April 22, 2014

April 24, 2014

Joy and Hope

I was touched by the article “Through the Fire” by Luz Alva
Arauzo, relating the struggles of Adventism in Peru (Mar. 20, 2014). How wonderful
to see how God has led in the past to break down prejudice. It brings joy to my
heart to see that Peru now has one of the largest Adventist populations and
growing fast.

I had a Week of Prayer at the
University and met committed young people who will carry the flag of the
gospel. I should mention Alejandro Bullón, a Peruvian evangelist who has brought
thousands to the church.

It also brings to mind the
beginnings of our work in the city of Lages, Santa Catarina, in the southern
part of Brazil. We faced similar problems. My parents moved there in 1949,
after we had all embraced our message in the city of Sao Paulo. Burning with
the fire to go south and start our work in our hometown, where there were no
members, they started a church in our home. They experienced a lot of
opposition from friends and relatives. One of my aunts tried to persuade me not
to study for the ministry.

Later, during my visits to
the city, my aunt would ask me to visit her friends to pray for them. My
parents started the first church, and today we have six churches in the city.
Often when I visited my parents, my relatives would come to church and listen
to the message.

I also remember selling books
in the state of Parana. In one city, I heard that they had burned all the books
sold by the previous colporteur. The Lord blessed and we sold a lot more.

However, as we read in the
article “The Antidote to Religious Fanaticism” by John Graz (Feb. 20, 2014), a
lot of Seventh-day Adventists have been persecuted and killed for their faith
in many countries of the world. We must continue to pray for religious liberty,
and ask the Lord to break down barriers that impede the preaching of our

Ranzolin Sr.

He Said

A famous wordsmith and author once said, “Any writer worth his
salt should challenge readers with at least one new word they have to look up.”
Cliff Goldstein never disappoints in this department. His writing is epistemologically concise (imagine
covering Leibnitz, Hume, Dawkins, Darwin, Hitchens, and Kant all in the same
700 words!), intellectually
pithy, metaphysicallyimaginative,
and full of rigorous logic.

I love Goldstein because in
every article he describes apodicticfaith, pure and simple.

North Carolina

the Edge

How should Adventists respond to the myriad signs that show we
are on “the knife-edge of eternity,” such as Protestant overtures to the
Papacy, financial collapse of governments, and the deterioration of the planet,

I appreciate Mark Finley’s
response in the editorial “Love, Know, Obey, Share” (Mar. 27, 2014): “We should
neither ignore them nor overreact to them.”
We have to “avoid both extremes of
apathy and end-time sensationalism.”

“The thing that matters above
all else. . . ,” he continues, “is to love Christ supremely, know Christ
intimately, obey Christ willingly, and share Christ passionately.”


With Christ

Thank you for Rex Edwards’ powerful essay about Christian
meditation, “Keeping the Heart in Heaven” (Mar. 13, 2014). He is correct. It is
not enough, as the disciples on the road to Emmaus learned, to talk
about Jesus
without realizing that He is present.

I especially appreciated the
way Edwards located Ellen White’s counsel about meditation within the overall
history of Christianity, without hesitating to quote, when appropriate, from Puritans,
Quakers, and Catholics.

Revival in our denomination
depends on what some people call spiritual formation, or, if you prefer, sanctification
or discipleship. I like Ellen White’s term: “companionship with Christ.”


God Ordains

As a matter of curiosity, why were two
conflicting articles published in the

“Serving Like Jesus: Authority in God’s
Church” (Mar. 13, 2014) indicated that the original church established
by Jesus had no hierarchical authority, and we should get back to that model.

In the
April issue of
Adventist World, the
article “How Your Church Works: Understanding
its unity, structure, and authority” (April 2014) indicates that we need
order and organization to accomplish our mission.

Am I the
only one confused?


Figs With Rocks

I was interested in Jimmy Phillips’ piece
“Middle Space” (Mar. 13, 2014). I had never heard of Ryan Bell, the former
Adventist pastor who decided to live one year as an atheist. What did Bell
expect from his experiment? What a silly surrender to Satan!

compares the tension between faith in God and the absence of faith in atheism,
and uses this as a comparison between living the spiritual life and the common
struggle we all have with the lusts of the flesh.

seems a little like comparing figs with rocks; there’s a big difference between
atheism and common Christian struggles. Christians may sometimes vacillate back
and forth, but an atheist is determined to deny God all the time.

may also be non-Christians who can be quite moral “on their own”; humankind is
not “totally depraved.” But all victory comes from Jesus.

spite of some differences of opinion, Phillips’ article was well-worth

L. Johnson
City, Oklahoma

Business of Healthcare

Regarding the news story “Adventist Health
Care to Divest Its New Jersey Hospital” (Feb. 20, 2014):

is surely not stymied by the changing healthcare market in New Jersey. Such
crystal clear miracles accompanied the raising up of Hackettstown Regional
Medical Center that it greatly impacted my life then, and is a touchstone today
as to how God moves when He wants something done. It was a joyous and audacious
time. Now this modern, community-minded, and profitable hospital is in the
process of being sold.

1905, Ellen White wrote regarding the sale of Boulder Sanitarium: “After the
investment has been made, the buildings erected, and our workers have gone in
there and wrestled . . . to make the work a success, and . . . accomplished
much good, shall we turn over the place to private parties? . . . We can not
have it so” (
Special Testimonies,
series B, no. 5, p. 40).

years later, it’s hard to believe that Hackettstown, its miracles wrapped in
prayer and faith, will leave our church.


Versus Peripheral

Regarding “In Christ
There Is Neither Conservative nor Liberal” (Jan. 15, 2014): Either
label, if embraced, can narrow one into an ideological corridor. But the author
replaces that with what may be another false dichotomy: central versus peripheral
fundamental beliefs.

The example cited: the use of
jewelry. A consensus of the author’s Sabbath school group determined the issue to
be of peripheral importance, apparently by a failure of anyone to step forward when
the question was sprung upon them.

How can jewelry be thus
minimized when the love of display was the issue upon which our first mother
plunged us into a life of sin and woe? It was the issue over which Jesus fought
the devil in the wilderness to win back our freedom.

A clearer distinction is
offered by Christ: the greatest and the least commandments, the weightier and lesser
matters of the law, will be strictly observed and taught by His followers; for
they gain and maintain eternal life by consuming every word that comes from the
mouth of God.