God specifically called the Seventh-day Adventist Church into existence as a prophetic movement, to proclaim a message to the world that vindicates God”1 So begins Ty Gibson in his latest work Refresh, a joint effort between the author and the General Conference Youth Department.
In this book, Gibson observes that Adventists have traditionally taken up the work of sharing their faith with those who have a prior knowledge of Christ and, lamentably, have minimized the gospel while choosing to focus on Adventist distinctives. The result has been an articulation of biblical facts while neglecting the broader context of God’s nature and character of love in the light of the great controversy worldview.
To remedy this deficiency, Gibson seeks to present the truth as it is in Jesus. He proposes an octagonal structure, each side possessing a “perceptual window.” These windows—eight core teachings of Scripture as understood by the Adventist Church—are portals that give us clearer insights into the person of God. The eight doctrines include the law and the Sabbath, the heavenly sanctuary, the Second Coming, and an understanding of end-time events. The subject of the triune nature of God is also approached with clarity and beauty.
The author is not argumentative or apologetic. He doesn’t simply present a laundry list of recited biblical facts. At the same time, he does not sweep away doctrine in favor of a nondoctrinal Christ. Instead, he places Christ in His rightful place at the center of Adventism’s pillar teachings, and he does it well. This book embodies Ellen White’s statement that “the last message of mercy . . . is a revelation of His character of love.”2
Though the introduction is written by Gilbert Cangy of the General Conference Youth Department, the book’s concepts go far beyond youth ministry. Indeed, some of the suggested group activities at the end of the book that correspond to each chapter seem disanalagous to the deep concepts and block quotes from Ellen White. The material could serve well as discussion fodder in a small group of young adults, a tool to empower personal witness, or a resource to enhance a pastor’s evangelistic sermon series.
I have been familiar with Ty Gibson and Light Bearers ministry for many years, and anticipated his approach before picking up the book. Even so, I found this resource to be refreshing and compelling. It left me in a state of gratitude to God for who He is, and the richness of the message that He’s given for this time in earth’s history.