JERRY A. STEVENS
Retired General Conference Worker/
Ponderer of Our Changing Times
This issue of ADVENTISTS AFFIRM deals with a well-known Pauline passage of Scripture, which reads: “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).
When the 2007 Generation of Youth for Christ (formerly General Youth Conference) convenes in Minneapolis this December, its chosen theme is “BE,” which isolates that single verb so key to Romans 12:2. Stated another way, the theme will explore many nuances of making salvation a real and personal experience. It would be hard to imagine anything more important than that!
For those unfamiliar with GYC, it “is a grassroots Adventist movement organized and led by young adults from diverse backgrounds” (see http://www.gycweb.org/about). It ought to be an immense source of joy among all our readers, not only that youthful spiritual energy is being expended by groups like this, but also that “young people are encouraged to experience revival and reformation and to work hand in hand with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in taking the three angels’ messages to the world in this generation” (ibid.).
After reading these exciting words, perhaps you, like me, are forcefully reminded of something that Ellen White wrote awhile back:
With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world! How soon might the end come—the end of suffering and sorrow and sin! How soon, in place of a possession here, with its blight of sin and pain, our children might receive their
inheritance where “the righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever;” where “the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick,” and “the voice of weeping shall be no more heard.” Psalm 37:29; Isaiah 33:24; 65:19.—Education, p. 271.
Bearing all of the foregoing in mind, we should understand that GYC’s leadership selects a number of speakers to make presentations at its annual conventions. Many of these seminar presenters have high profiles. Others, though perhaps not as well known, still bring skills to a table that always guarantees an annual spiritual feast.
From recent lists of presenters we have included articles in this issue that all have something to do with the stated theme of “BE.” For example, in an excerpt from his recent provocative book, Sure Salvation, Philip Dunham, a new contributor, explores his topic from the standpoint of an experienced pastor/evangelist. Anchoring this issue is the peripatetic Samuel Pipim. As he explores several kinds of “BE-ness” in a two-part article, he essentially shows us just how practical and understandable sanctification (holiness) really is.
David Asscherick recently delivered a sermon at a GYC gathering at Andrews University. The impact was so powerful that we decided to include the entire sermon here. (We have endeavored to retain as much of its original flavor in writing as possible.) Bruce Ashton next contributes some thoughtful new insights on music in worship. Though new to Adventists Affirm, his experience as a career music educator makes him well qualified; his treatment is highly understandable even to nonmusicians like me.
In his usual engaging style, Dick O’Ffill offers practical pointers on how the Christian may be like Jesus. Along the way, watch for some sanctified humor to drive home very serious spiritual lessons indeed. Louis Torres covers the key ingredients needed for our salvation. He accomplishes this in terms easy to understand—a welcome approach anytime.
Christian psychologist Magna Parks, another new face to our journal, approaches the subject of secular psychology with red flags waving. Though the topic is a subtle one, her conclusions ought to resonate with GYC attendees as well as the rest of us. Neil Nedley, a medical doctor, next explains how Christians can improve their emotional intelligence: their EQ. In doing so, he takes a rather unfamiliar subject and gives it a nontechnical treatment that alludes to “cobwebs of cognitive distortion” only to make a key spiritual point at the end.
We round out this issue with an article by Phil Mills, another medical doctor and certainly no stranger to our readers. He deals with the essential tools needed in the collection of the godly leader. His comparison of Saul with David is especially thorough and highly effective.
As you read and reread these articles, dear friends, make a conscious effort to come away with the meat of each of these presentations. As you do so, your faith undoubtedly will be AFFIRM-ed in the process . . . and your mind will BE transformed. At least, that is our prayer for you.