November 1, 2013
Less is More
Stephen Chavez’s editorial “Beyond Words” (Oct. 24, 2013) about using Holy Spirit-directed brevity in our communications is timely.
In that regard, I note that his editorial is just half the length of the one on the opposite page. There is value in completeness, but sometimes more so in brevity; it often invites further inquiry.
The widely-known columnist Walter Winchell was fond of telling this story of enforced brevity:
A young, cub reporter on a big, metropolitan newspaper, assigned to write obituaries, was writing overly lengthy accounts, many paragraphs long, about the deaths of people of no particular station in life. Fed up with his wordiness, the editor threatened, “One more obit like this and you’ll be fired!”
The reporter’s next assignment was to write about a death in a hotel. He reported it this way: “John K. Brown looked up the elevator shaft of the Jones Hotel today to see if the elevator was on its way down. It was. Age, 46.”
Thereinafter the editor had no problem with the reporter’s obituaries.
Brevity yes, but that’s not our biggest problem. It is merely opening our mouths to speak a word for God’s truth “in season.”
Regarding “What on Earth Happened in 1844?” (Oct. 17, 2013):
What occurred to those believers who responded to God’s prophetic words found in Daniel 8:14 is well documented.
Another question is: What was our omniscient God doing by the message He sent to earth presented in Revelation 10, for it describes the experience of those who embraced the prophetic preaching of Daniel 8:14?
God was at work; for from those believers He would launch His “remnant” people who “must prophesy again.”
The 2,300 year prophetic period has passed. “The mystery of God” is to be finished. Earth has entered Daniel’s “time of the end.” The message to be proclaimed is found in Revelation 14:6-12. If Seventh-day Adventists abandon this mission we would become part of Babylon.
Let us live according to the appeal made by the everlasting gospel. We must not let Satan’s warfare turn us from our God-given mission (Rev. 12:17).
Then through the heavens we can beam the message from tower to tower: O earth, it is the last, last hour. Jesus is coming again.
As we study the eschatological Day of Atonement, let us not forget that the sanctuary focused on the entire ellipse of salvation, from Passover to Yom Kippur. Each piece of sanctuary furniture linked to an aspect of the plan of salvation and, in their order, to one of the annual festivals (Lev. 23).
Studied in its entirety, the sanctuary system reveals precious information about the plan carried out by Jesus Christ, that He might dwell among His people (Rev. 21:3).
Walla Walla, Washington
“The Prophetic Rendezvous of 1844 Adventism” (Oct. 17, 2013) is a difficult article to read. The language used nearly choked my understanding of this work. I got the “drift” of the conclusion, but I would have appreciated reading it without having the need of a Thesaurus at my fingertip.
Maybe a second or third reading will help clarify it.
If Clifford Goldstein is going to be permitted to write prose that few of us can understand, such as the tortured prose in “The God of the Gap” (Sept. 19, 2013), the editors should either provide an interpretation at the conclusion of each such column, or return them to him for a rewrite.
Goldstein is capable of writing brilliant, insightful copy. He should be held to just that kind of standard.
Luxury and Extravagance
The article by Jimmy Phillips, “Allure of the Church” (Sept.10, 2013), started a train of thought. As I think of the lives of Christ, the apostles Paul and Peter, as well as our early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers, they were characterized by self-denial and self-sacrifice.
It is crucial to realize that self-denial and self-sacrifice, which are also frequently mentioned in the Spirit of Prophecy, apply not only to cruises but to personal adornment, adult “toys,” tickets to commercial sporting events, elaborate homes, fancy cars, maybe even time spent watching commercial sporting events on TV.
Some people have trouble putting food on the table or struggle to send their children to Adventist schools. AIDs orphans or famine victims in Africa could benefit from our self-denial and self-sacrifice.
We would do well to heed these words from Ellen White: “Should we dress in plain, modest apparel, without reference to the fashions; should our tables at all times be set with simple, healthful food, avoiding all luxuries, all extravagance; should our houses be built with becoming plainness and furnished in the same manner, it would show the sanctifying power of the truth and would have a telling influence upon unbelievers” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 206).
As a final note, does self-denial and self-sacrifice cause people to be sad faced and joyless? It didn’t seem to do that to Jesus, Paul, Peter, or Ellen White.
–Donald E. Casebolt
College Place, Washington
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