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Reviewing the Review: Vol. 185, No. 3

January 24, 2008
Vol. 185, No. 3
GENERAL COMMENTS: This issue is worth reading from cover to cover; the Kenneth Wood piece is outstanding. But God as a bacterium?
LETTERS: These letters are uniformly thoughtful and interesting.
GIRL POWER: Kimberly Luste Maran’s editorial is a little preachy, but she does mention the Spice Girls and Victoria’s Secret, a first for the Review. A little risky but cool!
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF KENNETH H. WOOD is the cover story. Assistant Editor Sandra Blackmer’s interview is brilliant. She knows how to phrase the questions she asks and when to ask them. As a consequence the six-page article provides a fascinating inside look at Adventist history through the eyes of a man whose journalistic skill and editorial judgment is legendary.
I will admit to some qualms about the fact that this ninety-year-old was Chair of the Ellen G. White Estate, but Wood’s response to following question ended my concern. Honesty and lack of defensiveness win me over every time!
Blackmer: Wikipedia online says your “editorship has been noted for its uncritical stance toward the church in contrast to journals. . . that began to force the church to look more candidly at issues”. How do you respond to that?
Wood: Well, my concept was to have a mix on that. I was not happy with the approach used by some so-called Adventist publications because I thought they were more critical than supportive. I tried to call the church to account where I felt it had strayed, but I am very much against anybody who tears it down. I feel very defensive over the church, the body of Christ. So that evaluation of Wikipedia is probably fairly accurate.
KIDS VIEW: GOD IN A PETRI DISH? The scientific information in this addition of Kids View is excellent. The 2008 February calendar was fun to read, and its illustrations made it memorable. However under the title, God’s Offer to Us, the following words require an intellectual stretch even for adults. “God, the ultimate Scientist, by sending His Son, literally injected Himself into the Petri dish [of this world] and became a bacterium.” This is an emotionally disturbing metaphor and it demeans both God and mankind. In addition, the communication between men and women and God is not an involuntary chemical reaction.

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Cliff, this piece is carelessly written and “smartalecky” rather than thoughtful. Your postmodern “straw man” is a caricature of a caricature, and your attempt to equate the Great Controversy between God and Satan with the “struggle [between] strong and weak nuclear forces” makes no sense scientifically or intellectually.
ADVENTIST UNIVERSITY WORKERS EVACUATED AS CRISIS ROILS NATION It’s ironic that students on a retreat in Rwanda are safer than they would be in their own Adventist University of Eastern Africa in Kenya.
ADVENTIST UNIVERSITY CATALOGS CONCERT MANUSCRIPTS OF FAMED PIANIST ARRAU This is an impressive tribute to the work of Professor Carlos Larrondo, Chairman of the School of Music at Chile Adventist University..
SATELLITE SERIES REACHES NEW BELIEVERS. “God So Loved” is the second a series of twice-a -year reaping meetings sponsored by the Northern Pacific Union Conference to help Northwest churches develop the concept of Momentum–an evangelistic philosophy that creates an ongoing cycle of bringing people to Christ.”

The Adventist guard, Adrian Chissano, was a husband and the father of six children. Construction tools and a truck were stolen. Maranatha is attempting to build 1001 church buildings and eight schools in Mozambique. Plans also include the drilling of deepwater wells to supply each newly constructed church and its surrounding village.
BRINGING DARKNESS TO LIGHT: The title font of this theological essay by Don Droze is interesting in itself. It, along with a book advertisement, makes the piece seem weightier and longer than it is. In addition the faces revealed in the title font might be construed as being racist—dark skin to light.
First of all the premise that Moses could not approach God and live is at odds with Exodus 24:9-11. “Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.”
In addition the author makes the claim that “sin cannot exist in the direct presence of a holy God”. What does that say about Jesus? When he asserts that Christ “became sin for us, reconciling us to God”, John 16:25-28 comes to mind. “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
The questions Drose raises at the end of the article are significant, and the answers traditionally Adventist. Unfortunately, some of the answers are not supported by the Biblical references he uses.
THE WORTH OF LIFE by Valerie N. Phillips is a forceful and poignant reminder that “while you can, speak out for the [children] of the world. Remember—and remind others—that life is a precious gift, in every form, in every circumstance”.
Homer Trecartin and his family have faced the most difficult challenges imaginable. NINE YEARS LESS ONE DAY recounts those experiences, which include death and paralysis. There are no happy endings to stories like this one. They are, however, inspiring testimonials to Christian faith and the validity and practicality of the Gospel.
OF BABEL AND BIOLUMINESCENCE: Apparently this feature article inspired KIDS VIEW. It is based an exciting scientific discovery about the ability of communities of bacteria to communicate. One application of this discovery is that it may be possible to treat disease by chemically making it impossible for deadly bacterium to organize themselves and/or combine with other life supporting bacterium.
Author Gary Swanson uses this discovery as a vehicle to talk about a God that “confused the language of those who were building the Tower of Babel” and Christ becoming a bacterium with us in the Petri dish of this world. I’m disappointed that the luminescence of this amazing scientific discovery is treated so shabbily.
‘CATCHING’ GOD by Richard J. Bauman uses the artistry of trapeze performers as a metaphor for humankind’s relationship to God. It is a lovely piece of writing and the reflection of an inspired Christian mind.

Andy Hanson is a professor of Education at California State University, Chico.

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