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Showing posts from October, 2006

Discussion with Alan Parker -- 3

Part 1 Part 2 Below is the response of Dr. Parker: I just got back from teaching at Southern, so I’m getting through my emails. I’ll give a quick reaction to your thoughts, so forgive me if it ends up being a little knee-jerk. First, I agree that we need to have a broader scope and try some new methods. I’m not sure that any programmed approach is going to work well with post moderns, but I think we can certainly broaden our appeal to secular people. Secondly, in terms of the three concerns about the AF lessons, you have to remember that they were written a couple of decades ago! I agree that it’s time for an update and that we need new lessons. We have a number of things in process but it’s a combination of time and money that have prevented us from getting some new material out. The lessons still work really well with a certain audience and are in harmony with the title of “Amazing Facts” study guides. 1. The lessons could be more Christ-centered and focused on the GC. We are

Discussion with Alan Parker -- 2

Posted below is the email I sent back to Dr. Parker, VP for Evangelism for Amazing Facts. We are continuing the discussion about Adventist Evangelism and Amazing Facts' role in that. Dr. Parker, Thanks for the thoughtful response and an inside look at Amazing Facts. I would love to a be fly on the wall when you and Doug Batchelor are going at it over some texts. I know it's gracious and no chairs are thrown but I'm sure it gets interesting. I'll tell you, I don't really know what to think. Either I am dead wrong about A.F. and they are much more balanced than I thought, or you represent the "softer" side of A.F. I would imagine that it's a bit of both and I've heard from several people that they really respect you and think you are helping provide a more healthy balance that might have been missing in the past. I really have little response to your answers because they were answered so well. I applaud A.F. for the extensive work they do with the Bi

Discussion with Alan Parker -- 1

As I said before, Alan Parker, VP for Evangelism for Amazing Facts has agreed to have a interview/dialogue with me. I sent him a few questions which he answered and is posted below. I'll be responding to him and asking a few more questions in future posts. Here is his reponse: I think you’re asking good questions and I hope my responses will help to dispel some of the confusion over who Amazing Facts is and what it does. I’m choosing not to answer in an “official” capacity here, but rather in personal terms appropriate to this kind of dialogue. I recognize that I have my own unique perspective on Amazing Facts and that not everyone at Amazing Facts sees our role in the same light. I think that this kind of diverse thinking is probably true of any healthy organization. 1. If you met someone who had never heard of Amazing Facts before and they asked you what it was, how would you describe it? For a person who knows nothing about Amazing Facts, the answer is fairly simple: Amazing

A Jehovah's Witness Connection

This morning I was enjoying last night's episode of "The Daily Show" (THANK YOU TIVO!) when the doorbell rang. I couldn't figure out who it was through the peephole but I decided to answer the door anyways. A man had a little pamphlet which he gave me and asked me to read it and left. No pressure, just leaving it with me. So, who was it? My initial reaction was that it must be a Jehovah's Witness but I've found most of them are much more confrontational and never just leave something in your hand without arguing over something. I began to think it might have been an Adventist. Well, what did the pamphlet look like and what did it talk about? The front declared, "The End of False Religion is Near!" Inside it described false religions as those that meddle in war and politics, spread false doctrine, and tolerate immoral sex. On the next page, what did I see but decpictions of scary beasts and the scarlet woman of Revealtion. The text describes how false

PSR -- 2 (Amazing Facts Responds)

As you can tell from my posts, I'm not the biggest fan of Amazing Facts. I think they are effective at reaching a certain kind of person which I'm not necessarily opposed to. Yet, I still do have serious reservations about some of their theology. Alan Parker, VP of Evangelism for Amazing Facts actually wrote a comment over on the Spectrum Blog which I'll share here: Hey Trevan, I read with interest your experiences over the last few weeks. Evangelism can be challenging, but I've appreciated your open and sincere critique. However, since I'm in charge of the evangelism department at Amazing Facts, I'm a little curious as to the constant references to a "classic Amazing Facts lineup" and AF approach. Since each of our evangelists has a unique lineup of sermons, I'm not sure that there is a "classic" approach any more. A number have moved their second coming sermon to later in their meetings. One uses a verse by verse approach to the book o

PSR (Post-Series Reflections) 1

One of the things I didn't really address throughout the series was the state of my personal spirituality. So, now in my reflections post-series I'll confess: I'm probably further from God and Seventh-day Adventism than I've ever been since making my personal commitment to God as a Senior in Academy. Can I blame this on the series? Not totally, not really, maybe not at all. I am the only one chooses how I will react to my circumstances (Thanks Dr. Phil) but at the same time I can't help but be impacted by what I went through. The crazy thing is that I don't believe or accept any of the things that were said and done that has negatively impacted me. I reject and wholeheartedly disagree with these things but I still can't get past them. The whole time there, I felt like there was kind of a dark cloud hanging over me and I still feel that way. I feel much better, but it's still not left me. What are those things: 1. I don't want to read the Bible. The B


For the last week I've been suffering from a disease called "PESD" which stands for "Post Evangelism Stress Disorder". Every night since I left California, I've woken up scared because there is someone in my bed and I think it's my roommate from the evangelistic series. I got so used to sleeping in my own bed that Shari's body next to mine gives me a jolt of confusion. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's happened every single night since I left. Shari even told me that last night she leaned over to hug me and I got upset and initally told her to get off in my confusion. When Shari gave me a kiss goodbye this morning while I was still in bed (Ah, the good life of living off your wife's paycheck), I started asking her when we were heading back to Michigan and others were leaving California. Even though I am kind of joking about it, I have a greater understanding about PTSD . My confusion and nightmares are quite silly but it's really a

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 28 (WHAT NOW?)

Well, I'm sitting in the comfort of my living room for the first time in nearly 6 weeks. It feels good. I have a week off before class starts which will hopefully re-energize me for the final 2 months of Seminary life. Over the next few weeks I'm probably going to blog about my overall reflections on the series. I had to spend a lot of time in the narrative before but now I want to deal with some of the theory and principles that I learned that might lend itself more to discussion and hopefully new practices. There is obviously a lot to write about it and I don't know how motivated I'll be. This whole thing has taken a lot out of me and I'm not sure how much of it I want to continue to re-live but I'm committed to trying to make a difference.

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 27 (Sabb, 10/7)

SABBATH 10/7 The church this morning is packed with people and there is excitement over the baptisms that are going to take place. The sermon was about the unpardonable sin. Since this was called a “Sabbath Celebration” and we were baptizing people, it kind of seemed like an inappropriate topic. I thought something more celebratory would be in order but this provided one last chance to call people out of “Babylon.” The evangelist was in full form calling for commandment keeping and coming out of Babylon and we didn’t even finish the church service part until 2pm (We started at 11). After this we did the baptisms and had about 20. One of the interesting things about the baptism was that most of the people were not baptized because of the meeting itself. Maybe 8 of the 20 had initial contact with Adventists through the preaching series and were regular attendees of the meetings. The rest were people who had prior contact with Bible workers or church members and didn’t come faithfully to

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 26 (Fri, 10/6)

FRIDAY, 10/6/06 Tonight provided the lowest attendance yet. There were 25-30 people when we started but it seemed that by the end it was up a bit to maybe 35-40. This is definitely not what we wanted to see on the night before the baptism. The topic was the 3 Angels Message which we covered on Wednesday night as well. However, this was a more in-depth look and again focused on Sabbath-keeping. The evangelist was done preaching by 8:15 but that is when things got interesting. While everyone was still there and he had the mic, he started talking to the interpretive dancing teen. He told her that she was very gifted, a natural leader, and could influence her friends in positive ways. Then, he made her come up front and he anointed her without her asking for it. Then, he had a Bible Worker bring a baptismal bag to her (They gave everyone who was going to be a baptized a bag to bring their extra clothes in). He said he was giving it to her by faith that she would be baptized the next mornin

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 25 (Thurs, 10/5)

THURSDAY, 10/5 We had a final meting with the teens tonight at the YMCA to hang out and play in the gym. When they came a girl was eating a ham sandwich so we were all having fun with the unclean thing. Five of the teens came the night of the clean/unclean discussion and they learned pork was unclean so they were making fun of her. We talked for a while about different stuff then went to the gym to play for a few hours. We had a really good time. Two things were said that I think are extremely important for us to consider, especially with youth ministry. We told them that we were leaving this weekend and they were shocked and thought we were joking. When they finally believe us one of them said, “How can you come into our lives just to leave and abandon us?” This is a really important concept to remember with youth ministry. Good youth ministry requires a long time commitment to where they will have time to fully embrace and trust you and know you aren’t going to abandon them soon. We

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 24 (Wed, 10/4)

WEDNESDAY, 10/4 TWENTY-FIRST MESSAGE The attendance continues to be low and in the 35-40 range. The topic for the evening is the Scarlet Woman of Revelation and looks to be one of the final appeals for people to leave “Babylon.” The 3 Angels Message was presented and you could tell the evangelist had a major burden for this topic. He was slow and deliberate in his teaching because he said he wanted to be sure he taught it correctly and appropriately. He said that all denominations can’t be right and someone must be wrong. He said that it all comes back to the commandments which is what people get upset over but is what’s going to take us to heaven. Statements like this remind me of Paul's letter to the Romans and seeing how much like the Jews we are. Do we really believe the commandments are going to take us to heaven? While I believe that the law is just, holy, and good, I also realize that it is what condemns me and shows me how far from living the life of Jesus I am and how muc

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 23 (Tues, 10/3)

TUESDAY, 10/3 TWENTIETH MESSAGE This is the last week and is really important because decisions for baptism are needing to be cemented. Unfortunately, the attendance is again low and in the 30-40 range. One popular theory for the low attendance is the devil trying to keep people away for this key week where they will finalize their decision for baptism. This might be true but I also wonder if part of the reason is because people are worn out. It’s been a marathon and I wonder if people have gotten their fill and don’t need any more. I know that I could do without this last week. I think we’ve covered as much as we can and it’s time to give everyone a break. The idea of spiritual warfare has been very present throughout the series. Low attendance is blamed on the devil. Many workers have had family members with health issues that has also been blamed on the devil. I’m beginning to think that we think the Devil is more powerful than God. The low attendance has also been blamed on this “w

Adventist Evangelism Article

I thought this deserved a separate post because of its potential importance for the future of evangelism. There is an interesting article about the October 1 meeting of the Council on Evangelism and Witness (anyone know details about this group?) Apparently there is a growing feeling that small groups can be a more effective evangelistic tool than typical preaching series. This is really encouraging news to me as I'm sure you can tell by now. Thanks Johnny via Spectrum Blog .

Evangelistic Endeavor 22 (Sun, 10/1)

SUNDAY, 10/1/06 NINTEENTH MESSAGE There’s nothing like a thrilling Redskins victory to lift the spirits before the meting. The topic of the evening was Righteousness by Faith. Where was this in the beginning? I missed quite a bit of it because the team met for a while to get on the same page as we head into the last week. Obviously, this is the key week for sealing decisions and making sure everything is in order for the baptism on Sabbath afternoon. From what I heard of the message, it still ended up being about the need to keep the law and obey God. Instead of providing hope, it was more of the same. The attendance tonight is very low with about 30-40 people in attendance. The large contingent of teens and pre-teens is not here tonight because the parents don’t want their kids out late on a school night. This raises a very important issue--these meetings are not family friendly. There is no way for families to get home before 9:15 and if they have kids with school in the morning no o

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 21 (Sab, 9/30)

SABBATH, 9/30/06 SEVENTEENTH MESSAGE -- MORNING: This morning we had a Sabbath celebration in the YMCA. Next week we will meet in the church as we try to transition the people. I led the Sabbath School and we did a lesson on principles of the Sabbath. I made sure we had a very balanced discussion and it didn’t degenerate into a list of do’s and don’ts. It was good for me to go back through the key Sabbath texts and see how little of what we do and don’t do are actually in the Bible. The bottom line is that many of the things we tell people not to do cannot really be argued from the Bible. At the same time, I’m not necessarily opposed to that because I can accept the wisdom and agreed practices of the church. However, I also believe that those things should be optional if we claim to be a people who only allow the Bible to dictate what we believe and practice. The sermon was supposed to provide principles for having a happy home. However, at 2am this morning the evangelist felt like God

Evangelistic Endeavor -- 20 (Fri, 9/29)

FRIDAY, 9/29 SIXTEENTH NIGHT Tonight was a big night for one of the teens, "Gina." She’s the one who has sung and done interpretive dance for us. She brought around 15 young people, including many pre-teens, so she won a computer. The young people added up to around 20 kids. This also brought up our sagging overall attendance to 50-60 people. What it showed me is that we could have made a major impact if we actually had some programs for teens. These kids are coming despite the fact that the program is not reaching them at all. They roll in groups and if you get one person committed, the rest will come just to support them and hang out. If we would have done some 3-on-3 basketball tournaments and stuff, we would have reached hundreds of teens. I think it also shows how important it was to meet with them last night because they now have a much stronger connection to us. The subject was baptism. Again, most of the time was spent in condemning any other kind of baptism but by im