A Woman and a Man and a Pulpit

A woman born in Zimbabwe strode to the pulpit Friday morning. A man from Connecticut, perhaps the best-known of all currently practicing Adventist evangelists, did so on Friday night. And the General Conference session’s twin themes—both at the heart of President Wilson’s vision—came to expression again. From the standpoint of session leaders, San Antonio is about the Second Coming and it’s about evangelism.

Sikhu Hlatshwayo, who is completing a master’s degree at Andrews University, sees herself as a “missionary” to secular campuses, and her morning sermon suggested a close fit with the conservative Michigan Conference, where she will be pursuing her passion.

The morning’s worship started with engaging musical performances, including a rendition of “In a Little While We’re Going Home” from a King’s Heralds-style men’s quartet that included General Conference President Ted Wilson. Hlatshwayo began with passing references to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage and the coming visit to the United States of Pope Francis, who will, among other things, address the U.S. Congress. As for the latter, she remarked, alluding to Revelation 13, that “the first beast power is coming here to address the second beast power.”

She then turned from the “signs” of the last days that are “all around us” to her prepared remarks, which took the story of Simeon, in Luke 2, as their base. The Bible describes him as a man “just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel.” Hlatshwayo said that to “wait” is to “know about,” and she linked that idea with the familiar saying that Adventists “have a special message” for the world. We wait because we know about.

In an aside, she remarked that “the Bible is true,” and that if you preach the Bible on university campuses “they can’t say anything but that what you’ve said is true.” Her main point, however, was that knowledge must make a difference in life. With a nod to James 2, she said that faith must show itself by works. Even the Devil believes, and what good is such belief as that?

As Simeon awaited the first coming of Christ, Adventists today await the second. Waiting can only be authentic if the knowledge behind it is meant, not just to settle debates, but to enhance our capacity to see Jesus, and to serve him without prospect of wealth or recognition.

In the evening, Mark Finley, now an assistant to the General Conference President, offered a three-fold argument. He said that the love of Christ constrains us to share the Gospel so that people everywhere can enjoy God’s gifts. He said that when believers unite with Christ’s mission to “change the world,” they themselves are “changed” – the grace we share with others fills our own hearts. Then, citing Act 1:8, he said that the function of the Holy Spirit is to compel the church to bear an evangelistic witness: the church mission is evangelism.

Finley, with his pleasing voice and energetic presence, has spoken for evangelistic meetings in more than 80 countries, and he seemed to embody his message. At the end of the service 11 people, all from the San Antonio area, underwent baptism. The congregation sang heartily —throwback songs like “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” and “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder”— in the spaces between the baptism proper.

Finley remarked at the end: “This is what the church is all about: welcoming new members into the family of God.”

Charles Scriven is chair of the Adventist Forum board, and part of the General Conference reporting team in San Antonio, Texas.

Photo Credit: North American Division / Rohann

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/6922
1 Like

There will be more alibi women I suspect (are there women scheduled to speak with &?). Fortunately as a “missionary to secular campusses” she won’t need ordination, just some kind of endorsement, I guess.

Her impact remains to be seen. In my experience secular students are not overly concerned about “beasts” - they don’t know, they don’t care, if that is indeed the message she deems important.


You folks just make me shake my head. You say “Her impact remains to be seen.” because you are clearly unaware of her and her colleagues’ impact on campuses such as the top University of Michigan, Harvard, MIT, etc. You older folks claim to have the interest of young people at heart but you hypocritically (Excessive - judgmental. - webEd) doubt us even when you first hear us. Shame on you!

By the way, the author of this article may need to travel around the world and familiarize with the popular songs young Africans sing during Adventist Youth, pathfinders, etc rather than just ascribing the origin of the song to your enemy Ted Wilson. That little smirk against the song was not even necessary! We know you hate him but don’t drag us in your fights. (Inappropriate. - webEd) Even the author doesn’t believe in this young lady by saying she “sees herself as a ‘missionary.’” You cannot even afford to call her a missionary. You leave enough room to imply she may be delusional about her identity. Wow! Thank you for believing in the young people!

I thought we gave up that whole “the Pope is the Anti-Christ” nonsense years ago. It’s patently offensive.


Sorry, but I must have missed something here. I didn’t pick up on a song or a smirk, and hope you were not referring to my post.

[quote=“Naye, post:3, topic:8742”]
you hypocritically doubt us even when you first hear us
[/quote] No, I was willing to give the person “the benefit of a doubt”. It is just my experience with secular, post-Christian youth. Your experience may be different. As to the impact on the universities you write - perhaps you would care to inform us.

Overall your comment on me is a shoe that doesn’t fit (just as my comment might not have fit either). Perhaps we need to get to know each other better. So welcome to open and honest dialogue.


I’m lost. I went back to read the article. Where is the smirk about the song. Where was Ted referred to as the enemy. And why does the author need to familiarise himself with the popular songs that adventist youth sing. I didn’t think for one moment he was deriding their songs.

Looking forward to some clarication, @Naye.


I was lost too. Thanks.


We do not hate TW and until you can give us compelling reasons and evidence that we are wrong, your opinion can be dismissed as nothing but paranoia on your part. Don’t engage us in your delusions but struggle with them yourself.

Welcome to Spectrum. Stick around and join us in the conversation.


i’m glad to see that a woman speaking in church is ok with zimbabwe…i’m also interested in ted wilson being a singer - interesting…

1 Like

you mean her Impact is already worth calling it Impact on campusses like that? I doubt that. Not hypocritically, as you assume, but honestly. But I would be very glad if you proved me wrong.
Besides that, it would be nice if you could write in a much more civilized manner.


I DO hope that they introduced her for the fact that she was going to minister at a Secular Campus [much like other Denominations have their ministries].
NOT as a Show Piece to indicate that WOMEN CAN minister without being Ordained.


@Bil & niteguy2

A quick check of an online dictionary should give some pause/consideration to Scrivens use of the word throwback describing the song(s) choice(s). It certainly had the possibility of being interpreted as negativity.

1.a person, animal, or plant that has the characteristics of an earlier or more primitive type.
b. a reversion to such an organism.
verb (adverb)
2.(intransitive) to revert to an earlier or more primitive type
3.(transitive) foll by on. to force to depend (on): the crisis threw her back on her faith in God.

When I read the word "throw back"
I was thinking of Earlier Days of Adventist type of songs, Adventist type of singing.
Those of the 50s, 60s, 70s maybe. The original King’s Heralds music was really great.
Loved that Collegedale- Southern Missionary country music – gospel group. Had to purchase their recording.
I still like to sing out of the Christ In Song song book and the old Church Hymnal.
My parents lost our Hymns and Tunes somewhere in their moves.


One wonders whether or not she has consulted the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship and other groups like that to see how they work. This seems, again, to be a case of Adventist insularity—she might have a good idea, but that does’t mean she knows how to implement it. And yes: One needs no credentials to do that—to think about (hope for), plan it, or implement such a program. She doesn’t know about Adventist Forums? I wonder to what degree she has consulted AAF (graduate, admittedly, but a resource).


Hmm. 5 likes, too.

Well, I still preach it and know that it is offensive. Just as our teaching on the US is offensive. If you have a better interpretation, I would be glad to hear it, but in my study, ours comes up best by and large.

The historicist view was discredited by 1844, and was abandoned by all the other protestant denominations. We alone hew to it as it was taught in the past. If one can explain 1844, the view can stand. Most here do not accept the SDA view, but it is a coherent concept it one accepts 1844.

And since most SDA’s do, we continue to teach that nonsense.

I would think that AAF would know (and/or others in the Boston/Cambridge area) about this were it really having some kind of noticeable presence or influence.


For the record, I am the author of the story and I enjoy the “throwback” songs I mentioned. This was meant to show the contrast between the music here in San Antonio and the praise music that is often heard in the church’s older strongholds (US, Europe, Australia, etc.)

To me conventional praise music is often (but not always!) trivial and unsingable. When it is done well–and brings in occasional songs from the past–I find it meaningful.



To many (the Christ in Song people) “throwback” means men’s quartets, women’s trios, and the music that was typical during the Depression up through WWII. Maybe a bit later. Don’t forget that music, at all, was forbidden in Adventist churches for a long time, “classical” music absolutely forbidden (WWII). I have an old AUC student handbook that specifically forbade a student’s visiting the opera; in my own lifetime, operatic music crept into church services. So I guess “throwback” has as much to do with how old you are as it does how old the Denomination is.


"if you preach the Bible on university campuses “they can’t say anything but that what you’ve said is true.” This is a naive statement. The top research universities give a nod to the Bible as an important literary work that is indeed helpful in a spiritual sense, but it is no history or science text book. It has no merit in these regards and it will be happily proven to be literally wrong if they are brought to task on it.

With that said, this is a courageous young lady that God has called. She is reflecting God at a ministry level. She is an innovative leader. How many old male suits would dare do this? Few, if any. So we should use our human device of ordination to acknowledge what God has already done.


Not only is it nonsense, it is also socially inappropriate and as @timteichman said “patently offensive.” Is this how this concept is taught in the seminary? Must the likes of @GeorgeTichy be necessary to teach our ministers the art of confronting behavior without insulting the individual?