Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath School Lesson

Out of the Whirlwind

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The Papal Sun Day

Supported by the Heathen in America

And Congress?

Pope Calls for Sunday Rest

After the Vatican has called for national Sunday laws, the pope now calls it "freedom" to rest on the sun day.

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Nature Testifies of God

Upon all created things is seen the impress of the Deity

Beautiful Video

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Christ says, "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, . . . and have the keys of hell and of death."     Revelation 1:18.

Looking upon His disciples with divine love and with the tenderest sympathy, Christ said, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him." Judas had left the upper chamber, and Christ was alone with the eleven.

Justification by Faith

Signs of the Times

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Jesus said "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars....For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places."

 

 

Christian History

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In the great final conflict, Satan will employ the same policy, manifest the same spirit, and work for the same end as in all preceding ages. That which has been, will be. Satan's deceptions will be more subtle. If possible, even the very elect would be deceived.

A Faithful Record

Nature God's Second Book

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Nature is an open book which reveals God. All who are attracted to nature may behold in it the God that created them.

Book of Nature

 

Dr. Ben Carson Nominated HUD Secretary


Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr., a prominent pediatric neurosurgeon and Seventh-day Adventist who was the first member of the denomination to seek the U.S. Presidential nomination has accepted an offer extended by President-elect Donald J. Trump to become Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, commonly known as HUD, a federal agency which spends $48 billion a year.

According to the agency's website, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which was established in 1965 as a Cabinet Department is the “Federal agency responsible for national policy and programs that address America's housing needs, improve and develop the Nation's communities and enforce fair housing laws”. While considering the HUD appointment, Carson told Fox News, "our inner cities are in terrible shape and they definitely need some real attention." 

If confirmed by the United States Senate, Carson would become the 17 th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the first Seventh-day Adventist to hold a Cabinet level position. According to the Congressional Research Service, the HUD Secretary would also be thirteenth in the line of succession to the U.S. presidency.

"I am thrilled to nominate Dr. Ben Carson as our next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities," a statement quotes Trump as saying. "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."

The same statement quotes Carson: "I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met."

Carson, 65, retired as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2013. His successful operation to separate Siamese twins conjoined at the back of the head catapulted him into international prominence. His personal story of rising from poverty in Detroit, Michigan through hard work, a dedication to education, and faith in Jesus, were the themes of “Gifted Hands,” an autobiography later made into a television movies tarring Academy Award-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr., as Carson. 

In 2008, Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then-President George W. Bush, who noted Carson’s triumph over a “grim future” of poverty and crime to become “a scholar, a healer, and a leader.” Carson’s mother, and early influencer, Sonya, attended the White House ceremony, along with Carson’s wife Candy. Ben and Candy Carson, along with their children, are members of the Spencerville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. 

In May 2015, Carson announced his presidential bid, drawing attention to his Seventh-day Adventist connection. The church’s North American Division said at the time that while Adventism “values” Carson, “it is important for the church to maintain its long-standing historical support for the separation of church and state by not endorsing or opposing any candidate.” 

No Seventh-day Adventist has previously held a Cabinet-level post in United States history. President Warren G. Harding, whose mother and sister were Seventh-day Adventists, appointed several Adventist family members to government posts after his 1920 election, but none of them with Cabinet rank. Harding’s sister Carolyn Harding Votaw, served as head of the U.S. Public Health Service’s social service division, and her husband, Heber Votaw, was appointed by Harding’s attorney general as Superintendent of Prisons for the Federal government. Both left office within a year of President Harding’s 1923 death from a heart attack.

More recently, Chaplain Barry C. Black, a retired Navy rear admiral and chief of naval chaplains, was appointed by U.S. Senate as Senate chaplain, the first Seventh-day Adventist and the first African-American to hold that role. A handful of Adventists have also served in the U.S. Congress, including Roscoe Bartlett, Jerry Pettis and current Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Representative Raul Ruiz of California.

 

 

 

Religious Liberty at the U.N.

 

 

 

In a meeting with the United Nations’ new top envoy for religious freedom, the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s UN liaison said Adventists are committed to promoting and defending freedom of worship for all people, regardless of their faith tradition. 

Nelu Burcea, associate director of the Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department of the Adventist world church, met last month in New York City with Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s new Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. Shaheed is a veteran politician and diplomat from the Indian Ocean island nation of Maldives, and previously served as the UN’s top human rights observer for the Islamic Republic of Iran. 

“I have followed Dr. Shaheed’s work as Special Rapporteur on human rights for Iran and I’ve been struck by his passionate commitment to defending the defenseless, and speaking out for those who have no voice,” said Burcea. “As I talked with him last month, this impression was certainly confirmed. I welcome the opportunity to work with Dr. Shaheed in promoting the first freedom—the freedom to believe and worship according to one’s own conscience.”

In their meeting, Burcea introduced Shaheed to the global work of the Adventist Church, and spoke of its efforts, spanning some 150 years, to defend and expand religious liberty for all people of faith. The two also discussed current challenges to religious freedom in different parts of the world.   

Shaheed’s appointment follows the retirement of Heiner Bielefeldt, who served as the UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief since August 2010.

“As he begins his work, Dr. Shaheed will build on a foundation that has been strengthened by the dedicated work of Professor Bielefeldt,” said Dr. Ganoune Diop, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the world church. 

Diop, who formerly served as the church’s UN Liaison, has worked closely with Bielefeldt through the years. He called him an “eloquent, effective and compassionate advocate for religious freedom—someone who doesn’t hesitate to speak against the powerful on behalf of religious minorities, or those struggling under repressive laws or in hostile environments. We wish Dr. Shaheed well as he continues to expand Professor Bielefeldt’s legacy.”

As the church’s UN Liaison, Burcea regularly travels to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, Switzerland to attend meetings, including sessions of the UN’s Human Rights Council, which take place at least three times annually. His task is to introduce the Adventist Church within the international arena, and to build good relations with those who share the church’s goals in fields such as human rights and humanitarian care.

 

 

 

Seventh-day Adventists in Brazilian Health Study

 

                                                               1,500 people were evaluated in study                     Photo: Estaudo Advento

The relationship between an intestinal bacteria and its possible effects on diabetes was published in a national scientific article, which featured the dietary habits of Seventh-day Adventists in Brazil.

“Estudo Advento” or Advent Study was published on November 14 in the highly regarded scientific journal “Nature Communications,” which is part of the “Nature” group. The British journal is considered one of the few academic journals that publishes original research in several scientific fields, and has an online audience of 3 million readers per month.

The article was written by Brazilian researchers Ana Carolina de Moares, Gabriel R. Fernandes, Alexandre C. Pereira, Sandra R. G. Ferreira, and Adventist physician Everton Padilha Gomes, who was the coordinator of the study, in partnership with scientists from Oregon State University in the United States.

According to Ana Carolina de Moares, who holds a doctorate in public health nutrition from the University of São Paulo (USP), this is only one in a series of articles based on the diets of selected Seventh-day Adventists in São Paulo.

The nutritionist explained that the content published in “Nature Communications” identified a relationship between the immune system and bacteria in the intestines and glucose metabolism. It was discovered that there is a difference in the quantity of Akkermansia muciniphila bacteria in the intestines of people with diabetes, with pre-diabetes and those who have “normotolerants” or normal glucose metabolism.

“These bacteria are shown to be present in people with diabetes and diabetes type 2”, explained the researcher and co-author of the article.

A relationship between the Adventist diet and the presence of the bacteria has yet to be established.

For the creation of this article, 94 Brazilian Adventists between the ages of 35-65 were evaluated. They also participated in the larger group that was included in the Advent Study, which involved more than 1,500 people.

Results in mice

 

The study of the Akkermansia muciniphila bacteria has been done for a few years. One of the studies, developed by scientists from University of Louvain, in Belgium, used the bacteria as a probiotic with the purpose of reducing the weight and the risk of diabetes type 2 in mice. They noticed the bacteria was capable of altering the layer of mucus that involved the intestines, protecting it against the development of diabetes type 2.

During the experiment, the mice were given a diet rich in fat, resulting in weight gain. Later, they received doses of the bacteria and lost half the weight they gained without any dietary change.

The mice treated with the bacteria also showed a low resistance level to the insulin hormone, a classic symptom of diabetes type 2.

 

The article in “Nature Communications” could possibly help create the means for this type of testing to take place with humans, which could later help reveal compare the presence of the bacteria between those who are vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarian or omnivorous.

 

Church Leader Listens to Pope at Vatican

 

 

 

Dr. Ganoune Diop, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) for the Seventh-day Adventist world church, recently returned from two major international gatherings: a meeting of the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions held in Rome, Italy; and, the African Council of Religious Leaders, Religions for Peace which took place in Abuja, Nigeria. 

He sat down with PARL Communication director, Bettina Krause, to talk about why he accepts invitations to represent the Adventist Church at these and many other similar events. 

Bettina Krause: Your travel schedule is filled with a wide range of different meetings, including religious gatherings, events sponsored by international organizations such as the United Nations, and visits with secular and political leaders. Why does PARL engage with groups and individuals such as these?

Ganoune Diop: The first two words in the name of our department—“Public Affairs”—succinctly describes a core part of our mission. In all our activities, we seek to position the church to a standing of visibility, credibility, trust, and relevance in the public sphere. That means being prepared to share the mission and values of the Adventist Church with anyone, whether a public official or representative of another faith group. Our department here at the General Conference, and each PARL director in every world church division, has this responsibility of working to shape public perceptions of our church, and forming helpful relationships with people of influence in society. 

This has become increasingly important with the rapid growth of the Adventist Church over the past two decades—more than 20 million members at last count—and as the church continues to expand the reach of its mission. With a growing presence in the world, we need to tell people who we are, rather than to rely on someone else’s interpretation. We want to introduce ourselves on our own terms.

BK: Many people equate the PARL department with defending religious liberty, which is, indeed, a large part of what we do. Is this emphasis on the “Public Affairs” work of the department a recent development?  

GD: No, not at all! This responsibility is part of the voted mandate of our department. It’s part of PARL’s explicit mission, which is spelled out in the General Conference Working Policy. This policy entrusts PARL with the work of inter-faith relations and with forming relationships with various people of influence. It’s important to note that this is not ecumenism, in its negative sense. This is not about diluting the church’s identity or prophetic voice—absolutely not. In fact, it is actually about being faithful to the mission Christ has given His church. It is impossible for the Adventist Church to fulfill its mission without mingling with other people. I believe this is key. There are no exceptions to this—we must be prepared to meet anyone—political leaders, Christian leaders, other religious leaders, atheists—and to be able to give an account of the faith that is within us. There is no way we can complete our biblical mandate if we exclude groups or individuals from the reach of our witness.  

So, as a department, we seek platforms and forums where we can testify about who Adventists are, and what we do in the world.  

BK: You’ve been engaged in this work since 2011, first as liaison to the United Nations and other international organizations, and since 2015 as director of the department. Have you seen these efforts of mingling and relationship building produce any tangible benefits for the church or its mission? 

GD: Yes, I have! At the most basic level, of course, we benefit simply because we’re being faithful to the mission God has given us to be light and salt in the world. To be obedient to this command, we have to mingle; this is part of witnessing and part of following the example of Christ, who in the words of Ellen White, “mingled with men as one who desired their good.”  

Of course, as we seek to be salt in the world, we must guard against the danger of losing our “flavor.” But the fear of losing our message or identity doesn’t invalidate the mission itself! From a logical standpoint, alone, that doesn’t make sense. The risk alerts us to be careful, but it doesn’t revoke our responsibility. 

Another tangible benefit I’ve witnessed, many times, is that people hear about us and learn about us from our own words, rather than secondhand or through the interpretation of someone who may be hostile to the Adventist Church. By spending time with religious or secular leaders we can dispel prejudices and build trust. They begin to see that the Adventist Church is not some isolated group that’s focused only on itself. They begin to understand that the church has a whole portfolio of services—humanitarian, health, education, and more—that we offer to society. They see that we stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in humanity and that we love people, genuinely and authentically.  

BK: I suppose someone could ask, “Is having a good public reputation really that important?” Have you seen an instance where this has made a difference for the Adventist Church?

GD: In February this year, I was in Moscow, Russia, attending a meeting of the Global Christian Forum. This is a gathering where Christian leaders meet to better understand one another and to talk about common concerns, such as the persecution of Christians around the world.  While we were sitting around the table, the previous secretary of the group, Hubert van Beek, spoke about a recent visit he’d made to the Middle East. While there, he’d met with regional Christian leaders and they were discussing a proposal to remove Seventh-day Adventists from the list of official Christian churches. You may ask, “Why would this matter?” Well, if the Adventist Church had no government recognition, its activities would suddenly become extremely restricted. It would lose its legal status. It wouldn’t even be able to own property—such as a church—for the purpose of worship.

Well, Huibert spoke up. He told these Christian leaders that he had regular contact with Adventists every year at the Global Christian Forum. He said that Adventists were indeed Christians—not a fringe sect. And the result was that the Adventist Church retained its legal status and its ability to function within that country.

I’ve heard many other such examples. It makes a practical difference if the Adventist Church is perceived as a credible, trustworthy, and internationally recognized organization. Our ability to function, to undertake mission, and to establish Adventist institutions can be largely dependent on how we’re seen by the government and other dominant religious groups. I’ve just come back from Nigeria. There, our church is known as a reliable and service-orientated church that is a blessing to society through our hospitals and schools.  

Also, just as we want other people to know us on our own terms, it’s important also for us to understand others—including other religious groups—on their own terms. It does not serve us well to view others from a position of ignorance or prejudice. Listening to people, even if we disagree with them, as they share their hopes and fears and aspirations, help us to better understand them. It allows us to know what we can offer them that may resonate with their needs. 

We must have a mature understanding of why we mingle and engage with people—whether they’re believers or atheists, pre-modern, modern or post-modern, secular or post-secular. No one is excluded from the ambit of our mission. 

BK: You receive many different invitations from various groups, as well as requests to speak at events. How do you decide whether to accept an invitation? What criteria do you use to determine what does or doesn’t fit with the mission you’ve just been describing?

GD: Well, people invite us because they think Adventists have something to bring to the table. In Nigeria at the African Council for Religious Leaders, the discussion was on building a more peaceful, tolerant society. And so I was invited to speak because they believed Adventists have a theological, a biblical, perspective that could bring something significant to the discussion of peaceful coexistence.  

So, my first criteria is, Can we bring something to benefit these people? And at the same time I have to ask, Is there a benefit for our church, as well? Will it give visibility? Build credibility and trust? Break down barriers of prejudice and misinformation? Will it provide an opportunity to share Adventist values? Help position us as people who don’t want to be isolated from society, but to be a blessing in the communities where we live?

When God called Israel it was for the purpose of being a blessing to the world. I believe the calling of the Adventist Church, also, is connected to God’s desire to bless the world through us. He didn’t call us because we’re exceptional human beings, or because we deserve special treatment. No, He has called us to be a light to the world; to be a tangible expression of Christ’s love for the world. All this is part of what our department—PARL—seeks to express and to embody.  

It’s for this reason that I’m committed to meeting with leaders of other Christian denominations, leaders of faith groups, as well as secular and political leaders—no exceptions.  

Since 2014, I’ve been entrusted with the role of Secretary of a group called the Conference of Secretaries of Christian World Communions. This is a group of leaders from a broad range of Christian denominations. Yes, there are doctrinal differences that are impossible to reconcile. It cannot happen. But we can still talk together and co-exist peacefully. When I meet with this group I simply share who we are, what we’re doing, and how we help society. Unlike organizations such as the World Council of Churches, there are no shared objectives or membership conditions or fees—we don’t even take minutes. This is purely inter-faith relations—an effort to better understand others, and to make Adventism better understood, also.  

In my role with PARL, I meet with many leaders, from both Christian and non-Christian faith traditions. In Nigeria earlier this month, I spent time with the Sultan of Sokoto, who is considered the spiritual leader of the country’s seventy million Muslims. Also this month, in Rome, I met with many Christian leaders, including those from the Anglican Communion, Baptist World Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, Mennonite World Conference, The Salvation Army, the Roman Catholic leader, Pope Francis, and many others. In the next few weeks, I’ll visit with secular political leaders in Central Asia and in West Africa. 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has something unique to share with the world about life. We promote education, health, and justice because we believe God, at creation, imbued human beings with innate dignity and infinite worth. But we also have something to share about life that transcends the here and now—the hope of eternal life to come. 

This is what drives and motivates me to meet all these people. And this responsibility to be salt and light to everyone, everywhere, no exceptions, is what drives the work of PARL. The fear of losing our flavor—the fear of syncretistic alliance—should never stifle the vitality of the message and the faithfulness to the Lord of the mission we share with the world before His Second Coming He promised. 

For more information, visit: http://www.adventistliberty.org/interfaith-interchurch-relations.pdf.

 

 

 

 

7.8 Quake Hits New Zealand


Seventh-day Adventists are among those responding to the powerful earthquake that struck just north of Christchurch in New Zealand, on what is known as the nation's South Island.

Effects of the 7.8 magnitude quake were felt on the North Island as well. Early reports indicate two people have died in the earthquake, and many buildings have been damaged.

Tulaga Aiolupotea, pastor of Addington Seventh-day Adventist Church in Christchurch spoke with Australia's Adventist Record about his experience.

“We are well. We live in [the Christchurch suburb of] Redwood, about a 10-15 minute drive north of the central business district," Ailupotea said. "[The quake] shook our bed, woke us both up... my wife grabbed my 6-month old girl, while I quickly ran and grabbed my two little girls from their room, at the same time trying to feel through the shake—anticipating whether it was going to stop anytime soon or get worse. But it continued for a while, about a minute long. My mum, who is on holiday with us, was carrying my niece out from their room and we just waited in our room, gathered together just waiting for it to stop.

Aiolupotea added, “It was fascinating. The kids kept sleeping, dozing off, wondering why we had gathered. It was quite a shock for us. [We were] more or less scared, anxious really. The sound the house made . . . the walls sounded like it was rubbing against its joints, like [the sound] a wooden swing bridge would make. The house swayed side to side... but no damages were made at home... it’s pretty quake-proof for kids... less stuff on walls... stabled high shelves that will keep itself steady. After the main quake stopped we felt a few aftershocks. They were very gradual climactic shakes and faded away very slowly as it would come.”

At the time of this report, pastor Aiolupotea said he'd not heard of whether any of his church members or the congregations nearby had been directly affected.

Further north, in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington, Andre Afamasaga, pastor of Wellington's Capital Church, shared news footage from his street in the central business district, showing smashed windows and cracks in the street.

He posted this early this morning, “As far as I know we are still safe to stay here in the city although many have sought higher ground. The aftershocks have been continuous and apart from that and a few fallen objects, I'm good. However my thoughts are with families, elderly, kids, and pets who have experienced far worse.”

Afamasaga shared with Adventist Record what he'd done since the quake:

“Yes, our church members are safe, I've been using our Facebook group pages to stay in touch with church members and share info. I've also been texting everyone. There are some young people and tourists of Adventist background who don't go to my church who I've been staying in touch with. One girl’s pastor in Christchurch texted me to check on his church member who is now Wellington based and thankfully we were already texting. She is at a friend’s house. As far as I know there is no damage to our buildings. Pastors Roger and Jen Lang (Bet Tikun and Lower Hutt Adventist churches) were evacuated from their home for a tsunami warning around 2 a.m. There are hundreds of aftershocks and you get used to them.

“For others it was business as usual. My Pacific ministerial colleagues, Pastors Joe Tesese and Toa Lutu and I had a meeting with another Adventist, Ben Tameifuna, Senior Project Coordinator/Lead for Disabilities at Le Va, a health NGO, who had flown in from Auckland to discuss disability awareness raising for Adventist churches in the lower North Island. Afterwards, the Pastors resumed home visits and calls as per their normal working days.

"A Capital Church member, Shalleen Hern is the Bureau Chief for TVNZ in Central NZ who has been managing the Wellington newsroom, from immediately after the earthquake hit and will sign off after the 6 p.m. news goes live tonight. Another one of my church members BJ, a Building Maintenance Manager has been checking buildings all morning and other members are working from libraries and resuming their responsibilities as [caregivers] at elderly care homes.

“Some senior high school students still had to sit national exams despite a broken and unnerving sleep for those who were lucky to get any shuteye, as well as having to experience ongoing aftershocks during exams. Storms are now expected to hit around 6 p.m. and continue till midday Tuesday.”

 

 

 

Health Ministry in Malaysia

photo: Southern Asia-Pacific Division

In small villages within the district of Lubok Antu, Sarawak, Malayisa, a group of Adventist medical missionaries gave 900 medical, dental and vision services to local residents last month at no cost. The services included blood pressure and blood sugar testing, dental checkups, extractions, vision tests, and glaucoma screenings.

With permission from a member of the Sarawak parliament, the 6-day medical-dental clinic took place in a long-house structure called a Mengkak. Four local nurses joined the clinic on its final day and provided free pap smears and breast examinations. Organizers also provided fun activities to help children learn more about dental hygiene.

The children also participated in arts and crafts and a toy give-away. In addition, the team donated a portable dental scaling machine to Adventist leaders in Sarawak and trained them so they can help more people in need. The medical clinic originally began in 2006 and has operated since then on an annual basis.

 

 

 

 

New University in Nigeria

Nigeria’s government has approved the opening of a new Seventh-day Adventist university named after Jesse Clifford, the first missionary to bring the Advent message to the lower part of the Niger in 1923.

Clifford University, which will be the second Adventist university in Nigeria, was granted a license along with seven other universities during a Nov. 2 meeting of the government’s Federal Executive Council in the capital, Abuja, Nigeria’s Premium Times newspaper reported.

“I write to you with joy in my heart,” Uzoma Nwosi, communication director for the Eastern Nigeria Union Conference, told the Adventist Review in an e-mail announcing the government’s decision.

Clifford University, located in the town of Ihie in eastern Nigeria, will be established on land that belonged to an Adventist school until it was seized by the government following the country’s 1967-70 civil war. The government returned the land to the church in 2013.

"God moved in our favor through the influence of some people in 2013, when The Abia State Government under the governorship of Theodore A. Orji returned the school and all the land to the Adventist Church,” Nwosi said.

It took the federal government three years to approve the university.

The other Adventist-owned university in Nigeria is Babcock University, which was founded in 1959 and is situated between the cities of Ibadan and Lagos.

The man after whom the new university is named is a British missionary who brought Adventism to eastern Nigeria in 1923, according to an online biography. Clifford, who had worked in Ghana from 1919 to 1923, served in Nigeria for eight years and was ordained to the gospel ministry there before returning to Ghana in 1931 to head the Ghana Mission of Seventh-day Adventists.

“In matters of Christian spirituality, Jesse Clifford is said to be without equal among missionaries in Ghana Adventist history,” Kofi Owusu-Mensa, professor of history at Valley View University in Ghana, wrote in the biography. “He did not distinguish himself in areas like education and plans for the church, but he left a legacy of commitment to the church as well as a high focus on eschatology and the second coming of Christ.”

Nwosi called for prayers for the new university at a time when the African country is struggling with economic recession and a devaluation of the Naira currency.

“While we rejoice, we need more prayers,” Nwosi said. “As Adventist pioneer J. N. Andrews wrote on Sept. 15, 1874: ‘And now, as we set forth, we commit ourselves to the merciful protection of God, and we especially ask the prayers of the people of God that his blessing may attend us in this sacred work.’”

He added: “We also need massive support from individuals, organizations, and others to get the school started under God and in line with the Adventist philosophy of education.”

 

 

 

Elder Ted Wilson on "Kingly Authority"

“Seventh-day Adventist Church policies are decided through a lengthy process involving multiple committees and councils, and it is the sacred responsibility of the General Conference president and all other church leaders everywhere to follow, according to policy, what the world church has voted,” General Conference president Ted N.C. Wilson said.

 

 

Wilson, quoting extensively from the General Conference Constitution, Bylaws, and Working Policy, made the comments in a detailed response to a recent question submitted to his Q&A column (see www.facebook.com/PastorTedWilson/posts/1125011014221456:0). 

His remarks came after world church leaders at the 2016 Annual Council voted on measures to deal with church entities that do not adhere to the voted actions of the world church. The measures have been described by church leaders as pastoral and redemptive in their approach.   

Church Working Together

The measures voted came to the Annual Council floor as a recommendation by a large majority of the General Conference and division officers, showing that many senior world church leaders are strongly in favor of having the entire world church work together. 

The Oct. 11 vote by the Annual Council, the second-highest decision-making body of the church, recognized the authority of voted actions taken by the General Conference Session, the church’s highest decision-making body. 

“As president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I am duty bound with a sacred responsibility, as are all other officers of every level of organizations throughout the church as is indicated in Working Policy, to follow what the world church has voted in session (whether I agree with it or not),” Wilson wrote in the Q&A column published on his Facebook page and blog. “To go against this vote would be exercising kingly authority.” 

These issues have come to the forefront since the last General Conference Session, in 2015, turned down a proposal that would have allowed divisions to decide whether to allow the ordination of women to pastoral ministry. A few of the church’s entities, however, have ordained women, voted to allow it, or have some aberration of policy on the subject.  

Wilson explained that the General Conference Working Policy does not allow any church entity to ordain women to pastoral ministry. 

“While the union has the right to approve or disapprove of which individuals, recommended from local conferences, to ordain, that decision is to be made only within the framework of the Working Policy of the world church,” Wilson said. “In addition, the unions are not responsible for approving men to be ordained to the gospel ministry on the division or the General Conference levels. Each of those organizations and their institutions, through the respective executive committees, are authorized to approve ordinations. Therefore, the unions are not responsible for all aspects of ordination.”

Questions on Authority

In his Q&A column, Wilson was replying to a question from someone who had suggested that unions held the final authority on whom to ordain. 

“How is it that when they exercise that authority they are rebellious?” the individual wrote. “Has the General Conference decided that they know better? How does this (what absolutely appears to be an) exercise of kingly authority promote unity?”

Wilson’s office said this echoes a number of similar questions that it has received in recent weeks. Questions about whether unions hold the final authority on whom to ordain have also been voiced widely on social media and other places.  

Wilson indicated that there is a misconception about unions and the extent of their functions.   

“When union conferences were established, they were given the responsibility of working within the policies outlined for the world church, which now generally takes place by world church representatives at an Annual Council and sometimes at a General Conference Session,” Wilson said. “Unions were established to make mission more local since the General Conference wasn’t able to cover the world with direct counsel for every situation, but unions are not a law unto themselves.”

Policies are Agreements

Wilson noted that all church entities are subject to the General Conference Working Policy and stressed that the Working Policy is not equivalent to the Bible or the writings of church cofounder Ellen G. White.

“Working policies are agreements made by church leaders and lay members from around the world as to how we will operate as a world church in carrying out our God-given mission,” he said. “The foundational principles of policies are and should be based on the instruction of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.”

Church members often refer to White’s work as the Spirit of Prophecy. 

Wilson said the Working Policy was not written by one person or a small group of people and has developed over time. Its items have gone through a careful and deliberate process involving multiple committees and councils, he said. 

“Kingly Authority”?

Wilson provided a long list of excerpts from the church’s Constitution and Working Policy to explain how the church works in an interrelated manner and to show that Working Policy only allows men to be ordained to the gospel ministry. 

He noted that this male-only policy was confirmed by the General Conference Session in 1990, while General Conference Sessions in 1995 and 2015 decided that no other level of the church’s structure had the right to determine who would be ordained other than that which has been indicated in the Working Policy and confirmed in 1990. 

“Regarding your ‘kingly authority’ question,” Wilson responded, “what could be more of a ‘kingly authority’ action than to deliberately go against what has been voted by the worldwide representation of delegates from around the world at a General Conference Session? Three times this subject has been addressed in some form by a General Conference Session.” 

A Redemptive Process

On Oct. 11, Annual Council delegates approved a document that lays out a two-phase redemptive process to bring non-compliant church entities into reconciliation and adherence with voted actions and policies of the world church. The first phase envisages multiple conciliatory consultations at various levels of the church’s structure, pastoral letters encouraging compliance, and much prayer. If the matter remains unresolved, the document calls for a second phase of redemptive action that the General Conference Administrative Committee will draft and submit to the 2017 Annual Council for approval and implementation. 

After the vote, Wilson emphasized that reconciliation was the main goal of the document. He also called for unity so the church could better fulfill its mission of spreading the gospel since the mission of the church is the primary purpose for its existence and is vital at this end-time setting before Christ’s return. (Read his full statement here: http://perspectives.adventist.org/en/news/news/go/2016-10-12/one-lord-one-faith-one-mission/)

He reiterated those sentiments in his Q&A column.

“Let us be sure to recognize that our ultimate unity is found in looking steadfastly unto Jesus who is the Great Unifier portrayed in His John 17 prayer of unity,” he said. “The Holy Spirit will keep us in unity and focused on our final, last-day proclamation of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 and the fourth angel of Revelation 18 as we unitedly lift up Christ, His righteousness, and His soon Second Coming.”

 

 

 

 

Food For Life

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.       2 Corinthians 3:18

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I was born into a non Adventist home, well that is an understatement really. My father was and still is a heavily practicing Satanist and as such, myself being a female, made me a target for ridicule and I was most certainly placed way below my brothers in the family......Tamara's Testimony

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