The beliefs and sentiments expressed by those whose letters appear here are not necessarily shared by the Adventist Review or its editorial staff. These letters have been edited for clarity and length. -- Editors
GC Session Responses and Reactions
Kudos! The Adventist Review team did a marvelous task of reporting on the fifty-ninth General Conference session in Atlanta. The daily bulletins are informing, heart-warming, and so connecting with the world-wide church family. Thank you.
Thanks so much for the Adventist Review and all you put into it. We were unable to attend the General Conference this year, but we really enjoyed the great coverage and updates sent to us. We depend on the Review to keep us informed about the work among our brothers and sisters around the world.
I must say my heart despaired, though, with Bulletin Number 5 (p 16) when I read the phrase “Saturday evening sermon.” Was it not on Sabbath? Sabbath has been precious to me since I was a child, and I do not intend on losing sight of its precious sanctity. We Seventh-day Adventists have a special day, and it is Sabbath!
Thank you for helping us hang onto the Sabbath given to us by our Creator.
I attended the Youth on Parade program at the General Conference session July 3. I was there to support my daughter as she offered a gift of praise to God as part of the Collegedale Academy combined choirs.
Youth of our church family: please accept an apology from someone in the over-30-something age bracket! We took way too much face time in this program talking about ourselves and our service to youth. We spent some time talking about you, but why didn’t we let you tell us about yourselves! With several notable and refreshing exceptions, we didn’t do that. I’m so sorry!
Youth, your talent, your creativity, your wisdom, and your humor are not only refreshing to me, but vital to our church; not the future church, as you hear from so many of us leaders, but the now church! I’m sorry that we basically excluded your generation from the delegate ranks. Maybe we’re afraid that your demand for relevance and your lack of preconceived ideas will make us too uncomfortable.
Don’t give up on us! I challenge you to take the initiative by gently leading us to see what you have to offer God and His church. Find those of us who love to see you worship with your lives and voices in ways only you can. Let us coach you, support you, love you, and get out of your way, rather than use you as an exhibit of what we think we’ve done.
I love and appreciate you so much! Thank you for serving and blessing in spite of us!
Pastor Ted Wilson made a comment during the fifty-ninth General Conference session that disturbed me. Members were clapping in response to what he was saying, and he requested individuals say “amen” instead.
If the Holy Spirit I receive is demonstrated by applause and an “amen,” and I am not disrupting my fellow congregants, why would that be a problem? I don’t want to be discouraged; my culture uses applause as a positive response to sermons, music, or other presentations in church. It is not considered irreverent.
It’s going to be a problem if the sound of shouting is not proper here on earth but will be heard in heaven. I hope Pastor Wilson was not trying to smother sincere appreciation of how the Holy Spirit leads.
The General Conference Bulletin Supplement for the General Conference (GC) session in Atlanta is a prize issue.
I am humbly thankful to belong to a church that is so earnest in every area for sharing the gospel and meeting the physical, material, emotional, and spiritual needs of our members and fellow citizens.
Perhaps you mentioned only GC-owned and -operated organizations, and not loyal independent missions in the Supplement. What would the church do without these active missions? I missed reading about Prison Ministries. Did the loyal, independent ministries have booths to display their work at the GC session? I hope so.
Independent and supportive Adventist ministries and institutions were well-represented in the exhibition hall of the Atlanta World Congress Center. The Supplement is indeed just a snapshot of the departments and institutions that receive direct funding from the General Conference.—Editors
Leaders and Their Priorities
As a young adult who can name my leaders all the way to the General Conference president, I couldn’t think of anything off the top of my head that they are passionate about. Only after thinking about it did I come up with a few topics.
The statistics Nash presented from his class show how the church is experiencing a wide chasm between the interactions of youth and young adults and their church leaders. While at the General Conference session, there was much discussion about getting more youth and young adult involvement at various levels of the church. One delegate commented that leaders have to be willing to mentor young people, and young people have to be willing to be mentored. This is an essential key to bridging the chasm we are experiencing in our church.
Humans long to be known by who they are deep within. Church leaders would do well to get to know the younger segment of our church population on a personal level. We really do care about the church; we just might not know where to get started and need to be initiated.
Beware the Drift
The cover story, “The Emerging Church” by Fernando Canale (June 10, 2010), is long overdue. It is so precise and timely.
I have been troubled by this muted drift into Adventism for a long time. It has become trendy among us that if one should mention or use a quotation from the writings of Ellen White, many of our leaders and laity act as though one is talking about some radical or noxious material. But they are ready to embrace publications with this emerging theology.
There is so much material by Ellen White and many other Adventist authors to support or be the basis for meditation in a prayer group or for sermon preparation. But instead we use publications that contradict the Three Angels’ Messages.
Canale states, “As the remnant church, our mission, identity, and nature stand on the consistent understanding and intelligent application of all biblical teachings. . . . This means that the Adventist way of thinking around the world should stem only and entirely from Scripture, and not from their various cultures and traditions.”
He also calls for Adventists to stop playing “follow the leader” and become “leaders of a biblical reformation by following Scripture alone and generating an alternate ecumenical movement.”
The seven churches of Revelation clearly describe an emergence during the apostolic era. Jesus’ accusation against this “emergence,” in effect, was spiritual fornication by mixing the purity of the gospel with the doctrine of Balaam, the Nicolaitans, and the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:6-15).
Because of what is at stake, it is high time to sound an alarm (Joel 2:1) against what is becoming in Adventism a game of follow the leader.
Wendell T. Osborne
Takoma Park, Maryland
Thank you for an informative cover feature about “The Emerging Church.” I received a blessing in reading it. It is such a comfort to know that we still have professors guiding the minds of our youth who hold high standards and refocus the thinking on Scripture, not on culture or tradition.
Christ, our example, showed us how to live by having a steadfast purpose of ministry in marked contrast to that of His day. He hid Himself in God and God was revealed in Him.
Our pastor said recently, “God says He will measure His people by one criterion--a plumb line” (see Amos 7:7, 8). Faithfulness to our heavenly Father through Scripture and its interpretation is really the bottom line.
Carol A. Campbell
Palo Cedro, California
In his article “The Emerging Church,” I could not agree more when Fernando Canale reminded us, “Our lives, ministries, worship, and mission should stem from a deep study and commitment to the Bible--only and entirely. We should also be committed to follow the Bible only--entirely, and first of all.”
However, in the following paragraph Canale seems to be indulging in double speak when he proceeds, “We should assess everything critically in the light of biblical thinking and the Spirit of Prophecy.”
The way Canale capitalized “Spirit of Prophecy,” makes it seem as if the spirit of prophecy is pre-eminent to the Bible. I’m confused; I thought the Bible, and the Bible alone, is our rule of faith.
Fred S. Hosillos
Behind the Headlines
Early last year Mark Finley visited the North Shore Church in Chicago and announced that he would be returning to the area for a series of meetings in 2010. The reason he chose this church is that in 1971, early in his evangelistic career, he had what was probably until then his most successful campaign. More than 90 people were baptized at this Chicago church.
When he returned this year for his final series of meetings before retiring, he lectured at North Shore three times a week. On Sabbath and Sunday afternoons he made his presentation in Chicago, then drove to Hinsdale for their evening meetings. He also spoke in Chicago on Monday evenings, with five Hinsdale meetings a week, taking only Fridays off—a remarkable achievement for a man his age; truly a dedicated servant of God.