March 24, 2009

1509 Web Letters

Harvest Tales
I am an avid reader of the online version of Adventist Review. I read with excitement and joy the article, “Treasures From the Farm” (Mar. 19, 2009). It was a blessing indeed with such profound and deep spiritual insights. I am a first generation Adventist and these kinds of stories are always enriching in many ways.
Lungelo Solombela
Cape Town, South Africa

What a special blessing Merle Poirier’s article was! What special lessons she has learned and is able to pass on.
Betti Knickerbocker
Laurel, Maryland

Focus on Forgiveness
Roy Adams’ article, “Seventy Time Seven” (Feb. 26, 2009), is deeply thought-provoking.
Almost exactly 21 years ago (March 16) our second son, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, was shot and brutally murdered. It was an anti-Adventist murder, and we feel the gunmen who did this gruesome act did not know what they did; they simply took the money and did the act. My wife and I have forgiven them, but they never asked for forgiveness.
So my question: Do we have to forgive those who do not ask for it? Does God forgive even when we don’t ask for it? Does the sacrifice of Christ on the cross mean that everybody is now forgiven, or does it mean that forgiveness is available?
We know from Romans 5 that God loved us while we were yet enemies and sinners, but does it mean we were forgiven at the same time, before we came to repentance? Does 1 John 1:9 apply before we confess our sins, or after we confess?
While Adams tries to answer some questions about forgiveness, his article also raises other questions.
Jan T. Knopper
Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

Adams left out a most important part. According to Luke 17:3 the key phrase is, “if he repent, forgive him.” These are direct words, written in red, spoken by our Redeemer.
Audrey Newman Rice
Nampa, Idaho

Unconditional Mercy?
Regarding Bill Knott’s editorial, “Completely at the Mercy” (Feb. 26, 2009):
Our Savior’s love has not, is not, and will never be unconditional. Many scriptural examples could be given. We must obey Him or His love eventually turns to His wrath, unmixed with mercy. The flood is just one example.
The one caveat on receiving God’s mercy is obedience, strict obedience. “For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy” (James 2:13).
Howard Loewen
New Cumberland, West Virginia

Engaged in Ministry
I read with interest Jimmy Phillips’ article, “Like Water Between Our Fingers” (Feb. 19, 2009), about holding our youth and young adults in the church.
Our major fault is that many of them have not been taught Adventism’s unique role in world history, to warn the world of Christ’s ongoing judgment of all humanity. Jesus Himself said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14, NIV). See our message also in Revelation 14:6-20.
Most helpful is George R. Knight’s book, The Apocalyptic Vision and the Neutering of Adventism, which he counts as the most important of his career.
Norman L. Meager
Dayton, Ohio

I agree with Jimmy Phillips. There is one more roadblock that wasn’t even mentioned: young women coming out of our colleges are used to being involved and fully accepted in church leadership and activities. Then they arrive at a church out there in the real world and they have a good chance of finding no women elders, and women not allowed to teach or preach. They may be on a fast career track; their ideas and abilities are recognized and valued; but not at church. What are they going to do? Will they stick it out? I hope so. But I know from experience how difficult that can be.
In the same issue, Fredrick A. Russell mentioned a related problem (“The Changing Face of the Church”). As he noted, women compose the majority of our membership. However, in Year End Meetings, Annual Councils, and General Conference Sessions women make up about 10 to 20 percent of the delegates--at most. Until something is done about ordination, nothing will change. So many delegate positions are ex officio: conference and union conference presidents; these positions require ordination. Our General Conference president and others talk about including women, and that’s good. Now we have to do something about it.
May God lead us to be inclusive.
Ardis Stenbakken
Loveland, Colorado