“In our global village of today, the Adventist church is a culturally diverse family; and our challenge, like the disciples in their time, is to love one another within our community of faith in spite of our differences.”
—Erika F. Puni, GC Stewardship director, during the 2006 Annual Council meetings
JUST THE FACTS
Here are some interesting facts from the world church Web site (www.adventist.org) about the name of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—and how to use it.
The denominational name Seventh-day Adventist, decided upon in 1860, includes vital beliefs. “Adventist” reflects the passionate conviction in the nearness of the soon return (“advent”) of Jesus. “Seventh-day” refers to the biblical Sabbath, which from Creation has always been the seventh day of the week, or Saturday.
The name Seventh-day Adventist represents the Seventh-day Adventist Church, its institutions and organizations, its local churches and its members. The name and the logo are trademarked and registered identities. As with all proper names, there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to spell, pronounce, abbreviate, and otherwise use this name.
Spelling:Seventh-day Adventist, including the hyphen and a lowercase “d” for “day.” The pronunciation: Seventh-day Ad’-ven-tist with the accent on the first syllable. The abbreviation: Adventist. In communication about the church, the preferred abbreviation of the name is “Adventist.”
*In Pakistan, a new member wipes his face after being baptized in a small, outdoor pool. There are reportedly 111 churches and 10,396 members in Pakistan, a country whose population is approximately 166,000,000.
I have a praise to share. I recently passed the local nursing board exam that I asked for prayer on. Thank you for your prayers—I consider it a miracle that I passed!
Please pray for my family and me because my sister and I are trying to go back to college and we are having financial difficulties. We are firm believers in Christian education and have faith that God will provide. Also, thank you for this wonderful magazine you have provided for our community of faith!
—Carol, United States
My wife and I take care of 15 orphans whose parents died of HIV/AIDS. All of them go to school. It is not easy for us to provide for them and feed them. Please pray for us—for a salary increase for me and for my wife to find employment, as she is a trained primary teacher. Also pray that those who desire to help us do so as they are able.
I am an Adventist from the Philippines who is presently working in Israel as a caregiver. Please pray that our dear God may give me wisdom to answer interview questions asked by the consul correctly in order to realize my dream to live and work in Canada.
Please pray for me in the following areas: (1) to be strong in my Lord Jesus; (2) to find a suitable partner who will not lead me astray; and (3) the company I work for to get paying jobs [assignments].
Please pray for me. I became deaf due to having meningitis when I was 12, but I can speak both English and my own nation'slanguage and I also use American Sign Language. I have been unable to find a job since 1992. I am a single mother of one boy. It is very hard for us disabled people to get employment where I live since most people look down on us.
I am praying for the application fee to be admitted to a college to further my studies, for my son to get a sponsor, and for my brother to find a job. Please pray that God shows me His will.
—Pamela, Via e-mail
Our child is sick and has to undergo surgery. Please pray for the success of the operation and for total recovery.
—Faith and Dupe, Nigeria
A Concert, Three Girls, and a Preacher Mark Finley’s cover story in the September 2007 Adventist World, “A Rock Concert, Three Girls and a Confused Preacher,” spoke so plainly to me—please publish many more articles like this one. Pastor Finley’s story reminds me, “Whether you are a professional pastor speaking in remote places for God, or a wage earner praying to influence others in a secular job setting, or a grandmother with a letter-writing ministry, God is the Power Source, not you.” It’s a “no-brainer,” but still we need constant reminding.
For those of us Adventists longing to feel we are of use to God’s cause and wondering whether we’ll ever see results, this article is an encouragement—what a faith-builder! I’ll remember this story as I pray and then head to work in the mornings—thank you!
Margi Dalgleish Roth Oregon, United States
Appreciation for Digital Communication Fylvia Fowler Kline laments the destruction of books in “As Crowd Watches, Thoughts Burn,” on page 5 of the August 2007 Adventist World. As a high school library media teacher, I too would be very disappointed to see the destruction of useful reading material.
I do question, however, the conclusion of the article implying that digital creativity is worthless and that “modern technology is leading to a gradual decline of our potential as God’s creation.” Everyone born before 1985 is basically a digital “immigrant.” We grew up in the world of paper. Technology is changing and the younger generation, the digital “natives,” are using the new technologies in extremely creative ways. Not all Web-surfing is aimless and the digital natives do not consider text-messaging to be impersonal. If Google is used correctly and thoughtfully, enormous information is available to the reader. Is a sermon less truthful if it comes to the listener on an iPod? We need to appreciate and use all of the various avenues of communication favored by members of all generations.
Robert E. DuBose, Jr. California, United States
Mind-set Over Matter! In the interview “Women and Ministry” (Adventist World, April 2007, p. 8), our world church president, Jan Paulsen, reconfirmed the church’s position on women as ordained ministers that “this is not the way we can go now.” What did Paulsen mean by this? Does it mean that women could be ordained pastors, but not now? If this is what he meant, then I would like to ask: When? Would it be acceptable in the future but not now? Are we waiting for a “mind-set to change” as mentioned earlier in the interview? A mind-set caused by whom or what? The world? Is this what our church is all about?
Ryno Shawe Gauteng, South Africa
The Silent Threat I am writing in regard to the Devotional article by Limoni Manu entitled “The Silent Threat” (May 2007). Manu humbles me with the dangerous currents lurking in our paths as Christians of today.
Manu says there are currents to watch. The one striking me most is the current of familiarity—just like deep sea divers become so familiar with big bodies of water that they underestimate the treacherous traits and dangers, we Christians become so familiar with the truth of salvation that we lose the sense of its quality and importance. Thus, instead of growing into spiritual maturity we remain spiritual infants, satisfied with our elementary understanding (the milk) of God’s Word. “But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil” (Heb. 5:14, NRSV).
So fellow conquerors, let’s go for solid food. Or is it milk until…?
David Kumo Via e-mail
Man of Vision We appreciate the work brother Harald Pfeiffer did in Sierra Leone in helping to build the hospital. I read about this in the article “Man of Vision,” by Pietro E. Copiz, in the August 2006 Adventist World magazine. May God bless Pfeiffer and continue upholding him. Our world needs to have such people so that we can change it into a better place to live.
Central Adventist Youth Group Mbale, Uganda
Sharing Adventist World I’m a pastor’s daughter in Zambia and each month when we receive copies of the Adventist World magazine we take them to the hospitals and other organizations. I thought you would like to know that God is working through the magazine to touch these people. This is good.
Personally, my life has never been the same ever since I started distributing these magazines. I feel as though God is blessing me more and more with each copy I give out and I hope to spread His Word more and more.
Thank you for the good work and may God bless you.
Kai Nachilima Zambia
The last day of the Jewish religious calendar was called the Day of Atonement. On that day the high priest entered the sanctuary’s Most Holy Place, representing all of Israel, to appear before God in earnest confession. The entire nation gathered around the earthly sanctuary, examining their hearts and confessing their sins. God’s goal was much more than a cleansed building; it was a cleansed people.
1. What two things would the high priest accomplish on the Day of Atonement? Read the text below and write your answers on the lines provided. “For on that day the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord” (Lev. 16:30).
a. The priest shall_________________________________________________________.
b. To __________________________that you may be____________________________.
The English word atonement means at-one-ment, reconciliation. Sin has separated us from God (Isa. 59:1, 2). The purpose of the plan of salvation is to bring us back into harmony with God. Jesus’ death on the cross fully satisfied the demands of justice; the debt for sin was fully paid. As our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, Jesus provides both forgiveness for our past sins and power to overcome the bondage of sin.
2. Describe God’s amazing offer. Read the text below and fill in the blanks. “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Rom. 8:15).
a. God does not offer us the spirit of___________________________________________.
b. God does offer us the Spirit of_____________________________________________.
The goal of the gospel is to set us free from the bondage of sin and through His grace exalt us to sons and daughters of God.
3. What does the Bible use to explain what actually happens in the life of a born-again believer? Read the text below and fill in the blank. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).
To be born of God is to be an___________________________________________________.
What does it mean to be an overcomer? Write your answer in a single sentence on the lines below.
4. What does God want to accomplish in us “through the blood of the everlasting covenant”? Read the text and circle the words that describe what He can do. “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20, 21).
Through Jesus our hearts are cleansed. Through His grace we are complete in Him. Through His power our lives are made new. Through His covenant we desire to do His will; we delight in pleasing Him.
5. Where is Jesus now? What is He doing? What is His ultimate goal? Read the texts and fill in the blanks below. “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24). “But now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26).
a. Jesus has entered_____________________________________________________. .
b. Jesus appears_______________________________________________________.
c. Jesus will___________________________________________________________.
6. What does Jesus offer to those who struggle with sin in their lives, but who humbly seek Him? Read the text and fill in the blank below. “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (James 4:6; quotes Prov. 3:34).
When our need is greatest, He _________________________________________________
Jesus invites His people to open their hearts to receive His grace. He invites us through His grace in these closing moments of earth’s history to have our hearts cleansed of anger, bitterness, resentment, pride, greed, and lust. Jesus longs for His people to be cleansed and become overcomers. He provides all the grace necessary to accomplish the impossible in our lives.
QUESTION: In one of your columns you discussed the union of the human and the divine in Christ. Please tell me how the Adventist view of the Incarnation corresponds to that of other Christians?
This is not a biblical question, but its answer will be based on biblical insights. I will summarize the prevailing view among Christians, then try to summarize what Adventists say about the topic. Of course, with a mystery so profound as this, there is room for disagreement.
1. Christian Controversies and an Attempted Solution:Early in the history of the Christian church, the person of Christ became a subject of heated debate. Some suggested that Christ was two persons—a human being and God—in one human body. Others argued that He was one person with only one mind or spirit—the divine. Still others suggested that the divine and human nature were merged, resulting in a third type of nature, making Christ neither fully human nor fully divine.
In an attempt to resolve the controversy, an ecclesiastical council was convened in 451 in the city of Chalcedon (near modern Istanbul, Turkey). The council put together a statement known as the Chalcedonian Definition. It affirmed, among other things, that Christ was “truly God and truly man,” that He had two natures in one person, and that “the distinction of natures” was “by no means taken away by the union” (Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, vol. 2, pp. 62, 63). Although it is still debated whether this was a true definition, the fundamental ideas it contains have been accepted by most Christians.
2. Adventists and the Two Natures of Christ: Adventists have agreed with this definition because they find it compatible with the biblical information about the incarnation of God in Christ. It is true that the theology of the statement goes beyond what is explicitly stated in the Bible, but it still remains within the parameters of divine revelation. That Christ was fully divine and fully human is a biblical fact. We worship God in human flesh, not two persons—one divine and one human—in one body. Otherwise we would worship a human being! We agree that “the two natures were mysteriously blended in one person” (Ellen G. White, Lift Him Up, p. 76). But in this union the divine nature “was not humanized; neither was humanity deified by the blending or union of the two natures; each retained its essential character and properties” (Manuscript Releases, vol. 16, p. 182). The Son of God indeed took human nature upon Him at the Incarnation.
3. Implications of the Union of the Two Natures: The fact that the two natures remain distinct implies that in the Incarnation there are two wills. This helps us understand the possibility that Jesus could have fallen into temptation. God cannot be tempted to sin, but the human nature could. It also helps us understand that although the divine nature was omniscient, the human was not. Christ’s human nature had limited knowledge and grew in understanding the nature and mission of the Son of God (cf. Luke 2:52). The element of mystery remains because even though there are two natures, there is still one person.
Since the human and the divine were united, what the human nature experienced was also experienced by the divine. Here we should make some careful distinctions. Please stay with me. The divine nature experienced the feelings, emotions, struggles, and temptations of the human nature. For instance, when the human nature was thirsty, the divine nature experienced in a unique and direct way what it meant for humans to be thirsty, or hungry, or tempted, etc. The totality of the Person experienced those sensations. On the other hand, when the divine nature used divine power to heal, the human nature became the vehicle through which that power reached the other. When a sick woman touched Jesus’ cloak and was healed, Jesus realized “that power had gone out of Him” (Mark 5:30). The power of the Son of God healed the woman, but Christ’s human nature experienced in a unique way a divine power that it did not possess in itself. This was the result of the union of two natures.
There are many other implications of that union, but those serve to illustrate the significance of the greatest mystery in the universe.
I live in sub-Saharan Africa. I have heard of anemia and that it particu-larly affects women. What is anemia, and why does it affect women? You live in a region in which approximately 50 percent of infants and children as well as between 40 to 60 percent of women in the childbearing age are anemic. This is mainly a result of inadequate iron (iron deficiency).
“Anemia” is a term used to describe a deficiency, or shortage, of red blood cells and their very important component called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a specialized chemical structure that transports the oxygen from the lungs to the other organs of the body. Iron is very important in the structure and function of hemoglobin. If the diet consists of insufficient iron, the body will be unable to make adequate and efficient red blood cells. This in turn will result in a decreased supply of oxygen to the body organs and tissues, resulting in various symptoms, including tiredness, difficulty in exercising—even walking—and shortness of breath.
Anemia can also result from gradual or sudden blood loss (hemorrhage). If the development of anemia is sudden through a large and rapid loss of blood, the symptoms can be dramatic, resulting in very low blood pressure and collapse (shock). If the blood loss is slow, symptoms develop slowly, and in the early stages the patient may complain only of fatigue. When an individual is significantly anemic, he or she appears pale.
Women more readily suffer from anemia because they lose blood (and at the same time iron) during the monthly menstrual cycle. With each pregnancy a woman’s stores of iron are further depleted because of iron needed by the developing fetus; there is further blood (and iron) loss during the birthing process.
If the diet is chronically deficient in iron, iron deficiency anemia will result. Beans, peas, dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach), as well as raisins, nuts, and seeds contain iron.
Iron absorption by the body may vary. Iron in the form of heme from meat and eggs is readily absorbed. A well-planned vegetarian diet, however, will provide very adequate amounts of iron to form healthy red blood cells.
Breast and cow’s milk alone do not contain sufficient iron for the growing infant’s needs. Infants also require iron as either a supplement or in a fortified cereal. Pregnant women should take iron supplementation throughout the pregnancy; it is cheap, safe, and generally easily available.
What are the complications of iron deficiency anemia? If the anemia is severe and present for a long time, it places a strain on the heart. This is because the heart has to beat more rapidly to supply the body’s oxygen needs. If disease, or narrowing, of the arteries of the heart muscle (coronary arteries) exists, chest pain called angina may occur. Ultimately, the heart may be unable to cope with the demands placed on it and heart failure follows.
During pregnancy, severe iron deficiency anemia has been linked to premature births and babies with low birth weight. In infants and children it can lead to delayed physical growth and mental development. Iron-deficient children get infections more easily than children with normal hemoglobin and iron stores.
Anemia can be diagnosed by blood tests.
Important warning: If an iron deficiency is diagnosed and an adequate nutritional supply of iron exists, as well as no obvious source of bleeding, further testing is essential. It is very important to make sure no bleeding from the stomach or bowel (intestines) is occurring. This bleeding can be slow and hidden. The stools (feces) must be tested for the presence of blood and, if required, internal examination of the stomach and bowel must be done with special X-rays, or endoscopy (using special equipment to look directly at the inside of the bowel/stomach) to exclude the presence of ulcers or cancer.
One in five of the world’s population now lives in China. Here, 1.3 billion people live in what is geographically the third largest country on the planet.
China is proud of its 5,000-year civilization. From ancient times China contributed to humankind with the invention of the compass, gunpowder, paper-making, and block printing. In the last decade China’s annual economic growth has averaged a staggering 10 percent. No wonder China is assuming a prominent place on the world stage.
Religiously Speaking China is not now and never has been a deeply religious country. Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are China’s traditional religions, but Christianity also has a long history in the country. The first authentic record—from the excavated Nestorian Tablet—tells that the first Christian missionaries came to China in the seventh century during the Tang Dynasty. Even with the emperor’s support, however, this early Christian movement, like a shooting star, survived only a short time.
Modern Protestantism came to China exactly 200 years ago, when Robert Morrison of the London Missionary Society arrived in 1807. The Adventist message came to China in 1888 with Abram LaRue, a 66-year-old lay member. In 1902, our church sent its first official missionary to southern China, Jacob N. Anderson. By 1951 the Seventh-day Adventist Church had 21,000 members among 276 churches, while fewer than 1 million Protestants lived among a population of 450 million.
Over the next 25 years, parti-cularly during the so-called Great Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), religions of all kinds were diminished; not a single public place of worship survived.
Now the church is like bamboo shoots after the spring rain. A 5,000-seat cathedral-style Christian church is located in the beautiful city of Hangzhou; while the largest Adventist church, seating 4,000 (above), stands in the northeastern city of Shenyang. Such spectacular events are happening for the first time in Chinese history.
Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghaiese, Fuzhou
Officially atheist; Taoist, Buddhist, Christian 3-4%; Muslim 1-2%
ADVENTIST TO POPULATION RATIO
The most wonderful thing is that the Bible is available among the Chinese as never before. During the Cultural Revolution, Bibles were confiscated and burned. Now 50 million copies of the Bible have been produced by the Amity Printing Company, sponsored by the United Bible Society.
There are now an estimated 50 million Christians in China. The Adventist Church has more than 15 times the membership it had 50 years ago—around 350,000. This has been accomplished without formal educational and medical institutions to help God’s cause. The Holy Spirit is moving upon thirsty hearts, and gospel seeds are being spread by His faithful children. The message is also being spread through modern media.
Please remember China in your prayers, the largest area in the 10/40 window and the greatest mission field in the world.
Children of Abraham How should Adventists relate to Muslims?
By William G. Johnsson
The world’s three great monotheistic religions—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—look back to Abraham as the father of the faithful. Whereas the first two trace their spiritual line through Isaac, Abraham’s son by Sarah, Islam looks to Ishmael, Abraham’s son by Hagar. And just as friction developed between Sarah and Hagar over their respective sons, so relations between the three religions springing from Abraham have had a checkered history.
Today, Islam is much in the news. The media coverage tends to cast the religion in a negative light: suicide bombers, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, violence in Lebanon, tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians, and on and on as terrorist groups frequently have a connection with Islam. To more and more people in the West, Islam is seen as remote and threatening, a religion associated with violence and oppression of women, who are kept in second-class status and forced to wear veils or head scarves.
The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the bombings in London’s underground, crystallized and hardened attitudes toward the followers of Islam. Many people in America and Europe feel uneasy, suspicious, and even downright hostile. Some evangelical preachers have fanned the flames of prejudice and bigotry, uttering apocalyptic predictions of a global struggle between Christianity and Islam.
With relations at such a low point and getting worse, how should Adventists relate to Islam and its followers? This is a question we cannot avoid. As followers of Jesus Christ first of all, we cannot avoid it: Jesus calls upon us to love all peoples, even those we may think of as our enemies (Matt. 5:44, 45). As Adventists, we cannot avoid it: Islam is a global religion, as are we; and inevitably in carrying out our global mission we will interface with Muslims.
I give my opinion as a concerned servant of the Lord and the Adventist Church who now is much involved in relations with peoples of other faiths. In my judgment, the following points represent the minimum:
1. We should be fair and accurate in our portrayals of Islam and its adherents. With fear stalking the land, it’s easy for us to get caught up in sweeping generalizations, distortions, and myths like the following:
♦ All Muslims are the same. They are not. Islam varies enormously from one part of the world to another. It stretches from Morocco through the Middle East to Pakistan and India and down to Indonesia, which is the largest nation where Muslims predominate. Islam is growing fast in Europe and America, where it will soon be the second most practiced religion. The governments of these Islamic nations vary greatly, from strongly secular (Turkey) to strongly religious (Saudi Arabia). Several Muslim countries—Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, and Indonesia—have had women prime ministers or presidents.
♦ Islam is a violent religion. It is unfair to brand the religion by the actions of extreme fringe groups, just as it would be unfair to assert that Christianity is a violent religion because some Christians bomb abortion clinics or Christian nations fought the Crusades and are at war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
♦ Islam does not tolerate other religions. In comparing religions, the temptation arises to contrast the best features of my religion with the worst features of someone else’s. A little study of history sheds a lot of light. The sad truth is that none of the three Abrahamic religions has an edge when it comes to tolerance. Christians have persecuted Jews and Muslims, Jews have persecuted Christians and Muslims, and Muslims have persecuted Christians and Jews. Today, however, some Islamic nations seem unwilling to allow access to other religions in the manner they seek for Muslims in other countries.
2. We should speak out for religious liberty for all. Just as Adventists promote religious liberty for our own people and for other Christians, so we should defend the rights of Muslims to practice their faith. Adventists should help to dispel the prejudices, distortions, and myths that surround Islam. If a Muslim woman chooses to cover her head, it is nothing to be made fun of. It is no stranger than the practice of Roman Catholic nuns or Greek Orthodox women who cover their heads.
3. Setting aside narrow feelings, we should pray that the Lord will help us to love Muslims.Not because they are our enemies, because they are not; but because we are all spiritual children of Abraham and ultimately children of the same heavenly Father.
As followers of Jesus Christ first of all, we cannot avoid it: Jesus calls upon us to love all peoples.
Do we have neighbors who are Muslim? Let us get to know them, take an interest in them, invite them for a meal, discuss our own common beliefs in the one God who created all, and in the soon return of Jesus. Does the young woman who attends us in the store wear a head scarf? Let us be pleasant to her and engage her in friendly conversation.
4. We will seek to engage leaders of Islam in conversation.The reality is that both their religion and ours occupy the same territory, since we are world religions. We should seek to know them better and help them to know what we believe and stand for.
Recently I attended a conference that in itself dispelled some of the current myths associated with Islam. The state of Qatar in the Persian Gulf sponsored an interfaith dialogue that brought together about 150 leaders and scholars from the three Abrahamic faiths—Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The conference, focused on the theme “Spiritual Values and World Peace,” was organized by the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies of Qatar University. Aisha Yousef Al-Mannai, dean of that college, led out in the planning and conduct of the dialogue. A person of fine intellect and engaging personality, Professor Aisha is a woman, and a courageous one. With representatives from Iraq, Afghanistan, the Palestinians, Israel, America, and the United Kingdom around the same table, sparks were sure to fly—and they did!
Although men were in the majority at the dialogue, women were well represented. They entered into the discussions, presenting papers and chairing sessions. Several pled publicly with those of us from the West to help dispel the distortions concerning women and Islam that are in vogue in our home countries.
A concrete result of the conference was a declaration by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, emir of the State of Qatar, of the establishment of an International Centre for Interfaith Dialogue, to be housed in Doha, Qatar. Its international advisory board is comprised of leaders and scholars from several countries and is drawn from the three Abrahamic faiths—Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.
In times like these the cause of peace needs all the help it can find. And we Adventists, who are a people who renounce all forms of violence and who take seriously Jesus’ call to be peacemakers (Matt. 5:9), have a part to play. Let us reach out in love to our brothers and sisters, the spiritual children of Abraham—Muslims.
William G. Johnsson is assistant to the General Conference President for Interfaith Relations
Magazine Is Religious Guide for Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church
By Choe, Jeong-Kwan, editor of Church Compass, writing from Seoul, Republic of Korea
The Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Korea celebrates the 1,000th issue of the monthly church magazine Church Compass.
Adventism came to Korea in a unique way—not through a foreign missionary, but through a native. In 1904 two Korean men on their way to the United States had a stopover in Kobe, Japan. Brothers Sohn Heung-Jo and Lee Eung-Hyun spotted a sign saying “Seventh-day Adventist Church.” They entered and met the assistant pastor, Kuniya Hide. After listening, they accepted the Advent message and received baptism. They were the first Koreans introduced to the Advent truth.
Brother Sohn Heung-Jo returned to Korea instead of continuing on. On the ship to Korea he met Lim Hyung-Joo (who later changed his name to Lim Ki-Ban). Sohn shared the Advent message with Lim. In turn Lim continued to share his newfound faith with others in Korea. After only one year of sharing the gospel message in Korea, 71 people were baptized and four churches were established.
The year 1905 brought Korea a missionary: W. R. Smith. The Korean mission headquarters was built in near Pyongyang (now SunAn Airport) in 1906. The Korean Mission was officially established in 1908 and then relocated to Seoul in 1909. Despite difficulties, Adventism continued to grow. They fervently reached out to fellow Koreans, and by 1916 had grown to 860 members with 18 churches and 32 places of worship as well as changing their status from mission headquarters to the next level. It was July of that year that the first issue of the Korean Adventist magazine, the Church Compass, was printed.
SHOWING THE WAY: Church Compass magazine staff, and leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Korea, hoist banner celebrating 1,000 issues of the monthly publication for church members. The magazine now contains the Korean edition of Adventist World as well. The first editor was Mimi Scharffenberger. Despite the abnormality of the political situation and the persecution faced under Japanese colonialism, the Church Compass encouraged members. It contained articles pertaining to spiritual growth, encouraging words of faith, and news on mission activities within Korea and overseas. During this dark time the church was able to receive spiritual nourishment and maintain a presence in Korea because of the Church Compass.
By April 1941, the persecution from the Japanese occupation had become so fierce that both the Church Compass and theSigns of the Times magazines were forced to close. In 1945, when Korea was liberated from occupation, the Church Compass revived its publication.
In December 1951, in the midst of another war, the magazine went into a frenzied effort to continue publication. Because of the disturbances of the war, however, the publishing house could not resume normal operation, so they used other printing shops. Since that time the Church Compass has continued to print, and in October 2007 it reached the milestone of its 1,000th issue of publication.
The Church Compass shows the footprints of the Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church’s growth and development. It has become the standard and landmark of the Adventist Christian lifestyle and evangelism in Korea. The Korean Adventist Publishing House celebrated the Signs of the Times magazine’s 1,000th publication in 2003, and the Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church celebrated its centennial in 2004. This year the Church Compass is celebrating its 1,000th publication.
Presently the Church Compass prints 100-page magazines that include church works, local church news, articles on faith, and daily devotionals (for children and adults). It also includes the Korean-language version of Adventist World magazine.
More than 18,000 homes subscribe to the Church Compass. It began a “Voice-Eye” program service last year to assist blind, weak-sighted, and illiterate people so they can listen to the message from the printed text, using technology. This is the world’s second magazine to offer such a service.
The mission of the Church Compass is to uplift our Lord Jesus Christ and to help people to draw closer to Him so that they can go out into the world and share and spread the message of hope of the immediate advent of Jesus Christ.
AUSTRIA: Literature Evangelism Celebrates Centennial
If there’s ever a question about what one man can do, consider the case of Ferdinand Prauhart.
One hundred years ago, Prauhart, a Seventh-day Adventist from southern Germany, traveled to Austria and began work as a literature evangelist. He sold Bibles, Christian literature, and health books, going door to door. The work wasn’t always popular. Six years after it began, then-president of the world church A.G. Daniells reported “[t]he literature evangelists in Austria are persecuted regularly and put in prison.”
But the book-sellers persevered and by 1921, were more formally accepted in Austria. During the ensuing 86 years – with the notable exception of the National Socialist era – Adventist book sales have continued in Austria.
Prauhart’s simple act marked the beginning of Adventist literature evangelism in Austria, and was commemorated with a series of special events at Bogenhofen Seminary in August.
During a special church service on Saturday, August 18, 2007, Raimund Fuchs, literature evangelism director for the church in Austria welcomed some 350 participants including currently working book evangelists, their families as well as former colleagues and guests from Austria and abroad. In spite of other media, Fuchs noted, books and magazines remain popular.
Howard Faigao, publishing director for the Seventh-day Adventist world church, discussed the question of keeping public interest in the printed page. He informed participants that there are 65 Adventist publishing houses around the world that print Christian literature in 261 different languages. About 54 million books were sold worldwide by 40,000 literature evangelists during the last five years.
Daniel Heinz, director of the European Archives for Seventh-day Adventist History, outlined the history of literature evangelism and explained its importance in the context of the Adventist mission. Following the example of the Waldensian colporteurs during the thirteenth century, the Pietist “literature missionaries” of the eighteenth century, and the “literature evangelists” of the Bible and missionary societies of the nineteenth century, the Adventist movement developed its literature evangelism program.
“It is an interesting fact, ” said Heinz, “that the birthplace of Adventist literature evangelism was not in North America, but in Europe.” Michael Belina Czechovski, a former Polish priest who joined the Adventist church in America and returned to Europe as a missionary, called himself a “book colporteur.” In the mid-to-late nineteenth century, he was producing and selling a missionary paper as well as books, calling on people in their homes, in Northern Italy, France, Switzerland, and the Alsace. Later, the German missionary Ludwig R. Conradi took up this kind of activity, especially in German speaking areas.
For a long time, religious freedom was extremely restricted and public preaching of the Adventist message was not possible. In spite of these limitations, the Adventist movement grew with the essential contribution of the literature evangelists.
Since 1948, literature evangelists have sold approximately 1.5 million books in Austria alone. About 10 percent of all Adventists in Austria were introduced to the church through literature evangelists, who are connected with the publishing house known today as Top Life Wegweiser Verlag.
The Seventh-day Adventist church in Austria (www.adventisten.at) consists of 3,800 baptized members worshiping in 49 congregations. The Top Life Wegweiser Publishing House (www.toplife-center.at) offers a great variety of books and magazines on the Bible and faith, health, education, as well as children’s books and books for younger readers. —by Christian Grassl, communication director, Seventh-day Adventist Church in Austria