January 2009 Vol. 5, No. 1
GENERAL COMMENTS I continue to be impressed by the ”new look”. It allows editors and tech staff to more comfortably handle illustration, advertisement, and format issues. In addition, this issue has lots of other things to recommend it including a Bouquet tossed in the direction of Angel Manuel Rodriguez! Check it out!
Vietnam has granted the Adventist Church Official Recognition. “The last Adventist out of Saigon, Le Cong Giao, center, initiates the Communion service marking the government’s recognition of the Adventist denomination in Vietnam. About 130 delegates met in Ho Chi Minh City October 22 to 24 to approve the denomination’s reorganized Vietnamese Mission.” There are six Adventist church buildings in Vietnam and about 100 registered Adventist groups meeting in homes.
(Editor’s Note) It is amazing that Vietnam would have anything to do with the US after the war in which our “Christian” nation killed 2,000,000 Vietnamese, indiscriminately bombed, Ho Chi Minh City, and spread millions of tons of Agent Orange over its ecosystem and population. “Forgiveness” is a word we Americans have yet to comprehend. Perhaps the Vietnamese can be our teachers.
Jan Paulsen is traveling the world in his attempt to hold the Adventist Church together. His conversation with Bill Knott is chronicled in A Dynamic Church for Difficult Times is one more brave attempt to “keep the Adventist ship afloat”. The next General Conference President needs to listen carefully to what Paulsen has to say.
“Because previous GC sessions decided not to ordain women to gospel ministry, women haven’t had the same access to leadership positions. . . There’s no question that there has to be a more deliberate effort to correct that. We simply have to be more deliberate in choosing women as members of the General Conference Executive Committee. We also have to include more young lay professionals under age 35—not because they fill a leadership role in the church, but because they bring competencies and skills we very much need as we do the church’s business. We also need to ensure that they can serve for an adequate length of time—perhaps up to 10 years—so that they can function as productive and contributing members of the Executive Committee.”
When Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless remind us that when our Global Church Preaches an Antismoking Message, it benefits the entire world.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report on tobacco for 2008, a person dies because of tobacco usage every six seconds. Tobacco kills between a third and a half of all the people who use it, and the 5 million who die each year from its consequences represent one tenth of all deaths in the world annually.
Of the world’s current population, 500 million will die of tobacco’s effects, and the twenty-first century could witness tobacco killing 1 billion people.
Secondhand smoke has serious health consequences. Some 46,000 cardiac deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths per year in the United States alone are attributed to secondhand tobacco smoke. The 200,000 episodes of childhood asthma, 71,900 preterm deliveries, and 24,500 low-birth-weight infants calculated to be a result of secondhand smoking in the U.S. surely give pause for reflection.
The Bounty and the Bible: How the Adventist message found its way to Pitcairn Island and stayed by Herbert Ford and Wilona Karimabadi is a brief history of the island’s secular and religious history. The story isn’t always pretty, and it has never been and is not today a “tropical paradise”. “Pitcairn Island has received worldwide attention during the last several years as reports of alleged criminal activities and subsequent legal trials have been covered by the media. Seventh-day Adventists on the island and throughout the world church are working toward bringing healing and reconciliation to those involved.”
Ministering the “Techie” Way by Carolyn Sutton and Cindy Waterhouse-Wheeler is a nontraditional—but effective way to minister to a local and worldwide parish. This is brilliantly conceived, inexpensive evangelism. One can only imagine what fantastic things might happen if local, member supported organizations like Light Stream International and Terri and Ko Saelle’s ministry to the Hmong communities in the US (An Evangelistic Paradigm Shift) were funded like the traditional, ineffective and expensive evangelistic efforts like Share Hope, set to launch satellite events from Myrtle Beach on January 20.
It Is Finished by Rolf Pohler has difficulty explaining why Jesus had to die. I suspect that the difficulty lies in the basic atonement and satisfaction premise of his argument and Fundamenrtal Belief #9 of the Adventist Church. (I mean, Jesus could have died to save any repentant angel who was taken in by Lucifer and saved all this earthly mess, right?)
“But what was it then that made atonement and satisfaction—and therefore the death of Jesus—necessary? Is it the profound disgust that God, the Perfect and Holy One, feels for all injustice? Is it the disregard for His just and holy law (Rom. 7:12)—the reflection of His character—that must be punished? Do we feel something of the same indignation—indeed, the “righteous anger”—that God feels in the face of the million-fold presence of sin and appalling injustice (John 3:36; Rom. 1:18 ff.; 1 Thess. 1:10; Rev. 6:16 f.)?
“But that doesn’t mean that Jesus was trying to placate an angry God and move Him to be benevolent toward us. After all, it was the Father Himself who sent His Son into the world “that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9 ff.). It was not necessary to win God over for us; He already was on our side. God does not love us because Jesus died for us; Jesus died because God loves us. God’s love is the reason and source, not the result or effect of the atonement.”
Ellen White: Who Was She? Ellen White was more than “The Little Woman Who Talked About Jesus”. James R. Nix provides a brief, bland biography of a woman who deserves a more intelligent and personal account of her life. Ellen established our Church, survived the death of two of her children and the bullying of men more interested in establishing an organization than in warning the world of the soon coming of her Lord and establishing a theology based on New Testament truths. The other woman in the picture accompanying the article (I assume it to be her twin sister) is not identified and their relationship is not discussed.
The Gospel According to Mary Angel Manuel Rodríguez tackles the question, “Is Mary, the sister of Martha, the same as Mary Magdalene?” and he does a pretty good job. Unfortunately, he confuses the issue by his first statement: “We know little about this Mary [of Bethany], unless she is identified with Mary Magdalene.” And later he goes on to speculate about how the two Marys might possibly be the same, even though “no historical evidence exists to support the position that they are the same person.” Rodriguez’ further speculation about this issue “cannot provide a final answer to the question.”
In his concluding paragraphs Rodriguez notes that Mary Magdalene played a “significant role in the gospel narrative. She almost became the disciple par excellence. She witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross (Matt. 27:55, 56; John 19:25) and accompanied His body to the tomb (Matt. 27:60, 61). On Sunday morning she was the first to get to Jesus’ tomb, and, seeing that it was empty, went and informed the disciples that someone had taken away Jesus’ body (John 20:1, 2).”
He concludes with the words, “If the resurrected Savior used women to proclaim to the male disciples that He was alive, we should also make full room for women in the proclamation of the eternal gospel.”
Way to go, Angel!
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/1371