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Matthew Quartey

Are All Biblical Stories Appropriate for Children?

Ellen G. White (EGW) did not like fiction. Her aversion to the genre is why she counselled “total abstinence [the] only safety” (Ministry of Healing, p 446). For much of the church’s history, EGW’s statements about fiction have been the official guide to what church members should and should not read. In the following quotation, she compares fiction to warfare and employs military imagery in her call to root it out:

Forgotten Homework: The 2020 Study in Hermeneutics

A convincing case could be made that the last time the global Adventist Church was truly “at study” was during the multi-year Theology of Ordination Study Committee (TOSC) effort that preceded the 2015 San Antonio General Conference Session. For one thing, the subject was important and impactful: it concerned how our church viewed the limits, if any, of women who feel called to gospel ministry.

The False Security of Certainty

“If you can’t support all our beliefs, why don’t you do the honorable thing and leave?” This sentiment, or some variation of it, is often made by some of our conservative church members when doctrinal disagreements occur. Besides being conversation stoppers, such statements do not model a welcoming church. If anything, they may mask the speaker’s apprehension about confronting uncomfortable topics, or betray an incoherent understanding of how our beliefs developed over time. 

What if Abraham Had Said to God: “No! I Will Not Kill My Son”?

A few weeks ago I was re-reading Chinua Achebe’s classic, Things Fall Apartthe pre-eminent exemplar of the tragic results of the African encounter with Europe. The jarring similarity between, Okonkwo, the novel’s tragic hero, and our biblical Abraham, reacting to their different gods’ commands to sacrifice their sons, is stunning. Okonkwo was one of the most successful self-made leaders of his community—the clan Umuofia. But he also had an outsized fear of failure, in dreaded comparison with his good-for-nothing father.

Ted Wilson's Overreach

Outlawing Women’s Ordination (WO) apparently is how Elder Ted Wilson wants to define his authoritarian leadership. We have seen enough of his approach and should want no more. San Antonio ought to have shown him that his methods were flawed, but he has been determined to stay the course. Instead of working toward a consensus position that capitalizes on our church’s enviable diversity, he advocated a tribal position that grossly confused uniformity and conformity with unity.

Michigan Conference Brandishes the Sword of Authority

I live and attend church in Michigan. This makes me a member of the Michigan Conference, which provides some legitimacy for me to comment on affairs within this conference. Michigan has earned the label of being the most conservative conference in the North American Division (NAD). I am not sure whether this designation is good or bad. But over the past few years, actions taken by my conference have caused not only Michiganders, but also the larger Adventist community in the NAD, some unease. 

The African Church Leadership and the GC President: An Unhealthy Relationship

Ted Wilson, the General Conference President, wants to take over unions that continue to ordain women. During last year’s Annual Council meeting he acquiesced, reluctantly, to a one-year delay to give the recalcitrant unions opportunity to pray their way out of error. The year is up, and Elder Wilson wants to make good on his threat and rein in those unions he deems uncompliant with the San Antonio directive.

With Suffering, Words Can Poison Comfort

Suffering, like death, comes to us all. And like death, it comes not to enrich but to gnaw and chip at the sinews. Finally fatigued, we give in to death's unwelcome embrace.

If This Is Our Father’s World, Why Won’t We Call It Home?

Maltbie Babcock’s poem "This Is My Father’s World" was written just before the turn of the 20th century and adapted to music in 1915. The music version comprises only three of the original sixteen verses and has become an inter-denominational favorite. Throughout, Babcock sings to nature and nature’s God. He points to nature in its most ordinary: rocks, trees, and birds; the skies, seas, and the morning light.

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