August 18, 2010

1528 Web Letters

Sheltered, Or Scattered?

I’m writing to reply to Reinder Bruinsma’s article, “The Babylonian Temptation, Making a Name For OurselvesAdventist Review Online, Aug. 23, 2007:
Thank you for this article. I have thought about the benefits of being scattered throughout society. In my online graduate studies I was able to share Ellen White’s statement about the relationship of education and redemption. A Lutheran pastor wrote to me stating he knew there was a relationship between education and redemption, he just didn’t have a source to back it up. Now he does. The article made me consider the number of non-Adventist friends I have. My intention is to build this percentage even more.
I was a taxi driver at one time. Meeting rich and poor, intellectual and “uneducated” gave me many wonderful opportunities to witness for Christ. It did wonders for my Christian experience.
I chuckled regarding Bruinsma’s point of one making a name for themselves by being the “organist in the local church.” Admittedly, that is a powerful temptation I struggle with, since I am an organist myself. Nevertheless, musicians should keep in mind that they have a special privilege and power in the ministry of moving hearts and minds (including their own) heavenward.
God has many rich blessings and unbelievable answers to our prayers awaiting us, especially in these final days of earth’s history, if we will only scatter.
David Battle
Mishawaka, Indiana

Pottermania, or Potterphobia?
In the news release by Mark A. Kellner about Steve Wohlberg concerning what he calls “Pottermania” (Aug. 23, 2007), Wohlberg decries the popularity of what he considers a dangerous promotion of the occult among young people. I think he and his ilk are really overreacting to this whole Harry Potter phenomenon.
Children have always lived in a fantasy world of fairytales full of talking animals, good and bad witches, wizards, and magic from Mother Goose to Alice in Wonderland. As a child I thoroughly enjoyed Dorothy’s adventures in the Land of Oz, and, even though as an adult I have put away childish things, I enjoy an occasional rerun of the movie with its witches, talking scarecrow, tin man, cowardly lion, and of course, the bumbling but lovable wizard.
Do I detect a little professional jealously as author Wohlberg considers the 350 million copies of the seven-volume series of Harry Potter that have sold world-wide? Evidently “Pottermania” is more popular than “Potterphobia.”
John McConnell
Citrus Heights, California

Slow Down, There
I was disturbed by “The Wausau Church Story” (Aug. 9, 2007). While the leaders of this particular congregation are to be commended for their zeal for young people, their approach is unscriptural, divisive, and misguided.
It is telling indeed that not one Bible text or quote from Ellen White appears in the entire article to address the issue. Instead we get divisive demographics and mega-church business tactics. It seems as though numbers outweigh truth in importance.
Worst of all, we have an endorsement of Sabbath-breaking by the youth who skip Sabbath School in order to go to a place of business to “witness” by having a book club where “all opinions and spiritual interests are welcome,” and where each person is told to “work on their own path to God.”
It is true that all need to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12), and that God has many and varied ways and means of reaching people. But our message is to proclaim Jesus Christ as did Peter: “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
When are we going to stop dividing and labeling people by age? We are all one in Christ (Gal. 3:28). We are not “boomers” and “busters.” Regardless of age, we all need the grace of Christ. I don’t need to adopt a relativistic, entertainment view of religion simply because I was born well after 1964. The church of God is not a business to satisfy worldly-minded consumers. Jesus and Paul did not adopt this approach. Why should we?
Perhaps the Wausau church leaders believe they are being “all things to all men” (1 Cor. 9:22). But when there is compromise of principle, the breaking of God’s law, and the message that truth does not matter, it is rather a case of trying to do evil that good may result (Rom. 3:8).
Do we Adventists still have a distinctive message to give to the world? Notwithstanding Mr. Enquist’s view, this message does involve the critique of others’ theology. The three angels’ messages (Rev. 14:6-12) involve calling people out of Babylon (apostate Christianity).
How do we reach young people? The Bible and other inspired writings give us the answers. “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your Word” Psalm 119:9. And Ellen White wrote: “The reason why the youth, and even those of mature years, are so easily led into temptation and sin, is that they do not study the word of God and meditate upon it . . . . The lack of firm, decided will power . . . results from neglect of the sacred instruction of God’s word.” We should “let the youth make the word of God the food of mind and soul. Let the cross of Christ be made the science of all education, the center of all teaching and all study. Let it be brought into the daily experience in practical life. So will the Savior become to the youth a daily companion and friend. Every thought will be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (The Ministry of Healing, pp. 458, 460).
It is the Word of God our people need. Not pigeon-holing into a demographic, being entertained by the things of the world, or being told that truth does not matter. God’s Word, which reveals Jesus Christ, always has been and always will be the answer.
Timothy Arena
Bloomington, Indiana

A Good Book and a Bowl of Soup
Sari Fordham’s childhood recollections (Sept. 13, 2007) took many of us back to the books we read as children, or read to children, nieces, and nephews. Many of us remember the “clip clop, clip clop,” of Small Donkey’s hooves in the Baby Jesus story in My Bible Friends. However, these delightful preschool books were written by Etta B. Degering, not Arthur Maxwell, as Fordham’s column states.
Shirley Mulkern
Copyrights & Permissions
Review & Herald Publishing Association
Hagerstown, Maryland

More Mileage for the Money
At the end of Bill Knott’s editorial, “Hopeless in Gaza” (Jul. 19, 2007), he listed several organizations to which people can contribute to make a difference in world hunger.
I would suggest another possibility: With just one click of the mouse people can make a contribution to fighting world hunger everyday without spending a cent, because this website is sponsored by a number of organizations. Check it out for yourself.
Ralph C. Wood
Assistant Professor, Agriculture Department
Andrews University

Frontline Observations
I’m grateful for the article, Young Adventist in a World of War” (Jun. 14, 2007). But weapons are a minor issue, even in a combat zone. Ninety percent of us have not had to use them in a combat situation because of the unique war we are fighting with VBIEDs roadside, vehicle born bombs. The folks in Camp Phoenix can show you a piece of shrapnel that went through a wooden barrier at 150 meters. I showed this to Dr. Hart of Loma Linda University in June when he visited Kabul.
There are so many things I could say to a prospective deployee. My advice to is to continue and enhance your devotions, get involved in humanitarian missions, and stay in touch with your church and fellow believers. This experience is a trying, but I have overcome so far by studying the Bible and paralleling it with Ellen White’s writings in The Story of Redemption. Isaiah 42 16 is one of many verses I would also pass along.
I am a Navy chief retiring at the close of this involuntary recall to active duty in six months and 12 days, currently stationed in Camp Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan.
Jeffrey Reppert
Kabul, Afghanistan