November 10, 2010

Web Letters 11-1-10

Missing Him Already
With real sorrow I learned Roy Adams is moving on. His editorials have been an absolute delight, so thought provoking and global in concept. Many editorials, unfortunately, are very “American,” with little relevance to those of us who live far away. Adams’ have been the only ones that really impacted my life. I look forward to meeting him when he comes to our camp meeting early next year.
Life has been difficult for those of us who live in Christchurch, New Zealand after the powerful earthquake also described in the same issue (Oct. 14, 2010). We have much to be grateful for, as we do not have the dreadful on-going tragedy of places like Haiti. But we have experienced more than 1,000 aftershocks, many very large; people are stressed and frightened. I am one of them, although I trust God. Global thinking like Adams’ is such a blessing to people like us. It reminds us that the time is indeed near for Jesus’ return.
I also thank you for “Grace, Free Will, and Judgment,” the article about Jacob Arminius, the identity and impact of whom I only learned about earlier this year while pursuing doctoral studies at Avondale College. I wonder how many other unsung heroes contributed to our spiritual heritage.
--Elizabeth Ostring
Christchurch, New Zealand
I will miss Roy Adams. The one thing that I liked about his writing is that it was written differently than “normal” religious articles. He would not take the easy way of writing, but would give us the facts and how they affect the Seventh-day Adventist church and its members. In fact, I read his articles before any others, because of his frankness of information. No sugar coating! Did I agree with everything? Maybe not; but do we agree on everything from one human?
He will be missed. We need more like him.
--Gary Haynes
No Problem!
I was surprised to read in a recent article, “Taking It Up a Notch” (Adventist World, September 2010) that the “science curriculum on Adventist campuses in North America” is a problem.
As an Adventist college president I must protest. There is no system-wide problem with the teaching of science. While Review readers are aware of a controversy involving several teachers in one department on one campus, it would be outrageous to suggest these reported problems are just the tip of a heretical iceberg!
On this campus, there is certainly no “problem” relating to the teaching of evolution. Without pretending that they have all the answers, our teachers are crystal clear in their affirmation of the authority of Scripture and the reality of an intelligently designed universe. As a group, Adventist science teachers are definitely not deserters in the educational campaign to integrate faith and learning.
Please don’t assume that if there is a problem in one place, there is a problem everywhere.
--Eric Anderson, president
Southwestern Adventist University
Bravo, Goldstein!
Clifford Goldstein’s column, “Paul the Octopus (and the “Underdetermination of Theory by Evidence”) (Oct. 21, 2010) reveals Goldstein’s brilliant mind. I first read one of Goldstein’s books, The Day of the Dragon, in 1988. I’ve read six or seven of his books and many articles since then.

Goldstein is, without doubt, one of the best intellectuals I’ve ever known!
He is a sage, for the Bible states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Prov. 1:7). Goldstein, no matter which intellectual “labyrinth” may enter his fertile mind, its findings and conclusions never jeopardize an “it is written,” but always subscribe to the veracity of a “thus says the Lord!”
A true, honest intellectual never compromises with error; and this is just what Goldstein is all about! What a privilege to have such a modern apostle within God’s remnant church! May God bless him more and more.
--Paulo Cordeiro

The Theology of Relationships
As someone who questioned the church’s relevance in my early 20s, I appreciate Loren Seibold’s accurate assessment that the church suffers from bankrupt relationships (Our Biggest NAD Crisis Isn't Theological —It's Relational, October 14, 2010) . Originally, I thought I distanced myself from the church because of unsatisfying relationships and blatant hypocrisy. Eventually, I had to admit that the real problem was with me and my lack of personal conviction and theological understanding.
Once I’d read the Bible for myself, and examined my beliefs thoroughly, I embraced Adventist faith with new eyes. I learned to overlook the internal problems that used to bother me so much. I have many friends who admit they’re in this church, not because it’s easy or pleasant to stay, but because it’s where God has called them to be. Those of us who return and remain, despite sometimes unpleasant conditions, are able to do so only because we look solely to Christ to fulfill our deepest longings and answer our biggest questions. Fellow members and leaders may carry on and stir things up much as they like, but we’re here to stay.
--Conna Bond
Cleburne, Texas
I loved this article! Spot On! I came into our beloved church from a circuitous route--from Catholicism to Quaker to Adventist. I was studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons; I was on a pilgrimage for truth. I found Adventism through the systematic study of the Scriptures in a Friday night Bible study hosted in the home of an Adventist saint.
Forget that first you have to accept the canon of Holy Scriptures as the gospel. Forget that above all else you accept that Jesus Christ is the Holy One, the Son of the Living God, your Savior and coming King!
I found God’s people odd at first--they were the saints of the can’t do: they can’t eat pork, they can’t wear jewelry, they can’t smoke or drink. I was told to bathe on Friday night and that I must wear a suit and tie to church. For many of my fellow believers, being Adventist was about what they do or don’t do. Saving souls can be a dirty business and cleaning up the lost is best left to the Holy Spirit.
Somewhere in the midst of all this there were godly, grace-oriented saints who understood that the soul of the gospel is reaching lost people. Until our North American congregations allow Christ to sit on His rightful throne within their congregations, we will continue to struggle. When we allow Jesus His rightful place and position, everything falls into place.
--Ed Boyle
Sandy Hook, Virginia
Questions About Christ
In his article, “Confronting a Crisis, Part I (Sept. 9, 2010), Kameron DeVasher indicates that part of the heresy of the holy flesh movement was that its proponents believed that Christ took the nature of Adam before the fall, which led to their holy flesh fanaticism. DeVasher appears, therefore, to indict those scholars and Christians who believe that Christ indeed took on Adam’s pre-fall moral/spiritual nature--that they too are in error--and implicate them as part of the reason for the less than cognitive worship services that are more emotionally driven today.

If DeVasher is not saying or implying this in Part I, he should have indicated that. Is the Review, in printing this, trying to make, or at least allow, a similar point?
--Ken Cartwright
Lubbock, Texas

The Mind and Spiritual Formation
In the article, “Mind Renewal” by Sally Lam-Phoon (Oct, 21, 2010), I am concerned by the statement: “Spiritual transformation is a unique, individualized as well as corporate process. . . . because spiritual formation is a process of being conformed to the image of Christ, for the sake of others.”
From my research on spiritual formation, it appears to be a movement that provides a platform or avenue that promotes contemplative prayer (centering prayer, breath prayers, contemplative spirituality). Jesus taught His disciples to pray to our heavenly Father as a friend. He said, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (Matt. 6:7, KJV).
Some of the authors used in the bibliography embrace spiritual formation. Thank you for considering my thoughts and concerns.
--Marvin Boyd
Camas, Washington