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Homosexuals: Can Born-A-Gay

Be Born Again?

Issue No. 5

The Voice of Truth in Perilous Times

Confronting Our Issues:

Proper Sabbath-Keeping Homosexuality Womens Ordination House Churches Competitive Sports Health Reform True Conversion

Immutable Law of God Righteousness by Faith Seventh-day Sabbath Victory over Sin Sanctuary Types and Antitypes Three Angels Messages Non-Immortality of the Soul Health Reform Christs Fallen Human Nature Ellen White - Gift of Prophecy


SAH Issue No. 5 In this issue:

Can Born-A-Gay Be Born Again?

Any Christian who does not accept the power of God to transform even the homosexual is sadly underestimating His grace ...

Board of Directors
Ron Spear, Jean Handwerk, Paul Williams

Victor J. Adamson

4 10 15 21 26 29

Magazine Staff
Executive Editor: Managing Editor: Secretary: Layout/Design: Newsletter: Ron Spear Jean Handwerk Joyce Brown Paul Williams Corla Rankin

Womens Ordination
The sexual identity in the family setting does not evaporate when you walk through the doors of a church. The church is an extension of the other family.

Photos or Second Advent Herald unless otherwise noted!

Jonathan Mukwiri

SECOND ADVENT Herald features presenttruth articles concerning historic Seventhday Adventist prophetic understandings and doctrinal beliefs, current issues and events of consequence to Adventism, religious liberty issues, Seventh-day Adventist history, and health. Our website has more information, and soon will have additional articles that are too long for the magazine, but will be of interest to many.

House Churches
Rather than relying on a relative handful of inspired preachers to promote a national revival, the emerging Revolution is truly a grassroots explosion of commitment to God that will refine the Church and result in a natural and widespread immersion in outreach.

Jean Handwerk

E-MAIL NOTIFICATION: If you wish to be notified via e-mail when each new issue is posted, and/or if you wish to receive print versions of the magazine when available, you may write to us or sign up on our website.

Competitive Sports: Strife and Vainglory

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Phil 2:3

Agatha M. Thrash; Gordon W. Russell; Ellen G. White

CORRESPONDENCE: Letters to the editor may be sent to or to the magazine address noted above.

DONATIONS: As events all around us portend prophetic fulfillment, we are trusting in the Lords providence to enable SECOND ADVENT Herald to establish Gods present truth in hearts and minds so firmly that we cannot be moved. This ministry exists to serve those who read its pages. Your feedback through cards and letters confirms us in our purpose. We charge nothing for our work, yet we do rely on reader support. All communications, as well as contributions, should be sent to the appropriate addresses listed above or on our website.

Must the First Be Last?

Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by His mighty cleaver has separated from the world.

Jean Handwerk

The New Life In Christ

The truly converted man has no time to think or talk of the faults of others.

Ellen G. White



Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Ron Spear

e have 16 million members in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but the question is, do we really keep the Sabbath holy according to Isaiah 58:13, 14? If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. You see, dear reader, going to church is important, but theres only one way to get a blessing on the Sabbath, and that is to keep it holy. Some say, I do that, but the only way you can keep your appointment with Jesus on Friday night and all day Sabbath is to begin planning on Sunday morning and continue all through the week to prepare the mind for Friday night. Ill give you a short personal story. I was born into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In fact, my mother dedicated me to the Adventist ministry before I was born. I grew up on my fathers ranch as a cowboy and ranch hand. But I always remember how my mother taught me to keep Sabbath. My mother understood Sabbath keeping. What we have forgotten in many cases is that Sabbath begins when the sun is setting Friday night. On Fridays there were always a lot of chores to do as we approached sundown and Sabbath. My mother was so determined that we would be ready for Sabbath day at sunset that she would come to the barn and help us with all the chores. By her strong discipline we were in the home before sunset, showers taken, clothes and shoes readied, and all the food had been prepared for the holy Sabbath day. She was a musician with a marvelous singing voice, and she played the piano. Ill always remember that before the sun went down, the whole family was singing. Going to church on Saturday does not make us Sabbathkeepersnot unless were in harmony with everything in Isa 58:13, 14. Every word we speak, every thought that enters our minds, every action and conversation, must be tempered with the Holy Spirit. That brings the blessing of true Sabbathkeeping. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us we are . . . a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. But for some, going to church is not much different from going to the Kiwanis club to mingle with other members and then going home and straightaway to a nap. How many of us go to church, listen

to a sermon, then go home and take a nap? Thats Saturdaykeeping, not Sabbathkeeping. Thats treating the Sabbath like a holiday, not a holy day. We must prepare ourselves the other six days so we can be holy people on the Sabbath, because if we do not keep the Sabbath holy here, well never keep it in heaven. For the last 30 years I have had the privilege of traveling the world, preaching in many of the countries. One thing I found is that as I made final appeals, everyone would stand up and say, By the grace of God, I will keep the Sabbath holy and prepare my life for the coming of the Lord. But a year later I would return to the same church and find that they had sunk back into their old rut and had not progressed in the lifestyle of worshiping Jesus. How could this be? What happened? Many times I found that they were back into television. Television had drained them of their desire to bring their lives into harmony with Christ on every point. We sometimes are concerned about the Babylon churches worshiping on Sunday, and we feel confident because were going to church on the seventh day, the Sabbath. But we have forgotten what worship is all about. The first angels message is a call to worship the Creator: . . . Worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. That call repeats a portion of the fourth commandment: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Gods work of refining and purifying must go on until His servants are so humbled, so dead to self, that, when called into active service, their eye will be single to His glory. . . . God brings men over the ground again and again, increasing the pressure until perfect humility and a transformation of character bring them into harmony with Christ and the spirit of heaven, and they are victors over themselves. 4T 86. My prayer for my beloved church and its people is that they receive the call to worship and prepare their minds, their homes, their children and everything else for the great event each week. That will bring true Sabbathkeeping and a great blessing. May God help us, is my prayer. Ron Spear hails from the state of Washington, where he continues his lifework for the Lord. He still travels to preach, and once again is executive editor of a present-truth magazine.

Can Born-A-Gay Be Born Again?
Victor J. Adamson
Any Christian who does not accept the power of God to transform even the homosexual is sadly underestimating His grace and cannot fully appreciate, nor fully benefit from, the gospel.


he testimony you are about to read comes from a former homosexual who has experienced freedom from homosexual bondage. Today, he is serving God as a writer, pastor, radio evangelist, and international speaker. His reassuring testimony underscores the all-sufficient power of Jesus to save to the uttermost; to save His people, whosoever they may be, from their sins of whatever nature. Yes, as is true for any other sinner, God can save even homosexuals from their lifestyle of sin. For,

a person chooses. Who would willingly choose to be so radically out of sync with society, and the church, if a Christian?! I had to be either the victim of my own environment, or just born that way. My parents, friends, and family all thought of me as a gentle person, thoughtful and considerate of others. In their eyes I was intelligent, likeable, courteous, and talented in many areas. Most of all, I was known to be deeply spiritual.


Upon entering the gay life, I upheld that image except that of being deeply spiritual. Reared a Christian, I just could not reconcile my homosexuality with being a part of the people who love God and keep His commandments, for that seemed to be a hypocritical exercise in futility. To me, the Bible was very clear in stating that I would not enter heaven in my condition. For example, Be not deceived: neither fornicators, ... nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, ... shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9,10) As I now reflect upon my years in the gay lifestyle, I can honestly say that my life became full of disgusting, depraved, and perverted behavior. I, along with every homosexual I knew, was obsessed with sex. Yet, in the work place, in public, and when among friends and family, I masterfully maintained the image of a decent, gentle, thoughtful, polite, considerate person, both loving and loveable. For sixteen years I blamed God for everything wrong with my life, especially my homosexuality, because I had prayed that He would take it away, and He hadnt. So, wasnt it rightfully His fault that I was gay? I reasoned. During those self-serving years of love, promiscuity, and pleasure, self-advancement, self-exaltation, and self-gratification, there was also much loneliness, misery and heartache. However, my parents and family never made me feel unloved, SECOND ADVENT Herald


If you had asked me nine years ago why I had chosen to be gay, or homosexual, I would have answered you as I had answered others countless times before, I did not choose to be gay! I chose to be a straight Christian. I chose to be educated in Christian schools. I chose to be a student missionary. I chose to earn a degree in Theology and to graduate with honors. I chose to marry a Christian young lady. I chose to father little Christian babies. I did not choose to be gay! I just finally came to grips with reality and accepted that I was gay, that I was born gay. For years after my coming out of the closet and the devastating breakup of my home that resulted, I dared anyone to tell me my condition was a matter of choice. I had made all the right choices in my life. While struggling with the nagging yearnings of my heart, I had prayed relentlessly that God would create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me, and help me to love and to be in love with my wife. But to no avail. Finally, I had succumbed to those nagging yearnings and had fallen into the gay life of homosexuality, totally convinced that my condition or behavior was not something

unappreciated, or unaccepted. The Lord, in His mercy and patience, worked through them to reveal to me the true meaning of unconditional love for the sinner, while not condoning the sin. Not only did they manifest this love and acceptance towards me, but also towards my friends and lovers. In their relationship to me was demonstrated the words of Jesus, Neither do I condemn thee. However, neither in word nor in practice did they dismiss the rest of Jesus statement: Go, and sin no more. (John 8:11)


Eventually, I stopped blaming God for my condition and tried to look honestly at myself. After all, I reasoned, I can blame God all my life; I am still lost! What point is there in pretending there are no consequences to my lifestyle, or in pretending that I am saved? I had been deceiving myself. Simple logic revealed my only hope to be in the Word of God. I had to stop running and hiding, and begin searching out what the Word says. Somewhere it is written, All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, will be overcome by Satan. That was metotally overcome! I began to think, Wouldnt it be tragic to find myself standing some day outside the New Jerusalemwith a good excuse? In fact, for several years I had been having a recurring dream in which I experienced the horror of being lost as I gazed into the face of Jesus coming in the clouds of glory. Jesus had warned of this horror: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23; emphasis mine throughout) Tragically, the lake of fire will contain an innumerable host whom God dearly loves, unconditionally; people He loves so much that He gave His only begotten Son that they need not perish. But they have not chosen eternal life. And God honors their choice, the consequence of which is eternal separation from the Source of eternal life. I now believe that through my recurring nightmare Jesus was reaching out to me, a homosexual, saying, My son, give me thine heart. With childlike reasoning and logic, I began to prayerfully study Gods Word to find either justification in my homosexuality, or salvation from it. Try as I might, I could not find justification anywhere in Gods word for continuing in my lifestyle of sin. Instead, I rediscovered the simple truth that sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4) in other words, disobedience. And Gods Word clearly states in John 14:15 and Exodus 20:14, If ye love me thou shalt not commit adultery, adultery being sexual relations outside of the marriage institution. And God, the Creator of marriage, designed that one man should be united with one woman, becoming one flesh, and that they were to be fruitful and to multiply!! Man

with man, or woman with woman, cannot fulfill this purpose of God in marriage. Furthermore, God expressed very clearly His feelings about homosexuality in Leviticus 20:13 (and elsewhere throughout Scripture), If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. I was again drawn to 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind shall inherit the kingdom of God. And, The wages of sin [disobedience] is death. (Romans 6:23) These, and many other texts, clearly revealed to me that I could not be justified in my homosexuality. It is the deception of Satan that leads us to believe thou shalt not surely die when we choose to disobey, when we choose to remain in our inherited and cultivated fallen condition of disobedience. This understanding left me just feeling more helpless. And in retrospect, I know that the purpose of Gods law is to do just that, to show us where we have come short of Gods ideal, and to awaken within us a realization of our need of a Savior. For all have sinned (disobeyed), and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) in one way or another.

As a homosexual, I could not picture myself back in harmony with Gods plan. Addicted to my sexual inclinations, I was repulsed by the idea of one man and one woman as God intended. Nevertheless, I continued to honestly examine myself to determine who I really was, how and why I was homosexual,

and how I could fit in with Gods plan for mankind in general and for myself in particular. Was homosexuality really sin? If I was born that way, how could it be sin? As I considered the question as to whether I was born homosexual, or whether I had chosen to be so, I eventually came to realize that it really doesnt matter! Every descendent of Adam was born with tendencies to sin in more respects than one. Many have created even more tendencies on their own by choice, or have been victimized into additional tendencies by their environment. And we all have cultivated to some extent these tendencies to evil, whatever they might be. Again, in short, we all need a Savior! And it was for this

be dishonesty, or bad temper, or having other gods, such as the god of this world and its goods. For still others it may be adultery sex of any kind outside of the marriage of Gods design and creation. Some may look at homosexuality as being a greater sin than cheating on a spouse or pre-marital sex, but God does not. Sin is sin, the wages thereof being eternal death. However, there are three sins especially offensive to God (homosexuality not included). They are pride, selfishness, and covetousness, for it seems these are the roots of all other sin. These are the sins that eventually made a devil out of Lucifer.


My continued study revealed that in order for one to overcome homosexuality or any other besetting sin, he must first develop a hatred for sin and a love for truth and righteousness (doing what is right by Gods standard). Jesus promised Satan, I will put enmity (hatred) between thee and the woman (Genesis 3:15). The beautiful thing about this promise is that Jesus says He will develop within us that hatred, if we permit Him to, if we ask Him to. For it is He which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. And we can be confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 2:13; 1:6) Jesus says, Ask, and it shall be given you. (Matthew 7:7) If we choose to not permit this transformation within ourselves, and receive not the love of the truth, that we might be saved, God Himself shall send us strong delusion, that we should believe a lie (sin and live?), who believe not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness (what is right by our own standard). See 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. Also, if we choose not the miraculous transformation and re-creation work of God in our lives, He will eventually give us

Any Christian who believes God is impotent to save the homosexual from his/her sin will find themselves impotent in explaining to the skeptic or to someone in a spiritual crisis the importance of obedience to God in any other matter.
purpose that God gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever [gays included] believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16); that whosoever was broken might be repaired and restored to the image of his Maker in accordance with His original plan. Any Christian who believes God is impotent to save the homosexual from his/her sin will find themselves impotent in explaining to the skeptic or to someone in a spiritual crisis the importance of obedience to God in any other matter. The homosexual needs to be saved from his/her sin, just as the unfaithful spouse needs to be saved from sin, just as the thief, the murderer, and the liar need to be saved from their sins. Salvation from sin is a work of divine therapy, of reprogramming, of redirection, of re-creation. As I continued to study and pray, the Lord revealed to me even more answers to my questions. He also disclosed His unconditional love for me and His omnipotent power to save me from my sins, whatever they might be. Paul warned us to turn away from Christians who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. (2 Timothy 3:5) Any Christian who does not accept the power of God to transform even the homosexual is sadly underestimating His grace and cannot fully appreciate, nor fully benefit from, the gospel, which I discovered to be stated very simply in Matthew 1:21: Thou shalt call his name JESUS for he shall save his people from their sins. He shall save even me from my sins!! From my homosexuality!! Our loving God is the Author of, and Creator of, the plan of salvation. We cannot alter that plan in any way, for it is perfect, just as the law of the Lord and God Himself is perfect. Our role in the plan of salvation is to choose to accept it or reject it. And the only way we can make the correct choice is to recognize our need of a Savior. Do we really need to be saved? Yes, of course. From what? From sin. From what sin? For some it may be from intemperance: alcohol, tobacco, drugs, and gluttony. For others it may


over to a reprobate mind. (Romans 1:28) I was given the assurance in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 that I could be cured of my homosexuality. Changed! Re-created! For Paul speaks of this very sin, among others, when he says, And such were some of you [past tense]: but ye are washed [present tense], but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified... How? In the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. What a wonderful promise to someone who has permitted the Lord to give him a hatred for his sin and a longing desire for truth and victory! As I continued my self-evaluation, I began to realize more and more that I had been deceived into thinking I was living a life of freedom, when in actuality I was in terrible bondage. Freedom from Gods law is not freedom at all. James 1:5 refers to Gods law as the perfect law of liberty, and I began to see that it was freedom from sin that I desperately needed, not freedom from Gods law. Yet, I was totally helpless to set myself free. I truly needed a Savior and salvation from my bondage of sin, my addictive sexual perversion. It was presumptuous of me to continue living as though I had the gift of eternal life while knowingly earning the wages of sin-death. In honestly facing eternal realities, I was convicted that my life had to be changed. Yet, I knew I was powerless to make that change in and of myself. God, however, is not powerless. He is the omnipotent Re-Creator. So, trusting in His Word, I decided to step out in faith and depend upon the promise of Jesus Christ to save His people from their sins. Today I understand that anyone who teaches that we can practice breaking any one of Gods Ten Commandments and still have eternal life cannot consistently show the homosexual the way to victory over his sin. And any Christian who believes God is impotent to save the homosexual from his/her sin will find themselves impotent in explaining to the skeptic or to someone in a spiritual crisis the importance of obedience to God in any other matter. The Christian witness should testify of the Omnipotent Creator God, the all-powerful Re-Creator God who can and will save His people personally from their sinseven those especially offensive sins: pride, selfishness, and covetousness.

3) Since conversion, has there been a radical change of attitude, a psychological change in sexual orientation? These questions are of paramount importance for the sincere seeker for deliverance from besetting sin of whatever nature. And they deserve a definitive explanation. In my autobiography I tell the painful story of my exodus from the gay lifestyle. To be honest, it was the one most traumatic experience of my entire lifetime up to that point. I had to terminate my relationship with one with whom I was deeply in love. My feelings and emotions had not changed toward him at all. But my feelings and emotions toward the Man Jesus Christ had changed tremendously. Being faced with a choice, based upon Gods word of truth, I chose to follow the Man Jesus, regardless of consequences. Like the words of the famous hymn sung through the lips of every Christian (but too often without comprehension), it was a matter of Trust and Obey. I began to trust my Creator, realizing that Father truly does know best. And in this everincreasing trust, I began to obey Him in spite of my feelings and emotions, knowing that His will for me was for my own present, as well as eternal, happiness and well-being. Gods children are instructed that the just shall live by faith, not by feelings and emotions! In practicing this Biblical principle, I discovered that right feelings and emotions did not come first, but later, as a result

Anyone who teaches that we can practice breaking any one of Gods Ten Commandments and still have eternal life cannot consistently show the homosexual the way to victory over his sin.
of my accepting by faith the will of my Creator. If we wait until we have victory over feelings and emotions before trusting and obeying Christ, then what need have we of a Savior? And what is the purpose of faith? Choosing to leave behind the love of my life, to be born again as a helpless, newborn babe, I entered my new world. As an infant begins his life with inherited tendencies to evil, I began my new life in the family of God with all the same tendencies I had cultivated my entire previous life, i.e., homosexuality, drinking, smoking, dancing, love of the world and its entertainment, perverted appetite, ad infinitum. However, looking to Jesus and God my Father, I renounced my homosexuality and all these things of the world, and I submitted to His divine upbringing within the family of God. Am I ever tempted in these areas? Is Satan still alive and well...?


Once having come back to the Lord, imagine my distress over hearing ministers and laity alike discrediting my experience by saying, Sure, I believe in victory over sin. But that kind can never change! Furthermore, I advise you to keep your children away from him. Or, Ive never known anyone coming out of the gay lifestyle who has ever been able to remain straight for more than two years! Is this not a lack of faith manifested toward God? Is this not revealing in the believer a form of godliness, denying the power thereof? Frequently I am faced with questions such as: 1) Were feelings and emotions toward men miraculously changed upon conversion? Or, 2) Did the same gender orientation still persist? And,

To this day, every time someone lights up a cigarette near me, I am attracted to the smell; attracted to that which used to repulse me but for which I purposely created and cultivated a taste and tendency. But I choose not to smoke. And Gods

grace is all-sufficient. To this day, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, or the thought of an icy margarita, works to arouse within me an old cultivated tendency to indulgence. But I choose not to drink. And Gods grace is all-sufficient. To this day, when encountered, the music of the world pulls and tugs at me, luring me back, making my happy feet want to dance. So I avoid it and replace it with music that uplifts. When faced with worldly gospel music in the church, I am not uplifted. Rather, I am tested and made extremely uncomfortable. But Gods grace is all-sufficient.

Wouldnt it be tragic to find myself standing some day outside the New Jerusalem with a good excuse?
To this day, I do not trust myself to walk into a gay bar or nightclub or to socialize with practicing homosexuals. I do not trust myself to go where God does not lead, where I cannot be assured of His companionship and protection. Instead, I enjoy the companionship of my wife and fill my life with associations that can receive the favor and blessing of God. And His grace is all-sufficient. To say that I am above temptation in any of the areas of sin cultivated by years of indulgence would be to give false hope to others desperately seeking salvation from like besetting sins. It was just such expectation during my youth, that of being delivered from temptation, that caused me to give up on God in the first place and to plunge headlong into a life of sin, misery, and woe. God has not promised to save His people from their temptations. He has promised to save His people from their sins, from giving in to those temptations. And it is not an admission of failure for one to admit the continued existence of inherited, created, and cultivated tendencies to evilinfirmities. A lack of these tendencies would be a condition of holy flesh. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my

strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9) To this day, I must choose daily whom I will serve. To this day, like the apostle Paul, I must keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:27) To this day, I realize the importance of protecting my environment. I must starve the old evil tendencies while feeding and nurturing the newly chosen ones. Evil must be replaced with good. Perverted feelings and emotions can be starved out and replaced by righteous ones as I trustingly and self-lessly follow the instructions laid out for me in the Operators Manual, the Bible, given by the Creator of sexuality. Just as when fleeing from God years earlier, turning my back upon everything and everyone I knew, in coming back to God I had to separate myself totally from the gay scene and lifestyle, fleeing, as it were, Sodom and Gomorrah for my very life. In starting a new life, I surrounded myself with everything I knew to be right for me, which was not everything I felt like having around me! No Christian should risk depending upon what feels right. Neither could I. Come now; let us reason together, God says. As children created in the image of God we are to use that marvelous gift of reason and the power of choice. The spiritual mind is to rule over and bring into subjection the lusts of the flesh. To this day, like any other Christian, I must guard well all the avenues to my soul. Gods grace (His strength and power), as promised, is sufficient for His child the homosexual, enabling him also to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:15), and to have complete and total victory over his sin of homosexuality. Based upon my experience and study of Gods Word, I have outlined in my book specific sequential steps that a person can take to experience freedom from the bondage of besetting sin, including the sin of homosexuality. As a result of putting into practice these and other Biblical principles, I have become totally comfortable in my new life as an EX-gay heterosexual. The thought of returning to my old


life has become foreign and repugnant to me. Submitting myself to divine reconditioning and therapy has truly resulted in a new creation. And I rejoice in the words of Paul that I have experienced in my own personal life, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Cor.5:17) Why should we as Christians doubt that this promise can be true for the homosexual as well as for anyone else? Every day I live victoriously in my new heterosexual life, I testify to the power of God to save His people from their sins. And I praise Him for the privilege to have this demonstration of His grace played out through my own personal experience. Our Savior has commissioned me in the same words He spoke to the cleansed demoniac in Mark 5:19, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. Accordingly, my life of falling from grace to the depths of degradation and rising to new life through Jesus Christ has now been published to His glory as a how to autobiography: That Kind Can Never Change! Can They...? This story is meant to be of assistance to homosexuals in need; to parents, family and friends in distress; to pastors and counselors in search of answers; and for anyone struggling with besetting sins of whatever nature. Not through human reasoning, logic, philosophy and counseling was I able to change; but through the Word of God and the power of Jesus Christ to save His people from their sins, according to His promise. By Gods grace, this homosexual prodigal child of God has been delivered from his sin and redirected into a productive and fruitful new life as a minister of the gospel, happily married, with children. I praise the Lord for the great things He has done for me, and for His compassion towards me, for His mercy and patience, and for His marvelous power to save even me from my life of sin! That kind can never change! Can they...? some may question. Yes, they can! Homosexuals are Gods children, too! To them, as to every other child of God in need of a Savior, is the promise given, Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21, emphasis mine) Victor J. Adamson is the pen name for Pastor Ron Woolsey. This is his true story, taken from his website victorjadamson. com and used with permission. Its original title is Homosexuals are Gods Children, Too! Those struggling with homosexuality issues and those seeking to understand such issues may investigate his website for other articles Mr. Adamson has authored.

Womens Ordination
Jonathan Mukwiri

The sexual identity in the family setting does not evaporate when you walk through the doors of a church. The church is an extension of the other family.


he household family and the church family run on similar principles when it comes to leadership roles between men and women. In all levels of our society today, everyone yearns to be accepted. The feminist debate in the world is making inroads into the church, contrary to the sure word of God. For the true Christian, it is impossible to have both the acceptance of the world and the approval of our heavenly Father. Jesus said, No servant can serve two masters (Luke 16:13). And James wrote that friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4.). The very survival of our society and church leans heavily upon the family unit, where a basic truth must be clear that men are fathers and women are mothers. Men and women are equal as humans but entirely unique as created beings. They are not only distinct genders sexually, but almost every aspect of their natures is different. Men should never try to be women, and women should never try to be men. These differences should be evident, maintained and, yes, even emphasized in everything from the way we walk and talk to the way we work and dress. In general terms, God made men and women as equal beings. There is not any distinction between men and women when it comes to their value to God and the accessibility of

salvation. In that matter, men and women are perfectly equal. In saving souls, God ministers through men and women. The Bible mentions both men and women in the capacity of prophets and evangelists and teachers. Priscilla, Aquilas wife, gave Bible studies. But there is no example in the Bible where a woman serves in the capacity of a priest or a pastor or an elder. When Jesus chose the twelve apostles, He was not accommodating the traditions of the day when He chose only men. Unless we serve a different Jesus (2 Corinthian 11: 4), we should follow the example of the Jesus of the Bible. Jesus changed many traditions, such as rabbis not teaching women (Mary sat at Jesus feet to be taught), but not having women in leadership roles (such as priests or elders) was not a tradition. It was Jesus own ordination; otherwise Jesus would have changed it. Now, if Jesus picked only male apostles because it was cultural, then everything else Jesus did was hypocritical. Christ died because He would not capitulate to the traditions and customs of the Jews. So for Him to say, I dont want to ruffle the Pharisees feathers, so Im only going to pick men, would be a big stretch. Jesus was so blatantly clear about what the truth was. He would not compromise simply for tradition in any area, because it would be dishonest. There are certain offices that have a male symbolism to them. The men were to be the priests of the family; that means servant leaders, not dictators or despots. A good illustrative SECOND ADVENT Herald


example is the story of Moses. Amram and Jochabed had three children. They had Miriam, a girl; three years later they had Aaron, and three years later they had Moses. All three of their children were prophets. But Aaron served as a priest; Miriam did not. She was a prophetess, but not a priest. She led the women in prophetic songs and taught and other things, but not as a priest. There are several other examples. You see Deborah as a prophetess and a judge in Israel, but you never see her making a sacrifice. And that, in the Bible, is an identity that is similar to Jesus; it is a male role. The Passover lamb was a male lamb because it was a type of Christ. In the same way that God has distinctions in family, and roles in the family, so does He also in a church family. The sexual identity in the family setting does not evaporate when you walk through the doors of a church. The church is an extension of the other family. That the ecclesiastical councils, such as the church conferences, accept having women pastors or elders, is not proof of Gods approval of their decisions. A plain thus saith the Lord should be asked in support (see Great Controversy, p. 595).

From Creation, Women Not in Leadership Role

God tells us how He feels when gender lines are ignored. The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a womans garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 22:5. God did not create men and women in the same way. God made man out of dust, and He made woman out of man. And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Gen. 2:21, 22. God named man, whereas man named woman. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Genesis 2:23. And Adam called his wifes name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Genesis 3:20. Sin came into our world as a result of man neglecting and woman disregarding the husbands leadership role. She took

of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. Genesis 3:6. And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. Genesis 3:12. Ellen White wrote: The angels had cautioned Eve to beware of separating herself from her husband while occupied in their daily labor in the garden; with him she would be in less danger from temptation than if she were alone. But absorbed in her pleasing task, she unconsciously wandered from his side. (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 53,54) God established that husbands should be the servant-leaders of the home. Unto the woman he said, thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. Genesis 3:16. Now, we must not rush past this verse. Some have argued that the passages regarding mans leadership role reflect the biases of a male-dominant culture. But notice that the command in Genesis 3:16 came directly from Godnot from Peter, John, or Paul. It has also been said, We cant take these Scriptures regarding male leadership seriously because they were based on eastern traditions and dont apply today. After all, there were laws regarding slavery and polygamy in Bible times.True, but God never commanded people to have slaves or multiple wives. Rather, as Jesus said, it was because of the hardness of your heart he [Moses] wrote you this precept. Mark 10:5. Biblically, a husband could overrule the vow of the wife,

Women are not the only ones who are ineligible [to be elders]; so are most of the men.
but the wife could not overrule the oath of her husband. Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void. Numbers 30:13. God tells us that women should not rule over men. I suffer [permit] not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man. 1 Timothy 2:12. The only times when women ruled over Gods people were when men were too fearful and weak to lead, as in the case of Deborah when Barak failed his man-role (Judge 4:8-9) or in times of apostasy (Jezebel and Athaliah). It was not pleasing to God, as He said: As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths. Isaiah 3:12. Gods Word equates the authority of man over woman with the authority of Christ over man. But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 1 Cor. 11:3. Christian wives should willingly acknowledge the headship of their husbands. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of


the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Ephesians 5:23, 24. Teach the young women to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:4,5. Even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 1 Peter 3:6. Marriage is not a dictatorship, but a partnership where the husband fills the role as a senior partner. Husbands are to be servant-leaders in the home in the same way Jesus came to love, serve, and lead His church. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Ephesians 5:25. It is very important to note that Gods plan for male leadership is in no way an open license for tyranny. God will judge those cowardly men as He did Nabal (1 Samuel 25:38). Perhaps it is because men neglect their God-given roles that women tend to aspire to takeover mens role. Ellen White wrote: The greatest want of the world is the want of men men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall. (Education, p. 57).

(Genesis 8:20; 22:13; Job 1:5). Later God appointed the tribe of Levi as priests instead of the first-born son or head of each family (Numbers 3:6-13). The Levites shall be mine, for all the first-born are mine (Numbers 3:12-13). A woman could minister as a prophet, communicating Gods will, but a male was appointed to the priestly role because the male was viewed by Bible writers as the first-born of the human family (Genesis 2:7, 21-23), to whom God assigned the headship role in the home and in the church. Clearly, the Old Testament presents women as full participants with men in the religious and social life of the church. In the fifth year of Jeremiahs prophetic ministry, the priests went to Huldah the prophetess for counsel (2 Kings 22:1314). Women served as musicians and attendants at the tabernacle and temple (1 Sam. 2:22, 1 Chronicles 25:5-6, Psalms 68:24-25). However, women did not serve as priests in the Old Testament (Ex. 28:1, Num. 3:1-13).

New Testament: No Leadership role for Women

The New Testament continued this concept, appointing representative males as elders or pastors. The New Testament practice ran contrary to the culture of the time, since most pagan religions had priestesses as well as priests. The New Testament practice was based on the divine revelation in the Old Testament (see 1 Timothy 2:12-13), pointing to a headship role established at creation for man to fulfill at home and in the household of faith. The New Testament expresses its teaching on the role of women in the church in theological terms, basing it on interpretation of earlier Bible passages. It is presented as part of Gods law and as a command of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:34, 37). If such a Biblical teaching is regarded as limited to the culture of Pauls time, the same could be said of Biblical teachings regarding creation, Sabbath keeping, clean and unclean meats, foot washing, tithing, etc. The authority of Scripture as a whole would thus be undermined and discredited. Clearly, the New Testament shows that women fully took part in the religious and social practices of the church. Women prayed aloud and prophesied in the church (1 Corinthians 11:5). They labored side by side with Paul and other workers in the gospel (Philippians 4:3). In the closing chapter of Romans, Pauls first greeting and commendation is for a woman, and he includes several other women subsequently in the chapter (16:1-5, 6, 12, 13, 15). Widows (Acts 9:39) may have been an organized body for service in the New Testament church. However, women did not serve in any New Testament leadership role of elder or pastor (1 Timothy 2:11-14; 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Corinthians 14:33-36). Indeed, the New Testament clearly excludes women from it. Paul says, I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent (1 Timothy 2:12). He says, If anyone aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task; that a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, an apt teacher (1 Timothy 3:1-2). He says, This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you, if any man is blameless, the husband of one SECOND ADVENT Herald

No Leadership Role for Women in Old Testament

In the Old Testament, women were never priests. One reason appears to be that the role of the priest was seen in the Bible as representing the head of the household. During patriarchal times the male head of the household or tribe functioned as the priest, representing his household to God

A neglect on the part of woman to follow Gods plan in her creation, an effort to reach for important positions which He has not qualified her to fill, leaves vacant the position that she could fill to acceptance. In getting out of her sphere, she loses true womanly dignity and nobility.


wife (Titus 1:5-6). He further says, as in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches; For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:33-37). Note, however, Paul is not here prohibiting all kinds of speaking by women in church, since a few chapters earlier he speaks kindly of any woman who prays or prophesies, provided only that she dresses modestly (1 Corinthians 11:5). The key phrase that qualifies the kind of womens speaking Paul had in mind is but should be subordinate (14: 34). This phrase suggests that the speech denied to women was speech that was seen as inappropriate to them as women or wives. Such speech may have included speaking up in the church as authoritative teachers of the congregation, or as critics of the prophets, elders or even their own husbands. It may also have included any form of questioning viewed as challenging church leadership. In other words, it probably included all forms of womens speech that reflected lack of subordination to their husbands and/or to the church leaders. The Bible clearly teaches that elders should be men and not women. In the lists of qualifications for an elder in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9, specific reference is made, among other things, to the fact that an elder must be a husband of one wife. The elder, then, is to be a married man loyal to his wife. Whether we like it or not, the specifications require males. Moreover, even some men are disqualified from being elders. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife. 1 Timothy 3:2. Note: the terms for bishops and elders were interchangeable. Here, Paul did not say that just any man could be a bishop, even as in the Old Testament not just any son of Aaron could be a priest. The office has always been limited. Paul detailed qualities of blameless and married, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, etc. The long list of requirements eventually eliminates most men and leaves only a very few eligible ones.

the voice of Jesus as if He had spoken them while on earth. Jesus own choice of twelve male apostles was consistent with the Old Testament headship role man was called to fulfill at home and in the community of faith. The same role structure was respected in the life and order of the apostolic church. Moreover, Ellen White showed that the distinction between the roles of men and women remained during Jesus ministry. She wrote: The husband is the head of the family, as Christ is the head of the church; and any course which the wife may pursue to lessen his influence and lead him to come down from that dignified, responsible position is displeasing to God; It is the duty of the wife to yield her wishes and will to her husband. Both should be yielding, but the word of God gives preference to the judgment of the husband. And it will not detract from the dignity of the wife to yield to him whom she has chosen to be her counselor, adviser, and protector. The husband should maintain his position in his family with all meekness, yet with decision. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 307-308)

Spirit of Prophecy: No Leadership for Women

Even our end time prophet, Ellen G. White, was never ordained. After more than 25 years of her prophetic ministry, the church voted her the credentials of an ordained minister, but she indicated in 1909 (when she was in her eighties) that she had never been ordained. (Arthur L. White, Spectrum, 4, 2 [Spring, 1972]: 7) Nor did she ever exercise the special functions of an ordained minister, such as performing marriages, baptizing, and organizing local churches. As are all church members, she too was ordained of God to work for Him and was given a special work to do; human hands never ordained her. Further, the authority of Ellen G. White was in the messages God gave her, rather than in any position the church gave her. She s pec i f ic a l ly rejected the idea of a le adersh ip position in the church. She said: It is not right for you to suppose that I am striving to be first, striving for leadership. I want it to be

No Women Leaders in Jesus Ministry

In His ministry, Jesus did indeed treat women as persons of equal value to men. He admitted them into His fellowship. He took time to teach them the truths of the Kingdom of God. A woman was first with the story of the resurrection, and at least one woman (Mary) received the Holy Spirit with the others at Pentecost. Yet the fact remains that Christ called no woman to be part of the twelve apostles. Why would Jesus not have commissioned women to preach or teach publicly, if this had been His intention? Whatever the cultural situation may have been in Palestine (we have very little contemporary evidence of how women were treated there), such a move would have been quite acceptable in the larger harvest field, since the priestly role of women was readily accepted in the Gentile world, where the gospel was to be preached. Clearly, Jesus never dealt with the issue of a leadership role for women. But through the Holy Spirit He clarified that issue in the writings of the apostles. Those messages are as much


understood that I have no ambition to have the name of leader, or any other name that may be given me, except that of a messenger of God; I claim no other name or position. (Letter 320, 1905; Manuscript Release #340). She also said: I am not to appear before the people as holding any other position than that of a messenger with a message. (Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 237) Also, Ellen G. White never counseled the church to ordain women. She urged that certain women who were willing to consecrate some of their time to the service of the Lord should be appointed to visit the sick, look after the young, and minister to the necessities of the poor. They should be set apart to this work by prayer and laying on of hands. (Review and Herald, July 9, 1895) It was to this work, a personal work of visitation and mercy, that they were to be set apart, not the work of a pastor or elder. On the contrary, Ellen G. White warned against women seeking any other than a support role in respect to leadership. Referring to Eve, she writes: She was perfectly happy in her Eden home by her husbands side, but like restless modern Eves, she was flattered that there was a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. But in attempting to climb higher than her original position, she fell far below it. This will most assuredly be the result with the Eves of the present generation if they neglect to cheerfully take up their daily duty in accordance with Gods plan. A neglect on the part of woman to follow Gods plan in her creation, an effort to reach for important positions which He has not qualified her to fill, leaves vacant the position that she could fill to acceptance. In getting out of her sphere, she loses true womanly dignity and nobility. (Testimonies, vol.3, pp.483-484) Women can carry out gospel work; that is not the same as being elders or pastors.If they so labor, they should be paid and treated fairly. Addressing the question of appropriate pay for women workers, Ellen White said: This question is not for men to settle. The Lord has settled it. You are to do your duty to the women who labor in the gospel, whose work testifies that they are essential to carrying the truth into families. (Evangelism, p. 493) Women do not have to be elders or pastors to carry out gospel work.

accountant for ADRA in Africa, and now awaits the publication of a book for fellow SDAs. (

There is not a single example of a woman being ordained as a priest, apostle, pastor, or elder in Scripture. Jesus was following His own Word by ordaining only men. Of course, some will argue that He was merely conforming to popular customs and traditions of the day. But this is a dishonest smokescreen of feminists. The truth is that, in Christs time, most of the pagan religions had women priests. Gods people were the exception. Dr. Jonathan Mukwiri is developer and editor of Christian Legal Perspective, a website that reflects his profession as senior lecturer in law at Buckinghamshire New University (United Kingdom). Married with two children, he has served his local church as treasurer, elder and teacher; for seven years he worked as project supervisor and



House Churches:
A New Movement in Adventism in America
Rather than relying on a relative handful of inspired preachers to promote a national revival, the emerging Revolution is truly a grassroots explosion of commitment to God that will refine the Church and result in a natural and widespread immersion in outreach.

they want to attend a traditional worship service within a church building, but wish for closer relationships with fellow Christians where they can connect and relate to one another in their spiritual journey with Jesus. Conferences will need to take a serious look at such a movement, for it has already begun and many of the younger generation are looking at the option seriously. How should it be structured, how can it exist within a conference and yet be a viable unit of ministry and witnessing within its own unit? Can it have church status without a public building and a large number of attendees? One thing is for sure, it is going to happen sooner or later and I think it is already on the move. (Italics added.) Why the Growth in House Churches? What fuels the growth of these house-based Sabbath worship gatherings? A strong desire for what individuals dont feel they can get from traditional worship gatherings. As James wrote, They just dont feel that they want to attend a traditional worship service within a church building. [They] wish for closer relationships with fellow Christians where they can connect and relate to one another in their spiritual journey with Jesus. Mr. James sees the move to house churches as a reflection of a desire or need for closer interpersonal relationships within a spiritual context. A More Urgent Reason Not all agree with that motive. This becomes a critical point, because solutionssometimes expensive, bureaucratic solutionsare tailored to fit a perceived need. If the perception is amiss, so will be the solution. What follows are other understandings of what has led to the rise of house churches in the United States.

Jean Handwerk

he following is excerpted from a five-paragraph report on Seventh-day Adventist house churches, written by Don James, associate director of North American Division Evangelism Institute.1 The term house church refers to churches usually operated in peoples dwellings, to distinguish them from local established home churches. Looking at the book of Acts in Scriptures we find that several and even perhaps the majority of churches were House Churches. The churches were small and met in the homes of the believers. They were lay led, reached out to their neighbors and friends, worshiped and shared with one another as needs arose, prayed together, and ate together (Acts 2:42-47). Today we find that house churches are popping up all over the nation, some as independent, stand alone, single house churches; while others are large movements of House Churches; and still others are connected with denominations. Many today are voting with their feet in that they just dont feel that

People are desperate to nd and experience God. And when they do nd him, the natural outcome is immersion in outreach, because now they have something worth sharing that is real and authentic in their own lives.
According to George Barna, author of Revolution,2 The new Revolution differs in that its primary impetus is not salvation among the unrepentant but the personal renewal and recommitment of believers. The dominant catalyst is peoples desperation for a genuine relationship with God. The renewal of that relationship spurs believers to participate in spreading the gospel. Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger, authors of Simple Church: Returning to Gods Process for Making Disciples, state, ... In general, simple churches with a simple process for reaching and maturing people are effectively advancing the


attempt to ride the wave, while denying the biblical theology of church. We will simply make some cosmetic adjustments that limit the lay power of a grass-roots movement. Which path will we take? The verdict for Adventism is still out.4 Spiritual Status Quo Unsatisfying Mr. Adams, after considering the frustration of his own pastoral experience and reading some books related to how we do church, stated his conviction as to the source of the problem. First, he wrote, I began to discover that, as a denomination, we ignored the counsel of Ellen White when we began to settle pastors over congregations.5 Secondly, I began to realize that the spirituality of what we call church is not growing and thriving. But I was not alone in my observation. Commenting on the 20 million Christians who left conventional church to go find God between 2000-2005, George Barna says, The new revolution differs in that its primary impetus is not salvation among the unrepentant but the personal renewal and recommitment of believers. The dominant catalyst is peoples desperation for a genuine relationship with God. The renewal of that relationship spurs believers to participate in spreading the gospel. Rather than relying on a relative handful of inspired preachers to promote a national revival, the emerging revolution is truly a grassroots explosion of commitment to God that will refine the Church and result in a natural and widespread immersion in outreach. People are desperate to find and experience God. And when they do find him, the natural outcome is immersion in outreach, because now they have something worth sharing that is real and authentic in their own lives.6 It is Already Begun With little fanfare, house churches have been operating successfully without conference budget allocations, credentialed leaders, or official sanction. One wonders if this is the beginning of what was spoken of in Testimonies to Ministers, 300: The Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness. (1885) Two Contributions of House Churches Adams, with nearly two years experience in a Simple SECOND ADVENT Herald

movement of the gospel. Churches without a process or with a complicated process for making disciples are floundering not alive. Unfortunately, the overprogrammed and busy church is the norm. Their commitment to Christ is real. But so many of the people are tired and confused on how to do church.3 James perceives house churches as an answer to interpersonal needs; Barna, as an answer to a need for God Himself; and Rainer and Geiger as a less cumbersome, more effective way to spread the Word. And sometimes house churches begin for practical reasons. There may be no nearby place to worship, or all the churches in the region have rejected Biblical principles, or they want to establish a company of believers in a new area. The Organized Churchs Response One of the several manifestations of this house church movement is the Simple Church, which Wikipedia describes as an Evangelical Christian movement that seeks to redefine the nature and practice of church [giving] the opportunity to focus on what it considers to be the core practices of Christian spirituality. Within Adventism, Milton Adams, director of the Simple Church Network, pastor, house church planter, and Adventist innovator in the Florida Conference, wrote in his article Simple Church: A Very, Very Old, New Idea in Spectrum magazine, Not very long ago, while speaking with one of Adventisms leading evangelists, the two of us concurred on our expectation that house churches will soon sweep through North America, Europe, and other parts of the Western world. The question facing us as a church is, How will we respond? We thought of three possibilities: 1) We will embrace a very old, new idea and take the risk of empowering a lay-led movement that is reminiscent of apostolic times. 2) We will be threatened by the house church movement and do everything in our power to keep it from the people. 3) We will use the popular house church lingo in an


Church pilot program of a network of Adventist house churches, explained the origin of the program: Barna [noted] that house churches are one place people are going to find God. Since house churches seemed promising, my wife and I decided to start one. Adventism usually gives Constantine credit for changing Sabbath to Sunday, but he also influenced the replacement of lay-leadership with professional spiritual leaders and he moved church from the house to the basilica, or cathedral.7 Adams named two aspects of what the house church movement can contribute to Adventist spirituality (italics his): First, spiritual revival: Simple Church lay-missionaries often tell me, We realized that if we did not pick up the ball and do the work of ministry, it was not going to get done. There was no one else who would do it. This is one of the most spiritually transformative revelations that can come upon a layperson, and it is one which Ive come to believe is almost impossible in conventional church. Second, a biblical job description for pastors and evangelists: According to Ephesians 4:12, pastors are not to do the work for the people, but are to equip Gods people for the work of service. For this to actually happen, conventional church needs to be restructured so that our theology and functional structures compliment, rather than contradict, each other. A biblical house church model naturally addresses this and places all of the work of ministry into the hands of lay-people. The result is personal ownership in the message and mission to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). An Opportunity Not to be Missed Adams concluded his article with the words, Adventism has much to lose by not embracing the house church movement. It will lose revolutionaries and 21st century lay missionaries (disciple-makers) who are willing to rearrange their lives, resources, and influence around sharing the everlasting gospel of Jesus. It will also lose out on potential Kingdom-growth, because obviously more disciple-makers means more discipleswhich means more disciples-makers, and so on. The verdict is indeed still out for our denomination. My prayer is for a spiritual revival to burst forth among Gods people within Adventism, such as has not been seen since apostolic times. 8 Four Reasons for House Churches Adams gave four reasons Simple Churches are needed: Financially: Simple Church uses a low-cost, grass-roots method of reaching people. Olsen says that America would need, as of 2008, 24,240 new churches of any kind, every year, just to keep up with population growth. Conventional church planting models are becoming cost prohibitive in many areas. Missionally: Simple Church network statistics seem to indicate that house churches are indeed accomplishing the goal of reaching unchurched or secular people in western cultures people that conventional church is not reaching.

Biblically: Simple Church empowers common lay-people to do the work of ministry. Our church theology says that every member is a minister, and we teach the priesthood of all believers. But functionally and structurally our church says there is a clear distinction between lay-people and the professional pastor, evangelist or more recently, Bible worker. Stewardship: The average conventional church in North America will spend as much as 64 percent of its budget on staff salaries. Additionally, it will spend as much as 30 percent of its offerings on maintaining its buildings. Researchers say that churches spend between 82-96 percent of their financial resources on maintaining themselves. If 82 percent of my portfolio investment dollar went into maintaining the investment firm, I might have something to say. Adams said that organizationally, Simple Church tithe goes to the local conference. Offerings are kept by house churches and used as they decide. In other words, we do not spend offerings on asset items or on inventory items for improving or restoring a facility, but for improving and restoring lives.9 Usually, the groups involve themselves in outreach. The groups are mentored and coached from within the Simple Church Network. We do not put this additional responsibility on local church boards, pastors, or conference leadership.10 Will Leaders Rise to the Challenge? How has one conference acted to dust off this old concept and re-invent it for the 21st century? The Ohio Conference Executive Committee voted in September 2009 to establish an Ohio Simple Church as one of the recognized congregations in the Ohio Conference with mission status. This will provide an official structure in which to hold the memberships of those individuals who may join a simple church or other


fresh expression within the conference, as well as an avenue to receive tithes and denominational offerings, conduct baptisms, etc. The conference president or his designee will serve as the pastor of this church in order to provide oversight for the various informal groups involved, each of which will have someone (as soon as practical) serving within the group as a local elder.11 Simply put, this conference hopes to establish an umbrella structure within which numerous house churches can exist in Ohio.12 How much oversight or control will be exercised over these house churches remains to be seen. In all conferences establishing Simple Church networks, a house church becomes a recognized church, just like any church in our denomination,13 but with conference oversight as stipulated by each conference. Membership in the umbrella structure enables separate worship and outreach while avoiding possible charges of separatism.14 The Inertial Church We also have yet to see how the issue of house churches will be addressed by our General Conference on this matter, for the reasons set forth in another Spectrum article: Loren Seibold, senior pastor of the Worthington, Ohio, SDA Church, wrote an article called The Inertial Church.15 His view: We have too many big investments to be light on our feet [i.e., act quickly]: buildings to do church as weve always done it, schools to teach pastors to pastor churches as weve always done it, administrative teams on four levels to make sure that we continue to do church as weve always done it. Our people, too, want church as weve always done it at least enough of them to keep us doing it. Church as weve always done it isnt bad. But will it be enough for us to play our part in a world of breathtaking cultural changes? A few are looking beyond the present. Recently I heard Australian pastor Peter Roennfeldt talk about Fresh Expressionsa new, looser kind of worship with minimal churchiness and structure, and maximum spirituality and service. My friend Milton Adams has pioneered Simple Church, a house church movement, in Florida. This house church will never grow up and become a real church, says Milton. Interestingly, he identifies precisely the elements that hold the denomination back as those that give a house church the chance to succeed: Since there are no church mortgages, building funds, building maintenance, Bible workers, etc., our offerings help people in real, practical ways. Thats more like whats happening in places like Africa and Latin America, where Adventism is thriving. But this is, again, less change than replacement. Should locally-focused house churches become the norm (as unlikely as that appears now) some of our structure and institutions couldnt survive. With the mindset we have right now our leaders would, I suspect, do almost anything to prevent that from happening. So I come back to where I started: we cant do this. Only God can. Ill go out on a limb here and say that God will do it with us or without us. The only difference is whether we get

the blessing of being part of it. Methods and Effectiveness Concerning the effectiveness and emphasis of Simple Churches, Milton Adams reported that the Simple Church Network averages 15 people per location with a range of 5 to 35. On average 30% of adult attendees are unchurched or secular people. He describes Sabbath worship as such a different missionary paradigm that it is difficult to adequately describe it. One needs to experience Simple Church. But in short our particular location meets on Sabbath at 10 am for brunch. At 11 am our focus shifts to some singing, check-in, and God moments. At noon we begin a 90-minute relational Bible study. Lunch follows the Bible study, and usually by 3 or 4 pm our home is quiet againbut not always.16 Adams further stated, What has been most meaningful to me over the past months has been the support and encouragement that our denomination globally has given to this experimental project. I would be the first to say that it is premature to assess both 1) Simple Churchs long term effectiveness and 2) the denominations response. I hope and pray that both will be positive.17 One Thing is Lacking One thing not addressed in the discussions of house churches is whether doctrine is taught in them, and if so, the accuracy of those doctrines. Winds of doctrine blow indiscriminately, and house churches are not immune. What is to be their safeguard? God moments and relational Bible studies may or may not include doctrine, but the matter of doctrine is critical: Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. John 7:14-17. Doctrine can determine whether each house church operates for our Master or contrary to His purposes. The true remnant does not operate on Laodicean principles; the false remnant shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils 1 Tim 4:1. We know that within Adventism, many of the house churches have begun as a direct result of either error being taught in the home churches, or else present truth simply not being taught. And whether lay-led or pastor-led, all are vulnerable to the effects of what has gone before. The errors introduced into Adventism must be purged from our ranks. The aberrant theological positions proclaimed in the General SECOND ADVENT Herald


Conference publication Questions on Doctrinethat Christ took unfallen human nature and that the atonement was completed at the crossmust be repudiated, and the pillars reestablished, including those of the authority of the Spirit of Prophecy as exercised through Ellen White (Testimony of Jesus), the investigative judgment, and victory over sin. House churchers must take responsibility for themselves

they may be one cannot be accomplished if they have no common foundation. To ensure a common, correct doctrine, more than one group of house churches has already set up its own informal regional network, complete with convocations. Unity of doctrine and heart are their primary objectives. A Pentecostal Unity If James is correct that house churchers seek closer relationships with fellow Christians, consider the experience of the early disciples when they prepared for Christs Pentecostal gift. When exalting Christ was foremost in their hearts, self died and unity followed. They felt that no toil would be too hard, no sacrifice too great, if only they could bear witness in their lives to the loveliness of Christs character. Putting away all differences, all desire for the supremacy, they came close together in Christian fellowship. AA 36-7. As the disciples made humble supplication to God, their differences were swept away. MS 21, 1900. If Truth Preached, It Will Attract Furthermore, we have counsel regarding how to create interest in our Fathers kingdom: If, in defiance of Gods arrangements, the world be allowed to influence our decisions or our actions, the purpose of God is defeated. However specious the pretext, if the church waver here, there is written against her in the books of heaven a betrayal of the most sacred trusts, and treachery to the kingdom of Christ. The church is firmly and decidedly to hold her principles before the whole heavenly universe and the kingdoms of the world; steadfast fidelity in maintaining the honor and sacredness of the law of God will attract the notice and admiration of even the world, and many will, by the good works which they shall behold, be led to glorify our Father in heaven. TM 16-7, italics added. Need for Holy Spirit But doctrine and principles alone will not be effective in reaching souls. That which is essential to the church in order that they may grow in spiritual strength and efficiency, in order that the preaching may carry conviction with it, and souls be converted to God, has been largely left out of ministerial effort. House churchers must not make the same mistake. Without the Holy Spirit, from whence would they get the efficiency [that] is to be given to all our spiritual labor? This promised blessing, if claimed by faith, would bring all other blessings in its train. TM 174-5.

to know what the true doctrines are. They must be grounded in the truth. The conventional channels have disappointed all too often, hence the house church movement, but there is danger that unless house church members experience doctrinal unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man (Eph 4:13), the potential spiritual benefits of house churches will become realized curses. That

Shaking of the Church Necessary We cannot have a divided or impotent message or a divided, impotent people and expect the latter rain. Our witness to the world would be too confusing. Therefore, God is shaking His church as He has many times in the past, to purge it of spiritual leaven. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he


will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Mat 3:12. In that purifying process, those who will be part of the church triumphantthose who will be sealedwill be somehow separated from the present church militant. The faithful understand that there is to be no change in the features of our work. It is to stand as clear and distinct as prophecy has made it. We are to enter into no confederacy with the world, supposing that by so doing we could accomplish more. If any stand in the way, to hinder the advancement of the work in the lines that God has appointed, they will displease God. No line of our faith that has made us what we are is to be weakened. We have the old landmarks of truth, experience, and duty; we are to stand firmly in defense of our principles, in full view of the world. CTr 350. A Revival of Primitive Godliness Then we may look for the fulfillment of these inspired words: Before the final visitation of Gods judgments upon the earth, there will be, among the people of the Lord, such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His Word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time, to prepare a people for the Lords second coming. FLB 326. Whether the Simple Church Network will rise to its privilege in all respects, only God knows. As one article writer recognized, the house church movement was already happening of its own volition, before any official church involvement. We believe even this is a sign of the nearness of final events and the much-longed-for return of the One for whom we have waited so long. People who have been hungering and thirsting after righteousness have actively sought a closer walk with the Lord, dispensing with conventional Adventist church practices to traverse the old paths, claiming the promise that if they seek, they shall find what their hearts desire: a deeper experience with God. We have been told, and believe we are now seeing, that God will raise up from among the common people, men and women to do His work, even as of old He called fishermen to be His disciples. There will soon be an awakening that will surprise many. Those who do not realize the necessity of what is to be done, will be passed by, and the heavenly messengers will work with those who are called the common people, fitting them to carry the truth to many places. Now is the time for us to awake and do what we can. LLM 83. Jean Handwerk, a former teacher, researches and writes from Delaware on Biblical and natural health topics. She is managing editor for SECOND ADVENT Herald .

1 2 The full report can be found at George Barna, Revolution (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2005), 13, 64-65, 103. Barna heads the non-profit Barna Group, a firm that analyzes American culture . . . and facilitates moral and spiritual transformation, according to his author bio. Barna has written more than 35 books, mostly about leadership, trends, spiritual development, and church health. A popular seminar speaker, he is considered one of todays most influential Christians. pdf, 2-3. Based on Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger, Simple Church: Returning to Gods Process for Making Disciples. spirituality/2010/02/22/simple_church_very_very_old_new_idea See Hovering Over the Churches, Testimonies to Ministers, 230238, and elsewhere. spirituality/2010/02/22/simple_church_very_very_old_new_idea interview/2010/02/22/adventist_house_churches Ibid. Ibid. Ibid. OhioSimpleChurchVote.pdf Ohio Conference newsletter, published in Visitor magazine November 2009. interview/2010/02/22/adventist_house_churches House churches that do not come under the Simple Church umbrella but that recognize that Seventh-day Adventist is the name the Lord has given us and that wish to use that name to carr[y] the true features of our faith in front, [to] convict the inquiring mind (FLB 304), can avoid lawsuits over the trademarked name by stating that the church or company was founded or established by Seventh-day Adventists, even if not all of its members are members of Seventh-day Adventist denominational churches. inertial_church interview/2010/02/22/adventist_house_churches Ibid.

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Competitive Sports

Strife and Vainglory

Agatha M. Thrash; Gordon W. Russell; Ellen G. White

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Phil 2:3

on-athletic peers are at a better moral advantage when compared to long-term athletes. This comes to many as a complete surprise. Competitive sports have always been acclaimed as promoting and developing morals, certainly not degrading the morals. In fact, we even have a modern term in our language to describe how we expect people to behave under conditions of disagreement or when one could take advantage over another. One may expect the other to be sporting about the matter. Sportsmanship is a good word and most people would be happy to have it applied to them. Research clearly shows, however, that the more time spent in competitive sports, the less leniency they feel toward those who are disadvantaged by weakness, gender, age or illness. A 40year study has indicated that the longer athletes participate in competitive sports, the less capable they are of correct moral reasoning. The researchers conclude that competitive sports impact the cognitive moral growth of high school students in a negative way.Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 65:A94, March 1994. The effects on 1,600 male high school seniors participating in varsity sports were analyzed. The surprising effects were increased aggression, increased irritability, reduced honesty, decreased self-control, decreased independence, and increase in ego. The effects of watching the Soccer World Series in children was studied. Quarreling occurred on a regular basis; even a fist fight broke out among the participants. Crying occurred on several occasions, generally in the context of perceived failure or injustice. Rivalry with other children increased. Altruism [consideration of others without thought for self] significantly decreased. Journal of Sport Psychology, 1981:3:114-122. Very famous athletes, believed to be of sterling character, have been revealed to a shocked world to be vicious, vindictive, immoral, or murderous.


The effects on short-term health are also surprisingly negative. Competitive sports have a negative effect on the immune system. Competitive exercise was found to reduce natural killer cells in blood and tissue, and increase the prevalence of infection in the participants.-Physician and Sports Medicine, 27(6):47; 1999. Parents can actually rejoice if their children are not accepted after tryouts for competitive sports. Professional football can maim a person for life. A study reported on national TV disclosed in 2010 that a player was 19 times more likely to get Alzheimers than a professional athlete such as a golfer or a tennis player.

There are many kinds of sports or activities that are noncompetitive [and which do not encourage unnecessary risktaking, either]: backpacking, spelunking, gardening, wood or metal shop, crafts, snorkeling, etc. We should put our energies into directing children and adults to choose one of these. Dr. Agatha Thrash practiced hospital and private pathology for about 15 years, and forensic pathology part time for about 35 years. On staff at Uchee Pines Institute, she has practiced natural medicine for the last 37 years, ran a home birth service in Alabama for ten years, and served as the Public Health officer head of the Lay Midwife Association of Russell County. Author of several books about natural medicine and hundreds of counseling papers on a variety of topics for patients, she lectures widely in natural remedies and nutrition.

Gordon W. Russell is a Professor Emeritus at the University of


Lethbring in Alberta, Canada, where he taught social psychology and conducted research on sports aggression for over 32 years. His book Aggression in the Sports World: A Social Psychological Perspective is an international and interdisciplinary presentation of the best and most recent findings in the study of sports aggression, and provides a series of proposals intended to prevent or minimize the severity of riots and panics. In the excerpt below Russell looks at the role of competition and aggression.

. . . A review of 121 published studies comparing the effectiveness of competitive versus cooperatively structured tasks on performance and achievement was undertaken (Johnson, Maruyama, Johnson, Nelson, & Skon, 1981). Cooperation was found to be clearly superior across a variety of tasks, including motor tasks. In one analysis involving 109 findings, 8 favored competition and 65 favored cooperation, whereas 36 favored neither type of setting. We see further that in conjunction with an enjoyment of hard work and a preference for difficult and challenging tasks, low competitiveness is associated with higher salaries among businessmen and higher academic grades among male and female undergraduates (Helmreich & Spence, 1978; see also, Russell 1993, pp. 8991). Competition often fails us in other ways. That is,

Competition breeds hostility, aggression, destruction, and forgetfulness of God and heavenly principles. Cooperation fosters brotherly love, peace, and mutual success; it prepares the character to dwell with heavenly beings.
competitive situations are frequently found to breed hostility among participants. Part of the reason lies with the attitudes of competitors. If participants enter the competition with rivalrous attitudes, then hostilities are apt to develop. The association between rivalry and competition is learned in childhood. Rivalrous attitudes appear in the form of personal intentions that go beyond merely doing well in competition and involve the goal of hurting the other person, perhaps going out of ones way to do so (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959, p. 228). Competition itself can be defined as two or more units, either individuals or groups, engaged in pursuing the same rewards, with these rewards so defined that if they are attained by any one unit, there are fewer rewards for the other units in the situation (Berkowitz, 1962, p. 178).

differences between competition and cooperation in fostering hostility. The setting was a summer camp for young boys (1112 years) in Oklahoma in what is called the Robbers Cave experiment. The boys were carefully matched on skill level and physical stature. The boys were normal, well-adjusted youngsters who did not previously know one another. Upon their arrival at the camp in separate buses, they were assigned to either of two cabins, later named by the boys as the Rattlers and the Eagles. Strong bonds of friendship and group loyalty quickly developed within each group. Their cabins were located a considerable distance from each other, and no contact was made until the second stage of the experiment. During the week following their arrival, the youngsters engaged in a number of highly appealing activities, for example, camping out in the woods, improving a swimming hole as well as organized informal games. By weeks end, the two groups had developed stable group structures. Shortly after, the groups were made aware of each others existence, strong we versus they perceptions of one another emerged. Brought together for a variety of competitions, for example, tug of war, touch football, baseball, and treasure hunt, the early expressions of good sportsmanship and mutual respect began to evaporate. In its stead verbal and physical hostilities began and escalate to the point of a full blown donnybrook in the mess hall. Name calling and throwing of food and then dinnerware brought the experiment to an abrupt halt. Several days of concerted effort by camp personnel were required to restore some semblance of peace between the Rattlers and the Eagles. The investigators next arranged a series of tasks for the boys that required the cooperation of both cabins to succeed. They were superordinate goals or goals that have a compelling appeal for members of each group, but that neither group can achieve without participation of the other (Sherif & Sherif, 1969, p. 256). Several emergencies having potentially dire consequences for both cabins were created by the researchers. The camp truck that went for food mysteriously developed engine failure. It could only be started with both groups pulling together on their former tug of war rope. At another point the waterline broke down stopping the flow of water to the camp. The Rattlers and Eagles agreed to join forces to search for the break in the line. In both examples, it was clearly in their best interests to cooperate with one another, as in fact they did. The result was that intergroup hostility gradually diminished and a number of friendships even began to blossom between the cabins.

A similar field study was undertaken in Lebanon (Diab, 1970) and illustrates the ease with which competition can lead to ill will, if not outright aggression. Following similar procedures, the youngsters were matched and assigned to two groups in the camp. Interestingly, each group contained roughly equal numbers of Moslems and Christians. Friendships and camaraderie within each group developed during the early days of the camp. However, when SECOND ADVENT Herald

The tendency for competition to produce aggression has been well documented (e.g., Berkowitz, 1962, 1973; Deutsch, 1949; Diab, 1970; Sherif & Sherif, 1969). A classic field investigation by Sherif and Sherif (1969) will illustrate the


competition was introduced, hostilities again erupted between the cabins. So intense was the animositya knife was brandishedthat Diab was required to prematurely end the study. The battle lines were drawn between two temporary and artificially created groups. Surprisingly, the centuries-old divisions between Moslems and Christians played no part in the hostilities. One might be forgiven for concluding from the Oklahoma boys camp study that the answer to increasing liking between two competing groups lies with having them cooperate in pursuit of a common goal. The answer is not quite that simple. Worchel, Andreoli, and Folger (1977) reasoned that two variables, the outcome of the cooperative endeavor and the nature of the groups past interaction, would determine the level of intergroup liking. In a nutshell, previously competing groups who failed in their combined effort experienced less attraction for one another. However, success resulted in increased liking. For previously cooperating groups, success and failure on the superordinate task resulted in increased liking between the groups.

A video game (Super Mario Brothers) provided the means for a further investigation of competition and its effects on aggression (Anderson & Morrow, 1995; see also, Bartholow, Sestir, & Davis, 2005). Specifically, pairs of male and female, university-aged participants were led through experimental instructions to adopt either a competitive or a cooperative frame of mind. A cooperative mind set was established for a pair by the experimenter stressing that their performances were to be combined and assessed together. For pairs in the competitive condition, they were told their performances would be compared at the end of the session. The goal for both groups then, was to avoid losing the life of the main character, that is, to advance as far as possible in each scenario. The main characters are Mario and Luigi, both of whom are controlled by the participants. Their task is to help the character avoid cute but deadly creatures as they navigate scenes. Participants can have their character deal with the creatures they encounter in either of two ways, killing or avoiding them. Jumping on top of a creature kills it as does hitting it with a fireball. Creatures can instead be avoided by the main character taking a different path or jumping over the creature. The prediction that pairs assigned to the competitive condition would dispatch a greater number of creatures than those playing in the cooperative condition was confirmed. Competitive subjects had a 66% kill ratio in contrast to cooperative subjects who killed only 41%. Sex differences were not in evidence; that is, men and women had virtually the same kill ratios. . . . Gordon Russell, Sports Aggression. Filed in A-Featured, Medical Mondays, Psychology, on June 30, 2008. OUPblog (Oxford University Press USA):

Early writers have long contended that aggression is an inherent element in most competitions. Konrad Lorenz (1966) makes the point in noting that sport indubitably contains aggressive motivation, demonstrably absent in most animal play (p. 242). This conclusion is echoed by Caplow (1964) who observed that in virtually all competitive situations, some degree of hostility develops between the competitors (p. 318). Certainly, the summer camp studies support such a conclusion. In addition, it was noted earlier that the trait of competitiveness is strongly related to the subscales and total scores on the Aggression Questionnaire (Buss & Perry, 1992). However, laboratory investigations testing the merits of a competitionaggression hypothesis have yielded mixed results. For example, members of a competitive group were less helpful and friendly and more verbally aggressive toward each other than were members of a cooperative group (Deutsch, 1949). A more direct test of the hypothesis was conducted using a two-person reaction time experiment in which electric shock for slow responses served as the measure of interpersonal aggression (Gaebelein & Taylor, 1971). Three levels of motivation were provided subjects: high competition, no shock for fastest response plus 5 cents; moderate competition, no shock; and no competition, shock predetermined. Support for a causal association between competition and aggression was not forthcoming. In the words of the researchers competition had little influence on the expression of physical aggression (p. 66).


Young men and young women should not think that their sports, their evening parties, and musical entertainments, as usually conducted, are acceptable to Christ. Light has been given me, again and again, that all our gatherings should be characterized by a decided religious influence. If our young people would assemble to read and understand the Scriptures, asking, What shall I do that I may have eternal life? and then place themselves unitedly upon the side of truth, the Lord would let His blessing come into their hearts. YI Aug. 14, 1906.

Ellen White, who was not opposed to bicycles per se, nor to outdoor play, did condemn the use of bicycles for competitive racing. It was her angel guide who termed such sporting idolatry and an offense to God: I was told by my Guide: Look ye, and behold the idolatry of My people, to whom I have been speaking, rising up early, and presenting to them their dangers. I looked that they should bring forth fruit. There were some who were striving for the mastery, each trying to excel the other in the swift running of their bicycles. There was a spirit of strife and contention among them as to which should be the greatest. The spirit was similar to that manifested in the baseball games on the college ground. Said my Guide: These things are an offense to God. Both near and afar off souls are perishing for the bread of life and the water of salvation. When Satan is defeated in one line, he will be all ready with other schemes and plans which will appear attractive and needful, and which will absorb money and thought, and encourage selfishness, so that he can overcome those who are so easily led into a false and selfish indulgence. The question arises: What burden do these persons carry for the advancement of the work of God? Wherein do they realize the importance of the work for this time? Christ said to His disciples: Ye are the light of the world. . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16. Is this investment of means and this spinning of bicycles through the streets of Battle Creek giving evidence of the genuineness of your faith in the last solemn warning to be given to human beings standing on the very verge of the eternal world? 8T 52.

inexpensive means of transportation. Until then, though, Ellen White wrote strongly against such self-aggrandizing expense and activity: . . . The money expended in bicycles and dress and other needless things must be accounted for. . . . As Gods people you should represent Jesus; but Christ is ashamed of the selfindulgent ones. My heart is pained, I can scarcely restrain my feelings, when I think of how easily our people are led away from practical Christian principles to self-pleasing. As yet many of you only partially believe the truth. The Lord Jesus says, Ye cannot serve God and mammon, and we are to live by every word which proceedeth out of His mouth. How many believe His word? The Lord abhors your selfish practices, and yet His hand is stretched out still. I urge you for your souls sake to hear my plea now for those who are missionaries in foreign countries, whose hands are tied by your ways. Satan has been working with all his powers of deception to bring matters to that pass where the way will be hedged up for want of means in the treasury. Do you realize that every year thousands and thousands and ten times ten thousand souls are perishing, dying in their sins? The plagues and judgments of God are already doing their work, and souls are going to ruin because the light of truth has not been flashed upon their pathway. Do we fully believe that we are to carry the word of God to all the world? Who believes this? How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Who has the faith that will enable them to practice this word? Who believes in the light which God has given? TM 398.

The appendix note in Testimonies to Ministers reads, At the time this scene was presented to her, the bicycle was not known as an economical means of transportation, but was rather a rich mans toy. Bicycles were being purchased by our young people . . . , not to provide needed transportation to work or school, but rather as a demonstration of superiority, for show, and in the seeking of supremacy. The young people were mortgaging their incomes for months in advance to buy what was then an expensive piece of equipment to be so used. Within a few years time, the bicycle became a useful and



There is danger of both parents and teachers commanding and dictating too much, while they fail to come sufficiently into social relation with their children or scholars. . . . If they would gather the children close to them and show that they love them, and would manifest an interest in all their efforts and even in their sports [play], sometimes even being a child among children, they would make the children very happy and would gain their love and win their confidence. And the children would sooner respect and love the authority of their parents and teachers. AH 192. I do not condemn the simple exercise of playing ball; but this, even in its simplicity, may be overdone. I shrink always from the almost sure result which follows in the wake of these amusements. It leads to an outlay of means that should be expended in bringing the light of truth to souls that are perishing out of Christ. The amusements and expenditures of means for self-pleasing, which lead on step by step to selfglorifying, and the educating in these games for pleasure, produce a love and passion for such things that is not favorable to the perfection of Christian character. The More Excellent WayNow the same power of exercise of mind and muscle might invent ways and means of altogether a higher class of exercise, in doing missionary work which would make them laborers together with God, and would be educating for higher usefulness in the present life, in doing useful work, which is a most essential branch in education. 2SM 322. The life of Jesus was

filled with industry, and He took exercise in performing varied tasks in harmony with His developing physical strength. In doing the work that was marked out for Him, He had no time for indulgence in exciting, useless amusements. He took no part in that which would poison the moral and lower the physical tone, but was trained in useful labor and even for the endurance of hardship. In His earth life Christ was an example to all the human family, and He was obedient and helpful in the home. He learned the carpenters trade and worked with His own hands in the little shop at Nazareth. . . . AH 506-7. In many places in Ellen Whites writings, the importance of training youth to bear responsibility, to develop skills in useful, satisfying endeavors, to missionary work in its many aspects, is stressed. Wasted hours in frivolous, self-indulgent, or health- and spirituality-destroying pastimes are discouraged. Ellen G. White (1827-1915): The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes that when the tests of a true prophet are applied to Ellen White, they confirm beyond doubt that God bestowed upon her the promised gift of prophecy. That gift is one of two prominent characteristics of His church in the last days (Rev. 12:17; Rev. 19:10), and indeed, her prophetic gift was instrumental in the establishment of Seventhday Adventism. Her inspired writings continue to clarify and uplift the Word of God, as well as provide invaluable health counsel.

With the word of God in his hands, every human being, wherever his lot in life may be cast, may have such companionship as he shall choose. In its pages he may hold converse with the noblest and best of the human race, and may listen to the voice of the Eternal as He speaks with men. As he studies and meditates upon the themes into which the angels desire to look (1 Peter 1:12), he may have their companionship. He may follow the steps of the heavenly Teacher, and listen to His words as when He taught on mountain and plain and sea. He may dwell in this world in the atmosphere of heaven, imparting to earths sorrowing and tempted ones thoughts of hope and longings for holiness; himself coming closer and still closer into fellowship with the Unseen; like him of old who walked with God, drawing nearer and nearer the threshold of the eternal world, until the portals shall open, and he shall enter there. He will find himself no stranger. The voices that will greet him are the voices of the holy ones, who, unseen, were on earth his companionsvoices that here he learned to distinguish and to love. He who through the word of God has lived in fellowship with heaven, will find himself at home in heavens companionship. Education, 127



Jean Handwerk
Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by His mighty cleaver has separated from the world.

he church today speaks of the priority of evangelism in ministry, and I would second this commitment. But I fear for those churches that place a ministry objective over doctrine, a task over the text of Scripture. Evangelism is not just any taskit is a priority command by Christ Himself. But Christ, the Creator of the entire world, did not expect His own Word to be diminished when His people carry out that commission. (See Psalm 138:2.)1 In many churches today, while the love message of the gospel is blended into palatable syrup that can be fed to anyone (Christian or non-Christian), the repentance and new creation parts of the gospel are either ignored or distorted into a hybrid that is compatible with evolutionary humanism. Only belief in the truth can lead to salvation and bring a soul from death unto life. 2

appears to be now. The fields are ripe for harvest. Yet we cannot ask them to join a church which suffers from the same spiritual maladies theyre experiencing. Most likely, these are some of whom Ellen White wrote, The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted, and those who were once converted, but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear? Counsels on Diet and Foods, 455; 6T 370-1. So if we work to show them what the Lord has revealed to His remnant church while the Lord does not now work to bring [them] into the truth, what will be the results? What can we accomplish without the power of the Holy Spirit working through us? Notice that the Lord does not bring them into the truthnot the church!

The Cause of God s Inaction?

What is one major cause of this decline? We must know, so that we may know how to labor intelligently in right lines to reverse it, so that the truth may be accepted both by our own members as well as new believers, so that our church can become a safe haven where critical present truth is taught and lived in everyday lives. The cause is revealed in the first part of the quotation we just read: The subject of health reform has been presented in the churches; but the light has not been heartily received. The selfish, health-destroying indulgences of men and women have counteracted the influence of the message that is to prepare a people for the great day of God. If the churches expect strength, they must live the truth which God has given them. If the members of our churches disregard the light on this subject, they will reap the sure result in both spiritual and physical degeneracy. And the influence of these older church members will leaven those newly come to the faith. Ibid. SECOND ADVENT Herald

Harvestime, but Reapers Unready

While many conservative Adventists well recognize these issues in our church today, readers might be surprised to know that those two quotes were written by evangelicals about their own churches! If ever there has been a time for remnant believers to share the three angels message, it certainly


If not Of the Word, then Of the World

The inspired counsel reveals the fearful fact that our denomination is not a living church. We have counteracted the influence of the message. And if we are not alive, then we are spiritually dead. What will be written against our names in heavens books of record? Here are her words: Brethren, we are far behind. Many of the things which the church should do in order to be a living church are not done. Through the indulgence of perverted appetite many place themselves in such a condition of health that there is a constant warring against the souls highest interests. The truth, though presented in clear lines, is not accepted. We are assured, It is God which worketh in you, but man must do his part in controlling appetite and passion. Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by His mighty cleaver has separated from the world. 6T 371-2, emphasis added.

the truth because their minds are dulled through perverted appetite, neither can the world. Every church member should be engaged in some line of service for the Master. Some cannot do so much as others, but everyone should do his utmost to roll back the tide of disease and distress that is sweeping over our world. Many would be willing to work if they were taught how to begin. They need to be instructed and encouraged.

The selfish, health-destroying indulgences of men and women have counteracted the influence of the message that is to prepare a people for the great day of God.
Every church should be a training school for Christian workers. Its members should be taught how to give Bible readings, how to conduct and teach Sabbath school classes, how best to help the poor and to care for the sick, how to work for the unconverted. There should be schools of health, cooking schools, and classes in various lines of Christian help work. There should not only be teaching, but actual work under experienced instructors. Let the teachers lead the way in working among the people and others, uniting with them, will learn from their example. One example is worth more than many precepts.--Ministry of Healing, pp. 148, 149. Call to Medical Evangelism, 17-18.

Neither Have We Obeyed

And finally, this solemn pronouncement: They do not realize that they are accountable for every ray of light in regard to their physical well-being, and that their every habit is open to the inspection of God. The laws of the physical system are indeed the laws of God. 6T 372. Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Dan 9:10. In verse 9, Daniel calls such disobedience rebellion. We cannot ignore the fate of such. And for those who have regarded health reform as of such little importance as to be optional in the believers life, this Word from God disabuses them of that fatal self-deception: He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much. Luke 16:10. Brothers and sisters, if any of this applies to you, we plead, Redeem the time without delay.

Redeem the Time!

The terrible disasters that are befalling great cities ought to arouse us to intense activity in giving the warning message to the people in these congested centers of population while we still have an opportunity. The most favorable time for the presentation of our message in the cities has passed by. Sin and wickedness are rapidly increasing; and now we shall have to redeem the time by laboring all the more earnestly.--Medical Ministry, p. 310. Call to Medical Evangelism, 14.

Shall we not share Pauls wisdom? And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. 1 Cor 9:25-27.

Medical Evangelism: A Great and Necessary Work

But it is not enough for us individually to be temperate. By voice and pen and example and cooking classes and medical ministry and health lectures, we must sound the alarm to our church and to the world. If our church members cannot accept


A Wrong Way and a R ight Way

The education that meets the worlds standard is to be less and less valued by those who are seeking for efficiency in carrying the medical missionary work in connection with the work of the third angels message. They are to be educated from the standpoint of conscience, and, as they conscientiously and faithfully follow right methods in their treatment of the sick, these methods will come to be recognized as preferable to the methods to which many have become accustomed, which demand the use of poisonous drugs. We should not at this time seek to compete with worldly medical schools. Should we do this, our chances of success would be small. Moreover, should we follow the worlds methods of medical practice, exacting the large fees that

of our duty. Let us remember that we are living in review before God, that we shall have tests to bear, and that our faith in God is to be so cultivated that we can reach up to heaven in full confidence for sanctification of body, soul, and spirit. Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 317.

We can either obey when we eat and drink, or rebel.

Every mealtime is a spiritual test. We can either live up to all the light that we have been given on diet and appetite, or we can ignore that light. We can either obey when we eat and drink, or rebel. We can either glorify God then, or bring dishonor upon His name. We can either eat and drink for clear minds in order to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, or we can bring on dull minds and make it hard to hear His voice. We need to learn that indulged appetite is the greatest hindrance to mental improvement and soul sanctification. Counsels on Diet and Food, 127. Endnotes

The laws of the physical system are indeed the laws of God.
worldly physicians demand for their services, we would work away from Christs plan for our ministry to the sick. 9T 175. At Loma Linda [as it originally was established] many can be educated to work as missionaries in the cause of health and temperance. Teachers are to be prepared for many lines of work. Schools are to be established in places where as yet no efforts have been made. Missionaries are to go to other states where little work has been done. The work of promulgating the principles of health reform must be accomplished. God help us as a people to be wise. 9T 177.

1 Lawrence E. Ford, exec. editor of Acts and Facts, the magazine of the Institute for Creation Research, in an article titled Anchors Away? Confronting biblical drift among todays evangelicals. March 2009, 5. 2 Henry M. Morris III, chief exec officer, Institute for Creation Research, in Acts and Facts, December 2008, 5.

Appetite: Ruin or Victory

The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands who, if they had conquered on this point, would have had the moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail of perfecting Christian character. Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 154. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating, who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from Gods people, to walk no more with them. Counsels for the Church, 230. When the heart is in right condition before God, we shall deny self. Did not God give Jesus, His only begotten Son--He who was equal with the Father in the making of man? What are you doing to make yourself acceptable before God? Are you cultivating your reasoning powers? Are you preserving your physical powers by a wise and careful diet? We need to adopt a simple diet if we would have a clear understanding

Jean Handwerk, a former teacher, researches and writes from Delaware on Biblical and natural health topics. She is managing editor for SECOND ADVENT Herald .



The New Life

nd you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Ellen G. White

in Christ
covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. The apostle desired those to whom he was writing to remember that they must reveal in their lives the glorious change wrought in them by Christs transforming grace. They were to be lights in the world, by their purified, sanctified characters exerting an influence counter to the influence of satanic agencies. They were ever to remember the words, Not of yourselves. They could not change their own hearts. And when by their efforts souls were led from the ranks of Satan to take their stand for Christ, they were not to claim any credit for the transformation wrought. Gods workers today are to remember this. The great change that is seen in the life of a sinner after conversion is not brought about by any human goodness. He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. Let those who are brought to repentance declare that it is only because of the goodness of God that they have been led to Christ. He who is rich in mercy has imparted his grace to us. Then let praise and thanksgiving ascend to him, because he has become our Saviour. Let his love, filling our hearts and minds, flow forth from our lives in rich currents of grace. When we were dead in trespasses and sins, he quickened us into spiritual life. He brought grace and pardon, filling the soul with new life. Thus the sinner passes from death to life. He now takes up his new duties in Christs service. His life becomes true and strong, filled with good works. Because I live, Christ said, ye shall live also.

The truly converted man has no time to think or talk of the faults of others.

But a change came. You were convicted and converted. Did you then exercise the faith that works by love and purifies the soul, or did you continue to follow the same evil habits and practises that you followed before your conversion? If you were genuinely converted, you turned away from all wrong. The mind which has been placed in the control of Christ, and on which he has wrought by his grace, becomes refined, purified, elevated. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

Our Witness
Let us consider the representation that God wants us to make before angels and before men. By helpful words, purity of actions, nobility of principle, the Christian is to reveal Christ. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Those who obey these words will show what a belief in the truth that Christ came to impart, will do for human beings. Wherefore remember, Paul says, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands: that at that time--before light broke into the darkened chambers of the soul--ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the

Am I Truly Converted?
I ask every church-member to consider the words, ye must be born again. Are you living the new life in Christ? Are you doing his work? Are you honoring him by showing the great blessing that is found in standing under his banner? Are you so grateful to Christ for his redeeming love, so faithful and true to his service, that your heart can not be haughty, selfish, self-centered? Is watching unto prayer a part of your daily life? The truly converted man has no time to think or talk of the faults of others. His lips are sanctified, and as Gods faithful witness he testifies that the grace of Christ has


the work that Christ came to do. God gave his only begotten Son to die for a race of rebels, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Why should we not walk and work in the way that God has marked out? Why should any one please the enemy by tearing down anothers work, using the powers God has given him to kill hope and drive souls into discouragement? In every church there are young men and women who need the help of a strong, compassionate hand-clasp, of a loving, Christlike interest that will not let them go. Let there be an end to bickering over little things. Cease to speak words that do no good, and come close to those who have erred. Take hold of them, and draw them to Christ. Give Satan no chance to enter our ranks. Angels are sent from the heavenly courts, not to destroy, but to watch over and guard imperiled souls, to save the lost, to bring the straying ones back to the fold. I came not to condemn, but to save, Christ declared. Have you, then, no pitying words to speak to the straying? Will you let them perish, or will you reach out to them a helping hand? Right around you there are souls who are in danger of perishing. Will you not with the cords of love draw them to the Saviour? Will you not cease your reproaches, and speak words that will inspire them with faith and courage?

Gods Message to Us
transformed his heart. He realizes that he can not afford to talk discouragement and unbelief; he can not afford to be harsh and faultfinding. He has not received orders from God to punish the erring by heaping abuse upon them. My brethren and sisters, be afraid to find fault, afraid to talk against your fellow beings, lest you lose the sense that you are dedicated to the service of God, and that as a faithful servant you must keep his interests in view. You are to live a life that will convince others that you are a child of God, under the training of the Captain of your salvation, that you may be prepared for active service. You have enlisted to fight against Satans forces, and you have no time to fight against your fellow soldiers. God calls upon his church to awake to their duty, to show themselves true and loyal to the Captain of their salvation. They are to follow his example, and learn what it means to be faithful to him who loves them, and who has given them a place in his army. For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery, which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is the message that I am commissioned to bear to you: You are to take the words addressed by Paul to the church at Ephesus as if addressed to you personally. By alienation, disunion, and diversity of opinion, Satan has hindered the work outlined in the words of the apostle. Had believers put self out of sight, had they refused to carry out the plans devised by Satan to hinder the work of God, how much farther advanced we might now be! For years messages have been sent pointing out the work to be done. But this work has not been accomplished. Believers have stood directly across the path of its accomplishment, blocking the way by envy, evil SECOND ADVENT Herald

Not to Destroy, But to Save

Envy, evil surmising, backbiting, and faultfinding,--let these not be named among Christs disciples. These things are the cause of the present feebleness of the church. We have a perfect Pattern, even the life of Christ. It is to be our eager desire to do as he has done, to live as he lived, that others, by seeing our good works, may be led to glorify God. The blessing of heaven will rest upon those who try to help others by doing


surmisings, and faultfinding. They have sought the highest place. Commercial business has absorbed the attention and consumed the means that ought to have been given to the proclamation of the message of salvation. Thank God, something has been done, but a thousand times more might have been done than has been done. The enemy has brought in a variety of things to occupy the minds of believers. Time is fast passing, the work is still undone, and the world is growing worse and worse. And yet in mercy the Spirit of God is still striving with souls. Brethren and sisters, I call upon you to put on the whole armor of God. Those who have never heard the reasons of our faith are now to be reached. Many are waiting for a message from Gods Word. Go to them, and tell them where we are standing in the history of this world.

A Great Work in a Short Time

The end is near, and the message contained in the third chapter of Ephesians is the message that I am bidden to give to believers. A world-wide work is to be done. We are now to go to work in earnest to proclaim the truth. The Voice said, Lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins. They are hindering the proclamation of the last message of warning. Paul carried a burden that we ought now to be carrying. A great work is to be done, and it is to be done in a short time. O, how much there is to do, and how many there are who for various reasons are not engaged in Gods work! Satan is devising plans to keep the Lords forces out of the work. He does not want people to be aroused to a realization of the swift judgments that are coming upon the world. My brethren and sisters, let us arouse to an understanding of our true position. God will not be trifled with. He has spoken in judgments to arouse those who for years have worked at cross-purposes with him. These judgments were not mere casualties. They were the reproof of God to his people. I entreat those who have, as it were, defied God to his face, no longer to dishonor him by clinging to their own way. Let us now take up the work of God intelligently and unitedly, proclaiming as with one voice the message of warning and salvation. Let us heed the word of the Lord, lest coming suddenly, he find us unready. There will be no second probation. Now, while it is called today, if we will hear the voice of the Lord, and turn fully to him, he will have mercy upon us, and abundantly pardon. Review and Herald, May 10, 1906. Ellen G. White (1827-1915): The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes that when the tests of a true prophet are applied to Ellen White, they confirm beyond doubt that God bestowed upon her the promised gift of prophecy. That gift is one of two prominent characteristics of His church in the last days (Rev. 12:17; Rev. 19:10), and indeed, her prophetic gift was instrumental in the establishment of Seventhday Adventism. Her inspired writings continue to clarify and uplift the Word of God, as well as provide invaluable health counsel.



God is love is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. - Steps to Christ, p. 10