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Editor’s Choice: 10 Notable Columns from 2019


The Columns section of Spectrum has a long-standing history of exploring difficult and challenging topics from new perspectives, examining everything from the Bible to evolution, from politics to theology, and more. In this year-end round-up, Columns Editor Rich Hannon shares 10 of his favorite columns of 2019, from our columnists Courtney Ray, Hanz Gutierrez, Jason Hines, Matthew Quartey, and himself.

Courtney Ray, MDiv, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and ordained minister of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

Thoughts and Prayers: Slactivism Repackaged, April 4, 2019

When the recent terror attack occurred at the New Zealand mosque last month, social media was littered with messages of “thoughts and prayers.” Posting a compassionate status is far easier than actually doing anything substantive. But there’s not much action one can really take, right? I contend that there is — actually there’s a lot you can do!

Consent Doesn’t Stop At “I Do”, July 4, 2019

We can’t expect people to navigate sexual intimacy in positive and emotionally healthy ways if we keep treating intimacy as something bad. That misrepresents God’s design.

Hanz Gutierrez is a Peruvian theologian, philosopher, and physician. Currently, he is Chair of the Systematic Theology Department at the Italian Adventist Theological Faculty of “Villa Aurora” and director of the CECSUR (Cultural Center for Human and Religious Sciences) in Florence, Italy.

“The Praise of Meekness” Amos Oz “In Memoriam” (1939-2018), January 10, 2019

Israeli author Amos Oz offers Adventists, through the mediation of literature and narrative, the opportunity to reflect about ourselves. He reminds us that no life, individual or community, is static. A successful past or a present happy experience is never the final word.

How Healthy is Adventist Hermeneutics? Misconceiving the Text (Part 3), March 14, 2019

Adventism has developed a static approach to theology. The Bible is God’s testimony that allows various possible readings. To elevate one’s own biblical interpretation to be unique — is idolatrous. It perpetuates subcultural biases, contradictions and fears by giving them a biblical endorsement.

Matthew Quartey is a transplanted Ghanaian who now lives in and calls the Adventist ghetto of Berrien Springs, Michigan, home. 

God Is Inerrant and Infallible; the Bible Is Neither, April 18, 2019

Belief in biblical inerrancy/infallibility almost always leads to a rigid mindset and application. If the Bible cannot contain error, then there must be only one correct way of understanding its teaching. If that is so then that correct way must be deduced, catalogued, and enforced.

All Scripture Is Inspired and Good. But What Does that Mean?, August 15, 2019

If we continue insisting that everything in the Bible is good and useful, without considering time and context, we behave like the proverbial ostrich.

Jason Hines is a former attorney with a doctorate in Religion, Politics, and Society from the J.M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. He is also an assistant professor at AdventHealth University. He blogs about religious liberty and other issues at

A Lesson in Privilege, February 28, 2019

Several elements of yesterday’s Michael Cohen hearing raise the specter of White privilege: 1) the presentation of a silent Black woman as a defense against racism; 2) the use of friends and family members of color as a shield against racism; 3) using an accusation of racism to shut down a racial critique. Each of these are signs of a privilege used to avoid critical engagement.

Why Love Enemies?, June 27, 2019

Regardless of the situations that we go through, we would all be a lot better off if we loved everyone while we are struggling, rather than looking for ways to hurt and harm each other.

Rich Hannon, a retired software engineer, is Columns Editor for

How Not to Argue Against Evolution, January 31, 2019

Through the years church leaders and theologians have made many arguments against the Theory of Evolution and, I contend, many of them are unworthy. This essay will examine some of them to explain why I believe this. In doing so I am limiting my critique to the quality of argumentation, not whether evolution is true or false.

The Limits of Apologetics, August 22, 2019

Apologetics is the legitimate religious discipline of defending doctrines through systematic argumentation and discourse. But there are risks. Most crucially, the apologist can assume that which needs to be proved.

We look forward to providing you with more thoughtful and thought-provoking columns in 2020. If you’ve appreciated our columns this year, please consider supporting us with a year-end donation. As a non-profit organization, every gift makes a difference.

Thank you, and Happy New Year!

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