September 14, 2006

Web Letters

A Message from Jan Paulsen


Dear Adventist Review readers:
I wish to express my appreciation for messages of hope and encouragement that were sent at the time of my mother’s death. There have been numerous instances of casualty and loss amongst us. To each of you, I extend an invitation to daily meet with our wonderful Lord and Savior who knows each of our needs and desires. Let us constantly remember His magnificent plan, and may we daily extend ourselves in labor and in fellowship to those who are needing His love and grace.
Yours in His service,
Jan Paulsen, President
The Assurance of Salvation
J. David Newman’s “Can I Know I’m Saved? (Adventist Review, August 24, 2006) was a great blessing to me. He has advanced a very sound explanation of Ellen G. Whites’ statement in Christ’s Object Lessons, thus, “Those who accept the Savior, however sincere their conversion, should never be taught to say or feel that they are saved. Everyone should be taught to cherish hope and faith; but even when we give ourselves to Christ and know that He accepts us, we are not beyond the reach of temptation” (p.155).
It is quite true that there are many Adventists and other Christians, and possibly even pastors, who are uncertain about their salvation. While it is appropriate to watch lest we fall to danger of trusting to ourselves and lose sight of our weaknesses and need of divine strength, it is still possible to enjoy the assurance of salvation now and live radiant lives filled with the hope of Christ’s soon return to take us to heaven.
Pastor Tom Ogal, Executive Secretary
Seventh-day Adventist Church, KenyaLake Field
Kendu Bay, Kenya
I wish to thank you so very much for publishing the article “Can I Know That I Am Saved?” (August 24 issue). Wow! What a beautiful and inspiring story! Oh, how I needed to hear this!
I had begun to have doubts, concerning my salvation. After serving more than 10 years for trespassing the law of God and the law of man, and then receiving a 12-month “flop” taking me into my 11th year of incarceration, I began to allow my mind to entertain the idea that, perhaps, I was not justified in God’s sight after all! Perhaps, my salvation was not assured.
Thank you for this timely reminder of God’s love for me and giving me back something priceless. Yes! I can (and do) know I’m saved because the Bible tells me so.
Richard Dibell
Coldwater, Michigan

Our Solution

I fully concur with David Trim’s ("Encountering Diversity") assessment that ‘…four decades of materialism have left many Western people “increased with goods” but with empty hearts. Many yearn to be made complete. There are strong indications that now, perhaps more than for many years, there is a ready-made market for good news of a Lord whose “yoke is easy” and “burden is light” and who gives rest for their souls (Matt.11:28-30, NKJV). The challenge is to find creative ways to communicate that gospel to those who need to hear it.’

I think that the Adventist Church in North America and Europe would grow significantly if they could clearly articulate and demonstrate the internal peace and satisfaction that comes with a close relationship with Jesus. The majority of the population of these countries is not interested in splitting doctrinal hairs. Yet they are open to empirical evidence that what Adventism offers is personally beneficial. If we adapt our message to the needs of our audience and focus on why Adventism works for “me,” we would not turn off people who are comfortable in a pluralistic society. People will only be interested in our “solution” if we can clearly explain how it solves a problem they acknowledge having. What we have is so valuable that it is a shame that we lead with issues that our audience considers non-essential.
James Wilson
Brookings, Oregon
Who’s Right?
After reading the article, “Who’s Right?” I just had to write. I hear people say often that they are sick of everyone claiming to be the only true church. Although we are the only true church, according to the Scriptures, it is not something that we should be glad or proud of. I don’t want to be the only true church. It breaks my heart to see people argue over who is right and who is wrong.
When I was a little girl, my own father left church because two so-called Christians were arguing over which church he should go to. He never went back. How different my entire family would have been if my father stayed in church and had raised us in church—any church.
How I wish that we would all follow the counsel of the writer of this article when she said, “Being right isn’t always what is most important. Dealing with others in respectful and caring manner often represents Christ much more fully than zealously making it clear that our stand on a doctrine or a healthful lifestyle principle is the one supported by the Bible.”
No one led me to the Adventist church but God alone. Not once, not twice, but three times until I was baptized and He works a miracle everyday to keep me in church and doing His will. God is our teacher. We are to introduce people to Christ, not our doctrines, and then get out of the way. God will not let us know. Ezekiel 36:25-29 says, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleanness.”
God is not a liar. He will keep His promises to us which are abundant throughout the Scriptures. Wonderful scriptures, wonderful God!
Debra Snipes
Graham, North Carolina

Goldstein and Those Words

Although I like Clifford Goldstein’s articles, and enjoy learning new words, I think that in the case of “eupraxophies,” he is gong too far. Probably a case of egotistical obfuscation.

John Christoffers
Plainfield, New Jersey
I have yet to see the “29th Fundamental Belief,” which states that the Review must be “read cover to cover” as many letter writers say they do and as commendable as that is; but I pick and choose. Recalling that one of the cardinal principles of “Bonehead English 101” is that a writer must communicate in language easily understood by one’s hearer, reader, and/or listener.
Mostly I choose not to read anything of Goldstein’s because of what I perceive to be obscure and convoluted reasoning, couched in Funk and Wagnall’s words and phrases that “passeth understanding.” I’d have a hard time proving that he’s writing for the one percent of the intellectually elite, but to this average learner, that’s exactly how it seems.
I love him because he’s a fellow human being, a sincere Christian, and has traveled a life-road to be admired. But his writing passes me by on the other side of the road! I’ll check on him every once in a while to see if there’s improvement, but I have to tell you that the first word or phrase I encounter that forces me to interrupt my reading by driving me to one of my several dictionaries, or to my computer spell-check or e-thesaurus, I’m “outta there.”
Richard R. Williams
McMinnville, Oregon