July, 2008 Vol. 4, No. 1
GENERAL COMMENTS Adventist World has a gorgeous website. Navigation is instantaneous; the contents page is even easier to read than the hard copy; and typeface, layout, and graphics are computer friendly.
Consequently, since Adventist World, the Magazine, is sent to most of you without charge, and can be read without subscription online, I’ve decided, at least for the next few issues, to award only Bouquets and Black Eyes. (Bouquets for well-written, uplifting pieces of unusual interest; black eyes for reasons explicit with each award.)
This issue is full of mission stories that make me proud to be an Adventist. Don’t miss Adventist Missionaries—Do They Still Go? By Laurie Falvo; God's Spirit at Work in Africa By Jean Thomas; Making Friends and Influencing People by Marti Schneider; and Praying for Your Pastor by Matupit Darius, director of communication for Papua New Guinea.
A Daniel in Moscow by Andrew McChesney This is a fascinating read. David, the Adventist “Daniel” of the piece, started out as a part-time English teacher and has become a financial advisor and religious teacher to Russian billionaires.
Freedom to Care by Jan Paulsen Editor’s note: This piece is so beautifully written, thoughtfully argued, and carefully crafted, that I couldn’t just introduce it a MUST READ. Here is a concluding paragraph.
“I see a certain circle in this. Seventh-day Adventists have always preached a spiritual message of freedom—freedom from the power of sin, freedom from fear, freedom of conscience and religious expression. Even our work of healing, educating, and providing humanitarian care is driven by a desire to free people from poverty, ignorance, pain, and injustice. And so that same concern for freedom takes us into care for the world in which we live. Being mindful of what I drink, eat, wear, use, how I travel and spend my time—these all yield certain consequences for the environment and, in turn, for each one of God’s children and His created beings. It’s not about living a somber, colorless existence. On the contrary, pulling free from relentless consumerism, focusing more on people and less on acquisitions, building a life that is focused on Christ’s priorities, not the world’s priorities—these are choices that deliver a wonderful sense of freedom, an indescribable feeling of liberation! And these are choices that yield a quality of life that is second to none.”
Is Fish Safe to Eat? by Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless Editor’s note: This quote alone makes the article a MUST READ.
“Our basis for vegetarianism is the quest for optimal health.”
The Greatest Miracle by David Marshall The following quote is from this otherwise excellent essay, referring to the woman caught in adultery: “’Neither do I condemn you. Go …’ To say those words Jesus had to go to Calvary to buy her pardon.”
Editor’s note: The idea that it is necessary for Jesus to “buy” salvation for this woman and others is ridiculous on at least two counts: first, the author is a Trinitarian, i.e. Jesus is God. Second, the statement makes God into a shopkeeper.
It’s as if Marshall had never thoughtfully considered Jesus’ words: "Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am NOT saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” John 16: 25-27
The End of Sin and Sinners by Angel Manuel Rodríguez The final paragraphs of Rodriguez’ answer to the following question confuses rather than elucidates.
I hear different opinions concerning the final destruction of the wicked. Is it true that God will not destroy them, but that they will self-destruct?
“ It was necessary for Jesus to die as the Sin-bearer. He accepted the righteous and just will of the Father for Him. On the cross, He suffered up to the moment He voluntarily gave up His life to the Father. Since His death was part of the saving plan, He endured suffering for a particular period of time and at the appropriate moment gave up His life while shouting, “It is finished!”
In the case of the wicked, their destruction is preceded by their own recognition that they deserve to die. They will bow down and proclaim that indeed Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:10, 11). Yet, the wicked will struggle to voluntarily give up their lives to the Creator. Let me suggest that the intensity of their suffering may be directly related to their unwillingness to give up their lives, which is in turn related to their selfishness. That attitude may lengthen their suffering and allow each one to experience judgment according to their works.
Did that help? (Oops, I ended with a question!).
Editor’s note: Angel argues as an Arian not a Trinitarian. He goes on to suggest that Christ experienced a unique “second death”, the final death that awaits all unrepentant sinners.
Rodriquez speculates that at the second death, “the wicked will struggle to voluntarily give up their lives to the Creator”. He suggests “that the intensity of their suffering may be directly related to their unwillingness to give up their lives, which is in turn related to their selfishness. That attitude may lengthen their suffering and allow each one to experience judgment according to their works”.
Consequently, Jesus had to be tortured (since He was dying the “second death”) “for a particular period of time” before “the appropriate moment” when he could choose to die. His suffering couldn’t stop until He “voluntarily” gave up his life and “God’s justice” was “vindicated”.
If God’s universal “law” required that Jesus be tortured and killed along with every other created being who somehow violated that law, Heaven was the place to take care of this whole miserable sin business. Why get humans involved? God could have tortured and killed Jesus (or Himself in some mysterious way), and then got rid of Lucifer and the bad angels who would have ended up mutilating themselves before they finally died.
Angel, your tortured logic and byzantine reasoning didn’t help! And how could anyone “love” the God you portray in this essay?
Celebrating the Sabbath by Mark A. Finley “Although it is possible to receive God’s blessing any day we worship, we can receive His Sabbath blessing only if we worship on His Sabbath.”
Editor’s note: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord.” Romans 14:5,6
Andy Hanson is Professor of Education at California State University, Chico and blogs at Adventist Perspective.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/810