Columns

The Master’s Children

 “If we truly want a less violent society, not hitting our children is a good place to start,” was Paul Holinger’s response to the editor of the New York Times following a recent article on the status of “paddling” in the nation’s school systems. Dr. Holinger went on to say, “I see the carnage of physical punishment every day in the office.  Physical punishment is a major public health problem in this country.”

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What Will Our Reformation Look Like?

I believe most Seventh-day Adventists welcome the call to revival and reformation. Most of us feel our spiritual deficiency—personal and collective—and would like to do something about it.

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Creation in the Bible

Those who have been reading my series of columns on creation know that they were motivated by the reactions to my column of last July. In that column I lamented that there were those who wish to fight doctrinal battles over creation and said that doctrines are not established or negated in battles.

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Mission Accomplished? Obama, Osama and the Global Drama

Last Sunday, as bemused citizens in scattered areas of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee faced the reality of a seriously devastating multiple tornado attack, the President of the United States made a surprise “mission accomplished” speech. During the elections, the resilient rookie Senator from Illinois had promised to hunt down and kill the man whom the Bush administration blamed for the unnatural disaster that shook New York on September 11, 2001.

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What’s the Best Way for Churches to Grow?

The most satisfying accession to the church I’ve ever experienced was with a young family with no Seventh-day Adventist connections that just showed up at church one day, and after a few months of attending came to me after services and said, “We love this church. Everyone is so nice. The worship services are a blessing. We’d like to become members.” I gave them some basic instruction (they’d gotten a good background to our central beliefs just through sermons and Sabbath School) and baptized them. It was, to me, the perfect way for someone to come into our church.

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Deliberately with Intent

During Colonial times, the story is told of a benevolent woman who dedicated her life to providing medical service in the country of Haiti.   While she was much loved by the Haitian people, she was still a foreigner.   She was the outsider who came with superior skill and resources to “help” those deemed less capable and knowledgeable.  And she kept close control over these resources.

Even after there were Haitian medical Doctors working in her clinic – she kept the key to the drug cabinet on a chain around her neck.   If an operation were needed i

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Scheduling the Second Advent

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When we were traveling in Spain recently, my wife called my attention to a billboard on the roadside near Seville that said “21 Mayo 2011” and “Radio Familia.” We had known about, and on

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Creation in Genesis 1: 1 – 2: 4a

While Gen. 2: 4b – 4: 26 is a narrative, with a plot and recognizable actors, Gen. 1: 1 – 2: 4a is not. The narrative flow that characterizes Gen. 2 - 4 is absent in Gen. 1. Its architectonic structure makes for notable rigidity. It is like a building which has the scaffolding used for its construction still visible. The formulas that sustain the presentation are monotonously repeated: “And God said,” “And it was so”, “And God called it ‘thus’”, “And God saw that it was good”, “And it was evening and morning of day . .

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Lions from Heaven

Several years ago, an unnamed twelve-year-old girl was abducted by a gang of men in Ethiopia. It is believed that these men had kidnapped the vulnerable child with the intention of forcing her to marry one of them (an ancient Ethiopian custom that probably has its roots in Judges 21).

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Why the Canticles are Read at Passover

Tomorrow was Passover.  He must speak to his people.  After many years of neglect, he had ordered the Temple Service restored and had made an edict that the yearly feasts would be celebrated.

Israel had neglected worship of Yahweh and fallen into apostasy.  King Solomon knew it was due in large part to his own lack of leadership and his woefully poor example.  His sins were now reflected in the lives of his countrymen. 

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The Burden of Being Against

Years ago I worked for a denominational leader who was so bad (there is no need to qualify that word—name a quality of leadership and he didn’t have it) that he nearly drove me and a number of my friends from ministry. Within a few weeks after I was ordained we were driving down the road to a call in another conference.

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Creation in Genesis 2: 4b – 4: 26

Creation in Genesis 2: 4b – 4: 26

Herold Weiss

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God's Remnant In Hotel Rwanda

I recently recalled my painful experience of watching Hotel Rwanda. Nominated for three Academy Awards® and two Golden Globes®, Hotel Rwanda tells the true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a Hutu hotel manager who helped to save the life of over 1,200 Tutsi fugitives during the 1994 Rwandan conflict. As the nations of the world turned their heads, the Hutu military–assisted by gangs of radical extremists and the French army–conducted the most atrocious act of genocide in recent history as they slaughtered almost one million Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

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Critiquing the Spirit of Prophecy

I like Ellen White.  She is one of my role models.  My childhood bedroom was the same one in which she had slept when visiting Graysville, Tennessee in the early 1900’s.  I believe I grew up breathing in her residual spirit.  But the Ellen I know and love is not the Ellen of most of my contemporaries. 

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Kohlberg, Revisited

 

I have always known that there are different kinds of Seventh-day Adventists, but nothing has brought that home like the discussions on this forum. Given all that we have in common with one another (more commonalities than differences, I’m quite sure) why do we so quickly fall into conflict?

Is it just about how we interpret the Bible? Mere intellectual differences would seem fairly easy to deal with, not unlike scientists discussing the meaning of a difficult gene sequence. Even if we couldn’t agree, it shouldn’t have to lead to angry, emotional accusations.

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Creation in the Wisdom Literature and the Psalms

 The Wisdom tradition flourished in Israel among the courtesans and the scribes who worked for the king. As such, those who sought after wisdom were people with social and economic advantages, agents of the king in diplomatic missions and members of the bureaucracy that keeps close to the centers of political power. What in the East was called wisdom came to be known as philosophy in Greece. In its origins wisdom had to do with the behavior to be adopted by those who live the way life should be lived.

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Democratic Delusions and the New Confederacy

As I write this column, all eyes are focused on Ham’s progeny as multitudes in the north of the African continent rise up against repressive systems of government. Changes have already been initiated in Algeria and Jordan (yes, Jordan is located in Hamitic territory), and pundits and politicians in the West are predicting and prodding regime change in the world’s oldest civilization. While the decades old regimes do have a faithful cadre of supporters, it is those who have been denied a voice that have dared to overpower the powerful with their demands for democracy.

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Critiquing Biblical Hermeneutics

No matter what biblical topic is being discussed be it homosexuality, ordination of women or the age of the earth; no matter what is being debated in the realm of Christian ethics, morality or behavior; no matter what is being argued in the area of theology be it the nature of Christ or the perfection of the saints; the bottom line always comes back to the Nature of Inspiration - how one is to view and interpret the Scriptures. This is, in my mind, the most critical issue facing the church today.

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In Search of the Sinless

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The most perfect man — by his own admission—I’ve ever known was a member of a church I pastored some years ago. He told me several times that he had moved beyond sin: he lived a perfect, sin-free life.

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Creation in the Books of the Prophets

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In ancient Israel there were both official and charismatic prophets. The official prophets, as is to be expected, were the propagandists of the throne and the temple.

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