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Published by the Seventh-day Adventist

Church. Read by clergy of all faiths.

04 Letters

06 Our miraculous planet Earth

Sven Östring
The astronauts said it, what an amazing world! How
05 Editorial
25 Resources
much time did God need? 26 Dateline
29 Revival and Reformation

11 Dealing with suffering and loss 30 Practical Pointers

Frank M. Hasel
How do you cope when you lose the one who is bone of MINISTRY® INTERNATIONAL EDITORS
International Journal for Pastors Chinese-Robert Wong
your bone and flesh of your flesh? 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, French-Bernard Sauvagnat
MD 20904-6600 U.S.A. Japanese-Masaki Shoji Korean-Soon Ki Kang Portuguese (South America)-Wellington

Russian-Michael Kaminsky
Vigilance and freedom: An interview with Pavel Goia
Spanish (Inter-America)-Saúl Ortiz

Bernie Anderson regarding pornography ASSOCIATE EDITOR

Jeffrey O. Brown
Spanish (South America)-Marcos Blanco
John Fowler, Clifford Goldstein, Ron Clouzet, Michael D. Collins,
Can a pastor really be forgiven for and free from Gerald Wheeler Daniel Devadhas, Carlos Hein,
Patrick Johnson, Victor Kozakov,
pornography? Read one pastor’s story. EDITORIAL SPECIALIST
Geoffrey G. Mbwana, Musa Mitekaro,
Sheryl Beck
Passmore Mulambo, Daniel Opoku-
FINANCE AND Boateng, Hector Sanchez,
TECHNOLOGY MANAGER Houtman Sinaga, Elias Brasil de Souza,
John Feezer IV Ivan L. Williams, Ted N. C. Wilson

16 Managing ministry’s main menace—ego

Tim Allston
The ministry may be under attack; but we are not
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22 Restorers—That He might be glorified

Robert H. Pierson
Creation, fall, restoration—may God’s will be done on
Host: Anthony Kent
Cohost: Ivan Williams

earth (through us) as it is in heaven.

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“This continuation of a fine tradition of Doukhan aptly makes mention of “the

ideal of a plant-based diet (1:29, 30;
9:3), the distinction between clean and
articulating balanced positions on diet unclean meats (7:2, 3; 8:20).”
This continuation of a fine tradi-
tion of articulating balanced positions
and lifestyle on the scholarly (theological on diet and lifestyle on the scholarly
(theological and scientific) level is
contextually important in Seventh-day
and scientific) level is contextually Adventism. There promises to be much
to chew over pertaining to diet and
wellness in a commentary endeavor
important in Seventh-day Adventism.” spanning the entirety of Scripture, if the
editorial perspectives will be tastefully
followed through. Appropriate refer-
ence, properly corroborated by science,
to matters affecting the personal well-
More prayer an expertly done interview article with being is one sure-footed approach to
Thank you for the excellent August a profound, experienced Seventh-day ensuring the relevance and practicality
2018 issue of Ministry. I’ve taken the lib- Adventist professor-scholar. The win- to all of a deep, scholarly work.
erty of using part of your editorial (Pavel some but weighty verbal exchanges  —John Tumpkin, district pastor, Cape Conference of
Goia, “People, programs—and prayer”) between interviewers and interviewee Seventh-day Adventists, Port Elizabeth, South Africa
in our Sabbath School. I also issued enrich the reader intellectually and  
a challenge to those in attendance to theologically and whet the appetite Less Greek
invite people to come to our prayer for the projected completion of the In his article “It’s all Greek to me”
meetings. By God’s grace and power, SDAIBC in 2020. It is to be hoped that (Petronio Genebago, October 2018),
we hope to see quite an increase. Our the completed volumes of the SDAIBC the writer admirably extols the value
regular attendance to midweek prayer will find their way into libraries of of learning the original Biblical lan-
meeting is almost 20 percent of the Seventh-day Adventist institutions of guages. However, as a former theology
attending membership of the church. learning around the globe and that student who was ungifted in Greek, the
I was also very, very taken with pastors and other church employees only way I could possibly master them
the article by Elder Valley (Clinton will have opportunity to acquire these would be to almost drop all other stud-
Valley, “The making of a Christian nourishing volumes affordably, perhaps ies including the more vital subjects
leader”). I have copied this article in with book and equipment allowances. such as the Word itself, the art of
full to distribute to my elders, deacons, It is refreshing to note the editorial ministry and preaching. Alternatively,
and deaconesses—they all need this intent to maintain the prioritizing of I could have sacrificed all family and
counsel. Thanks again. health in the SDAIBC that is evident free time. (God enabled me to become
—Mervyn D. Jackson, senior elder, Stanthorpe in the Seventh-day Adventist Bible a pastor despite academic barriers
Seventh-day Adventist Church, Queensland, Commentary. Witness the following imposed).
Australia statement by Doukhan: “That is why Let’s get realistic and recognize
  the Seventh-day Adventist faith . . . that there are profound differences
More health also concerns our lifestyle, the way we in spiritual gifts among ministers. To
The lead article by Flavio Prestes eat and drink and work, and the way force Biblical languages upon stu-
III and Elmer Guzman, “Making the we think and behave in this world.” dents is like forcing all ministers to be
Seventh-day Adventist International Responding to inquiry about his per- expert writers or public evangelists.
Bible Commentary:  An interview with sonal contribution of the first volume
Jacques B. Doukhan” (April 2018), is of the SDAIBC, commenting on Genesis, Continued on page 28

Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
Jeffrey O. Brown, PhD, is associate secretary of the General Conference
Ministerial Association and associate editor of Ministry.

No more whispers
Disunity will

n this 50th anniversary of They call it telephone whispers,
Apollo 8, I am reminded of but what happened to the original happen if we
the story Dr. Dwight Nelson message?
tells of Colonel Sanders, who said to his
executive officer, “Tomorrow evening at
Jesus desires that His children
be united. Disunity will happen if we
lose sight of the
approximately eight o’clock, Halley’s lose sight of the original message. The
Comet will be visible in this area, an current Adult Sabbath School Bible original message.
event which occurs only once every Study Guide states, “Any attempt at
seventy-five years. Have the men fall understanding the nature of unity in the
out in the battalion area in fatigues, and church must begin with God’s original
I will explain this rare phenomenon to plan at the Creation and then the need distortion. It is a heart-turning message.
them. In case of rain, we shall not be for restoration after the Fall.”2 Indeed, “the restoration and uplifting of
able to see anything, so assemble the The study guide continues, “Adam’s humanity begins in the home.”7
men in the theater, and I will show them disobedience became the source of Malachi highlights the return of
films of it.” The officer sent a message many events and consequences that the curse, but Jesus highlights the
to his company commander: over time affected all of God’s creation. reverse of the curse, the curse distorting
“By order of the colonel, tomorrow The natural world itself began to suffer labor and creating rulership.8 Men and
at eight o’clock Halley’s Comet will from the consequences of sin. Human women are restored to labor side by
appear above the battalion area. If it relationships also were affected.”3 What side in God’s kingdom, as He intended
rains, fall the men out in fatigues. Then happens when brokenness reaches it. “No man or woman who is converted
march them to the theater, where the the doorstep of the one called to bring can be anything but a worker. There
rare phenomenon will take place, an the message of healing, yea, even the certainly is and ever will be employ-
event which occurs only once every pastor? It is in our fallen state that ment in heaven. The redeemed will
seventy-five years.” It then went to the whispers—distortions of the original not live in a state of dreamy idleness.
lieutenant. message—proliferate. There remaineth a rest for the people
“By order of the Colonel in fatigues, So, what is the original message? of God—a rest which they will find in
at eight o’clock tomorrow evening the “The central theme of the Bible, the serving Him to whom they owe all they
phenomenal Halley’s Comet will appear theme about which every other in the have and are.”9
in the theater; in case of rain, in the whole book clusters, is the redemption Jesus prayed that this restoration,
battalion area. The colonel will give plan, the restoration in the human consummated in heaven, would begin
another order; something which occurs soul of the image of God.”4 What is the on earth (Matt. 6:10). This is the original
once every seventy-five years.” Then to original message? It is the everlasting message. No more whispers.
the sergeant: gospel. And what is the everlasting
1 See “Communication Operation: Halley’s Comet,” last
“Tomorrow, at eight o’clock, the gospel? “The very essence of the gospel updated Sep. 5, 1999,
colonel will appear in the theater with is restoration.”5 /support/Speaking/Executive.Orders.html.
Halley’s Comet, something which hap- We begin this issue with the 2 Denis Fortin, “Creation and Fall,” Adult Sabbath School
Bible Study Guide, study for September 29, 2018,
pens every seventy-five years. If it marvel of Creation. We journey with
rains, the colonel will order the comet pastors through the pain of the Fall. 3 Fortin, “Creation and Fall,” study for October 1, 2018.
into the battalion area.” The sergeant And we embrace with joy the grace of 4 Ellen G. White, Education (Mountain View, CA: Pacific
assembled his squad to give the final restoration. Press Pub. Assn., 1952), 125.
5 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View,
message: The book of Malachi culminates the CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1940), 824.
“When it rains tomorrow at eight distortion of God’s original message; 6 Luke 1:17; Mal. 4:5, 6.
o’clock, the phenomenal seventy-five- the book of Matthew commences the 7 Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain
View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1942), 349.
year-old General Halley—accompanied restoration of God’s original message.
8 Gen. 3:16, 17; Matt. 20:1–16; Matt. 20:25–28.
by the colonel—will drive his comet The old Elijah passes the message 9 Ellen G. White, Our High Calling (Washington, DC:
through the battalion area in fatigues.”1 to the new Elijah.6 There is no more Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1961), 223.

Tell us what you think about this article. Email or visit

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Sven Östring, PhD, serves as director of discipleship movements,
Greater Sydney Conference, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Our miraculous planet Earth

ifty years ago, in December the spiral arms of the Milky Way arrived at significantly more divergent
1968, the Apollo 8 crew were galaxy. conclusions to historical Christian
the first human beings to orbit • Distance from the Sun: Our planet interpretations of Genesis with regard
the Moon. As they flew over the Earth is located in a special zone to the age of Earth. Over the last 250
Moon’s desolate surface on Christmas at the right distance from the Sun, years, science has rapidly increased its
Eve 1968, they were stunned to watch in a region in the solar system calculation of the age of Earth to arrive
as a small ball of blue, white, and green known as the Goldilocks Zone. It is at 4.54 billion years. This is a substantial
rose up over the Moon’s horizon. They neither too hot nor too cold—the departure from, for example, Martin
were the first human beings to ever wit- temperature is just right! Luther’s teaching that God created
ness an earthrise! Excitedly scrambling • Big protective neighbors: In the our planet at the commencement of
for their cameras, they started clicking solar system, the Earth is pro- a literal six-day Creation week about
away. It was Bill Anders who took the tected by two giant gas neighbors, 6,000 years ago.
famous Earthrise picture of our beauti- Jupiter and Saturn, which draw This article explores the Bible’s
ful planet seen suspended in space dangerous asteroids toward teaching on God’s wonderful cre-
beyond the surface of the Moon. It is themselves by their significantly ation and examines whether our
one of the most famous space photos, larger gravity. This gives Earth a miraculous planet Earth was created
described in Life magazine as “the most relatively safe and collision-free relatively recently or some time before
influential environmental photograph flight through space. the Creation week got underway. To do
ever taken.”1 • Large Moon: The Earth is unique so, we will evaluate two key assumptions
Years later, Anders told The in the solar system because it is that are often made regarding Genesis 1.
Guardian, the Earth “is insignificant, orbited by a single large, natural
but it’s the only one we’ve got.”2 The satellite, called the Moon. The Does “the heavens and
Bible declares that the Earth is far Moon regulates the tides in the the earth” refer to the
from insignificant. Indeed, says the oceans, which refresh the water entire universe?
psalmist, “I praise you, for I am fearfully systems on Earth. Many evangelical Christians believe
and wonderfully made. Wonderful are that Genesis 1:1 refers to the creation of
your works; my soul knows it very well” All of these scientific discoveries the universe because the phrase “the
(Ps. 139:14).3 Science also affirms that confirm that our planet is uniquely, heavens and the earth” is a merism.4
planet Earth is rare because it provides even miraculously, situated to be able to However, a merism does not refer to lit-
a livable home for living organisms. support intelligent life ,such as humans. erally everything. Genesis 1 uses another
Several characteristics make Earth merism, “And there was evening and
special: Divergence on the timing there was morning” (v. 5), to refer to an
of the creation of planet entire day during the Creation week.5
• Location in the Milky Way galaxy: Earth This merism only refers to a finite period
Our solar system is located at a While the discoveries of science of time and not to eternity past all the
safe enough distance from the are consistent with the biblical teach- way through to eternity future.
intense radiation that exists in ing that God intentionally designed The same is true for the merism “the
both the Galactic Center and our planet to support life, science has heavens and the earth.” Many scholars

Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
recognize that in Exodus 20:11 this mer- the foundation of the earth? . . . When ‘Let there be . . .’ ” and finishes with the
ism is not referring to the entire created the morning stars sang together and phrase “And there was evening and
order. In Revelation 21, when John all the sons of God shouted for joy?” there was morning, the nth day.” Thus,
saw “a new heaven and a new earth, (Job 38:4a, 7). Here God indicates there it is natural to expect that the pattern
for the first heaven and the first earth were created beings in existence at the holds for day 1 as well, and day 1 com-
had passed away” (v. 1), it does not point when planet Earth was created.6 mences in Genesis 1:3.
mean that God will destroy everything! So the Genesis text “In the beginning C. John Collins points out that there
Righteous angels and saved human God created the heavens and the earth” is a transition to wayyiqtol verb forms in

Residing in the midst of a palatial garden were

Adam and Eve, the stately and intelligent
coregents of this amazing world.

beings will make the transition into (1:1) does not have to refer to the entire Genesis 1:3.9 In Hebrew, this transition
the new world. Thus, the phrase “the universe but may simply refer to our indicates the point at which the main
heavens and the earth” is not necessarily planet Earth and a subspace surround- story line starts. Collins concludes that
referring to the entire universe. ing it, including at least planet Earth, day 1 begins at this point.
Also, the New Testament clarifies the Sun and the Moon, and probably the This conclusion is undermined
that “the heavens and the earth” is not Milky Way galaxy.7 This can be identified by the second Creation account in
referring to just the creation of Earth’s as our human cosmos.8 Importantly, chapter 2. In this second account, the
atmosphere and reshaping its land. the Bible does not specify where the transition to wayyiqtol verb forms
Quoting Psalm 2, Hebrews sharpens the exact cosmological boundaries for this occurs at Genesis 2:7 when it says
timing of the creation of planet Earth. subspace lie. “then the Lord God formed the man
The author writes, “You, Lord, laid the of dust from the ground and breathed
foundation of the earth in the begin- When does day 1 into his nostrils the breath of life.”
ning, and the heavens are the work of commence in Genesis 1? However, this transition point does
your hands” (Heb. 1:10). Thus, Hebrews The claim that day 1 commences in not signify the commencement of
confirms that Genesis 1:1 is referring to Genesis 1:3 when God says, “Let there day 6 of the Creation week. It is most
the creation ex nihilo of planet Earth. be light” is based on the consistent likely that the Lord God created Adam
When God interrogated Job, He pattern for days 2–5. Each of those days sometime during day 6, not at the
asked, “Where were you when I laid begins with the phrase “And God said, commencement of the day. Thus, the

D EC EM B ER 2 0 1 8 Ministry®

commencement of the main story line Sabbath. Importantly, each divine week.10 Thus verse 3 inaugurates the
in Genesis 1:3 should not be automati- creative command does not usher in commencement of the morning period
cally aligned with the commencement a new day, and there is at least one of day 1.
of day 1 either. day that does not commence with a Further significant exegetical
A study of all of the divine creative divine creative command. The pattern evidence that the author includes
commands in Genesis 1 reveals the of divine creative commands actually in Genesis 1:1, 2 within the Creation
following pattern: points to the fact that these commands week occurs when we arrive at the
initiate a new phase of divine activity conclusion of the Creation week. It
Divine command during a particular day of the Creation does not refer back to the point when
Day number frequency
week rather than signaling the com- God said “Let there be light” but rather
Day 1 1: v. 3 mencement of the actual day itself. The to Genesis 1:1 using a chiastic inclusio
divine creative command “Let there (table 2).
Day 2 1: v. 6 be light” may therefore signify a new T h i s e x e g e t i c a l co n n e c t i o n
phase of divine creative work during between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 2:1
Day 3 2: vv. 9, 11 the first day, and not necessarily the is confirmed in Exodus (table 3).
commencement of day 1 itself. This leads me to believe that the
Day 4 1: v. 14 Significantly, there is an exegetical passage gives exegetical evidence
link between Genesis 1:2 and verses that the Creation week commences in
Day 5 1: v. 20 3–5 based on the Hebrew words for Genesis 1:1 rather than in Genesis 1:3.
“darkness” (hōšek) and “light” (‘ôr),
Day 6 2: vv. 24, 26
which forms an inverted double chi- Exegetical conclusion
asm (see table 1). The conclusion that may be drawn
Day 7 0
This inverted double chiasm, a from this exegetical evidence is that
tightly coupled literary structure, Genesis 1:1–31 describes the creation
There are two divine creative com- strongly suggests that Genesis 1:2 is ex nihilo of our planet Earth and its
mands on the third and sixth days actually describing Earth during the subspace in six literal days. This means
of the Creation week, and there are evening period of day 1 and not the that our planet appears to have been
none recorded during the inaugural state of Earth prior to the Creation created at the commencement of the


First night First day

A: “The earth was without form and void,

and darkness [hōšek] was over the face of
the deep. And the Spirit of God was hover-
ing over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2).
Biblical introduction
B: “And God said, ‘Let there be light [‘ôr],’
and there was light. And God saw that the
light was good” (vv. 3, 4a).

B': “And God separated the light [‘ôr]

Divine separation
A': “from the darkness [hōšek]” (v. 4b).

B": “God called the light [‘ôr] Day

Divine naming
A'': “and the darkness [hōšek] he called
Night” (v. 5a).

A''': “And there was evening

Chronological definition
B''': “and there was morning

Chronological unit “the first day” (v. 5b).

Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018

Biblical reference Temporal point Creative space

Genesis 1:1a A: “In the beginning, God created

Genesis 1:1b B: “the heavens and the earth.”

Genesis 2:1a B': “Thus the heavens and the earth

Genesis 2:1b A': “were finished [being created by God].”

Creation week. This would make it as God miraculously created our planet create our planet and its subspace
young as biological life and the Sabbath Earth and its subspace fairly recently, recently. Stephen Dilley asserts that it
itself.11 and scientific underdetermination is logically incoherent to believe that
means that the scientific evidence methodological naturalism, and there-
Addressing common itself cannot be used to eliminate this fore science itself, has proved that God
scientific claims possibility. has never performed supernatural
But what about common scientific 2. Methodological naturalism. miracles. 14 It may also be logically
claims that the universe is 13.8 billion Secular scientists rule out the possi- incoherent to believe that science
years old and that planet Earth is 4.5 bility that God recently created planet has proved that God did not recently
billion years old? These claims raise Earth and its subspace, not necessarily create ex nihilo our planet Earth and
two concerns: because of scientific evidence but its subspace.
because often there is a commitment
1. Scientific underdetermination. to methodological naturalism. This Christians have objected that
For all of the evidence that we have means they intentionally exclude God would be deceptive if He created
available, a number of models can be supernatural, miraculous explanations our planet Earth and its subspace
used to explain the evidence.12 In par- within science.13 However, this has not recently, yet from scientific calcula-
ticular, one viable explanation is that proved that God did not miraculously tions, it appears to be old. However,


Creation account Decalogue summary Reiteration of Sabbath cov-

Time period
Genesis 1:1–2:3 (ESV) Exodus 20:11 (NASB) enant Exodus 31:17b (NET)

“In the beginning, God created “For in six days the Lord made “For in six days the Lord made
the heavens and the earth” the heavens and the earth, the heavens and the earth,
(Gen. 1:1).

Detailed account of Creation “the sea and all that is in them,

Six days
(vv. 2–31).

“Thus the heavens and the

earth were finished, and all the
host of them” (Gen. 2:1).

“And on the seventh day God “and rested on the seventh day; “and on the seventh day he
finished his work that he had therefore the Lord blessed the rested and was refreshed.”
done, and he rested on the sabbath day and made it holy.”
seventh day from all his work
Seventh day that he had done. So God
blessed the seventh day and
made it holy, because on it God
rested from all his work that he
had done in creation” (vv. 2, 3).

D EC EM B ER 2 0 1 8 Ministry®

it is important to note that this is a conclusion that, in the fairly recent midst of a palatial garden were Adam
theological objection and not a scien- past, Earth and our human cosmos and Eve, the stately and intelligent
tific objection. God could have had a were supernaturally and miraculously coregents of this amazing world. Yet,
legitimate reason for creating planet created. it wouldn’t take long before the long
Earth and its subspace recently, even if dark shadow of Satan started to creep
we are not aware of this reason. As the Paradise lost and over and eclipse the radiant beauty of
analytic philosopher Alvin Plantinga restored Earth. Not only did he cast his diaboli-
wrote regarding miraculous actions of While Bill Anders and his fellow cal shadow over the physical beauty
God: “It’s not as if, if he has a reason, Apollo 8 crew members may have of our planet but he also obscured
we’d be the first to know. His options been amazed to see our planet Earth our relationships with our Creator,
and possibilities are far beyond our rising above the horizon of the Moon, one another, and nature itself. Thorns
ken; his ways are ‘past finding out’; we it would have been nothing compared and thistles appeared, together with
can hardly expect to come up with a to the primordial thrill that the angels relationship pain and disparities.
‘rock-solid criterion’ underlying God’s experienced when they saw planet However, in spite of the fact that
decisions to act.”15 Earth coming forth, freshly and miracu- it was our human choice to permit
With regard to scientific dating, lously minted from the hand of God. It Satan’s sinister shadow to shroud our
the models often employed assume certainly would have been a dazzling world, God in His incredible love and
that planet Earth and its subspace sight—that small ball of blue, white, foresight had already developed a
have been upheld according to the and green. The greater thrill, though, vision to restore this beautiful world,
geological and astrophysical laws would have come from perceiving the a new heaven and a new earth where
that we currently observe. The age of finely balanced eco-harmony that God there is no more mourning nor crying
Earth is then calculated based on this had crafted into this world so that this nor pain anymore, in which the former
assumption. In reality, current scien- could be the exquisite home of the things have passed away. Imagine
tific conclusions regarding the age of sons and daughters who were made seeing that world rise miraculously
Earth do not undermine the biblical in the image of God. Residing in the from the ashes!

1 “Apollo Astronaut Shares Story of NASA’s Earthrise Ferdinand Regalado. “The Creation Account in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 46 (2014):
Photo,” NASA, Mar. 29, 2012, Genesis 1: Our World Only or the Universe?” Journal 57–69, For
/johnson/home/earthrise.html. of the Adventist Theological Society 13, no. 2 (Autumn underdetermination in paleontology, refer to Patrick
2 Juliette Jowit, “How Astronauts Went to the Moon 2002): 108–120, Forber and Eric Griffith, “Historical Reconstruction:
and Ended Up Discovering Planet Earth,” Guardian, 9 C. John Collins, Genesis 1–4: A Linguistic, Literary, and Gaining Epistemic Access to the Deep Past,”
Dec. 19, 2008, Theological Commentary (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 3, (August
/dec/20/space-exploration-usa-earth-moon. 2005), 42, 43. 2011),
3 Scripture quotations are from the English Standard 10 Jacques Doukhan remarks that this “theory has been /historical-reconstruction-gaining-epistemic-access
Version of the Bible. called ‘gap theory’. It suggests that Genesis 1:1 refers .pdf.
4 A merism is a literary device that uses two words to to this pre-creation, then v. 2 describes the world 13 For logical issues regarding methodological
refer to the entirety of that region. (Example, “We empty and void for billions of years (gap), and then naturalism, refer to Alvin Plantinga, “Methodological
searched high and low.”) v. 3 starts the new creation, formation, furnishing of Naturalism?,” in Intelligent Design Creationism and Its
5 “The use of the words ‘evening’ and ‘morning’ is a this empty space for one week. From my perspective, Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific
merism that points to the extremities of the day to this whole idea of ‘gap theory’ raises serious Perspectives, ed. Robert T. Pennock (Cambridge, MA:
denote its totality.” Jacques Doukhan, ed., Genesis: philosophical/theological problems and more MIT Press, 2001), 339–361, and Stephen C. Meyer
Seventh-day Adventist International Bible importantly cannot seriously be defended and Paul A. Nelson, “Should Theistic Evolution
Commentary (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., exegetically.” He goes on to conclude, “It is clear to Depend on Methodological Naturalism?,” in Theistic
2016), 54, 55. me then that the biblical text does not imply any Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological
6 See also Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets kind of gap theory.” Doukhan, “The Genesis Creation Critique, ed. J. P. Moreland et al. (Wheaton, IL:
(Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., Story,” 29, 31. Crossway, 2017), 562–592.
1958), 35–42. 11 There is inference that planet Earth and the Sabbath 14 Stephen C. Dilley, “Philosophical Naturalism and
7 Niels-Erik Andreasen suggests that Genesis 1:1 is were created at the same time. See also Ellen White, Methodological Naturalism: Strange Bedfellows?,”
referring to at least our solar system. See Niels-Erik The Great Controversy (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Philosophia Christi 12, no. 1. (2010): 128, academia
Andreasen, “The Word ‘Earth’ in Genesis 1:1,” Origins Press Pub. Assn., 1950), 454. .edu/8660069/Philosophical_Naturalism_and
8, no. 1 (1981), 13–19, 12 For deeper discussions of the issue of _Methodological_Naturalism_Strange_Bedfellows.
8 Jacques Doukhan, “The Genesis Creation Story: Text, underdetermination with respect to cosmological 15 Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies:
Issues, and Truth,” Origins 55 (2004), 12–33, grisda models, refer to Jeremy Butterfield, “On Science, Religion, and Naturalism (New York: Oxford
.org/origins-55012.pdf. This is also the conclusion of Under-Determination in Cosmology,” Studies in University Press, 2011), 102.

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Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
Frank M. Hasel, PhD, is an associate
director of the Biblical Research Institute,
Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.

Dealing with
suffering and loss

ow can one explain what, years as mother to our three sons and less intense with time, time also causes
indeed, cannot be explained? a homemaker, she had just begun to more and more memories of her to fade
How do you describe love work again as an elementary teacher, a away, and so her absence remains a sore
to someone who has never profession she loved. As a teacher, she spot in our lives.
fallen in love? It seems that the most was not only successful but also appreci-
beautiful and the most painful expe- ated by the children and respected by The “why” questions
riences in life cannot adequately be her peers. The issue of pain and suffering raises
described with words. Every significant We tried everything to bring healing. difficult questions about God and faith.
suffering and loss is unique. And every My wife was exemplarily consistent in The doubt that suffering initiates even
person experiences them differently. her healthy lifestyle. She was positive has the potential to destroy faith. After
I cannot provide an answer to every and hopeful in her spiritual walk with losing Ulrike, platitudes and traditional
case of suffering. But I can share a small God. We supported her as well as we answers no longer made sense to us.
part of my own life story, hoping that it could. We prayed. Ulrike asked for a Meanwhile, we were confronted
might be an encouragement to others special anointing twice, once at the with those pertinacious “why” ques-
who face their own challenges and help beginning of her sickness and, again, tions. Not only the question “Why did
them find their own way in dealing with toward the end. this happen to us?” but also “Why
suffering and death. But less than a year after the diagno- should this happen only to others and
sis, she died. Those who knew her can not to us?” Or, “Why should sickness,
The loss of Ulrike testify that she was an amazing example suffering, and death only affect others
I was blessed with a happy child- of faithfulness and had unwavering trust and not us?” After all, we live in a sinful
hood and parents who believed in God in the Lord. When she died, she was at and imperfect world, and, therefore,
and authentically practiced their faith. peace with herself and with God. For her, even Christians are not exempt.
Though facing my own questions about death was a release from suffering; for If people follow God only to be
God and faith, for many years I was us, the suffering had just begun. spared from suffering and death, they
never confronted with severe suffering The loss of Ulrike robbed my chil- will be sorely disappointed. Even when
or the death of someone near me even dren and myself of experiences that facing adversity and suffering, we have
though I knew that this unattractive cannot be shared with her, such as our to learn to live our lives in such a way
side of life existed. Yes, it is possible oldest son’s recent marriage. She will that others will not doubt the love of
to talk about death and suffering in an never have the joy of holding a grand- God. Instead, they will see the hope that
abstract and theoretical manner. But child in her arms. We miss her counsel we, despite our suffering, possess—and
when you are personally affected by it, and support. This loss is extremely perhaps they, too, might develop the
your perspective changes drastically. painful, and it cannot be compensated desire to trust for themselves this God
In 2009, my wife died. Ulrike was for—with anything. whom we confess.
only 43 years old when diagnosed with Time, supposedly, heals all wounds. S o m e q u e st i o n s c a n n ot b e
an aggressive form of breast cancer. Time does not heal all wounds. Time explained theoretically but need to
She had such a bright future and was, itself can be the wound. Even though be lived in such a way that our faith in
still, very much needed. After fulfilling the initial pain of her loss has grown God’s goodness and grace becomes

D EC EM B ER 2 0 1 8 Ministry®

After my wife’s death, I had a deci- Of course, as a single parent and

sion to make: Do I allow my impatience a man, I have needs and longings that
The doubt and doubts to invade my life and thus
question God’s goodness? Or, can I start
cannot be easily stilled. The temptation
is great to pursue a path that might
seeing in the challenges of life unique bring quick pleasure but no lasting
that suffering opportunities that can help me become satisfaction and happiness. But this is
the person who God wants me to be, not God’s will, I know. Instead, I have

initiates and who I would not be otherwise?

Am I really willing to accept the loss
learned—and I am still learning—what
it means to trust God day by day and to
of my wife as part of my existence? This live by faith.
even has the was something I had not wished for I might say I live by faith, but that
myself. This was not how I had envi- will not be true if I fabricate the solution

potential to sioned the second half of my life. This

was not planned, this was not my fault,
to my problems on my own terms. I
need to learn to trust God and His truly
and this surely is not what I had wanted. amazing grace in every area of my life,
destroy faith. And, yet—it is now part of my life. It has even if I do not see how He will ever be
become part of my biography, my very able to meet my needs, at least humanly
identity. speaking. But then God has a thousand
More important than what is hap- ways to help of which I know nothing
visible. God certainly has no pleasure in pening to me is how I respond to what (cf. Jer. 33:3).
our sickness and death. Only the devil is happening to me. It was tempting to I have learned that to trust God
enjoys it when we are sick and suffer remain in an illusory state of mind, a and His grace and goodness, to be
or even face a shipwreck of faith when make-believe world, in which I would connected with Him—this is what
confronted with severe hardship. But not allow the reality of her loss to really really counts. What resonates with this
our family firmly decided not to grant be part of my life. It seemed far easier to experience is an inner longing of the
the devil this pleasure. repress that painful reality. Only when I soul. Longing, to me, is a remarkably
had the courage to confront the mecha- delightful word. Never are humans
The hard choices nisms of my denial and honestly face more human, it seems, than when we
To suffer is difficult enough. But to the painful reality of her absence—with are longing for someone or something.
suffer without meaning is unbearable. all its ugly implications—was I able to Full of expectation. A sparkle in our eyes.
And yet we often experience painful cautiously order my everyday life anew. Longing is a word that leads us out of a
things that, yes, seem meaningless. The When I gave up my inner resistance narrow mind-set and a dry spirit of ritual
strong temptation is, then, to find some against accepting the new reality, I performance. Things that happen out of
meaning in what, otherwise, appears had to cry, and yet, at the same time, a deep longing are happening with the
meaningless. But we have to learn to it was as if a heavy load was lifted off authority of the heart. In our longing, the
live with such open questions. That is, my shoulders. It was as if God gave me whole human being is involved.
we need to trust in God and His good- wings to help me soar like the eagles Longing is something you cannot
ness despite the unanswered questions once more. command to happen. Rather, it grows
and the apparent meaninglessness that and blossoms in the soil of love: it is free
can make our suffering even worse. Longing for God and never forced. The person who longs
Although I do not see any meaning in My acceptance of Ulrike’s death, is not satisfied with things as they are
my wife’s death, I want to learn to live so of course, still left many questions but tries to change things for the better
that it is evident that I trust God anyway. unanswered. It was, rather, a step in a and, in the meantime, lives a life of faith
In difficult times, one often hopes learning process that I assume will last by God’s grace alone, even amid pain
that circumstances will change. We the rest of my life. Some of the practical and suffering.
desperately wait for those changes. things that have tremendously helped As such, I long to see the day when
But in doing so, we focus only on our me cope with this loss and stay spiritu- Jesus comes again, when God’s great
difficulties and obstacles. We start to ally sane and joyful I have expressed love will ultimately prove stronger than
compare ourselves with others and in a book, Longing for God.* Especially even death and He will resurrect those
envy those who seemingly suffer less or helpful to me is the simple exercise of who have trusted in Him—including my
fare better than we do. But, in so doing, developing an attitude of gratitude. dear wife, Ulrike.
we actually focus only on ourselves Also, learning to meaningfully pray for
rather than on God, who alone is the others has opened up new horizons in * Frank M. Hasel, Longing for God: A Bible-Prayer
foundation and surety of our hope. my own personal walk with God. Journal (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 2017).

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Wellington Barbosa, ThM, serves as editor of Ministério
magazine, Brazil Publishing House, Tatuí, São Paulo, Brazil.

Vigilance and freedom:

An interview with Bernie
Anderson regarding
Wellington Barbosa (WB): Welcome, for my secret sin. I constantly begged WB: How did your family and church
Pastor Anderson. How did you come God for forgiveness and for Him to “take help you overcome your addiction?
into contact with pornography? it away!” I especially felt terrible when
preparing for a Sabbath morning mes- BA: My wife especially has been very
Bernie Anderson 2 (BA): I stumbled sage, so I was very intentional about straight with me. She confronted me
across pornography at the age of nine pleading with God for cleansing and and was a constant source of truth for
while visiting the home of a family forgiveness before preaching. me. She was a reality check! She literally
member. It was pretty captivating in screamed through her tears at me one
that first encounter, and I remember WB: At what point did you decide to tell time, “Do you want to lose this?” Much
thinking that I wanted to return to that your family about the problem you were was at stake, and I didn’t even realize
closet where I found it another time. facing? How did it come about? what I could lose. My churches at the
I wasn’t really sure what it was; but time were incredibly gracious toward
it was powerful, and I lingered even BA: Well, I never told my wife. I was me! They were patient with me even as
though I felt like I probably shouldn’t caught. In fact, I really never wanted my the local and national media picked up
be looking at it. wife or anyone else to ever know about the story. I am forever grateful to those
my dark secret. That was one of my churches as they demonstrated true
WB: What were your thoughts when major fears because I was concerned forgiveness and love toward me.
going into the ministry about being about what people would think. And
addicted to pornography? it was embarrassing and shameful. I WB: How did your recovery and healing
thought for sure I was the only pastor take place?
BA: There had been an ongoing spiritual who had this struggle. Not to mention
conflict since I had been exposed at that my name was pretty well known BA: Once I confessed to a dear friend,
nine. This sense of conflict and internal since I had appeared on Net '98 with things really began to open up for me.
spiritual inconsistency always lingered Dwight Nelson. But my wife discovered I began reading as many books as I
in my soul. So even as I entered pastoral porn on the computer after I forgot could get my hands on regarding the
ministry, I had a deep sense that I was to erase my internet history. Then, issue. Then I attended an “Every Man’s
unworthy and constantly sought God unfortunately, things only got worse. Battle” intensive in Dallas, Texas. It was
for forgiveness of my secret sin and After she confronted me I was sorry— truly a life-changing event for me. I felt
failure. I also felt that if I could work but only sorry I got caught, not sorry empowered, educated, and equipped
hard, it might, in some ways, make up enough to pursue real change. to begin the recovery journey. Then

D EC EM B ER 2 0 1 8 Ministry®

it was simply a matter of continuing where there can be an openness and media (especially social media) are
to “work the program,” and that is transparency in order to seek healing important, along with truly practicing
essentially what I continue to do today. and wholeness. Sabbath rest. Nurturing intimacy (both
Part of what I consider my program is physical and emotional) within your
engaging in a small recovery group, WB: Did your book influence other marriage is absolutely essential as well.
guarding what I watch on TV as well as ministers to seek help and fight And, on a practical level, you should
in movies. I also limit just how much pornography? install accountability software on all
of your devices, along with making
sure your wife and/or accountability
partner has all of your passwords and
credentials to email accounts, as well
as social media accounts. I like to tell
pastors you should never be completely
anonymous when online. You should
make sure that someone is always
aware of what you’re doing and where
you’re going online.

WB: What advice would you give to

our readers who are experiencing this

BA: God’s grace is available to you too!

Just know that you’re not alone and
Bernie Anderson that getting free will require some level
of disclosure. This will be very difficult,
but it is truly part of the journey to heal-
ing and wholeness. This is such a huge
time I spend online in general. But really BA: From what I understand, yes. I problem; but the good news is there
the healing has come over time with have had so many reach out to me are so many resources available for
my understanding of God’s incredible over the years, and it’s been powerful you to use. The most significant thing
grace and my (and I believe everyone’s) and encouraging to me. In fact, there you can do is to prayerfully and humbly
absolute need for legitimate intimacy doesn’t seem to be a week that goes by seek God and pray for the courage to
through my relationship with my wife that I don’t hear from someone seeking pursue help and find freedom and
and friends. help and support to break free. restoration.

WB: What inspired you to write a book WB: Given the many enticements in 1 A version of this interview was first published in the
January/February 2018 issue of Ministério, a sister
telling your story? Were you afraid? the virtual world, what tips can you publication to Ministry published by the South
offer ministers to not fall into the trap American Division.
BA: I came to realize what I had kind of pornography? 2 Bernie Anderson is the teaching pastor for a young
adult gathering called The Bridge at the Forest Lake
of suspected all along, and that was
Church near Orlando, Florida. He is author of the
that many others struggled in the BA: It’s so important for us as pastors book Breaking the Silence: A Pastor Goes Public About
same way, including other pastors and to be aware of our own vulnerabilities. His Battle With Pornography (Hagerstown, MD:
church members. I wanted to write and And, to a certain extent, the temptation Autumn House, 2007). God brought about a
powerful transformation in his life by breaking a
break the ice, so to speak, on a taboo to act out sexually online is particularly longtime secret addiction to pornography while he
subject. I wanted to share my story enticing to pastors. We should always served in full-time pastoral ministry. Prompted by a
and be transparent about my per- have another pastor or friend we can desire to help others and call attention to porn’s
sonal struggle in hopes of encouraging be completely honest with and who will devastating impact, Pastor Anderson continues to
openly share his story. He is a known speaker on the
others to seek help and break free. I hold us accountable. Be in a group if problem of pornography and travels regularly to
imagined that if an Adventist pastor possible. Also, remember the acronym speak to groups in the United States and abroad. He
could open up about it, then surely HALT, which means to be aware of when has appeared on Fox News and World News Tonight
and has been interviewed by the Associated Press,
it would provide a way for members you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Newsweek magazine, and Focus on the Family. He is
to address their own issues. I believe All of these are inherent to the nature of married, and he and his wife are raising three
the church should be the type of place our work as pastors. Regular fasts from daughters.

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Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
January 9 –19, 2019

“And this is eternal life,

that they may know
You, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom
You have sent.”

Tim Allston, MSM (Master of Science
in Business Management), is a public
speaker and freelance writer residing
in Huntsville, Alabama, United States.

Managing ministry’s main


patient whined to his doctor end: “ ‘I’ll climb to the top of the without first gaining our permission or
of excruciating pain all over clouds. I’ll take over as King of the cooperation to do so. He then partners
his body. He immediately Universe!’ But you didn’t make it, did with us to fill the voids in our lives—but
winced when he did what you? Instead of climbing up, you came only in direct proportion to our faith in
the doctor asked and patted his head, down” (Isa. 14:14–17, The Message). Him. Sometimes we supply too much
grimaced when touching his ankle, and U n e m p l oy e d a n d h o m e l e s s , of ourselves (big ego-holism). Pro
finally cried, “Ouch!” when tapping his Lucifer-turned-Satan then polluted Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh
shoulder. “Your pain problem is neither Adam and Eve; and now, you and I declared, “Self-confidence becomes
in your head, your ankle, nor your always feel incomplete. And, indeed, arrogance, assertiveness becomes
shoulder,” the doctor revealed. “You this is the way that God would have it. obstinacy, and self-assurance becomes
have a dislocated finger, and every- Ellen White states, “The same divine reckless abandon.”4 At other times, we
thing that dislocated finger touches mind that is working upon the things of dispense too little of ourselves (little
causes pain.” nature is speaking to the hearts of men ego-holism).
Too often, you and I become that and creating an inexpressible craving Ego-holism surfaces when we
well-intentioned but dislocated finger, for something they have not. The attempt to fill our voids without God.
inflicting pain on everything that we things of the world cannot satisfy their Most unkind, self-destructive, unwise,
touch—our families, churches, minis- longing. The Spirit of God is pleading or sinful behavior arises from a desper-
tries, and even our new members. Our with them to seek for those things that ate desire to make ourselves feel better
egos represent that finger, originally alone can give peace and rest—the about ourselves. To some degree, we
created by God but dislocated by sin. grace of Christ, the joy of holiness. . . . are all broken people trying to make
“You who in heart long for some- ourselves whole, to bolster our self-
God’s masterful creation thing better than this world can give, esteem, not hate ourselves—even
Like alcoholism, ego-holism is the recognize this longing as the voice when the ways that we try are deleteri-
addiction—an addiction to self, defined of God to your soul.” 2 Tim LaHaye ous to ourselves.
as “thinking too highly of ourselves, affirms, “Most miserable or depressed Once we own our incompleteness
and/or thinking too little of our God, people are not conscious of the fact or inadequacy, we should team with
and then acting excessively upon those that their misery emanates from the God for completeness. Ellen White
impulses.”1 The mother of all addic- God-vacuum within them.”3 affirms, “The Lord can do nothing
tions, ego-holism preceded planet God created our first parents per- toward the recovery of man until,
Earth and humankind, actually having fect and then equipped them with a convinced of his own weakness, and
its beginning, of all places, in heaven. natural inclination for partnering with stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields
All addictions arise from one’s Him, the Source of perfection. After himself to the control of God. Then he
reaction to one’s sense of self, which the Fall, He made them sense their can receive the gift that God is waiting
dictionaries define as “ego.” Lucifer incompleteness without Him. to bestow. From the soul that feels
became the first being who reacted As a recovering ego-holic, I have his need, nothing is withheld. He has
unfavorably to his sense of self, and experienced repeatedly that God unrestricted access to Him in whom all
his boast was met with an unfavorable never fills our voids of incompleteness fullness dwells.”5

Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
My dramatic fall confronting the king on his Bathsheba in public since the age of three (thank
Like the prodigal son, I, a 14-year- affair/pregnancy and the subsequent you Cradle Roll, Kindergarten, and
old prodigy in public speaking and murder of her husband Uriah illustrates Primary Sabbath School teachers!) and
writing, begged my parents to let me what I have termed the TOP strategy: later training (over three decades as a
“take my God-gifts to a larger, more Nathan targeted David’s problem, marketer and publicist) had unwittingly
appreciative arena.” Reluctantly, they declaring, “You are the man!” (verse paved the way for my call.
allowed me to pursue public school my 7, NKJV). David owned his problem, c. “A true calling reveals its presence
sophomore year in high school; later, confessing, “I have sinned against the by the enjoyment and sense of renewed
I accepted a scholarship to Virginia’s Lord” (verse 13, NKJV). God pardoned energies its practice yields.” Daredevil
Hampton Institute—even as my family David, canceling David’s self-mandated legend Karl Wallenda’s mantra, “Being
relocated to Oakwood College—even- execution yet pronouncing death to on a tightrope is living; everything else
tually breaking the first and second David and Bathsheba’s unborn son. is waiting,” captures and capsulizes
of a threefold cord (Christian home, The first step toward restoration from what has now guided my ministry
Christian school, and church. See Eccl. ego-holism is to own it as your problem. through presentations, sermons, key-
4:12). 2. Manage your problem. Our incli- notes, and writing.
Self-estranged, my big and little nations and tendencies may be altered d. Callings “are not easy to discover.
egos went through many stages in by God; but if not, your preference does Frequently, many false paths are taken
college. I became the newspaper man- not have to become your practice. before the satisfying path is at last dis-
aging editor, president of the English When God explained to Paul His refusal covered. Experiments, painful setbacks,
Club and, ultimately, the president to remove the thorn in his flesh, the false hopes, discernment, prayer, and
of the student body. I pledged myself apostle then understood and even much patience are often required before
to the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and endorsed the pain, declaring, “I will the light turns on.”6
later twice became its highest-ranking rather boast in my infirmities, that the My setbacks were a setup for a
collegiate officer on the East Coast. power of Christ may rest upon me. comeback.
I parlayed God’s gifts into coveted Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities,
trophies unavailable through Adventist in reproaches, in needs, in persecu- God’s incredible
schools: a 1975 Essence magazine tions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. restoration
modeling debut, two Massachusetts For when I am weak, then I am strong” On the outside, I appeared to be
state oratorical championships, and (2 Cor. 12:7–10, NKJV). successful in my career, yet I was never
entry-level account executive employ- Big or little ego-holisms may not be totally fulfilled, and things were rapidly
ment at one of the world’s largest cured or eliminated; but they can be falling apart. When a business client
public relations agencies (twice). managed through our partnership with fired me me after only six weeks, I
Meanwhile, a lack of discipline God. Like mowing your lawn or cutting knew that I had hit rock bottom. “Tim,
caused my academic grades to take a your hair, a once-and-for-all effort will you needed help, and you knew it. And
dramatic nosedive. My grades were not not address recurring growth. Only the yet, you wouldn’t ask for our help,”
the only things that fell. I pinpointed regular maintenance through teaming explained this client during our exit
my near-fatal flaw: my non-faith-based with God can be effective. When we meeting. “Firing you is one of the best
education and employment were all give our will to Christ to manage our things that can happen to you as a
egocentric. Instead of seeking Christ God-permitted thorns, we graduate new entrepreneur. Talent is not your
first and all other things being added, from pursuing our careers to fulfilling problem.” Talent was not my problem
I centered primarily on develop- God’s calling. in that I had talent; but talent, indeed,
ing, improving, and esteeming self. 3. Own your calling. As when God was my problem—and is a problem that
Prematurely leaving the godly environ- commanded the Israelites, “You have can creep up even on pastors.
ment of both home and faith-based traveled around these mountains long Satan relentlessly targets those
schools affected my intellectual growth enough. Turn north” (Deut. 2:3, ERV), who profess God. In Carlyle B. Haynes
and stunted my spiritual growth. It God waited for me to cease my career Speaks to Young Ministers, Haynes
started me on an almost-imperceptible wanderings to now own my calling. declared, “It is easy for men to believe
descent into ego-holism—my addiction Michael Novak’s Business as a Calling that being in this holy profession and
to self. It might have been different cites four characteristics of a calling: giving themselves and their time to the
for me if I had paid attention to the a. “A calling is unique to each things of God will somehow immunize
following: individual”—I was only now beginning them against temptation and sin. You
1. Own your problem. Second to realize what God was calling me to. are not, I hope, among those who
Samuel 12 chronicles Nathan’s object b. “A calling requires certain precon- so believe. No man in any station or
lesson of a rich man besting a poor one, a ditions,” including desire and talent—I profession is in greater peril of moral
story that angered King David. Nathan’s realized that early nurturing (speaking ruin than the Christian minister. Pitfalls

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and snares are prepared for him at all When they were alone, Canright of holding it in; indeed, I cannot” (Jer.
times and on every side, even while he declared to Reavis, “I believe I could 20:9, NIV).
is engaged in the holy duties of his high become a great man were it not for our Highlighting ego-holism was my
calling. Principalities of evil pursue him unpopular message.” divinely ordained personal testimony;
as they pursue no other.”7 Reavis retorted, “D. M., the mes- and, based on Haynes’s definition,
Ministers and ministry leaders are sage made you all you are, and the day I am compelled to preach. Almost
wired and trained to solve problems. you leave it, you will retrace your steps immediately, a 63-year millstone dis-
We are institutionally empowered, back to where it found you.”9 solved, and my heretofore-misdirected
educationally equipped, and spiritu- Ellen White also weighed in. “You gifts came home. May we all not only
ally anointed; but we are not divinely have wanted to be too much, and manage the menace of ego-holism but,
appointed to tackle problems as solo make a show and noise in the work, through our successes and failures,
ventures. The lone ranger approach and as the result your sun will surely fulfill God’s calling in our lives.
is common for many, yet it is the root set in obscurity.”10 What she said came
cause of our ego problems. We are true. Canright wept uncontrollably at “ ‘I know that all God’s commands
drained and damaged equally by big her funeral casket.11 are spiritual, but I’m not. Isn’t this also
and little egos. Only God knows how Reavis states that Canright “frankly your experience?’ Yes, I’m full of myself—
to combine the exact calibrations admitted that what I predicted had after all, I’ve spent a long time in sin’s
of Himself and ourselves for every come to pass, and that he wished the prison. What I don’t understand about
situation. This is needed because Satan past could be blotted out and that he myself is that I decide one way, but then
attacks God’s unwitting servants. I was back in our work just as he was I act another, doing things I absolutely
should have learned from the rise and at the beginning, before any ruinous despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure
fall of Canright. thoughts of himself had entered his out what is best for myself and then
Dudley M. Canright was one of heart.”12 Ego-holism. do it, it becomes obvious that God’s
the most eloquent preachers the Similar to Moses’ 40 years of wilder- command is necessary” (Rom. 7:14–16,
Seventh-day Adventist Church has ever ness preparation to mature him into The Message).
produced. His friend, Drury W. Reavis, his calling, God allowed my hard-
says, “He had more invitations than he headed ego 41 wilderness-wandering 1 tim allston, 7 Steps to Manage Ego Problems: The
could possibly accept; so he selected years in order to mature me and allow How-to Guide for “Somebody Else” (Huntsville, AL:
the largest and most popular churches. me to embrace my true calling. More tim allston, 2016), 20. For a free download, go to
“One Sunday night, in the largest important now than finding my career, Author writes his name in
lower case to illustrate that he is “still recovering.”
church of the West Side, he spoke on I needed to fulfill my calling. Broke, but 2 Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ (Mountain View, CA:
‘The Saint’s Inheritance’ to more than now broken, I fasted and prayed, and Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1956), 28.
3,000 people, and I took a seat in the God began answering me. In His love, 3 Tim LaHaye, “God’s Special Remedy,” in Men’s
gallery directly in front of him, to see He forced me to chronicle my then Devotional Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan
Publishing House, 1993), 1144.
every gesture and to hear every tone, 33-year ego addiction nosedive. It led to 4 Ryan Holiday, Ego Is the Enemy (New York, NY:
form of voice, emphasis, stress, and numerous articles, some TV and radio Penguin, 2016), 2.
pitch, and all the rest. But that was as appearances, and a self-published 5 Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View,
far as I got in my part of the service, for ebook—but most importantly, it led me CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1940), 300.
6 Michael Novak, Business as a Calling: Work and the
he so quickly and eloquently launched to an epiphany. Examined Life (New York: The Free Press, 1996), 34,
into this, his favorite theme, that I, One Friday evening, while praying 35.
with the entire congregation, became in my “war room,” God directed me 7 Carlyle B. Haynes, Carlyle B. Haynes Speaks to Young
entirely absorbed in the Biblical facts to a dust-collecting book that my dad Ministers (Nashville, TN: Southern Pub. Assn., 1968),
38, 39.
he was so convincingly presenting. I gave me in 1990: Carlyle B. Haynes’s 8 Carrie Johnson, I Was Canright’s Secretary, 57, sdanet
never thought of anything else until he The Divine Art of Preaching. I read and .org/atissue/books/canright/05.htm.
had finished. reread its definition of preaching: “the 9 Johnson, I Was Canright’s Secretary, 58,
“After the benediction I could not divinely ordained power of personal /atissue/books/canright/05.htm.
10 Johnson, I Was Canright’s Secretary, 59,
get to him for more than half an hour, testimony.”13 It became clear that no /atissue/books/canright/05.htm.
because of the many people crowding human being could devise the call to 11 Johnson, I Was Canright’s Secretary, 106
around him, complimenting and thank- preach, and no human being could /atissue/books/canright/10.htm.
ing him for his masterly discourse. On deny it. “But if I say, ‘I will not men- 12 Johnson, I Was Canright’s Secretary, 101,
all sides I could hear people saying it tion his word or speak anymore in his 13 Carlyle B. Haynes, The Divine Art of Preaching
was the most wonderful sermon they name,’ his word is in my heart like a fire, (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn.,
had ever heard.”8 a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary 1939), 19.

Tell us what you think about this article. Email or visit

Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
Daniel Scarone, PhD,  is an associate ministerial
director in the Michigan Conference of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church, Lansing, Michigan, United States.

Taken or left?

s Bible students, we know the one shall be taken, and the other fits nicely with John 14: “In my Father’s
that there are rules for read- left. Two women shall be grinding at house are many mansions: if it were not
ing and analyzing Scripture. the mill; the one shall be taken, and the so, I would have told you. I go to prepare
One is that we go through other left” (Matt. 24:40, 41, KJV). Many a place for you. And if I go and prepare
a process of interpretation if the text varied and complex interpretations are a place for you, I will come again, and
requires it. If we are reading a letter applied to these two verses today. But receive you unto myself; that where I am,
from a family member, this rule is gener- what, really, is Jesus saying here? there ye may be also” (John 14:2, 3, KJV,
ally unnecessary because we know each The context is the introductory emphasis added).
other. We know the writer. We know the question of the disciples. “Tell us, when So first, the principle of Scripture
meaning, even with misspelled words. shall these things be? and what shall as its own interpreter may be applied
A relationship makes the process of be the sign of thy coming, and of the here. What this means is that we can
interpretation much easier. However, end of the world?” (v. 4, KJV). Matthew find help in understanding difficult texts
when there is a distance in meaning, 24 contains the answer. They were His by using other texts on the same topic
culture, context, and language between students, Jesus was their teacher, and that are clear.2 Thus this text may be
the reader and writer, a process of His words were part of Christ's answer clearly correlated with the promise of
interpretation is needed. to their question. Jesus in verse 3 that “I will come again,
Another criterion that we also need The text itself is clear, with no real and receive you unto myself ” (emphasis
to take into account is that of what is complexities. The complexities were added).
obvious and what is not. The literal added through interpretations never Wrote Gerhard Hasel: “A difficult
meaning, or what the text directly implied by Jesus, specifically the or obscure passage must not be inter-
says to us, is something that we need “secret rapture”1 interpretation—which, preted by the indiscriminate application
to always apply first in reading. For though popular today, did not exist in of another biblical passage or text—a
example, Jesus passed by, called the time of Jesus. But when the doctrine procedure that only leads to confusion
Matthew, and said to him, “Follow me” of the secret rapture was introduced, and contradiction. In the process of
(see Matt. 9:9). There were probably many started believing in it, even some using the principle of self-interpre-
many complex theological explanations Seventh-day Adventists. Then, in the tation, comparing and interpreting
of this verse; but the context is telling attempt to avoid this “secret rapture” passage with passage or text with text,
us something simple: Matthew was to interpretation, others have argued one must be guided to study only those
leave everything and follow Jesus. So, that the “taken” in that passage means passages or texts which deal with the
beyond the complexity of the explana- those taken for judgment and eternal same subject.”3
tion, there is a simple reading reflected condemnation. That view, however, Another element in the textual
in the “answer” to the call, and the does not work either. analysis is how others have translated
text says that he left everything and What, then, is Jesus saying here? the text. Different versions in John 14:3
“followed him.” This is the literal and read: “And if I go and prepare a place
obvious meaning of the words. Textual analysis for you, I will come back and take you to
The text is clear. At His coming, be with me that you also may be where
A misunderstood text Jesus is going to take some people I am” (NIV, emphasis added). “And if I
With this in mind, we come to two with Him. “The one shall be taken” (v. go and prepare a place for you, I will
well-known but often misunderstood 41)—which means taken to Him. This come again and will take you to myself,
verses: “Then shall two be in the field; is the plain reading of the text, which that where I am you may be also” (ESV,

D EC EM B ER 2 0 1 8 Ministry®

emphasis added). The vast majority of or two women working at the same “Shall be taken. Gr. paralambano
Bible versions translate paralambano hand mill: one is taken and the other is [παραλαμβάνω], meaning literally, ‘to
(παραλαμβάνω) as “receiving.” left. Taken and left are words with vast take to oneself,’ used in the papyri of
A third element is the original word- though untraced horizons—the one of receiving to oneself articles that belong
ing. In both cases (Matt. 24:40, 41 and joy and the other of doom.”6 to him. Paralambano [παραλαμβάνω]
John 14:3), the same original Greek The Word Biblical Commentary is used in [Matt.] 17:1 of Jesus taking
word, paralambano (παραλαμβάνω), reads: “Those who are taken are among to Himself Peter, James, and John,
is used. The definition of paralam- the elect who the angels of the Son and with them ascending the mount
bano (παραλαμβάνω) is “to take to, of Man are to gather at his coming (v. of transfiguration. In Col. 4:17 it is
to take with one’s self, to join to one’s 31), while those who are left await the used of a Christian minister’s receiv-
self.” Paralambano (παραλαμβάνω), prospect of judgment.”7 ing the gospel commission. In John
when used by Jesus, means accep- W. D. Davies and Dale Allison, in A 14:3 paralambano [παραλαμβάνω] is
tance or receiving, not judgment or Critical and Exegetical Commentary on used of Jesus receiving to Himself the
condemnation. the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, waiting disciples. By contrast, ‘took’ in
The Theological Dictionary of The state: “The first illustration concerns two Matt. 24:39 is from airo, ‘to carry off,’ ‘to
New Testament says of paralambano: men doing the same thing, the second remove.’ The ‘one’ of v. 40 is ‘taken’ by
“1. With a personal object (only Gospels two women doing the same thing. The the angels as they ‘gather’ the ‘elect’
and Ac.), ‘to take to (or with) oneself’ divergent fates show that God’s sudden (see on v. 31). . . .
(e.g., in close fellowship). In theologi- judgment annuls external similarities. “What Jesus meant by being ‘taken’
cally significant statements this is used . . . Why one is taken (note the vivid and being ‘left’ is made clear by the
of the reception of Christ by the world, present) and one left is unstated but the context. Those who are left are the evil
Jn 1:11, of acceptance into the kingdom surrounding verses supply the answer: servants, who instead of continuing in
of Christ, 14:3; Mt 24:40 f., cf. also Lk one was prepared, the other not. . . . their normal pursuit after a supposed
17:34 f.”4 The meaning of receiving as One is taken and one is left. But are the secret rapture, are cut asunder and
in a close fellowship is also shared by righteous taken to meet the Lord in the assigned their portion with the hypo-
J. P. Louw and Eugene Nida, Joseph H. air? Or are the wicked removed by angels crites (vs. 48-51). . . .
Thayer, and William D. Mounce in their and cast into fire? The former is more “Left. Gr. Aphiemi ‘to send away,’ ‘to
Greek dictionaries. likely. (1) Often in Matthew afiemi means dismiss.’ The Greek precludes the idea
It is clear that the context is of a divi- abandon or forsake. (2) Paralambano that it is the righteous who are ‘left.’ The
sion between the two words translated means ‘take (to safety)’ in [Matthew] righteous are literally ‘received’ and
as “taken” and “left.” 2:13, 14, 20, 21. (3) The picture of angels wicked ‘sent away.’ ”10
taking the saints to meet the Son of Ellen White writes: “ ‘Two men shall
παραλαμβάνεται ἀφίημι
man was probably common in early be in the field; the one shall be taken
(paralambanetai) (aphiemi)
Christianity. (4) In vv. 37–39 [of Matthew and the other left.’ ‘Two women shall
“to take to oneself” “to be left” 24] those taken (into the ark) are saved be grinding together; the one shall be
“to receive” while those left behind perish.”8 taken, and the other left.’ (Luke 17:36,
Ulrich Luz says in his commen- 35.) The righteous and the wicked
tary on Matthew 24: “With ‘taken’ are to be associated together in the
Meanwhile, the early Latin Vulgate
(Παραλαμβάνεται) the readers think work of life. But the Lord reads the
translates paralambano as adsume-
of the taking away to the Lord of which character, He discerns who are obedi-
tur, meaning “help,” “assistance,” and
they have just read (v. 31) and with ent children, who respect and love His
“means to aid.” In contrast, it translated
which they are familiar from their commandments.
afietai as relinquetur, or “abandon.”
knowledge of Jewish and Christian “The onlookers may discern no
tradition. With being left behind they difference, but there is One who said
Theological analysis think of the consideration of being lost that the tares were not to be plucked
In his commentary on Matthew,
that comes from the final separation up by human hands, lest the wheat be
William Hendriksen writes: “The Lord
from God. According to v. 41 the same rooted up also. Let both grow together
arrives. Of two men engaged in the same
is true for two women presumably again until the harvest. Then the Lord sends
kind of work, probably even toiling next
from the same family, who are doing forth His reapers to gather out the tares,
to each other in the field, one is taken. By
their housework together. One is taken and binds them in bundles to burn,
the angels he [is] gathered to be forever
away from the mill to Christ, the other while the wheat is gathered into the
with the Lord. The other is left behind,
stays behind and that means death and heavenly garner.
assigned to everlasting perdition.”5
destruction.”9 “The time of the judgment is a
G e o r g e A . B u tt r i c k , i n T h e
Meanwhile, The Seventh-day most solemn period, when the Lord
Interpreter’s Bible, says: “Thus two men
Adventist Bible Commentary says: gathers His own from among the tares.
working in the same furrow are divided,

Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
Those who have been members of the stand in the book of life, while those 14:3. The Greek use of paralambano
same family are separated. A mark is with whom he associated shall have the [παραλαμβάνω] indicates that those
placed upon the righteous. ‘They shall mark of eternal separation from God. “taken” or “received” by Jesus are the
be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that “The tares and wheat are now com- saved (see also 1 Thess. 4:17).
day when I make up My jewels: and I mingled, but then the one Hand that Despite the popularity of the “secret
will spare them, as a man spareth his alone can separate them will give to rapture” interpretation of Matthew
own son that serveth him’ (Malachi everyone his true position.”11 24:40, 41, a biblical and contextual read-
3:17). Those who have been obedient ing of the texts expresses the great truth
to God’s commandments will unite with Synthesis that, while the lost (those “left”) will,
the company of the saints in light; they The evidence from Matthew 24:40 ultimately, face another fate (Matthew
shall enter in through the gates into the demonstrates that the “taken” are 24:28), the saved (those “taken”) will,
city, and have right to the tree of life. those that Jesus is going to take when Jesus comes, go home to live
The one shall be taken. His name shall with Him as He promised in John eternally with Him.

1 Its central teaching is that the fulfillment of the 3 Hasel, Understanding the Living Word of God, 76. 8 W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, A Critical and
seventieth week of Daniel’s 70-week prophecy is still 4 Gerhard Kittel, ed., “C. παραλαμβάνω in the NT,” Exegetical Commentary on The Gospel According to Saint
future. It also teaches that the church will not go Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 4 Matthew (Edinburgh, UK: T & T Clark, 1997), 383.
through the great tribulation. See Gerhard Pfandl, (Grand Rapids, MI, Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1967), 13. 9 Ulrich Luz, Matthew 21–28 (Minneapolis, MN:
“The Rapture: Why it cannot occur before the Second 5 William Hendriksen, The Gospel of Matthew (London, Fortress Press, 2005), 214.
Coming.” UK: Banner of Truth Trust, 1973), 870. 10 Francis E. Nichol, ed., The Seventh-day Adventist
/default/files/pdf/Rapture.pdf 6 George Arthur Buttrick, ed., The Interpreter’s Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (Washington, DC: Review and
2 Gerhard F. Hasel, Understanding the Living Word of (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1979), 7:553. Herald Pub. Assn., 1956), 504.
God (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 7 Donald A. Hagner et al., Word Biblical Commentary 11 Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 9 (Silver Spring,
1980), 76. Matt 14–28 (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1995), 783. MD: Ellen G. White Estate), 137, emphasis added.

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Jeff Brown
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90th Anniversary article, reprinted from
The Ministry, March 1970, pages 17–19.

Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
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God’s Character and the Last Generation

edited by Jiří Moskala and John Peckham, Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 2018.

ast generation theology (LGT) LGT that is not only intellectually
teaches that the final generation satisfying but also spiritually
of Christians will vindicate the uplifting. Through responsible
character of God by overcoming all sin biblical exegesis, they have clari-
and perfectly reproducing the char- fied biblical teaching on the end
acter of Christ. Since M. L. Andreasen of time and the close of human
articulated its theological framework probation. One message that res-
in the mid-twentieth century, scores of onated throughout the book was
Seventh-day Adventists have embraced that human behavior does not
the challenge to be a part of the final vindicate the character of God.
company that will defeat Satan and As Jiří Moskala straightforwardly
stand in the sight of a holy God without put it in his chapter on Christ’s
an intercessor. atonement: “The focus of LGT is
In response, editors Jiří Moskala, on our characters and our actions
dean of the Seventh-day Adventist instead of being God-centered”
Theological Seminary, and John (206, 207; his emphasis). Rather,
Peckham, associate professor of it is Christ and His efficacious and
Christian philosophy, have put together all-sufficient atoning work that
a collection of essays from twelve has vindicated the character of
contributors from the Seventh-day God and defeated Satan. This
Adventist Theological Seminary at God-centered, Christ-honoring truth off the subject matter, however, if an
Andrews University that address the will be refreshing to anyone who has entire chapter were devoted to the
major arguments of LGT proponents struggled existentially with LGT. Wesleyan roots of White’s view on the
in a scholarly, yet pastoral way. The Several important features of this perfection of Christian character. Space
fourteen chapters of the book engage book stand out. First, the authors focus limitations are always a factor in these
the major issues with pastoral wisdom on the arguments of LGT rather than its kinds of books, and several authors
and careful analysis of the biblical historical and contemporary person- noted this in trying to condense their
text and the corpus of the Ellen White alities. They are gracious and kind in extensive research into one chapter.
writings. At the outset, the issues are their critique and are more interested Nevertheless, the book as a whole is a
set forth in the framework of the great in setting forth biblical truth than in major contribution to Christian thought
controversy motif. Then the authors making a polemical case. Second, while on the end of time and an important
analyze the following topics, among the authors reject the major tenets of corrective to misunderstandings about
others: a historical overview of LGT LGT perfectionism, they clearly and the vindication of God’s character.
ideas and figures who have set forth unmistakably embrace biblical per- In short, I highly recommend this
its theology; the nature of sin; the fection of Christian character. One book to any believer who has struggled
meaning of justification, sanctification, will thus find throughout the book a with end-time issues in his or her own
assurance, and perfection; the lifestyle repeated emphasis on the importance life or who ministers to those who do.
of end-time saints; the struggle to live of victory over sins through the experi- Preachers will find plenty of ideas for
a sinless life; what it means to perfectly ence of sanctification. Third, this book biblical sermon series, and the book
reproduce the character of Christ; the has a pastoral concern for those who will provoke one to probe deeper into
accomplishments of Christ on the cross; have struggled to become sinless but Scripture. God’s Character and the
the significance, meaning, and role of failed. One chapter even deals with Last Generation is a landmark work
Christ’s atonement; what it means to the psychology of striving for perfec- that will inspire a new generation of
live in the sight of a holy God without tion. Fourth, because Ellen White is Seventh-day Adventists to give glory to
an intercessor; the role of Ellen White; heavily quoted in LGT, her writings God alone and proclaim the soon return
the concept of sinless living; Adventist receive significant attention throughout of Jesus with hope and assurance.
myths on the end-time issues; the delay the chapters and extensive endnotes.
of Christ’s coming; and the ultimate Several of the writers provide insightful —Reviewed by Jud Lake, ThD, DMin, professor of
triumph of God’s love. analysis of her carefully nuanced under- preaching and Adventist studies, School of Reli-
In my view, the authors have pro- standing of the state of the righteous at gion, Southern Adventist University, Collegedale,
vided a solid biblical alternative to the end of time. It would have rounded Tennessee, United States.

D EC EM B ER 2 0 1 8 Ministry®

Creation Sabbath celebrates the wonder of God’s handiwork

B errien Springs, Michigan, United

State s — T h e V i l l a ge C h u rc h
in Berrien Springs hosted Creation
Greene. Over the weekend six Creation
paintings were displayed from a series
of seven; the seventh is currently in
the beauty and wonder of God’s cre-
ation and affirm the biblical narrative.
All presentations were recorded
Sabbath, a celebration of God’s work progress.  by the North American Division’s
in Creation as described in the book The afternoon attendance included Adventist Learning Community (ALC)
of Genesis and affirmed throughout more than 150 children who came and can be accessed on ALC’s website
Scripture. for a kids’ program that featured ( or
Timothy Standish, a senior sci- science experiments hosted by the on the Berrien Springs Village Church
entist from The Geoscience Research chemistry students of Ryan Hayes, website (
Institute of the Seventh-day Adventist a chemistry professor at Andrews Your church can prepare to partici-
Church in Loma Linda, California, part- University. Presenters included sci- pate in Creation Sabbath on October
nered with the church in organizing entists, theologians, educators, and 26, 2019, with resources at the Creation
a weekend, which had an attendance designers. Sabbath website, creationsabbath
of more than 700. Many came to see Creation Sabbath is an annual event .net. [Debbie Michel, Lake Union
Creation paintings recently completed for the Seventh-day Adventist world Conference]
by world-renowned artist Nathan church, where participants celebrate

Adventist pastor loses family in tragic fire

D a n s om a n , A cc ra , G ha n a — A
tragic fire claimed the lives of an
Adventist pastor’s family during the
take care of the baby. Ebenezer rushed
home upon hearing the heartbreaking
news. Church leaders immediately
former president of the then South
Ghana Conference. [Solace Asafo,
Southern Ghana Union Conference
early morning hours of Sunday, August visited Ebenezer, offering their support Communication director]
19. Ebenezer Ato Kessie was away and condolences.
Photo: West Africa Division
at camp meeting when fire engulfed “This is a most tragic incident,
his house, killing his wife, Linda; and we can only pray that God will be
their four-year-old son; their infant their source of comfort,” said a shaken
son; Linda’s mother; and Linda’s niece. Thomas Techie Ocran, president of
Linda, a teacher at the Valley View the Southern Ghana Union Conference.
University Basic School in Accra, had Ebenezer is the assistant com-
recently given birth to their second munication director of the Accra City
child, and her mother had come to help Conference and son of Anthony Kessie,

Andrews University Church celebrates the NET ’98 20th

B errien Springs, Michigan, United

States—Pioneer Memorial Church
(PMC), the Seventh-day Adventist con-
satellite evangelistic event dubbed
NET ’98 at a special remembrance and
worship service on October 6, 2018.
campus church for the five-week preach-
ing series. “Twenty years ago, October
ninth, seven fifteen in the evening, some-
gregation on the campus of Andrews During the service, PMC pastor body in that mezzanine level hit a switch,
University, recently celebrated the Dwight K. Nelson recalled the moment and at the speed of light, a beam from
20th anniversary of the historic global when the uplink went live from the two satellite trucks shot up to a bevy of

Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
Skip McCarty (right), formerly a pastor of PMC, conducts
an interview for the 20th anniversary of NET ’98, the
Adventist Church’s largest satellite evangelism program.
Senior PMC pastor Dwight Nelson (left) looks on.

satellites belting the planet. One signal attend the satellite event at a local church According to NET leaders, more
from here, six continents, more than a and shared that while listening, he became than 1,500 volunteers and 50 minis-
hundred nations, forty languages, and convicted of the Sabbath. “NET ’98 chal- tries worked through the month of the
seven thousand, six hundred downlink lenged me,” he said via video conference. evangelistic meetings to keep the effort
sites, all watching simultaneously.” “Initially, I did not like it. I actually tried afloat.  Llona Chapman managed a
An estimated two million people to disprove the Adventist teaching of separate program for 11- and 12-year-
worldwide tuned in to the live satellite the Sabbath by looking for evidence but olds, for which she planned on 35 to
event. Nelson stood each evening and couldn’t find anything.” Shortly after 40 children but ended up with 75 each
preached, while 39 pastors stationed in the meetings, Canfield was baptized, night. A curriculum specially designed
soundproof cubicles translated his mes- and he currently serves as pastor of the for NET ’98, called “Come Meet Jesus,”
sage into several languages. Lacey Seventh-day Adventist Church in took the children on a journey of Bible
Nelson said that his NeXt Millennium  Washington, United States. stories from Creation to Jesus’ second
Seminars series approached the books Retired pastor Skip McCarty shared coming.
of Daniel and Revelation from a fresh, that before NET ’98, a group of Andrews “That last Friday night we were
relational aspect in the hope of help- University students, as part of the rela- concentrating on Jesus’ crucifixion,”
ing people discover a forever friendship tional component of the evangelistic Chapman said. “I prayed and asked God
with the Savior. series, went door-to-door to pray with to give me one child. As I talked with the
One major objective of NET ’98, people in Benton Harbor, Michigan. children about Jesus being crucified, I
according to leaders who developed McCarty said, “At that time, we didn’t saw a twelve-year-old boy with his head
the NET programs, was to target those have a downlink capability, so every in his hands, sobbing, and it happened
born between 1965 and 1980, known as morning after each meeting, the univer- to be a boy who had given us problems.
Generation X or Gen X. sity students would receive a VHS tape Towards the end of the meetings, we
During the 20th-anniversar y and bicycle it up to Benton Harbor, where gave the kids a baptismal card, and this
celebration, Nelson shared several sto- they would share it each evening with a same twelve-year-old boy was the first
ries of conversion that emerged from packed room of people from the commu- one to return it. I was fortunate enough
the evangelistic series, including that nity. It resulted in several baptisms.” After to watch him get baptized and cried
of  Jason  Canfield, who belonged to NET ’98, the church planted the Harbor of afterward.” [Felicia Tonga, Lake Union
another faith. Canfield was invited to Hope Church, which is still in existence. Herald, and North American Division]

D EC EM B ER 2 0 1 8 Ministry®
LETTERS continued

To mandate Hebrew and Greek upon Without being qualified in Biblical how to use these aids to ascertain the
theology students poorly gifted in languages, ministers can deeply study original meaning of the Bible authors.
this area is to guarantee the dubious difficult texts with the help of Strong’s This may not be as good as being expert
value of a shallow learning in order to concordance, Greek-English interlin- in Biblical languages, but it could be the
get a pass. ears, and authors like Kenneth Wuest, most sensible alternative for those who
While Ellen White extolled the value all of which are language experts. Yes, may have weak language skills yet are
of education for ministers, she also got various reputable Bible translations blessed with giftedness in other areas
it right in writing, “There are times when do often give different meanings to of ministry.
Greek and Latin scholars are needed. texts, but the article suggests that In making Biblical languages
Some must study these languages. Greek-deprived ministers like me have optional, are we lowering educational
This is well. But not all, and not many no better alternative. Not so! We can standards for ministerial graduates? A
should study them.” In the preceding get in-depth info from these aids just thousand times, No! We are freeing stu-
paragraph she wrote, “If Jesus Christ as those with Biblical language skills dents to pursue the best education in
had deemed this kind of education need to do occasionally. All theology all-round ministry and the vital subjects
essential, would He not have given it students should be shown how English in which they can realistically excel.
to His disciples?” (Fundamentals of translations can significantly differ in —Jack Lange, retired pastor, Queensland,
Christian Education, 468). difficult texts and should be taught Australia

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Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
Kindling revival

watched with some amusement as We may have to resist inclinations
my student, Maria, tried to make to want revival fast and bright, to draw
a fire for cooking. She hurriedly a crowd, hoping to do a great work and
crumpled paper in a pile, placed a hasten Christ’s coming. This is a noble
large log on top of it, and proceeded aspiration. But without the prerequisite
to light her fire. Although Maria was an work of gathering the necessary kin- we remarked that the neighbors might
experienced cook, her urban childhood dling, be it even two or three, we will fail think we had added a Sunday service
had not afforded her the basic skills of of passing on the flame of God’s Spirit because of the many cars in the parking
fire craft. to a church, city, or a nation and find lot! No one wanted to leave after we
My mumbled suggestions, if they ourselves disappointed. When we com- finished praying at seven o’clock in the
were received at all, were ignored. ply with the reasonable conditions for morning, so we extended the Sunday
Predictably, the fire brightly flared at revival, however—small groups claiming morning service a half hour longer to
first, and Maria beheld the glowing Christ’s extravagant promise honoring allow testimonies of answered prayer
flames engulfing the log with satis- the requests of two and three—then and witnessing. God blessed those
faction. As quickly as they appeared, small, sustainable fires will ignite larger humble beginnings of prayer and Bible
however, the flames disappeared to fuel, combine, and surround the globe. memorization. The blessings included
reveal the log untouched. The fire,
tinder, and fuel were all good, but with
no kindling, the fire, predictably, went
out. In the same way, we must not
neglect kindling for spiritual revival. The need for revival is urgent,
Twigs and sticks are humble materi-
als and laborious to gather and arrange,
but Jesus teaches that “he that is faith- but we must not overlook the
ful in that which is least is faithful also
in much” (Luke 16:10). The amazing
promise of the power of small begin- kindling of small groups to
nings is found in the Master’s promise,
“If two of you shall agree on earth as
touching anything that they shall ask, ignite widespread revival.
it shall be done for them of my Father
which is in heaven. For where two
or three are gathered together in my
name, there am I in the midst of them” In 2011, I invited members of a financial blessings for ministry needs,
(Matt. 18:19, 20). Revival that burns hot country church in Colfax, California, a revived medical program, and the
with a small number will ignite many to pray for the Holy Spirit. I told them successful launch of an online resource
and extend around the globe. that I would be at the church for one for ministers and Bible workers.
Jesus wants to baptize us “with the hour every Sunday at six o’clock in The need for revival is urgent, but
Holy Ghost and with fire” (Luke 3:16). the morning. Seven or eight members we must not overlook the kindling
Like fire, revival must start small and sometimes came, but there were days of small groups to ignite widespread
be sustained with added fuel to grow during that first year when only one revival. “Who hath despised the day
large. The components necessary for person joined me. Our fellowship was of small beginnings?” (Zech. 4:10). It
revival fire that are within reach of richly blessed by the Holy Spirit, and is “not by might, nor by power, but by
all are, according to God’s Word, (1) we always left joyful. my Spirit, saith the Lord” (v. 6). If we
humble prayer (2) seeking God’s face, Then more people began to come, resist the quick and flashy route and
and (3) repentance of sin (2 Chron. 7:14). so we prayed that God would bring sustain the fire of revival at a small and
When these critical success factors revival. We began a Scripture memori- consistent level, it will surely spread
are met faithfully and consistently by zation program in the midweek service across the globe.
even a small group of two or three, the that next year, and attendance began to —Richard Constantienescu, MDiv, pastors the Ar-
blessing of God’s Spirit is promised! Do blossom. The Sunday morning meeting dmore, Oklahoma Seventh-day Adventist church,
we believe and practice this? also continued to grow, and one Sunday Ardmore, Oklahoma, United States.

D EC EM B ER 2 0 1 8 Ministry®
Conrad Vine, DMin, is president of Adventist Frontier Missions, Inc., Berrien Springs, Michigan,
United States.

Nobody cared about her

here once was an unseen And so in February 2018, Adventist
woman who crept up behind men and women from around the world
Jesus to touch the hem of His gathered in Berrien Springs, Michigan
robe, whose faith brought full healing. for two days of prayer and reflection.
Nobody saw her. Nobody cared about The group was diverse, drawn from a
her. She was in the group of disciples broad range of ministry callings, includ-
but not with the group of disciples. ing missiologists, frontline missionaries,
Today, after a powerful sermon, theologians, and administrators. The
and as the crowds disperse, an unseen group was also united by the fact that
woman could timidly approach you all were actively involved in deliverance
and barely whisper with tears in her ministry. The goals of the conference
eyes, “Pastor, I have a problem, a were as follows:
shadow in my life, and I don’t know
how to get rid of it. I can’t speak about 1. To agree upon and define biblical established, which contains an ebook,
it publicly, for people will say I am and Spirit of Prophecy foundations titled Finding Freedom in Jesus: A
crazy, but I am desperate. I can’t go on. for deliverance ministry (DM) Deliverance Ministry Manual, prepared
Please help me.” How do we respond? 2. To agree upon and define ethical from the conference attendees’ papers.2
Or the terrified seminary student, guidelines for DM practitioners The papers were subject to intense
who played with a Ouija board as a 3. To agree on the need for a field man- review, discussion, and debate. The
teenager and all of the “predictions” of ual for Adventist DM practitioners book is not the end of our journey, nor
the fallen spirit have come true, calls 4. To agree upon and define a mentor- is it the final word on this difficult topic.
and begs for help. How do we respond? ing program for key unions and Rather, it is merely a step in a journey
Or the mother who discovers that universities so that they can mentor of faith as we humbly partner with God
her estranged husband’s family were local pastors and/or elders in bibli- in the great controversy and seek to
all involved in Freemasonry and chan- cal DM practices help Satan’s captives experience the
neling spirits, and whose teenage 5. To establish an association or deliverance only Jesus Christ can bring.
daughter is now filled with rage and institute that can continue this This practical, Adventist approach
is cutting herself. Her family is falling work, developing regional chapters, to deliverance ministry was written out
apart. Her faith is fading. Her fear is conducting annual conferences, of love, for love, and with love. It was
paralyzing. How do we respond? coordinating new training mate- not written exclusively for theologians
To chart a Seventh-day Adventist rial development, and raising the or missiologists. It is rooted in the good
path for deliverance ministry1 is fraught understanding and awareness news that Jesus Christ has never lost a
with difficulty, avoiding both the of this kind of ministry among battle with Satan, and in His name, the
aggressive strategic level spiritual war- Adventists captives may still be set free. To God be
fare found among many Evangelicals the glory!
on the one hand but also the skeptical The preparations for this confer-
Western secular worldview on the other. ence were difficult. Satan pushed 1 Deliverance ministry may best be understood as
Yet, given the late hour in the earth’s his- back with personal harassment of the delivering an individual from the influence of
personal, malevolent fallen angels.
tory, as ministers of the gospel, we must participants. Many of those involved 2 For a hard copy of the book or to schedule a training
wrestle with how we as Adventists may suffered personal injury and much pain. event in your region, contact Dr. Bruce Bauer at
apply our unique theological insights Yet, God protected with His angels and See also Conrad Vine,
into the great controversy that rages led through His Spirit, and the outcome “Practical Deliverance Ministry Manual Coming
between our Lord and Savior Jesus was a renewed commitment to minister Soon,” Set Free in Christ Institute, Nov. 17, 2017,
Christ and the evil one at a cosmic with biblical fidelity, unyielding love,
/category/all and Conrad Vine, “Set Free in Christ,”
level to practical principles of ministry and a holy boldness for God. Adventist Frontier Missions, Oct. 2, 2018,
for the victims of Satan’s attacks on an At the end of the conference, home-office-blog/detail
individual level. the website was /set-free-in-christ.

Ministry® DE CE M B E R 2018
—James Dobson, Founder, Focus on the Family


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