Reviewing the Review: Emerging Church Edition


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June 10, 2010 - Vol. 187. No, 16

GENERAL COMMENTS This issue breaks no new theological ground nor challenges traditional Adventist thought. It is, however, informative—World News and Perspectives and reader reaction to the La Sierra creation/evolution controversy— and inspiring—the biographical account of Paul Watson’s life. I’ll conclude this review with some questions for Cliff Goldstein regarding his book review.

REVIEWS Roy Adams’ editorial, THE EMERGING CHURCH—WHAT IS THIS? doesn’t “intend. . .to present the last word on the subject, but to provide readers a handle on what may still be—no pun intended—an emerging phenomenon.

RADICAL COMPASSION is a reminder by Carlos Medley that “there’s no telling how many people are touched by one act of kindness.

GLOW: A SIMPLE OUTREACH PROGRAM WITH BIG RESULTS “is not [a project] about literature sales; rather, it’s based on the simple concept of church members carrying Adventist literature with them wherever they go and handing it out—free of charge—at every opportunity.

THE EMERGING CHURCH by Fernando Canale provides a thoughtful definition of the modern theological movement some have labeled The Emerging Church and why this movement should matter to Adventists.

We might describe the emerging church as a movement within evangelical churches, engaged in adapting worship styles and practices to postmodern culture, with the aim of attracting postmodern secular young adults, believers, and nonbelievers to Sunday worship.

To fulfill their mission, Adventists should stop playing follow the leader after the postmodern reformation of Evangelicalism and become the leaders of a biblical reformation.

THE EMERGING CHURCH—A PRACTICAL ASSESSMENT by James Coffin provides another description and a critical assessment.

Even innovative nondenominational experiments such as Willow Creek have had to perpetually reinvent themselves as they grow, as they become more institutionalized, as they move into the second and third generation of existence, as they have more ecclesiastical history with which they must deal. These facts don’t negate the usefulness of such ventures. But they do remind us that with growth and the passage of time certain sociological phenomena come into play. These inevitable changes and challenges need to be anticipated as much as possible and factored into the 'cost to benefit' analysis before we proceed with our innovation.

Hyveth Williams uses the words of E. M. Bounds to combat THE AWKWARDNESS WITHIN all of us when we are challenged by new situations.

Faith is not an abstract belief in the Word of God, nor a mere mental credence, nor a simple assent of the understanding and will; nor is it a passive acceptance of facts, however sacred or thorough. Faith is an operation of God, a divine illumination, a holy energy implanted by the Word of God and the Spirit in the human soul—a spiritual, divine principle which takes of the supernatural and makes it a thing apprehendable by the faculties of time and sense.

JUST A NAME—OR A REGISTERED TRADEMARK is Sandra Blackmer’s conversation with the GC’s general counsel Karnik Doukmetzian and associate general counsel Dionne A. Parker about legalities associated with our official name. Her findings boil down to the following:

The names 'Seventh-day Adventist' and 'Adventist,' and the church logo, are all registered trademarks. The acronym “SDA” is used with what’s called common-law rights, meaning that the Adventist Church has been using it for a long period of time as a name that identifies our organization. So we have rights with that, as well.

SAVED TO SERVE is the life story of Paul Watson recounted by Lillian Guild. Paul survived a life threatening attack of polio at age five to become an outstanding teacher and administrator whose intelligence, dedication, and hard work saved the Phuket Adventist hospital in Thailand.

CHURCH TRENDS is another important resource for local church leaders. Monte Sahlin reviews “the new study, entitled Adventist Families in North America. . .available from the Center for Creative Ministry, (Family Ministries Department or 800-272-4664.)

Other recommended resources include: Planbook (available from your local conference Family Ministries director, AdventSource or 800-328-0525); Quick Start Guide for Family Ministries (www. adventsource.org or 800-328-0525); and scores of discussion guides for small groups, seminar kits, evangelistic sermon series, DVD seminars, and how-to books in the area of family ministries published by the Adventist Church and available at your Adventist Book Center.

WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND by Kimberly Luste Maran reveals what it means for a wife and mother to leave home for two weeks at the General Conference. She reflects on the joy of never having to leave a heavenly home.

Leaving the comforts of home is tough for me. I enjoy seeing new places and meeting new people, but at the end of the day I like being home. I like my bed, my exercise machine, my refrigerator, my sofa, my books. Leaving these things behind is no pleasure. And while a few hours away from noisy children is nice, I like (and love) my family—leaving them behind is not bliss.

COMMENT In SEVENTH-DAY DARWINIANS, REDUX, Clifford Goldstein reviews Physics and Cosmology (Nancey Murphy, Robert John Russell, William R. Stoeger, SJ, editors; Vatican City State, Vatican Observatory Foundation: 2007), and finds confirmation of a long held belief.

Physics and Cosmology powerfully reinforces what I’ve been saying for years: Seventh-day Darwinism isn’t about “academic freedom” or “tolerance” of divergent views, but is a full-frontal assault on Adventist beliefs and should be treated as such.

If Seventh-day Darwinism, i.e., deism, is “a full-frontal assault on Adventist beliefs”, how should deism be “treated”? Is exorcism possible? Should deists be disfellowshiped? Is a Seventh-day Darwin someone who doesn’t believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible? What if a member of the Adventist Church believes that neither the Bible nor science can satisfactorily explain evil or the origins of the life forms that once existed, or live in and on and around us today?

What if an Adventist who was baptized at twelve, thirty-eight years before there was an official statement of beliefs just says, “I’m a church member, and I’m a follower of Christ. That means that I do my best to love everyone (even my enemies), feed the hungry, give water to people who are thirsty, make strangers welcome, give clothes to those who need them, care for the sick, and visit prisoners. What I believe in addition to that is only the concern of religious busybodies.”


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2514