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April 18, 2013

Christians Most Persecuted Says New Book My Evil Twin Postmodernism in the Classroom

9 14 26


Walking the

Behold, I come quickly . . .

Our mission is to uplift Jesus Christ by presenting stories of His matchless love, news of His present workings, help for knowing Him better, and hope in His soon return.

COVER FEATURE 18 Walking the Newsbeat

ARTICLES 14 My Evil Twin

DEPARTMENTS 4 Letters 7 Page 7 8 World News &


Sqooshkappers Take Up Thy Cross

From a promising career in television journalism to a life dedicated to service

If youve ever felt as though there were two of you

22 Many Hearts, One Love


How to deal with people with whom we dont always agree

13 Give & Take 16 Cliffs Edge 17 Back to Basics 25 The Life of Faith 31 Reections
NeXt Week
In Helens Kitchen It started with a recipe prepared on special occasions. Now its a product sold in several supermarket chains.

26 Postmodernism in
the Classroom

Recognizing it; resisting it

29 I Want the God of . . .

As a television journalist, Debbie Michel covered some highprole stories. Then something changed her career path.

When all we want is all we need

Publisher General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Executive Publisher Bill Knott, Associate Publisher Claude Richli, Publishing Board: Ted N. C. Wilson, chair; Benjamin D. Schoun, vice chair; Bill Knott, secretary; Lisa Beardsley-Hardy; Daniel R. Jackson; Robert Lemon; Geoffrey Mbwana; G. T. Ng; Daisy Orion; Juan Prestol; Michael Ryan; Ella Simmons; Mark Thomas; Karnik Doukmetzian, legal adviser. Editor Bill Knott, Associate Editors Lael Caesar, Gerald A. Klingbeil, Coordinating Editor Stephen Chavez, Online Editor Carlos Medley, Features Editor Sandra Blackmer, Young Adult Editor Kimberly Luste Maran, KidsView Editor Wilona Karimabadi, News Editor Mark A. Kellner, Operations Manager Merle Poirier, Financial Manager Rachel Child, Editorial Assistant Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste, Assistant to the Editor Gina Wahlen, Quality Assurance/Social Media Coordinator Jean Boonstra, Marketing Director Claude Richli, Editor-at-Large Mark A. Finley, Senior Advisor E. Edward Zinke, Art Director Bryan Gray, Design Daniel Aez, Desktop Technician Fred Wuerstlin, Ad Sales Glen Gohlke, Subscriber Services Steve Hanson. To Writers: Writers guidelines are available at the Adventist Review Web site: and click About the Review. For a printed copy, send a self-addressed envelope to: Writers Guidelines, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600. E-mail: Web site: Postmaster: Send address changes to Adventist Review, 55 West Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21740-7301. Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts in this issue are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are Thinkstock 2013. The Adventist Review (ISSN 01611119), published since 1849, is the general paper of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is published by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and is printed 36 times a year on the second, third, and fourth Thursdays of each month by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, 55 West Oak Ridge Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21740. Periodical postage paid at Hagerstown, MD 21740. Copyright 2013, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. Vol. 190, No. 11 Subscriptions: Thirty-six issues of the weekly Adventist Review, US$36.95 plus US$28.50 postage outside North America. Single copy US$3.00. To order, send your name, address, and payment to Adventist Review subscription desk, Box 1119, Hagerstown, MD 21741-1119. Orders can also be placed at Adventist Book Centers. Prices subject to change. Address changes: OR call 1-800-456-3991, or 301-393-3257. Subscription queries: OR call 1-800-456-3991, or 301-393-3257. | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 2 3 )

in box
Thank you for printing Bill
Reclaiming the Library
Knotts editorial Reclaiming the Library (Mar. 14). It is easy for any of us to fall into the trap of spiritual self-centeredness. It begins with a drift toward self-containment. When we have unique beliefs and lifestyle practices, we are tempted to self-exclude ourselves from social and ideological situations that may challenge us and our beliefs. This reinforces our sense of special identity, limits our recognition of so much that we have in common with others, and can become a self-afrming, looping thought process. And when we fall into this way of thinking, it is easy to think we have everything we need for every situation. Having cut ourselves off from the questions and challenges beyond our walls, as well as the spiritual resources and insight of others, it is easy to tell ourselves that what we have is unquestionably bestafter all, it is never questionedand more than enough for any need we have. The greater our self-containment, the greater our sense of self-sufciency (consider Rev. 3:17). These temptations are

Fathers Worlda confession of God as Creator; a claiming of this earth as His revelation.
AleX BrYan

Well said! Thank you for


College Place, Washington

Bill Knott, in Reclaiming

equally applicable no matter what ones set of beliefs or practices. Whether conservative or liberal, traditional or progressiveor whatever anyone else might label us we are all tempted to associate only with people, books, and ideas with which we agree, thus risking our own kind of self-containment, self-sufciency, and self-centeredness. Calling us out of this trap is something that needs to be done on a regular basis. Thanks for sounding that call again.
NatHan BroWn

Melbourne, Australia

God bless Bill Knott for his

bold and courageous call to a faithful, thoughtful Adventism.It is my honor to serve on an Adventist college campus (Walla Walla University) of nearly 2,000 students the vast majority of whom are dedicated Christians, loyal Adventists, and serious scholars. Knotts prophetic urging that we might reclaim the library (for and with God) should be shared with collegians far and wide. The rich tradition of Adventist education has always drawn on sources far and widefor Gods voice is not easily bound (Ps. 19:1-4). Perhaps the school song for the whole of the Adventist school system should be the old hymn This Is My

the Library, brings out a vital point. Ellen White had much to say about reading material. The emphasis as I have studied it seems to stand on two main principles. First, the Bible is the premier work to study. And second, classical mythology and indel authors are to be discarded. Whites counsel nowhere states that only Adventist authors are to be read. In fact, not only was her library full of other Christian authors, she frequently quotes from them. The matter is not to shun nonAdventist authors. There are many gems that God has placed in the writings of scores of Christian authors worthy of our consideration. The proper approach is to use the Sacred Scriptures to test all things, hold fast to that which is good (see 1 Thess. 5:21). Thank you for reminding us of the value of reading well.
RaY HartWell

printing Reclaiming the Library.Feel free to rerun that editorial as often as needed. I also have to add my appreciation to the Review for publishing Eric Andersons What Is a Mystic? (Jan. 10, 2013). As a pastor I long for more of my parishioners to have an experimental religionto quote Ellen Whites term. Too many people are convinced of the truth intellectually, but unacquainted with the Truth personally. Is there danger in pursuing life as a mystic as Anderson has described it? Yes, but for most, the danger is that a person might nd their heart and life forever transformed. Bring it on.
Bruce Blum

Vol. 190, No.
rg ventistreview.o
14, 2013
MARC 2013 H 14,


Prisoners Morris Venden

of Fear

Dies at 80 a Gun?

Do I Need

7 11 24


It Starts

Thank you for printing

It Starts Here

Reading, Pennsylvania

I am so proud of the Ad-

ventist Review. Bill Knotts editorial is courageous, needed, and timely. I have shared this editorial with many people who have thought the Review had the same attitude Knott is describing. Thank you!
Victor F. BroWn

Kettering, Ohio

Wilona Karimabadis article about the importance of beginners Sabbath school (see It Starts Here, Mar. 14, 2013). It is here that children rst learn to love Sabbath school. I frequently have parents tell me how much their little ones look forward to that time each week. Theres no better way to train up a child in the way they should go than to have them in Sabbath school each week where they can blossom and grow as they learn to know Jesus as their best friend. I wish all

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church members, and especially the parents of young children, would read this article and take it to heart by supporting this important arm of childrens ministry in the church.
Miletus McKee

We as Adventists will always stand strongly for our

beliefs, but I wonder if the world will want nothing to do with them if none of us can speak of a real experience with our God.

Chunky, Mississippi
tucked small country is home to ndorra, a France, love Spain and between ins. Tourists s Mounta the Pyrenee After a day of being and hiking. better food to eat what to go skiing outdoors, easy to make and is in the cold This recipe to have an adult help than soup! you sure and assist good! Be tastes so and garlic, the onions you chop with the stove.

that Anderson acknowledges the misunderstanding of the term and does a good job of explaining his perspective on it. Anyone who has come to know the deep love of God and His saving grace knows there is something beyond books and words and beliefs that keeps us in a relationship with our Savior. There is that direct experience (or intuition) of God.It brings to mind Elijah on Mount Horeb in 1 Kings 19: and after the re came a gentle whisper. I think Elijah would have characterized it as a direct experience with God, and he might have even considered it mystical. In fact, even the choice of words in the Bible sounds mystical. Perhaps the words connotations may be too hard to get over for some, but the point of Andersons piece was so timely for our church in 2013 as the winds of legalism are beginning to blow again (contrary to Andy Nashs opinion in The Adventist Tipping Point, Jan. 17, 2013). We as Adventists will always stand strongly for our beliefs, but I wonder if the world will want nothing to do with them if none of us can speak of a real experi-

By Nancy Kyte

karen lee, Calgary, Alberta, Canada


EAD ATO-BR CK TOM Serves 4-6


garlic until onion and N saut the the oil and them get brown. PREPARATIO pan heat not let boil, then 1. In a large is very soft. Do Bring to a and salt. the onion s, water, minutes. up the the tomatoe for 15-20 not to break 2. Stir in and simmer taking care reduce heat the bread cubes, stir in as it heats 3. Gently the liquid to absorb again.) The bread bread. the bread boil too and allow soup to a 4. Cover (Do not bring the water if the soup seems through. puffy. Add more will become thick. and enjoy! 5. Serve, into thin leaves basil to cut the TIPS clean scissors You can use of chopping them. if you strips instead in the soup of bread one kind more than cookbook You can use
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ence with our God. We have always been head Christians, but couldnt we also be heart Christians too?
Karen Lee

I, a 65-year-old, just nished off the Quick TomatoBread Soup recipe found in the March 2013 KidsView (the March edition inserted in the Feb. 28, 2013, Review). The nal product was a lot like stewed tomatoes. I had fun doing it. Thanks for printing it. I couldnt do the 12 sets of jumping jacks (see KidsView calendar) on my March 12 birthday, though. I like KidsView.
SandY FinleY

KidsView Cooking

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

When the Sabbath school

Our Church of Awesome

via e-mail
Vol. 190, No.
10, 2013
JANU 13 0, 20 ARY 1



Study Ordination Named Committee Be Led Willing to Gods Peddler

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W Mystic?

hat Is a


I dont doubt the use of the

word mystic immediately caused concern to some readers (see Eric Andersons What Is a Mystic? Jan. 10, 2013), but if one reads the article clearly and without prejudice, one would notice

What Is a Mystic?

teacher is a discussion leader, not a lecturer or, worse, a preacher.Sterling Cox, New York, New York. I am saddened that this unkind sentiment was on the list of things that make church wonderful in Andy Nashs article Your Church of Awesome (Dec. 13, 2012). This sweeping generalization is a criticism of all who do not teach by leading discussions. It is cruel, and certainly hurtful and discouraging to our Sabbath school leaders whose teaching style is lecturing, and those who are preachers. Not all students benet most from one type of teaching. God has richly blessed my own life with a Sabbath school teacher who has taught me what it means to follow Jesus by living Christianity in her life, and

through Sabbath school classes taught, mostly, by lecture. All of our teachers, regardless of their teaching style, are using their Godgiven gifts (see 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11) to serve God, our church, and us. Every one of our Sabbath school teachers is a precious gift to us from God; we would do well to treasure them as such.
Linda FaY Sampson

Eugene, Oregon

We welcome your letters, noting,

as always, that inclusion of a letter in this section does not imply that the ideas expressed are endorsed by either the editors of the Adventist Review or the General Conference. Short, specic, timely letters have the best chance at being published (please include your complete address and phone numbereven with e-mail messages). Letters will be edited for space and clarity only. Send correspondence to Letters to the Editor, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600; Internet: letters@ | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 2 5 )


SQoosHkappers are noW as popular as ever. I knoW of at
least one individual who has preached them through and argued them out in college classrooms. I may or may not have ever seen a sqooshkapper. This is because their particular form, substance, texture, or otherwise depend on nothing beyond some immediate logical or theoretical end, some pressing academic or sermonic purpose. Nevertheless, people who have seen and not seen them may still be willing to attest their reality. Reality in the end, though, as reality at any other point, cannot be allowed to depend on human attestation. For despite the ingenuous multiplicity of theories of reality, or fact, or truth, reality is not subject to human credibility or incredulity, and truth has never depended on human perspective or blindness. Truth is Jesus (John 14:6), before, beyond, and after we are through, except we choose immortality with Him (1 Thess. 4:13-18). The popularity of sqooshkappers, our observation or disconrmation of sightings, our comprehension or bafement at their description, our cultural sensitivity to or discomfort with their conceptualizationnone of this either guarantees or disproves their existence. It is the lesson we should have all learned by now, after thousands of years in the snakes classroom, since the rst woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom (Gen. 3:6). Because of what she saw, she took some and ate it and shared with her husband (verse 6). Faith in human powers of observation is as worthwhile as the sqooshkappers that faith reveals. For the next several years the University of California at Riverside philosophy professor John Martin Fischer will team up with scientists and theologians to study whether humans should even aspire to eternal life in this world or another.* But the facts about eternal life bear no dependent relation whatsoever to $5 million grants by the John Templeton Foundation, or explorations by some atheist-led team of esteemed scholarly researchers. Truth is not more or less truth because the analytical or credulous afrm or deny it. Reality is not more or less so depending on our acquiescence. It is clearly to our advantage to acquiesce. For quite apart from any human assessment of our moral, physical, or philosophical situation, the wages of sin is death; and equally, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23). The people I have met who speak sympathetically about sqooshkappers all have, in common, a positive relationship with the sqooshkapper-advocating teacher. Students relate to sqooshkappers based on how they relate to the teacher from whom they heard about sqooshkappers. Mostly, those who dismiss sqooshkappers have simply never met the sqooshkapper teacher. For most of us, however, sqooshkappers exist only in the realm of fantasies of the absurd. Nevertheless, the analogy on sin and the gift of God is monumental. On the one wonderful hand, meeting God and learning to love Him will teach us all we ever need to know about immortality, without the need for any research grants (John 17:3). On the ominous other, and whether they grant it or not, the atheist researcher and his team betray a tragic allegiance. If they, like their leader, are atheists, they will profess no faith in their friend the devil. But their sympathy to his lies betrays them. The lies that drive their research agendas, whether to determine immortality or to discover the material origins of the universe, are as grounded as sqooshkappers. Sqooshkappers are now as popular as ever. n
* Larry Gordon, Using the Here and Now to Get a Handle on the Hereafter, Los Angeles Times, Mar. 12, 2013; available online at



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Take Up Thy Cross

In tHe midst of so manY debates about social issues todaY
the denition of marriage perhaps chief among themmuch is made of one question: How could God condemn people merely for being me, as one person plaintively put it to a newspaper columnist? Well, what are the options open to God? What if being me involved robbing banks? I might enjoy money and the things it can buy, so why not just help myself to some cash? Or what if being me involved some other behavior that would dishonor my family? God, on the other hand, sees things differently: there are standards, there is a right and a wrong, and we are called by Him to choose the road that leads to life and not death (Deut. 30:19). What does that mean to someone struggling with a choice that is clearly against Gods commandments? It means having to make a decision: follow your will or submit to Gods. If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me, Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 (NKJV).1 The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary adds this counsel: The would-be disciple must rst renounce himself, his own plans, his own desires; then he must be willing to bear any cross that duty calls him to take up; nally, he must follow in the footsteps of Jesus (see 1 Peter 2:21).2 Self-denial isnt a popular choice, nor is it always the easy one. But it is the right choice, and perhaps the only option for those wishing to truly follow Jesus. n
1 Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. 2 The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1956, 1980), vol. 5, p. 435.

Mark A.


Can You Spare a Dime?

n July 11, 1878, James White announced in the Review the decision to build a large church in Battle Creek, Michigan. The growing presence of Adventists in that city coupled with the need for a place to hold larger crowds prompted such a decision. They asked for funds to be given by all those who would esteem it a pleasure to contribute a dime a month. Building began on August 20, 1878. The Dime Tabernacle, as it was affectionately called, cost a total of $26,275.17 and was designed to seat 3,200 (top right). The local community suggested the idea of a clock tower and contributed $1,000 to cover the costs. The dedication was held Sunday afternoon, April 20, 1879. Five thousand people arrived, but only 3,649 actually got into the building utilizing all the seats as well as the aisles and steps. The main sermon, delivered by J. N. Andrews, was based on the three Bible texts found within the three windows behind the pulpit: Romans 3:24, Exodus 20:3-17, and Revelation 14:12 (second photo, right). The Tabernacle served the church for 43 years as a place for many important events, including the funerals of James and Ellen White, as well as several General Conference sessions, until it burned on January 7, 1922 (bottom photo).


World News & Perspectives

interested in purchasing the station if the church would provide a place for operation. Engineers determined that the new station could be permanently located at the church with a radiated power of l,600 watts. A room was constructed in the church attic with adequate electricity and an air conditioner. The station began broadcasting in May 2011 with a 24/7 schedule covering a radius of 24 miles. Family First Radio Network provides the programming with time alloted for locally produced programs and advertising. Speakers are largely well-known Adventist evangelists, and a number of time slots feature health presenters. We didnt know it would get good coverage, but the amazing thing is that it [the signal] reached out farther than we thought it would, said Obed Graham, the stations general manager and a retired president of the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He added, We didnt know, when we built this church, that there was a radio station already available here. They didnt know we were going to build a church here, but the Lord works things out in mysterious ways, and its just kind of amazing to watch how He works. One of the ways God worked was in bringing David and Sandra Yandoh to the North Lake church, where they were baptized in December 2012. After a disappointing experience with a secular holiday music broadcast on another Christian station, Sandra, a former cancer patient at Florida Hospital Waterman, was searching for truth. After the holidays I looked for another station and found WGTT 91.5 FM, which I later learned broadcasts from North Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church, she wrote in Florida Focus, the conferences quarterly magazine. This station was different. Rather than music, the format was preaching and teaching, which really appealed to me. Sandra contacted Florida Hospital

photo : C hester G raham

A RADIO STATION, TOO: North Lake Church in the northern region of Lake County, Florida, is home to WGTT 91.5 FM.


Florida Adventist Congregations Radio Station Yields Baptisms

In Leesburg, population 19,000, local media outreach touches lives
By MARK A. KELLNER, news editor
THe mid-Florida town of Leesburg,

some 48 miles northwest of Orlando, was once known for its production of watermelons. Today a new kind of crop is growing there: people interested in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, thanks to a local, church-owned FM radio station. Already two people have been baptized as a result of the outreach, and enough interests are present that the North Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church has hired a Bible worker to assist those wanting to learn more about Adventism. The venture began as the burden of a group of Christian laymen in the area. Raul Ortiz and his group obtained a license for a radio station from the Federal Communications Commission. They received the call letters and frequency WGTT 91.5 FM, and were assigned a broadcast area. Next they needed to nd a location, central to the broadcast area, where they could estab8

lish their radio station. As Raul stood at the ideal location on Emeralda Island Road in Leesburg, Florida, his dream was fading fast as he viewed nothing but the countryside and a pecan orchard. There was no building to rent, and he had no money to build. After some time elapsed, Raul revisited the area and was surprised to nd a church built on the site of the pecan orchard. Amazingly, it was home to an Adventist congregation! He was elated and decided to present the possibility of a radio station to North Lake church members. Members expressed an interest, but they had no available money for the project and no experience operating a radio station or preparing programming. Shawn Lathrom, pastor at the time, remembered a retired physician he met years before. He contacted Linda De Romanett, owner of the Family First Radio Network in Keene, Texas. She was

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Waterman chaplain Fay Rose, who was happy to help with Bible studies. God has orchestrated this whole thing, Rose recounted in a video report on the radio station. Having me meet Sandra when I met her, [and] having the church decide to have this wonderful

broadcast from their steeple. Pastor Ric Pleasants, who has led the North Lake congregation for the past two and a half years, said the station has been part of the churchs growth from 99 members to a current roster of 250. This radio station is an impact radio

station, from the way Im viewing it, Pleasants told Adventist Review in a telephone interview. It has enhanced not only outreach, but also a sensitivity to new people coming in. n with information from the Florida Conference


Christians Most Persecuted Religious Group in World, New Book Asserts

Leading scholars take up issue of freedom of religion at Hudson Institute panel
BY MARK A. KELLNER, news editor, reporting from Washington, D.C.
THe Global crisis of religious persecution of Christians is expanding, three experts in the eld said March 27, 2013, as they presented their contention that Christians are the most widely persecuted religious group in the world today. Scholars Nina Shea, Paul Marshall, and Lela Gilbert, of the Hudson Institutes Center for Religious Freedom, noted a diverse range of institutions and media outlets, including groups such as Open Doors, the Pew Research Center, and periodicals such as Commentary, Newsweek, and The Economist, have concurred in that assertion. The book chronicles this persecution, analyzes patterns of repression, abuse, and violence, and explores the reasons that specic ideological, religious, and political groups, as well as governments, target Christian believers as enemies. The three spoke at a panel discussion organized by the group, with noted author Eric Metaxas, who wrote the books foreword, as moderator. Instances of persecution include the continuing detention of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who was imprisoned in Iran in September 2012 for his religious beliefs. United States secretary of state John F. Kerry, on the evening of March 22, 2013, issued a statement that said, in part, I am deeply concerned about the fate of U.S citizen Saeed Abedini, who has been detained for nearly six months and was sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. Kerry called for Abedinis release, as has the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), which is afliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Arresting someone because he changes his religion should not be accepted by those who believe in human dignity, IRLA secretary general John Graz said.

Other examples of persecution are detailed in the three Hudson scholars new book, Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Thomas Nelson, March 2013): A woman is caught with a Bible and publicly shot to death. An elderly priest is abducted and never seen again. Roadside bombs strike three buses, each lled with Christian students and teachers. All these attacks, the authors contend, are part of the global assault on Christian believers. Nina Shea, speaking to the noontime audience, noted the 2010 move by Afghanistan to close the last remaining Christian church in the nation. Diplomats and other expatriates in Kabul had to hide their worship, she said, and the Obama administration said nothing and did nothing to oppose the move. Earlier, in Iraq, Shea noted, the Bush administration was silent when Christians in that country were driven out. Shea said then-secretary of state Condoleeza Rice demurred when asked to address the issue, claiming the U.S. could not be involved in sectarian affairs. Persecution, however, is not limited to global hot spots, the authors contended. Paul Marshall noted that North Korea is probably the worst place in the world to be a Christian, adding that all of the estimated 200,000 Christians in that nation are persecuted by the Communist regime. Shea noted that Christians in North Korea have been shot or summarily executed for having a Bible. Families, to the third generation, have been placed in prison camps just for being Christians. Part of the solution, scholar Lela Gilbert said, is for those committed to religious freedom to keep the issue prominent. We can all make some noise, Gilbert said. We can keep [the issue] in front of people. n | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 2 9)

World News & Perspectives


Seventh-day Adventist Headquarters Moved to Bismarck

Conference office shift to central location is front-page news in North Dakota
BY KAREN HERZOG, religion reporter, Bismarck Tribune

Editors Note: The relocation of the Dakota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists from Pierre, South Dakota, to Bismarck, North Dakota, was front-page news in the Bismarck Tribune, the local daily newspaper. This report, edited slightly, is reprinted with the newspapers permission. You can read the original article online at
THe Dakota Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination has moved its headquarters to Bismarck from Pierre, South Dakota, where it had been located since 1960. The new three-acre corporate headquarters for North Dakota and South Dakota Seventh-day Adventist churches and schools is located just north of the intersection of North Washington Street and Highway 1804 and commands a spectacular 360-degree view. The building design maximizes that asset by keeping the ofces around the perimeter, so each has a window to take advantage of the scenery. The upper level of the building also has a large

kitchen, conference room, and centrally located work area. The group moved in December 2012. The upper oor is complete except for a few remaining furnishings, and the lower level, which features a walkout entrance, will become the headquarters health food and bookstore, said Jacquie Biloff, communications staff member for the conference. Seventh-day Adventists are recognized nationally and internationally for their emphasis on healthy living, having many medical facilities around the world. Many [Adventist] members practice vegetarianism as part of its wholistic approach, Biloff said. Biloff said that those lower-level portions of the headquarters should be in place around the time of the Seventhday Adventists traditional annual camp meeting, or gathering, the rst week of June. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a long history in the Dakotas, predating statehood in 1889. Organized

July 14, 1879, in the Sioux Falls area of what was then Dakota Territory, the regional unit of the denomination was divided after statehood into the North Dakota and South Dakota conferences. In 1981 the two conferences rejoined to form the Dakota Conference, headquartered in Pierre. At a quinquennium, or ve-year, conference meeting in 2009, a vote was taken to move to Bismarck. In Pierre their headquarters was in a large donated house, but the increasing cost of travel around the Dakotas from Pierre helped make the decision to move to the more centrally located Bismarck, Biloff said. After the ofce portion of the building was ready, all of the staff from Pierre moved to Bismarck. The Seventh-day Adventist Church was born during the widespread national revivals of the 1800s, and bases its practices, including that of worshipping on Saturdays, on the bib-

photos: Tom Stromme/Bismarck TR IBUNE

NEW HEADQUARTERS: The Dakota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has moved their headquarters to Bismarck from Pierre, South Dakota, where it had been since 1960. 10
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TIME LINE: Jacquie Biloff, communications director for the Dakota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, with a poster displaying the history of the denomination in the Dakotas

lical study of a Saturday Sabbathin the Creation narrative, in Christs practice of observing the Sabbath, and the anticipation of Sabbath in Christs

second coming, Biloff said. Seventh-day Adventists in the Dakotas have ve elementary schools, including Brentwood elementary school near Bis-

marck, the Dakota Adventist Academy north of Bismarck, which is a boarding high school, and 49 churches with a membership of more than 4,000. n


Americans Say Morality Down, but Shun Bible Reading as Solution, Survey Says
As Adventists read a chapter daily, American Bible Society poll shows polarized public
A neW report released March 26, 2013, nds Americans overwhelmingly (77 percent) believe that morals and values are declining in the U.S. The most-cited cause for the decline? A lack of Bible reading. Americans overwhelmingly recognize the decline of morality in our nation, said Doug Birdsall, president of American Bible Society.The good news is [that] the Bible is the ultimate instruction guide on how to live a moral life. Unfortunately, more than half of Americans rarely, if ever, read it. The news comes a year after the Seventh-day Adventist Church began a worldwide initiative to have members read a chapter of the Bible daily, leading up to the 2015 General Conference ses-

sion in San Antonio, Texas. Revived by His Word, as the program is called, has a goal of having at least half of the church membership involved in some aspect of systematic daily Bible study, Mark Finley, an assistant to the General Conference president, said at the April 2012 launch. The general population survey ndings were reported in American Bible Societys annual State of the Bible survey. The report details Americans beliefs about the Bible, its role in society, its presence in U.S. homes, and more. As in previous years, the survey found that the Bible remains a highly valued, inuential force in America. But beliefs about the Bible and its role in society are becoming increas-

ingly polarizedparticularly when the data is examined according to respondents age group. The research also uncovered a signicant disconnect in belief versus behavior. While 66 percent of those surveyed agreed that the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life, 58 percent say they do not personally want wisdom and advice from the Bible, and about the same amount (57 percent) read it fewer than ve times per year. The State of the Bible 2013survey, conducted by the Barna Group on behalf of the American Bible Society, found: The Bible continues to dominate both mind space and book retail space as
11 | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 3 1 )

World News & Perspectives

Americas undisputed best seller. One in six people reported buying a copy of the Bible during the past year. Eighty percent of Americans identify the Bible as sacred. Americans have plenty of copies at their ngertipsan average of 4.4 Bibles per household. Fifty-six percent of adults believe the Bible should have a greater role in U.S. society. But actual Bible reading and perceptions about the Bible have become increasingly polarized, with 6 million new Bible antagonists in the past year alone. More than half (57 percent) of those

ages 18-28 report reading the Bible less than three times a year or never. While those ages 18-28 are the least likely age group to read the Bible, they are the most interested in receiving input and wisdom from it on several topics, including: parenting (42 percent, compared to 22 percent of all adults) family conict (40 percent, compared to 24 percent of all adults) dating and relationships (35 percent, compared to 16 percent of all adults) romance and sexuality (30 percent, compared to 17 percent of all adults) In a nonelection year, an increasing number of adults believe that the Bible

and politics do not mix (54 percent, compared to 49 percent in 2012). However, 69 percent still say their faith inuences their views on political issues. The disconnect between belief and action when it comes to Bible reading is troubling, Birdsall noted. If we had a cure for cancer, wouldnt everyone with cancer take it? Americans are telling us that the cure for declining morality is sitting on our bookshelves,said Birdsall.But more than half of Americans are simply letting the cure gather dust. with additional reporting by Adventist Review staff

SURVEY SAYS: Infographic shows mixed views of Scripture held by a cross section of the American public, according to researchers The Barna Group, who worked for the American Bible Society.


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American Bible SocietY graphic


We are looking for brief submissions in these categories: Sound Bites (quotes, profound or spontaneous) Adventist Life (short anecdotes, especially from the world of adults) Camp Meeting Memories (short, humorous and/ or profound anecdotes) Favorite [Church] Family Photos (must be high resolution 1000 px JPEGs) Please send your submissions to Give & Take, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600; fax: 301-680-6638; e-mail: Please include phone number, and city and state from which you are writing.

a DVE N Ti ST L i F E

During church announcements one Sabbath morning the elder stated, I think that calls for a hearty Amen! My 6-year-old daughter, Cami, turned to me, eyes wide with delight, and asked, Whats a party amen?
Todd Reese, WOOdStOCK, MaRYLaNd

After jamming in the car to the Chris Tomlin song about the God of angel armies, my daughter Keira said quite seriously, Mommy, all the girls in the world have girl angels. And all the boys have boy angels.


God spent one whole day of Creation week on nothing but the sky. Im pretty sure He wants us to keep looking up.
Steven Kingry, TaYLORSvILLE, NORtH CaROLINa | April 18, 2013 |



terrY crews

40 Below


MY Evil
ut of the proverbial blueor perhaps more correctly, out of the abysscome occasional thoughts that run afoul of my faith. The style of expression seems my own, but the content is contrary. At such times I wonder: Did the thought actually originate with me, or did the devil somehow plant it there? The latter is how I explain an experience I had prior to my conversion while shamefully sharing a marijuana cigarette: the notion overtook me, as I stared into the eyes of my fellow proigate, to query, without words, Can you read my mind? Immediately, to my astonishment, his lips parted and pronounced, Yes. Wow! In hindsight I recognize that we were both under the control of Satan, who beguiled our minds with his simple parlor tricks. Jesus compares the state of humanity at the end-time to the days of Noah, when every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen. 6:5, KJV; see Matt. 24:37). There is a great danger that we so degrade ourselves as to nd no distinction between the devils thoughts and our own. I am, therefore, grateful if the Holy Spirit convicts me of a hateful bird ying about my head, that I may bring it into captivity to Christ (Rev. 18:2, KJV).


The devil, as Scripture warns, is intent upon capturing our hearts and minds (1 Peter 5:8), and his evil host works diligently to this end (Eph. 6:12). Evil angels have been known to impersonate the dead. But angels, good or bad, can just as well take the form of the living. I discovered this in my rst pastoral district, while studying with some former Mor-


( 3 3 4 ) | | April 18, 2013

events to help them comprehend a Bible doctrine that so directly challenged their prior experience. These new apparitions effectively proved that while we may perceive the perfect likeness of a loved one, it may not actually be them. The family was eventually baptized into our church. Sometime later, however, I came to realize that without a biblical context, this spiritual mimicry could also be employed to lead people away from Christ.

mons. They had a particularly hard time with the biblical state of the dead because of previous encounters with supposed spirits of the departed. After we examined the Scriptures on that subject, however, a new twist was put on the phenomenon. On separate occasions the wife witnessed apparitions of her husband and her daughterboth still living. That is, shehad specic encounters with these feigned family members, only to nd shortly afterward that her genuine relations were elsewhere and had no knowledge of the event. All were convinced that the supernatural was again at work, but were curious as to the meaning of itthis time. I suggested that God may have used these


At the Web site, a New Age guru teaches people to consult with their alternate self, in a sort of autohypnosis. The alter ego emerges from a parallel universe, invariably bringing advice on how wethe pathetic lesser versionscan develop miraculous talents and wealth. (This is reminiscent of the worship afforded demigods in kabbalah magic.) Simultaneously, a separate but similar message began appearing on a number of billboards where I drive. Selling Japanese takeout, the ads featured two images of the same individual, interacting with itself. One persuaded the other to eat eastern Asian food, and was dubbed the Alter Edo (the three-letter name of the

to inform us, the evil of our twin is readily cloaked beneath professed well-wishing. The effectiveness of this ploy has, indeed, much to do with ego. A desire for self-exaltation ensnared our rst familyAdam and Eve. Satan attered them with the promise Ye shall be as gods (Gen. 3:5, KJV). (The latest Alter Edo ad has the stand-in wearing a Superman cape, delivering rice noodles in wingless ight.) Nevertheless we will not obtain Godlike qualities through discourse with the shape-shifting serpent, but come to reect his own egotism.

Our Refuge
Before accepting Christ, I practiced yoga, summoning serpent energy with a prescribed mantra that now seems eerily akin to Satan am I. While doing this, I repeatedly slipped into vision and beheld busy replicas of myself. Fortunately, I was not favorably impressed. (Perhaps if my double had had more Hollywood appeal, it would have been otherwise.) From My Space to i Tunes, a prevailing theme in the commercial world today is its all about you. Perhaps this is another manifestation of 2 Timothy 3: In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves (verses 1, 2, KJV). Like the solitary parakeet that befriends a mirror, our self-obsession is a sad testimony of an atrophied ability to cooperate with others (see also Matt. 24:13 and Rev. 18:2). Its also an obsession that could lead to demon possession. Frankly, I am quite weary of me. I want more of Jesus. That relationship with an interested Sovereign who is vastly my superior and yet takes no advantageis neither narcissistic nor naive. Communion with Godthrough His unchanging Wordis my refuge from a world of pretenders; my source of sanity and strength, and my eternal salvation. n
Adam Hendron writes from Tennessee, where he is technical support advisor and the principal of his childrens home school.

I like my particular e-mail provider because it does not use picture ads. Nonetheless, the service does run textonly ads that are carefully adapted to my personal interests (as per their analysis of my lettersa craft rivaling the demonic). One such advertisement nally got my curiosity, and I clicked on the link.

restaurant). Whether a product of Eastern culture or otherwise, the emerging motif is that of allegiance to ones higher self, instead of to the Lord Jesus. It is perhaps more gratifying and comfortablefor familiarityto commune with our own likeness than to take instruction from the One who has greater concerns than our material prosperity. So it is to the enemys advantage to ape a human while they yet live, to say nothing of when they die. When the devil appears as Christ (as he did in Will Barons Deceived by the New Age)thus drawing on the Bible themehe runs the risk of people then consulting that Book and discerning the counterfeit. But when demons masquerade as some version of us, a corollary in Gods Word is not so obvious; and His counsel is less likely invoked. Without Holy Writ | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 3 5 )


Cliffs Edge

It Makes No Sense
In tHe MiCHiGAN QUARTERLY REviEW (50, no. 1 [Winter 2011]), MiaH Arnold
wrote an article, You Owe Me, about being a teacher of poetry and prose to dying children at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. It will rip your guts out. The children I write with die, she begins, no matter how much I love them, no matter how creative they are, no matter how many poems they have written, or how much they want to live. Almost every line is a zinger. Considering the topic, kids and the cancer that kills them, how could her prose be anything but? In the context of these suffering, dying children, one line really caught me: I was, like everybody else, trying to make sense of what is nonsensical. Nonsensical. That is, none of it makes sense. It cannot be rationally explained. Theres no good reason for it. Yet isnt it better that evil (and children dying of cancer is evil) be nonsensical, irrational, illogical, and inexplicable? Otherwise, what? Do good, logical, and harmonious reasons exist for why these kids lose limbs, suffer the trauma of chemo, endure horric pain, sit in the hospital for years, and then die? Pleaseif there were good reasons Id be afraid to know them. However bad these tragedies, it would be worse if there were sense to them. But theres not. Thats why its all nonsense. Ellen White wrote: It is impossible to explain the origin of sin so as to give a reason for its existence. . . . Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it, is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin.* Now, replace the word sin with evil, and it works just as well. It is impossible to explain the origin of evil so as to give a reason for its existence. . . . Evil is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be evil. When tragedy strikes, I hear people say, and myself think, I dont understand this. It doesnt make sense. Well, theres a good reason we dont understand it: its not understandable. Its nonsense. If we could understand it, if it made sense, if it t into some logical, rational plan, then it wouldnt be that evil, it wouldnt be that tragic, because it would serve a rational purpose, and who would dare to lessen the evil and tragedy of children dying of cancer? But what about the text And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28)? What about it? All things working together for good doesnt mean all things are good. All things are not good. Loving God, believing that Hes in ultimate control of the universe, and trusting in His love and His promises to wipe every tear from their eyes (Rev. 21:4) doesnt mean that, to quote Alexander Pope, whatever is, is right. How could a 6-year-old child, head shaved, leg amputated, sick and scared and waiting to diebe right? In the end, in light of the cross, in light of the fact that the Creator of all that exists, the Lord Himself entered humanity and in that humanity bore our sin in our stead; in light of all this, the goodness and holiness and justice of God will stand vindicated before human beings and angels, and every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God (Rom. 14:11). But theodicy, a theological term that means the justication of God in the face of evil, is just that: the justication of God, not of evil. I no longer try to understand evil and tragedy; its like trying to square a circle. Its maddeningly futile. Instead, I focus on the cross, and on what it reveals about the goodness of God in a world of gut-ripping nonsense. n
* Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacic Press Pub. Assn., 1911), pp. 492, 493. Clifford Goldstein is editor of the AdULt SaBBatH SCHOOL BIBLE StUdY GUIdE. His latest book, SHadOW MEN, is available from Signs Publishing in Australia.

Cliff Goldstein


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Back to Basics

One Day at a Time

THe urban leGend Goes like tHis: It Was an unusuallY Hot afternoon.
After grocery shopping, a woman placed her bags on the back seat of her car. Then, remembering some other needed items, she pulled into another parking lot, locked the car, and went into the store for a few minutes. She returned to nd her car as hot as an oven. As she drove toward home she heard three loud pops, like gunshots. She felt something hit the back of her head. To her horror, she pressed her hand over the wound and barely managed to drive to a nearby emergency room. She received immediate attention as she screamed that shed been shot. A doctor urged the woman to move her hand so he could examine the wound. But the woman cried that her brain would fall out. The doctor nally convinced the distraught woman to let him look at the wound, and she squealed in agony as he removed her hand. But he noticed no blood. She had been hit, not by a bullet, but by a container of refrigerated biscuit dough. A sigh of relief was immediately followed by a burst of laughter. The doctor exclaimed, Ive seen a lot of wounds in my career, but never one inicted by the doughboy! Aside from acute embarrassment, the woman went home unharmed. Theres a big difference between genuine concern and obsessive worry. Genuine concern moves us to action on real issues and challenges. While its a positive motivator, worry torments and aficts us with mental distress or agitation that leads to fretting that festers into anxiety. It affects everyone negatively. It immobilizes us physically, disrupting our sleeping, eating, and productivity. It affects us socially, causing the objects of our anxiety to consume our thoughts and turn us into persons whose paranoia ruins instead of builds relationships. It inuences us spiritually, signicantly reducing our ability to trust God and give Him rst place in our lives. Jesus addressed this subject several times in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, using the term for things that distract the mind, divide the attention, and disrupt harmony with God and others. Jesus said worry is useless, more harmful than helpful (Matt. 6:25-27), and shows a lack of trust in God (verses 28-30). He concluded by saying, Your heavenly father knows that you need them (verse 32); so avoid petulant worry about perishable things. Seek rst the kingdom (verse 33). Where the Sermon on the Mount may be considered as ethical commentary, this is a practical command to put God before temporal things. Many of our worries stem from living in two kingdoms at the same time (verse 24). Live one day at a time (verse 34). When all other fears are taken care of, the last worry of an anxious soul is tomorrow, the ghost of which never tires of stalking believers with doubts and distrust, especially about our salvation. But were saved by His grace; and our faith is the claim ticket for that precious gift. George was a prisoner in Romania because of the Sabbath. One Friday he and two other Adventists were ordered to unload a railway car lled with dirt. They thought they couldnt nish by sunset, so all three worked feverishly. To the surprise of their taskmasters, they completed their task before sunset. Exhausted, they collapsed onto the ground by the tracks and fell asleep. Unfortunately, George stretched out across the railroad track, and a slow-moving rail car ran over him, severing both his legs. As painful as that was, the real suffering came when the ofcers taunted him, Where was your God when the railway car cut off your legs? The same question haunted him as he faced the prospect of being a beggar for the rest of his life. But one night George prayed. The next morning his heart was ooded with love for the Lord. George understood that crippled or not, his life was still in Gods hands. When the ofcers saw his face, free from doubt, fear, and worry, they got their answer. Not only was George released from prison; he became a wealthy man. His counsel: Dont worry. Wait on the Lord, and He will provide all your needs. n
Hyveth Williams is a homiletics professor at the Seventh-daY Adventist Theological SeminarY.


Hyveth | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 3 7 )



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life. Knowledge is power, my parents would often say. rink and was overcome with a mixture of anxiety and By the time I migrated to Brookrelief. Anxiety, because I had made the decision to leave lyn, New York, to attend college, the proverbial news bug had bitmy job at NBC News without any other prospects in ten me. I majored in journalism at sight; relief, in that the daily grind chronicling the latest Brooklyn College and pursued further studies at the Columbia devastation had reached its end. University Graduate School of Journalism. Then a month before graduating from It was the culmination of 11 years chasing leads Columbia, NBC News hired me for their prestigious showcasing the worst of humanity: the Heavens Gate News Associates program. I was elated! Life cant get any mass suicide; Washington, D.C., sniper shootings; better than this, I thought. Here I would work alongside JonBent Ramsey murder; September 11; and stories the very people I watched and idolized: Tom Brokaw, labeled natures wrath, such as Hurricane Katrina. Katie Couric, Jane Pauley, Stone Phillips, Ann Curry. I was at the pinnacle of my career, doing what Id As I walked down the hallowed halls of NBC News worked hard to achieve. Just a year before I had smiling photos of my idols lining the wallsI was received companywide recognition along with a ready to comfort the aficted and afict the commonetary reward for my efforts. Now I looked back forted, as journalists like to say. In college I had learned on my life and work, and the events that had that in 1973 Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein brought me to the point of leaving my job. and Bob Woodward exposed corruption in the Nixon administration, and I too wanted to do good and News Junkie right the wrongs of the world. I believed that journalFor years I was a news junkie and fed my addicists play a critical role in societya belief I still cling to tion every waking moment. When I wasnt on the today. We need to know whats going on around us; it road pursuing stories, my schedule looked like this: helps us to be better citizens, better consumers. JournalThe minute I opened my eyes each morning I ism taught me that the most important thing people turned on the radio and listened to NPR. I got out of want to know is whether their bed and walked to the door to get the New York world is safe, and journalists Times. While eating breakfast I read the paper. As I help provide that answer, along got ready for work I listened to the radio. I got on with checks and balances. Its a the train and was lost in Time magazine. At my desk noble profession, and I felt the Associated Press newswires provided almost proud to be part of it. constant news updates. Back at home I was glued to the TV watching more news. As I look back I can see that I fell into this cycle After September 11 while still a young girl growing up on the island of Shortly after September 11, Jamaica during the late 1970s and early 1980s. I however, I began wondering remember listening to my aunt, the host of a local whether this was all there was radio program, discussing the upheavals of the day. to life. I was mesmerized as she deftly handled caller after During this time at NBC caller, dispensing suggested solutions to such nagNews I would often do freeging problems as high unemployment, chronic povlance writing for various publierty, and political unrest. At home my parents, cations, including the New York armed with a copy of the Jamaican newspaper The Daily News and Heart and Soul Gleaner, debated the countrys economic plight. I magazine. I collaborated with a came to realize the value of news, of being informed, photographer for my stories and how current events had a direct bearing on my and was intrigued by his sat in my ofce overlooking the Rockefeller Plaza ice

tO lIFE thaN NEwS. | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 3 9)


demeanor. He was humble. He never boasted about his skills. He never cursed. He was very different from others I had met, and I soon came to realize why. He was a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, a denomination of which until then I was ignorant. When he invited me to his church that worshipped on Saturdays, I was immediately suspicious. Raised as an Anglican, I thought everyone went to church on Sundays. Theres something wrong with these Adventists, I surmised. Yet, when I declined his invitation, he didnt try to force me to change my mind. He was respectful and kind. He also did what I then considered to be even strangerhe would often pray with me. As time went on, after I had worked about eight years as a full-time journalist, I began to feel a deep void in my life. I was lled with questions regarding my true purpose in the world, and for the rst time I began wondering about Gods intent for me. Yes, I was doing what I had always wanted to do, but I didnt feel that I was inuencing peoples lives as much as I had hoped.

the people with whom I came in contact.

I began asking God to show me how to help

Malvos Story
These feelings of dissatisfaction occurred about the same time that I was assigned the Washington, D.C., sniper story. I traveled to Jamaica and spent months researching the background of the young man Lee Boyd Malvo, who was

later convicted along with John Muhammad for killing 10 people in the D.C./ Maryland/Virginia area in 2002. This story would affect me more than any other and change my outlook forever. In conversations with me, Lees mother, Una James, recounted her early dreams and aspirations for her oneand-only child. She said that when her son was very young she suspected his father of indelity, so she took the child and left the city to live in a rural area close to her family. She wanted to prevent the fathers involvement in their lives. Lee would later tell a psychiatrist that he missed his father greatly. He also said that it seemed as if his mother took out her rage on him by physical abuse. Una had grown up among Adventists. Many of her relatives are members of the church, but she herself suffered disappointment. She recounted a story to me about how the church had allegedly wronged her mother, and so she felt she couldnt trust church people. Una decided to take matters into her own hands and raise her son the best she could. She cared deeply for him and wanted nothing short of the best. Opportunities were limited in Jamaica, especially for someone who hadnt nished high school and had few skills. So when Lee was 8, she started visiting other Caribbean islands in search of work. Whenever she was gone, Lee would stay with relatives or sometimes with relative strangers. At one point, while living with one of his teachers, Lee began to bond with his teachers father. He even began calling him Dad. Then, in Antigua, Una crossed paths with a father on the run, John Muhammad. Muhammad was afraid he was going to lose custody of his three young children, so he had ed the United States with his children in tow and was hiding out in Antigua.

Una learned that for a price, Muhammad could obtain false documents that would allow her to live in the U.S. This had been her lifelong goal. Una told me that when she rst met John Muhammad, she felt she was in the presence of evil. This didnt deter her, however, from buying false documents and a ticket to the United States from Muhammad, or from making the deadly mistake of leaving her son with him. The plan was for Lee to eventually join his mom in Florida, but he began to bond with Muhammad. He would later tell his psychiatrist that he admired the way Muhammad dealt with his own children and that he longed for that kind of father-gure relationship. Soon Lee was calling him Dad. By time time Muhammad brought Lee to the United States to be reunited with his mother, Lee had attended 14 elementary and high schools and had lived with numerous people. He now chose to stay with Muhammad rather than live with his mother. Lee, now 16, was under the rm control of someone his mom deemed evil. For the next year Lee was in intense physical training, tied up in the woods for hours wearing only shorts and learning to go without food and water. Lee also converted to Muhammads brand of religion, in which the federal government was considered the enemy of Black people. Lee would later say, I was desperate to ll a void in my life, and I was ready to give my life for [Muhammad].

Life-altering Experience
Lees story touched a nerve in me. I was angry that this young man, who had great potential, had been duped and would pay a heavy penalty for his crime. Why, I wondered, couldnt he have been helped before the terrible tragedy occurred?


( 3 4 0) | | April 18, 2013

I began asking God to show me how to help the people with whom I came in contact. I didnt want to cover another story like this one, where I show up in time to report what the devil has been up to, and then leave the victims in the same condition I had found themhurting and without hope. Besides praying, I found myself reading a Bible that my photographer friend had given me. I discovered the writings of King Solomon, which resonated with me: I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind (Eccl. 1:14). I then read more of the Bible and discovered a God who loved me to the point of death. He knew the desires of my heart and gave them to me, even when I didnt ask. As I looked back on my life I could see His immense love. He had blessed me with loving parents and two younger sisters I truly adore. As I came to know Jesus, my Savior, my Friend, I fell in love with Him and wanted to repay Him for all He had done for me. For the rst time in my life I felt peace, hope, and joy. What a huge relief to know that I didnt have to be in control of my destiny! I could leave my troubles with Someone who would carry those burdens for me. As I fell in love with Christ, I also discovered that He had given us a gift, a day of rest, called the Sabbath. The Sabbath following Thanksgiving 2003 I was baptized into the Seventhday Adventist Church, and was joined by the photographer as he rededicated his life to Christ. Five days later, with tears of joy streaming down my face, I married the photographer: Jean-Ires Michel, my husband now for almost 10 years. That was undoubtedly the happiest time of my lifemarried to Christ and also the person who had become my best friend.

ing the door, and instead of listening to the news, clicking on the 3ABN or Amazing Facts Web sites and listening to good news. I wanted to hear nothing but the everlasting gospel. After earnest prayer it became clear that I needed to move on, but to what? I didnt know the answer, but I felt Christ calling me to serve Him even more faithfully elsewhere. I quit my job in March 2006, and for two years I waited, not knowing what

that could reach people before they gave in to the devils seduction. A publishing ministry was started on campus for which AU students produce a Christian collegiate magazine we named Envision. Why Envision? Because were called to envision the pastChrists dying for us. To envision our role as Christians in todays world. To envision the future of Christs return. And its essential that our youth are involved in clarioning this message.

COVERING THE NEWS: (from left) The author, Debbie Michel, stands with Lee Malvos mom, Una James, and NBC anchor Stone Phillips. Michel and Phillips interviewed Una James in Jamaica in 2003. [Courtesy of the author]

A Career Change
At work, however, I was tormented. I found myself going into my ofce, clos-

the next chapter in my life would be. I was unemployed, and we relied on my husbands income to make ends meet. By then we also had a daughter. I was anxious to know Gods plan for my life, but I knew I had to be patient and wait for what He had already prepared for me. The answer came early in 2008 when He directed me to accept a job offer as an associate professor in the Communication Department at Andrews University (AU). Since then the Lord has made it abundantly clear that He wants me to serve in a teaching ministry. I was impressed to continue to tell stories, but to focus on Christ-centered stories, ones

Id like to think that if Lee Malvo had read such a magazine or had been involved in a similar youth ministry, his life would have turned out different. As he languishes in a Virginia prison today, serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole, Im reminded of the Bible verse that says, Where there is no vision, the people perish (Prov. 29:18, KJV). Lee perished without that vision. Like Lee, I had a void in my life; but I am truly grateful to have discovered Jesus Christ, the only One who could ll it. n
Debbie Michel is an associate professor of the Andrews UniversitY Department of Communication and editor in chief of ENvISION magazine. | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 4 1 )


Heart and Soul: Biblical Studies

ts good to be part of a church that celebrates who we area diverse body of believers in Jesus Christ, our risen and soon-coming Lord!

Church Fights

Years ago Leslie Flynn penned a book called Great Church Fights. Flynn describes the real-life story of a young father encountering his daughter and several playmates in a heated quarrel. When he intervenes and separates them, his daughter retorts, Dad, were just playing church! We laugh, because this is how we are. We know its true. And strangely enough, churches are sometimes better known for ghting than for love. How can our church change that? How can we, sisters and brothers in more than 200 countries all over this world, be a loving unity instead of an awkward, and even warring, diversity? The words unity in diversity are ones we are forever hoping to achieve. But how do we keep our unity when we disagree? Happily, Jesus shows us a way to Together that works even for people who disagree sometimes.

keeping of the Sabbath, our diet, or our belief that hellre is not an ever-burning fury. This is what makes us stand out as Seventh-day Adventists in the world. And there is much to be said for sound doctrine, as Paul warned his protg Titus (Titus 2:1). Nothing we say about agreement matters if we unite for the sake of heretical beliefs. So our Adventist doctrines are not here being questioned. Nevertheless, while I certainly believe all these doctrines with all my heart, and Im so grateful for the picture of God it allows me to understand, Jesus challenges the assertion that it is our beliefs that distinguish us from the world. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (John 13:34, 35). By your love, Jesus says, people will be able to tell that you are my followers. By your love people will recognize that you are with me and not with the world.

First Corinthians 13
Some may ask: Is something so basic and simplistic as love enough of a Christian witness? The question reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13. That most famous love chapter tells us that we may speak in the tongues of men and of angels, have the gift of prophecy, have faith that can move mountains; we can sacrice ourselves to feed the poor, and give up our very bodies for noble reasons. But if we have no love, we have nothing. We can have an amazing structure, we can have sound theological discourse, we can have conspicuous tithe

Why We Are Who We Are

Many in the church believe that it is our beliefsthe cognitive knowledge that we havethat distinguishes us as Christian Seventh-day Adventists in the world. It is, they suppose, the unique doctrines we believe, our theology, our


( 3 42 ) | | April 18, 2013

One Love
increase, and we can have exceptional church programs. Yet if we dont have love, we have nothing. As this chapter says, love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. And above and beyond any list of virtues we may manage, exhausting all our detailed articulation, love simply never fails. Wouldnt it be wonderful to learn of this love, Gods love? For this love that is His love simply never fails. Our love fails even more often than appearances allow. Without this love that is His love, we have nothing: nothing personally, nothing to offer to our families, nothing to offer Gods church, and surely nothing to offer to the world. within the body of Christ that provides the world with the evidence Jesus claims will prove that we are His followers. Here are His own words in John 17:2023: My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be

one as we are oneI in them and you in meso that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that

FINDINg thE ROaD callED ToGetHer

you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Jesus is explicit, logical, and categorical: When we stand together in the unity He prays for here, the world will know He came from the Father; the world will know that we are in Him; the world will know that His love is in us; they will know that we have found the road called Together. And through that witness of ours the world will know of His love for them. Evidently Jesus knows that we would have a challenge nding this road. We are not naturally this way. We do not automatically love. At least I dont. Theres a reason Jesus prayed for this. He prayed for us. He knew that we would wonder how this Christian life actually looks lived out. What terms we use, and who does what and how. We would wonder about the body of Christ functioning in real lifewhat it should look like, unied in its diversity. So

Making Love Work

Still, how do we love the person across the table, across the room, across the hallway who disagrees with us, who is different from us, who challenges us? The love we refer to and aspire to is no commonplace experience. In fact it is a broad, long, high, and deep reality that we may come to know that, at the same time, surpasses knowledge, and lls us with all Gods fullness (Eph. 3:17-19). And it is the experience of this love

in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 4 3 )


Jesus gave us the answer. He gave us the gift of love that binds us together, through His sacrice. Imagine if your spouse or sweetheart gave you a gift and you said, Thanks, honey, then forgot it on the dresser, unopened. It wouldnt make any sense!The love of Christ is often the churchs unopened gift. And at this time in earths historyand the history of our own church, struggling with multiple and differing perspectives across the globeit seems more essential than ever before, to exalt Jesus love through our witness of complete unity. It seems imperative that Adventist leaders, and members everywhere, show the world and ourselves what it looks like to live a Christlike life, and live in positive relationship with others who share our faith, regardless of differences in gender, race, age, cultural background, and personal convictions.

will neighbors tell the difference. I dare to say that the knowledge and truth we have matters little to many who do not believe as we do. But the way we treat each other certainly matters.

Pennsylvania [Love] Challenge

Recently the literature evangelism group Pennsylvania Youth Challenge conducted a nine-week door-to-door program in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania, meeting many people who do not share their beliefs. Sixteen-yearold Joan was one of the students involved in the program. One day she met a man who said, Im not interested. Thats OK, sir, she said. Can I show you anyway? He allowed her, and she proceeded to share with him every one of the books in her hand. At the end he said, I wont be getting a book from you because Im an atheist. Joan quickly responded, Sir, you were kind to me. You listened and let me share with you what I had. You showed me Gods love, and I want to thank you. The man was quite surprised and responded in a way that surprised Joan: Here, pick any one of these books, and Ill get it. I promise you: I will read one of your books because of how you treated me. They will know us by our love, Jesus tells us. Joan loved, and what some might have said was impossiblegetting an atheist to read a devotional book turned out to be possible. To which Jesus comments: What is impossible with man is possible with God (Luke 18:27).

A Personal Illustration
Many Adventist administrative leaders once served as pastors. Maybe, like me, they sometimes had members of the body challenge them more than others. As a local pastor, I am still there. There are church members who challenge me on points, not pertaining to our churchs message, but rather particular details of church procedure. Sometimes its a call, at other times its a letter of criticism. Jesus words on love and complete unity seem to particularly apply to how I treat such persons. By His incarnate presence in me, I am able to love the one who is different, and this is how others may know that I am Jesus disciple. If Jesus is in my heart, if He has been allowed to capture every thought, it will show in how I react and respond to others around me. For my actions will ow out of the abundance of my heart (Luke 6:45). My speech, seasoned with grace, will give everyone the most loving answer (Col. 4:6). As Ellen White notes: True love is not merely a sentiment or an emotion. It is a living principle, a principle that is manifest in action. True love, wherever it exists, will control the life. Thus it is with the love of God.* Not so much by our knowledge, then,

The Road Named Together

Today Jesus invites us to walk the road named Together. He calls on us to show His care and unity by living His love. We may do it by looking to Him, the only one who can save us and give us the ability to love in a way that both transcends and embraces our many and varied differences. We must embrace and embody the love of the gospel, for this is our greatest witness. We must love more than strive to win our arguments. We must love people more than trying to emphasize our differences. We

must walk the road named Together, rather than each of us trying to carve out rival and separate paths. After 40 years of labor side by side on adjoining farms, two brothers fall into conict. Months of hostile silence follow, until one morning a handyman knocks on the older brothers door, looking for odd jobs. Yes, I do have a job for you, the brother says. Pointing toward the creek separating the two farms, he continues: Last week there was a meadow between our two farms until my brother bulldozed his way to the river levee, leaving this creek to divide our land. I want to go him one better. I want you to build an eight-foot fence between our properties. I wont need to see him or his farm anymore. The carpenter responds, I think I understand. The older brother readies the supplies, and leaves for the day. All day the carpenter measures, saws, planes, and builds. About sunset the farmer returns home to see the carpenter completing his task. His jaw drops, for the carpenter has not built a fence at all. Instead, he has spanned the creek with a bridge. Then, imagine the older brothers surprise when he sees his younger brother standing on the bridge, hands outstretched: You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all Ive said and done. Im amazed. Thank you. They meet one another in the middle, embracing in a spirit of reconciliation. Turning, they see the carpenter hoisting his toolbox on his shoulder. Wait! says the older brother. I have many other projects for you. Id be glad to stay, the carpenter responds,but I have many more bridges to build. Let us join the Carpenter today, building bridges and a road named Together, as we journey to a place we shall share with Him and each other forever. n
* Ellen G. White, in Australasian Union Conference Record, June 1, 1900. Tara VinCross pastors in the PennsYlvania Conference.

( 3 4 4 ) | | April 18, 2013

The Life of Faith

Cultural Leaders
As I discussed in mY article THe Adventist TippinG Point (Jan. 17,
2013), a culture always has leaders, whether by choice or not. If you have the gift of leadership, you are a leader whether you want to be or not. Whatever decisions you make in your life, because youre a leader, will shape the culture of those watching you. Last fall I was at a bookstore thinking about American culture. I asked myself, Who has really shaped American culture over this past century? I nally purchased a biography of a man who was undoubtedly a cultural leader. As I describe this man, see if you can identify him. He was in many respects a good guy, with a lot of love in his heart. One day his newlywed wife tried making lasagna, but she forgot to cook the pasta. When a tableful of guests pressed their forks into the lasagna, there was a giant crunching sound. Everyone started laughing, including this manuntil he saw the hurt look on his wifes face. Then he quickly began forking in the lasagna as though nothing had happened. It was a sweet gesture she appreciated. This man had a heart for God, and at different points in his life he even thought about becoming a minister. This man also had a raging temper and poor moral boundaries. This man felt tremendous pressure to be who other people wanted him to be. He had a gift for music, and though at times he used his gift to praise God, he ultimately took it a very different direction. Who was this man? Elvis Presley. If Elvis Presley had the chance to do it all over again, what do you think he would want his legacy to be? Nothing but a Hound Dog? Or Worthy Is the Lamb? Elvis would have turned 78 on January 8. His former wife, Priscilla, was recently asked what she thought Elvis would have become. A minister, she said. His heart was open to this, and he could have chosen to do it. But he didnt. Heres the key point: Elvis Presley didnt transform our culture because he was a talented singer alone; he transformed our culture because he was Elvis Presley. This man was given unusual gifts from Godgifts of music and leadershipand he chose to use these gifts in a certain way. Whatever Elvis Presley chose to do with his life, he was going to inuence a lot of people. What would have happened if Elvis had consecrated his life completely to Christ? Compare the shallowness of Elviss music with the music of a group of dedicated leaders who began to pray and sing at a small church called the Brooklyn Tabernacle in the 1980s and 1990s. In time this little group of leaders transformed their community; and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir now includes former drug addicts, prostitutes, and homeless people. Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, once said, The rst step in spiritual renewal is demolition, a setting aside of our idols. This is exactly what needed to happen in the life of Elvis, and its exactly what has to happen in our most natural leaders todayespecially our men. Our culture and our church need more men to demolish their idols and take a stand for the Lord. There is, after all, no group more happy about men who stand up than the women who stand beside them. (I understand this is very attractive.) I nd it encouraging to see a gifted man such as Mark Burnett, producer of the television series Survivor, turning his talents toward more worthwhile projects, including the new Bible lm and the terric Bible 360 phone app. May his tribe increase. If youre a natural leader, whether or not you choose to beor want to beyoure already inuencing the lives of many, many people by what you choose to do, or choose not to do. Thats a great responsibility youve been given. n
Andy Nashs new book is THE HaYStaCKS CHURCH (Review and Herald Pub. Assn.). Hes coordinating two tours to Israel in June 2014 and can be contacted at


Nash | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 4 5 )


As I See It
hen most Christians raise concerns about the state of public education, they tend to focus on practices that directly conict with biblical values. Graphic sex education, moral rela-


in the Classroom


tivism, lax discipline policies, and open hostility to Christianity are some of the most commonly cited reasons for removing children from public schools. While these are all valid concerns, they are symptoms of a much deeper problem. In fact, public schools are infected with a philosophy that runs counter to the values of most parents, even those who do not subscribe to any religious faith. This philosophy goes by many names, but it is perhaps best known as constructivism. Essentially, constructivism says that teachers should help students construct their own understanding of the world around them and opposes any attempt to pass along a dened canon of knowledge to students. In its purest form, constructivism claims its impossible to know or convey objective truth. Some of


the other names for this philosophy include progressive education, romanticism, or even romantic progressivism. If you think this approach sounds a lot like postmodernism, you are correct. In fact, constructivism is what you can expect from a teacher who embraces postmodernist assumptions.

The Danger of Postmodernism

In his excellent book How to Kill Adventist Education, Shane Anderson identies postmodernism as a threat to the church and its schools. This is not surprising since postmodernisms denial of absolute truth runs directly counter to the many truth statements contained in Scripture. Among other things, the Bible proclaims that God created the world (Gen. 1:1), sin is the cause of death (Rom. 5:12), Jesus rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:4), and we face judgment after death (Heb. 9:27). These are but a few of the key biblical doctrines that cannot be altered without undermining the basis for our faith. Although postmodernists often claim their ideas are new, they really arent. When Satan tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, he confused her by asking whether God actually said that she could not eat of any tree in the garden (Gen. 3:1). Even though Gods warning to Adam and Eve was clear, Satan sowed doubt by asking whether God really meant what He said. Similarly, modern-day postmodernists claim that the authors intent doesnt matter, and all individuals can construct their own meaning.

How Postmodernism Infects Educational Philosophy

At the beginning of the twentieth century John Dewey, a professor at Columbia Teachers College, argued that more

hands-on learning needed to take place in schools. This led many of his disciples, most notably William Kilpatrick, to conclude that a child-centered and project-based learning approach that focuses on process rather than content is the best approach. Ironically, Dewey himself felt his disciples took some of his ideas too far. But by this point the constructivist approach took on a life of its own as it came to dominate virtually all education faculties. In 1996 E. D. Hirsch, Jr., an English professor at the University of Virginia, authored a book called The Schools We Need and Why We Dont Have Them. In his book Hirsch documented the many ways in which the public education system emphasizes the so-called process of learning but downplays the importance of specic content knowledge. Critics of Hirsch generally respond, not by claiming his depiction is wrong, but rather by defending their anti-knowledge approach. This is something Ive experienced rsthand. Sometime ago I spoke to faculty of education students and professors at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. During my presentation I emphasized the importance of content in the curriculum and argued for a sharper focus on basic skills. Immediately after my presentation an education professor and a doctoral student delivered a formal response. Incredibly, they both denied the importance of content knowledge and explicitly stated that there is no one piece of knowledge that everyone should have in common. They argued that the content of the curriculum is irrelevant since it is impossible for us to agree on what knowledge should be required. When I asked them whether it would be OK if Canadian schools completely removed any reference to Confederation (the Canadian version of Independence Day), however, they had no response. At that point the dean of education said she agreed with me that Canadian students should learn something about Confederation. Fortunately, at least one person in the department recognized the logical absurdity of a position that completely denies the need for knowledge.

Constructivism in the Curriculum

Constructivists dislike any instruction that involves so-called rote learning or drill and practice. Hence, they oppose the use of phonics in the teaching of reading and advocate something called whole language. Phonics teaches students to sound out the individual letters in words, while whole language encourages students to guess the words by looking at pictures and the surrounding context. Whole language had its origins in the early twentieth century, although its most recent manifestation surfaced in the mid-1980s. Even though multiple research studies throughout the years demonstrated the superiority of the phonics approach, whole language became dominant in public schools. Fortunately, most educators gradually came to realize that the wholesale abandonment of phonics instruction was a mistake. While most schools have since incorporated some phonics in reading instruction, whole language still has far more inuence than it should. We see a similar methodology reected in the current approach to teaching mathematics. Instead of learning basic skills in a sequential, step-bystep manner, constructivists want students to invent their own way of answering math questions. Thus we have math textbooks that fail to show students the most efcient way to solve a problem and curriculum guides that no longer require students to memorize their multiplication facts. The result is an increasingly large number of students who cannot do basic math upon graduating high school. W. Stephen Wilson is a math professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He recently reviewed math curriculum standards from all 50 states and wrote about his ndings in the March 2011 edition of Educational Leadership. His article, In Defense of Mathematical Foundations, gets to the heart of whats wrong with math instruction in schools: The majority of states fail to focus on the mathematics that elementary school children need to learn to be successful in
27 | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 47 )

college math. And thats arithmetic understanding and uency with the standard procedures for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. . . . It almost seemed like a plot to prevent children from leaving home for college or, at least, to get them to come home quickly because of lack of preparedness (italics supplied). The same dilution of the curriculum can be seen in subjects such as social studies and science. Instead of acquiring content knowledge, students spend a lot of time on self-discovery projects that fail to teach them the essential ideas and facts in these important elds.

Deemphasizing the Role of the Teacher

Because constructivism encourages students to construct their own knowledge, it logically leads to a deemphasis on the teachers role in the classroom. One of the most common sayings in education faculties is that a teacher should be a guide on the side rather than a sage on the stage. This means that teachers should not spend a lot of time in front of their class lecturing but should rather be on the side helping students discover things for themselves. It is revealing, however, that virtually all constructivist educators dont follow their own advice when trying to convince teachers to adopt their methodologies. For example, Ale Kohn, one of the strongest advocates of the guide on the side approach, gives dozens of lectures every year trying to persuade teachers not to lecture. Why does he not abandon the lecture format when it is apparently so ineffective? The reason is obvious. Kohn has only a short time to convey his ideas, and he realizes that the most effective way of doing it is in a formal presentation that he has composed and organized. It is ironic that the purvey-

ors of the constructivist approach regularly use nonconstructivist methods when promoting their ideas. Not only does relegating teachers to mere guides y in the face of common senseit is not even supported by educational research. John Hattie is director of the Melbourne Education Research Unit at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His 2009 book, Visible Learning, synthesizes the results of more than 60,000 research studies on factors that lead to student achievement. His conclusion about the impact of the constructivist approach is clear: The role of the constructivist teacher is claimed to be more of facilitation to provide opportunities for individual students to acquire knowledge and construct meaning through their own activities, and through discussion, reection, and the sharing of ideas with other learners with minimal corrective intervention. . . . These kinds of statements are almost directly opposite to the successful recipe for teaching and learning (p. 26). One reason the constructivist approach fails so miserably is that it contradicts human nature. Children need clear instruction (Prov. 22:6), discipline (Prov. 19:18), and a willingness to accept guidance (Prov. 13:1). Like all of us, children have a sinful nature, and it is the height of folly to assume they can be left on their own to set their own learning goals. In her book Education Ellen White wisely emphasizes the importance of discipline: It should be made plain that the government of God knows no compromise with evil. Neither in the home nor in the school should disobedience be tolerated. No parent or teacher who has at heart the well-being of those under his care will compromise with the stubborn self-will that dees authority or resorts to subterfuge or evasion in order to escape obedience (p. 290). Only a teacher who maintains rm control of their classroom can hope to maintain proper order. All too often, public school classrooms are so

chaotic and disorganized that it is amazing students learn anything at all.

What Should We Do?

Fortunately, there are alternatives to public education. Adventists operate the largest Protestant school system in the world and provide students with an education based rmly on biblical principles. In addition, data from the CognitiveGenesis project shows that students in Adventist schools outperform public school students in basic academic skills. So parents who choose Adventist schools can be condent in the education their children will receive. For those who remain in the public system, whether by necessity or by choice, it is important to remember that not all schools are equally infected by postmodernism. Many teachers still use traditional methods of instruction, and some even support biblical values. Parents will need to use discernment when determining how trusting they can be of their local public school. We would all be wise to follow the advice of the apostle Paul: See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ (Col. 2:8, ESV).* Lets not allow the faulty philosophy underpinning of our public education system to rob our children of their faith. n
* Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Michael Zwaagstra, M.Ed., is a public high school teacher and coauthor of the book WHatS WRONG WItH OUR SCHOOLS aNd HOW WE CaN FIX THEm. He lives in Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada.


( 3 4 8 ) | | April 18, 2013


I Want the God of . . .

I want creations God to give me heart anew that I might love again new ears that I might hear the songs of Heaven right spirit that I might live as He would have me live. I want the God of Abraham to provide a purpose and a plan grounded in a theology of faith and trust and faithfulness that I might go where, and do what, He requires of His obedient child. I want the God of Isaac to show me how to hear my heavenly Dad to mourn my earthly loss then turn away into my mothers tent to build the marriage arranged by Gods own knowing hand. I want the God of Jacob to lay my head upon His Rock and change my wrestling, stony heart to esh and make me overcome impure and fearful, perishable past. I want the God of Moses to teach my feet to stand on holy ground (sneakers sweetly set aside) to transform my murderous mind and stuttering tongue into a submissive destiny and make me pliant to walk whatever path cross whatever river prosecute whatever battle even to the death or to a transguration upon a lonely, holy hill. I want the God of Esther to give me beauty where there is simplicity moral richness where theres splendid poverty and boldness where Im wont to be afraid so crowns and palaces might melt before my very eyes as I marvel at the kingdom of yon unmentioned Majesty. I want the God of David lowly shepherd king to lead me to the pasture where I might learn to leave my lust on this proud earth below and reach up high up head bowed to take the hand, and be the friend, of who is Shepherd and the King indeed. I want the God of Ezekiel him of the moving wheel to embrace me in that cemetery between the mountains and the hills to still my fears and make me witness such that even the living dead could rise to newness of eternal grace. I want the God of Daniel to dull those deathly lions teeth and encase me with Teon that I might resist todays terrestrial hell while pointing me to the future and to things that eyes have never known. I want Hoseas God to bless me with sweet sorrows of the marriage bliss and tell me how the lifelong kissing of a partners ancient aw is but the beckoning of the eternal covenant between the sinless Prince and His sinful church made new. I want the God of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and John to transport me into the very presence of the Lamb take me over seas beside the babbling brook and to the mountaintop that I might see strange scenes and write of monumental miracles. I want the God of Peter to replace my crude and rustic crassness with the weeping mellowness of disciplechildthat thus strengthened though I miss that cursed crucixions victory dance I might embolden human mind with the sweet assurance of their risen Lord. I want the God of Paul to strike me blind that I might see to imprison me that I might embrace the chains of freedom pass me through perils that I might rejoice disable me that I might be enabled to preach the Word alike to paupers and to popes. I want the God of Revelation to uncover to my questing mind the mysteries Daniel craved so I might know that all the stories of Gods own Holy Word be they tales of beasts and angels women saintly or Babylon impure lead us to the love of God and His eternal and all-conquering Christ. I want the God of all the earth to call me from sins miry clay to make me the Samaritan who knows that only God is good and make me come apart and rest a while an everlasting while and never, ever weep again.
Frank Campbell is a writer and editor. He is a member of the Nepean SeventhdaY Adventist Church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. | April 18, 2013 | ( 3 49)


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When God Said No

It Was sucH a disappointment. MY Husband and I Were alreadY in love
with this smaller house that would have made such a great retirement home! It even had a mountain view, which was something I had always hoped for. We had already started doing the paperwork, which was rather extensive, as this home had been foreclosed on. But we still looked forward to settling into it by spring. I loved the 12' x 20' family room, which faced south, promising winter sunshine to a room we would have used much more than the small formal living room. To be sure, it had its deciencies. The closets were small, there was no laundry area on the main oor, and we would need to partition off the seminished basement. There was an existing laundry area in the basement, but at our age we didnt want to walk up and down the stairs with loads of clothes. So we knew we would have to relocate the laundry area. If we wanted to use the basement as a guest area, it would have needed a full bathroom. So putting one in the old laundry area seemed the most logical option. We hadnt gured out how we could remedy the small-closet situation. But then it happened. After our initial offer was accepted with additional paperwork, we discovered another offer had come in that weekend. After a day or two it became apparent that we were not going to get the house. Even though wed prayed that the Lords will be done, we certainly had been hoping that His will included obtaining the house, which had seemed so right for our retirement years. But we nally accepted that the Lord was denitely saying no. Within a few weeks we started looking at other homes. There was one we had previously driven by but not felt interested in seeing. This time we went back with the real estate agent to take a better look. Strangely, the advantages started hitting us in the face. Here was a house, which already had a laundry area in a large ve-foot closet with bifold doors, right in the kitchen near the garage. This house also had large closetsa distinct advantage over the rst house. In addition, it had a basement bathroom already installed, which would save us considerable money, of course. But what about my mountain view? Later on, during the course of the inspection process, we discovered there was a mountain view, which would be evident during the winter when the trees were stripped of their foliage. We also realized that with more square footage, a larger garage, plus another drive-under stall in the basement, we would have many more advantages than we would have had in the rst house we thought we couldnt live without. Dear Lord, I prayed, You knew all the time what we needed. Here was our new home, but we couldnt see that until enough time had passed for us to realize it must have been Gods answer for us all along. How wonderful it is to know we have a heavenly Father who anticipates our needs even before we know themSomeone who is patient with us and brings us along His path while we are still struggling to get our way. Dear Fatherhelp us never to question Your leading, but to realize You know best even before we recognize our own needs. n
Judy Bolyard writes from Tennessee.