Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Survey Explores How Adventists Will Vote in the 2012 Elections in the United States

Check out this article. I found it very interesting, especially with the upcoming election looming.


Church surveys show that academics lean Democrat, but that the person in the pew leans Republican. But, it also shows people of differently ethnicities and women lean Democrat.

50 Years ago, Adventists as a whole leaned Republican, these days they lean Democrat.

What does that say? Hmmm

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Adventist Leaders Vote Statement, But No Sanctions on Ordination Changes

After weeks of anticipation, the Seventh-day Adventist Church governing body finally saw the much-rumored response to three union conferences that voted earlier this year to discontinue gender discrimination in ordination to the gospel ministry. The carefully nuanced, not to say confused and contradictory statement was adopted by a secret ballot, 264 in favor and 25 opposed. Perhaps as many as 50 committee members abstained.

The official Adventist News Network (ANN) reported that the three hours of discussion were “respectful,” and “no sanctions are applied, or suggested, in the document.” Retired General Conference vice president and well-known evangelist Mark Finley was reported by ANN to have made an important speech describing how the early Christian church dealt with three conflicts in the Book of Acts. Adventist Today has been told that he played a key role behind the scenes in the days leading up to the meeting, negotiating an outcome more acceptable to the North American Division (NAD) leadership than what was originally under consideration by the GC officers.

“The essence of unity is not uniformity,” Finley said, according to ANN. “It is respecting one another enough to listen carefully, respond thoughtfully and decide together.” Rumors have suggested that before he got involved in the preparations for the meeting, there were proposals that would have sought to penalize the union conferences that have decided to ordain women to the gospel ministry. The final vote authorized only a “request” that division officers “engage” the union and conference administrators in “reviewing this statement.”

The four-page statement says that the GC “does not recognize actions of unions or conferences that have authorized or implemented ministerial ordination without regard to gender.” It does not define what that means. It does not say, for example, that the credentials issued to women under these actions are invalid nor does it rescind the ordinations that have occurred and are planned.

In fact, the statement specifically noted that “it does not address the question of ministerial ordination practices per se.” It acknowledges that “the role of women in ministry and leadership has been a long-standing question … that attracts strong yet differing convictions,” but also “specifically affirms the important roles that women fill in the life of the Church.”

The core argument of the statement is that the GC Session in 1990 voted not to permit the ordination of women to pastoral ministry and in 1995 turned down a request that the GC divisions be allowed to make separate decisions on the subject; and that this precludes the practice until a GC Session reverses that decision. It ignores the fact that the record is actually much more complicated than that. In 1990 the same delegates who adopted a study commission report blocking women’s ordination to pastoral ministry also voted to permit the ordination of women as local elders and for women to serve as pastors. The 1995 action was actually a non-action in which the delegates voted “no” on a recommendation and thus left no language on record at all.

The statement appeals for the unions and conferences to defer their decision to stop gender discrimination in ordination until the current study of the theology of ordination can be completed. A number of committee members spoke about their hope that this might a process where Adventists could come to a common understanding on the topic. Others told Adventist Today privately that they fear “we are painting ourselves into a corner.”

Dedrick Blue, a pastor from the Atlantic Union Conference, urged the committee, “Don’t get involved with process to the neglect of justice.” Max Torkelson II, president of the North Pacific Union Conference, told ANN he was concerned that younger Adventists will take away the wrong message from the decision. “I’m concerned that, particularly our younger church members have less patience” with the GC process. “We have been asking them for years to be patient, and now again we’re asking them to be patient. … I’m afraid we may disappoint them.”

The statement may not be a satisfying outcome for anyone in this debate. It does not make it more likely that a solution will be found that frees the church in North America and Europe from traditional notions about the role of women. It does not punish union conferences for implementing policies that differ from the wishes of the GC officers. It does not declare women’s ordination to be unbiblical. “Nothing has changed,” one church administrator said.

From Adventist Today website

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book Review: Greater, by Steven Furtick

Furtick, Steven, “Greater”

In this book, Steven Furtick writes to those seeking to follow God, and outlines a plan on how to step out of a boring, mundane life and into the “Greater” life promised us by Jesus. Furtick uses the biblical story of Elisha, an Old Testament prophet, to encourages to dive into something new, a Greater life with God.

Furtick’s style is easy to read and his use of story and humor make it an easy read. He uses the story of people he knows and weaves into the biblical story of  Elisha, especially focusing on Elisha’s journey from a farmer to a prophet, to reminds us that God can do a lot through us if we only allow it. One of the best parts of this book is the study guide at the back that, as Fiurtick says, can help to move me out of my “lesser loser life” and into something “greater” for the glory of God.

I enjoyed this book. It made me think. I will be going back and reviewing it. If you are looking for an easy read with a devotional spin to it, I recommend this book.

Book Review: Fully Alive by Ken Davis

Davis, Ken. Fully Alive. Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. 2012

I first became acquainted with Ken Davis in the early ‘90’s while attending a Youth Specialties Convention. His story telling and comedic style was very appealing to listen to. So, it was with great interest that I picked up this book, which allowed me the opportunity of getting to know him by reading his story.

In this book, Ken Davis shares the struggles and triumphs in his life's journey. He is open about his struggles and his joys, and the lessons he has learned in life. His main point is to encourage you to make positive changes your life. For him, it was losing weight.

 In this book, he talks about the correlation in his life between losing weight exercise, and faith.
Here’s a quote that captures his message. "The glory of God is man fully alive: Striving in the midst of all odds. Never satisfied with the status quo. Seeking excellence in every area of life. Because Jesus can raise the dead and because He Himself was raised from the dead, then no matter what my situation, I can know the power of His resurrection to live my life fully alive."

Ken Davis reminds everyone who reads this book that life is short and invites us to live Fully Alive. Hence, the title. If you are looking for a book that is light reading, inspirational and easy to read, this book is for you.