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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

 

1,500 take refuge on Seventh-day Adventist compound in South Sudan

 

1,500 take refuge on Seventh-day Adventist compound in South Sudan

Seventh-day Adventist/ADRA compound in South Sudan's capital of Juba [photo: ADRA International]

Adventist Development and Relief Agency focuses on critical needs for internally displaced persons.


Around 1,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have taken refuge on the Seventh-day Adventist Church/ADRA compound in South Sudan’s capital of Juba as renewed violence erupted in the city last week.

Most of the IDPs are women, children, and elderly from the surrounding community. The church building, school classrooms, and even covered verandas are full to capacity, and heavy rains have added further concerns, but continued violence means a likely increase in the number of people seeking safety.

ADRA’s immediate plans focus on emergency food, shelter, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) solutions, and other critical needs for the IDPs on the compound.

South Sudan marked the 5th anniversary of its independence on Saturday, but the young country has been plagued by much violence in its short existence. There is also a widespread food shortage this year, with some areas of South Sudan reportedly on the edge of famine.

 

Elder Ted Wilson Makes World-wide Appeal to Church

 

Appeal to Seventh-day Adventists worldwide from Ted Wilson

                                                   Ted Wilson  [photo: Robert East]

We need to stand as beacons of spiritual light and anchors of moral influence at a time of rampant uncertainty.

As we view the societal landscape of the world, it is becoming more and more violent.

Very recently — from South Sudan to the United States to Bangladesh to Iraq to Turkey and on and on — it appears that the winds of strife have increased and heated to the point of boiling over. Innocent and unsuspecting people have been terribly affected. I have prayed for these places, families involved and the various situations. 

Although we do not wish to be alarmists and must maintain heaven-inspired balance, trust and hope, it seems as if the world is increasingly disintegrating on a daily basis. Although we know that these types of difficulties and tragedies will become more commonplace at the end of time, we need to stand as beacons of spiritual light and anchors of moral influence at a time of rampant uncertainty.

Our spiritual influence can only come as we are completely leaning upon the Lord, our Rock and Salvation. Christ admonishes us in Matthew 24:12-14 (NKJV): “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

As we place ourselves, our families, our communities and our church in God’s omnipotent hands, let us realize that He alone can protect and care for us as we head into the last days of Earth’s history. The lawlessness that seems pervasive in so many places can extinguish the love for others, but as we ground ourselves in the love of Christ, our love for others can flourish as we share that heavenly love with others and our heaven-blessed actions will be a great witness to all around us. 

Truly the gospel of the kingdom is being preached throughout the world, and church members are actively participating in Total Member Involvement showing the world the love of Christ in word and deed. However, it is even more crucial that we increase our efforts to personally and corporately, as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, share the wonderful good news of the three angels’ messages pointing people to Christ and His power to change lives to become more and more like Him.

Christ Is Our Compass 

It is only in Christ and His righteousness that we can find true direction for our lives, the lives of our families, for our communities —.and for society as a whole. The powerful and forceful prophetic messages of God’s last-day proclamation must be seen in our practical daily Christian lives and in the proclamation we give. This is the hour and the time for Seventh-day Adventists to show the world, through the power of the Holy Spirit, what it means to have hope in the Lord’s power to bring about change in our lives and in society. 

We know from prophetic understanding of Daniel and Revelation that this world will degenerate into chaos and opposition to God’s Holy Word, but that does not mean that we cannot be strong sentinels of God’s grace and heavenly power to focus people’s attention on the Lord’s soon return. 

I appeal to Seventh-day Adventists worldwide to focus your attention on Christ, His Word, His righteousness, His sanctuary service, His saving power in the great controversy, His three angels’ messages, His health message, His last-day mission to the world, and His soon second coming. 

Let us plead with the Holy Spirit for the power of the latter rain so that God’s last-day message will go like wildfire through our witnessing, proclamation of the Word, and our Christ-like actions of heavenly love to others. It is imperative that we realize the time in which we are living and focus on the message and mission entrusted to the Seventh-day Adventist Church for this very time. 

Let us be faithful in proclaiming Christ’s righteousness which is the core of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 in contrast with the self-absorption and self-centeredness of the beast powers of Revelation 13. Let us not be distracted from our mission but focus on Christ and His power to save especially during these very difficult times around the world.

The Great Controversy on page 488 tells us: “Satan invents unnumbered schemes to occupy our minds, that they may not dwell upon the very work with which we ought to be best acquainted. The arch-deceiver hates the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful mediator. He knows that with him everything depends on his diverting minds from Jesus and His truth. Those who would share the benefits of the Saviour's mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God. The precious hours, instead of being given to pleasure, to display, or to gain seeking, should be devoted to an earnest, prayerful study of the word of truth. The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.”

Unique Position for Adventists 

God intends for Seventh-day Adventists to fill a unique position on this Earth at the end of time, and now is the time to do that. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a prophetic movement with a prophetic message on a prophetic mission. It is led by God Himself, not by human beings. God has a special work and message to be proclaimed by every member, not just pastors and church workers. This is what Total Member Involvement is all about. Everyone doing something for Jesus, proclaiming the last-day saving message through word and through loving actions — all directed by the Holy Spirit’s power. We are told in Testimonies for the Church, Volume 9, page 117: “The work of God in this Earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers.” 

We are to focus people’s attention on Christ and what He has done and is doing for us. Continuing with inspiration from The Great Controversy, we read in selected sections on pages 488 to 490: “The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the Earth. It opens to view the plan of redemption, bringing us down to the very close of time and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest between righteousness and sin. It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects and be able to give an answer to everyone that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them. The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. We must by faith enter within the veil, ‘whither the forerunner is for us entered,’ Hebrews 6:20. There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. … We are now living in the great day of atonement. … All who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful search of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. … Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above.”

Lean Completely on Jesus 

Let us lean completely on the grace and merits of Jesus who alone can save us and help us share His matchless love with the world around us. We are told in Testimonies for the Church, Volume 9, page 11: “We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the Earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude. The agencies of evil are combining their forces, and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.” 

Seventh-day Adventist brothers and sisters around the world, what a time to be alive and lean on the merits of Christ as He uses us in His last proclamation to the world telling about His plan of salvation and His everlasting love. 

Let us rally to the call given by our Lord and be part of Total Member Involvement sharing Christ’s righteousness, His love, His call to complete repentance and submission to Him, His profound three angels’ messages and His soon return. Let us lovingly share the Word of God and exemplify it in our daily Christ-like lives all through His grace and power. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

 

President of Papua New Guinea Union Mission Dies

President of the Adventist Church in Papua New Guinea passes at age 54

                                                                   Photo: Record Magazine

Church officers mourn the loss of Geoffrey Pomaleu, a beloved man of God.

Geoffrey Pomaleu, president of the Papua New Guinea Union Mission (PNGUM) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church passed away Monday, July 4, at Angau Hospital in Lae, Papua New Guinea at the age of 54, after dealing with a number of serious health issues throughout the past year, including a recent trip to the emergency room due to severe chest pains.

Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church offered his condolences to the Pomaleu family and the Adventist church family in the nation. 

“How sad to receive news today from Pastor Glenn Townend, president of South Pacific Division, telling me of the tragic passing of Pastor Geoffrey Pomaleu, president of the Papua New Guinea Union Mission (PNGUM),” said Wilson on his Facebook page. “On behalf of the world Seventh-day Adventist Church family, we offer our deep condolences and Christian sympathy to his widow, Mrs. Jochabed Pomaleu, who is the PNGUM Children’s Ministries director and to his children and extended family.”

Wilson’s statement went on to say, “Pastor Pomaleu was a much loved church leader in Papua New Guinea.  What a hope we have in the “Blessed Hope” of Christ’s soon return!  I have prayed for Mrs. Pomaleu, for the family and for the entire church family of thousands of members in the PNGUM and I ask you to pray for the Pomaleu family and our brothers and sisters in PNGUM. This world is not our home, we are just passing through and soon we will see our Lord return to take us to our final home!" 

Before Pomaleu was elected as PNGUM’s president last September, he had previously served the Church’s territory as youth director, executive secretary and president of the Morobe Mission.

“I have known Geoffrey for eight years,” said Glenn Townened, president of the church in the South Pacific region. “He was a great family man who, when away from home, would often comment he was thinking of his wife, sons or daughters. In his work Geoffrey was a man who listened to people and God before he made a decision. He had the ability to understand the different cultures and angles involved in a situation, but was able to build a team focusing on a clear vision and mission. Geoffrey will be missed.”

Pomaleu is survived by his wife, Jochabed, who serves as children’s ministries director for the Papua New Guinea Union Mission, and their three adult children, as well as thousands of believers in Jesus, mourning but awaiting the blessed hope of Jesus’ return.

 

Russia to Restrict Religious Freedom

 

Adventists pray for Russia not to restrict missionary activity

State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament   (Sergei S. Rublëv / Wikipedia)

Seventh-day Adventist believers across Russia were observing a day of fasting and prayer on Tuesday over proposed legislation that would severely restrict missionary activity in the country by, among other things, banning religious gatherings in homes and requiring people who wish to share their faith online or through religious literature to first secure proper documents.

Leaders of the Adventist Church’s Euro-Asia Division, which is based in Moscow and whose territory covers most of the former Soviet Union, called for the day of fasting and prayer as they appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to reject the legislation, which was approved by Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, on June 24.

The legislation, which is part of a raft of antiterrorism bills, now needs to be approved by the upper house, the Federation Council, and then Putin to become law.

“In connection with the State Duma’s adoption of legislation significantly restricting the freedom of missionary activity and its upcoming hearing in the Federation Council, we are appealing to you to unite in fasting and prayer on June 28 for God's intervention and an extension of a period of grace for the unhindered preaching of the gospel in Russia,” division leaders said in a statement.

The leaders cited Proverbs 21: 1, which says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; he turns it wherever He wishes” (NKJV).

“Let’s pray intensely for the spiritual revival of the church of God, not only as a community of believers, but also for each of us personally as a witness for Christ,” the leaders said.

Appeal to Putin

The day of prayer and fasting came as Oleg Goncharov, director of the public affairs and religious liberty department at the Euro-Asia Division, appealed to Putin to reject the legislation.

“It is impossible for believers to comply with the requirements not to express their religious beliefs and to be silent even in their own homes as required by the legislation,” Goncharov said in an open letter (in Russian) to Putin published Monday on the division’s website.

“If this legislation is approved, the religious situation in the country will grow considerably more complicated and many believers will find themselves in exile and subjected to reprisals because of our faith,” he said. “All of this can’t help but worry all faithful Seventh-day Adventist Christians, who have carried out their activities in Russia for more than 130 years.”

Goncharov, who is a member of a Kremlin advisory council on religious organizations and co-chairs a council of Protestant churches in Russia, called the legislation “a flagrant violation of fundamental human rights, of the inalienable right given to every person by their Creator to express their religious convictions, and of rights enshrined in the Russian Constitution and international law.”

He also expressed concern that the wording of the legislation was vague and open to the interpretation of law enforcement agencies.

A Russian citizen convicted of violating the proposed legislation would face a fine of 5,000 to 50,000 rubles (U.S.$75 to $765), while an organization would face a fine of 100,000 to 1 million rubles ($1,525 to $15,265). Citizens of other countries would be deported.

The Kremlin has not responded publicly to appeals to revise the legislation. Human rights advocates have also called for changes, saying several antiterrorism measures violate international law.

Ganoune Diop, director of the public affairs and religious liberty department for the Adventist world church, said he was monitoring the situation and working closely with Goncharov.

“What is at stake here is more than freedom of religion,” Diop said. “It also includes the other fundamental freedoms: freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. All of these fundamental freedoms are interrelated, interdependent, and indivisible.”

Key Adventist Concerns

Goncharov cautioned that the missionary component of the bill would affect millions of people and said its apparently unconstitutional language has sown confusion among religious denominations and legal experts who specialize in religious matters.

He said he was especially concerned about a provision that prohibits the exercise of missionary activity in residential areas, “thus effectively legalizing the invasion of citizens’ privacy by forbidding them from expressing their religious beliefs or meeting their religious needs even at home.”

The bill also requires believers who want to share their faith with others, including through the Internet, to possess necessary documents from a religious association.

This “forces citizens to join religious communities in order to exercise their inalienable right to freedom of conscience, which is a gross violation of the Russian Constitution and international law,” Goncharov said.

The legislation, which was abruptly introduced into the package of antiterrorism bills on June 20, defines missionary activity as public worship and other religious rites and ceremonies; the distribution of religious literature, printed, audio, and video materials; public fundraising for religious purposes; conducting worship and religious meetings; and preaching.

Goncharov said the Adventist Church joined other religious denominations in supporting government efforts to combat extremism and terrorism. But he said the section on missionary activity went too far and its rapid introduction and approval in just three days violated federal law by bypassing required discussions with a State Duma committee on religious organizations and with representatives of religious organizations that would be directly affected by the bill.

“Russia has always been a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country that respects the rights and freedoms of every person regardless of his or her religion,” Goncharov said. “The adoption of this legislation would put hundreds of thousands of believers from various denominations in a very difficult position.”

He appealed to Putin to return the legislation to the State Duma for revision.

“We continually pray for you, dear Mr. President, as well as for all state authorities,” he said.

 

 

Church Speaks to UN on Homosexuality

Updated: Adventist leader discusses sexuality at United Nations conference

Conference on sexuality and religious freedom  (Photo: United Nations)

Ganoune Diop, the top religious freedom advocate of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, spoke to a high-level United Nations conference about the various views of human sexuality in light of the Bible’s teachings and emphasized that the Christian imperative is to treat every human being with dignity and respect. 

Diop, director of the church’s Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department and secretary-general of the International Religious Liberty Association, gave a keynote speech at the three-day event, titled “Freedom of Religion or Belief and Sexuality: A Conversation,” at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. 

He explored the relationship between religious freedom, human rights, and sexuality after being invited by Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations special rapporteur for freedom of religion and belief, to provide a scholarly overview of religious attitudes towards human sexuality, especially from the perspective of Christian traditions. 

In his keynote address, Diop sought to explain the biblical teachings and values that inform a Christian response to same-sex relationships.

“Christians, first and foremost, locate human sexuality within the context of creation, where everything was declared ‘good,’ even ‘very good,’” Diop told the diverse group of attendees at the June 8-10 conference. “But, as the biblical narrative portrays, what the world has become after alienation from God is another story.”

Diop traced the historical evolution of various theological and traditional beliefs about human sexuality within various Christian communions, and the influence of cultural norms in shaping attitudes about appropriate sexual behavior. 

Diop reviewed the seven biblical texts historically understood as prohibiting same-sex acts, and explained the divergent interpretations given to these texts. He said that the majority of Christians — whether Catholics, Orthodox, Protestant evangelicals, or Pentecostals — believe these texts to be a divine prohibition of same-sex acts. However, he also noted that a growing number of Christians challenge this reading, giving alternate interpretations that suggest, in their view, that the Bible does not address the issue of homosexuality as it is known today. 

Diop also highlighted the widening chasm between secular society and religious organizations when it comes to issues of sexuality. He pointed to official statements by historic and mainstream Christian churches that endorse monogamous heterosexual marriages, which stand in stark contrast to the approach of civil secular society and a growing number of Christians who support homosexual marriage, lifestyle, and practice. Unanimity on this issue has become more and more elusive, he said. 

Diop, an Adventist theologian and a former professor of theology, biblical languages, and comparative religions, also told attendees at the UN conference that “the very foundations of the Christian faith are based on the inalienable freedom of every individual to choose to enter a covenant relationship with God.”

This freedom, he said, means that Christians should be wary of trying to legislate their religious beliefs about sexuality, turning religious values into public policy that discriminates against or punishes those who reject specific religious teachings.

“In this debate, Christian churches and people of various religions or beliefs have to be clear about the real parameters of the debate,” Diop said. “The decision to legalize or criminalize belongs to the judicial courts and legislators.”

In an interview after the event, Diop pointed to Adventist Church cofounder Ellen White’s description of the relationship God seeks with His created beings in Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34: “God desires from all His creatures the service of love — service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.”

“Recognizing an individual’s freedom of choice in matters of sexuality does not equal endorsement, and it doesn’t dilute a Christian’s right to speak with moral clarity about God’s ideal for human relationships,” Diop said.

He said Christians have an additional responsibility based on the central Judeo-Christian belief that all human beings are created in God’s image. This responsibility, he said, is to recognize the stamp of the divine in every person and to extend to them the love and respect that Christ modeled in His relationships even with fallen humanity.

“What does that mean for Christians today when it comes to relating to those who have different beliefs about human sexuality?” Diop said. “It means saying ‘No’ to discrimination or any form of violence. It means demonstrating that people can believe differently, and be different, while sharing the same humanity; it means living in the common public space with respect for the dignity of every person; it means recognizing that each person has been granted the right — and responsibility—of freedom by their Creator.”  

Diop continued: “No person should be denied his or her humanity, however they use their freedom of choice. God has given human beings the prerogative to live, or not to live, according to God’s revealed standards. Violence, hate crimes, or self-hatred induced crimes such as the horrific one the world witnessed recently in Orlando are totally repugnant and barbaric.”

In a second presentation to the conference, Diop reminded the participants that when talking about human sexuality, a broader category has to be taken into consideration. He suggested that the issue of sexuality should be intentionally expanded beyond LGBTIQ vocabulary to include discussion of a range of sexual practices — both legitimate and harmful—and also the difficult situation of individuals born with abnormal or malformed genitalia. He highlighted the issues of female genital mutilation, the abductions of boys and girls for prostitution, and the alpha male culture that significantly damages a healthy male self-image perception. He also reminded conference attendees of the historic practice of castration and sexual mutilations of male black slaves by Arab Muslims.

Asked in an interview why the church participates in UN conferences such as this, Diop emphasized the immense value of having an Adventist presence and voice “at the table” within the international community of decision-makers: people of influence, who shape societal trends and values. 

“Clearly, homosexuality and sexual identity are polarizing topics in many nations today,” Diop said. “Attitudes toward sexuality are tightly intertwined with culture, tradition, as well as religious beliefs.”

He noted that a broad spectrum of legal responses to same-sex relationships exist within the countries of the United Nations. These range from same-sex marriage and civil protections in the United States, South Africa, and several other countries, to prohibition, discrimination, and outright criminalization in others.

Yet despite the sensitivity and complexity of the topic, Diop believes that Adventists should not sit on the sidelines of the public discourse. 

“Seventh Adventists are among the mainline churches that understand the divine order of creation to be the heterosexual union of one man and one woman in monogamous marriage,” Diop continued.  “That belief is thoughtfully articulated in the church’s official statements, and continues to be its considered position.” 

“As Mrs. White points out, ‘kings, governors, and councils’ are to have a knowledge of the truth through our testimony, for ‘this is the only way the testimony of light and truth can reach men of high authority,’” Diop said, citing a sermon by Ellen White titled “I Will Keep Thee From the Hour of Temptation” that was published in the Review and Herald on April 15, 1890.

“The public affairs and religious liberty department is focused on public engagement for mission,” Diop said. “Its goal is to position the church to a standing of credibility, relevance, and trust in the public realm without compromising the church’s values or teachings as expressed in official church statements. This is the goal that has animated the public affairs and religious liberty work of the church for more than a century, and this is still at the heart of our work today.”

Other presenters at the UN conference included Bielefeldt; Javaid Rehman, professor of Islamic law and international law at Brunel University, London; and Vitit Muntarbhorn, chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and former UN special rapporteur on human rights in South Korea. On the third day of the conference, Diop and three of his co-presenters were invited to participate in a public panel discussion. This panel, which was intended for the broader UN community, was moderated by Kate Gilmore, United Nations deputy high commissioner for human rights.

 

 

Indian Court Rejects Bible Sabbath

In India, court refuses to reschedule Sabbath exams

                                                                            [Photo: Kuskela [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons ]

The Karnataka High Court says the Bible does not indicate that Saturday alone is the Sabbath.

 

An Indian court has rejected a Seventh-day Adventist petition to reschedule exams from Saturday, citing a lack of biblical evidence that Saturday is Sabbath and the fact that the Indian government does not recognize Sabbath on its list of official festivals.

The South Central India Union of Seventh-day Adventists, which filed the petition, vowed Thursday to appeal the June 15 ruling of the top court in Bengaluru, capital of the southwestern state of Karnataka.

The South Central India Union and a student, Justin Josh, had gone to court to challenge a local government decision to schedule pre-university exams on July 2 and 9, both Saturdays.

The petitioners said that scheduling Saturday exams violated Adventist students’ constitutional right to worship, telling the court that Adventists observe the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday throughout the year and do not engage in work during that time, local media reported.

But the Karnataka High Court sided with government lawyers in declaring that the Bible does not indicate that Saturday alone is the Sabbath and that it forbids a person from studying on that day, the reports said.

“Justice Aravind Kumar said the Bible verses quoted by the petitioner do not indicate that Saturday alone is a Sabbath day and that a student cannot study on that day,” The Times of India newspaper reported. “Citing several judgments of the apex court [India’s Supreme Court], he said the right to freely to profess, practice, and propagate religion under Article 25(1) of the Constitution is subject to public order, morality, health and other provisions.”

Government lawyer Puttige R. Ramesh had argued that rescheduling the II pre-university supplementary exams — which students in India take after a second, final year of studies in preparation to enter university — would cause unnecessary hardship to the more than 272,000 students who were expected to show up in Karnataka state.

He also said that the Bible made no specific mention that the Sabbath should be observed on Saturday and that the court could not direct the authorities to reschedule the exams because the Sabbath was not included in the government-published list of festivals.

Several months earlier, the South Central India Union sought unsuccessfully to convince the same court to reschedule Sabbath exams on March 14 and 26.

Cheluvaraju Ramaswamy, executive secretary of South Central India Union, said the church would appeal that latest ruling.

“We are going to appeal to the court again and show the name of the days as mentioned in the Bible,” Ramaswamy said in a statement forwarded to the Adventist Review by the church’s Southern Asia Division. “Please continue to remember us in your prayers.”

 

 

Major Evangelistic Meetings Set For Romania and Former USSR

 

Next major evangelistic series to reach Romania and former Soviet Union

Church leaders gather in Romania to lay the groundwork for the early 2017 meetings.

Days after historic evangelistic meetings ended in Rwanda, Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders gathered in Romania to prepare for a major series that will be held in early 2017 across the East European country and much of the former Soviet Union.

Adventist Church president Ted N.C. Wilson is meeting with Romania’s 400 Adventist pastors, as well as representatives of the church’s Inter-European Division and Euro-Asia Division, in a conference center nestled in the scenic mountains of Transylvania.

Accompanying Wilson is Duane McKey, his special assistant for Total Member Involvement and director of the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries department of the Adventist world church.

“Our trip to Romania is focused on meeting our church members and planning with pastors and leaders for Total Member Involvement evangelistic outreach,” Wilson said Friday. “Church members and pastors will be focusing on many programs to make friends with the public and provide a comprehensive approach to outreach.”

Total Member Involvement — the active participation of each church member in inviting people to Jesus — proved key to the success of the May 13-28 evangelistic meetings at 2,227 sites in Rwanda, church leaders say. As of last weekend, 98,298 people had been baptized as a result of those meetings, expanding the church’s membership in the African country to more than 818,000 people.

The Adventist Church has 66,385 members worshipping in about 1,100 churches in Romania, according to the most recent figures compiled by the world church’s Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research.

Hundreds of Meeting Sites

Evangelistic meetings will be held at 2,000 to 2,500 sites on Feb. 10-25, 2017, across Romania, which part of the Inter-European Division, Wilson said. In addition, hundreds of sites will operate on the territory of the neighboring Euro-Asia Division, which encompasses Russia, 11 other former Soviet republics, and Afghanistan, in February and March, depending on weather-related factors.

“We are planning for pastors and lay members to hold hundreds of meetings all across Romania,” Wilson said, writing on his Facebook page. “In addition, the entire Euro-Asia Division is planning to participate, with hundreds of meetings across that vast division.”

Wilson, as in Rwanda, intends to lead a set of evangelistic meetings in Romania. 

Also like Rwanda, employees of the General Conference, the administrative body of the Adventist world church, and other church workers will be invited to join several thousand local pastors and lay members in preaching at sites in Romania and the former Soviet Union, McKey said.

Wilson and his wife, Nancy, who spent a week in the United States after leaving Rwanda on May 29, arrived in Romania’s capital, Bucharest, on Wednesday, June 8, and immediately met at the Romanian presidential palace with two senior state officials: Sergiu Nistor, presidential counselor for culture, religious affairs, and national centennial activities, and Diana Lorena Păun, state counselor on public health.

“The meeting represented an opportunity to get acquainted, to acknowledge existing cooperation between the presidential administration, public authorities, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and to discuss aspects that are important for Romanian Adventist believers,” Dragoș Mușat, director of public affairs and religious liberty for the Adventist Church in Romania, told the Adventist Review.

At the meeting, Nistor expressed his appreciation for the ongoing development of Adventist educational and healthcare systems in the country and spoke specifically about plans to build Romania’s first Adventist hospital, the local church said in an e-mailed statement. Church leaders hope to unveil the plans for the hospital in Târgu-Mores in the near future, it said.

Speaking With Pastors

On Thursday, Wilson headed up the mountains of Transylvania for the gathering of 400 pastors and other church leaders in Stupini. They met in a church-owned conference center on property seized by Romania’s former communist government years ago and returned to the church around 2000.

Between serious discussions and earnest prayers, Wilson enjoyed a light moment when he was introduced to a Romanian pastor who bears a resemblance to him. They took a photo together.

“At the meeting with the 400 pastors, I met my Romania ‘twin,’” Wilson wrote beside the photo on his Facebook page. “People tell him we look alike. What a privilege to be brothers in Christ!”

Wilson, meanwhile, appealed to church members worldwide to join the church leaders in Romania in prayer.

“I will pray that this massive Total Member Involvement evangelistic outreach will be blessed by God beyond imagination and the latter rain will fall,” he told the Adventist Review. “It could be the re-ignition of Seventh-day Adventist evangelistic zeal in Europe!”

 

 

97,344 Baptisms in Rwanda

 

Historic evangelism meetings in Rwanda yield 97,344 baptisms

                                                                   Photo:  East-Central Africa Division

Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, says members in Rwanda have set an example to the rest of the world church.

A record breaking 97,344 people in Rwanda committed themselves to Christ and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church through baptism as a result of an evangelistic series that took place throughout the country from May 13 – May 28. 

Additional baptisms connected to ongoing meetings during the next few weeks are expected to bring the total to more than 100,000, making the series the largest of its kind in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

In his remarks, Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, commended the Church in Rwanda for being an unprecedented model of “Total Member Involvement." 

“You are an example for the entire world. We praise God for that,” Wilson told a crowd of 6,000 people at the final Sabbath worship service in the city of Gisenyi

“Total Member Involvement” is an initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that encourages its 19.1 million members worldwide to find ways to share Jesus with friends and community members. The previous record was 30,000 baptisms after a two-week evangelistic series in Zimbabwe in May 2015. 

Herson Byilingiro, president of the church in Rwanda, observed that many were amazed at the level of the members’ participation throughout the evangelistic series.   

Through their interactions and outreach ministries with locals in their communities, Church members throughout Rwanda embodied sermons. Members gave cows to the most vulnerable people in their communities, paid for health insurance, built and rehabilitated houses, paved roads, visited the sick and incarcerated, built bridges, and donated food and clothes. The value of all the time and goods donated exceeded more than 262,571,070 Rwandian Francs, or $335,773 (USD). 

With the newest additions to the church in Rwanda, local membership has topped 815,000 in the country of 11.8 million people.

 

 

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

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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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