True North: A Prophetic Call to Faithfulness

Mark Finley, Clinton Wahlen, Ken McFarland, and Phyllis McFarland, eds., Fallbrook, CA: Hart Books, 2022.

S. Joseph Kidder, DMin, is a professor of pastoral theology and discipleship, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States.

True North, written by 13 prominent Adventist pastors, evangelists, and scholars, is a strong, soul-convicting, heartwarming appeal to return to biblical teaching, values, and principles. The book covers fifteen subjects, including the great controversy; the relevancy of the sanctuary; faithfulness in mission; spiritualism; biblical standards; and the Second Coming, to name a few.

The aim of the book is to present biblical truth in the light of the Second Coming and make this truth relevant for our time. The book emphasizes that those who are grounded in these truths will not be surprised by events that shock our world in these last days. Instead, they will be empowered to help others to be joyfully ready to meet Jesus when He comes.

Each chapter presents the reader with powerful, heart-searching calls to faithfulness in the various doctrines covered, such as faithfulness to Scripture, faithfulness to Christ, faithfulness to His church, and faithfulness to His end-time mission. The authors were effective in convicting me of my need for strong faithfulness to Christ and His truths as revealed in Scripture.

I agree strongly with the words printed on the back of the book that summarize its ultimate aim: “As you read these pages, your confidence in God’s Word will increase, and your commitment to Christ and His mission will grow stronger.” After I read the book, my mind was challenged, my heart was thrilled by the love of God and the hope of the Second Coming, and I felt a strong desire to examine my life and ask God to mold me more and more in His image.

There is a tendency for most of us to grow cold in our fervor for the Second Coming. I have felt that way, too, sometimes. This book helped rekindle my love for the Second Coming and urged me to prepare for heaven in the short time remaining.

True North is easy to read and is logical in its flow, with solid biblical support and arguments. I do wish the book had more stories to illustrate the points and bring them home. However, Christ’s love is clearly revealed in every chapter. This emphasis on love drives the heart to move closer to the throne of grace and helps the reader make choices that will have an eternal impact.

One of the parts of the book I enjoyed was the “As You Begin the Next Chapter” feature. This page, which comes at the beginning of each chapter, provides provocative reflections and questions that set the stage for the chapter and prepare the reader for its content.

I asked two of my master of divinity students to read at least one chapter from the book and tell me how they felt about it. Their evaluation was that the book is beautifully written, easy to read, and could be used as the basis of a series of sermons on the doctrines of the church.

Even though I am familiar with all the subjects covered in the book, I felt that the presentations were fresh in their approach, challenging in their content, and heartwarming in their appeal. We are living at the edge of eternity, and our greatest need today is to prepare people to be ready for the Second Coming. True North does this effectively by moving the reader from a half-hearted, shallow experience with Christ to an all-out, solid commitment to Him and His mission.

I felt the need for deeper commitment in my life as I read the book. The chapters challenged and inspired me to move to higher ground spiritually. I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants a fresh look at what the Seventh-day Adventist Church teaches, presented in a way that is relevant to the twenty-first century. Ultimately, this book will encourage you to live your life in the context of eternity and evaluate everything accordingly.

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S. Joseph Kidder, DMin, is a professor of pastoral theology and discipleship, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States.

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