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In another press release today, the North American Division announced that "The Voice of Prophecy Board met Tuesday, April 30 in Simi Valley, Calif., and elected Pastor Shawn Boonstra the new speaker/director of The Voice of Prophecy.
Recently, Pastor Boonstra served as an associate ministerial director at the North American Division. His role in the Ministerial Department was to inspire, train, and equip pastors and churches for evangelism. Prior to this assignment, he served for seven years as the speaker/director of It Is Written, an international Christian television ministry dedicated to sharing insights from God’s Word with people around the world.
Shawn Boonstra has also occasionally penned articles for the Adventist Review. In 2011 he wrote the following about the tragic Japan earthquake.
But I am convinced that each successive catastrophe is also a clear message to God’s church. They are meant to stir us to action. They ought to remind us that our neighbors can’t explain what is happening—and that they are utterly lost without Jesus, hurtling down a path to final destruction.
He asserted that earthquakes were increasing in frequency and magnitude and this was a sign of the times.
The spiritual significance of these larger-than-life disasters—and the accelerating frequency with which they’re happening—is eluding most of the human race.... In case you’re also struggling with recall, let me give you a head start: Haiti, China, Chile, Indonesia, New Zealand. In reality, there have been more than 30 earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.0 or greater since the beginning of 2010.
In an article on this blog, "Tragedy and Our Moral End," I looked at the US Geological Survey data through 2010 and it showed that earthquakes were not increasing in frequency or magnitude. Since then, the data has continued to undermine Boonstra's point.
In this new job, hopefully Boonstra will avoid this "amazing facts" approach to televangelization. As he steps into H.M.S. Richards shoes perhaps this is an opportunity to keep calm and carry on the legacy of the Biblical prophetic voices of compassion and moral action regarding human suffering.
“The Cross: A Symposium on Atonement” concluded on Sabbath, April 20, with meetings throughout the day at the Loma Linda University Campus Hill Church. The Adventist Theological Society had convened the gathering since Thursday evening, April 18.
Tom Shepherd, an Andrews University seminary professor who is the president of ATS, began the sermon not discussing sin, but suffering. Recalling the fall of 1997, a time of intense suffering for him, he reminded the congregation of the isolation, heaviness, dread, fogginess of mind and endless question “why” that suffering causes. He turned to I Peter 2:21 and developed the theme that Christ died not “with” or “in” but “for” us. In a very close reading of the passage in I Peter, which utilized both his scholarly skills and his experience as one who has suffered, he described several practical and positive things the suffering of Jesus can do “for” those who suffer today. For instance, he extolled following the example of Jesus in suffering with the composure that he manifested because he had handed his life over to God. Yet being able to follow the example of Jesus in this and other regards depends upon having been liberated from the heavy load of sin. This is like having one’s wounds healed, like being a lost and lonely lamb that is returned to the closeness of the flock. If in this sermon he ever spoke the words “penal substitutionary atonement,” I didn’t hear them.
Earlier in the morning, Andrews University seminary professor Jo Ann Davidson spoke on “Abraham, Isaac and Akedah: The Atonement According to Moses.” She objected to the view that the first followers of Jesus retrospectively identified in the story of Abraham and Isaac similarities to the life, death and resurrection of their Master. It was precisely the other way around, she contended. According to her proposal, the author of the earlier narrative knowingly and intentionally included many details that would occur again in the story of Jesus. She held that attending to the details of the story of Abraham’s willingness to kill his own son, including its shocking and horrible elements, increases our understanding of and appreciation for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus many centuries later.
Ross Winkle, from Pacific Union College, began the afternoon with “The Atonement and the Restrainer.” I picture his proposal as having four steps, each with an abundance of scriptural support: (1) Connect the “restrainer” in II Thessalonians 2, whose identity has long perplexed scholars, with Michael in Daniel 10-12; (2) Identify this Michael with the resurrected Jesus and focus on his ongoing intercessory or atoning work; (3) Expand this “High Priestly” ministry of Jesus so that it includes “restraining evil;” (4) Return to II Thessalonians 2 and identify the “restrainer” of the “lawless one” as Jesus Christ (who is also the one who will eventually annihilate him). A fresh identification of the “restrainer,” plus a wider understanding of atonement that is expansive enough to include restraining evil, are the outcomes.
Roy E. Gane of the Andrews University seminary followed with a presentation titled “Legal Substitution and Experiential Transformation in the Typology of Leviticus.” He contended that in this Old Testament book both things in his title are “clearly present and fully necessary.” In addition to many passages in Leviticus, he appealed to portions of the New Testament letter of Hebrews. He held that the ancient symbols and rituals of salvation were objective in the sense that they were done for the people and subjective in the sense that they were to result with positive changes in them. In this way Gane eroded biblical support for both “substitutionary” and “moral influence” atonement theories of our time when either are taken alone.
As the last presentation of the day, Felix Cortez of the University of Montemorelos offered “Without Shedding of Blood There is No Remission: Atonement, Substitution and the Logic of Forgiveness in Hebrews.” He focused on Hebrews 9:15–22 and its implications for the understanding of Jesus' death in the rest of the epistle. He argued that, contrary to a majority of biblical translations and commentaries, the author of Hebrews describes Jesus' death as substitutionary punishment. Yet, according to my understanding of Cortez, its inner meaning is not best understood as the transfer of legal retribution from someone who deserves it to someone who doesn’t. It is more akin to the commendation or condemnation that an ancient king of Israel received from God on behalf of his subjects. This suggested to me that the metaphors for this kind of substitution should be drawn more from palaces and less from courts.
A panel discussion that included about half of the symposium’s presenters brought the two-day event to a close. Its members responded to questions from Tom Shepherd that probed matters such as the biggest issues surrounding atonement among Adventists today, the things that most disturbed the panelists about atonement and the kinds of problems atonement does and does not solve.
One of the most poignant moments of the entire symposium occurred when someone in the audience observed that the primary issues surrounding atonement are not theological but social and political. He explained that formulating more atonement theories is not our greatest need; living more respectfully with each other is.
Recordings of all the symposium’s presentations are available at the Adventist Theological Society’s website, www.atsjats.org.
Image: Barnett Newman, Onement, VI, 1953.
In a press release issued on April 29, the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists shared a proposal being weighed about its media production ministries and studio. Chaired by Dan Jackson, president of the NAD, the meeting took place at the Adventist Media Center in Simi Valley, Calif., where Breath of Life Ministries, Faith For Today, It Is Written, Jesus 101 Biblical Institute, La Voz de la Esperanza, and The Voice of Prophecy are currently produced.
This follows on news in April 2012 that these associated TV ministries would offer the NAD proposals for relocating to less expensive production facilities in Southern California. But the 2013 proposal moves all direct NAD media production to church headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. The proposal included the following issues:
1. Allowing the present Media Ministries to relocate. The Division would grant permission for the media ministries to relocate outside the Adventist Media Center, urging them to move with expedience. Further, to whatever degree is appropriate, the Division would assist them in doing so. This transition should not disrupt the delivery of programming and services such as Bible correspondence and study requests.
2. A time period of 12-18 months for the media ministries to carry out the planning, and accomplish relocation. Specifically associated with this proposal is the provision for allowing 12-18 months for each media ministry in which to wind down activity at the Media Center location. Efforts will be made to minimize the impact on employees who will be affected by and during the transition and relocation period.
3. Sell the property housing the current Adventist Media Center. Concurrent with this move, the Division would begin moving toward an attempt to sell the Adventist Media Center property in a commercially viable fashion.
4. Utilize the studio facilities at the Division offices for production. While the creation of equivalent facilities to those at the Media Center in California is not anticipated, it is the intent of the Division to create in the facilities occupied by the Division (in Silver Spring, Md.) studio facilities adequate to meet the needs required by the Division that lie outside the specific needs of the various media ministries.
5. Ongoing commitment to providing funding for the media ministries. As a part of this process, and in clear understanding that the media ministries are part of the NAD ministry effort, funding levels from the Division would be identified for each of the media ministries in order to allow them to fulfill their mission.
6. Commitment to explore new possibilities for media development. The Division anticipates a significant role for the media ministries in the future of media in North America; beyond the role they currently play.
The North American Division Committee will receive the recommended proposal from the AMC Board.
On April 27, 2013, Cherise Gardner was ordained to Adventist ministry at the Glendale City Seventh-day Adventists Church.
Cherise Gardner, a native of the Bahamas, has been serving in some aspect of ministry since the age of five, when she decided to become a minister, like her grandfather.
Cherise earned an B.A. in Religion and a B.S. in Business Administration from Northern Caribbean University, before serving as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve. Before coming to Glendale, Calif., where she serves as Pastor for Children and Family Ministry, Cherise earned a M.A.* in Religion with an emphasis in Christian Social Ethics, from La Sierra University, Riverside, Calif.
She is the wife and best friend of Hugh Gardner.
The following photographs were taken by Gerry Chudleigh, publisher of the Pacific Union Recorder.
*The article misidentified her third degree as a B.A.. It has been corrected.
1. A young Michigan women is suing Peterson-Warren Academy and the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists over alleged sexual abuse by an assistant principal.
2. Governor General of Jamaica Sir Patrick Allen hailed Pastor Kenneth Vaz as a learned and humble servant of God during a service of thanksgiving for the life of the late former president of West Indies College (now Northern Caribbean University).
3. The Dakotas Conference has moved its headquarters to Bismarck, North Dakota, from Pierre, S.D.
During a 2006 discussion in Beverly Hills, Calif., Benjamin Carson, Francis Collins, Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett debated issues of "Science and Faith." It is moderated by former ABC journalist Kathleen Matthews.
A haystack by any other name: nachos, an organized taco salad, Frito pie, or perhaps a petro. If you’ve shared enough meals with Adventists, you’ve probably watched the construction of the ubiquitous haystack, or heard it mentioned, much like the phrase “Happy Sabbath.”*
This week’s Spectrum Café features thoughts on haystacks from a fresh perspective: non-Adventist college students. “What the Haystack?!”, directed by Pacific Union College film and television major Halstyn Hart, explores the perspectives that six students (Catholic, Buddhist, Pentecostal, “not really religious” and non-denominational) have about Adventism, through their experiences at PUC. The film premiered at the recent SONscreen film festival in Simi Valley (click here for photos from the festival; scroll down to see what was served for Sabbath lunch). See below for an excerpt from the film.
Hart says that growing up as an Adventist inspired her curiosity about a non-Adventist perspective on life at a denominational college campus. Through the film, she found that the students featured were “confused about the Adventist practices and the culture that we have formed,” she says. “Haystacks are the tangible [representation] of Adventist culture; people have eaten similar things, but the term is new.” But, in a past article, the Adventist Review thinks they might have found the origin of Adventist haystacks.
“The haystack is a good doorway to sharing with friends. It’s something everyone can enjoy, whether you’re vegetarian or not,” Hart says. For comparison, Hart also serves the students an exotic buffet of meat analogues, including veggie burgers, veggie links, and Stripples. The “fake meat” was much less popular than haystacks, but as one student bravely states, “When I was younger, I ate the chocolate-covered cricket thing. It’s OK; I’ll explore.”
Hart is looking for a way to share the film beyond its current YouTube audience. And, she muses, “I still don’t know why we call them haystacks.”
Note: This video is an excerpt from "What the Haystack?!"
What do you think of as the quintessential haystack? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
“Just a stack of food,” as one Adventist woman writes on her website. This West Coast-style, vegan-friendly dish is my version of the perfect haystack. I usually volunteer to bring the salsa.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: n/a
1 bag blue corn tortilla chips
1 15-oz can black beans
Sharp Cheddar cheese (or Cheddar-style almond “cheese”), grated
Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
Medium-spicy fresh salsa
Sour cream (perhaps)
1. Place the tortilla chips on a plate and lightly crush them.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed (very important).
3. Wish your neighbors “Happy Sabbath."
*Spectrum couldn’t feature a food column without mentioning haystacks, sooner or later.