The beliefs and sentiments expressed by those whose letters appear here are not necessarily shared by the Adventist Review or its editorial staff. These letters have been edited for clarity and length. -- Editors
“Listening to Atheists
” (Jan. 24, 2013) was excellent! Never before have I read the reasons atheists have for their beliefs (eternal hell, etc.). This article gives good suggestions about how to approach atheists.
C. D. Brooks’ story, “Who Finished the Building?” in KidsView
, is an excellent illustration of God’s miracles.
The two articles “What’s a Body to Do?” and “Coping With Cancer” were enlightening articles about cancer options. I am sure many families have been ravaged by someone close having cancer. These articles showed alternatives to what we normally do.
“What’s a Body to Do?
” by Gina Wahlen (Jan. 24, 2013) is an outstanding article. It shares her personal story and also imparts health information, Adventist history, and spiritual hope that is sure to benefit anyone facing a cancer diagnosis. Clinton Wahlen’s related sidebar, “When Cancer Hits Home,” reminds us of the ripple effect of cancer on a patient’s family.
Thank you to the Wahlens and Adventist Review
for sharing this real-life story to the glory of God.
You Caught Us
A couple things in the January 24, 2013 issue may have left readers scratching their heads.
Gina Wahlen’s article, “What’s a Body to Do?” quoted Dr. Fred Hardinge, “Further, we know genetically that the choices of our parents and grandparents . . . may be impacting us and causing suffering today.”
To my knowledge, genetics does not transmit knowledge to us; that is, we do not genetically know anything. I believe Dr. Hardinge meant “we know that genetically the choices . . .” i.e., “that” was misplaced, which changed the meaning.
Richard M. Davidson’s article “And There Was Gossip in Heaven” referred to a table of “insights on Eden as sanctuary,” but the table was not included in the article.
Just a couple glitches in two otherwise-fine articles.
Also, I especially appreciated C. D. Brooks’ KidsView
story, “Who Finished the Building?” What an inspiring account of God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His promise: “Those who honor Me I will honor” (1 Sam. 2:30).
A glitch in our production process kept the table in Davidson’s article from being published. The entire article, with the table, can be seen at adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2013-1503&page=22. We apologize for the inconvenience.—Editors
All About Worship
I’m writing to express my appreciation to Richard Davidson for his fine discussion of the beginning of the great controversy in his article, “And There Was Gossip in Heaven
” (Jan. 24, 2013).
As Davidson points out, Isaiah 14 clearly shows that the sanctuary in heaven before sin was the place of God’s throne, where angels gathered to worship God. Isaiah 14:13 establishes that God had a religious calendar prior to the entrance of sin, and it was these appointed times, these moedim
, against which Lucifer rebelled. He wanted to be above God, to sit at the top of the mountain, to be in charge of heaven’s worship, so that he could be worshiped.
The controversy began over worship, and the final battle in this great controversy is also about worship. Do we take God’s Word as to when and how we worship, or do we take the word of the apostate?
Thank you for giving us some meat to chew on.
Walla Walla, Washington
I enjoyed Sandra Blackmer’s editorial “Tried and True
” (Jan. 24, 2013) regarding change. It’s like a modern-day parable. Jesus used parables, and I like the way Blackmer did the same. Blackmer’s articles always leave a message and lots of thoughts on which to ponder. . . .
Most of us tend to think we have to have the latest gadget, car, etc. when the ones we have still function. . . .
We have a ‘91 Honda Civic that has 420,000 miles and is still going strong.
Hedgesville, West Virginia
Freedom to Worship
Kudos for the excellent feature, “Religious Freedom in America
” by Nicholas P. Miller (Jan. 17, 2013).
Miller’s historical look at the religious heritage of American politics and his explanation of “Adventism’s true birthright” was outstanding. It was refreshing to have someone articulate so well what I have felt for a long time: that there really is a middle ground politically, that there is a difference between “spiritual morality” and “civil morality,” and we do not have to espouse all the views of the far right in order to be Christian, even Adventist Christians.
Miller is correct in realizing that the compromises he suggests are not going to satisfy extremists on either end of the spectrum. But they at least provide common language for discussing moral concerns.
It’s unfortunate that extreme elements seem to have taken over our country’s government. Our leaders in Washington are unlikely to take Miller’s advice (even if they were to actually read the article!); but I don’t see that changing. There are so many signs that our earth’s history is rapidly drawing to a close. “Tis almost time for the Lord to come.”
The political landscape of America is just one more indication of the times in which we are living. I expect you will take some heat for publishing this article, but thank you for printing it and bringing comfort to those of us “in the middle” who sometimes see shades of gray rather than viewing everything in stark black or white.
A Positive Epidemic
Andy Nash’s article “The Adventist Tipping Point
” (Jan. 17, 2013) seems to lead us into gray areas of uncertainty concerning the perceived image by others “outside” our Adventist experience. The question he raises is whether our leaders are able to tip us toward demonstrating a different face of Adventism. He alerts us to the danger of mediocrity by present and future generations through a lack of commitment to take on pastoral careers.
In a recorded interview about his book The Tipping Point
, Malcolm Gladwell said,
”One of the things I’d like to do is to show people how to start ‘positive’ epidemics of their own” (www.gladwell.com/tippingpoint/
True Christians, Adventist and otherwise, have within them the God-given power to change minds and attitudes of mainstream people to a new way of seeing. The call for all who believe is to spread the word, not just those who choose pastoral ministry as their career. The positive epidemic that is missing among church-going Christians is for all people to go beyond their comfort zone and be challenged to “start ‘positive’ epidemics of their own.” Our inspiration is provided by Christ; a natural Leader who did not wait for formal recognition as a theologian.
The epidemic to be avoided, according to Nash, is to relegate God’s power to the fringes of our lives. Christianity is not about “moments of perfection,” but each believer having faith in the power of God’s Word to start “positive” epidemics. Simply spreading our faith can be infectious!
--Name Withheld by Request
Eric Anderson’s article “What is a Mystic?
” (Jan. 10, 2013) spoke to the whole issue in a positive, biblically informed, Ellen White-influenced, and personally experiential way. I was very moved by it.
I plan to share Anderson’s article with my students and others who ask questions about spirituality, mysticism, and related issues. I thank Anderson for writing such a thoughtful and personally revealing piece, and I thank the Adventist Review
team for giving prominence to a piece that will run counter to some unfortunate prejudices against learning from other Christians that can be found in certain Adventist circles. In a number of instances, Christ held up the faith of gentile outsiders, including the Syro-Phoenician woman and the Roman centurion, as models of spirituality from whom the “chosen” could learn.
Anyone who examines the library of Ellen White can see a similar openness to learning from the insights of other Christians. I just pray that the “chosen” of today can, along with their doctrinal faithfulness, exhibit a similar humility, grace, and openness. This was an important article at a critical time, and I deeply appreciate the Review
’s candor and courage in serving Christ and His church.
Associate Professor of Church History
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Truth as Progressive
The January 10, 2013 Adventist
Review contained a letter from my friend and colleague Warren Zork, responding to an editorial by Lael Caesar, “Objective or Neutral
” (Nov. 22, 2012).
Zork hit the nail on the head as he wrote about present truth as revealed by God in our past history, and present truth
as God leads the way in our day to the “ongoing present.”
As a church we must come to the realization that we are living in a different, very complex, and diverse world. Therefore our traditional understanding of unity may no longer be sufficient in today’s global village.
Too often we have interpreted unity in terms of uniformity of thought, action, belief, and practice. But in every age God has been pleased to refine and refocus His timeless truths to meet the spiritual and practical needs of His people, and keep them growing in Him. We may call it “present truth,” or the “ongoing present,” but it’s a process much needed in today’s world.
Sometime, sooner rather than later, we must begin charting a course that will take into account the generational, racial, geographic, and gender issues that confront us today. No thinking Seventh-day Adventist wants to see a fragmented world church. The good news is, it need not be. And it will not be,
if we will but move forward in the spirit of our Savior, claiming His love and His grace every step of the way.
May heaven continue to bless both the leaders
of our church as we meet the challenges of an ever-changing, ever-evolving world. May each of us, as God’s chosen generation, understand and respond to the needs of our brothers and sisters both in the Western world, and in every part of the world field. May the global village of today join hands and hearts in celebration of our shared destiny; a new home in an earth made new.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
--Albert M. Ellis