Ken Howell Back at UofI

Ken Howell, fired for believing what he was teaching in his Catholicism class at University of Illinois, will be back this fall. The university is continuing to investigate the circumstances that led to his firing. But he’s still an adjunct professor. And the university has decided to change the terms under which he was hired.…

Irish Liturgy

It’s almost an oxymoron. See Phil Lawler’s description of an 11 minute mass (!!) he attended. I don’t think he should have been shocked. I’ve seen a similar thing (if not so extreme) in the majority of Catholic parishes I’ve visited in the US (especially in New England). The attitude is, get it over with…

American Justice

A grieving father has been told by the courts that he must allow the crazies from the Westboro Baptist Church to shout obscenities at his son’s funeral. He’s appealing to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, we are told it is a crime to quietly pray the Lord’s Prayer on a public sidewalk in front of an…

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Our grandfathers knew that it was wrong to divulge information that could hurt our forces–even if it was as “innocent” a matter as telling a neighbor when you expected your family member to come home. We’ve lost that perspective. I darsay we’ve even lost the sense of being a nation at war. We don’t have…

Church, State, and Original Intent

Lee Strang, writing at First Things, has a problem with separation of church and state. Despite Madison and Jefferson, he thinks this wasn’t the original intent of the founders. He thinks instead that this interpretation was forced upon them by anti-Catholic writers of the 19th and 20th centuries–especially Supreme Court justices who selectively combed history…

Book Review: I Pledge Allegiance

Keith Phillips and Karl Tsatalbasidis, I Pledge Allegiance: The Role of Seventh-day Adventists in the Military. N.p., n.p., 2007. The subtitle of the book tells us clearly what the book is about. Keith Phillips begins by telling us of his experience in the Army, and of his introduction to Seventh-day Adventism (and subsequent conversion) that…

A Tale of Two Cities: Paris and Jerusalem

Today is Bastille Day, a day to remember that the French revolution, though done in the name of “Liberté, égalité, and fraternité, was really an exercise in mob rule and atheism. And we don’t have to look far: France rejects religious liberty for Muslims. “Religious liberty” for France means in the privacy of your own…

Changing Leaders in Missouri

The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, apparently has had enough of church growth and charismania. The convention, meeting in Houston, has elected Matt Harrison, a confessional Lutheran, president. For background, see this article that was in Christianity Today. The church has also been approving a major restructuring.

Y?

The Young Men’s Christian Association was once truly that–a “Christian Association.” Especially under the leadership of John Mott, it was a leader in university ministry and in evangelism. Today, their identity and mission are muddled. To cap off a couple of generations of decline, they’ve decided to change their name. They will no longer be…

Contrasting Church Conventions

A couple of weeks ago we attended the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, meeting in Atlanta. Today, I visited the convention of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, meeting here in Houston. The Seventh-day Adventist General is a global denomination with 16.3 million members (counting only those adolescents and older who have been baptized by immersion). The…

Thought Crime at University of Illinois

Ken Howell has been fired by the University of Illinois. He was an adjunct professor, teaching a class on Catholicism. He was also on staff at the Newman Center, employed full-time by the Diocese of Peoria. This Newman Center has had a unique program of employing resident theologians who can expand the influence of the…

As Others See Us

In his GC sermon, Ted Wilson expressed some disapproval of learning evangelism techniques from other people. Well, here’s a quote from Lutheran theologian Herman Sasse, showing that Ted isn’t alone in worrying about external techniques. Sasses was worried that Lutherans might learn their evangelism from Seventh-day Adventists. “The optimism and synergism prevalent in America have…

Presbyterians and Gay Clergy

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is poised to join the ECUSA, ELCA, and UCC in ordaining clergy in committed gay relationships. Paul McCain (LCMS) notes how supporters link this to the prior decision of these churches to ordain women.

Running Scared

In an earlier post, I linked to articles by Chuck Scriven and Erv Taylor, both liberal Adventists, both aghast at what they see as  a “retrograde” and “backward” movement in Adventism. Add John McLarty to the mix. They present themselves as the voices of reason, of compassion, of progress, of openness. They see Ted Wilson…

A Visit to WHINSEC

On our way to Atlanta for the Seventh-day Adventist General Conference session recently, we stopped by Fort Benning, Georgia, for a visit to WHINSEC–the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. As stated on the school’s webpage, WHINSEC “provides professional education and training for civilian, military and law enforcement students from nations throughout the Western Hemisphere.”…

Contemplative Prayer

What is “contemplative prayer”? The question arises for Seventh-day Adventists because the new General Conference president, Ted N. C. Wilson, in the keynote sermon of his presidency, specifically mentioned it and “centering prayer” as things to avoid. Some may think “contemplative prayer” refers merely to silent, reflective prayer. It does not. In this article, I…

Thoughts on “Spiritual Formation”

We’ve been hearing a lot about “spiritual formation” and “spiritual disciplines” lately in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. These are terms that are new to some, and there can be a tendency to reject something simply because the label is unfamiliar, or has questionable connotations. Reactions have tended to go to one extreme or the other–either…

“Houston’s Clergy”?

The New York Times publishes what amounts to a TMO press release: “Houston’s Clergy Unites to Urge Support for Immigration Reform.” First we can criticize the grammar–clergy, in this case, is plural–these members could “unite,” but members of such a group don’t “unites.” Second, these are not “Houston’s clergy,” but members of a particular advocacy…

ACLU Says Catholic Hospitals Must Abort

Once more, the ACLU shows it is not interested in civil liberties–only in promoting a liberal, pro-abortion agenda. Catholic hospitals, it says, have no right to follow Catholic teaching. They must, it says, commit abortion or go out of business.

The Price of Freedom

(Preached on July 3, 2010; text: Gal. 5:13-25) Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. And over the course of this weekend, according to Forbes magazine, Americans will spend “$3 billion on holiday weekend parties, food, entertainment and travel.” $600 million of that will be spent on fireworks. $111 million on charcoal and another $94 million…

Fear?

Is Ted Wilson afraid?. I really don’t see it. I see some fear in Erv Taylor’s remarks–and a lot of fear in those by Chuck Scriven. In Ted Wilson’s remarks I see confidence, and hope, and joy, and love of the Adventist message. I see rootedness in Bible teaching, and the history of the Advent…

Changing Times–Changing Leaders

The first major item of business before the 59th General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, meeting in Atlanta, was to select a new president, who will lead the 16 million member church for the next five years. The GC has a unique method for selecting a leader. A nominating committee is selected, with members from each…