I appreciate the outstanding article, “Messages to Young People
” (Feb. 28, 2008). We all need to be accepting of children, as Julia Vernon pointed out in her article, “Don’t Hinder Them.”
“Jane Smith’s” “Positive Reinforcement” is an important wake-up call for all of us to see the dangers of modern society. Instead of Christian growth, there has been a downward trend in standards. Are we like Israel of old, where after a revival there was a falling away? Let’s move away from this Laodicean condition and return to God’s holy standards.
I’d like to see an article in the Review warning our people about the dangers of being deceived by con artists. It’s easy to be deceived. [I know] one person who has been hoping to make it rich by foolish investments, even borrowing to invest, thus going into debt. In 40 years nothing has come through, but about a million dollars has been thrown into bags with holes in them. Please have someone with know-how write an enlightening article on the subject. Money should be invested in the work, instead of being wasted on con artists.
I love reading the Review! My only complaint is that have a hard time putting it down. The two halves of the “Messages to Young People” article really hit home for me, and I feel the frustration of living between the two.
I more naturally resonate with “Positive Reinforcement,” and have often felt condemned and/or disregarded by those who feel that upholding standards is antithetical to a loving relationship with Jesus. Because it seems that some of these people really are concerned with character development of kids, and the kids seem to love these people who are lots of “fun,” I can understand completely why “Jane Smith” would use a pseudonym.
I would, however, love to talk with her, share encouragement, and pray together. May God give us wisdom and fill us with His Spirit to be like Jesus. When He called the little child to Him as an example to the disciples, saying they had to become like little children, I believe it was a child who was teachable and dependent, not one who longed to be as much like the world as possible. God bless “Jane Smith,” and give us courage to hear and obey Him, to lead our children to follow Him, and not to allow them to convince us to follow the world.
After reading the thrilling story of the “Little Rock Nine” (“Nine Children Face an Angry Town
,” Feb. 21, 2008), I’m writing out of respect for the one of the nine who was a church member. Let’s fix this segregated church problem. Let’s not think of race, since we love whatever race we are. Let’s think of geography. Let’s think of not having any conferences that overlap geographically.
The article by Gavin Anthony, “Surviving the Storms
” (Feb. 21, 2008), was excellent. Having been through some “storms” myself, I really appreciated his message.
Difficult times helped me rely on Jesus, Who has promised that He will never leave us to face these times alone. Only recently, however, have I experienced what Anthony mentioned: “I can have peace only when I finally understand that I cannot prevent the storms from coming.”
I need not worry about the future, because God will not allow anything to happen that will not ultimately be for my good. I just need to trust the Captain of the boat. He’s not going to get out of the boat and leave me alone.
Garden Grove, California
Power in the Word
Regarding Sari Fordham’s column, “Earthquake”
(Feb. 14, 2008):
Our church did not begin “because a group of young people resisted rituals and traditions.” True Reformers led by God are not in rebellion against the “status quo.”
The apostle Paul started out with such zeal for the “establishment” that he did all he could to stamp out the upstart new way people. But God arrested his mad rage, sent him to those who could show him things from the Scriptures, then sent him into the desert for three years to study and learn from the Scriptures the truth about Jesus. Only then was he ready to be the apostle of such great change. It was all based on the Word of God.
Martin Luther was an ardent Roman Catholic monk. If anyone could be saved by “monkish” works, it was he. But through his study of Scripture, God led him to truths that had to be recovered. He began by simply wanting to discuss abuses and get the “proper authorities” to make changes according to the Bible.
William Miller wasn’t trying to change anything. He just told people what he was learning from his study of the Bible. James White didn’t want to be a preacher; he wanted to be a teacher and make money. Ellen Harmon was so shy and fearful she did not even want to pray in front of other people.
But God got hold of these people through their study of His Word. As they yielded themselves in obedience to the Word, the Holy Spirit moved them to become agents of change.
“We need something new,” or “times are different” are not valid reasons for change. “This is how we always do it” is an equally invalid reason for what we do.
Everything should be based on the Word of God. Many things in the Seventh-day Adventist Church need changing because in many areas we are looking to “the nations around us” for our ideas and methods.
True change does not come through an attitude of “resistance” or rebellion. True change only comes as people study God’s revealed will, and practice and share it with those around them. Then the Spirit of God will work and we will see changes that result in salvation for eternity.
Read All About It
Friday night. My sermon is ready for tomorrow. I kick back and read the two Reviews
I haven’t had time to read. I look at the editorial: “Brave People
,” by Roy Adams (Feb. 28, 2008). It should be worthwhile.
Like Adams, I don’t feel I have been a major actor on the world’s stage. I’ve been close a few times, and I’ve known some really brave people. My Mom and Dad, now 90 and 91, lived through the Great Depression and World War II. I met Desmond Doss a couple of times. I have known a bunch of returned missionaries, which brings me to my point:
Bravery comes from two places. The first is from within ourselves, through the power of God. The second is by example. I’ve been blessed to be able to observe a lot of brave people. At age 10, I was asked to serve as church librarian for our small church in east Tennessee. In the days of the Missionary Volunteer reading clubs, I got to read all the books first. I “know” Leo Haliwell, Keith Argraves, James and Ellen White, Joseph Bates, J. N. Andrews. I also know Enny, Meeny, Minny, Mo, and Still-Mo.
So here’s my plea: bring back the reading club books. Give us kids now in middle age, and our kids and grandkids heroes to read about; brave people who will serve as role models when we have to be brave. And don’t water them down. Tell solid stories with real values. I’ll start buying that kind of book again.
In the other Review I read Friday night, I came across an example of bravery. Fredrick Russell took on the establishment in his column, “The Obama Message” (Feb. 21, 2008). It’s past time for us to deal with the issue of racially segregated conferences. I don’t know what the solution will look like, but it will require changing the entire structure of the church in North America. It will require brave people stepping out in faith to change the status quo. To quote Russell, “It will not be a Black . . . , White . . . , Asian . . . , or a Hispanic Adventist church that will reach our world. The Adventist Church together will do it.”
OK, where do we put our feet for the next step?
Pastor Clarence Small
Part of Life
The Adventist Review is my letter from home; I wouldn’t want to miss it. As a fourth-generation Adventist and a retired Adventist school teacher, the Review has always been part of my life.
I push the Review in my church as an elder and Personal Ministries leader. The members I nurture become Review readers too.
Kathryn D. Ratzel