Letters From Our Readers
Mentally Ill Man Plays Role in Ghana Baptisms
Thanks for publishing Andrew McChesney’s story “Mentally Ill Man Plays a Role in Ghana’s 2,181 Baptisms” (Nov. 27, 2014). The lesson for me is that God can use whom He chooses. He empowered the woman at the well, the demoniac of Gadara, and this willing young man. What a wonderful Savior! It also reminds me that we do not need a D.Min. or M.Div. to be used for God’s glory. A humbling lesson indeed.
Peggy Ann Caesar
Sometimes we neglect the upper class just because they are busy and hard to reach. This mentally ill man touched doctors, lawyers, psychologists, engineers, and prime ministers. God knows how to get the work done. Humans have a plan; God has His.
Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Such is the work of the Spirit. The Spirit motivated him (the mentally ill) to extend a hand to someone who needs the Lord’s invitation. Our pastor narrated this miraculous happening to us at a midweek prayer session at the Bubiashie Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ghana.
God most assuredly has a purpose for everyone and everything that He has created. It is wondrous and beautiful when we find that we each have a role and are taking part in His grand design. Thanks for this article, which serves as a reminder!
St. Louis, Missouri
On the Topic of Ordination
I’m writing in response to Andrew McChesney’s cover story “Women’s Ordination Goes to San Antonio” (Nov. 20, 2014). Frankly, I am getting a bit tired of hearing about whether women should be ordained. This is not included in the Ten Commandments, and has no place in church doctrine.
I was born and raised in Loma Linda, California, and received all my education, including college, in Adventist schools. My mother was a teacher and a conference educational superintendent. She was a born leader, while my father was shy and retiring. I knew early on that leadership is a gift, unrelated to gender.
I was ordained as an elder some 25 years ago without any effort on my part. I didn’t seek it, and I didn’t ask for it. I would have served regardless. I am now 90 years old, and my failing eyesight dictates that I must consider retiring from this responsibility.
Since leadership is a gift, the laying on of hands is only an outward expression. When we put so much emphasis on a rite that is not absolutely necessary, we seem to be putting too much emphasis on having the blessing of our church hierarchy.
The vast differences in Eastern and Western culture and history make it impossible to expect this issue to be agreed upon worldwide. The Bible was written in Eastern culture, before the West even came into being, and this issue is not a biblical law, only a practice.
Some political issues should be left up to the states to decide; thus, this issue should be left up to the union conferences to decide.
Shocked is my only response to the Annual Council action regarding women’s ordination. Is this the future of Adventism: that we propose that each world division be allowed to decide what biblical principle they are going to follow?
May unity not be based on compromise.
La Rue Carlson
Thank you for publishing Andrew McChesney’s news article “Adventists Urged to Study Women’s Ordination for Themselves” (Oct. 9, 2014). And thanks for sharing (online) the links to the June 2014 TOSC papers. I was particularly moved by the video testimony, especially the inspiring ministry of Pastor Hao Ya Jie in China. In addition, I’d like to point fellow readers to two TOSC papers presented at the January 2014 meeting because they are particularly helpful in this discussion: www.adventistarchives.org/ moving-forward-in-unity.pdf and www.adventistarchives.org/evaluation-of-the-arguments-used-by-those-those-opposing-the-ordination-of-women-to-the-ministry.pdf.
The first presentation is important because it beautifully articulates the belief that faithful Seventh-day Adventists can come to different conclusions on the issue of the ordination of women, and it persuasively lays out a way forward that will best preserve the unity of the church. The second document, by a respected, retired Biblical Research Institute director, shows how Adventists who also share a high view of Scripture can reach conclusions differing from Position 1.
I agree wholeheartedly with the principle of letting the Bible speak for itself. It should be noted, however, that in addition to a “clear reading of Scripture,” we are counseled to compare scripture with scripture to ensure that we have the whole picture.
At What Cost?
Regarding “Ready and Waiting” (Page 7, Dec. 11, 2014):
I was surprised and appalled by the 10 bronze statues displayed in the lobby of the General Conference building. My question is: Who paid for these, and what was the cost?
If this came from church funds, what funds? I certainly hope it wasn’t from the sacrificial giving of our members.
Morganton, North Carolina
The sculpture to which you refer was commissioned by the General Conference in the mid-1990s. Sculpted by Adventist Victor Issa, the bronze figures were created to illustrate the 2000 General Conference session theme, “Almost Home.” In an article about the pieces, the sculptor related a conversation he had with his father about the Bible’s view on “images.” While he was fully aware of the second commandment, there is also the Temple’s laver, which was held up by 12 sculpted oxen. God saw sculpture as an art form, and it is in this context that the bronzes stand in the lobby of the General Conference—to remind each visitor that first and foremost we are a people looking for the second coming of Jesus.—Editors.
What Is It?
With regard to the story of the manna falling in Angola (see Page 7’s “What Is It?” Aug. 28, 2014), I am wondering if this has been verified. If it turns out to be a hoax, and the Adventist Church has publicized it widely, it could make the church look pretty silly. I watched the YouTube video, but saw no one I recognized (could they be actors?). Has any responsible church official seen the manna fall, or at least seen large quantities of it on the ground and tasted it? It wouldn’t be at all difficult for someone to make a large batch of cake frosting and scatter lumps of it on the ground, and then claim that it was manna that fell during the night.
There are Web sites where people are already opining that this is a hoax. And it does seem strange that the manna has fallen for some 60 years, and this is the first we have heard of it. If it does turn out not to be a true story, we would do well to admit it before the story spreads further; and if it is a true story, we would do well to make known how the church has confirmed it.
Eagle River, Wisconsin
While it’s sad to think that we have come to the place where our first reaction is to doubt something attributed to a miraculous occurrence or heavenly origin, your point is valid. Sometimes people create surreptitious events to dupe the unsuspecting, and we naturally begin to wonder if we are the latest victims.
Witnesses documented the manna that fell in Angola at that time—both expatriates and natives alike. It was documented further in 1947, in Signs of the Times and the Milwaukee Journal’s Green Sheet. Samples of the substance were taken at various times and tested in a South American laboratory. The results reported the substance to be primarily sugar.
We are unaware of anyone who witnessed the actual “falling” of the manna, only those who witnessed its presence on many occasions. Whether to believe this to be an actual sign from God must be left to each individual. Those who live at the mission station in Angola believe it to be so. We will not presume to question their faith, or how it affects their lives and witness for Jesus; we simply deliver the story.—Editors.
We welcome your letters, noting, as always, that inclusion of a letter in this section does not imply that the ideas expressed are endorsed by either the editors of the Adventist Review or the General Conference. Short, specific, timely letters have the best chance at being published (please include your complete address and phone number—even with e-mail messages). Letters will be edited for space and clarity only. Send correspondence to Letters to the Editor, Adventist Review, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600; Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org.