adventist today
Reporting for Adventist moderates and progressives
May 17, 2007

Reports and commentary on contemporary headlines, issues, mini-reviews of books, and other news items of importance for promoting both dialogue across the spectrum and making room for a more progressive Adventist Christianity. Comments sent in may be published. – ATNewsbreak Editors: Lee & Linda Greer, Adventist Today Associate Executive Editors. Contact:


Special News release. Andy Nash, the new editor for AToday!
Feedback. The tilt at ATNewsbreak: Letter and editorial. 
Adventist News round up. La Sierra University SIFE students win 2007 national championship, and other pieces.
May 2007. Genocide in Darfur from satellite, and other stories. 
AToday tomorrow. Contents of May-June issue.
Take action today! Divest and don't invest in genocide!

SPECIAL NEWS release....

Andy and Cindy Nash

New Editor for Adventist Today: Andy Nash 
Special news release (14 May 2007).

Andy Nash, 36, has been appointed by the Adventist Today Board as the new Adventist Today (AToday) editor, succeeding John McLarty. McLarty, who has served in that capacity for 10 years, will continue at Adventist Today as a senior contributing editor. 

Nash will begin his formal tenure as AToday editor beginning with the first issue of 2008 (January-February). At that time, a major redesign of the magazine will be unveiled. An article by Nash, “Resting Again in Adventism,” will appear in the July-August 2007 issue. 

Nash comes to this position with impressive credentials and extensive experience. He received B.A.s in Print Journalism and English from Southern Adventist University where he was editor of the school newspaper. He holds an M.A. in English from Andrews University and has finished his Ph.D. coursework in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Nebraska. 

From 1996 to 1999 Nash was the youngest assistant editor at the Adventist Review. He worked as an assistant professor of communication at Union College (1999-2002) before becoming the publisher of the award-winning The Front Porch, a magazine feature currently syndicated in newspapers throughout the United States. Nash has also worked as a newspaper and magazine columnist and was invited by Reader’s Digest Association to help them develop a new magazine concept. 

Nash will serve as the Adventist Today editor while also working as an Associate Professor of Journalism and Communication at Southern Adventist University, where he has been since 2003. 

“The appointment of Andy Nash as editor reflects an important aspect of the major initiative now underway at Adventist Today as part of the 2007 Leap Forward process,” says Ervin Tayor, Executive Editor. “He brings to the AToday editorial group a fresh approach with new ideas and perspectives that will be in tune with a younger cohort of potential readers.” 

As 2008 approaches, Nash will communicate his vision for the future of Adventist Today. “I’m delighted to join a talented staff and strong support base—people who care about things like balance, honesty, and excellence in the Adventist Church,” Nash says. “I see no reason why Adventist Today shouldn’t be the most well written, most well produced, most professional magazine in the church. We also need to be full color starting January, so we’ll be grateful to everyone who can help us achieve this financially.” 

“One of Nash’s major interests is for Adventist Today to become a magazine of renewed dialogue among conservative-traditional, center-evangelical, and liberal-progressive Adventist Christians on the significant issues of the day” says Lee Greer, AToday Associate Executive Editor and the editor of ATNewsbreak, the e-newsletter of Adventist Today

Nash says he welcomes direct communications and can be reached at

FEEDBACK to ATNewsbreak....

ATNewsbreak: Why a progressive challenge is healthy for Adventist Christian thought
Lee & Linda Greer, (16 May 2007).

We appreciate the mostly positive feedback we receive at ATNewsbreak, as well as the questions and concerns we receive (usually about Adventist Today's coverage of 3ABN)! One recent letter from a retired pastor on a different subject gives us an excellent opportunity to share a few thoughts. We quote from the letter: 

  • He wrote, "I am troubled by the 'lean to the left' that I am sensing at least in the emailed 'newsbreak' for AT.  It is certainly proper to debate American foreign policy but I am not totally comfortable using AT for that purpose.  There seems to be an anti war, anti Government, pro abortion underlying agenda coming through more and more recently.  In my view that is a bit out of place for a religious publication supported largely by a church membership that takes the Bible very seriously including the admonition to 'pray for our leaders.'" 
First, ATNewsbreak has been broadened to include a younger, more progressive audience. It is intended to be more edgy than the Adventist Today magazine. The intent is to provide thought-provoking news items and updates, as well as inspirational thoughts. On the last ATNewsbreak (01 May 2007), the following items were present:
  • Our banner story was on the resurrection of Jesus, during this spring season.
  • There was also the news of a large gift to Andrews University, a link to someone's open letter to Danny Shelton, and review of articles from the Adventist Review with both discussion and inspirational thoughts.
  • On the headlines part, we linked to a story on the latest Supreme Court decision on abortion, and linked to both sides of the debate, people of faith in both cases. Hardly being pro-abortion. On an earlier ATNewsbreak, we also included links from both sides on global warming. 
  • We linked a Christianity Today article showing the range and division of opinion even within evangelical Christianity, let alone the broader range of Christian opinion!
  • And yes, we included other stories on the burning issue of the war included an op-ed by an active duty Lieutenant Colonel writing in the Armed Forces Journal, a condemnation of torture by the National Association of Evangelicals, and so on. 
Now on war, peace, and justice, we make no apology for providing counterbalance to the many Christian attempts in America to hijack Jesus for war, nationalism, torture, and a narcissistic commercialism which has demonstrably led to oppression and environmental degradation. Christians need to be reminded that the real Jesus from Nazareth stood for peace and justice for the oppressed of all nations! No ownership society tinted with a few conscience-salving charitable contributions for Jesus. He came from an eschatological heritage within the Hebrew prophets calling for stewardship, speaking of mutual indebtedness and justice for our fellow beings, and warning of a coming reversal of fortunes when justice would prevail and wrongs would be righted. "Congratulations to the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God!" (Matt. 5:9). "Congratulations, you destitute! for yours is the kingdom of God. Congratulations, you [who are] hungry now! for you will be satisfied.... But woe to you the rich! for you have your consolation. Woe to you, the well-fed now! for you will hunger." (Luke 6:20-21, 24-25). It was an eschatological tradition that linked forgiveness with justice, as in Jesus' kingdom prayer to God as Father, "Forgive us our debts as we forgive those indebted to us." (Compare Micah 4; Isa. 1:16-18; 2:1-5; 58; 61:1-2 with Jesus in Luke 4:16-21, in Mark 1:14-15, and John the Baptist in Luke 3:1-14 = Matt. 3:1-10).

People of conscience, whether Christians or others, have the right (most easily realized when living in constitutionally representative democracies) not only (a) to pray for our leaders, and (b) when possible stand behind them, but also (c) when necessary get behind them and push. After all, along with the more secular reformers there were also progressive Christians who were speaking out against slavery, participating in the "underground railroad," opposing the genocidal policies adopted toward the first Americans, fighting for conscientious objector or pacifist status, for suffrage, for labor rights, for freedom of speech and religion, even for feared or hated religious minorities. In more recent decades, those voices have also stood for civil rights, peace, sanctuary, against discrimination, against unjust and oppressive trade conditions, human trafficking, and genocide. Fortunately, some progressive Adventist Christians have been involved. Far too few to our shame as a churchnote the all-too-common Adventist timidity and silence during the Civil Rights movement. Adventism with its roots partially in New England independence and in the Radical Reformation Anabaptist wing of Protestant Christianity need not be shy. As we indicated to our kind pastor-correspondent, we seek ways to improve our balance-in-approach while maintaining a forward-looking viewpoint and broadening the discussion.


La Sierra University SIFE Team Wins [2007] National Championship
By , La Sierra University (May 8, 2007)
"La Sierra University’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) team won the National Championship at the 2007 SIFE USA National Exposition finals held in Dallas, Texas, May 6-8. As a result of their victory in Dallas, La Sierra University students will represent the United States at the SIFE World Cup competition in New York City in October. SIFE national champion teams from more than 40 countries will participate in that event. This is the sixth time that La Sierra has won the championship at the USA National Exposition, with previous wins coming in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, and 2002. La Sierra University SIFE also won the International Championship in 2002, representing the United States at the SIFE World Cup in Amsterdam. La Sierra was joined in the final four round by Heritage University, Drury University, and University of Arizona.... La Sierra’s SIFE team presented a summary of their projects and activities designed to make a difference in the Riverside community and internationally. During the competition, each SIFE teams develops a 24-minute live/multimedia presentation, and distributes a four-page annual report summarizing their projects. Judges are executives from SIFE sponsoring companies. For the final four round of competition in Dallas, all judges must be at the chief executive officer level within their respective companies. Judges evaluate projects for creativity, innovation and effectiveness. 

For its presentation the LSU SIFE team focused on seven projects. 2007 La Sierra University SIFE Projects: [A couple of them...].... Success Skills. We taught 232 local high school and college students how to prepare a resume, dress for success, and give a professional interview.... Turning Silver into Gold. We presented a series of workshops at a low-income senior housing center to help senior citizens see how they could make the most of their existing resources. Our topics included: understanding credit and avoiding financial blunders; preventing identity theft; and maximizing Social Security and Medicare benefits, among others. Our team was also awarded a $20,000 Community Development Block Grant to begin July 1, 2007 for the continuation of the project in ten more senior centers in Riverside." [More of the story; see also La Sierra University's SIFE site]. 

Africa—Out n Back
"We've been to Africa for a joint project of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Adventist-Laymen's Services & Industries (ASI)—teaching laypeople how to give Bible Studies using DVDs. We have also been talking to those who have been educated by Ethel Twing, widow of Dr. James A. Twing, who died in service 'For Tanzania.' We took gifts for students of the Twing Memorial School and visited a game park with our digital cameras. It has been an awesome journey! Enjoy our trip Out n Back." [More of the blogsite on this mission trip]. For more information contact Curtis & Carol Frembling

Is there imperial design behind conversion overdrive?
By Sandhya Jain, India, The Organizer (20 May 2007)
"There is empirical evidence that the evangelical movement operates through multinational corporations (MNCs). A special section has been devoted to the Seventh Day Adventist church (to which Andhra Chief Minister Samuel Rajshekhar Reddy is affiliated), which targets Dalits for conversion. It is closely associated with Maranatha Volunteers International, engaged in church planting. A journalist researching how permissions were obtained for such a vast numbers of churches found that a rough estimate at $ 5,000/church x 1,000 churches gave a turnover of $5million. One churches in 1,000 days, and $5m turnover! There is no land cost because most churches are built illegally on Poromboke or Mandir lands. In recent weeks, allegations of assault by Christian evangelists in BJP-ruled states have once again turned the spotlight on conversions. Now, meticulous research by Ms. Anuja Prashar, director, Transnational Identity Investments (TII), documents the political, economic and secular backing by Western-Christian governments for this imperialist project and its special focus upon India. Ms. Prashar’s report, titled 'Conversion and Anti-Conversion in India Today,' owes its genesis to British MPs Andy Reed and Gary Streeter protesting to India’s Deputy High Commissioner in London that certain laws in the country restricted religious freedom. They presented a letter signed by a cross-party group of 16 MPs; Reed is a member of the board of Christian Solidarity Worldwide. This exposes the hollowness of the secular principles of the British Government, as evangelical paradigms are so openly supported across political parties. This agitated Hindus organisations in Britain and America, and independent academics, social analysts, and observers joined hands to prepare a report which convincingly establishes that Western Christian charity and faith organisations have a clear agenda to convert the socially disadvantaged, and a global imperialistic mission. There is empirical evidence that the evangelical movement operates through multinational corporations (MNCs). A special section has been devoted to the Seventh Day Adventist church (to which Andhra Chief Minister Samuel Rajshekhar Reddy is affiliated), which targets Dalits for conversion. It is closely associated with Maranatha Volunteers International, engaged in church planting and 25-villages and 50-villages conversion programmes." [More of the story]. Editorial comment: Ouch, how painful it is to be misunderstood! On the other hand, what a gift to see ourselves as others see us. 

Nigeria: Church Advises President-Elect On Peace
By Kalu Okwara, Daily Champion, Lagos, Nigeria (08 May 2007).
"Seventh Day Adventist Church in Nigeria has enjoined the president-elect, Alhaji Umaru Yar'Adua to form a broad-based government just as it pleaded with aggrieved candidates at the just-concluded general elections to seek redress at the tribunals. Addressing a press conference yesterday in Lagos, the president of the North West Nigeria Union Mission of the Seventh Day Adventist, Pastor (Dr.) Joseph Ola, said the era of 'Winner takes all' was over, stressing the need for the president-elect to form a government of national unity. According to the cleric, winners of the elections should assemble the best brains and competent people to work with irrespective of their political, religious or tribal affiliations. 'Nigerians expect to see new jobs created that would drastically reduce the rate of unemployment. The provision of essential amenities such as power, water, good roads, security for life and property, health care are things that the nation would not compromise' he said. He specifically picked the education and health sectors for restructuring, stressing that religious freedom as it affected the Sabbath keepers needed to be looked at. According to Pastor Ola, if the government could declare two days as public holidays to enable people to cast votes, it could also hold future elections and examinations on week days. Flaying the violence that characterised the electoral process, the cleric said the perpetrators were putting Nigeria in bad light." [Story].

Paradise Valley deal was criticized for lack of bids
By Keith Darcé, San Diego, CA, Union Tribune (May 8, 2007).
"When Adventist Health sold Paradise Valley Hospital earlier this year, some people who opposed the deal criticized Adventist for not trying harder to find more than one prospective buyer. A legislative committee will consider a bill today that would address that complaint. Senate Bill 894 by Sen. Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, would let the state attorney general block the sale of a nonprofit hospital to a for-profit owner if its owner didn't seek multiple bids or ignored rival offers. The Senate Judicial Committee is scheduled to consider the bill in a hearing this afternoon in Sacramento. While the bill won't affect Paradise Valley – the 301-bed National City hospital was sold Feb. 28 to Prime Healthcare Services of Victorville – it could come into play in future sales of local nonprofit hospitals if it becomes law. Ducheny, who opposed Prime Healthcare's purchase of Paradise Valley, had promised to introduce the legislation after Attorney General Jerry Brown cleared the way for the deal in late February.... Adventist announced its plan to sell Paradise Valley to Prime last fall after the buyer's lead owner, cardiologist Prim Reddy, made an unsolicited offer. Adventist officials said they sought offers from other hospital operators in San Diego County but none were interested. Adventist later rejected a rival bid made by a group of investors that included 40 Paradise Valley physicians, saying it came too late in the sale process and that the group lacked the financial backing needed to close the deal." [More of the story].

When the Rocks Cry Out
By Lawrence T. Geraty, A Commentary on the Sabbath School Lesson for April 28-May 4, 2007,
"The theme for our Sabbath School lesson this week is the proposition that archaeology has played a key role in affirming the veracity of the Bible. For Adventists, this notion was bolstered by the influential work of Adventism’s "Mr. Archaeology," Siegfried H. Horn, the first Adventist to get involved in any extensive way with field archaeology. Forty years ago, he founded the first "Adventist dig" in Jordan (at Heshbon), and crowned his career by teaching archaeology at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary from the 1950s through the 1970s. The title of Horn’s first major book, The Spade Confirms the Book, published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association in 1957, pretty much sums up this view.... Was this popular notion that "archaeology proves the Bible true" always Horn’s view? I would argue that the title of his next book, published in 1963, again by the Review and Herald Publishing Association, conveys a subtle shift: Records of the Past Illuminate the Bible. In fact, Horn was forced to broaden his view by his own archaeological fieldwork.... Such discoveries, or the lack thereof, have gradually helped Adventist archaeologists to shift in their view, relative to the way archaeology relates to the Bible, from 'confirmation' to 'illumination.' [lists four ways archaeology illuminates understanding of the Bible]... In sum, I would say archaeology can illuminate the world of the Bible, but it cannot establish its claim to truth of a higher order. Archaeology can help answer the question of "what" happened in ancient times, but rarely "why." Archaeology can bring understanding, but it cannot create faith." [More of the article].

MAY 2007

Genocide emergency: Darfur
"In 2004 the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum declared a genocide emergency for Darfur, Sudan. To date about 2,500,000 civilians, targeted because of their ethnic or racial identity, have been driven from their homes, more than 300,000 people killed, and more than 1,600 villages destroyed by Sudanese government soldiers and government-backed militias, known as the 'Janjaweed.' More than 200,000 Sudanese are refugees in neighboring Chad. The crisis continues as thousands more die each month from the effects of inadequate food, water, health care, and shelter in a harsh desert environment. Learn more about Darfur. Witness the destruction for yourself. Using coordinates provided by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Google acquired high-resolution imagery over the region of Darfur and Eastern Chad. Now you can witness the destruction in Darfur via Google Earth. Zoom down and see what a burned village looks like from above, the vast tent cities of people displaced from their homes, and photographs on the ground of refugees struggling to survive. Read eyewitness testimony of atrocities in attacked villages. Visualize what genocide looks like today in Darfur. Learn more about the layers."
The Darfur genocide from satellite: See also "Eyewitness Account: 'In Darfur my camera was not enough', Photo Essay by Brian Steidle, a former U.S. Marine." See the trailer of the documentary film about the genocide, The devil came on horseback

Honeybee Die-Off Threatens Food Supply
By Seth Borenstein, Published on Thursday, May 3, 2007 by Associated Press; "BELTSVILLE, Md. - Unless someone or something stops it soon, the mysterious killer that is wiping out many of the nation’s honeybees could have a devastating effect on America’s dinner plate, perhaps even reducing us to a glorified bread-and-water diet. Honeybees don’t just make honey; they pollinate more than 90 of the tastiest flowering crops we have. Among them: apples, nuts, avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, squash and cucumbers. And lots of the really sweet and tart stuff, too, including citrus fruit, peaches, kiwi, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and other melons. In fact, about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Even cattle, which feed on alfalfa, depend on bees. So if the collapse worsens, we could end up being 'stuck with grains and water,' said Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for USDA’s bee and pollination program. 'This is the biggest general threat to our food supply,' Hackett said. While not all scientists foresee a food crisis, noting that large-scale bee die-offs have happened before, this one seems particularly baffling and alarming." [More of the story].

BYU Students Speak Out
By Ralph Nader, (01 May 2007).
"Could anyone have imagined that the major commencement protest at a University graduation thus far occurred April 26 at Brigham Young University (BYU)? Probably not.But then could anyone have imagined that the Vice President with the lowest approval rating in modern American history would request and receive an invitation to be the commencement speaker? And no one could have imagined the organized moral courage of seniors like Ashley Sanders, Eric Bybee, Steven Greenstreet, Carl Brinton and graduate student Joe Vogel. BYU is owned and run by the Mormon Church. This year it graduated 5,378 students with bachelor’s degrees, 717 students with master’s degrees and 190 students with doctoral degrees. Ninety-nine percent of the graduates are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church). Before wagon-training in the mid-eighteen hundreds to the Great Salt Lake Valley, Mormons were terribly persecuted and brutalized from one migration to another. The Mormon Church was born from revelation, resistance and dissent. Its mutual assistance commitment to poor or otherwise needy Mormons remains a marvel of organization and steadfastness. So does its expected regime of no alcohol, tobacco or drugs - a religious health movement of much success. The Church today is considered very conservative. Over eighty percent of voting Mormons cast their vote for Republicans. At BYU, obedience, conformity and not questioning authority is part of the cultural tradition. So just to read in the newspapers about 'dissident BYU graduates' planning an alternative commencement in an alternative auditorium jarred the customary stereotypes.... Supported by some faculty members, alumni, citizens of the local community, and twenty students, in the middle of final exams, no less, they persuaded over 3,000 of their fellow students to sign a petition protesting Cheney and supporting a graduation ceremony about alternatives. The core student organizers are devout Mormons...." [More of the story]. Visit the BYU alternate commencement website, and see more photos from the protest. Editorial comment: Thank you, LDS brothers and sisters, for your voice and courage!

(Collage by LFG, assembled from the links above). 

Liberal Protestantism Finding New Life
By Diana Butler Bass, Washington Post (10 May 2007).
"The New York Times recently ran a story about the Riverside Church, the congregation that serves as a national cathedral for liberal Protestantism, and its search for a new minister. Riverside’s past ministers have included renowned leaders such as Harry Emerson Fosdick and William Sloan Coffin, making the current task a daunting one. The Times referred to Riverside as “the capital of a theological movement that has been slowly deteriorating,” citing mainstream Protestantism’s “decades-long pattern of losing members, vitality, and influence” as a challenge to finding a new pastor. A photograph illustrated the story: two men looking down from the church’s balcony over forty parishioners huddled in the back pews of a mostly-empty building. Last October, I preached at Riverside’s Fosdick Convocation—a five-day teaching event celebrating liberal Protestantism—to a crowd of approximately 800 people. The building was not empty. More than three-dozen leaders, theologians, and writers preached, offered workshops, and led worship with large audiences in attendance. That conference was energetic, intelligent, and, frankly, emotional—testifying to a renewed spiritual vitality among mainstream Protestants.... Viewed separately, such congregations might appear as anecdotal successes in a morass of failure. However, in recent months, three academic studies have suggested that liberal renewal might be at the edge of a trend: Ian Markam’s “Why Liberal Churches Are Growing,” Hal Taussig’s “A New Spiritual Home: Progressive Christianity at the Grass Roots,” and my own, “Christianity for the Rest of Us.” Together, these books explore the characteristics of liberal congregational growth, renewal in progressive communities, and patterns of vitality in mainstream churches based in research involving thousands of congregations. No study has yet attempted to count how many mainline churches are experiencing new vibrancy, but something is clearly happening in some quarters of liberal Protestantism. And that something will have, as the renewal of evangelicalism has had, important political and social consequences in the future" [More of the story]. 

America is drowning in credit card debt.
Emmy Award winner Danny Schechter's 'In Debt We Trust'  explores the relationship between Congress and the credit complex and how it is having an enormously negative impact on the country's financial health. Also, for valuable information on avoiding the pitfalls, please visit the Center for Responsible Lending (Link).


ATODAY TOMORROW – Current contents

Articles in the current issue of Adventist Today: Subscribe today!

May-June 2007 (Vol. 15; No. 3). On the issue of plagiarism, and other articles. 


  • 02 | Editorial: In "Term Limits" John McLarty reflects on the denominational health benefits of church leadership term limits, and how after 10 years as Adventist Today editor, promoting open discourse and news within the Adventist Church, it is time for him to "it’s time for me to acknowledge my own dispensability" as AToday sets out to find a new editor, in order to spend more time with his church and family. 
  • 04 | Letters | AT readers
  • 06 | Letters on Abortion | AT Authors and Readers Response
  • 10 | 3ABN used by Adventist Retirees for Inspiration and Witnessing | Edwin D. Schwisow
  • 11 | Adventist College and University Enrollment Figures Released | James Stirling
  • 12 | Defining Plagiarism - Article Review | James Stirling
  • 14 | Posner is Wrong on Plagiarism | Jim Walters
  • 16 | The Specter of Plagiarism Haunting Adventism | T. Joe Willey, reporting on a presentation by Dr. Frederick Hoyt
  • 19 | Unity and Tolerance in the ChurchParts I-III | Mark F. Carr
  • 22 | Buckle UpA Commentary on the Adventist Soul | Alden Thompson
  • 24 | Contemporary Adventism: The Owl and the Aging Tiger | Dr. Milton Hook
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"Don't Invest in Genocide: on Fidelity and other institutions to divest from companies that help fund the genocide in Darfur.

The Save Darfur Coalition endorses divestment as a critical strategy to work for change in Darfur. Currently, the Divest for Darfur campaign includes these efforts:

Divest for Darfur is a campaign of the Save Darfur Coalition, coordinated with our special partners such as the Sudan Divestment Task Force, Fidelity Out Of Sudan and other coalition partners that have endorsed divestment including American Jewish World Service, the NAACP, STAND, Genocide Intervention Network, the Jewish Council of Public Affairs, and other coalition members with divestment policies." [More on the divestment campaign].

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