to experience doctrinal unity. This never materialized among His covenant people, Israel. The belief in

26

the resurrection of the dead, for example, was not shared by all Israelites. The New Testament mentions that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. Today unity is understood differently among various Christian churches. For Roman Catholics, for example, unity includes the concept of the communion of saints, meaning both those who are alive and those who are dead. In the Catholic Encyclopedia the communion of saints is described as “the spiritual solidarity which binds together the faithful on earth, the souls in purgatory, and the saints in heaven in the organic unity of the same mystical body under Christ its head. . . . The participants in that solidarity are called saints by reason of their destination [heaven] and of their partaking of the fruits of the Redemption.” With this example in mind, global church unity could be a reality only if

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

all Christians adopted the Roman Catholic worldview or understanding of reality or if all Catholics gave up their deeply held beliefs. Nevertheless, there is much that unites Christians, beginning with the foundation of unity itself. Unity is dear to the heart of God. The whole plan of salvation demonstrates God’s determination to unite His divided and dispersed family, which He created in His image. Unity is grounded in the being of God who is Trinity: a unity in Trinity. Jesus’ death was purposed to gather people into one. In John 17 Jesus prayed for unity for the sake of mission so that the world might believe. The Holy Spirit was given to seal the unity in mission. Adventists and Unity

Adventists join God in all that God is doing in the world for its salvation. God evangelizes (Gal. 3:8); so do we. P H O T O S :

B E T T I N A

K R A U S E


God is committed to unite the whole world under the lordship of the Savior, Jesus Christ. We join God to fulfill His purposes to lift up God the Son so that the world might be saved. Adventists are committed to call all peoples to fix their eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:1, 2). They remind all Christians of what constitutes a core belief since apostolic times and is also present in the earliest Christian statement of faith: the second coming of Jesus. The principle that informs Adventists’ relations to other Christians has two inseparable aspects: truth and religious freedom. Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White underscored this in The Acts of the Apostles, writing: “The banner of truth and religious liberty held aloft by the founders of the gospel church and by God’s witnesses during the centuries that have passed since then, has, in this last conflict, been committed to

our hands. The responsibility for this great gift rests with those whom God has blessed with a knowledge of His Word. We are to receive this Word as a supreme authority. We are to recognize human government as an ordinance of divine appointment, and teach obedience to it as a sacred duty, within its legitimate sphere. But when its claims conflict with the claims of God, we must obey God rather than men.”1 More fundamentally, Adventists understand their mission as their name intimates—highlighting the truth of the Second Coming as the hope of the world to finally embrace freedom from death and from evil, bringing with it justice and peace. These convictions are the reasons that Adventists emphasize the Second Coming and a message of healing. Adventists understand that the words of Jesus calling His disciples

“salt” and “light” (Matt. 5:13-17) apply also to them. Every aspect of Adventist engagement with any institution, agency, or organization, whether ecclesiastical or political, built primarily upon the reason for the existence of the church: bringing hope to humankind entangled in all kinds of evil. To fulfill this mission, Adventists participate in Jesus’ method as articulated by Ellen White: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’ ”2 Jesus served people, healed them, and fed them with no strings attached. He made them know and feel they were free to choose their future with or without Him. Freedom of con-

How to Relate to Others Seventh-day Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White offers practical advice in the art and science of relating to Christians from other denominations. Here are three pieces of advice. “When some who lack the Spirit and power of God enter a new field, they commence denouncing other denominations, thinking that they can convince the people of the truth by presenting the inconsistencies of the popular churches. It may seem necessary on some occasions to speak of these things, but in general it only creates prejudice against our work and closes the ears of many who might otherwise have listened to the truth. If these teachers were connected closely with Christ, they would have divine wisdom to know how to approach the people.”1 “We should not, upon entering a place, build up unnecessary barriers between us and other denominations, especially the

Catholics, so that they think we are their avowed enemies. We should not create a prejudice in their minds unnecessarily, by making a raid upon them. There are many among the Catholics who live up to the light they have far better than many who claim to believe present truth, and God will just as surely test and prove them as He has tested and proved us.”2 “We profess to have more truth than other denominations; yet if this does not lead to greater consecration, to purer, holier lives, of what benefit is it to us? It would be better for us never to have seen the light of truth than to profess to accept it and not be sanctified through it.”3 1 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 4, p. 536. 2 Ellen G. White, Evangelism (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1946), p. 144. 3 E. G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 620.

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

27


C OV E R S T O RY

science matters to Him. Without this freedom, no covenant is genuine. This is because love cannot be forced. Interchurch Relations

Adventists recognize other sincere Christians who confess the truth of Jesus as members of the body of Christ. But Adventists do not hold formal structural membership in ecumenical organizations primarily for freedom of religion purposes. Membership in an ecumenical body would limit the freedom to share one’s convictions with everyone else and thereby jeopardize a universal end-time mission as Adventists understand it. Adventists are not part of the ecumenical organizations that require membership, but they do enjoy guest or observer status at meetings. Cooperation with other Christian denominations is in accordance with the Adventist Church’s view of other

Christians must keep in mind that they will miss their primary calling if they do not unite to uphold and model spiritual values of the everlasting gospel. Christians. Ellen White, writing about temperance, said this about leaders in other denominations: “In other churches there are Christians who are standing in defense of the principles of temperance. We should seek to come near to these workers and make a way for them to stand shoulder to shoulder with us. We should call upon great and good men to second our efforts to save that which is lost.”3

In reference to prayer, White said: “Our ministers should seek to come near to the ministers of other denominations. Pray for and with these men, for whom Christ is interceding. A solemn responsibility is theirs. As Christ’s messengers we should manifest a deep, earnest interest in these shepherds of the flock.”4 In accordance with the above counsel, the General Conference, the administrative body of the Adventist

Meeting

Muslim Leaders When I retired as editor of the Adventist World, my life took on an unexpected turn. General Conference president Jan Paulsen requested that I become his personal assistant to develop relationships with leaders of the world religions. The aim would be to acquaint them with Seventh-day Adventists, who we are, our mission, and our values. This new assignment, for which there was no job description, led me on frequent trips to the Middle East, especially to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. There, during the course of multiple visits, I had conversations with major leaders of state and religion. Some of these prominent individuals became close friends. Interaction with these Muslim leaders made a profound impression. I had much to learn, much to unlearn. I found them easy to contact, but quite unaware of Seventh-day Adventists. They hadn’t heard of us; they were amazed to learn of Christians

28

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

By William G. Johnsson

who don’t eat pork or drink alcohol. And their belief in a second coming of Jesus offers an interesting opportunity for discussion. These high-level conversations accomplished much good. Eventually they bore fruit in the organizing of a symposium, “Teaching Respect for Religions.” Held at a university in Amman, it featured presenters from both Islam and Christianity and was attended by leading figures of the nation. These experiences led me to place a high value on interfaith dialogue. Especially in these times of religious bigotry, hatred, and misinformation, dialogue is essential. Said the Master: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matt. 5:9).

William G. Johnsson was the founding editor of Adventist World, and participated from 2007-2011 in many interfaith dialogues.


world church, has inscribed in the General Conference’s Working Policy that church leaders “recognize every agency that lifts up Christ before men as a part of the divine plan for the evangelization of the world, and . . . hold in high esteem the Christian men and women in other communions who are engaged in winning souls to Christ.” Rejecting Ecumenism

Unity, though clearly willed by God, is not the supreme value. Loyalty to God’s truth takes precedence. The Adventist Church and several other denominations that have not joined organized ecumenical bodies object to ecumenism as doctrine or as an objective to fuse Christian churches into one world church, leading to loss of distinctive denominational identity. Also, Adventists and other believers do not adhere to syncretistic alliances that would diminish the importance and weight of truth, especially when beliefs in some churches may not be in harmony with revealed biblical truth. The main concern of Adventists is that they will be restricted from sharing their convictions with every person regardless of religious or philosophical persuasion. This is fundamentally an issue of religious freedom. How could Christians question the right to freedom of religion or belief while even the secular world has accepted this fundamental human right and value? The Bottom Line

While considering other Christians as brothers and sisters in Christ, the principle that prevents the Adventist world church from being a member of an organized union of churches such as the World Council of Churches is that of religious freedom. Religious freedom implies the

unrestricted right to share one’s religious convictions and the right to invite others to join one’s own Christian tradition without being accused or labeled as a proselytizer. Seventh-day Adventists support Christian unity as they join the triune God, who is determined to gather people He created in His image. The purpose of the whole plan of salvation is the restoration of God’s image and the gathering of those He saves. Unity is grounded in God. It was for this purpose Jesus Christ came to earth to unite all the families of the earth. Doctrinal unity among Christian churches is elusive and unreachable unless churches lose their distinctive beliefs and join one of the church traditions, be it Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Reformed, Evangelical, Pentecostal, etc. Freedom of religion or belief is a nonnegotiable gift of God that should characterize the freedom of every Christian person or community to share his or her convictions with others, to invite others to join his or her Christian tradition. Obviously, for the sake of mission Christians can join to witness to Christ to a world that needs Him most urgently. n 1 Ellen

G. White, The Acts of the Apostles (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), pp. 68, 69. 2 Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), p. 143. 3 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 6, p. 110. 4 Ibid., p. 78.

Ganoune Diop was elected director of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty Department of the General Conference at the General Conference session in July 2015. He became the department’s associate director and the Adventist Church’s representative for interfaith relations and liaison to the United Nations in 2011.

10 Ways

Adventists Can Encourage

Unity 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

10

in the Christian vision of a caring, three-personal God; in a shared, new humanity, re-created in the image of Jesus Christ and having the mind of Christ in understanding our common calling to love God with our whole being and our neighbor as ourselves in recognizing the real spiritual controversy between good and evil, Christ and Satan in commitment to nonviolence, peace, and peacemaking, and the dignity and integrity of everyone’s personhood. in service to alleviate suffering, especially of those most in economic, physical, social, and other such need in promoting temperance, healthful and re-creative living in promoting freedom, equality, fraternity, and good neighborliness in proclaiming the good news of Jesus’ teachings (the gospel; the Beatitudes) in uplifting Jesus Christ before the world

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

29


The

Zika Virus

Looking for

It’s natural to blame something, By Scott Christiansen

30

Adventist World - nad | April 2016


N A D F E AT U R E

T

he Zika virus exploding across parts of the world is unimaginably horrible. Preliminary research suggests that when it infects pregnant women, it can result in heartwrenching deformities: babies born with undeveloped brains.

Answers or someone.

M O S Q U I T O : F L I C K R / C O N I F E R C O N I F E R / D I G I TA L LY M O D I F I E D Z I K A V I R U S : C D C / C Y N T H I A G O L D S M I T H / D I G I TA L LY M O D I F I E D

If humans hold any among us worthy of communal protection, it is pregnant women and babies. There is currently no treatment for the virus. And our highly advanced, globally technological society is reduced to trying to figure out how to stop the mosquitos that are one vector of the virus. Health officers in some countries can only advise women to avoid getting pregnant. This virus reveals the extreme limits of human power even as it preys upon helpless babies. Why would God let this happen? Even more important, what kind of god would create a world that includes such a virus? These questions are important because they bear directly on the issue of the character of God. What kind of god is God? The Zika virus provides occasion to ask these questions, but it is just one among many. AIDS, ebola, polio, tuberculosis, plague, malaria: these terrible diseases have claimed the lives of untold millions of people. But it’s not just diseases that make us question the character of God. Let’s set aside the fact that the earth is full of suffering from such disasters as earthquakes, famines, floods, storms, and fires, and go instead to the actual system upon which the earth works. We can look at nature at any level—from microorganisms in the soil to the largest animals alive—and find the same patterns: predation, struggle, disease, and death. All across nature we see creatures taking the lives of other creatures as their primary survival strategy. Conflict and selfishness are at the root of almost all survival strategies in nature, and are employed by April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

31


She just told us what she’s thinking. Will you?

@adventistreview

/adventistworldmagazine


N A D F E AT U R E

everything from microbes to parasites to predators. Conflict and struggle are even employed by plants through chemical warfare.1 Objective persons are likely to ask: What kind of god creates a world that has conflict, disease, predation, and death as its primary operating elements? This is a hugely important question, because we understand intuitively that the world is a reflection of the character of its god.

Two Basic Questions

This question brings us to a critical juncture, because there are really only two answers to consider. The first is that the description of God in the Bible—that God is love—is false, as is the Creation account, and that God created a dysfunctional world that operates, fundamentally, on a system of suffering and death. If this is the case, then God is a monster unworthy of

Zika What You Need to Know By Katia Reinert, associate director, General Conference Health Ministries Cases of the mosquito-borne Zika virus have escalated in several places in the world, and the World Health Organization has declared it a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. As with any major public health threat, facts—not fear—are necessary. We know from experience that knowledge is the ultimate tool to keep people healthy in any public health issue. While there is still much we don’t know about the Zika virus, the global community is coming together to take action and share reliable information. Here is some helpful information: 1. The primary source of Zika is bites from infected mosquitoes (Aedes species). These are the same mosquitoes that spread dengue and chikungunya viruses and are known to circulate in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific. They bite aggressively during the day, but also at night. 2. Zika can also be transmitted via sexual intercourse and blood transfusions, and potentially by organ donation, saliva, and urine (semen and urine have tested

positive for the virus in one case when the blood did not). There is currently no vaccine or treatment. 3. Information about Zika viral transmission from mothers to babies during pregnancy or childbirth is very limited, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirms that it can be spread from a mother to her fetus during pregnancy. 4. Infection during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects in babies. 5. An increase in Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been observed in areas in which a Zika virus epidemic has been documented (e.g., French Polynesia and Brazil). However, a direct causal relationship has not been established between Zika and GBS. 6. A possible link between microcephaly and Zika virus infection is being investigated after an outbreak in Brazil in 2015, resulting in an increased focus on screening pregnant women who may have been exposed. Factors that may cause increased risk to the fetus are unknown and are being investigated.

7. Time from exposure to symptoms (incubation period) is unclear, and only one in five people infected with Zika become symptomatic. Most people infected will have minimal symptoms. Severe disease is uncommon, and no deaths have been reported. 8. Common symptoms are low-grade fever (38.5°C/101°F) and a rash with small bumps, but can include muscle and joint pain, malaise, or headache, conjunctivitis, pain behind the eyes, and vomiting, and normally last two to seven days. 9. Only licensed medical professionals can accurately diagnose Zika in someone, and the diagnosis can be confirmed only by laboratory testing for the presence of the Zika virus RNA in the blood or other body fluids. 10. We do not know if there is a safe time during pregnancy to travel to an area with Zika; therefore the CDC recommends pregnant women not travel to these areas. 11. It is not known how likely it is that a pregnant woman will get Zika if she travels and is bitten, or how likely it is that her baby will have birth defects from the infection. 12. Mosquitoes that can carry Zika are found in some areas of the United States. And since the mosquitoes that spread Zika are common throughout the tropical areas of the world, outbreaks will continue.

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

33


IN

CASE

OF

EMERGENCY

TOGETHER

WORKING

IN

PARTNERSHIP

Every $1 contributed to support emergency preparation saves $7 in emergency response. Your offering on May 14 will ensure the safety of more families before the next disaster even strikes.

DISASTER

AND

FAMINE

RELIEF

OFFERING

You can also contribute online today: CommunityServices.org ADRA.org

16-033 | 01-16

MAY 14


N A D F E AT U R E

The importance of proclaiming the war between Christ and Satan as the context for everything that happens on earth cannot be overstated. our worship. Either that, or God doesn’t exist at all, and we waste our time worshipping Him. Fortunately, there is a second answer: The description of God in the Bible—God is love—is true, and that the Creation account is also true (God created all animals as vegetarians, not as predators [see Gen. 1:30]). If this is the case, then obviously something catastrophic happened to the world after God created it. Many Christians throughout the world would defend God, and try to explain that the first answer is false, while the second is true. But many of these well-intentioned Christians stumble in their explanation, and understandably so. How can we reconcile the character of a loving God with the suffering we see so obviously throughout the world? How do we explain a God who is all-powerful and yet who does not step in and immediately stop all suffering? What these well-intentioned Christians lack is a sufficient understanding of the war between Christ and Satan: how it began and how it will end. They lack the ability to see the world and all that happens in it as a part of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. A Biblical Framework

The importance of proclaiming the war between Christ and Satan as the context for everything that happens on earth cannot be overstated. After all, to do so is to defend the character of God in a conflict that all started with the charge against His character. We can be certain that attacks against His character will be again leveled with vigor in the last days. Inasmuch as we are living in the last days, we should be pouring energy into proclaiming the great controversy story.

Who will proclaim this message with vigor if Adventists don’t? This message, in its fullness at least, is unique to Adventists. Praise the Lord for that, because this understanding is one that opens up both Scripture and world events to a deeper understanding. Seeing the world through this lens can lead to a profound, even radical, transformation. This context, this framework, is an amazing light to a world searching for answers. However, proclaiming a unique message comes at a cost: it separates Adventists from the rest of the Christian world. It makes us unique, which is a problem, because we seem to value acceptance and inclusion highly. So we have this dilemma: will we, or will we not, embrace being unique and loudly proclaim the background and context of everything that happens in this world? Will we, or will we not, defend the character of God? The apostle Paul wrote that Satan is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4). We know that Satan does not have power to create, but we also know he has power to pervert and twist creation into something unnatural that includes diseases such as the Zika virus. Ellen White wrote: “Satan is the originator of disease. . . . There is a divinely appointed connection between sin and disease. . . . Sin and disease bear to each other the relationship of cause and effect.”2 And Ellen White observed that Satan controls the elements and causes disasters.3 We also know that the whole world is subject to the curse of sin (the consequence of which is death), and that creation itself suffers (Rom. 8:21, 22). So whether disease, disasters, and suffering come from Satan’s direct action or whether they come as a consequence of sin, everything negative in the world can be traced back to Satan.

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

35


N A D F E AT U R E

We don’t know exactly how Satan perverted creation, but we do know he has dominion over this world (which he took from humanity when Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden).4 There is a god of this world who is a monster, and that is Satan. He is responsible for all suffering, all disease, all disasters, all unhappiness. And he will do anything he can to place the blame for all this on God. Ellen White explained: “It is Satan’s constant effort to misrepresent the character of God, the nature of sin, and the real issues at stake in the great controversy. His sophistry lessens the obligation of the divine law and gives men license to sin. At the same time he causes them to cherish false conceptions of God so that they regard Him with fear and hate rather than with love. The cruelty inherent in his own character is attributed to the Creator.”5 Looking Forward

Disasters have increased some 300 percent in the past 35 years.6 Disease is becoming rampant. Suffering increases exponentially. Objective persons want to know: What kind of god allows this to happen? It’s a fair question. And when it is posed, a profound witnessing opportunity is created. God has given us the ability to answer this question. Let’s throw ourselves into the task. The great controversy is fundamentally a story. Where are the poets, singers, songwriters, playwrights,

videographers, writers, and bloggers among us who will compellingly retell this story? Where are the artists who will assist them? Where are the legions of supporters who will make it happen? And where are the throngs of Adventists who will put the story of the great controversy, in its many forms, into the hands of everyone in their social networks? It’s never been easier to communicate on a grand scale. And never before have so many been searching so desperately for credible answers. It’s time for Adventists to step up and accept the challenge of unmasking Satan and revealing God’s true character. n 1 Yes, chemical warfare. For an old but fascinating reference, look at E. L. Rice’s “Chemical Warfare Between Plants,” in Bios 38 no. 2 (May 1967): 67-74. 2 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 5, pp. 443, 444. 3 Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), pp. 589, 590. 4 Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1890), p. 67. 5 E. G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 569. 6 For more information and a graphic of the increase, see my article “The End of Normal” in the March 2016 issue of Adventist Review.

Scott Christiansen is communication director for the Northern New England Conference, and author of the book Planet in Distress.

How to

Prevent Zika While Travelling 1. Prevent mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants (preferably light-colored), sleeping under a mosquito net, or staying in places with air-conditioning or places that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. 2. Use EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)-registered insect repellents. They are effective and

proven safe, even for pregnant and breast-feeding women. Reapply as directed. If applying sunscreen, apply it before applying insect repellent. 3. Strengthen your immune system by getting plenty of rest, drinking enough fluids, and treating pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, seek medical care and advice. Researchers are carefully designing

and conducting studies to learn more. Reliable, updated information can be accessed at: www.cdc.gov/zika www.who.int/mediacentre/ factsheets/zika/en/ www.paho.org/zikavirus wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/ zika-travel-information

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

37


A D V E N T I S T

L I F E

D

uring my first visit to Europe many years ago, I tried to give a brochure to a person in the subway. She rejected it. That shocked me. In my home country this would rarely happen. People here, it seemed, were not as receptive to the gospel. So I wondered, How can I break the cultural barriers and reach people’s hearts? Soon after, while traveling on a train, my 2-year-old-daughter was “reading” a book about the Flood and the creation of the world. A couple beside her were enchanted with her enthusiasm and listened to her attentively while she showed them the pictures and explained to them their meanings. When we arrived at our stop, we said farewell to the couple with affective and spontaneous smiles, which in other circumstances we would likely not have experienced. That event helped me understand that we can reach the hearts of those who apparently seem “closed” to the gospel message if we use the right “key.”

By Júlio César Leal

Things I Learned From

Church Planting

A Church Is Born

In 2011 I went to Madrid, Spain, to continue my postgraduate studies. I began meeting with a small group of Portuguese-speaking Adventists, most of whom were Brazilians. The group organized initially in 2008, was growing slowing, and dreamed of building a church. I offered to help. We began our campaign with prayer, and God answered our prayers. The European Portuguese Advisory (EPA) (in Portuguese, Conselho Europeu de Língua Portuguesa), a supporting ministry that helps coordinate and foster the creation of Portuguese immigrant churches in Europe, began dialoguing with leaders and pastors of the Spanish Union of Churches Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (SUCC), and meetings were held to discuss the possibilities. The EuroAfrica Division (now the Inter-European Division) released resources of the project His Hands* to facilitate the

38

Small group establishes the first Portuguese Adventist church in Spain.

foundation of the new church, the first Portuguese Adventist church in Spain. A Church and a Mission

The Lord blessed our efforts. We were able to obtain—free of charge— a small facility in which to meet and worship on Sabbaths. This strengthened our faith in God’s leading, and we continued to move forward in faith. The official inauguration of the small group was held on March 23, 2012. EPA representatives from London and Switzerland, as well as church leaders from SUCC, attended. At first weekly attendance hovered

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

around 30, but the members enthusiastically embraced their mission to reach as many as possible of the more than 20,000 Brazilians and others living in Madrid who spoke Portuguese. They happily greeted Sabbath visitors and welcomed them into their group. The Key to Success

Every human being has spiritual needs, as well as a need for fellowship and companionship with others. A genuine and vibrant Christian group that is biblically oriented can help satisfy these needs. A community of immigrants such as ours can also offer P H O T O S

C O U R T E S Y

O F T H E

A U T H O R


Left: JOYFUL MEMBERS: Members of the Madrid Portuguese Adventist church Below: CELEBRATING COMMUNION: Two members of the Madrid Portuguese Adventist church participate in the Communion service.

practical assistance, such as providing food to those in need and helping them find jobs or places to pursue their education or learn a second language. A support network was developed through small-group meetings in church members’ homes. Four small groups prayed with one another and shared sorrows, joys, and dreams. They developed friendships with one another and shared their faith with neighbors, relatives, and others. Sharing Sabbath meals also provided fellowship. The spontaneity and joy in our social meetings and religious services in the church created an attractive environment for visitors. A Dream Realized

The small groups, visits to members, frequent phone calls, Bible studies, and daily church life fostered friendship and confidence. When I visited other community churches, I shared the story of the fledgling congregation. Eventually the news spread throughout

the region, resulting in many prayers and messages of encouragement. Adventists from other churches soon began to migrate to our congregation. Former Adventists and people interested in learning about the gospel started attending as well. Before long we outgrew our meeting facility and began looking for something larger. One day, while talking to a church brother at his automobile repair shop, I mentioned that we were praying and looking for a new meeting site. He showed me a place for rent in front of his shop. It was the size we needed and in a good location, close to a subway station and in a Brazilian immigrant neighborhood. It seemed God was leading. We signed the lease in October 2012. The new meeting place needed much work and renovation. Church members volunteered both time and resources. Refurbishing the place included constructing a second bathroom, acquiring new chairs, organizing a children’s room, updating the heating system, and, of course, cleaning and painting. The SUCC approved the opening of the new church on November 13, and its official dedication was held January 19, 2013. All those initial months of hard work, sweat, and tears were finally crowned with the slow but sustainable development of the first Portuguese Adventist church in Spain. Lessons Learned

Here are 10 things I learned from helping to plant this new congregation: 1. Success depends on both the heavenly rain and the sweat of those who work in it. 2. Negotiations and administrative formalities can sometimes be dry, slow, and challenging, but they are the inevitable way to plant a new church. 3. Pleasing everyone should not be the goal. But respecting different opinions is a sign of maturity and wisdom,

and helps avoid a lot of problems. 4. Words of encouragement can lighten the exhausted soul and strengthen a person’s faith. 5. God often uses humble, weak, and unskilled people to teach us to depend on Him. 6. If we use lack of money as an excuse to do nothing, we don’t understand that God is truly in control. 7. Unless we spend time with people, strive to be close them, and love them, it’s impossible to share our knowledge and experience of God with them. 8. Every pastoral ministry is beyond human capacity, but with God all things are possible. 9. God’s mercy and love toward lost souls allow us be instruments of salvation, independent of our personal strengths and weaknesses. 10. We sometimes need to unlearn things in order to be able to understand other lessons God wants to teach us. Practical Love

The central gospel message is practical love. After breaking through the numerous artificial and cultural barriers that people use to protect themselves, we find hearts in need of love and understanding. Sincere Christians can provide genuine friendships through which others can experience a true encounter with God. n * His Hands is an initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. For more information, go to www.adventistvolunteers. org/HisHands/

Júlio César Leal, a

pastor and translator, serves in a supporting prison ministry in Madrid and is a speaker for 7dayradio (www.sevendayradio.com) and 7Day Media Group. He also serves on the board of the Brazilian chapter of the Adventist Theological Society.

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

39


A D V E N T I S T

H E R I T A G E

F

or the first 10 years of my life I was a little boy in a little village on a big plain: the magnificent, wide-open, undulating plains of Venezuela’s Gran Sabana in South America’s northern region.

Another

Native There are many ways to become a pioneer.

Beautiful Land

My name is Gibson Caesar. I am one of the original inhabitants of my region: Taurepan, Akawaio. Pemonspeaking Amerindians inhabit a land of splendid beauty shared with Spanishspeaking Venezuelans, English-speaking Guyanese, and Portuguese-speaking Brazilians. Many of us speak all those European languages and several of our own as well. Our land features dramatic ancient rock formations called tepuis (or tepuys) that suddenly rise from the savannah floor in awe-inspiring isolation from one another. They make for spectacular waterfalls, one of which, Ayuantepui, is the source of Angel Falls, at 979 meters (3,212 feet) the world’s tallest waterfall, with one uninterrupted plunge of 807 meters (2,648 feet). Its river, the Gauja, is but one of the area’s wild rushing currents that sweep over these falls. The indigenous word “Guayana” (“Guyana”) goes far in explaining the lush profusion of this (at times) inaccessible interior. Its meaning, “land of many waters,” describes the fertility of hinterland earth in Guyana, Surinam, Cayenne, Venezuela, and Brazil. The deep jungles of these lands have provided exotic flora and fauna for many of the world’s zoos. My own Taurepan-speaking relatives still freely move across the fluid international borders at the base of Mount Roraima, where Brazil, Venezuela, and Guyana’s borders meet. For me, as a 10-year-old, moving from the land of my birth to Guyana would give me a new land, language, name, and life.

40

Paruima, Waramadong, Georgetown

Son

Paruima is an indigenous Amerindian village across the Guyanese border where the Seventh-day Adventists operated a school, with Riley Caesar as teacher. School drew me there. But within a short time teacher Riley and his wife, Lucy, drew me further in. They took me into their home and gave me their name. I could not know then how big a step this was into God’s future for me. Two years later, in 1948, we moved to the village of Waramadong, where my dad served as teacher in the Waramadong school. But Daddy Caesar soon realized that his firstborn son needed more schooling than he could get in hinterland Akawaio villages. So after about two years in Waramadong, he sent me to Guyana’s capital city of Georgetown. By then he was not as lonely as he had been when he took me in as his first son. Now there were four kids: me, 14 years old; Val, 4; with Theron and Lael trailing behind. And though there were no Adventist schools in Georgetown in 1950, there was an Adventist head­ master. Daddy Caesar entrusted me into Bruce Dummett’s care. Coming of Age

Georgetown was still not enough for my thirst for learning, or Daddy’s

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

By Gibson Caesar (with Lael Caesar)

dreams for me. So after being there three months, I sailed across the Caribbean Sea to Caribbean Training College on the island of Trinidad, where my teacher-parents, Riley and Lucy Caesar, had themselves been trained. I spent three years in that school, learning to fill Daddy’s shoes. For that was just what the Lord had destined me to do: return home to make history for my native people. When Daddy Caesar was transferred to Guyana’s Essequibo Coast to take up pastoral duties, I took his place in Waramadong. At just 17 years old, I became the first indigenous teacher in Adventism’s history of my people in Guyana. Back in my school days at Daddy Caesar’s Waramadong school there was a girl named Anita. She was one year my junior. Her dad, William Frederick Kenswil, traveled a bit. So for reasons of her stability, he let her spend much of her time in the care of Pastor and Mrs. Roy Brooks, missionaries living and teaching in the village of Paruima. Mr. Kenswil paid his daughter weekly visits in Paruima, but one day when she was 13, he decided to have her come visit him instead: “You are growing up my daughter,” he said. “You need to find a good husband . . . Gibson, perhaps, or someone like him.” It was the only fatherdaughter conversation of that kind she


Gibson, fourth from right, with family members

Moving from the land of my birth to Guyana would give me a new land, language, name, and life. would ever have with her dad. He died that same week. Far away in Trinidad, I was doing my own thinking: “I have nobody,” I told myself. The solution would be to write to Mrs. Brooks. I did, and told her to keep Anita for me. But life isn’t always that simple. After I came home to teach, I found myself aware of more than one charming, Christian young woman in my world. I kept thinking of Esther, who liked me a lot, and of Anita at Pastor Brooks’ home away in Georgetown. One day I made up my mind to go see Anita. It was enough. A week later Pastor Brooks brought Anita to Waramadong to join us in marriage, March 18, 1954—me and my old schoolmate; the girl whose father, when she was 13, had encouraged her to think of me just days before he died; the girl I had asked P H O T O

C O U R T E S Y

O F T H E

A U T H O R

Sister Brooks to keep for me. Amazing, isn’t it, or at least amusing, that none of us ever thought of asking Anita what she thought of all this? Blessedly for me, Anita was in full agreement with having me as her life companion. Life Together

I taught for seven years in Waramadong, the last six of them with Anita at my side as teacher and loving wife. Later we moved to Kako, some eight hours away, to open a new school. Kako put all my capacity as a leader to the test. God helped me persuade the village community to join me in doing it all. We built everything from classroom blackboard, to school furniture, to the schoolhouse itself. Life After Kako

I did many things in life after Kako. There was mining, logging, and

many years of work in agriculture. Daddy and Mommy’s preparation, and my years at Waramadong and Kako, stood me in good stead. Beginning at the Mon Repos School of Agriculture in 1973, I served as a career educator, teaching in eight of my people’s communities, places with musical Amerindian names like Paruima, Waramadong, Kamarang, Kako, Jawalla [in the Upper Mazaruni], Imbaimadai, Chinauyen, and Philippi. Anita left teaching to become a certified midwife. From her base in Waramadong she worked from 1973 to 2001, and earned the astonishing record of never losing a baby through 28 years of midwifery in Guyana’s hinterland. But my history-making years at Waramadong and Kako will never be forgotten. God has been good to this little boy who wandered across an international border to find his family and purpose in life. Life has had its sorrows along with its joys. But I am thankful that God let us see seven of our children, three girls and four boys, grow to adulthood and do very well. Considering their success, the growth of Adventist education among Guyana’s historic Davis Indian community, and the way God has led throughout my life, I shall always be grateful for the privilege He granted me of being the pioneer in the Christian education of my people. Across the next border in heaven’s promised land my children and students and I will all learn from Jesus in the school of eternity. n

Gibson Caesar,

retired, now lives in the town of his birth, Santa Elena de Uairén, in the state of Bolívar, Venezuela.

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

41


B I B L E

Q U E S T I O N S

Please clarify the law of slavery in Exodus 21:2-6. Wouldn’t God be opposed to slavery?

A N S W E R E D

A Question of

Slavery

A number of laws in the Old Testament regulate the treatment of Israelite and non-Israelite slaves. I will provide an overview of slavery in Israel and discuss the legislation to which you refer. 1. Slavery in the Old Testament: Slavery was not a social institution established by God, but a common one found throughout the ancient Near East, including Israel. God did not proscribe it, but He did regulate it in order to protect slaves from abuse and exploitation. God does not uproot us from our culture, but takes us where we are and makes us better persons. In fact, some of His laws point to a time that there would not be more slaves (the law of jubilee). The Hebrew term translated “slave,” ‘ebed, means “servant, worker, adviser, slave,” etc. Most slaves were prisoners of war who served those who defeated them, probably for life. In Israel people became slaves because of poverty (Lev. 25:35, 39) or for committing a crime (Ex. 22:3). In such cases they were not devalued but were still considered a fellow Hebrew (Deut. 15:12). Physical abuse that resulted in the loss of limb (e.g. an eye or a tooth) was compensated by freeing the slave (Ex. 21:26, 27). Slaves had the Sabbath free to serve God (Ex. 20:10). For the poor, slavery was not necessarily that bad, because it assured them food and shelter; consequently they often voluntarily became slaves to pay their debts. 2. A Legal Case: Exodus 21:2-6 is a case law that legislates how to deal with a person who has become a debt slave: “If you buy a Hebrew servant . . .” Such persons would work until the debt was paid. They would work for six years, and on the seventh they would go free “without paying anything” (verse 2, NIV). Two possible scenarios are mentioned and regulated: Those who had a family when they became debt slaves leave with their families. If they did not have a family and the owner gave them a wife and they had children, slaves would leave without their wives and children. In that case they could choose to remain a slave by permanently becoming part of the household. This required taking a vow before the Lord and

42

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

having the ear perforated to indicate that the person had become part of the household. 3. Significance of the Legislation: When placed within the larger context of Old Testament law, this legislation is concerned with the well-being of slaves. First, the Lord does not want slavery to be a permanent condition. It is limited to six years. In fact, a redeemer could set slaves free by paying their debt. And the six years could be shortened if, during that period, there was a sabbatical year, when the debts of the poor were remitted (Deut. 15:1-6), or the jubilee was celebrated, granting freedom to all Hebrew slaves (Lev. 25:10). Second, the family of those who were married when they sold themselves to slavery was cared for by the master. This was not a free service, but was paid by the work of the family members. Third, after the six years the owner was not to “send them away empty-handed” but to “supply them liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and you winepress. Give to them as the Lord your God has blessed you” (Deut. 15:13, 14, NIV). Former slaves were granted a new beginning. Fourth, although the person who came alone into slavery could not take his wife and children with him, he had the right to redeem them; but this would be difficult for a poor person. Thus a second option was legally available: He could become a member of the household of the owner. Under this arrangement they would not have to worry about their own subsistence as a family. Obviously, none of this was ideal. But in the imperfect world, the Lord legislated slavery to make it as humane as possible, while at the same time announcing the coming of a final jubilee when slavery, including slavery to sin, would come to an end (Luke 4:17-19). n

Angel Manuel Rodríguez is retired after serving the church as a pastor, professor, and theologian.


B I B L E

S T U D Y

By Mark A. Finley

B. P R A T T

Daniel

The Blessings of Obedience

O

ne of the key characteristics of God’s heroes of faith is a relationship of trust in His goodness that leads to obedience to His will. Obedience is not legalism; it is the fruit of faith. Daniel’s life reveals the blessings of one whose faith led him to obey God’s commands at the risk of his life. This month’s lesson will reveal lessons from one of God’s heroes of faith that we can apply daily to our own lives so that we too can receive the rich blessings God intends to bestow upon each believer.

1 What tragic event occurred in Jerusalem in Daniel 1? Read Daniel 1:1, 2. Daniel 1 begins with a defeat for the true God. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, attacked Jerusalem, overthrew Judah, and ransacked the Jewish Temple.

2 What instruction did Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, give to one of his princes, Ashpenaz? Read Daniel 1:3, 4. Nebuchadnezzar used a common strategy in times of war. When he overthrew Jerusalem, he instructed Ashpenaz, one of his commanders, to seize some of the most handsome, intelligent, and gifted young men as captives to be educated in the University of Babylon. It was the king’s intent to so “brainwash” these young men so they could be sent back as “puppet rulers” to represent Babylon in Jerusalem.

3

How did Nebuchadnezzar attempt to shape the thoughts of these Hebrew teenage captives? Discover the king’s strategy in Daniel 1:5-7. Nebuchadnezzar’s strategy included changing the names of these young Hebrews, awing them with the splendor of Babylon, inviting them to a banquet in honor of the Babylonian gods, and educating them in the most prestigious university in the land.

4 What was Daniel’s response to the king’s invitation to eat his food and drink his wine? Read Daniel 1:8, 11-15. Daniel “purposed in his heart” to serve God. The word “purposed” means “decided,” “determined,” or “chose.” The wise man said, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).

5 What was the result of Daniel’s faithfulness? Read Daniel 1:18-20. 6 How did Daniel face a similar test at the end of his life? Read Daniel 6:5-9. In the scheming of the princes we discover that jealously leads to envy, envy to lying, and lying to the willingness to put an innocent man to death. Cherished sin strangles all goodness. It leads people to do things they never imagined they would do.

7

What was Daniel’s response? Read Daniel 6:10.

For Daniel, prayer was a way of life. He knew that if he neglected his prayer life he would lose his spiritual strength.

8

How did God honor Daniel’s faithfulness? Find the answer in Daniel 6:21, 22, 25-27. As a result of Daniel’s faithfulness, God shut the mouths of the lions, delivered Daniel from the lions’ den, and influenced the entire nation for the kingdom of God. Faithfulness to God, which leads to obedience, brings with it the blessings of heaven. It was true for Daniel; and it is true for each of us as well. n

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

43


IDEA EXCHANGE

We all need to be reminded that by His death Christ not only loosed us from Satan’s clutches but restored our own lives to us. —Shirley Mathieu, Australia

From Reader to Contributor

Letters Better Than a Brother

Thank you for Angel Manuel Rodríguez’s beautiful article “Better Than a Brother” (December 2015). It was comforting and inspiring. We all need to be reminded that by His death Christ not only loosed us from Satan’s clutches but restored our own lives to us. We are no longer hopeless vessels but children of the living God, soon to spend an endless eternity with our beloved Jesus. Shirley Mathieu Australia

PrayerW

I enjoy the monthly updates from Adventist World. I thank God for you. Many Ethiopians, as well as I, read it every month. Until recently we used to receive the magazine just on time. I don’t want to be just a reader, however. If God wills, I plan to contribute an article. Bereket Feleke Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Revives and Encourages

I greet you in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am working as a professional nurse in a prison. This magazine always revives and encourages me to press on with my daily duties. Musa Sibisi via e-mail

Looking for Legalism, Finding Hypocrisy

Thank you for publishing the article titled “Looking for Legalism, Finding Hypocrisy” (November 2015). This article makes a point about which all Christians should be aware. I would like to get a copy of this article in PDF form as well. Matthew Alexandra Australia Letters Policy: Please send to: letters@adventistworld.org. Letters must be clearly written, 100-word maximum. Include the name of the article and the date of publication with your letter. Also include your name, the town/city, state, and country from which you are writing. Letters will be edited for space and clarity. Not all letters submitted will be published.

PRAISE

Please pray that I can get a good job where I don’t have to work on the Sabbath. Enid Uganda

44

I pray to God that He helps me and strengthens our relationship so I can feel Him and love Him more. Ronnie Austria

Adventist World - nad | April 2016

I thank God for answering prayers. Please pray for us that we can finish our church, as we are struggling to build it. Chikunda Namibia


P I X A B AY / A R S H

I B R A H I M / L I S A

R E D F E R N

Why Walk

When You Can

Ruck?

Walking is good. But walking with a weighted backpack, a rucksack in military parlance, burns more calories and improves posture. A 30-minute walk burns about 125 calories. But three 30-minute walks a week while wearing a weighted pack can burn an extra 31,200 calories over a year, the equivalent of nine pounds of fat. A weighted backpack also promotes better posture by making you walk upright, so back muscles don’t have to work as hard. Start by packing an amount equal to 10 percent of your body weight (15 pounds for someone who weighs 150 pounds). Use weights, bricks, or bags of sand. Once you feel comfortable, increase the weight. Carry no more than 35 pounds. Expect some tenderness as your muscles get used to the new routine. But done regularly—at least three times a week—you’ll enjoy the benefits of moving past walking to rucking. Source: MensHealth.com

Saints:

a Definition

The truly great saints are often the unknown, unrecognized, undecorated men and women whose lives reflect the love of Jesus far more than their words. These are the real saints. —Larry R. Valorozo, Newfoundland, Canada

P I X A B AY / G E R A R D O

Please pray that I pass my exams. Clotilde France Please pray for my grandchildren to rededicate themselves to God. Agatha Jamaica

Please pray for me. My husband is planning to come and see my parents, and I want to see my son again. Eva Uganda

R O J A S

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

April 2016 | Adventist World - nad

45


“Behold, I come quickly…” Our mission is to uplift Jesus Christ, uniting Seventh-day Adventists everywhere in beliefs, mission, life, and hope. 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. Editor and Executive Publisher Bill Knott Associate Publisher

54 years ago On April 14, 1962, the Iranian minister of education signed a document permitting Adventists to operate a full-scale high school under its new name, Iran Adventist Academy. The first twelfth-grade class graduated in 1965. Iran Adventist Academy began as a boarding school for boys on the secondary level, formerly operated by the Iran Mission on a three-hectare (seven-acre) property about 13 kilometers (eight miles) north of Tehran, in the foothills of the Alborz Mountains. With the exception of religion classes, the curriculum was prescribed by the Iran Ministry of Education. The school was originally founded in Darband by Paul C. Boynton in 1946 with the name Iran Training School as a coeducational high school, unlicensed by the government. After two years of operation at Darband, high rent and other factors forced the school to move to the mission building in Tehran. When Boynton left on furlough, Iran Mission officers took over responsibilities of running the school until the arrival of C. L. Gemmell, who carried on under adverse political conditions until the school was forced to close, and a few students transferred to Middle East College in Beirut, Lebanon. In 1955 M. E. Adams reopened a vocational junior high school with government approval until it became a full-time high school. The academy was later appropriated by the government.

International Publishing Manager Chun, Pyung Duk Adventist Review Ministries Board Ted N. C. Wilson, chair; Guillermo Biaggi, vice chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Lisa Beardsley-Hardy; Williams Costa; Dan Jackson; Peter Landless; Robert Lemon; Geoffrey Mbwana; G. T. Ng; Daisy Orion; Juan Prestol-Puesán; Ella Simmons; Artur Stele; Ray Wahlen; Karnik Doukmetzian, legal advisor Adventist World Coordinating Committee Jairyong Lee, chair; Yutaka Inada, German Lust, Pyung Duk Chun, Suk Hee Han, Gui Mo Sung Editors based in Silver Spring, Maryland André Brink, Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil (associate editors), Sandra Blackmer, Stephen Chavez, Wilona Karimabadi, Andrew McChesney Editors based in Seoul, Korea Pyung Duk Chun, Jae Man Park, Hyo Jun Kim Operations Manager Merle Poirier Editors-at-large Mark A. Finley, John M. Fowler Senior Advisor E. Edward Zinke Financial Manager Kimberly Brown Editorial Assistant Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste Management Board Jairyong Lee, chair; Bill Knott, secretary; P. D. Chun,Karnik Doukmetzian, Suk Hee Han, Yutaka Inada, German Lust, Ray Wahlen, Ex-officio: Juan Prestol-Puesán, G. T. Ng, Ted N. C. Wilson Art Direction and Design Jeff Dever, Brett Meliti Consultants Ted N. C. Wilson, Juan Prestol-Puesán, G. T. Ng, Guillermo E. Biaggi, Mario Brito, Abner De Los Santos, Dan Jackson, Raafat A. Kamal, Michael F. Kaminskiy, Erton C. Köhler, Ezras Lakra, Jairyong Lee, Israel Leito, Thomas L. Lemon, Geoffrey G. Mbwana, Paul S. Ratsara, Blasious M. Ruguri, Ella Simmons, Artur A. Stele, Glenn Townend, Elie Weick-Dido To Writers: We welcome unsolicited manuscripts. Address all editorial correspondence to 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600, U.S.A. Editorial office fax number: (301) 680-6638 E-mail: worldeditor@gc.adventist.org Web site: www.adventistworld.org

O V E R H E A R D

We cannot have room for God if we do not have room for our neighbor.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Bible references are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission. Adventist World is published monthly and printed simultaneously in Korea, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Mexico, and the United States. Vol. 12, No. 4

—Thomas Hoffman, Maryland, United States

46

Adventist World - nad | April 2016


30% OFF Using promo code:

AW2016

12 months for $26.95 $18.95

1. Visit: AdventistReview.org/Subscriptions 2. Select 12 month subscription 3. Enter promo-code AW2016 and enjoy 30% off!


GENERAL CONFERENCE OF

NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION

SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS

U.S. POSTAGE

12501 OLD COLUMBIA PIKE SILVER SPRING, MD 20904

PAID Bolingbrook, IL Permit No. 2351

AW NAD English - April 2016  

Talking FAITH protecting FREEDOM

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you