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Reviewing the Review: Babel Edition

January 2009 – Vol. 6, No. 1
Adventist World is free online. For that reason, I only review or comment on articles and editorials that I believe to be of special interest.
This issue has some fascinating articles, two articles that left me scratching my head, and a surprise advertisement.
The cover story, BABEL UNDONE, by Marcos Paseggi is the MUST READ account of how Adventist translators help to advance the mission of the church. Their task requires more than a word-for-word translation. This article may come as a surprise to those who believe that only one translation of anything, the Bible included, is authoritative.
“Every language is a world in itself, involving its own grammatical rules and a particular system of punctuation, wording, and phrasing. In most cases there is no way a literal rendering can match up to a similar phrase in the target language. Translation implies looking for a “dynamic equivalence,” where the original meaning is both kept and “re-created” into a new phrase that somehow communicates what the original said in the first place. This often implies a change in word order, sentence or paragraph structure, or even leaving aside the first and second choices and starting to rewrite from scratch. It requires mastering the target language so as to “process” the use of idioms, figures of speech, and metaphors.
“Finally, in every language there are some “untranslatable” terms and cultural references that must be somehow explained or “interpreted” in order to be correctly understood by the target audience. As Lars Hoem, English-Norwegian translator for the Adventist Norwegian Publishing House, puts it. . .“How would you explain the concept ‘Lamb of God’ to an Inuit who has never seen a lamb in his entire life? What is the best conceivable equivalent for ‘innocence’ to an Inuit? Perhaps a baby seal?”
NORTH AMERICAN CHURCH FINANCES HOLD IN SPITE OF TITHE DECLINE. “Seventh-day Adventists in North America returned $893.1 million in tithe during the economically challenged year of 2008, $3.4 million less than was received in the previous year, division officials reported November 6, 2009. An additional $23.6 million in mission offerings were furnished by parishioners, a drop of $405,000 from 2008.”
“A variety of economic circumstances are affecting donations to Seventh-day Adventist congregations, among them being the state of the overall economy; downward adjustments in housing prices; the banking collapse; and continued volatility in the stock market.” (I wonder where the money came from to play the market, err, I mean invest in stocks?)
SOUTH AFRICAN COURT RULING FAVORS ADVENTIST CHURCH. Other informing the reader that this court ruling created “an environment for church unity, improved growth, and more efficient operations” which removed “any real or perceived structure of discrimination that may be a barrier toward church unity”, no further information regarding the lawsuit is provided. My attempt to read the litigation statement provided by the Southern Africa Union conference website, was not permitted.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE WANDERERS? by Kari Paulsen is a MUST READ short biography of Kari Paulsen. The pictures of the youthful Paulsen family are not to be missed.
MINNEAPOLIS, 1888: AN ADVENTIST WATERSHED by Gerhard Pfandl is an authoritative account of A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner’s theological bombshell, righteousness by faith. It’s a MUST READ!
PREACHER COMFORTS by Bernadine Delafield tells the story of how a tiny congregation in Kulm, North Dakota, consistently hosts Adventism’s best-known preachers. Check out Adventist Preaching DVDs.
CAN A HIATAL HERNIA END IN CANCER? by Allan R. Handysides and Peter N. Landless once come through with a clear explanation of medical risks and treatments.
WHAT GOD DO YOU SERVE by Mike Ryan is a mission story you won’t want to miss.
OLYMPIC MEDALIST IS WINNING SOULS FOR CHRIST by Tihomir Zestic is the story of Eugenia Tovstogan “a professional handball player who once performed for the Soviet Union national team. With her club Spartak, based in Kiev, Ukraine, she won many titles. Today Tovstogan is retired from this professional sport. She lives in Israel and works as a volunteer to produce radio health programs for AWR’s FM broadcasts.”
NAD LETTERS includes a thoughtful observation by Doug Schmidt. “We insult the spirituality of young people [who leave the church] when we focus exclusively on practical solutions—attitudes, approaches, programs—without addressing the probability that the real underlying problem might be a lack of spiritual power in the church. Young people are leaving today because they haven’t met Jesus. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up. . .will draw all. . .unto me (John 12:32, KJV)”
CAN WE ALWAYS COUNT ON GOD’S PROTECTION? J. Stanley McCluskey asserts that, “The angel of the Lord does encamp round about those who fear Him, and does deliver us from any lasting harm, according to the plan of our loving God (see Ps. 34:7; Jer. 29:11). The eternal God surely is our refuge “and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut. 33:27).” Stan, how do you account for the following?
Barbara Ann Norton Kay reports the death of Bob and Neiba Norton, Gladys, a child and his mother, and a young girl in need of emergency surgery when Bob’s Cessna 182 crashed during a humanitarian flight in Venezuela in LIVING GOD’S LOVE.
Check out WHAT IS APOSTASY? by Angel Manuel Rodriguez. If you don’t want to screw up and torch a heretic rather than an apostate, Dr. Rodriguez, Director of the Biblical Research Institute of the General Conference, is the authorized Inquisitor.

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