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The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

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Joseph

The

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Treating

Files

Jaundice

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Judgment’s Coming!

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Giant in

Adventist Education


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D ec e m b e r 2015 The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

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D ec e mb e r 2015

S T O R Y

The Joseph Files

By Gerald A. Klingbeil

He didn’t rise to second in the kingdom by cutting corners.

Joseph

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Files

Treating

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Judgment’s

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W O R L D

A D V E N T I S T

L I F E

By Pedro Leopoldo

When we’re led by the Spirit, adventure lies around every corner.

30 Washing Dirty Feet

38 Giant in Adventist Education

Coming!

28 Unexpected Witness

V I S T A

Why I Support the Bible and Ellen White

By Ted N. C. Wilson

Our prophetic calling reinforced

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F E AT U R E

By Wayne Culmore

If we don’t do it, who will?

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A D V E N T I S T

H E R I T A G E

Thomas Geraty: Giant in Adventist Education

By Lael Caesar

20 Jesus Is Lord?

His long, illustrious career left a significant imprint.

By Joy Maganga

Readjusting our concept of leadership

40  God’s Messenger in Her

D E V O T I O N A L

22 Judgment’s Coming! F U N D A M E N T A L

B E L I E F S

D I S C O V E R I N G T H E S P I R I T O F P R O P H E C Y

“Golden Years”

By Ean Nugent

The implications of having a Friend in heaven

By Tim Poirier

Ellen White’s later years were some of her most productive.

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News Briefs News Feature GLOW Stories NAD News NAD Update NAD Perspective NAD Letters

19 W O R L D H E A L T Treating Jaundice

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

Better Than a Brother

43 B I B L E S T U D Y Abraham: Tested and Approved 44

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www.adventistworld.org Available in 10 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 © 2015. 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. 12, December 2015.

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Grace Over Time

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WORLD REPORT

P I X A B AY

or 35 years, I’ve loved preaching the great narratives of the Bible, and I’ve learned that my listeners usually prefer when I preach about stories as well. They will kindly pay attention when I (rarely) preach a topical sermon, and even lend their ears when I exegete a complex passage in one of Paul’s letters. But most of us are “story people,” for stories are the way we understand our own lives. Stories inevitably interact with time: events unfold in some discernible order, even where the twists and turns surprise us or disturb us. We trust the truths we find in narratives that have beginnings, middles, and endings. Our own lives look like that. Yet I have learned that there is no accounting for the way individual Bible stories will be loved and cherished by members of my congregation. “I love the stories of David,” says the quiet, even timid man who always sits in the third row from the back and never speaks in meetings. “I love his courage and his bravery—how he trusts God to deliver him from Saul.” “My favorites are the stories of Esther,” says the widowed mother raising three children by herself. “Every time I read about the way God used her to save her people, I sense how God is using me when life seems very hard.” Thus, in the wisdom of the Lord, the Scriptures offer us dozens—even hundreds—of stories of men and women “of like passions” (James 5:17) whose choices and careers inspire us, correct us, or help us see the longer trajectory of God’s unfolding plan for our lives. It is not merely an old tale we are reading, but a God-inspired story that shows us grace unfolding over time, even when it is not fully valued or accepted. As you read this month’s cover story by associate editor—and great storyteller—Gerald Klingbeil, ask for the discernment to read your own story between the lines of a great biblical narrative.

The World Health Organization has classified processed meat, such as sausages, with an increased risk of certain kinds of cancers.

Adventists Urged to

Examine Their Meals Affirming Ellen White, WHO calls meat a cancer hazard By Andrew McChesney

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he World Health Organization (WHO) has declared red meat and processed meat to be a cancer hazard, confirming statements by Seventh-day Adventist Church cofounder Ellen G. White more than 120 years ago. The Adventist Church’s top doctor said the announcement, the global health community’s most definitive response yet to the relation between meat and cancer, served as a wake-up call for church members to examine their own diets. “We have had this information for more than 120 years,” said Dr. Peter N. Landless, director of the Adventist world church’s Health Ministries Department. “Sadly, many have chosen not to follow the advice that has been given to God’s inspired servant, but it is always reassuring when one sees that that which is given by inspiration proven by peer-reviewed, evidence-based science.” He added: “Our prayer is that our church will take note, not because this is an issue related to salvation, but because it affects the quality of life and our service to a broken world, the mission to which we have been called.” The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said in a statement that it decided to classify processed meat as carcinogenic, or cancer-causing, to humans, and red meat as “probably” carcinogenic. The decision was based on a review of 800 related studContinued on next page

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WORLD REPORT ies by a team of 22 experts in 10 countries. Meat consumption was linked mainly to cancers of the colon and rectum. “The experts concluded that each 50-gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent,” the agency statement said. What Ellen White Said

While the news made headlines worldwide, the development was not surprising to Adventists, who noted that White wrote extensively about the benefits of a plant-based diet in the second half of the nineteenth century. “Flesh was never the best food; but its use is now doubly objectionable, since disease in animals is so rapidly increasing,” White wrote in the book Child Guidance. “Those who use flesh foods little know what they are eating. Often if they could see the animals when living and know the quality of the meat they eat, they would turn from it with loathing. People are continually eating flesh that is filled with tuberculous and cancerous germs. Tuberculosis, cancer, and other fatal diseases are thus communicated.”1 Landless said “flesh food” included red meat that was “pickled, dried, or worse”—there was no consistent refrigeration at the time the counsel was given, ­and it would today be placed in the category of processed meat. White, who Adventists believe had the gift of prophecy, wrote in the same book that meat would become more contaminated as the earth neared its last days and that Adventists would stop eating it. “Flesh will cease to form a part of their diet,” she said. “We should ever keep this end in view and endeavor to work steadily toward it. I cannot think that in the practice of flesh eating we are in harmony with

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the light which God has been pleased to give us.”2 Only a minority of the church’s nearly 19 million members follow a vegetarian diet today, Landless said. The Adventist Church does not forbid meat eating, with the exception of pork, shrimp, and other meats designated as unclean in Leviticus. Adventist Studies Confirmed

WHO’s announcement confirms ongoing, internationally recognized Adventist research into a plant-based diet by Loma Linda University. An analysis from Adventist Health Study-2 published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine in March 2015 indicated that a vegetarian diet might reduce a person’s risk of colorectal cancer by 22 percent, while previous work from Adventist Health

Study-1 linked meat consumption to a higher risk of colorectal cancer. The lead researcher for Adventist Health Study-2, Dr. Michael Orlich, said WHO’s new evaluation was “important and should be considered by all those making diet choices and dietary recommendations.” Gary Fraser, lead investigator for Adventist Health Study-2, challenged Adventists to not only avoid meat but to also remember to eat fruits and vegetables. “It is . . . equally important to substitute foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes,” he said. “Meats not only cause problems directly, but also because they usually displace other foods that actively decrease risk.” n 1 Ellen

G. White, Child Guidance (Nashville: Southern Pub. Assn., 1954), p. 382. 2 Ibid., p. 383.

Adventist Elected

By Andrew McChesney

President of Fiji

Major General Konrote’s election is historic.

A Major General Jioji Konousi Konrote F I J I

G O V E R N M E N T

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Seventh-day Adventist has been elected the next president of Fiji, making history in the South Pacific archipelago by becoming the first Adventist to hold the high office, and its first president without chiefly ancestry. Major General Jioji Konousi Konrote, 67, also known as George Konrote, took over as president on November 5 after the national parliament elected him by a margin of 31-14. The presidency is a largely ceremo-


nial role under the country’s 2013 constitution, but the president reserves certain powers that may be exercised in a national crisis. The president is also commander-in-chief of the island’s armed forces. Fiji prime minister Voreqe Bainimarama, in announcing Konrote’s nomination to the parliament, praised Konrote for his service as a career soldier and later a politician and diplomat. “With his more than 41 years of service to Fiji and the Fijian people, Major General Konrote is a paragon of loyalty, courage, and devotion to duty in his performance as a military commander, honesty and dedication as a senior civil servant and minister, and tact and perseverance as a diplomat,” he said, according to a statement on the Fiji government’s Web site. Konrote’s election is historic not just because of his faith, but also because of his minority Rotuman ethnicity and his lack of chiefly ancestry, the South Pacific Adventist Record reported. Fiji’s 2013 constitution dispensed with the Council of Chiefs and opened up the position of president to nonchiefs. Given the delicate political situation in Fiji, which has experienced four coups d’état in the past two decades, Adventist Church leaders have been cautious in their public response to Konrote’s election, the Adventist Record said. “Major General Konrote’s appointment is a bit of a surprise but not entirely unexpected,” it said. “Right now we have Adventists in many key government positions. Our church is widely respected in Fiji.” Konrote is a church elder and a member of the Rotuman congregation in Suva, Fiji’s capital. The Adventist Church has about 25,000 members in the country of 880,000 people. n

By Lauren Davis, ANN

Want to

Share Hope? There’s an App for That Mobile technology spreads literature worldwide

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ere’s a new way to share Health and Wellness: Secrets That Will Change Your Life and The Great Controversy. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has introduced an app containing a free library of inspirational books that users can read and easily send to anyone via e-mail and social media. The Sharing Hope App offers a library of Adventist publications, including such outreach literature as Health and Wellness, by Dr. Peter N. Landless and Mark A. Finley, and GLOW tracts, as well as such popular books as The Great Controversy, by church cofounder Ellen G. White. That is just the start, said Wilmar Hirle, associate director of the Publishing Department for the Adventist world church, which has released the app on iTunes and Google Play. Hirle foresees future versions of the app filled with Adventist newspapers, magazines, daily devotionals, and mission materials from all world divisions of the church. “During the past 10 years we have produced several missionary books that have been translated to many languages,” he said. “Hundreds of millions of books have been printed and [distributed] all over the world.”

“There are areas, however, where these print publications cannot thrive, and the app could fill the gap,” he said. “Some years ago I was planning to visit a country where we have no more than 200 Adventists,” Hirle said. He was denied a travel visa and instead started sending literature to the Adventist community there. Police intercepted the materials and arrested more than 20 Adventists. “I cannot go to that country. I cannot send books to them. I cannot even print books in that country,” Hirle said. “But the language of that country is already here in the app. And now the Adventists in that country are receiving our books.” Content is currently available in Arabic, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian. The purpose of Sharing Hope is to give users the ability to reach every culture in all parts of the globe, said Viviene Martinelli, project manager for the app. Users can easily grab a book in any language not their own and share it. Hirle hopes the app will reach 100 languages by late 2016, and be available in all the major languages by 2020. n

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WORLD REPORT

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ustin Torossian may be best known for being the great-greatgreat-grandson of James and Ellen White, cofounders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. But the 29-year-old pastor studying at Andrews University speaks humbly about his prominent family tree, saying Ellen G. White correctly wrote in Christ’s Object Lessons: “Christ recognized no virtue in lineage. He taught that spiritual connection supersedes all natural connection.”1 “In other words, if you believe in God’s prophetic gift through Ellen White, then you are her descendant spiritually,” Torossian said. “And according to Jesus Himself (John 8:39, 40), as well as Ellen White, this is what counts the most.” Torossian, a California native who is assisting a local Spanish-speaking church in Michigan while studying for a Master of Divinity degree at nearby Andrews, said he does consider it a privilege to be a biological descendant of the Whites. “But I’m even more grateful to be related to them spiritually,” he said. ”And that’s a privilege that all of us can have no matter what family we were born into physically. She can be ‘Grandma Ellen’ to all of us!” Torossian—who is scheduled to graduate in May 2016 and return to ministry in central California as the pastor of a two-church district—said his personal dream is to see Jesus come in his lifetime. “When we get to heaven, after seeing Jesus and meeting my guardian angel, I can’t wait to meet Grandpa James and Grandma Ellen,” he said.

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By Cárolyn Azo

Ellen White’s

Great-Great-Great-Grandson

Up Close

Justin Torossian tells what counts most. Here is what Torossian said in a far-ranging interview about Ellen White and her influence on his life. Q: How exactly are you related to Ellen White? James and Ellen are my great-greatgreat grandparents. Of their two surviving sons, Willie was the only one who had children, but he had enough for the both of them! The first of his seven children was his daughter Ella Robinson. Ella had three children, and my grandmother Gladys Kubrock was the youngest. After marrying my grandfather Daniel, they had six children, one of them being my mother, Edee. Then my parents had me. Q: What influence from Ellen White’s life did your mother pass down to you? Growing up, I lived just 10 minutes down the road from Elmshaven, Ellen White’s last home. As my grandparents lived there and gave tours, my picture of Ellen White was mostly that of the compassionate neighbor and loving grandmother she was.

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While I grew up knowing that we were related to someone God had used in miraculous ways, it didn’t really sink in until I was about 17. It was then, after my reconversion at an evangelistic series, that I went back to Elmshaven and felt for the first time there that I was standing on holy ground. It was then that I really began diving into her books and being blessed by God’s messages to us through her. Q: Which of Ellen White’s books has influenced your life and ministry the most? Steps to Christ. I reread it every year as a part of my devotions. If you read just one page a day, it will take four to five months to finish. Besides that, the compilation called Gospel Workers has been a blessing. It’s a mustread for anyone interested in sharing the gospel.


Justin Torossian (left), pictured with his great-great-great grandmother, Ellen G. White. C O U R T E S Y

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Q: What’s your favorite quotation from Ellen White? It’s hard to narrow it down to one! Currently The Desire of Ages, page 25, is at the top of my list. It says: “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. ‘With His stripes we are healed.’ By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen.”2 Q: Which story from Ellen White’s life has had the biggest influence on you? A story that my great-grandmother Ella wrote in her book gives a glimpse into Ellen White’s personality and creativity.

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When her son Willie was just a baby, her husband’s sister, Anna, lived with them and helped with the office work. Auntie Anna loved holding and cuddling baby Willie, but she had tuberculosis. How was Ellen going to get Willie out of her arms without hurting her feelings? Then she had an idea. Making her way closer and closer toward Anna and baby Willie, she reached out and gave Willie a little pinch, just enough to get him to start crying. “Oh, he must want his mother!” Ellen said. “Yes, I guess he does,” Anna said, handing him back to Ellen. This trick was repeated often, but Anna never caught on. Oftentimes people get the wrong picture of Ellen White through unkind Seventh-day Adventists who use her writings in a way that she herself wouldn’t, in harsh or judgmental ways. But this is one of the many stories that demonstrates that while instructed by

God to give messages that were at times hard to deliver and hard to hear, Ellen White sought to imitate Jesus: She did it always with love and compassion. Q: What would be your advice to readers of Ellen White’s writings? Join me in committing to reading at least two new Ellen White books every year from now until the Lord returns. As you do, ask God to speak to you. While the words were written by Ellen White, the messages are divine, from God Himself. Just as the purpose and center of all Scripture is Jesus (John 5:39), so is He the purpose and the center of the writings of Ellen White. That’s why the gift of prophecy is called “the testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 19:10). As you read God’s messages to us through the Bible and through Ellen White, ask God to transform your heart. He will work lasting change in us, a transformation that will carry us on into eternity. n 1 Ellen

G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1900), p. 268. 2 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1898), p. 25.

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’ve always thought it fascinating that my paternal grandfather sat as a boy at the feet of Ellen G. White and listened to her stories. Ellen White, who lived nearby, visited the Wilsons’ ranch home near Healdsburg, California, in the early 1900s. My grandfather, Nathaniel C. Wilson, and his three brothers eagerly gathered around her chair to listen as she lovingly told them stories. But those visits aren’t the only reason our family has fond memories of Ellen White. We owe our knowledge of the Advent message to her direct practical and prophetic evangelistic activity. My great-grandparents, William and Isabella, immigrated to the United States from Ireland around 1870, eventually becoming fruit and cattle ranchers and owners of a country store in California. Isabella joined the Adventist Church, but William did not. Then William attended an Adventist camp meeting at the invitation of his wife in 1905. The speaker was Ellen White, and she spoke about the need of all sinners to have a Savior and allow Him to change their lives. She made an earnest appeal, and William went to the front, giving his heart to the Lord. My great-grandfather studied the Advent message for a year. He closed his store on Sabbath. He was baptized and later became the first elder of the Healdsburg Seventh-day Adventist Church, the forerunner location of Pacific Union College. Christ changed William’s life, and he became known as a generous man, helping people in need. The transformation in the life of my great-grandfather is among the reasons I firmly support both the Bible and Ellen White’s writings. But more significantly, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy came from the same

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Why I Support the and

Bible

By Ted N. C. Wilson

Ellen White It’s all about Jesus

source—God—and have the same message: pointing people to Jesus and preparing them for His soon coming. The Spirit of Prophecy was given to nurture and assist God’s last-day movement with instruction from heaven. As we come to the close of 2015, let’s again consider the writings of Ellen G. White and their meaning for us today. We’ll do this in a question-and-answer format based on a Sabbath message I gave during the Spirit of Prophecy Symposium at Andrews University on October 17, 2015. Was Ellen White’s calling biblical?

In the Seventh-day Adventist Church we accept Ellen G. White as a modern servant of the Lord and prophet. I believe and attest that the

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writings of the Spirit of Prophecy are believable and true because Ellen G. White and her prophetic ministry pass the four biblical tests of a prophet: 1. Her writings agree with the Bible, fulfilling Isaiah 8:20. 2. Her life and works testify of her connection with God, fulfilling Matthew 7:20. 3. Her prophecies have come to pass, fulfilling Jeremiah 28:9. 4. Her writings lift up Christ and affirm Him as the Son of God, who came to this earth to save us, fulfilling 1 John 4:2. In addition, her life and work is verified by physical manifestations during visions, the timeliness of her work at the end of time, the certainty and fearlessness of her pronouncements, the high spiritual plane of her work, and the practical nature of her


explanations about multiple aspects of the Christian life. Why do Adventists refer to Ellen White’s writings as the Spirit of Prophecy?

The spirit of prophecy is described by the Bible as one of the two characteristics of God’s last-day, remnant church. Revelation 12:17 says: “And the dragon [Satan] was enraged with the woman [God’s church], and he went to make war with the rest [or remnant] of her offspring [or seed, God’s last-day people and church], who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 19:10 goes on to explain that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” The two distinctive characteristics of God’s people are so plain: people who keep the commandments of God—and have the testimony of Jesus, which the Bible identifies as the “spirit of prophecy.” The commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus, or the Spirit of Prophecy, come from the same source: God Himself. Are Ellen White’s writings equal with the Bible?

Seventh-day Adventists don’t portray the Spirit of Prophecy as part of the Bible, or equal to the Bible. As Ellen White herself indicated, the Spirit of Prophecy is to lead to the Bible. However, I fully believe that the Spirit of Prophecy is inspired by the same heavenly inspiration as that of the Bible, since it is the testimony of Jesus. Is Ellen White relevant today?

We have seen and are seeing determined efforts on the part of people motivated by Satan to attack Ellen White’s writings and make it “of none effect.” The Word of God and

the Spirit of Prophecy are both products of heavenly inspiration and are thus accurate accounts describing the great controversy between good and evil, between Christ and Satan. This is why the devil is determined to destroy the truth found in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. The testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of Prophecy, is integral to the Advent movement. The Spirit of Prophecy is one of God’s greatest gifts to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It focuses on Christ and His Word, and it portrays God’s plan for His people living at the end-time and waiting for Christ’s soon second coming. The Spirit of Prophecy is as relevant today as it was when it was written. It is accurate, uplifting, instructive, and powerful as it points to Christ and to the Holy Bible. It’s truly the testimony of Jesus. Do you have concerns about how church members treat the Bible and Ellen White’s writings?

As we face the last days of earth’s history, we know there will be a determined effort by Satan to destroy the effectiveness of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. We see the neutralization of God’s authoritative Word all around us. The historicalcritical method applied to the Word of God reduces its effectiveness as authoritative. It’s Satan’s plan to undermine God’s plain “Thus saith the Lord.” One of the greatest threats against the Spirit of Prophecy is not necessarily animosity but rather the threat of indifference. Today many members are unacquainted with it, don’t read it, or just plain ignore it. The devil is intent on destroying the influence of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy because it contains the counsel

needed to help finish God’s work on this earth through the power of the Holy Spirit. What is the impact of Ellen White’s writings on the church and the world?

This church wouldn’t be where it is without the special guidance given it by God through Ellen White in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. This counsel has been instrumental in establishing publishing, health, education, humanitarian, and media institutions. The Spirit of Prophecy guides the pastoral, evangelistic, missionary, and administrative expansion of the church. It provides instruction in almost every aspect of life, including theology, lifestyle, personal health, the family, the home, young people, interpersonal relationships, personal stewardship, and many others. The Spirit of Prophecy is guiding God’s people and always will until the Lord returns. As a result of Spirit of Prophecy guidance, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is not just another denomination but a heaven-born Advent movement with a special destiny: a mission and message to proclaim found in Revelation 14:6-12—the three angels’ messages. What would Ellen White say to people who express disappointment in the church?

The devil knows that if he can get God’s people to look to themselves and their own opinions instead of looking to Christ, he’ll be able to bring in dissension, disunity, and tension. It’s one of his greatest tools against the mission of the Seventhday Adventist Church. God has called us to be participants in the greatest proclamation of truth in history, the culmination of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. God entrusts us with the task of shar-

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ing Christ, who lived a sinless life, died for us, rose again, who is now interceding on our behalf as our high priest, and who is to soon return to take us to heaven. We’ve been called to share the Word of God in all its power through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In this heavenly calling we’ll be confronted with people who’ll disagree with our message and mission. Because of the apathy of others with the church, we may be tempted to become discouraged. Whatever we may face, we shouldn’t be tempted to work independently and apart from the church. We’re called to work within God’s last-day remnant church, not apart from it. Stay unified with your local church and with the worldwide church family. Stay close to the church regardless of its imperfections. Keep the Lord and His mission for His church always before you. An Inexhaustible Resource

When you read the Spirit of Prophecy, you’ll be positively changed forever as it points us back to Christ, His ministry, and His work for us in preparing a world through the Holy Spirit’s leading for the new world to come after the Lord’s return. The Spirit of Prophecy has given me an inexhaustible resource for implementing heaven’s plans for the Advent movement. When I think about the Spirit of Prophecy, I’m thrilled with happiness that God would provide us with so much information to accomplish His will in our lives personally and for His church’s mission to the world. n

Ted N. C. Wilson is

president of the Seventhday Adventist Church.

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Stories GLOW: Giving Light to Our World Giving Light to Our World—GLOW—is an outreach initiative that originated in California, United States, but is now branching out to other world divisions. It’s based on the concept of church members distributing GLOW tracts—free of charge—at every opportunity. The tracts are printed in 45 languages. Here are two short stories from Brazil and United States that depict lives touched by GLOW:

BRAZIL: When a 70-year-old man received a copy of Adventist World containing a giveaway GLOW tract in it, he took it to the local print shop and had them print 2,000 copies. He kept a few tracts for himself, but most he mailed to 67 regional Seventh-day Adventist churches. While at the post office, he gave a postal worker a GLOW tract about the Sabbath, which she shared with coworkers. When one of the local church elders received the tracts, he took the ones about the Sabbath to his mechanic shop and used them to explain to his customers why he closes his shop on Saturdays.

UNITED STATES: The GLOW ministry organized a mission trip to Philadelphia to distribute 1 million GLOW tracts in 10 days. One participant wrote: “I was passing out GLOW tracts in a parking lot when all of a sudden a car headed straight for me! He stopped and asked if I had placed the GLOW tract on his car. I told him that my partner had placed it there a couple hours ago. He then said, ‘You guys saved my life. This morning I had told God I was going to commit suicide tonight. I told God, “If You are real, prove to me that You exist.” ’ Praise God, He did!” Stories are compiled by Pacific Union Conference, United States, GLOW director Nelson Ernst and International GLOW coordinator Kamil Metz. To learn more about GLOW, go to sdaglow.org. To watch video GLOW testimonies, go to vimeo.com/user13970741.


NAD NEWS

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By Dan Weber, North American Division

Church Leaders Meet to

Worship and Plan

he Grand Collaboration” was the theme of the year-end meeting of the North American Division (NAD) of the Seventhday Adventist Church, which began Thursday, October 29. Over the next seven days, members of the NAD executive committee, guests, and presenters attended a series of business meetings, devotionals, and worship services focused around that theme to determine the direction of the division for the next five years.

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Stronger as a Team

LOOKING FORWARD: Daniel Jackson, president of the North American Division, urges attendees at the 2015 Year-end Meeting to keep reaching up to God as part of “The Grand Collaboration.”

The first business session started with NAD president Daniel Jackson’s report, entitled “Eleven Dreams for the Division.” After reminding executive committee members that “The Grand Collaboration” is all about placing our hand in the hand of God and allowing Him to lead us and to shape us, Jackson outlined his vision for the division. Jackson called for a sense of unity in the mission of the church by saying, “Either we are one, or we are a disgrace to the name of Jesus. We are stronger when we work as a team.” Jackson shared his “dreams” for the division as 11 strategic goals: “I dream of a North American Division where every member is actively involved in growing the kingdom of God, where all members live out their lives in Christ with the knowledge that they have been called by God to serve as ministers. “I dream of a North American Division that has 7,300 congregations [currently 6,277]. “I dream of a North American Division where we unite to celebrate Continued on next page

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NAD NEWS the expression of our faith in our communities. “I dream of a North American Division where our youth and young adults are actively engaged in the mission of the church and feel wanted and valued. “I dream of a North American Division where we fully utilize available technologies to the maximum extent possible. “I dream of a North American Division where we actively seek out new communities that are arriving on the shores of the United States, Canada, Bermuda, and Guam-Micronesia. “I dream of a North American Division where every church throughout our entire territory is a house of prayer. “I dream of a North American Division where we have 300 successful, thriving, female pastors. “I dream of a North American Division where members are actively involved in blessing their communities with health ministries, where partnerships are developed to do large and small events to bless those who are less fortunate. “I dream of a North American Division where our K-16 schools thrive as a result of the collaboration between pastors and teachers who see each other as colleagues in ministry. “I dream of a North American Division where our hospitals and health systems are included in our strategic planning, and in the implementation of our mission throughout our territory.” Disturbing Statistics

NAD secretary G. Alexander Bryant presented his report, sharing the latest statistics from around the division, which included 1,206,885 church

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members, 5,472 churches, and 840 companies as of July 2015. The rate of growth for 2014 was 1.43 percent, with an average of 98 people a day joining the church. A troubling statistic was that the number of new members who joined the church between 2009 and 2014, 251,166, were offset by 132,998 people who left church membership. Several committee members went to the microphones to share their concern about these figures. The entire executive committee joined in corporate prayer, asking for God’s guidance in finding ways to reach those who have decided to leave the church. Elden Ramirez, director of the Office of Volunteer Ministries, gave a brief presentation about the roles that Adventist volunteers play in the mission of the church. In 2015, 49,632 people from the NAD have participated in short-term volunteer projects around the world. NAD volunteers represent 46 percent of those worldwide who serve on short-term mission projects around the world. At the conclusion of his report, Bryant shared some interesting facts compiled in the preparation of his report. These included: In the division, 52.4 percent of the membership is female. More than 80,000 young people participate in Pathfinders and Adventurers. There are 105,650 young adult members in the church. A large percentage of the church membership is between 45 and 90 years of age. During the past 50 years, 33 million people have joined the worldwide Adventist Church. Of these, 13 million have left after being baptized. This represents a net loss of 39.25 per-

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cent, a fact that the global Seventhday Adventist Church needs to prayerfully address. Committee members also heard reports from other NAD ministries and voted on policies that affect Adventist members and institutions throughout Bermuda, Canada, Guam-Micronesia, and the United States. All 2015 NAD year-end meeting news, including the reports of the president, secretary, and treasurer, are online at www.nadadventist.org/ YEM2015.

Baptists Use Adventist Bible Lessons ■■ Three years ago the Midwest Baptist Conference, serving a territory that stretches from the Great Lakes to Arizona, contacted the Native Ministries Department of the North Pacific Union Conference to ask how it could obtain the Voice of Prophecy’s (VOP) Native New Day (NND) Bible study lessons for use in their native outreach. They indicated that they were already using the NND Bible study videos in 12 of their native churches. After they received the written NND lessons, they responded by asking if someone was willing to fly to northern Minnesota to conduct a cross-cultural seminar and show them how we use the lessons. That resulted in Adventists presenting a three-day seminar for all 52 of their pastors in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Three years later five of the pastors using the NND videos and lessons are now, with their families, keeping the Sabbath. All five of them have traveled, at one time or another, to participate in our native camp meetings


and revival meetings in Alaska; not only to see how we operate our native outreach program, but to be with us to learn more about what we believe and practice. I have preached at two of their native camp meetings, at their expense, even flying Adventist musicians out to help. It’s been a thrill to have these pastors in our home on a one-on-one basis to discuss, study, and answer questions about the Bible. We are scheduled to make presentations at their main camp meeting next summer. When I explain that the Native New Day videos and lessons are Adventist lessons, Baptist conference presidents tell me that they know

that, but they love them “because they are totally biblical.” The head of the main Baptist multicultural office remarked: “Adventists are so blessed. You have a solid biblical foundation for all your beliefs.” This aspect of native ministry has not only been exciting, it’s opened our eyes to the number of Christians who look to us because our biblical foundation. These are our brothers and sisters. We are told that ministers of other denominations will join us as we proclaim God’s last-day message (see The Great Controversy, pp. 390, 464). —Monte Church, North Pacific Union Conference Pavel Goia

Adventists in North America Make Prayer a Priority

SHARING THE WORD: The author (right) enjoys sharing the Word with those who are using Adventist Bible lessons in studies with their congregations.

■■ Sabbath, January 2, will be a Day of Prayer in the North American Division. Church members and leaders are encouraged to plan weekend events and activities that emphasize the role of prayer in transforming families, congregations, communities, and the nation. A sermon entitled “Getting Personal With God,” by Pavel Goia, pastor of the Lexington, Kentucky, Seventhday Adventist Church, is available at nadprayerministries.org/?p=1830. Suggested weekend activities include prayer vigils, prayer walks, and Bible studies about stories and people whose lives demonstrated the power of prayer. Resources are available at NADPrayerMinistries.org. n

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HAVING A CONERSATION: Don Livesay, president of the Lake Union Conference, discusses the NAD Statement on Human Sexuality during the NAD Year-end Meeting held October 30-November 4, 2015.

N A D U P D AT E

T

he North American Division (NAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church proposed a “Statement on Human Sexuality” at their year-end meeting on October 29, 2015. After more than two hours of discussion, several revisions were incorporated into the statement, and it was approved by a vote of 74-17. “Practical and compassionate theology” was the description given by one executive committee member. The document states that the Adventist Church in North America seeks to “follow the model of Jesus” and offer “unconditional love and compassion to everyone.” The statement declares that the NAD stands in full support of General Conference (GC) guidelines regarding human sexuality, marriage, family, homosexuality, and same-sex unions. The GC guidelines, released in spring 2014, address how the church responds to “changing cultural attitudes regarding homosexual and other alternative sexual practices.” The statement is “presented not as a theological document but as one drawing from biblical teachings some practical understandings and guidelines for the Adventist Church in North America.” (The statement is available at nadadventist.org/ site/1/2015%20Documents/NAD%20 Statement%20on%20Human%20 Sexuality-Nov%202%202015.pdf.)  During the late-morning presentation on October 29, Kyoshin Ahn, NAD associate secretary and chair of the Human Sexuality Committee, referred to the GC guidelines, introduced the committee and process, and presented the human sexuality statement. Ahn explained that the committee recognized that the church should “follow the model of Jesus Christ in the way we treat people. No way can

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D A N

W E B E R / N A D

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

By Kimberly Luste Maran, correspondent, North American Division Communication

Year-end Meeting Accepts Report About Human Sexuality Delegates discuss how the church responds to changes in the culture we handle every situation,” he said. “We wanted to set a direction.” Committee members took turns reading sections of the four-page statement, which was read in its entirety. The statement, after final revision on November 2, addresses 12 topics: biblical principles, sexual orientation and practice, nature and nurture, church attendance and Christian fellowship, church membership, leadership roles, employment, educational institutions, facilities use, marriage ceremonies, health-care ministries, and transgenderism. Committee members, including Ahn—along with Larry Blackmer, Claudio Consuegra, Marcus Harris, Heather Knight, Grace Mackintosh, Alan Parker, Katia Reinert, and Gerald Winslow—answered questions and listened to concerns during the discussion periods. A few individuals spoke about how the document was “a good start,” but wondered “how much was based on real-life conversations with people who

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are in the categories listed.” Comments from the floor were generally favorable. One executive committee delegate thanked the NAD for the statement, saying it was caring and biblical, and that “Jesus was crucified in the middle: where truth and love connect.” Before the NAD presented the statement, the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary produced a 21-page position paper, “An Understanding of the Biblical View on Homosexual Practice and Pastoral Care.” According to Jiří Moskala, dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, “The [Andrews] document is very balanced. . . . It combines love and grace together. In this, it is very Adventist.” The document uses Scripture to show the “biblical teaching on sin and how our sinful inclinations can be controlled by the Holy Spirit, by God’s grace.” (To read the Andrews document, visit Andrews.edu/sem/statements/ seminary-statement-on-homosexualityedited-10-8-15-jm-final.pdf.) n


By Dan Weber, NAD Office of Communication

NAD Launches Web Site for General Public In response to increased interest, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America has launched a new Web site—WhoAreAdventists.org—to help introduce the church to people interested in learning more. The site provides a broad overview about the history and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as well as background about the church’s commitment to serving people around the world through disaster relief, community service, and innovative health and wellness programs. “We are seeing increased interest in the Adventist story in recent months,” said Daniel R. Jackson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America. “And while Adventists are a humble community of believers, we want

Adventist World Ad - Publishing (Fall 2015).indd 1

to make it as easy as possible for people to learn about our distinctive Christian beliefs, and ultimately, perhaps, to visit one of our churches for fellowship.” The Web site will provide concise “nuggets” of information for anyone who is time-pressed but interested in a basic introduction to the Adventist Church. There will also be features intended for those who wish to learn more about Adventists, including links to other sites that provide more comprehensive information about the church.

11/17/15 6:03 PM

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NAD PERSPECTIVE By Ruthie Jacobsen

When the President

Prayed

N

ot long ago I was on a prayer call with several prayer leaders in one of our conferences. As is often the case, the conference president was on the call with us. It was a time of intense intercession. But when the president began to pray, it caused an lump in our throats. With a passion I don’t think I’d ever heard from him he cried out, “O God, please show us how to make every church in our field a house of prayer!” That’s an inspired idea. According to Jesus it is His will that prayer should be part of our identity. As important as is preaching, Jesus never called His church a house of preaching. As essential as is music, He never called His church a house of music. But Jesus, quoting Isaiah, said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Matt. 21:13). The president’s words hung in the air as we prayed. We sensed a growing intensity in our prayer time. We perceived that God wanted to say something important; that a dream was being born, a vision was coming to light. Every church a house of prayer! What if? What if our friends said, “Well, I don’t know much about your doctrines, but I know you people really pray.” What if, as people drove past our church buildings on Wednesday evenings, they had the distinct sense that something of eternal significance was happening inside?

What if, when our neighbors faced a crisis, one of us knocked on their doors and asked if we could come in and pray for them? What if, when a new school term begins, we invited parents—and teachers—from our community to a special Sabbath (or Sunday) morning time of prayer for our schools (public and private)? What if, when the church board met, it decided to spend as much time praying as it did discussing the business agenda? What if midweek services became prayer meetings again, and there was such a strong awareness of God’s presence that you had trouble finding a place to sit? My husband, Don, and I recently spoke at a prayer conference in the Carolinas. At the rear of the little chapel we found a simple plaque that said, “If you came here today for something you haven’t found yet, please ask someone to pray with you.” What if that simple idea was expressed in the church bulletin of every Seventh-day Adventist church every Sabbath? What if each week, in teams of two or three, our members consistently prayer-walked the streets of our towns, in our neighborhoods, around government buildings, past adult bookstores, asking God to take back our cities? What if victories were realized and

healings were experienced and marriages were repaired and kids reclaimed and sinners turned heavenward? Wouldn’t God be honored? As we move toward the new year, you will see the appeal HOPE Heals. HOPE is an acronym for Houses of Prayer Everywhere. Ask God to show you what that would look like where you live. Late one night we were flying from Indianapolis to Chicago. As we climbed over the darkened countryside I was surprised to see a distinct glow in the distance northwest of us. Although it was 180 miles away, I could already see Chicago. I thought, We couldn’t see an individual porch light from here, or even a car with its lights on. But when people come together and pool their collective energy, it casts a light for miles. The first Sabbath of the new year is always the NAD Day of Prayer, January 2 this year. Why not plan a prayer event weekend that will transform your family, group, or congregation? A sermon by Pavel Goia entitled “Getting Personal With God” is available if you wish to use it. Other resources are available at NADPrayerMinistries.org. In the next couple weeks you will see the Web site HOPE-heals.org posted everywhere. It’s a brand-new high-energy Web site filled with helpful resources, both personal and corporate. As you sense God leading you in transforming your church into a house of prayer, tell us your story or send us a video. We’ll include it so it can bless others. n

Ruthie Jacobsen is

prayer ministries coordinator for the North American Division.

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NAD Letters Teaming Up

Someone in your layout department has a good sense of humor. I had the September 2015 edition open to page 5, lying on the table, and saw the picture of Ted and Nancy Wilson waving, with the headline under the picture shouting “A Very bling Experience.” Well done! Larry Neumann Lancaster, Massachusetts Anyone who knows Ted and Nancy Wilson would not likely use the word “bling” to describe them. The word on the spread that jumps the gutter, “humbling,” is more accurate. —Editors. More on It Is Written

There were a number of errors in the article “It Is Written Puts Down Roots in Tennessee” (July 2015). Clearly a lot of history was lost with the departure of its early employees. It Is Written, while the first religious telecast broadcast in color, was not the first Adventist television program. Faith for Today was launched six year earlier (1950). It Is Written was launched as an alternative that was more doctrinal in nature. It is Written started at the General Conference headquarters in Washington, D.C., where it was based for the first 16 years. The limited space and close proximity to church leaders made it the only major media minis-

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try to actually look forward to moving to the Adventist Media Center when it was built in Thousand Oaks, California, in the 1970s. Jessie Johnson was not It Is Written’s first manager. Arnt Krogstad was appointed manager in 1980. I worked as sound engineer for It Is Written for more than 15 years. One of the ministries strengths was its cooperation with local churches and broadcasting. It Is Written also connected with local churches and communities with Revelation seminars held around the country, and later in multiple simultaneous locations via satellite, which became the inspiration for the NET satellite series, ACN, and Hope Channel. Wilton Helm Colorado Comprehensive Health Ministry

Kudos for Peter N. Landless’ article “Comprehensive Health Ministry” (August 2015). I appreciate the linking of Ellen G. White’s “medical missionary work” to the twenty-first century with one word: “comprehensive.” I’m grateful, impressed, and excited about local congregations embracing the impact that volunteers can provide. About 10 years ago in Kalamyo City, Myanmar (75,000 people), I experienced a three-day health expo

conducted by “Dr. Lay,” who has pioneered the health work in Myanmar. The health expo happened in the heavily polluted city and other centers in Myanmar, and can serve to inspire leaders to organize, train, and reach out all across the country and around the world! Keith R. Mundt Riverside, California The International Paper for Seventh-day Adventists

Nove mb e r 2 01 5

Faithful Reader

I’m a faithful reader of Adventist World and AdvenLooking for tist Review. I find both magazines Finding excellent in every way from cover to cover: so informative, faith-building and faith-strengthening, encouraging, and heartwarming. I love sharing them, too. While they inspire readers to go forward in faith, they are not heavy reading. Eligran Justin via e-mail 22

Free

at Last

28

The Power of Bread

38

Did God Create

Dinosaurs?

Thanks for your letter! For Adventist World readers interested in taking their reading experience to the next level, check out what subscriber-based Adventist Review is publishing, including late-breaking church news at www.adventistreview.org. —Editors.

I’m grateful, impressed, and excited about local congregations embracing the impact that volunteers can provide.

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—Keith R. Mundt, Riverside, California


W O R L D

H E A L T H

Treating

Jaundice By Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless

My uncle has become jaundiced, and we are worried that he has hepatitis or another infectious disease. What causes jaundice? Should we be concerned?

J

aundice is a term derived from the French word jaune, for yellow. It is used to describe the yellowish color of the skin that occurs when there is a rising level of bile pigments. Low levels of elevation of bilirubin in the blood may not be visually recognized until a threshold level is reached. Jaundice is a symptom. Blood is a complex tissue, which contains some 40 percent red blood cells by volume. A red blood cell (RBC) has a life span of about 120 days and is then recycled. It is trapped by cells in the spleen and broken down. This recycling process saves essential elements such as iron and proteins. Part of the pigment forms bilirubin, which causes jaundice. The bilirubin passes to the liver and is trapped by the liver cells. It is then bound to glucuronic acid, and termed conjugated bilirubin; it is temporarily stored in the gallbladder. Here the bile is concentrated, then poured into the intestine, to assist digestion. Jaundice is seen most commonly in newborns. A newborn baby breathing air rich in oxygen does not need the high hemoglobin levels it required in the womb. Additionally, the baby has not been conjugating bilirubin while in the

womb, preventing levels rising in the baby’s blood, which may be toxic. It takes a couple days for the liver to begin conjugation, with a backup and accumulation of bilirubin that would, up to now, have been excreted across the placenta. (It is in these highly integrated processes that we physicians are in awe of the design. Quite frankly, we marvel that some would wish us to accept that such complexity arose by chance.) In the situation of your uncle, although not a newborn, the process of handling bilirubin is still much as we have described. What are the possible problems? If he is destroying more blood cells, he might become jaundiced. Some people make abnormal RBCs because they have defective genes, and such cells don’t live as long as normal cells, resulting in “hemolytic anemia.” There will be a buildup of unconjugated bilirubin in the blood, but it won’t produce a very marked jaundice. When the liver is not functioning well, we might see jaundice, as with hepatitis. There are many varieties of hepatitis, hepatitis A being the most common and most easily transmitted. The other more serious forms of hepatitis usually require a transfer of

body fluids, such as blood for their transmission. Cirrhosis of the liver may also be associated with jaundice, so an advanced alcoholic or person in liver failure from other causes may become jaundiced. If there is a blockage in the outflow of the bile, bilirubin is conjugated and overflows into the blood. Testing for the type of bilirubin helps the doctor know where the problem lies. Those with obstructive causes of their jaundice may have a gallstone blocking the bile duct, and have pain. Cancer, especially of the head of the pancreas, through which the bile duct passes, may cause obstruction and intense, painless jaundice. Referral to a physician is the prudent course for your uncle. Depending on the type and cause of the jaundice, treatment may vary. n

Allan R. Handysides, a board-certified gy-

necologist, is a former director of the General Conference Health Ministries Department.

Peter N. Landless, a board-certified nuclear

cardiologist, is director of the General Conference Health Ministries Department.

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D E V O T I O N A L

By Joy Maganga

Jesus is

Lord?

Scrolling through the pages of data on the good, the bad, and the befuddling truths of the alpha phenomena, I reflected on how hostile evolutionary biology is to the Jesus story. Dominant Jesus?

Jesus is of course the only person in history who left a gilded throne and pure gold streets, left angel servants who answered His beck and call, to come and work and mingle and be part of the uncelebrated plebians of Nazareth in Galilee. His fellow earthlings sarcastically declared that nothing good could ever come from Nazareth . . . If you were a dominant public figure in your country, with a global mission assignment, knowing that your only son is about to be born, why would you choose a stable for his first address? Think for a moment: what will your peers say? No, what will their wives be saying? His first cries that startle the staring visitors blend with the bleating and smell of sheep, the dung and the mooing of cows; and maybe shrieking chickens, too. A manger, I understand, is a container (usually in a barn or stable) from which cattle or horses feed. You can already hear the elegant, chattering, prattling anchors: this is prime-time news, and the whole nation is abuzz with the storyline about child abandonment. No graphic adjectives; just the objective story of your neglect.

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Hospital Preference?

I may be wrong, but as a good Kenyan I think the correct address would be the presidential suites of Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi Hospital, or any other similarly affluent location. There would be flowers and baby trinkets of every sort; the eminent lady visitors would be ensured maximum security and comfort as they cooed about his cute nose, ears and toes, and how he so resembles his father. I simply will not think of the possibility of being informed that there is no space in any hospital for your son’s delivery. The nerve! In Jesus’ case, they say that the King, His Father, after ensuring He was born in a stable, left Him with a carpenter for three full decades, to be nursed, sheltered, and trained to belong to low society. Don’t all prominent leaders know the best schools for their children? Moreover, aren’t their children trained for leadership from the womb, to keep political leadership running in the family? Mission Launch

Passing on from the drama of His disturbing birth story, this Son goes incognito until He resurfaces to launch His global mission: to rescue the world from impending doom. How? Does He summon the world’s current rulers, Roman lords and Caesars? Ruling from the northern parts of Africa, to Asia and Europe, does He hire A R T

B Y

F O R D

M AT T O X


He chooses fishermen and such other commonplace souls as the tax collector Matthew, who throws a party for Him that welcomes a swarm of society’s despised. their chariots, fighters, well-educated and well-spoken men, to convince the world of His mission of a new kingdom to come? Does He not use their means to disseminate this information to all the provinces of the world under their rule? Can’t you see plans being drawn and strategies revised to ensure that the goal is accomplished? No you don’t! This will not be His way. Instead, His cousin, a desert hermit known for coarse dress, weird food, and sensational preaching, introduces Him and His project to the world. Soon the king beheads His cousin. In time He sets up His human resource base. He chooses fishermen and such other commonplace souls as the tax collector Matthew, who throws a party for Him that welcomes a swarm of society’s despised. A meager human resource base of 12 inconspicuous men is His choice, His team of subordinates, His means of selling His mission to everybody in the whole world. They do not know, but His Father’s time line is already set: in three and a half years He will return to heaven’s unpolluted streets, leaving them to complete the mission. He has no budget. He starts off walking from village to village, the 12 with Him, and a number of women, too. The women spend their money on Him. But He does not usually have any plan for food, shelter, or other expenses. He sends out the 12 to sell the mission by themselves, and gives them instructions: Carry nothing with you on the journey; look for some worthy person and stay in his home until you leave the town; stay where you are welcomed, and if they don’t welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town (see Matt. 10:5-14; Mark 6:7-11; Luke 9:1-5). In my home country this resembles someone working in Nairobi being sent by the office to check on a branch in Mandera, or Nyeri or Machakos for a month. But the Human Resource and Accounts Departments in Nairobi and those branches have no plan at hand for their transport, accommodation, food or otherwise. The employee must look for a welcoming family for accommodation: the mission to save the world was launched without a proper budget. The homeless man running it once told a would-be follower that He had nowhere to sleep, no place to lay His head. That must have been quite a short interview. I wonder which one of us would adopt or even accept this “loser” strategy.

Mission Climax

You would expect an organization with a mission to save the whole world from impending damnation to have a solid training strategy and a proper chain of command. A hierarchy and some sort of structure would be put in place for success. But this Master’s plan was simply “Follow Me”: observe, imitate, and pray for spiritual empowerment and the conversion of your whole self to fully embrace the project at hand. As for hierarchy, the Master declared that the least on earth would be the greatest in His kingdom, and that the last would be the first. The first as the last would be most discouraging to the likes of us who want to be the first in everything—first to get the job; to marry; to buy that car, that home; to get that promotion; even the first in line for a meal. Seminar mealtimes often make this last point. Then, leading up to His mission’s climax, the Master has the audacity to go down on His knees and wash His subordinates’ feet. Many in our world are willing to kiss the feet of those above on the corporate ladder. But this humble Master who says His subordinates are not servants but friends (see John 15:15) wants them to know that He loves them enough to lay down His life for them. He does it as uncomfortably as His Father did His birthing. At least it’s all consistent: the birth is in a cow feed box, and the sacrifice to save His friends and the world is in nakedness on a shameful cross. Interestingly though, after He washed their feet and before He died, He told them He would go away and come back for them. What He did not know was the hour of His return —that, only the Father knew. He comforted His friends, prayed for them, and promised that He would be with them through His Spirit until He came back in person; they would not carry the project alone in His absence. After He died and came back from the dead they knew nothing could ever keep Him from coming back for them. If He could come back from the dead, He could come back from anything, anywhere. . . . n

Joy Maganga lives in Nairobi, Kenya.

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F U N D A M E N T A L

B E L I E F S

“Hello?” “Hello, Mr. Nugent; this is a courtesy call to remind you of your dental appointment one week from today. Have a nice day.” You may know the significance of such a message. It’s a call to action (for the next seven days). It’s a call to carry a toothbrush and a pack of floss to work (for the next seven days). It’s a call to lay aside every sugary weight and the candy, which doth so easily beset us (for the next seven days). The day of judgment draweth nigh! How many times have we employed this strategy and still been found wanting? Despite our best efforts to cover up, the dentist’s tools are still able to pierce through the cover and discern the true condition of our teeth. The Wrong Response

Unfortunately, we are often tempted to respond to the message of the investigative judgment in this way. We are tempted to see it as a call to cover up the true condition of our hearts by extra effort in our actions: start doing this; stop doing that; do

more of this; do less of that. While these actions may be as essential as flossing, God’s tools are even more piercing than those of the dentist. “For the word of God” “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:12, 13).1 If these actions are only an attempt to cover up the true condition of our hearts, we will fail more miserably than the seven-day dental tour de force. The One Question

When defending this unique doctrine, we rightly emphasize the many Bible references that communicate the reality of a pre-Advent, heavenly examination of every work of every human who has professed faith in God. Unfortunately, we sometimes fail to emphasize equally the many scriptures that communicate the nature of this examination. We sometimes fail to answer the question “In examining our works, what are the heavenly intelligences seeking to determine?”

The Old and New Testaments alike testify of but one quality by which humans may be accounted worthy of eternal life. In Paul’s words: “For in Christ Jesus” “the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Gal. 5:6). In examining our works, heavenly intelligences seek to determine whether or not faith in Jesus reigns in our hearts. The praise teams I’ve participated in, the tracts I’ve distributed, the homeless groups I’ve fed, the church offices I’ve held, or whatever else we may think to be of value before God, of themselves, amount to “garbage” (Phil. 3:4-9) without the only thing that counts: faith. In the books of heaven, many lifelong church members (and workers) will find the following footnote at the bottom of a long list of “wonderful works”: “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Matt. 7:22, 23, KJV; Heb. 11:6). In examining our works, heavenly intelligences will not be distracted by superficial works of righteousness. They will consider all of our works. They will consider the depth of our prayer life, the applica-

By Ean Nugent

Judgment’s

NUMBER 24

Coming!

How shall we stand?

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tion of our devotional life, and the sincerity of our public life. All of these will be examined with one question in view: “Does faith in Jesus reign in the heart?” The Right Response

What then is the appropriate response to this message? Resisting the temptation to trust in cover-up righteousness, we should make their question our own: “Does faith in Jesus reign in my heart?” Before they do, we should examine our works to determine the answer to this question (see 2 Cor. 13:5). As we examine our service, our witnessing, our giving, our worship, our commandment keeping, we must ask the question they will ask: “Is this motivated by faith in Jesus? While this is the appropriate response, it is not free from danger. If we enter this work of self-examination without Jesus, we will fall into at least one of two pits. Without Jesus, we can never truly discern the waywardness of our hearts. This can lead us to conclude that our hearts need no repair, the pit of deception. Additionally, without Jesus, we can never truly advance in correcting the waywardness of our hearts. This can lead us to conclude that our hearts are impossible to repair, the pit of despair. If we are to avoid these pits, we must keep our eyes fixed on the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2, KJV). From start to finish Jesus is with us, giving His all to maintain and strengthen our faith. Our only role is to cooperate with Him. As we study His Word, rather than focusing on more works for the cover-up, we can ask Him to strengthen our faith. Ellen White beautifully described faith in these words: “Faith is trusting God—believing that He loves us and knows best what is for our good.

Christ’s Ministry

in the Heavenly Sanctuary

There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle that the Lord set up and not humans. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. At His ascension, He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry, which was typified by the work of the high priest in the holy place of the earthly sanctuary. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry, which was typified by the work of the high priest in the most holy place of the earthly sanctuary. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent. (Lev. 16; Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6; Dan. 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Heb. 1:3; 2:16, 17; 4:14-16; 8:1-5; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; Rev. 8:3-5; 11:19; 14:6, 7; 20:12; 14:12; 22:11, 12.)

Thus, instead of our own, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness.”2 If faith leads us to believe God’s love, choose His way, and accept His wisdom, strength, and righteousness, focusing our time in the Bible on these things can strengthen our faith. Also, we can cooperate with Jesus by honestly discussing the condition of our hearts with Him. As His Word exposes our waywardness of heart in a certain area, we must humbly acknowledge it and ask Him to fulfill His promise to forgive us and cleanse us (1 John 1:9). Having thus

committed our waywardness to Him, even while growing in that area, we can be confident that His righteousness will cover us in the judgment. How then shall we stand in the judgment? We can stand only by faith and not by works. We can stand only by Jesus, and not by ourselves. n 1 Unless

otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations have been taken from the New International Version. 2 Ellen G. White, Education (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1903), p. 253.

Ean Nugent is a software

developer for the General Conference of Seventhday Adventists. He lives with his family in Maryland, United States.

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e live in a world in which the line between right and wrong is blurry at best. Political, business, and even religious leaders speak of transparency and the urgent need for ethical leadership. Yet what we see more often is greed, self-righteousness, the thirst for more power, and blatant disregard of ethical absolutes. What else would explain major corporations skillfully circumventing government regulations for years to cut corners and raise the bottom line? The message is clear: If nobody catches you, just go right ahead. As followers of Jesus we are not exempt from tough ethical challenges and temptations. In fact, it seems as if things get even more complicated when we decide to follow Jesus with all our heart. Think of the thousands of Adventists who struggle with Sabbath issues and find themselves choosing between faithfulness to their Lord and providing for their families. In some parts of the world paying a bribe appears to be the only way of doing business—any business. Life is often complex and messy, and as Christ’s followers we often struggle to find the way that is mapped out by Scripture’s absolutes.

The

Joseph Files

How can we navigate ethical dilemmas in tough circumstances?

Ethics and Scripture

Ethics are generally understood as moral principles that govern a person’s or a group’s behavior. They are crucial to the way we live and work together. They are our guiding principles as we relate to the world around us; and for Christians they are rooted in Scripture. In fact, Christian ethics are theology in boots. Very often when we think of ethics we think of laws or explicit statements governing individuals and their relationships to the larger community. Yet an important source for ethical principles can be found in stories. In reality, in most cultures we learn about how we should live by listening to stories.

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By Gerald A. Klingbeil

Scripture’s stories are full of case studies that require our careful attention. The best way to internalize ethics is not to memorize a list of do’s and don’ts; we learn better by knowing the principles and then seeing them applied in real life. That’s why God gave only 10 commandments but then included hundreds of stories in which we see His people grapple with ethical

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challenges. We see their victories, and we feel their pain when they fail. A Rags-to-Riches Story

Joseph’s story, found in Genesis 37-50, provides a rich tapestry of experiences that help us maneuver ethical challenges—both individually and corporately. You remember the gist of it: Joseph, favorite son of his I M A G E :

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father, Jacob, is one day attacked by his brothers and sold into slavery. Upon arrival in Egypt, he begins a comet-like career in the household of Egyptian courtier Potiphar, ultimately becoming the second-in-command of this important household. Joseph’s mettle, though, is soon tested by the sexual insinuations and plain invitations of Mrs. Potiphar (her lack of name in the narrative gives the reader a clue to her real significance), who, after having been rejected once too often, accuses Joseph of rape. Consequently, Joseph finds himself in prison, and, again, needs to start at the bottom. Recognizing the apparently unusual administrative gifts of his new prisoner, the keeper of the prison commits the running of the prison into Joseph’s hands. The narrative continues with a new twist: Joseph, the prisoner and right-hand man of the prison keeper, is suddenly called upon by Pharaoh when the king’s magicians and wise men are unable to interpret two crucial dreams of the ruler. His convincing interpretation of both dreams leads to another leadership appointment—truly a ragsto-riches story worthy of Hollywood—culminating in Joseph becom-

ing Egypt’s second-in-command. It is at this point that Joseph’s story interacts again with the story of God’s people, Jacob’s family living in Canaan. When a severe famine brings his 10 brothers in search of food to Egypt, Joseph is suddenly confronted with his past. You remember the rest of the story. As we think about Joseph’s story and his ethical dilemmas and challenges, let’s highlight four important moments in his life that help us develop a God-centered ethics. Crisis and Growth

It has been said that growth is the result of successfully overcoming a crisis or obstacle. Whatever form this “testing” takes, when we make good choices we find ourselves walking more securely and standing taller. Biblical scholars have long noticed the motif of testing in Joseph’s narrative, which seems to echo another story of profound testing in Genesis when Abraham is told to offer his own son (Gen. 22).1 At the outset of Genesis 37 Joseph is described as a spoiled tattletale receiving preferential parental attention and living in the midst of a family separated by ever-present fissures and divided loyalties.

When his own brothers sell Joseph into slavery, Joseph’s entire world crumbles. His status as slave of Potiphar (Gen. 37:36; 39:1) seemingly offered no opportunity of leadership; and yet, recognizing that “the Lord was with Joseph” (Gen. 39:2), Potiphar embraces the potential of his new slave and makes him his steward. This change of circumstances is part of God’s testing and is repeated twice more in Joseph’s story. God’s active involvement in the narrative is visible in the many references to His blessings (verses 2, 3, 5, 21, 23); He is there, even if He resides in Potiphar’s slave quarters. Chapters 42-45 are the main focus of testing of the narrative and involve the testing of Joseph’s brothers. One of the key verbs of the semantic domain of testing, bakhan, appears in Genesis 42:15, 16, when Joseph, after having recognized his brothers (verse 8), establishes a public procedure to determine if they are Canaanite spies. Interestingly, testing takes different shapes and forms. Abraham’s faith is tested on Moriah (Gen. 22), while Israel’s endurance is tested in the wilderness.2 This experience of refining is in line with other “testing” experiences and serves to enhance Joseph’s faith

How Can We Discover

Ethical Principles in Stories?

Many have wondered how we can find relevant ethical principles in Old Testament stories, some of which contain adult material. Here are six principles that may help in this important journey:4 1. Consider the complete narrative: remember the character growth from pampered favorite to someone capable of radical forgiveness in Joseph’s story. 2. Look for consistency with available information: instead of considering David’s consumption of the showbread (1 Sam. 21),

a moral dilemma in which survival trumps honesty, remember that Ahimelech, the leading priest of Nob, offered the bread after having received guidance from God (1 Sam. 22:10). 3. Pay attention to clear contextual implications: don’t read too much or too little into a narrative. 4. Keep chronological sequence and character development in mind: David was called “a man after His [God’s] own heart” (1 Sam. 13:14) before his polygamous marriages and adultery.

5. Consider the important link to the Decalogue: a biblical story whose protagonist does not live in harmony with the Decalogue may be a reality but not an endorsement. 6. Consider the example of Christ: “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD) is not just a well-known, slightly worn slogan, but surely represents the litmus test of ethical living. 4 Adapted

from Ron du Preez, “Delights and Dangers of Using Stories for Sermons: How to Interpret and Apply Biblical Narrative,” in The Word of God for the People of God: A Tribute to the Ministry of Jack J. Blanco, ed. Ron du Preez et al. (Collegedale, Tenn.: School of Religion, Southern Adventist University, 2004), pp. 508-518.

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and fidelity. The spoiled tattletale is transformed into the mature and tempered leader of Genesis 42. Crisis and testing leads to growth and transformation—two key characteristics of any follower of Jesus. The biblical texts suggest that both Joseph and his brothers experienced growth as they faced testing and crises. The brothers’ response regarding their identity (verse 13) was truthful, even though they did not mention how the one brother was “no more.” The verbal recognition of their guilt (verse 21) included in their dialogue among themselves, as well as Judah’s later intercession for Benjamin during the second visit to Egypt (Gen. 44:18-34) all point to increased maturity and growth.

20:10; Deut. 22:22). Temptation usually requires a response and a decision. We can either “fall” in temptation or gain victory over temptation. Joseph’s consistent rejecting “day by day” (Gen. 39:10) and his decision to rather lose an item of clothing than be overcome by temptation (literally!) provide great examples for contemporary readers who recognize the destructive force of sin—personal and collective—on relationships. Most Western readers will not catch the strong social implications of a man fleeing from a woman and the

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Mine and Yours

Things can get in the way of healthy relationships. Joseph’s flaunting presentation of his special coat provokes

Christian ethics are theology in boots.

Temptation and Victory

Beginning with the Fall, temptation has become our constant companion. Temptations characterize also Joseph’s story. Following his cometlike ascent to be second-in-command of Potiphar’s household, one day Joseph hears an unmistakable invitation: “Lie with me” (Gen. 39:7, 12). In Hebrew it’s a terse two-word sexual proposition. Joseph’s response is significantly longer and provides an explanation of his rejection to Mrs. Potiphar’s proposition. Besides disappointing his master’s trust, the main argument against Mrs. Potiphar’s proposition is God-centered recognition that any sin does not only affect human relationships but invades and distorts primarily the human-divine sphere: “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (verse 9) employs terminology that is often used in confessional statements (cf. 1 Kings 8:47; 2 Chron. 6:37; Jer. 14:20). Sin destroys relationships on all levels; adultery, the sin envisioned in Genesis 39, was considered a capital offense in Old Testament law, whose penalty was death by stoning (Lev.

Victory over this real temptation marked Joseph’s career and is also the sign of biblical leadership. Interestingly, classical prophets in Israel and Judah often spoke against the abusive use of power, especially considering weaker groups of society, including widows, orphans, and foreigners (Isa. 1:23; 10:2; Jer. 7:6; 22:3; Eze. 22:7; Zech. 7:10; cf. God’s characterization in Deut. 10:18).

shame associated with such an action. Yet for Joseph shame was a lesser evil than the relationship-destroying effects of sin. Thus, God’s honor was more important than Joseph’s honor. And there is more to temptation in Joseph’s story. Temptation also lurks in his interaction with his brothers once they come to Egypt in search of food and survival. As Egypt’s secondin-command, it would have been an easy task to have his brothers executed on some trumped-up charges. His near-absolute power would have sufficed to settle old scores. Yet, while there is an element of testing (see above), there is no hint of revenge or the settling of scores in the narrative. The abuse of power is, unfortunately, a sad reality, both inside and outside of God’s people. It represents a vivid and strong temptation to any leader, especially in contexts in which power is bundled or concentrated.

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deep-seated hate and envy in his brothers (Gen. 37:8, 11). The use of possessive pronouns illustrates this nicely. Judah’s “our brother” (verse 26) leads to Joseph’s sale to the slave traders (at least his life was saved) and the bloodstained tunic presented to their father Jacob is “his” and “your son’s” (verse 32). “Mine” and “yours” are also visible in Mrs. Potiphar’s intended seduction. “Lie with me” is clearly all about “I” and “mine.” Joseph’s response emphasizes “his,” referring to his master and his God. Yet in the midst of this battle between selfish whims and God-centered victory over sin stands God, whose involvement in Joseph’s affairs is repeatedly mentioned, because it is God who gave him [Joseph] favor (Gen. 39:21) and who is with him (verse 23)—again and again. Mine and yours is not only about selfishness. It is the recognition that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. It reminds us of the fact


that God is always part of the equation. Whether publicly or behind the scenes, God is engaged in this world. Since Golgotha we cannot feign ignorance, because He has made His commitment to this world visible and tangible. God has become part of the picture, the process, the purpose, and the ultimate perspective. It Is God

Where is God in Joseph’s story? some have asked. God’s presence is complex and at times hidden. After all, He is the God who allows bad things to happen to good, or at least “reasonably good,” people. God does not save Joseph out of the pit, and He does not protect His child from suffering abuse and facing temptation. His presence (and blessing) is often tentative and mediated by Joseph. God blesses Potiphar and Pharaoh’s prison because of Joseph. God’s voice can be heard quietly as He communicates life—and death—to those who dream His dreams (Gen. 37; 40; 41). Joseph’s recognition of this important concept can be heard numerous times (cf. Gen. 41:16); yet there is one that stands out. The “It is God” of Genesis 45:5-8 really represents the theological heart of the Joseph narrative. When Joseph I M A G E :

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finally reveals his true identity to his brothers and they stand dumbfounded and terrified before him, Joseph breathes, “It is God.” “It is God” is meant to communicate goodwill and the key Christian concept that God is ultimately in control of our lives. While human beings plot, plan, forget, and remember, God is silently and competently at work behind the scenes—through slavery, times of testing, imprisonment, and, finally, public recognition and installation in the highest echelons of power. All along the way God planned to preserve: a family, a people, and a world. Through Joseph God has turned what was meant to destroy into something that builds up and sustains (cf. Prov. 16:4, 7; 19:21; Rom. 8:28). Intriguingly, when God moves we begin to recognize our own, often marginal, position in His plans. Joseph never highlights his contribution to God’s plan but always starts with God. As noted by one commentator: “Joseph talks more about God than about Joseph.”3 “It is God” represents the healthy recognition that even our best will do little to gain success. It leaves space for God to act, guide, direct, and work quietly behind the scenes.

Wrapping Up

Joseph’s story provides a wonderful canvas, helping us to look at our own stories and our ethical failings and victories. We can see that crisis is the catalyst for growth, that temptation leads to victory—or defeat—and that “mine” and “yours” are often sideshows that distract us from the truth that true character growth happens within a larger community that helps me look beyond myself. Finally, the “It is God” angle needs to become the driving force of every plan, activity, and decision. When God becomes part of the equation, we are set free to forget ourselves and can begin to live God-centered lives that echo the values of heaven. n 1 Gregory

S. Smith, The Testing of God’s Sons: The Refining of Faith as a Biblical Theme (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2014), pp. 49-67. 2 The book of Numbers documents this testing repeatedly. 3 V. P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis: Chapters 18-50, NICOT (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), p. 577.

Gerald A. Klingbeil

serves as an associate editor of Adventist World and hopes to see God in the nitty-gritty of his life—every day.

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L I F E

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hen I picked up my daughter from school that Monday afternoon, she was more excited than usual. The previous months had been very difficult for her. The Missionary Move

Being Christian in a Muslim School

Besides all the moving and adjustment, there was the issue of being a Christian in a Muslim school. Although the Qur’an refers to Christians as people of the book and believers, in practice they were not always treated kindly. The culture of the Middle East in the region where we are is one of tribe. In the classroom there is always a leader that commands what the rest of the group must or must not do.

Our family had moved from our home country to be missionaries in a Muslim nation. My younger daughter was not happy with the move. Leaving behind her friends, family, and grandmother was not a pleasant experience. Both By Pedro Leopoldo our daughters described to us later that the move was like the “destruction of their castle.” She was only 5 years old when she found herself in a new city, new school, new church, new language, and new environment. In the new country the school that accepted her and her sister in the middle of the academic year didn’t have an available seat for her. Not having space in her age-appropriate class, she had to be moved up one year and was “dropped” into a classroom, being the youngest and unable to communicate in English, the official language in the school. Our daughter reported to us many instances during which the Soon enough she found out that the rest of the students girl, who was the leader, would tell the other girls not to play were reading and writing sentences while she was still with her. Sometimes she was kicked, pushed, and pinched. struggling with the ABCs. At least she was in the same The turning point happened when she was able to school as her older sister, and they supported each other communicate in Arabic and began to interact with the during school hours. But after several weeks it became other children. During a lunch break the leader of the class, clear that the class was detrimental to her development, with a group of girls, came to her and said they would play and we became increasingly aware that she should not with her if she would say “Al Hamdu Lillah,” which means, continue in that school. in Arabic, “thanks be to God.” She had to repeat it a couple After three months in the new country, she was taken to of times before being received by the group to play. From a second school. The only option our family had was to that day, she was accepted into the “tribe.” move her to a nearby school that had an available seat in an Even though things became better with social accepage-appropriate classroom. She found herself again in a tance, there was the difference in religion. Many times she new school. She was still learning English, but in this school came home and asked us about Islam and its prophet, the teaching schedule was arranged with one day English Muhammad. We found ourselves teaching an introduction and the next Arabic. At least the students were the same age. to Islam to our 5-year-old daughter. On the other hand, it By the grace of God she survived and learned the language was a great opportunity to teach about Christianity, and it and was able to catch up with the rest of the class. Five deepened her faith. months later she graduated from kindergarten. While we were proud and happy with her success, she wanted to return to the Finding the BFF A couple weeks back into the first school with her older first school, where she could again be with her older sister. At sister, I picked her and her sister up, and she was excited. the beginning of the next academic year she went back.

unexpected

Witness

Sometimes children are better witnesses than adults.

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P H O T O :

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O L G I AT I


Most of the days she just remained quiet or whiny as we rode back home. But this time she was electrified. “I found my BFF, I found my BFF,” she repeated. We asked what BFF meant, and both of them laughed and looked at each other with that look that says, “Mom and Daddy don’t know anything.” BFF stands for “Best Friends Forever,” she explained. She was playing with a classmate (her name means Light, and that is how I will refer to her) when, apparently out of the blue, Light asked about her Christian faith. Before going to the Middle East, our family worked mostly among secular people in a big city. Our children attended secular schools and had secular neighbors and friends. Because of that, we had to teach them, while still very young, about being a Seventh-day Adventist Christian and a missionary. They were able to articulate, in their own terms, their faith from a very early age. In the new situation we had to explain to them about Islam and the differences and similarities of the two religions. My daughter explained to Light about her faith in Jesus. To her surprise, Light answered back that she believed in Jesus too. She is Muslim, and we met her parents in one of the school activities. The family does not fit the Western stereotype of a Muslim; nevertheless, they are a traditional Muslim family. My daughter reacted with joy. They hugged each other and spent the rest of the lunch break talking and sharing about how Jesus made all things and how He created both of them and their families. Since that day, they have been BFFs. That was the reason for such excitement. Real Missionary

Today we truly question who are the real missionaries in our home. It changed our understanding and reminded us that “through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold” (Ps. 8:2, NIV). We are humbled by what the Lord is doing through and in our children’s life struggles. The light of heaven shines in unexpected ways, through unexpected agents, producing unexpected witness. n

Pedro Leopoldo is a pseudonym. The author and his family are missionaries in the Middle East and North Africa.

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N A D F E AT U R E By Wayne Culmore

Wash i ng

Dirty Feet

How do we see the need around us? The following article is adapted from a morning devotional delivered October 29, 2015, at the North American Division year-end meeting. Some elements of the oral presentation remain intact.—Editors.

T

he night Jesus and His disciples walked into the upper room was pivotal. Jesus’ public ministry has come to a conclusion, and He now turns the full attention of His teaching on His disciples. As Jesus and His disciples enter into the upper chamber, they see the table. In the corner of the room they also see a towel, a jug of water, and a basin. Perhaps they pause for just a moment before entering the room, and look around to see if the foot washer is there. Maybe they think to themselves, Peter and John were supposed to make all the arrangements. This should’ve included someone to wash our feet. I’m sure that as the disciples recline at the table, they are not feeling very comfortable, because they are at the table with dirty feet. Perhaps each one may have begun to justify in their own minds why it wasn’t their job to do it. I don’t know if you’ve been there, but I certainly have. There have been many occasions when I could have washed dirty feet, but I thought, H’mm, maybe somebody else will do it. I want you to consider two things from the upper room account, found in John 13:3-17: What Jesus did, and what Jesus taught. This is what servant leadership is all about. The Bible says Jesus took off His garment (verse 4). He wrapped a towel around His waist, poured water into a basin, and began to wash His disciples’ feet. Rather than begin with a lecture, Jesus gave them an example. The impact He made on the disciples that night was tremendous. It would not have been the same if He would’ve turned P H O T O :

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to Peter and John and said, “I want you to take that basin and pour water into it, and I want you to wash the feet of your fellow disciples. And while you’re at it, I’m going to give you a lecture on service, on the importance of serving one another.” Everyone in that room saw the need, but only Jesus did something about it. Finding “Dirty Feet”

Here’s an experience you may be able to relate to: When your kids, whom you’ve helped get through college, offer to do something for you. My wife was visiting her sister, and I was home alone one Friday afternoon, when my adult son asked me to dinner. Usually he’d call and say he’d like for us to go out to dinner, which meant that we were going to dinner, but I was going to pay. But this time he made it clear that he was paying; he even demanded that I leave my wallet at home. My son and I went to a very nice, very fancy restaurant in downtown Portland. I opened the menu and gulped. I looked for the cheapest thing I could find. He knew what I was doing, so he closed the menu on me and said, “I’m going to order.” So he ordered, paid for the meal, and said, “We’re going to another little restaurant where they have these delicious desserts. In fact, all they have is desserts.” The prices of the luscious desserts, nestled in this big glass case, were just incredible. “Why don’t we share one?” I suggested. He agreed. We left, and as we walked down the road, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned, and an older woman, probably between 80 and 85, with snow-white hair, beautiful face, and beautiful, expressive eyes, spoke: “Sir, would you help me?” December 2015 | Adventist World - nad

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“Sure,” I replied, “What can I do to help you?” “I just spent my last dollar paying for my rent, and I have no money for food.” I thought, Oh, no, I left my wallet at home. I turned to my son, but all he had were credit cards. I didn’t think about going to an ATM at the time, so I sadly told this dear woman, “I’m sorry; we have no cash.” We made our way to the car, and on the drive home I could not get this woman’s face out of my mind. I kept talking to my son about it again and again. I felt terrible. I got home and tidied up my sermon for the next day. I got up the next morning and went to Sabbath school. The lesson was on helping the poor—of all things. A quote in the lesson study was from Tony Campolo: “When we look into the eyes of the poor, we look into the face of Jesus.” I knew there was something special about that woman I saw in downtown Portland! I preached a Reader’s Digest version of my sermon. I was invited to many different places for lunch because my wife was out of town. But I had one plan: to get home, change my clothes, and go downtown. I wanted to look into the face of Jesus again. I grabbed a handful of almonds and an apple—and what money I had in the house—and made my way downtown. I walked up and down that street looking for the woman from the night before. I asked shop owners if they had seen the woman with snow-white hair. No one had. I asked some street people if they had seen her, and they too said no. I kept passing one young woman who was sitting on a piece of cardboard with a sign that read “Desperate, want to go home, need money.” The last time I walked by her a voice in my head said, “It’s for her that you’re here today.” So I turned around and sat down on the concrete next to her, on the piece of cardboard, and asked, “Would you please tell me your story?” She said her brother had talked her into moving out here to go to school. “But last night,” she said, “the police came knocking on the door. They took my brother away because he was involved in drugs, which I did not realize. Now I wanna go home. I wanna go home.” I told her about my son and what he had done for me. I told her about the white-haired woman and why I had come downtown. Then I said, “There’s not a doubt in my mind that the reason I am here right now is that God has brought me here to you.” She asked, “What do you do for a living?” I told her I was a pastor, a Seventh-day Adventist pastor. Then she replied, “When I go home, I’m going to look for a Seventh-day Adventist church.” About this time I was ready to levitate right off of that cardboard. God had used me. I talked to this girl, helped her, and she got up off the cardboard. We hugged each

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other and she went to the bus station to head home. I started walking down the street, feeling pretty good about what had happened. I got to a crosswalk, and a voice in my head said, “Look up.” Above me was the name of the street. It was called Lovejoy. The young woman I had just helped was named Joy. I could hardly hold back the tears. I’d made myself available for God to use, and He had. I ran to my car. I opened it up and sat there with my head in my hands. I began to cry. Not because I had helped Joy, but because of all the times God had opened up doors of opportunity for me to get down and wash dirty feet and I had missed them. Total Transformation

After Jesus washed His disciples’ feet He asked this question, recorded in John 13:12: “Do you know what I have done to you?” I submit to you this morning that what Jesus did goes way beyond just getting our feet washed. It goes way beyond just getting our needs met. It’s about total transformation of our character, transforming how we should think and how we should act as fully devoted followers of Christ. It’s not just about becoming a servant. It’s becoming a servant like Jesus. It’s about looking at the other person as more important than ourselves. It’s about getting way outside our comfort zone and showing compassion. It’s about total transformation of our character. Jesus said, “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (verse 15). If my experience with God is only about me, only about getting my needs met, then I’ve truly missed what Jesus and His teachings are all about; and I have created nothing more than a gospel according to Wayne Culmore. If church is just about me, if church is just about getting what I want, having everything done the way I want, the music I want, the type of worship service I want, then I have missed the whole point of the teachings of Jesus, and I have become nothing more than a narcissistic Christian. The greatest human tragedy is for a person to go through life and never experience and receive Christ, His mercy, and His grace. The second-greatest human tragedy is that a person would experience Christ, would experience His love, His grace, but never take up the basin and the towel, never internalize the teachings of Jesus, which change us from the inside out. Helping George

There are depths of Jesus’ love that can be found and experienced only through the process of serving others. I had the privilege of representing Canada on a musical gymnastic team put together by the General Conference in


P H O T O :

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L E G G

The greatest human tragedy is for a person to go through life and never experience and receive Christ, His mercy and His grace.

the early 1970s. We did our gymnastics, and we would also witness in parks and on the streets in the cities we visited. I will never forget my experience with “George” in New York City. The team was staying at a youth center near Times Square. In the early seventies there were prostitutes and winos everywhere. It was a mess. The team was told that if we went out on the streets, we needed to go in groups; so we did. Every night we gathered in a circle at the center and sang and shared, having worship together. One night during worship several team members were a little late. After a few songs I heard a door open. I looked up and saw a couple of my friends come through the door with a special guest. They had brought in someone who had been living on the streets for a long time. The smell that entered the room was nauseating. As they made their way toward the group, I kept thinking, Lord, please don’t let that person sit next to me. And you know where he sat: right next to me. The smell was so bad that my eyes began to water and I began to gag. I found out his name and said, “George, would you mind if I took you upstairs and gave you a shower?” He didn’t think that was a very good idea. I asked him again. He said, “No.” I asked him a third time, and he finally caved. My two friends and I went up to the next floor and into the shower room. We began to peel the clothes off George, and I mean literally peel the clothes off him. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life. George never went to the restroom like we do; he just went in his clothing. We put him in the shower, and imagine it: here are these three young fellows all with our hands in the shower trying to clean George, doing the best we possibly could. It wasn’t working well until one of my friends turned to me and said, “Wayne, this is only gonna work if you get in the shower with George.” “I am not getting in that shower with George,” I said. Then he said to me, “Jesus would.” That’s all the motivation I needed. I got into that shower, and I scrubbed and I scrubbed and I scrubbed. By the time George got out of that shower he looked like a ripe tomato. He was clean. A number of the team members donated clothing. We shaved him and cut his hair. The transformation was so great, in fact, that when we came downstairs and walked out to the rest of the team someone asked, “Where’s George?” George was a good-looking man with a sad story. He had lost everything to alcohol: his job, his family, everything. He’d been living on the street for a number of years. Now he looked good on the outside, but he was still sick on the inside. December 2015 | Adventist World - nad

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N A D F E AT U R E

George sat next to me again. I tried to give him some food. He couldn’t eat very much, just a few crumbs. Then he wanted to leave. I didn’t want him to go. But we had to let him go. The only thing he left with was his hat. On the inside of his New York Yankees baseball hat was a card that allowed him to go and get a little bit of money every month. I’m not a Yankees fan, and so I stuck on it some little stickers that had a happy face on it with the words “Smile, God loves you.” The next morning I wanted to see if I could find him before we left, and I did. George was right back in the gutter, and he had a bottle of wine in his hand. I’m ashamed to tell you how I felt, but I wanted to kick him, shake him. I got on the bus and sat down in my seat heavy in self-righteousness. As the bus started to pull away, there was a bang on the back of the bus. There was George, standing behind the bus with tears coming down his face, pointing at his hat that said “Smile, God loves you.” This time I went back to my seat, not sitting in self-

righteousness, but thanking God for all the times I had fallen and Jesus had picked me back up and washed me and cleansed me and made me whole and covered me with His robe of righteousness and accepted me just as if I had never sinned. Hearts of Service

Those who lose their lives in service to others are the ones who ultimately find it. The love of Christ in our hearts, given to others, makes us feet washers. In John 13:14 Jesus directly and specifically tells His disciples the point of His actions. The lesson He wants us to learn is simple: Wash one another’s feet. Humble ourselves. We get down to wherever the need is and do something about it. Feet washers are those who see a need and do something about it. I carry a little piece of cloth (it used to be snow white but is now kind of dark and dirty) in my pocket or in my Bible—it reminds me of Philippians 2. If I’m tempted to do something, I’ll just rub it between my fingers to remind

A TURNING POINT

By José Cortes, Jr., North American Division Ministerial Department

i n N O RT H A M E R I C A

We cannot begin 2016 without renewing our commitment to be people of hope, compassion, and wholeness to our families, neighborhoods, cities, and nation. This year can be a turning point in North America if we Adventists intentionally collaborate and invest in loving people in our communities across the United States, Canada, Bermuda, and the islands of Guam and Micronesia. The following initiatives are the result of collaboration with our North American Division (NAD) leadership team, union conferences, conferences, and pastors, under the direction of the NAD president, Dan Jackson. The objective is to help our churches in North America work together in the mission, involving all our members. These two initiatives are not meant to replace the plans local churches already have in place. They can be the plan, or help enhance the plans that are already

in place. We pray they will be a launching pad to a paradigm shift in Adventist culture and lifestyle. As one member of the NAD ministry collaboration team said: “It’s time to lead, follow, collaborate, and venture into 2016 as an active part of the church that proclaims the hope for a better future by blessing people in the present.” The first initiative is Compassion 10 Million (#compassion10m). It calls for Adventists across North America to invest 10 million hours blessing our communities with intentional, repetitive, and relevant acts of love and service. While preaching and teaching are acts of compassion, there are additional ways all members can reach out compassionately to others. Compassion Weekends are scheduled for the second weekend of every month, starting January 9-10, 2016. The goal is to create momentum, establish unity, and produce a greater effect by

encouraging each church to set aside the second weekend of each month, making it a special time for intentional local community outreach. Imagine 6,277 congregations taking time every second Sabbath after the worship service, and every second Sunday, to go into their communities to show the love and compassion of Jesus in practical ways! The second initiative, The Day of Hope and Compassion (#dayofhope #compassion10m), will be held April 16-17, 2016. This division-wide Sabbath event will give members a specific opportunity to focus on community service through special worship services, literature distribution, a social media “blitz,” and more. The goal is to reinforce the image of Adventists as people of hope and compassion. Visit the NAD Ministerial Department Web site for more information, including helpful resources: www.nadministerial.org.

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N A D F E AT U R E

There are depths of Jesus’ love that can be found and experienced only through the process of serving others. myself that I have been called to serve. I keep it in Philippians 2 because of these words in which Paul asks four questions and then answers: “Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?” (Phil. 2:1, NLT).* Notice what he says next: “Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves” (verses 2, 3).

How different life would be in our committees, in our churches, in our homes, if we lived by this, if we looked at the other person as more important than ourselves. Jesus says, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17). It’s a whole lot easier to talk about service, to think about service, to fantasize about great service, and to read about what others are doing than to actually get down to where the need is and do something about it. May the Lord open our eyes to dirty feet; and may He empower us through His Holy Spirit and give us a heart of service. n * Texts marked NLT are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Wayne Culmore is president of the British Columbia Conference in Canada.

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December 2015 | Adventist World - nad

37


A D V E N T I S T

H E R I T A G E

F

amed Voice of Prophecy contralto soloist Del Delker, distinguished archaeologist and La Sierra University’s president emeritus Lawrence T. Geraty, and Uncle Arthur Maxwell’s illustrious sons Lawrence, editor, and Mervyn, church historian, all have something in common—someone, in fact. They all connect with Thomas Sinclair Geraty, Adventist missionary and educator extraordinaire, as their teacher, mentor, or father. Thomas Geraty, Adventurer

Geraty’s youthful feat of climbing to the top of one of the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge on December 31, 1936, and clambering back down the next year, on January 1, 1937, was a prediction of and preparation for a life that would overflow with adventure— except that his missionary adventures would prove much more meaningful. Having sailed to Shanghai on the Asama Maru to take up a mission appointment in China, he soon had to be moved to Burma because of the outbreak of World War II and the Japanese occupation of the China coast. Then when Rangoon was bombed, Geraty and his family had to move again, flying

Thomas Geraty in 1950 in Hong Kong at China Training Institute just after its evacuation from the Communists in Nanjing.

to central China. There he and his wife, Hazel, taught at the Adventist college, Sung Pao, near Chungking. The intrigue of his adventures embraced more than boats and planes, airlifts and escapes. As the college business manager in Sung Pao, Geraty learned to work with rice as currency. When rampant inflation sent the exchange rate tumbling down from 20 Chinese dollars for every US$1.00 to 56,000 Chinese dollars for every US$1.00, Geraty decided that it made sense to accept students’ tuition payments in rice instead of in Chinese dollars that were either of unpredictable value or, in fact, quite close to worthless. At Sung Pao he and Hazel taught classes in Chinese, which they had learned while living in Burma during the war. They also learned to love their students and cherish Chungking, both for the school experience and as the place where he was ordained to the gospel ministry in company of other colleagues Carl Currie, James Wang, and Herbert Liu. Soon after furlough in California right after the war, the Geraty family, now four in number with the arrival of Ronald Douglas, returned to China to lead out in building up the Adventist college at Chiou-Tou-Tseng near Nanking. Their second child, Edwin

McVicker, had been born in Chungking. But without adequate medical attention during the war, he passed away as a baby and was buried in Shanghai. At Chiou-Tou-Tseng, drama continued to follow Geraty’s life. No sooner had he built several new buildings and gotten things going strongly than Mao Tse-tung’s Communist armies began moving in his direction, and the family had to be evacuated down the Yangtze River to Shanghai and then to Hong Kong. There Thomas was asked to lead the Adventist college at Clear Water Bay that continues to the present as Hong Kong Adventist College. On to the Middle East

In 1951 Thomas accepted the invitation of the General Conference to move to Beirut, Lebanon, as president of Middle East College, a responsibility he thoroughly enjoyed. For a while he was also director of education for the Middle East Division of the church, and traveled to all the countries of the territory, building up the educational work and recruiting students for the college. One of his closest calls with death came when he missed a plane in Beirut, headed to Iran. Upset, he took the next flight and was sobered to see that his missed flight had crashed

Thomas Geraty:

in Giant Adventist Education Thomas’ most rewarding adventure was service By Lael Caesar


Thomas Geraty toward the end of his life, with his children, Ron, Larry, and Kathleen. upon landing in Tehran, with loss of all lives on board. Geraty knew he had been spared for a purpose. A fourth and last child, Kathleen Marie—a girl at last!—brought special joy to the family when she was born in Beirut at the American University Hospital. More Academe

During a subsequent furlough Thomas completed two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education at the University of Southern California. Thus qualified, he accepted an invitation in 1960 to join the Education Department at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists as an associate for higher education. In addition to editing the Journal of Adventist Education, a task he found especially rewarding, he visited the denomination’s institutions of higher education around the world, specializing in helping them achieve accreditation. He also started the practice of holding academic conferences by subject areas each quadrennium for professors in Adventist colleges. In 1970 he became dean of Andrews University’s School of Education (then a department), where he instituted its doctoral program, the first in the denomination, and strengthened its outreach to the world field. Geraty retired from official denominational service in 1977, settling in P H O T O S

C O U R T E S Y

O F

L A W R E N C E T.

Angwin, California, where he could spend time with his aging father. During this time he volunteered his services to his alma mater, Pacific Union College, and Weimar College nearby. After his father’s passing he began to paint seriously, mainly outdoors in the Napa Valley. His family has at least 200 of his paintings. In retirement, and after absorbing all those years of drama, he could reinterpret and artistically re-create the world. At the same time he volunteered as superintendent of education for the Hawaii Conference from 1982 to 1985. In Hazel’s company he enjoyed hosting their family on visits to the islands.

(LSU), his father followed him back to California. There Thomas organized the Middle East Fellowship, hoping to keep Middle Easterners involved with their roots. After his wife passed away in 2001, Geraty reestablished himself in the classrooms of Middle East University in Lebanon, to enjoy one more year of college teaching—this time as an 86-year-old! Ending that Middle Eastern stint, Geraty returned to California in search of more missionary adventure. LSU rewarded his search with two roles: three years as residential life dean in Gladwyn Hall, home of the international graduate students; and adjunct professor of education, which afforded the special joy of helping Chinese doctoral students with their dissertations.

Drama of Health

A decade and a half after his initial retirement, Geraty retired again at 94, to pass the last five years of his life reading his Chinese Bible, composing occasional poetry based on his Bible study, riding his exercise bike, and painting. Beyond that, in the Linda Valley Care Center (which turned out to be his last home) he sometimes had up to 10 speaking appointments per week, giving Bible studies and holding poetry readings for the residents. He passed to his rest December 23, 2013. Notwithstanding the excitement of his youthful bridge-climbing dramas or his many escapes from war and plane crashes, it is not for those that he will most be remembered. Rather, it is the words of Beverly Rumble, longtime editor of the Journal of Adventist Education, that most succinctly and effectively express the truth of his life and contributions as “a giant in Adventist education.” n

While in Hawaii, Thomas developed colon cancer. He relocated to Massachusetts to be near his physician son, Ron, and his supportive daughter, Kathleen, who took him to New England Memorial Hospital and the surgical talents of Allan Bock. This medical event turned out to be one more unforgettable drama in the life of God’s indomitable child. When Dr. Bock emerged from the operating room, it was to explain how difficult and complicated the surgery had been; moreover, he held no guarantee that Thomas Geraty would survive more than a few months. But the God to whom Bock had dedicated his medical skills, and the God for whom Geraty had lived his life, still had much more life for Geraty to enjoy. He would live to savor nearly 30 more years of blessings! Those years included time volunteering at Atlantic Union College, where oldest son Lawrence Thomas Geraty was serving as president, and creating the education policy handbook for the Far Eastern Division of Seventh-day Adventists. Later, after Lawrence accepted the presidency of La Sierra University

G E R AT Y

Retirement—Again

Lael Caesar, an associate editor of Adventist World, admires spiritual giants.

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39


LEGACY of LIGHT

PART 6: 1900–1915

The Elmshaven Years

GOD’S MESSENGER

A

rriving home in the United States after nine years of service in Australia and New Zealand, Ellen White might have hoped to finally enjoy a welldeserved, peaceful retirement. It was September 1900, and in just a few weeks she would celebrate her seventy-third birthday. But in the first decade of the new century she would have to address critical challenges to the church’s structure, its major institutions, and its theological pillars. Organizational Reform

Within six months of her return, while still settling into her newly acquired Elmshaven home in California, Ellen White was on her way to Battle Creek, Michigan, for the 1901 General Conference (GC) session. She left a few weeks early so that she could visit places where her son, Edson, had pioneered educational and evangelistic work among the former slaves. The session officially opened on April 2, 1901, but in the premeetings it was already evident that major organizational reforms were required. Ellen White knew the challenges would be immense. She confided to the delegates, “I was troubled before leaving California. I did not want to come to Battle Creek. I was afraid the burdens I would have to bear would cost my life.”1 As we look back from our vantage point today, we recognize God’s direct leading in the organizational changes effected at the 1901 GC session—and refined at the 1903 session—as church leaders responded to Ellen White’s pointed appeals for structural reform. She exclaimed, “I was never more astonished in my life than at the turn things have taken at this meeting. This is not our work. God has brought it about.”2

40

in Her

“Golden Years” A look at Ellen White’s life and legacy By Tim Poirier Institutional Crises

In a single year the church suffered the loss, by fire, of two of its key institutions: the world-renowned Battle Creek Sanitarium (Feb. 18, 1902) and the Review and Herald building (Dec. 30, 1902). Ellen White was given insights into the lessons to be learned from these disasters, which she connected with a loss of spiritual mission.3 Following Ellen White’s instruction, church leaders looked to relocate the church’s headquarters away from Battle Creek, and finally settled on Takoma Park, not far from downtown Washington, D.C., the United States’ capital. Ellen White was instrumental in opening a new college and sanitarium there, known today as Washington Adventist University and Washington Adventist Hospital. In addition to her repeated calls to establish sanitariums “in all parts of the earth,”4 Ellen White also recognized the importance of the church’s providing its own faith-based medical training, particularly after the loss of the Battle Creek Sanitarium. Despite the great hesitancy of church leaders who saw no way to meet the financial obligations, Ellen White urged the immediate acquisition of property in Loma Linda, California. When visiting the place in June 1905, Ellen White “repeatedly said that she recognized this as the very place she had seen in vision four years before.”5 God’s bless-

Adventist World - nad | December 2015

ing upon the purchase was evident through a series of remarkable providences that enabled the entire cost to be provided for in less than six months from the initial offer.6 As might be said of numerous church institutions, Loma Linda University and its medical center would not exist today were it not for God’s leading through His messenger. Theological Threats

While still in Australia, seven months before sailing home on the Moana, Ellen White had been shown that “erroneous theories and methods would be brought into our camp meetings.”7 At the same 1901 General Conference session in which she called for reorganization, Ellen White was compelled to confront a fanatical perfectionistic teaching regarding sanctification known as “holy flesh.”8 Amid the corrective instruction she also shared this memorable gem: “We are not to be anxious about what Christ and God think of us, but about what God thinks of Christ, our Substitute.”9 But there were even greater threats to follow. Divisions grew wider between the views of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg—representing the medical work of the church—and that of the church’s ministry at large. Bringing the controversy to a head was Kellogg’s publication of The Living Temple (1903), which included ideas


During the closing years of her ministry Ellen White focused more frequently on the importance of how church members treat one another.

view over another. In contrast to those earlier heresies, Ellen White stated that she “had no instruction on the point under discussion,” except that “nothing should be done to increase the agitation upon this question.”12 “By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them”

Ellen White’s appeal for unity and the resulting redirection of the church’s energies toward its mission

E L L E N

G .

W H I T E

E S TAT E

regarding God’s personality that alarmed key leaders of the church. Ellen White recognized Kellogg’s teachings as leading to the same kind of fanaticism she had encountered in her early ministry after the 1844 Great Disappointment. In the strongest terms, she denounced his theories while endeavoring to save him from his spiritual danger.10 Ellen White’s clear-cut testimony against pantheistic views of God kept

brought the Conflict of the Ages series to completion. She also issued Testimonies for the Church, volumes 6-9, among other titles, and regular articles in the church papers. In her last message addressed to a General Conference in session— which, because of her age, she was unable to attend—Ellen White reflected on her connection with God’s people during the previous 70 years. “Perplexities will increase,” she told them, “but let us, as believers in God, encourage one another. Let us not lower the standard, but keep it lifted high, looking to Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. . . . I am encouraged and blessed as I realize that the God of Israel is still guiding His people, and that He will continue to be with them, even to the end.”14 n 1 Ellen

CENTER STAGE: Ellen White speaks to an assembly gathered in Loma Linda, California, United States in 1906. the church on its scriptural foundation, but over the next seven years the attraction of “new light” twice more threatened the church’s united mission—first through the teachings of A. F. Ballenger regarding Christ’s sanctuary ministry, and second, through passionate debate among prominent church leaders over the meaning of an expression translated “the daily” in Daniel 8, 11, and 12.11 Although Ellen White had taken clear, public stands against the teachings of Kellogg and Ballenger, she refrained from entering into a discussion of “the daily” that favored one

fulfills one of the purposes for the gifts of the Spirit as outlined in Ephesians 4:11-16. During the closing years of her ministry Ellen White focused more frequently on the importance of how church members should treat one another with true Christian courtesy—beginning in the home—and how unity in Christ also means removing barriers arising from nationalism and racism.13 Between 1900 and her death on July 16, 1915, Ellen White published such classics as Education (1903) and The Ministry of Healing (1905), and

G. White, in General Conference Bulletin, Apr. 12, 1901, p. 204. 2 Ibid., Apr. 25, 1901, p. 464. 3 See Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 8, pp. 97-103. 4 Ibid., vol. 7, p. 51. 5 D. E. Robinson, The Story of Our Health Message (Nashville: Southern Pub. Assn., 1943), p. 350. 6 See Richard A. Schaefer, Legacy ( Legacy Pub. Assn., 2005), pp. 139-144; Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White: The Later Elmshaven Years (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald, 1982), vol. 6, pp. 22-28. 7 Ellen G. White letter 132, 1900 (in Selected Messages [Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958, 1980], book 2, p. 37). 8 For a review of this teaching and Ellen White’s refutation of it, see E. G. White, Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 31-39; Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1981), vol. 5, pp. 91113; D. Fortin and J. Moon, The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 2013), pp. 873, 874. 9 Ellen G. White, in General Conference Bulletin, Apr. 23, 1901, p. 420 (reprinted in Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 32, 33). 10 See A. L. White, The Early Elmshaven Years, vol. 5, pp. 280-306. 11 On Ballenger, see ibid., pp. 405-413, 425-428. On “the daily,” see A. L White, The Later Elmshaven Years, vol. 6, pp. 246-261, and D. Fortin and J. Moon, pp. 751-754. 12 Ellen G. White manuscript 11, 1910, and letter 62, 1910 (in Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 164-168). 13 See, for example, E. G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 179-226. 14 Ellen G. White, in General Conference Bulletin, May 27, 1913, p. 164 (reprinted in Selected Messages, book 2, p. 406).

Tim Poirier is vice director for the Ellen G. White Estate in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

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B I B L E

Q U E S T I O N S

A N S W E R E D

Better Is it true that the title “redeemer” in the Old Testament designates a person’s closest relative?

Than a

Brother

The title “redeemer,” as well as the verbs usually translated “to redeem,” are theologically rich. Here we can deal only with the title and its significance. Redemption is primarily a legal term. The redeemer (Heb. go’el) is usually associated with the closest relative of a person (“an uncle or a cousin or any blood relative” [Lev. 25:49, NIV]) who needed redemption. We will examine the work of the redeemer, discuss its application to God, and finally say something about its Christological significance. 1. Work of the Redeemer: The redeemer operates in the context of dire need. First, when an Israelite was so poor that he had to sell his property to survive, the redeemer was expected to buy back the property for the Israelite (Lev. 25:25; cf. Ruth 2:20; 3:12). This was based on the conviction that God was the owner of the land, and that He had parceled it out to the Israelites for their use. No one was to misappropriate it by permanently taking it from a fellow Israelite. Second, if an Israelite could not pay his debts, he could sell himself as a slave to the lender. Again, the redeemer was expected to buy his freedom back (Lev. 47-49). Since the Lord had redeemed His people from Egyptian bondage, they all belonged to Him and consequently no one should enslave them again. In a sense, the redeemer reenacted God’s powerful redemption of His people from Egypt. Third, when someone killed an Israelite, the redeemer was responsible to execute the murderer (Num. 35:12, 19). Cities of refuge were created to assure that the murderer was indeed guilty (Num. 35:12, 24, 25; Deut. 19:6, 12). Life was considered a divine gift that belonged exclusively to God. In this case the redeemer took the life of the murderer as a substitute for that of his relative. The basic responsibility of the redeemer may have been to eliminate social anomalies that disturbed and disrupted the social and spiritual harmony and wholeness established in Israel by the covenant God. 2. God as Redeemer: This title is metaphorically applied to God in the Old Testament. He redeems from

42

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personal misfortunes (Gen. 48:16) and from the collective experience of the exile by destroying Babylon (Isa. 41:14; 43:14; 44:6) as the redeemer who pursued the enemy to execute them. Although the idea of the closest relative may not be always present, in some cases God is described as a Father (Isa. 63:16) or husband (Isa. 54:5) who redeems His people. We are deeply connected to God as His spiritual “blood relatives.” The ties that unite us to Him are stronger than those of a natural mother (Ps. 27:10). Perhaps more important, the Lord redeems humans from sin (Isa. 44:2224), which as a universal phenomenon (Isa. 59:20) rules over humans (Ps. 19:13, 14), and even from His anger (Isa. 54:5-8) and from death (Ps. 103:4; 49:8, 9, 15). He can truly restore cosmic harmony as Creator and Redeemer. 3. Christ Our Redeemer: The image of God as Redeemer is embodied and fulfilled in the work of Christ for His people (Luke 1:68, 71; 2:38). He was indeed the one “who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). Humans had been enslaved by the powers of sin and death and were in utmost need of redemption. The Redeemer came and shared in our humanity, becoming our closest relative, and freed us from the power of death (Heb. 2:14, 15) and sin (Rom. 3:23, 24; Titus 2:14; Col. 1:14). His work of redemption also includes the natural world that is now decaying and in need of liberation (Rom. 8:19-21; cf. Gen. 1:26). He paid for all our debts not with “silver or gold” but with His “precious blood” (1 Peter 1:18, 19; Eph. 1:7). In order to free us from sin and death, Christ took them upon Himself as our substitute, giving “His life as a ransom for [Gr. anti, “in place of ”] many” (Mark 10:45). Our forfeited lives are redeemed not only by destroying our spiritual enemy but by restoring them to us through the surrender of His own life. Only Jesus, our closest relative, could achieve this amazing work of grace. n

Angel Manuel Rodríguez, a retired theology professor, answers Bible questions from his home in Texas.


B I B L E

S T U D Y

By Mark A. Finley

Abraham

Tested and Approved

T

he story of Abraham (Abram) is the story of one of God’s heroes of faith. Scripture declares, “Abraham believed God” (Rom. 4:3; see also Gen. 15:6). Faith is simply trusting that God will do exactly as He said. It is a relationship with God as a friend in whom we have unwavering confidence to fulfill His word. As we study the life of Abraham we notice that his faith wavered at times. God allowed him to face a variety of tests to deepen his faith. Faith is a gift, given by God, nurtured by the Holy Spirit, into a deep and abiding trust in God’s unchanging concern and love for us.

1 Why do you think God called Abraham from the comfort of his home to a land totally foreign to him? Reflect on Genesis 12:1-3. Does this passage give us any insights into how God deals with us today? God had much larger plans for Abraham’s life. There are times that God has larger plans for our lives as well. Sometimes He leads us out of our comfort zones to accomplish His greater goal. Comfort and convenience may at times be obstacles in God’s accomplishing His plans for us.

2 What was Abraham’s response to God’s call? Discover the answer in Genesis 12:4. Abraham’s response to God’s call is classic. The record simply states, “So Abraham departed as the Lord had spoken to him.” What a lesson for each believer! God speaks through His Word and we wholeheartedly respond.

3 Although Abraham’s faith was constantly growing, what serious character flaw did he reveal in his sojourn in Egypt? Read Genesis 12:10-14. In a moment of weakness Abraham yielded to temptation. He encouraged Sarah (Sarai) to lie rather than trust God. God’s intervention is the only thing that saved Abraham and Sarah from disaster. Half-truths, falsehoods, and deception never solve problems. A R T

B Y

J Ó Z S E F

M O L N Á R

4 What promise did God give to Abraham in Genesis 15:1, 5? 5 What was Abraham’s response to God’s promise? What do you find in Genesis 15:2, 6, 8? Abraham’s faith was growing, but he still had many questions. A growing faith does not mean all our questions are answered.

6 How did Abraham and Sarah decide to “help” God and solve the problem of Sarah’s infertility? Read Genesis 16:1-4. It’s fascinating to note that Abraham believed God, but He thought He had to help God solve the problem of Sarah’s age and what he thought was her inability to have a child. When God makes a promise to us, He is fully capable of fulfilling His Word, no matter how great the obstacles.

7 What was the result of Abraham and Sarah’s lack of faith? Read Genesis 16:5, 6. Abraham and Sarah’s lack of faith and poor choice led to serious conflict within their household. Our choices always have consequences.

8 How did God encourage Hagar in her sorrow? Note carefully the gracious way God dealt with Hagar in Genesis 16:7-17. Abraham and Sarah’s lack of faith did not destroy God’s plan for their lives, but neither did God forget Hagar in her sorrow that resulted from Sarah’s mistreatment of her. In absolute joy, in the midst of her tears, Hagar cried out, “You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees” (verse 13). What an incredible testimony. Hagar’s testimony can be ours. In the joys and sorrows of life, He is the God who sees. This is marvelous good news. n

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IDEA EXCHANGE

What a privilege it is to see God’s love in action. —Ken Reetz, Beaverton, Oregon, United States

Letters Grown-up Christians

I so enjoyed reading Elizabeth Camp’s article, “Being Grown-up Christians” (October 2015). The emphasis on being Christlike was refreshing. I grew up in a time when Adventists tended to describe Christian behavior in terms of how we dressed, what we ate, and what we did for recreation. Not to minimize those things, but it’s much more important to deliberately reflect Christ’s character in all we do. Thanks for making that point. J. J. Aragon C hicago, Illinois, United States Extremes and Teams

I am writing about Tom Ish’s article “Extreme Makeover: Pathway to Health Edition” (October 2015). Jesus

PrayerW

cared for physical needs first, then people were more interested in learning the spiritual aspect of it. Jim Smith S pokane, Washington, United States Thank you for publishing Tom Ish’s story. Kindness to others is as much a miracle as instant healing. Please keep these encouraging stories coming! What a privilege it is to see God’s love in action. Ken Reetz B eaverton, Oregon, United States I enjoy the monthly Adventist World. I thank God for it. I know many Ethiopians who read it every month. Bereket Feleke Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Please Pray

I work as a professional nurse at a prison, nursing inmates. Thank you for Adventist World! The magazine always revives me and encourages me to press on with my daily duties. I also serve as an elder at my local church. We are working on building our church, but we don’t have funds to do so—we have been worshipping at a school for 10 years. Please pray for my local church; and pray that we will be able to get more materials to help us study with inmates. Musa Sibisi South Africa 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

My island was hit by tropical storm Erika; at least 30 people died, and more are still missing. Many, many people have lost their homes. Please pray for us! Andina, Dominica

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I am struggling to find a job. There is a recession, and jobs are hard to come by. But I know nothing is impossible with God, so kindly pray that the Lord helps me find a good job. I have a family to look after, and I am in debt. I don’t know what to do. Reuben, India

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Some of my family are “working in the devil’s vineyard.” Please pray for them. Cataleya, Zambia I am a single mother with twin sons; please join me in praying for God’s help. I cannot take their attitude anymore. Arleen, Philippines


Wishing You

God’s Richest

Adventist World staff, United States

Blessings for

Front row left: Sandra Blackmer, Kim Brown, Marvene Thorpe Baptiste, Lael Caesar, Wilona Karimabadi, Stephen Chavez

2016

Middle row left: Kimberly Luste Maran, Gerald Klingbeil, Sharon Tennyson, Andrew McChesney, Carlos Medley Back row left: Gaspar Colon, Bill Knott, Jared Thurmon, Merle Poirier, Andre Brink

P H O T O :

D AV I D

B

S H E R W I N

Please pray for me. I am incarcerated and am asking for peace in the facility where I am. Recently there have been outbreaks of violence. Daniel, United States

Please say a prayer for the Uganda Union Mission and its local entities. Isingoma, Uganda Please pray for God to give me better health. Steph, Haiti

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.

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IDEA EXCHANGE “Behold, I come quickly…”

57

Years Ago

On December 2, 1958, Queen Sirikit of Thailand participated in the opening of a modern three-story building for Bangkok Adventist Hospital’s School of Nursing, with dormitory space for 120 student nurses, administrative offices, library, and classrooms. Bangkok Adventist Hospital (formerly Bangkok Sanitarium and Hospital) is a 200-bed general hospital owned and operated by the Christian Medical Foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Thailand. The present institution started as the Bangkok Mission Clinic, which opened in rented quarters on May 2, 1937, with funds contributed by Captain Thomas Hall, a merchant sea captain from Mexico. Dr. Ralph F. Waddell and his wife, Ellen; Nai Pleng Vitiamyalaksna; and Kon Vui-leong directed the development of the original 12-bed hospital with an outpatient department into a 50-bed clinic. As the medical work in Bangkok grew, in 1940 a large house about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from the original clinic was leased and remodeled to provide an additional 30 beds, and became known as the Annex. This increased the hospital’s capacity to 80 beds and made possible the opening of a School of Nursing in May of 1941 under the direction of Ruth Munroe.

That’s the number of active volcanoes in El Salvador, one of the most seismically active places in the Western Hemisphere. Source: The Rotarian I M A G E :

P I X A B AY / N E L S O N

G O N Ç A LV E S

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. Executive Publisher and Editor in Chief Bill Knott Associate Publisher 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, Kimberly Luste Maran, Andrew McChesney Editors based in Seoul, Korea Pyung Duk Chun, Jae Man Park, Hyo Jun Kim Online Editor Carlos Medley Operations Manager Merle Poirier Director of Strategic Partnerships Jared Thurmon 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, Leonardo R. Asoy, 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 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. 11, No. 12


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