April 11, 2006

Web Letters


A Growing Church

We thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed the article, “Growing Up Adventist,” by James R. Nix (March 23, 2006). What an awesome privilege to have the good fortune to grow up in an Adventist home at a time when children were taught Bible principals at home, in church, and in school. To those of us who were not born in Adventist homes, or had the privilege of church, Sabbath school, and Church school, we missed so much. My born again experience came only after I was a young adult.

Thank you for reminding us of the way things were back then. While I did not have the privilege of growing up Adventist, I did have the good fortune to live through the much earlier time described in the article. How unfortunate that so much has been lost in our modern world.

Paul Reichard
Spring Valley, Ohio
I also grew up Adventist, and I’ve often been tempted to think that I was “disadvantaged” as a result. This is especially true when those who grew up Adventist rebelled, went out into “the world,” and came back with a conversion experience similar to Paul’s. Sometimes we promote the returned prodigal at the expense of not affirming the virtues of remaining in the faith. Thanks to the reminders pointed out; I am encouraged.
My face is wet with tears as I write this. Not from sorrow, but from the blessed joy James Nix shared with everyone about growing up Adventist. My own teen years centered in the ‘50s and everything he wrote resonated with my soul.

These many years later we still wait. But our waiting is not in vain, for we are closer, ever closer to Christ’s coming. Thank you for sharing and blessing us with these wonderful truths and memories revisited. I praise God that I, too, grew up Adventist.

Betty Burnett
Crystal Falls, Michigan

Evolution Sunday

I can understand why some churches might observe “Evolution Sunday” (March 23, 2006). The question arises: Which Lutherans? Certainly not the Missouri or the Wisconsin Synods. Also, which Baptists? Would it be Southern Baptists? Probably not.

The editorial needed to be more precise for any one who places a premium on accuracy and honesty. It is for such reasons that the Missouri Synod recently passed a resolution saying the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ECLA) is no longer Lutheran.

Ron Thomsen

Seeker Sense and Non-sense

So-called “seeker” type ways of attracting the post-modern, sophisticated, and highly-secular, Western culture to Adventism in the United Kingdom comes under a variety of labels and approaches (See Is Seeker Sense Just Non-Sense?). However, what strikes me most is what they all share in common--the missing heart-beat of historic Seventh-day Adventism--i.e., the Three Angels Messages, the Investigative Judgment, the state of the dead, and the gift of prophecy.

Moreover, Sabbath school Bible studies are replaced by relational type discussions on spiritual topics. In some cases, the whole Sabbath school hour is gone altogether. A new evangelical-type church within the church is gradually emerging that bears no resemblance to the one I was born into, with its very specific, and often unpopular, end-time message and mission.

Claude Lombart, D.Min.

Courting Trouble

I love my Review, however the article, “Supreme Court Not Ready to Reverse Roe,”  although well written, leaves me with a funny feeling. In previous articles on the subject of the Supreme Court authors were quick to point out that this court could usher in Sunday-keeping because of its extremist, conservative views on every subject. Now we have an article that seems to imply that maybe, just maybe, these “right wing conservative” judges may act out of a historic position, an “originalist” position, and may, in fact, do more to protect us then persecute us. The fact is, we just don’t know all the answers we presume to know.

Why is there so much paranoia about the Supreme Court? We know that persecution is coming, but we don’t know how or when. When John Kennedy was elected president of the United States, the church said this was the time of the end, a Catholic president had to make it the time of the end. Well, it didn’t happen.

I have no doubt Catholicism, Protestantism, and spiritualism are joining forces. But to say this court, by virtue of its conservative make-up, will usher in the time of the end, may be putting on it a spin that is premature. Let’s not act like we are absolutely sure about how all this will play out. Some articles leave me feeling as though you are prognosticators, or news anchors on the 6 o’clock news, putting an Adventist spin on articles. Such spins may not be helpful to your readers. The end will come, but maybe not exactly as predicted.

Just report the news; don’t try and make the news fit Ellen White’s prophecies.

Milton Perkins

Many Versions, One Voice

William G. Johnsson’s editorial, “So Many Versions” (March 16, 2006), was an excellent article as to which is the best Bible translation. The only difficulty I see is when someone in the church service says, “The Scripture text today is . . . Please read along with me,” then the version uses very different words than the one I am using. Sometimes I get lost trying to “follow along.”

Art Miles
Apison, Tennessee

Don’t Forget the Sabbath

I absolutely loved the article, “Sacred Space” (March 16, 2006). I completely understand the pull of the writer in all the wrong directions on Sabbath. As I read my mind began to find peace in the invisible hammock in my mind, a place just for God, me, and my Bible.

I cannot imagine relaxing in my stress filled life. I am more stressed out on Sabbath than any other day. There is getting ready for church and the worry of if I have enough gas to get there. Then there is the struggle for my mind to be still along with my body and just listen and absorb the beauty of the teaching.

I struggle so much to keep the Sabbath in my mind that even if I am absolutely still my body may be resting but my mind is going 500 miles an hour.

Only God can give true Sabbath rest. I long for it, and I am not alone. Say a prayer for all of us whose bodies may be still but whose minds are not. We also want true Sabbath peace.

Debra A. Snipes
Graham, North Carolina

Money for Missions

One of the reasons for the decline in mission offerings is that a lot of churches have discontinued their Sabbath School programs (“Myths of Adventist Mission,” February 23, 2006). They start adult Sabbath School classes with no program and no emphasis on missions, which results in no offerings. There is no mission story, no Mission Spotlight, hence no promotion for missions. People normally don’t give to that which is not kept before them and promoted.

Ralph Harmon
Amarillo, Texas

Give Mary a Break

Walter Scragg’s article, “That Sabbath at Simon’s” (February 23, 2006), helped me remember that Sabbath is truly about grace, mercy, and love. However, I have to take exception to the way Mary was described.

Historically, the Catholic Church described Mary as a prostitute. She is not called one in the Scriptures, and I wish Adventist writers would stop portraying her as such. It is one thing to portray her as a sinner, but it’s another to conjecture a scenario where she might have been the town prostitute and had clients among Jesus’ followers. There is no biblical basis for such conclusions. Again, she was a great sinner (but then, who isn’t). Just call it what it is, not what it might be. It doesn’t take away from the story, and it is a more honest portrayal.

Vicki Perea-McIntyre

Ties that Bind

I greatly appreciate Clifford Goldstein’s columns. His column, “Deductions” (February 23, 2006), piqued my attention. I am 72 and have been a member for 47 years. I have seen many members go, and Goldstein’s column is right on.

When I studied the Bible with my wife’s pastor, he never once mentioned Ellen White; he explained everything from the Bible. In retrospect, I’m not certain how I would have reacted had he used both to explain the doctrines of the church. I love Ellen White and I’m certain she was God’s prophet for these times.

In particular, I was impressed by Goldstein’s last paragraph. We may well be doing those things he described to those who feel the need to try flying without the church for a while. Goldstein’s last sentence should be memorized by everyone in the church as we pray for guidance in relating to others.

Bill Stokes

Pages and Paragraphs

Just a point of information: In Gary Swanson’s interesting article, “The Author’s Sacrifice,” in the On-Line edition of the Adventist Review , he refers to a quotation to which he gives the reference as Christ’s Object Lessons, page 133. However, in the Christian Home Library printing of that text, that reference is found on page 134.3 (if one is familiar with “decimalizing” the page).

Editors might do well to include in authors’ instructions to reference the editions from which they quote--if such exist--as they do with the many reprintings of Ellen White’s works.

Gerald M. Reynolds

Overlooking the Good
The recent article in the Adventist Review commenting on the life and times of Warren G. Harding was unduly harsh to the memory of the president’s sister, Carolyn, and her husband, Heber H. Votaw (“The Nearly Adventist President,” January 26, 2006). Practically nothing was said of the contribution this couple made to the Adventist church during most of the first half of the past century. Their pioneering work in Burma early in the twentieth century not only laid the foundations of the church in that country, but reached out into India and then on to the world field.

And what about the years and years of capable leadership Elder Votaw gave in the Religious Liberty Department of the General Conference?

On one occasion, when they were missionaries in Burma, Carolyn took the opportunity of giving a hot, weary, and thirsty mail carrier something with which to quench his thirst.

This Hindu man from India was so impressed with this gentle act that he inquired about the Votaws’ work and eventually became a Seventh-day Adventist. Back in his native village, Lakavaram, on the banks of the Godavary River in the state of Andhra, he influenced almost the entire village to become Adventist. I had the privilege and pleasure of visiting it a few years ago. Many, many workers and lay members from that village have made, and are continuing to make, India-wide, even world-wide, contributions to spreading the gospel.

Charles H. Tidwell
Collegedale, Tennessee