Top Seven: My Adventist Wish List

‘Tis that time of the year when people make lists and check them twice. So, here is my top seven for the Adventist Church.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11540
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Can’t improve that list. Thank you!

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Wonderful, marvelous incarnate God.

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Amen…so well said…distills things down to what is really important.

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One I wish had been included: Church leadership must ensure that all points of view on contentious issues be heard and respected, that there be no “official” position on issues still being seriously debated and unresolved.

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Maybe one more: Christ is ALL our righteousness.

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For how many years was Bill Johnsson editor of R&H, and the contents of this list was not discussed. It is easy to talk like this now, where was the talk when he had access to the biggest pulpit in the Adventist church?

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So true. This happens all the time. I guess with retirement comes a backbone. :thinking: :roll_eyes:

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While backbones do frequently seem to find new strength after retirement, chances are, if you go back and read through William Johnsson’s many Review editorials, you will find a number of pieces that point strongly in the direction of this list.

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Where is Justification by faith, without the works of the law, in this list?

Gal 2:15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles [who don’t know] 2:16 [We] know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but [only] by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified [declared R.]

Gal 2:21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Gal 3:10 For all who rely on the works of the law [for salvation] are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue [continual practice] to do everything written in the Book of the Law. [Dt 27:26]

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I’d like to read some of them and see what he was saying at the time. And how strongly he was saying them. I don’t have access to the past Reviews, but if they are available, please let me know. I know he retired from there in 2006. I haven’t read a Review in quite a number of years. But, there is a pattern of retired SDA’s coming out much more strongly in their critiques of the church, when they are off the payroll.

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As someone who worked for the church for most of my adult life, I’ve seen how quickly a colleague can be tarred, feathered, and ridden out of employment for saying something some church member(s) didn’t agree with or misinterpreted. I’ve seen a colleague be victimized, losing a call, when someone misinterpreted what he was observing and spread scurrilous rumors about the person’s behavior (true story).

So we learn to be careful what we say to whom and how we phrase some things in our communication with others, so that we can continue to minister to those we serve. It’s not about having a backbone, it’s about doing our job to the best of our ability without riling those who are looking for an excuse to accuse us and damage our ministry.

That said, this year I’ve been re-reading one of Bill Johnsson’s devotional books. It’s all about Jesus and he carefully says what he said here, just not as bluntly. I recall feeling blessed by his editorials.

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I appreciate your comment. I fully understand what you are saying, and the culture of Adventism. There are certainly pitfalls and perils for members and employees. My spouse was a teacher, principal, and ed. supt. This was an almost 30 year experience. As a non-SDA, I came to see how problematic it was for people to be authentic. There was so much self-censoring, to the point at times, of being disingenuous, even in the face of things that were clearly wrong.

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What about “Jesus is enough”?

William Johnsson for GC President! Certainly there must be precedent for bringing someone out of retirement.

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One of the highlights of my life was serving on the staff of Adventist Review (not Review and Herald) for about 13 years when Johnsson was editor. Our interactions were always gracious and Christlike. He truly practiced what he preached. His editorials and articles embodied these seven characteristics. Retirement didn’t change him. His is a respected voice now because he always had a backbone; he wrote exactly what was on his heart.

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All issues up to 1998 are available on the Adventist archives, along with a lot of other books, journals etc. Issues after that are available on a separate site specifically for the Review.

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Justification by faith is absent in this section.

“God has determined to deal with men in a way of mercy, to forgive them all their offences, to bestow upon them his love, to receive them graciously, and to love them freely. He has been pleased, in his infinite wisdom, to devise a way by which without injury to his justice, he can receive the most undeserving sons of men into his heart, and make them his children, and can bless them with all the blessings which would have been theirs had they perfectly kept God’s law, but which now shall come to them as a gift and undeserved grace from himself.” Charles Spurgeon 1867

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Proclaiming the 3 Angel Messages of Revelation includes proclaiming the character of God. The everlasting gospel in the first message, the truths of the Sabbath and the state of the dead among other unique teachings of the SDA church, and the warnings to get out of Babylon and avoid the mark of the beast included in the second and third messages all focus on the love of God for a lost and dying world. It is a deception of the devil to have us conclude that they don’t. The love of Jesus and the doctrines of Jesus go hand in hand. To separate one from the other is to have a false or incomplete understanding of the character of God.

Don’t let the title “retired editor of the Review and Adventist World Magazine” give credibility to what the author has to say. The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy have the final say, not a RETIRED church worker.

I thought the 3rd Angels message was Justification by faith, which is long way from displaying character of God in Sabbath keeping. Salvation comes from God’s grace alone and faith alone, not by our efforts in keeping anything that the law asks to perform. "Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because ‘the righteous will live by faith.’” Gal 3:11

Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, “It is the third angel’s message in verity.” EGW 1890