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

Single and Satisfied
I enjoyed the articles about singles in the Adventist Church ( I am a single person as a result of a divorce about 19 years ago. The articles, although very good, did not focus on us older folk. But as I read I found something helpful in all the articles. Maybe one day there will be an article about being older and single, whether from divorce, the death of a spouse, or being single out of choice.

At any rate, it's good to know that the church realizes there are singles in the church; and that we are not depressed, dangerous, looking for someone else's spouse, or all the other stuff people think about when they see us. Some of us are really very happy, and we like the state we are in. We don't particularly want to be "fixed up," nor do we want to be seen as unfortunate because we are single.

Anne Best
Durham, North Carolina

Doing Justice to the Judgment
The article by Kevin Ferris, "What We Really Believe About the Judgment" (June 9, 2005), promotes a forensic judgment that is popular among a certain section of the contemporary Seventh-day Adventist Church. Yet the article exhibits the two major deficiencies common to this view: neither its methodology nor its conclusions are consistent with Scripture. One text is sufficient to demonstrate both claims: "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels" (Rev. 3:5). Not only does this text deny his conclusions, but the writer does not even attempt to harmonize his conclusions with it or other similar texts such as Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; James 2:10-12; Revelation 20:12, 13; 22:12.

If we cannot uphold and practice a consistent biblical hermeneutic (e.g. 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Corinthians 2:11-14; Isaiah 28:9, 10, 13) in our church and in our publications, then we must expect fragmentation and reversion to Protestant views that were left behind by Seventh-day Adventists in the nineteenth century while operating under the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit.

The deeper issue raised by Ferris' article is our commitment to the authority and harmony of Scripture. The last warnings in Scripture are about adding to or subtracting from Scripture (Revelation 22:18, 19). We would do well to heed them.

Barry Harker
Flaxton, Queensland, Australia

Though I appreciate many of the articles that appear in the Adventist Review, I find some very disturbing. I was especially appalled by the recent one entitled, "What We Really Believe about the Judgment."

While it is true that Christ's sacrificial atonement was completed at Calvary, the Old Testament sanctuary services made plain that there were three phases to the plan of salvation: The slain lamb, the first apartment ministry in the Holy place, and the last phase in the Most Holy place, which took place in a short period of time.

Ellen White made clear that there are the same three phases in Christ's literal ministry (see The Great Controversy, p. 420-422.

The 2,300 day prophecy of Daniel ended in 1844. Obviously something very important happened at this time. This is a scriptural fact and is not something Mrs. White dreamed up as her own exclusive doctrinal view. She wrote plainly that in 1844 Christ entered into the most holy place to perform His closing work of atonement. He did not enter the most holy place at His ascension.

Ferris quotes Ministry magazine as an authority for his views. If Ministry Magazine or the head of the General Conference says anything that is not in harmony with the Scriptures or Ellen White's counsel (which is simply an amplification of the Scriptures), Bible believing Christians cannot accept it.

For you to print this article by Kevin Ferris is a refutation of the whole reason for the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is an abomination to the truth of the message of Revelation 14:7.

Joyce Aldrich
Centerville, Tennessee

Much of the time I am able to agree in what is printed in the Adventist Review. But the recent article about the judgment left me less than able to say "amen." To be fair, the article is very short for a very complex topic and I can offer mercy for that reason, but enough was said to raise concerns.

While it is true that Calvary should be the central theme when teaching the judgment, we must be careful not to over-simplify the issue. The investigative judgment is real and serious, based upon Calvary, which makes it necessary and important. That we are judged by works is another reality we must be clear about. Profession is not enough. The grace of God must be worked out in the life. Faith without works is dead.

Though works are not the basis of our salvation, they most certainly reveal that our salvation is certain in Christ. The judgment is both revelatory and determinative. We are judged (determinative) by our works (revelatory). Our works express the genuineness of our faith in Christ.

The judgment is not God seeking to keep us out of heaven, but doing all He can to get us into heaven. In order to do that we must have a genuine heart transformation; devoted love to Him that can only come through the work of grace upon the heart. The judgment reveals what we have determined about the cross of Christ. That is when God's people of faith affirm their decision for Jesus as Lord and Savior and reveal it in a life lived for Him.

Pastor Kevin James
Ogden, Utah

Divided Allegiance?
James Coffin made a valid point in his commentary, "Flying the Wrong Flag in the Right Place" (June, 2005). I am afraid, however, that the creeping nationalism intruding its way into churches is not limited only to the Southern Baptist pastor mentioned. It is, I regret to say, beginning to show up in our own Adventist church.

Would a visitor, looking for a church that believes in separation between church and state, find evidence that we really believed in that principle if he walked into one of our churches? Or would he find the wrong flag in God's embassy? Even our own United States flag, as much as we may love what it stands for, placed in our places of worship could send the message, especially to visitors from other countries, that the Adventist Church is an American church that represents Americans, instead of "a house of prayer for all people."

I'm all for our churches being a "demilitarized zone," a politically neutral place where we can escape politics, flag waving, and militarism. Would Christ say, "Take these things hence"?

Don Whitt
Athens, Alabama

No Retreat
It takes courage to be bold enough to say what was said in the column, "No Going Back" (June, 2005). Many of our leaders tiptoe lightly around two subjects due to past fallout and misguided application of Bible principles: The nearness of the second coming and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Fredrick Russell endorsed them both and made a powerful case for us to pursue them.

Some readers may want to read more of the subject of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I recommend a series of five small books by Pastor Dennis Smith ([email protected]). They will empower your life forever.

Loren Price
Oregon City, Oregon

Reflecting on Love
What a beautiful illustration of the love of God in "The Game of My Life" (May 19, 2005). Too bad we can't all realize how much God loves us. Nicole Onjukka Meharry should write more articles.

Art Miles
Apison, Tennessee

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