August 24, 2009

1524 Web Letters

Separating Wheat from Chaff
Sorting our beliefs with information presented as factual is often tricky and at times may be emotionally explosive. Within the span of a week, four unusual e-mails crossed my computer monitor.

The first featured a shaky video of a stunt plane losing one wing in flight. The pilot applied power, reversed rudder, and “helicoptered” the plane to a phenomenal landing. My pilot brother questioned the authenticity of the video.

Then, two sensational political e-mails that were described as “powerful evidence for the last days” rolled through. Both were retracted within days as being a hoax. The fourth e-mail however was genuine. It was intellectually sound and emotionally loaded. The writer passionately shared his view on the topic of origins and what he felt others within Adventism should be doing to clarify the church’s position on the topic.

Then, just weeks later, the article, “Paulsen Speaks on Issue of Origins” appeared (Jul. 9, 2009). The topic was presented in a manner that generated more light than heat. My thanks to Paulsen for espousing biblical principles in a unifying manner that draws us closer to God.

Michael Gentry
Chesapeake, Virginia

The Story Behind the Story I read with interest Roy Adams’ editorial, “What Determines Where We Go?” (Jun. 18, 2009), where he mentioned the witness of Anne Juliussen in Vardø, northern Norway, the only member of the local Adventist church. Here is an update on Anne Juliussen, and a sequel to her life story:

By the time Richard Utt’s article was published in Adventist Review in 1999, Anne had for health reasons moved from Vardø to live with her daughter, Jill, in Fredrikstad in southern Norway. Here she died in 2000. But her witness did not die.

After her mother’s death Jill started attending the Adventist church in Fredrikstad, and in 2003 she came to the pastor and requested baptism. She had determined to follow in her mother’s footsteps and keep the flame burning, even if not in the town of Vardø. Today Jill is a faithful member of the Fredrikstad church, witnessing to family, friends, neighbors, and fellow church members, often quoting her mother: “My mother always said . . . .” Anne Juliussen’s witness still lives.

Odd-Henrik Olsen, pastor
Fredrikstad Adventist Church
Moss, Norway

Blessed by the Health Message
In my work as director of Health Ministries in British Columbia for the last 13 years, I have found our members and the community public to be dynamically interested in health issues. Looking at the public ignorance that still prevails in the face of so much evidence on the toll of lifestyle diseases, and the precarious condition of health care in North America, I would think such interest would only increase.

In all my nearly 40 years of denominational work, I too am convinced that the “school of health in every church” concept that Ellen White envisioned is thoroughly realized in the CHIP model discussed in “Falling Apart or Pressing Together?” (Jun. 25, 2009). It encompasses all that residential lifestyle programs do and more, but at a miniscule cost to participants. And it does so with more effectiveness because it is undertaken with peers in a home setting that is familiar and practical for welding in place the principles and practices of a newly discovered lifestyle. This health initiative pulls church family together like none other I have witnessed.

From its inception in Creston, British Columbia, more than 20 years ago, with nearly 400 of the community attending, CHIP has grown to nearly 500 Chapters in North America and beyond. In a division with more than 6,000 churches, imagine what could be accomplished to improve the health of our nation and open the door for many to receive the gospel if our churches would embrace this structured CHIP method.

Frank R. McMiller
British Columbia

The “Good Health—More Than an Apple a Day” issue of the Review was excellent. We need to feature our health message more often. Even though Ellen White says that the health message is the right arm of the Adventist message, not nearly enough attention is paid to it.

The article “Ellen White’s Top 8 Tips” in the KidsView inserted in that issue listed quotes that if rearranged would be identical to the NEWSTART principles taught in many of our churches. Those eight items are the backbone of the health message that we are blessed with as a church. Thanks for providing something to attract kids.

I especially enjoyed the article, “Falling Apart or Pressing Together?” There is much diversity among our members, and every locale has different issues and different needs. Health, just as spirituality, is full of choices. Both impact our lives. The choices we make about what we do or don’t do every day will make a difference in our eternal life. The food choices we make every day will make a difference in our physical life. Is there a difference? Our choices in both areas impact our ability to serve the One who gave His all for us. I especially liked these three comments:

Hans Diehl: “We don’t accept and practice a healthful lifestyle because we want to be saved but because we have been saved.”

John Kelly: “People don’t care what I know until they know that I care, so I believe Jesus’ method is the one that gives us success.”

Peter Landless: “Demonstrate tolerance, loving inclusion, and bridge differences with caring correctiveness, pressing together and not driving apart.”

As a world church we would do well to place more importance on providing information about health. Programs like NEWSTART, Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP), Depression Recovery, and others need to be promoted on a regular basis. Those at the grass roots level often don’t know there are programs (or where to find them) that can help them offer health classes to their communities that will ultimately help them make friends for Jesus.

Please have more articles on health. The study being done at Loma Linda University has repeatedly shown that God’s health principles add not only more years to our lives, but more productive years to our lives. Our physical health is closely tied to our spiritual health. We need a good balance to both.

Every issue of the Review should be balanced with articles about our physical health, full of information to help us make those choices. An issue devoted to health should be an annual one. Thank you for this one.

Peggy West
Greeneville, Tennessee

No Simple Answers
Regarding, “Should I Vaccinate My Child?”: There is grave danger in printing such a simple article on such a hotly debated topic. Unless you reference both sides of an issue (requiring volumes in the case of vaccines), it’s best left alone. Such a simple, almost snide response is an insult to those who have devoted years of research to this topic. Kids’ lives are at stake here. Leave it to parents to research and find their own answers from current medical experts, without bias from Adventist Review, as if this were a salvation issue. Adventist Review should stick to religious issues or natural remedies, not modern medicine.

Brenda Trace

Smallpox, Whooping Cough, Measles, Polio, and other diseases that had been mostly wiped out thanks to the use of modern vaccines, are now making a comeback; in part because of studies purporting to link vaccines with other health risks to children. The “science” behind these claims is questionable, at best. We believe the science reflected in our recent health issue is not just a matter of faith; it can also be supported by the latest scientific findings.—Editors

Can He Do Both?
I’m writing to comment on the article, “New Man at Jamaica’s Helm,” and ask why valuable space in your magazine has been devoted to a person who has decided to quit serving God and enter politics.

Secular news media have had this story out months ago. It was my impression that the Review and associated magazines were for the publishing of spiritual articles and articles about those who are serving God and winning souls for eternity.

Mark Kellner also inserted Patrick Allen’s title as “The Most Honorable . . . .” Seventh-Day Adventists reserve high titles only for God. Are we becoming like other Christian denominations that give themselves titles like reverend, archbishop, and the like?

A mortal who quits serving the King of kings and Lord of lords to serve in a political capacity has left many Seventh-Day Adventists baffled.

Two Bible verses come to mind:

Mark 12:17: “And Jesus answering said unto them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’” (KJV).

Matthew 6:24: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (KJV). Given that Jesus was our chief Shepherd here on earth and still is today, pastors who are ordained are obviously called by God and are pastors for life, if they claim to be followers of Jesus.

My humble request is for editors not to waste time publishing political articles but use the space wisely, promoting more of Ellen White’s writings and articles about being ready for the soon return of Jesus Christ.

Harold Gotting

Sir Patrick Allen was not required to turn in his ministerial credentials when he became governor-general of Jamaica. He remains an ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister. The ceremonial titles that accompany his new role simply reflect whatever titles Joseph, Daniel, and Esther assumed when they served in the court of their nations’ monarch.—Editors