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  1. SecondOpinion
    03 May 2013 @ 5:30 pm

    "…the huge gap between what the donors want and what the general public wants; the people they are trying to reach."  Precisely.  It's time the NAD fully fund one of these media ministries for innovation and effectiveness with a 21st-century audience – apart from the apron strings of donor agendas.  Let Boonstra loose and he might bring VOP back to the cutting edge ministry that it was in the 1920's.

    • William Noel
      04 May 2013 @ 1:14 am

      The idea that all a media ministry needs is more money and to be "turned loose" may sound good, but reality is far different.  First, there never is enough money to do anything well.  Second, along with any money comes control from a batch of church administrators who have idealistic views about what a ministry should be doing, but who are severely disconnected from the realities of actual media ministry.  All of the church's media ministries began to decline starting the day they came under control of the General Conference.  I say this because of what I saw when I was on the staff at Faith For Today.  I have great respect for the ministry leaders I knew.  Saying that church leaders were "inept" would be a very polite understatement. 

      If you want to see a ministry thrive, let it form apart from church administration and keep it independent. 

      I wish Shawn Boonstra great success and enormous blessings from God to see him through the great challenges ahead. 

  2. Vernon P. Wagner
    04 May 2013 @ 12:21 am

    Indeed, no one can take the place of H.M.S. Richards.  Nor can an 80 year old format suffice today.

    • William Noel
      04 May 2013 @ 1:23 am


      He's dead.  His son is dead.  There is no successor with the initials to continue the heritage.  The successors in leadership have been creative and worked hard to embrace new media and use them effectively.  Still, VOP is but a shadow of what it used to be. 

      Media ministries have a curious trait in that they seldom live much past the retirement or death of their founder.  That is in a large part because the founder is able to capitalize on untapped interest at the time and promote a vision of ministry that people want to support.  Those supporters then identify with the founder and their interest wanes when that leader is no longer around.  So it is amazing that VOP has survived.  (HMS Richards Jr. one day told me he could only wonder what the financial condition of VOP would have been at the time if he didn't have the same initials as his father.)  I expect Shawn Boonstra's arrival will be good and probably bring an upturn in giving to the ministry.  How long will that last?  What will happen to the ministry?  We'll just have to wait and see.

      • Elaine Nelson
        04 May 2013 @ 3:41 am

        TV ministries are much like the mega churches built around one personality:  Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, and Robert Schuller.  Once the leader is gone, the church or TV program is never the same. It is like a personality cult and the individual was as important, or even more so than the message.   There  may not be a remedy.


  3. Stephen Foster
    04 May 2013 @ 2:35 am

    Boonstra is an excellent choice for VOP. He is a gifted and innovative communicator.
    I believe the personalities and voices that are called to lead these media ministries are under tremendous, and totally unnecessary, stress. Boonstra encountered health issues while leading It is Written, as did Walter Pearson while leading Breath of Life some years ago.
    The denomination as a whole should totally underwrite these and other such ministries because they represent a most effective means of broadcasting the message this church must deliver. We shouldn’t focus on anything but delivering truth to people by any means necessary.
    God’s word will not return without anything. He is responsible for the final results. He has provided means and talent for us to be widely disseminating His truth. It is a matter of our priorities.

    • William Noel
      04 May 2013 @ 11:14 pm

      When have you ever seen a ministry that was "fully" funded in the way supporters thought it should be?  The church doesn't have that much money.  

      • Stephen Foster
        04 May 2013 @ 11:51 pm

        The church doesn't have that much money?! You are being facetious; aren’t you? Besides LDS, our church has more per capita support from its membership than any denomination.
        There are individual churches that fund or largely underwrite some of the best known radio and television ministries in the U.S.
        As with anything, it’s a matter of priorities and motivation. Money is an excuse. 

        • William Noel
          05 May 2013 @ 7:28 pm

          What is your concept of how a media ministry should operate?  How much do you think that would cost?  It doesn't matter that Adventists give more than others.  With all the rules the church imposes on how tithes and offerings can be spent, how many pastors and teachers are you willing to lay off to pay for just one hour of air time on a major network? (Hint: the cost for a single 30-second ad in prime-time on the major networks averages over $1 million and the average 30-minute program has at least 8 minutes of paid ads.)  Then there's the issue of religious programs drawing audiences so small that the ratings agencies typically cannot estimate them accurately.  At what point do you propose to draw a line and say the cost per viewer/listener has become so high that the money should be spent elsewhere?  (That's the #1 reason why church leaders have decided several times to reduce funding to media ministries.) 

          • Stephen Foster
            05 May 2013 @ 11:00 pm

            Trust me on this one William Noel; we will never agree on whether we should spend the money to reach potentially millions of people in a short period of time with the truth we have.
            I can/must live with that, I’m afraid.

          • William Noel
            06 May 2013 @ 12:29 am

            I used to work at Faith For Today so I've been there and "got the t-shirt."  If I had a nickel for every time I've heard someone say or write what you expressed, I could buy you and a few of your friends a gourmet dinner at an expensive New York restaurant (and maybe pay your air fare, too). 

  4. Truth Seeker
    05 May 2013 @ 1:41 am

    Kinsey fired? Why?

  5. Bugs-Larry Boshell
    07 May 2013 @ 12:06 am

    I am a former SDA minister. I left the ministry and the church many years ago. One of my reasons for saying goodbye was I felt the church lived in the shadows, afraid, and apologetic for itself. Even now, a friend who was affected by this "virus" left the employ of the church when I did, is still embarrassed to have been a SDA minister, and won't reveal openly that he was ever involved with the chruch (I concede that may be his personal problem). Then, evangelists tried to lure guests in with provacitive titles without revealing, until the very last thing, that it was SDA. From what I am seeing as a bystander, not much has changed in that regard.

    Why this timidity? When you go to church on an odd day from the others, when you beleive dead is dead when you die, when you rely of the words of a "prophet" whose head was struck by a stone as an adolescent, when you think that you are the last piece of cloth, the "remnant" of religious truth, when your kids can't attend a public school and participate in sports that fall on the Sabbath, when you abide in cloisters of similar believers, when you have to explain to your employer and peers why you can't show up for work on Saturday (unless you work in a hospital, the only place you can legally break the Sabbath), you earn a reputation as a religious oddball. Unless you are proud of that, as are the ultra conservatives who view being an odball as a mark of honor, you may tend to cringe a bit in the presence of others.

    With the fact that Sabbath is not the result of a literal seven day creation week, no one really knows what happen when you die, SDA schools are being priced out of the market, EGW was guilty of significant plagarism, obviously SDA's won't be the only occupant of after life mansions, it is time for the SDA church to reinvent itself. The historical reason for its existence is fading away.

    Suggestion: it is time for all "liabilites" to be turned into assets. A national ad campaign presenting the Sabbath as a return to family time day, a church with a leader of foresight (not a prophet) who, among other decent things, proclaimed that tobacco was a most malignant poison, a church that  proudly proclaims up front in evangelistic efforts that we are SDA and are at the forefront of representing Christ's revalation that all we know about God, in the light of modern astronomy and pyhsics is that God is Love, that the present dearth of Adventists in mainline work places (airline pilots, military officers, movie critics, et. al.) is no longer impeded by imginary religious restrictions, that SDA youth proudly attend public schools with the knowledge their church is a leader in the Christian community (not a whimpy follower), that the Sabbath is a great day for families to be together, that Saturday church attendance frees one up to watch the NFL on Sunday morning, that "we are not your father's Chrysler,"
    will open the way to a new, vibrant church that has a reason to draw people to it.

    Why are "liberal" SDA churches such as the Arligington TX thriving? They are leading the way. Wake up, SDA church. 

    VOP, Faith for Today, could be the channels of a new awareness of being part of the new SDA church.

    • William Noel
      07 May 2013 @ 1:42 am


      Thank you for being so open and honest.  I appreciate that. 

      You've made an excellent point that I wish others could grasp.  The church has to find ways to connect with modern society or it will die from old age.  Still, I'm going to disagree with you about FFT, IIW and the other old media ministries.  They are rooted deeply in the old church and their continued existence promotes helps preserve the disconnect from society because their roots prevent them from adapting as greatly as is needed.  That is why I believe we need new media initiatives that are absolutely dedicated to the Gospel but independent from the control of the denomination so they can be responsive directly to God. 

    • Stephen Foster
      07 May 2013 @ 7:42 am

      You’re all over the map on this; it seems to me, Bugs. Are you saying that we should not be timid (about which we agree) regarding things that are not true (which is puzzling)?
      You’re right about our traditional evangelism approach. Have you ever been to an Amway presentation? If they told you it was Amway upfront, you would never have come there. Yet what you heard, and wouldn’t have, made sense to you—until they said… 

      Public relations are obviously problematic, aren’t they? A bold new approach via mass media ministries would indeed represent a positive/revolutionary change!

      • Bugs-Larry Boshell
        07 May 2013 @ 3:41 pm

        If Amway had viable marketing plan and competitive products, people would flock to its service. No deception needed. You make my point.

        Religious belief is based on metaphor, allegory, and yes, myth. There is no such thing as verifiable religious facts. There is no truth or untruth. Only belief, opinion, and consensus. So being timid "about things that are not true" doesn't matter. Religious tenants are chosen by believers because they like them. Most religious followers don't know that, or ignore it, happy to think they are adherents to concrete facts. 

         I have had to reinterpret my understanding of Christianity. I like the teachings of Christ, his death and resurrection, his zooming off into another dimension, and that He is preparing a place for us. I am a believer. I also accept metaphor, allegory and myth is the language of those beliefs. That does not diminish them. To the contrary, for me it verifies what I can comprehend is only a little morsel of something much bigger. Concrete religious facts are not possible.

        The Adventist church was founded on reinterpretation of some of the theology of the day. It also added some twists of its own (prophet, investigative judgment, death, etc.). When the exact prediction of Christ's return failed, a new interpretation was created predicting that it would be in the future, probably even "soon." The consenus was that the final "truths" were  identified and solidified and the SDA church was the "remnant" one. At the cloth store, remnats get sold at discount. After one hundred fifty years, the "remnant church" is on the discount table.

        It can reinterpet itself again. 

  6. Elaine Nelson
    07 May 2013 @ 3:27 pm

    Such a religion becomes more repressive than believing in Christ as one's salvation and following His example in our daily lives at home and with everyone else.

    Instead if became a religion of NO:  no sabbath activities other than church; no meat; no alcohol or coffee; no public school attendance; no attendance at Saturday activities other than with other church members–even eating "out;" no jewelry, no makeup, LGBT not allowed; no association with unbelievers, and more.

    Now, place those in a column against the benefits and make your own judgments.  Think it's appealing to anyone, particularly young people other than the few very pious who want a semi-monastic life?

    • Bugs-Larry Boshell
      07 May 2013 @ 5:06 pm

      If Christian belief doesn't add to the beauty, joy, and meaning of life, it isn't useful. Adventism did not do that for me. I achieved a MDiv degree from a Methodist seminary many years ago (after being an SDA minister for ten years), and I saw faith functioning in a more positive way for people. I graduated and left the Adventist ministry the same week. At that time I was finished with ministry. Looking back, had I started in that organization, or others with a different outlook, I probably would still be minster today (retired, of course). 

      I liked being a pastor, but not majoring in minors. I disliked the guilt trip built into Adventist beliefs. I hated the restrictions imposed by Sabbath keeping. I couldn't wait to get my kids out of SDA elementary  school after my nine year old daughter informed me that she learned that Jesus return was held up because "we are not good enough." 

      Today my son is a captain with a major airline. My daughter has a son that is a champion gymnist. I have had a wonderful life involved in sales, construction, DJ service, and an independant ministry (ChurchAmerica). None of which is possible in the church.

      I have never wished to deliver people from any belief, including SDA's. My experience is mine alone. I do enjoy being an observer. I have found great happiness in my adventure of life and I encourage any who will listen to analyse for themselves their journey. I believe it was Budda who told his followers to believe nothing they hear, even what he told them.

  7. Lana A
    11 May 2013 @ 9:15 pm

    Dear Brother Boonstra,
    May God bless you as the new director of the VOP. May our Lord Jesus Christ lead you. Stay faithful to Him no matter what!!! " Those who valiantly take their position on the right side, who encourage submission to God’s revealed will and strengthen others in their efforts to put away their wrong-doings, are the true friends of the Lord" 

  8. Lana A
    27 May 2013 @ 2:07 pm

    Dear Brother Bugs-Larry Boshell,


    "If you are thoroughly convinced that God has not spoken by us, why not act in

    accordance with your faith and have no more to do with a people who are

    under so great a deception as this people are? If you have been moving

    according to the dictates of the Spirit of God you are right and we are

    wrong. God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and

    strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not.

    God does nothing in partnership with Satan." 4T 230 Are you going to delete this one as well AT?

  9. Lana A
    27 May 2013 @ 2:15 pm

    "In arraying yourself against the servants of God you are

    doing a work either for God or for the devil. “By their fruits ye shall know

    them.” What stamp does your work bear? It will pay to look critically at

    the result of your course.

    It is not a new thing for a man to be deluded by the arch-deceiver and

    array himself against God. Consider your course critically before you

    venture to go any further in the path you are traveling" 4T 230

  10. Lana A
    27 May 2013 @ 2:19 pm

    "God gives to us all evidence sufficient to balance our faith on the side of truth. If we

    surrender to God we shall choose the light and reject the darkness. If

    we desire to maintain the independence of the natural heart, and refuse

    the correction of God, we shall, as did the Jews, stubbornly carry out our

    purposes and our ideas in the face of the plainest evidence, and shall be

    in danger of as great deception as came upon them; and in our blind

    infatuation we may go to as great lengths as they did, and yet flatter

    ourselves that we are doing work for God"

  11. Lana A
    27 May 2013 @ 2:28 pm


    But God will never remove from any man all causes for doubts. Those
    who love to dwell in the atmosphere of doubt and questioning unbelief can
    have the unenviable privilege. God gives sufficient evidence for the candid
    mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there
    are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left

    in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and

    will make shipwreck of faith.

    You have seemed to consider it a virtue to be on the side of the doubting
    rather than on the side of the believing.

    Jesus never praised unbelief; He never commended doubts. He gave to

    His nation evidences of His Messiahship in the miracles He wrought,

    but there were some who considered it a virtue to doubt and who would

    reason these evidences away and find something in every good work to

    question and censure" 4T 232

  12. Elaine Nelson
    27 May 2013 @ 3:09 pm

    People who have no opinions of their own must cut and paste from other writers; expressing personal opinions would involve thinking–a difficulty yet to be put into practice.

  13. Lana A
    27 May 2013 @ 6:15 pm

    Dear Elaine,

    I am ok with the fact that you clearly don't comprehend the reason I posted several paragraphs from a book to express my opinion, but those who have eyes to see and ears to hear will understand exaclty what those quotes are meant to do. 🙂  
    Accurately quoting a book reference is no evidence that one is unable to think, but evidence that one is educated by reading.  However, forgime me if I confused you. God bless you!