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Reviewing the Review: Limited Edition

On the surface, this issue is just another “good old Review“. But there are some surprises for the critical reader. TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY EDUCATION by Eric Anderson is timely and thought provoking, TERM LIMITS by Roy Adams is evenhanded and informative, and Cliff Goldstein’s PAUL THE OCTOPUS is a critique of creation science!


Mexican drug violence mistakenly claims the lives of Jose Ines Martinez, 18, and his sister Maribel, 26. Witness heard the shooters say they shot the wrong people.

Dickson Santongo, a senior news anchor at an Adventist owned radio station in Kireka, Uganda, was beaten to death, possibly in connection with his announced candidacy for a local council election.

Walter R. L. Scragg, a retired president of two world divisions and a “tireless advocate” for Adventist World Radio, died on September 20. He was 84.

John Loor is the new executive secretary of the North Pacific Union Conference, and Fred Manchur is the new CEO of Kettering Health Network.

Atlantic Union College has retained its current regional accreditation and expects to achieve national accreditation before July 31, 2011.


Gerald Klingbeil argues that it’s CRUNCH TIME in Adventist Church history.

I cannot help noticing that this is crunch time for us as a church. In a world of relative values and convictions God calls us to base ourselves firmly on Scripture—including also the biblical concept of a literal seven-day, 24-hour, consecutive Creation week, undertaken by a powerful Creator who spoke life into being. I cannot understand this, I cannot replicate it in a laboratory. I believe it because over the years I have gotten to know the Creator personally, and because Scripture tells me so.

I don’t understand why the author equates a belief in a “literal seven-day, 24-hour, consecutive Creation week” with Christian values. First of all, there are two creation stories in Genesis. Why can’t an Adventist in good standing prefer the second one? Second, “Christian values” are derived from the teachings of Christ, not the author of Genesis. Third, Cliff Goldstein, the Review‘s own conservative apologist and philosopher, counsels that “we [Adventists should] be careful not to tie our interpretation of Scripture to science”. (See “Cliff’s Edge”, this issue) And finally, the creation/science debate is an extremely divisive issue, and the author argues that “Crunch time requires a concerted effort and—above all—[an Adventist] team that pulls together”. It’s no wonder that we are now seeing fanatics starting to enforce this pulling together. It’s even more troubling to see Adventist leaders remaining publicly silent as people try to force others to believe a certain way, particularly when the evidence is so lacking, even conservatives are split on whether we should just ignore science or if science backs up the Genesis story.

In PAUL THE OCTOPUS, Cliff Goldstein uses the “Underdetermination of Theory by Evidence,” i.e., “Correct predictions never prove a theory right, but, simply, show that it has yet to be falsified”, to make an unintended argument against creation science!

How crucial, then, that we be careful not to tie our interpretation of Scripture to science. During the time of Galileo and Kepler, for example, the church used the Bible to justify error based on a science (i.e., Aristotle) that no one takes seriously now.


Wilona Karimabadi went to GC and came back with PROOF that “if you are a believer in God and trust Him to guide every last detail of your life, nothing happens ‘just because’.

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY EDUCATION by Eric Anderson has a surprising liberal arts flavor!

The reason we grade on important but secondary matters is that students’ freedom matters to us. Although Adventist universities and colleges have clear and distinctive commitments, it does not follow that they may indoctrinate; that is, tell students only one side of the story and reward them for agreeing with us.

The cure for skepticism is sometimes more skepticism. In dealing with dogmatic Darwinians or cocky materialists or absolute moral relativists, the beginning of wisdom is sometimes to say, “Are you sure?” In this narrative, faith grows from doubting the world’s certainties.

Even as they pray for you, your teachers and mentors must wait to see what choices you will make over the next few years. The most accurate spiritual grade they could give you now is probably an Incomplete.

Before that Incomplete can be removed you will need to learn one central insight: understanding cannot be separated from participation. Educated people learn to analyze ideas, to debate interpretations, and to discover context. But that is not enough. At some point we must ask, ‘Is it true?’ then act.

SMELLY KELLY–AND THE POWER OF SILENCE by Heather Marie Thompson is a reflection on the healing effect of silent companionship.

Roy Adams’ TERM LIMITS is a balanced, informative piece that discusses it’s pros and cons.

Arguments Against Term Limits

1. “The complexity of the modern church. Given the global nature of the contemporary church, it would seem unreasonable to expect a new president to master that kind of complexity and get critically important programs up and running until well into their first term…”

2. “A waste of talent, experience, and expertise. Why remove a competent, forward-looking incumbent simply because of some hard-and-fast tenure requirement, and perhaps replace them with someone less competent, less visionary?…”

3. “It can lead to administrative confusion and dysfunction…”

4. “It negates the choice of the constituency. The constituency may very well want to keep a particular leader at the helm a little longer…”

5. “It would politicize a GC session considerably beyond anything we see now.”

6. “The “lame duck” effect. In the United States, where a president is limited to two four-year terms in office, the political community begins to write off the incumbent sometime around the seventh year…”

Arguments in Favor

1. “The need to keep abreast of the rapid modern pace. With contemporary developments taking place at breakneck speed, perhaps no CEO of any major enterprise can keep on the cutting edge for a period longer than 10 years…”

2. “The need to bring fresh thinking to the table…”

3. “The need to counteract the negative effects of incumbency…”

4. “The need to help relieve election-time unpleasantness. A considerable amount of bad feelings frequently accompany the removal of a CEO from office…”

For Adams, and me, the final argument in favor of term limits carries the day.

5. “Term limits carry the hope that no administration would last forever.”

In the second half of his Adventist Heritage article, CONFRONTING A CRISIS, PART 2, Kameron DeVasher reveals what happened to the holy flesh movement in Adventism.

In the first installment of this series we saw how the Indiana Conference became the stage for the holy flesh movement in the late nineteenth century. Led by conference revivalist S. S. Davis, the movement was composed of two unique characteristics: ‘a sinless flesh’ message and a charismatic worship experience. In short, people were encouraged to exchange their sinful natures for Christ’s sinless nature brought on by a full-body surrender in worship.

The end of the holy flesh movement can be pinpointed to a single day—Wednesday, April 17, 1901. That morning Mrs. White rose and gave her testimony about what the Lord had shown her regarding the holy flesh movement. She pointedly stated: ‘The late experience of brethren in Indiana has not been in accordance with the Lord’s instruction.’

MIND RENUAL, Sally Lam-Phoon asks the reader to embark on a journey of self discovery.

Consider this thought, based on a decade of research into spiritual transformation: ‘Living deeply doesn’t require retreating to a mountaintop or embarking on a hero’s journey; rather, the convergence of life and practice is about the hero’s return—in which you bring the fruits of your journey of self-discovery back home, into your life, your family, and your community.’ * True spiritual transformation cannot be limited to the privacy of an individual’s journey; it must impact the lives of others in its natural developmental path and embrace Jesus’ command to ‘go’ (Matt. 28:18, 19).

* M. M. Schlitz, C. Vieten, and T. Amorok, “Living Deeply,” in Measuring the Immeasurable, p. 457.

In A CATERPILLAR’S MESSAGE, Stephanie Knight reflects on what a caterpillar taught her about life and eath.

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