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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

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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

 

Arizona Queer Bi-sexual Pastor Resigns

Alicia Johnston was a Seventh-day Adventist pastor who is a queer bisexual. She resigned from her position because of the church's position on homosexuality. She had been the pastor of the Foothills Community Church in Chandler, Arizona, since January, 2016. She just shared her sexuality with the church and the Arizona Conference, and then resigned her pastoral position. She received a Masters of Divinity degree from Andrews University. Her theology learned at Andrews Seminary has allowed her to say  to the church "This does not say what you think it says."   This is exactly what the North American Division leadership has said to the church about women being rulers over men. "The Bible does not say what you think it says."

 

 

 

 

Pastor's Training Convention in Kenya

 

Over 400 pastors and church leaders gathered at the University of Eastern Africa Baraton in Kenya a few days ago for a five-day pastors’ convention sponsored by the Church's West Kenya Union region (WKUC).

Keynote speakers for the event included GT Ng, executive secretary of the Seventh-day Adventist world church; Hensley Moorooven, associate secretary of the Adventist world church; Alain Coralie, executive secretary of the Church's East-Central Africa territory (ECD); and Musa Mitekaro, ministerial director of the ECD.

The pastor’s meeting was a follow-up to the recent Total Member Involvement (TMI) initiative that took place in Kenya. TMI is a world church initiative that seeks to get every church member involved in mission. In this case, over 1,400 sites conducted simultaneous evangelist series across the territory during two weeks, baptizing more than 20,000 new members.

GT Ng challenged the pastors to be faithful stewards in whatever office they have been called to serve. “Why is it that when you are called to a higher position, God has called you, but when you are sent to the Island of Patmos, the nominating committee has made a mistake?” he said. “We need to be faithful stewards in any position we have been called to serve.”

Hensley Moorooven gave a compelling presentation in which he quoted research data showing that growing churches share common principles in reaching out to the world and retaining new members. He said evangelism is a cycle that involves revival, training and equipping members for outreach, reaping and nurture.

Alain Coralie encouraged pastors and members to pray for the daily infilling of the Holy Spirit to accomplish their divine mission. Quoting Ellen White, he said: “There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, by putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly committed to God.”

Musa Mitekaro shared that although the church needs to embrace technology, pastoral visitations cannot be done away with. “Pastoral visitation is a divine opportunity to communicate God’s love through our time and care,” he said. “There is nothing that can replace warm face-to-face communication. Our ministry must go beyond sermonizing to meeting people where they are.”

In his keynote address during the opening of the ministerial convention under the theme “Mission in Motion: Seek to Nurture and Aim to Retain,” president of the WKUC Kenneth Maena urged the pastors “to consider themselves not as police or governors or judges or dictators, but as gentle shepherds.” Maena outlined how a minister’s relationship, experience with God, attitude and the methods used for spiritual nurture make a difference.

Union leaders and pastors resolved to strengthen new members through nurture and retention programs, prayer, Bible study and involvement in mission. Participants also committed to helping new members discover their spiritual gifts, and to use information and communication technology such as social media, websites and cell phones for ministry.

The WKUC embodies Adventist history in Kenya. It began at Gendia, Kindu-Bay, on Kenya Lake Conference church region, where the first Adventist mission station was set up in 1906, before the church spread its wings to other parts of the country. The territory now has 2,740 churches with 380,649 members.

 

 

New Church Building in Cuba

More than 1,200 people celebrated the inauguration of Cardenas Seventh-day Adventist Church [Photo: Marcos Paseggi]

Years of earnest prayer came to a happy ending for the 200 members of the Cardenas Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cardenas, Matanzas, Cuba, as they dedicated a new church building in a special ceremony on April 22.

Over 1,200 church leaders, members, government representatives and guests from across the island and other countries met for a special 3-hour dedication program of the new facilities that included uplifting music, inspiring testimonies, and a baptism.

The Cardenas project was entirely funded by Maranatha Volunteers International, a supporting ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church with a worldwide presence. Its president, Don Noble, said he was happy to report that since 1994, Maranatha has completed over 200 projects in Cuba, including the building of the Cuba Adventist Theological Seminary near Havana. “We have a special working relationship with Cuba,” said Noble.

“When Maranatha first came to Cuba, we prepared a list of over 100 remodeling and construction projects on the island, but Cardenas was not part of the original list,” said Daniel Fontaine, then president of the Adventist Church in Cuba and now assistant to the president of the Church’s Inter-American region. “God, however, knew the time would come for Cardenas.”

 

National, provincial, and local government officers attended the dedication service of the new local church, the largest building project in Cardenas—a town located 90 miles (150 kilometers) east of Havana—in over 50 years. Officials attended to celebrate this important milestone in the history not only of the Adventist Church but also of religious liberty in Cuba.

“I am glad you are now able to enjoy a new, bigger, and more beautiful church building,” said Sonia García García, deputy secretary of Religious Affairs of Cuba. “It gives me pleasure to see you so happy.”

García, who said her office is working to make Cubans freer and happier, reiterated her government’s commitment to support the work of Seventh-day Adventists on the island. “My office doors are open,” she said. “You can count on us to promote and support the work you do.”

The president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cuba Aldo Pérez thanked the Cuban government for their support. “This new building is a living proof of the religious liberty we enjoy in Cuba,” said Pérez. He made clear that Seventh-day Adventists are eager to work towards the well-being and unity of Cuban society. “You need to know that Adventists are eager to make a positive contribution to our wonderful island,” he said.

A Long Love Story with Cuba

The new facilities carry the name of Melvin and Barbara Sickler, an American couple who served in the Antillean Adventist College from 1950-1956. His son Donald Sickler, who spent part of his childhood and teenage years in Cuba, attended the ceremony with his wife and adult sons. “It is with great emotion that I am here today as part of [the Maranatha] group,” said Sickler just before unveiling a plaque in honor of his parents.

A few years ago, Sickler, a retired neurosurgeon living now in the United States, had called Maranatha to offer his financial support for a project in Cardenas. At the time, however, the non-profit organization, known for building and remodeling churches and schools, as well as drilling water wells around the world, had just completed some projects and were ready to pull out of Cuba.

“For years Maranatha had tried to get the various authorizations to build a church in Cardenas, but to no avail,” said Sickler in an interview with Adventist Review on the sidelines of the event. “So when I called they told me, ‘It’s too late; we are leaving Cuba.’” A few months later, however, Sickler got an unexpected call from Maranatha President Don Noble. “Get ready; we are going to Cuba!” he said.

Sickler, Noble and others flew to Cuba, and a few days later they learned that the final authorization had been granted.

“It was an up-and-down journey, with roadblocks and complications,” said Pérez when tracing the story of the project. “But in His wisdom, God chose the right time for the church to be built in Cardenas.”

Eggs, Tomatoes and Prayer

Indeed, the Cardenas project had been on the mind of church members and leaders for decades. Years ago, the first dozen Adventist members in Cardenas began to pray, asking God to give them a new church building. The garage-sized run-down building was an eyesore in the neighborhood.

“People would walk by the building and throw eggs at us,” said Ismelia Aballi Segundo, a former deaconess and one of the founding members of the local congregation. “When eggs were not easily available, they would throw tomatoes.”

Segundo, who travels 90 minutes by bus every Sabbath to get to “her” church, as she calls it, recalled how Adventists were mocked and looked down on. “In a time when it was fashionable for girls to wear mini-skirts, they knew who of us were heading to church because we were the only ones wearing longer skirts, she said. “And so, we had to put up with all kinds of abuse.”

In spite of it all, the congregation grew and they very soon ran out of space. “Rain or shine, people would follow services from outside,” said Hilia Villafranca, a member of the Pinar del Río Church who visited the old church building in the past and now traveled over five hours to be present at the dedication. “When visitors came, members would give them their seats and go watch from outside.”

It was at that time that members began to pray for a new church building. Among them were María and her daughter Maritza Cevallos Piedra, who did their personal spiritual project of asking God to intercede on behalf of the Cardenas church. “Mom prayed and prayed,” said Maritza. “She prayed so hard and so much that she developed callouses in her knees.” Both Maritza and María, who is now 95, were present at the dedication to see first-hand the answer to their prayers.

For years, it seemed that it was not in God’s plan to grant the members’ wish. But members never stopped praying. Among those pleading to God, members fondly remember a 10-year-old girl, who would start her prayers by saying, “God, I thank You for the new church you are going to give us.” And in His divine wisdom, the Lord finally determined that the time for Cardenas had come. “Make no mistake about it, it was God’s initiative to build this church,” said Pérez. “This is God’s own doing.”

The New Facilities

Maranatha, which spent several years on the project, hired international volunteers and local workers to build the church. One of them is Lazaro Leal, a deacon of the Cardenas church turned construction contractor. “I am acquainted with every single wall of this building,” said Leal beaming, as he acknowledged that before being hired to work on the project, his experience in construction was rather limited. “I relived the experience of the people of God who built the wall of Jerusalem,” he said, referring to the story recorded in the book of Nehemiah in the Bible. “Against all the odds, I did my best, and God took care of the rest.”

The new sanctuary, which seats 500 people and has a second floor connected by closed-circuit TV screens with capacity for several hundred more, is now one of the largest Adventist church buildings in Cuba. The new facilities also include a kitchen on the upper floor, a state-of-the-art audiovisual system and an artistically appealing baptismal pool where two new members were baptized as part of the dedication ceremony.

“This will be a place to meet God every week,” said Pérez during his special dedication message. “Let’s make this place a place of peace, of hope, of worship. Let’s come here every Sabbath to give God the glory.”

The Adventist Church in Cuba also plans to use the facilities for special church convocations. “This building will be our meeting point, our hub for church workers and member gatherings and activities on the island,” said Pérez.

Tickets to Evangelistic Meetings

Church leaders and local members made clear, however, that their goal is not to keep the new building for themselves but to use it as a tool for outreach and evangelism.

“This building is to be shared,” said Pérez. “Let’s share this church building with other Christian denominations. Let’s share it with the community. Let’s share it with our brothers and sisters across the island.”

Church members and leaders are making sure that this is the case, as they planned an evangelistic series that was launched just a few hours after the dedication service. When meetings were advertised some weeks ago, however, they elicited such a positive response that organizers were forced to offer numbered tickets for the event.

“Tickets are free,” said the organizers, “but they are needed, so we make sure everyone has a place to sit.”

Don Kirkman, the architect behind many Maranatha construction projects in Cuba and around the world, said that while exciting, these developments are not uncommon. “Maranatha is a powerful mission tool,” he said. “After we dedicate a project and leave, membership usually doubles.”

Cardenas members do not want to be an exception. Indeed, every member who was asked by Adventist Review how he or she felt about the new building answered in almost identical words. “We are happy because it is a dream come true,” they said, though they instantly added: “Now it’s our challenge and duty to fill it up as soon as possible.”

Leal concurs. When asked what is he going to do now that the project is over, he gave a big smile. “From now on, I’ll be a fisher of men,” he said.

 

 

 

Church in North Mexico Advances Community Health

[photo: North Mexican Union]

The Seventh-day Adventist Church's Northern Mexico territory recently entered into an historic agreement with the French National Academy of Medicine. The memorandum of understanding was signed between the two entities at the Academy's headquarters in Paris, France. The signing on March 17 marked the first time the international organization partnered with a church in an effort to advance medicine within the public sector.

This isn't the first time the Church reached out to make an impact with the Church's health message. Last year, the church in North Mexico signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of the city of Monterrey to promote a healthy lifestyle in more than 300,000 homes. Church leaders have implemented the territory's "I Want to Live Healthy Initiative" program, which focuses on the physical, mental and spiritual well- being of the person.

Leaders say the collaborative understanding is meant to coordinate research efforts to implement sanitary and educational models to improve the health and well-being of the Mexican population. The collaboration will also help with information exchanges and will create better public health practices and medical attention in North Mexico.

 

 

Church Votes Statement on Transgenderism

                                                                        Vice-president Stele speaks during the discussion on the transgender statement [photo credit: ANN/Brent Hardinge]

 

The following statement on Transgenderism, or Gender Dysphoria, was voted by the executive committee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church during their annual Spring Meetings.

In his role as chair, Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church urged the statement be voted “with the understanding we may be able to adjust a little phrasing here or there that might make it less abstract.” He went on to say, “The last thing we want to do is chase people away from Christ and the Church. We want them to come to the foot of the cross and His changing grace.” 

The Biblical Research Institute Ethics Committee, let by Ekkehardt Mueller, associate director of the Biblical Research Institute, along with ethicists, Biblical scholars, theologians, sociologists, psychologist and members of the medical community, was put in charge of writing the statement. 

“Statement on Transgenderism”

The increasing awareness of the needs and challenges that transgender men and women experience and the rise of transgender issues to social prominence worldwide raise important questions not only for those affected by the transgender phenomenon but also for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. While the struggles and challenges of those identifying as transgender people have some elements in common with the struggles of all human beings, we recognize the uniqueness of their situation and the limitation of our knowledge in specific instances. Yet, we believe that Scripture provides principles for guidance and counsel to transgender people and the Church, transcending human conventions and culture.

The Transgender Phenomenon

In modern society, gender identity typically denotes “the public (and usually legally recognized) lived role as boy or girl, man or woman,” while sex refers “to the biological indicators of male and female.”[1] Gender identification usually aligns with a person’s biological sex at birth. However, misalignment may happen at the physical and/or mental-emotional levels. 

On the physical level ambiguity in genitalia may result from anatomical and physiological abnormalities so that it cannot be clearly established whether a child is male or female. This ambiguity of anatomical sexual differentiation is often called hermaphroditism or intersexualism.[2]

On the mental-emotional level misalignment occurs with transgender people whose sexual anatomy is clearly male or female but who identify with the opposite gender of their biological sex. They may describe themselves as being trapped in a wrong body. Transgenderism, formerly clinically diagnosed as “gender identity disorder” and now termed “gender dysphoria,” may be understood as a general term to describe the variety of ways individuals interpret and express their gender identity differently from those who determine gender on the basis of biological sex.[3] “Gender dysphoria is manifested in a variety of ways, including strong desires to be treated as the other gender or to be rid of one’s sex characteristics, or a strong conviction that one has feelings and reactions typical of the other gender.”[4] 

Due to contemporary trends to reject the biblical gender binary (male and female) and replace it with a growing spectrum of gender types, certain choices triggered by the transgender condition have come to be regarded as normal and accepted in contemporary culture. However, the desire to change or live as a person of another gender may result in biblically inappropriate lifestyle choices. Gender dysphoria may, for instance, result in cross-dressing,[5] sex reassignment surgery, and the desire to have a marital relationship with a person of the same biological sex. On the other hand, transgender people may suffer silently, living a celibate life or being married to a spouse of the opposite sex. 

Biblical Principles Relating to Sexuality and the Transgender Phenomenon

As the transgender phenomenon must be evaluated by Scripture, the following biblical principles and teachings may help the community of faith relate to people affected by gender dysphoria in a biblical and Christ-like way:

1.   God created humanity as two persons who are respectively identified as male and female in terms of gender. The Bible inextricably ties gender to biological sex (Gen 1:27; 2:22–24) and does not make a distinction between the two. The Word of God affirms complementarity as well as clear distinctions between male and female in creation. The Genesis creation account is foundational to all questions of human sexuality.

2.   From a biblical perspective, the human being is a psychosomatic unity. For example, Scripture repeatedly calls the entire human being a soul (Gen 2:7; Jer 13:17; 52:28-30; Ezek 18:4; Acts 2:41; 1 Cor 15:45), a body (Eph 5:28; Rom 12:1–2; Rev 18:13), flesh (1 Pet 1:24), and spirit (2 Tim 4:22; 1 John 4:1–3). Thus, the Bible does not endorse dualism in the sense of a separation between one’s body and one’s sense of sexuality. In addition, an immortal part of humans is not envisioned in Scripture because God alone possesses immortality (1 Tim 6:14–16) and will bestow it on those who believe in Him at the first resurrection (1 Cor 15:51–54). Thus, a human being is also meant to be an undivided sexual entity, and sexual identity cannot be independent from one’s body. According to Scripture, our gender identity, as designed by God, is determined by our biological sex at birth (Gen 1:27; 5:1–2; Ps 139:13–14; Mark 10:6).

3.   Scripture acknowledges, however, that due to the Fall (Gen 3:6–19) the whole human being—that is, our mental, physical, and spiritual faculties—are affected by sin (Jer 17:9; Rom 3:9; 7:14–23; 8:20–23; Gal 5:17) and need to be renewed by God (Rom 12:2). Our emotions, feelings, and perceptions are not fully reliable indicators of God’s designs, ideals, and truth (Prov 14:12; 16:25). We need guidance from God through Scripture to determine what is in our best interest and live according to His will (2 Tim 3:16).

4.   The fact that some individuals claim a gender identity incompatible with their biological sex reveals a serious dichotomy. This brokenness or distress, whether felt or not, is an expression of the damaging effects of sin on humans and may have a variety of causes. Although gender dysphoria is not intrinsically sinful, it may result in sinful choices. It is another indicator that, on a personal level, humans are involved in the great controversy.

5.   As long as transgender people are committed to ordering their lives according to the biblical teachings on sexuality and marriage they can be members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Bible clearly and consistently identifies any sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage as sin (Matt 5:28, 31–32; 1 Tim 1:8–11; Heb 13:4). Alternative sexual lifestyles are sinful distortions of God’s good gift of sexuality (Rom 1:21–28; 1 Cor 6:9–10).

6.   Because the Bible regards humans as wholistic entities and does not differentiate between biological sex and gender identity, the Church strongly cautions transgender people against sex reassignment surgery and against marriage, if they have undergone such a procedure. From the biblical wholistic viewpoint of human nature, a full transition from one gender to another and the attainment of an integrated sexual identity cannot be expected in the case of sex reassignment surgery.

7.   The Bible commands followers of Christ to love everyone. Created in the image of God, they must be treated with dignity and respect. This includes transgender people. Acts of ridicule, abuse, or bullying towards transgender people are incompatible with the biblical commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).

8.   The Church as the community of Jesus Christ is meant to be a refuge and place of hope, care, and understanding to all who are perplexed, suffering, struggling, and lonely, for “a bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench” (Matt 12:20). All people are invited to attend the Seventh-day Adventist Church and enjoy the fellowship of its  believers.  Those who are members can fully participate in church life as long as they embrace the message, mission, and values of the Church.

9.   The Bible proclaims the good news that sexual sins committed by heterosexuals, homosexuals, transgender people, or others can be forgiven, and lives can be transformed through faith in Jesus Christ (1 Cor 6:9–11).

10. Those who experience incongruity between their biological sex and gender identity are encouraged to follow biblical principles in dealing with their distress. They are invited to reflect on God’s original plan of purity and sexual fidelity. Belonging to God, all are called to honor Him with their bodies and their lifestyle choices (1 Cor 6:19). With all believers, transgender people are encouraged to wait on God and are offered the fullness of divine compassion, peace, and grace in anticipation of Christ’s soon return when all true followers of Christ will be completely restored to God’s ideal.


[1]Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. (DSM-5TM), edited by the American Psychiatric Association (Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013), 451.

[2] Those born with ambiguous genitalia may or may not benefit from corrective surgical treatment.

[3] See DSM-5TM, 451–459.

[4] This sentence is part of a succinct summary of gender dysphoria provided to introduce DSM-5TM that was published in 2013: https://www.psychiatry.org/File%20Library/Psychiatrists/Practice/DSM/APA_DSM-5-Gender-Dysphoria.pdf (accessed April 11, 2017)

[5] Cross-dressing, also referred to as transvestite behavior, is prohibited in Deuteronomy 22:5.

 

 

Kellogg Fired Sabbath Employees Lose in Court

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On March 22, 2017, two former Kellogg employees made their appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit after a lower court found insufficient evidence that the two Adventist plaintiffs were treated unfairly when they were fired for failing to work on Sabbath. A decision from the court of appeals, located in Denver, Colorado, is expected in approximately three months.

The United States District Court for the District of Utah granted Kellogg’s motion for summary judgment on the claims for disparate treatment, reasonable accommodation, and retaliation on July 7, 2016. At that time, the court also accordingly denied Richard Tabura and Guadalupe Diaz’s motion for summary judgment.

Tabura and Diaz were both fired in 2012 from their manufacturing jobs at a Kellogg USA, Inc. plant in Utah for missing work on Saturdays as they honored their religious belief to observe Sabbath. In 2011, Kellogg increased production and implemented a new work scheduling program known as “continuous crewing.” This program created four separate, rotating shifts, in which employees were to work approximately two Saturdays a month—26 Saturdays a year. While both plaintiffs made attempts to use paid days off and work swaps with other employees they eventually were assessed too many absence points within a 12-month period and, after what Kellogg describes as “progressive-discipline measures” were exhausted, were terminated.

“The plaintiffs lost at the trial court level,” said Todd McFarland, associate general counsel for the General Conference (GC or world headquarters) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “The court said that Kellogg offering the use of their vacation time and swaps was enough. They didn't have to actually eliminate the conflict; they just had to give them the opportunity to do it, and that the fact that there wasn't enough vacation time or enough people to swap with wasn't Kellogg's problem.”

The Office of General Counsel was part of the Tenth Circuit appeal. The appeal argues that the district court erred in holding that an “accommodation” can be legally sufficient even if it does not eliminate the conflict between a work requirement and a religious practice. It also contends that treating the forfeiture of vacation and sick time as a legitimate accommodation is not appropriate.

“It's a ‘cold comfort’ to an Adventist to say, ‘You only have to break half the Sabbaths.’ If you don't have to eliminate the conflict, then that does no good,” said McFarland. “So this [case] is important to people of faith about what's required from employment to accommodate Sabbath.”

For some, the irony is unavoidable. Kellogg, a food manufacturing company, was founded as the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906 by Will Keith Kellogg and John Harvey Kellogg. John Harvey, at the time, was a Seventh-day Adventist and director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, owned and operated by the Adventist Church. The sanitarium’s operation was based on the church’s health principles, which include a healthful diet, regimen of exercise, proper rest, and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco.

According to the Kellogg website, the brothers “changed breakfast forever when they accidentally flaked wheat berry.” Will Keith kept experimenting until he was able to flake corn, creating the recipe for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. John Harvey eventually turned away from church beliefs, espousing what many believe was a form of pantheism.

The case was argued at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals by Gene Schaerr of Schaerr Duncan. The case was handled at the district (trial) court by Alan Reinach of the Pacific Union Conference’s Church-State Council along with Erik Strindberg and Matt Harrison of Strindberg & Scholonick.

 

 

 

Evangelize With a Church Garden

Women in rural communities across East-Central Africa are now experts in the art of vegetable farming and evangelism. The women recently attended a one-week training at the church headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

The event was organized by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency in Africa, in partnership with the women's ministry department in East-Central Africa. The women were trained with essential vegetable farming skills which allows them to be independent. This self-sufficiency is necessary for the eradication of poverty in their rural communities.

Zivayi Nengomasha, program and planning director of ADRA-Africa, said "Doing vegetable evangelism is a good way of changing lives for not only nonbelievers but for church members as well since many people lack the knowledge of how to eat healthily and take care of their bodies."

Church leaders said the current situation in the region is alarming. According to the latest statistics from the World Food Program of the UN, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of hunger. One out of every three people is either malnourished or undernourished. [photo: North Tanzania Union Conference]

 

 

 

Brazil Allows High School Exam on Sunday

A public vote held by the Ministry of Education of Brazil that resulted in changes to the National High School Exam (Enem) is a victory, not only for Sabbath keepers, but also for religious liberty.

Minister of State Mendonça Filho shared on March 9 that of the more than 600,000 people who participated in the national vote, 64 percent favored holding the Enem on two consecutive Sundays instead of a Saturday and Sunday, marking the official change of the exam’s schedule effective immediately. 

Every year it is estimated that more than 70,000 students request an alternative time to take the Enem. 

Those who set aside Saturday for religious activities and community service have felt discriminated against since the exam was created. In the past, Sabbath-keepers arrived at the exam’s location on Saturdays and sat in an isolated room until after the Sabbath ended, which was when they would begin their test. 

“I think that a young person who sees himself in front of this exam, which is already exhausting, from the effort every young person does, and even more, having to be confined for 4 hours, is in a disadvantage in relation to everyone else”, said Filho.  He went on to say, “We need to promote this exam, but treating everyone with dignity, respecting human rights and, providing equal ideals and conditions to evaluate it.” 

Freedom of Thought Principle

Recently, individuals in Brazil have fought to have their rights respected when faced with situations that involve freedom of thought and worship. By changing the Enem testing day, the Brazilian government showed it is interested in understanding the reality of thousands of people who not only see Saturday as the Sabbath, but as an opportunity to obey a divine commandment.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brazil praised the efforts of the Ministry of Education and Brazilians who participated in the vote for respecting the faith of Sabbath observers.

“Sabbath-keepers, especially Seventh-day Adventists, are not seeking more privileges than other candidates,” said Erton Köhler, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South America. “Quite the opposite, they desire to have the same opportunity when it comes to such an important program that can not only guarantee, but define the professional future of thousands of people.” 

“The results of the public poll makes this reality equal to everyone. And I take this opportunity to thank all Seventh-day Adventists that voted and did something to make this a reality,” said Köhler.

The Seventh-day Adventist World Church is made up of more than 20 million members in more than 200 countries, 1.6 million of which live in Brazil alone.

 

 

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

Tell of His Grace

Testimonies of the power of grace to change lives......

 

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

Country Living

Mar10 Demo Image Too late to move?

Moving to the country is becoming very hard in some locations. Selling a home and financing a new one is difficult. Some government agencies want to move everyone into the cities. God's people need to take their families away from the cities, into the country, where they can raise their own provisions; for in the future the problem of buying and selling will be a very serious one. We should now begin to heed the instruction given us over and over again: Get out of the cities into rural districts, where the houses are not crowded closely together, and where you will be free from the interference of those who are opposed to the truth. Pray that God will open a way.

Religious Liberty

European Sunday Law?

The world will urge an outward compliance with the laws of the land, for the sake of peace and harmony. And there are some who will even urge such a course from the Scripture: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. . . . The powers that be are ordained of God." But what has been the course of God's servants in ages past? When the disciples preached Christ and Him crucified, after His resurrection, the authorities commanded them not to speak any more nor to teach in the name of Jesus. "But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." Today, our liberty is being threatened.

European Sunday Law

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