Seventh-day Adventist evangelism has attempted to treat the whole man--physically, mentally, spiritually. Because the desired results of evangelism have been less than ideal in many areas of the world, a review of the basic concepts of Seventh-day Adventism (epitomized in the writings of Ellen G. White, whom Seventh-day Adventists consider to have written under inspiration) was made.
This review has tried to clarify the emphasis placed on the necessity of a complete gospel approach to meet the physical, intellectual and social needs of man as well as the religious. Sin is seen to be a loss of the wholeness that God desires man to have. The restoration of individuality and its inherent freedom are the goals of evangelism. The plan of salvation is a manifestation of the unselfish love on God's part to give man a means of obtaining wholeness in the physical, intellectual and social areas. This revelation is to rationally commend itself, and, as it does this, it will have made the options of truth and error clear. No further revelation from God is helpful; Christ can return. The only compelling feature of the gospel is that the life-promoting quality of the gospel causes one to feel morally responsible to share this life-enhancing information.
A sample situation is reviewed to see if the basis of the problems facing the Seventh-day Adventist missionary can be discovered, as well as an illustration of material on how the evangelistic concepts reviewed above may solve these problems.
The situation reviewed is Navaho peyotism--important because of its spread during social unrest and change, and because it is a psychedelic movement that may have problems similar to those that promote the use of LSD. Also, the usage of peyote by Navahos has made conversion to Seventh-day Adventism at Monument Valley Mission among the Navahos increasingly difficult.
The Navaho problem has been characterized by loss of social, economic and religious conditions familiar to the Navahos. This loss of meaning has resulted in the search for a more satisfactory life. Peyotism has offered a solution to the anomie and hostilities of the Navaho as they move into a new way of life. It has given a sense of significance, new norms, and confirmation of this new approach by nature of the peyote experience. The basic problem has been an attempt to attain personal freedom and individuality. Peyotism has been resisted by the traditionalist Navahos as alien, and by whites because of its pagan and supposedly unhealthful qualities.
The very loss of critical faculties and a suggestible state inherent in the psychedelic experience tend to negate this attempt, as well as to make peyotism incompatible with Seventh-day Adventist Christianity.
The value of the holistic approach to evangelism, especially as related to the Navaho situation, is that it points out the need to enhance personhood by all means possible. The usual problem areas of culture, doctrines, and the like are clarified as means to the end of this enhancement.
The potential of a church oriented to this approach is seen in the possibility to hasten the return of Jesus and His kingdom where the greatest potential for enhancement will be possible.
A. Graham Maxwell
Jack W. Provonsha
John W. Elick
Paul C. Heubach
Master of Arts (MA)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Navajo Indians -- Missions; Evangelistic work; Peyotism
x; 124; iv
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Harding, Gary H., "Holistic Evangelism as an Approach to Navaho Peyotism" (1967). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 1904.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives