April 18, 2006

Web Letters

Women and the Church
Isn’t it interesting that we report, affirm, and admire the work of women who speak out to the United Nations regarding equal rights, protections, and opportunities for women (“Adventist Women Advocate Gender Equlaity at the UN” ), but we don’t offer them the same rights, protections, and opportunities within our own church organization? It is time, indeed way past time, that we stop playing games with regard to the role of women in ministry.

We carefully use politically correct verbiage and “commission” rather than “ordain,” when the women involved are doing, on average, a better job than the men we ordain much of the time. God does not change, but our world certainly has. And we, as a church family, had better be willing to make changes that reflect changes in perception of gender equality. If this results in a changing of our standards I am absolutely convinced that it would only be in an upward direction.

Marvin Wray, senior pastor
Napa, California

Growing Up Adventist

Thank you for publishing “Growing up Adventist: No Apologies Needed” (Mar. 23, 2006). James Nix really struck the nail on the head. There were those of us, I might say many of us, in those days who understood that more was expected of us as Seventh-day Adventist Christians and because we had accepted Christ as our Savior, we wanted our lives to make a difference not only to our friends and families, but also to all with whom we daily came into contact. We did not consider it legalism. We were challenged to live our lives in witness for our Lord.

Harry Mayden
Hagerstown, Maryland
James Nix’s article, “Growing Up Adventist,” paints a warm, nostalgic picture of the Adventist church during his childhood. My recollections from the fifties are equally pleasant, but I do remember older members then telling me how much better our church was in their good old days.

In some ways they were right. Blacks and women were more respected in the first third of our church history (while Ellen White was alive) than in the middle third. And they are treated better today than when James Nix and I were growing up Adventist. So it’s not all downhill.

David Patterson
Ooltewah, Tennessee

Evolution’s Missing Link

Roy Adams’ editorial, “Evolution Sunday” (Mar. 23, 2006), gives new meaning to the phrase “missing link.” It is not King Kong and his kind who bridge the gap between man and beast. The real missing link for Christians of all faiths is the fact that the weekly Sabbath still survives. It is my prayer that earnest Christians around the world will take a second look at the Savior and His real missing link.
Nancy Troyer
Banning, California
So Many Choices
I was delighted by the editorial, “So Many Versions” (Mar. 16, 2006). Many years ago I bought the book by Kubo and Specht with the same title, and that inspired me to start a collection of English Bible translations. My database (and bookshelves) now has 156 different translations of all or part of the Bible. I wish I could say I have read all of them, but I haven’t. But I have read parts of each of them and probably all of the introductions. While a very few Bibles are produced with a self-serving agenda, the vast majority are produced by people who love the Scriptures and want to share what they see in the Word of God. We are so blessed to have such great resources and the freedom to use them.
Bob Dahl
Plymouth, Minnesota
William Johnsson’s editorial regarding the quality of the different versions was long overdue. I appreciate his thoughts in this regard, and find his list of recommended translations revealing.

I write quite a bit, and I’m enamored (for lack of a better word) with the English language. But I’m still trying to guess the reason for the adjective used regarding the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). Johnsson said, “The NRSV uses inclusive language.” I know the meaning of each word, but I’m at a loss to understand what he’s saying when the two are put together.

I have the NRSV, and find that it appears to have a definite agenda---a feminist bent. I may be misunderstood, and probably branded a chauvinist for saying that, but more than 800 words in the translation have been mistranslated in order to lean in that direction.

I like the New International Version, realizing it has its own draw-backs. I could name a good many more texts where its translation misconstrues the intent of the original author, but the overall work appeals to me, and I most often quote from that translation in my writing. I still quote texts from the King James Version I memorized as a boy, and find it difficult to memorize other translations.

Thurman C. Petty, Jr.
Burleson, Texas
Too Much Separation?
After reading the article, “Court Intrigue” (Feb. 23, 2006), I just had to respond.

We are concerned for our religious liberties and separation of church and state, but do we really practice separation of church and state as a denomination?

Examples: We continue to deduct tithe, offerings, and tangible gifts on our income tax returns.

We continue to enjoy tax-free real estate for our churches, schools, and office buildings.

Our institutions of higher learning continue to take government money in the form of government student loans, grants, and G.I. student funds. However, we openly reject and campaign against vouchers for our younger students in elementary church schools.

Schools that at one time had four or five teachers are now down to one or two, or have completely closed. Due to a lack of funds enrollment is down and teachers are not being rehired. Many parents cannot afford church school tuition. Some parents can home school their children, but many cannot.

The state isn’t closing our schools. We, as a denomination, are doing it. The public schools are educating our impressionable young students when we should be providing these children with a Christian education.

At His Second Coming, will the Lord require of our church leaders, as well as our parents: “Where are the children that I gave you to train for me? Why are they not at My right hand?” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 424).

Patricia Kovalski, retired teacher
Collegedale, Tennessee