God and Death
In the cover article “God is . . . ? (May 15, 2014), the author concludes his defense of the theory that God will ultimately inflict death upon the lost by stating, “I believe that the wrath of God is the love of God as seen in desperate contexts. . . . Admittedly, atonement and annihilation do show the edgier contours of love.”. . .
Ellen G. White repeatedly states that Jesus suffered the wrath of God on the cross. She wrote: “It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” And how did Jesus experience the wrath of God? Not by God inflicting it upon Him, but rather by separating Himself. Jesus “feared that sin was so offensive to God that their separation was to be eternal” (The Desire of Ages, p. 753).
James Nix’s story, “The Conversion of Harry Orchard” (May 8, 2014), provided some additional details to a story that has intrigued me since first reading Harry Orchard by L. E. Froom in the 1950’s.
As I remember, there was such a dramatic change in Orchard’s facial appearance between the time the charges were filed and the actual trial that the judge who presided at both failed to recognize him. It continues to be a testimony to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and the capacity for Belle Stuenenberg to forgive.
I thought we knew all about Harry Orchard. Thank you, Jim Nix, and Sentinel/Liberty. The name Seventh-day Adventist must never be hidden or muted for fear of offending someone. If it offends the enemy, bring it on! My copy of The Great Controversy (a gift in 1959) has become my constant companion. It looks even better now than it did then, years before I bought into the Bible and joined my Adventist wife in the church.
The day after I returned home from a wonderful fiftieth college class reunion at Pacific Union College (PUC), the April 24 issue of Adventist Review arrived. Scanning through, I noticed a familiar face, Andrew Hanson, whom I had just re-met after more than 50 years in a small group sharing our spiritual journeys since graduating from PUC. I find myself drawn to Hanson’s thoughtful expression in “Gray Is a Color, Too.” I love the word pictures of gray and the meaning drawn from them, not unlike his thoughts expressed in our discussion.
Another delightful connection occurred with Bill Knott’s piece, “Praying Till Donne.” Also at PUC that Friday evening, I had the unexpected opportunity to re-meet J. Paul Stauffer at the Pioneer Dinner. He had taught my favorite class, Western Arts. Not only did I have the opportunity to tell him that, but I recalled to him one of my favorite poets, John Donne, and his “Batter My Heart, Three-person’d God.”
Thank you so much for expanding on Donne’s bold and passionate poetic expression to God. It inspires me to spend more time with his verse, and in so doing spend more time knowing God.
Good Article, But . . .
Thank you for Laura Brus’ article, “Steps to Christ: A Chiastic Reading” (May 8, 2014). It has made a book that I have treasured since being introduced to it at a Friday evening vespers at Helderberg College in 1956 even more precious. The editors and designers did a terrific job with the attractive layout.
I could only wish that some other ingredient for the sandwich other than cheese could have been found, since the author of Steps to Christ said that cheese “is wholly unfit for food” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 302).
For many years now, I have been an avid reader of Adventist Review, and have been, time and again, blessed by its inspiring articles. But in Randy Roberts’ article, “The Stench of Betrayal, the Scent of Forgiveness” (Apr. 17, 2014) I was overwhelmed with the spiritual insight he related.
Sometimes we Seventh-day Adventists miss the sweet aroma of God’s love and longsuffering. As to Roberts’ question, “What does the resurrection mean to me?” To me it means the closer I look in the mirror of my Savior’s love, the more my sinful nature overwhelms me, the more detestable life becomes without Him, and I realize how much I want to “huddle” around the charcoal fire built by Jesus and bask in the burning scent of the old rugged cross.
Grace and Works
Clifford Goldstein’s article, “A Culprit Barely Pardoned” (Apr. 17, 2014) reminded me who Jesus is, and what I am to Him. It reminded me of what Goldstein wrote in his book False Balances: “[God’s] law can be kept, yet this final generation is justified only by what Jesus Christ has accomplished for them, outside of them, 2,000 years ago at Calvary. Anything else is salvation by works” (p. 155).
–Joseph M. Cote
Roan Mountain, Tennessee