January 14, 2014

December 17, 2013

Women Ministers

Garcia’s report, “Landmark Survey Reveals In-depth Beliefs, Perceptions of
Adventists” (Nov. 28, 2013), rightfully reflected the fact that Adventists
place the influence of Sabbath school teachers above that of pastors and
elders. From childhood to adolescence the ministry of women teachers played a
prominent role in my spiritual formation.

Emma embraced me, and the kid next door who
came to church barefooted. She told Bible stories as we acted out the stories
with cardboard figures in a tabletop sandbox. She taught us the memory verse
and helped us paste stars on our take-home projects. Years after leaving home,
my Cradle Roll/Kindergarten teacher greeted me with her usual smile and

Erma gathered me and four pre-teens around
the piano in our one-room church. She encouraged us to attend academy and
college, even though she knew my parents objected.

Mary saw the sorrow on my face when I left
the academy tent at camp meeting. She wept with me and prayed for me to have
strength to overcome the parental hurdles that would have prevented me from attending

After 40 years of denominational work, I
thank God that women were entrusted with ministry to children. I wonder why the
fuss about women in ministry when the church has relied on women for decades in
Sabbath school.

I am saddened when I think of the thousands
of dollars spent on study groups and conferences about women’s ordination.
Especially when I think of the motherly Sabbath school teachers who molded my
spiritual walk with little or no financial help from the church.

God, help us to get our priorities straight.

–Larry Yeagley
Gentry, Arkansas

Knowing the Way

have read “The Cartography of Faith” (Nov. 28, 2013) five times. Each time I find
a new nugget of reflection and beauty in Dixil Rodríguez’ writing that makes me
reflect on my relationship with God.

True, we are all pilgrims. During this
holiday season it is important to remember where we have traveled in our
Christian life, and never forget that we do not travel alone. What a blessing
to read a cover story that makes us reflect on the amazing love of God.

–Dan Baker
Albuquerque, New Mexico

was truly blessed by “The Cartography of Faith.” What a beautiful reminder of how
God cares for us, knows the terrain ahead, and is always guiding us.

Dixil Rodríguez’ column is one of my favorite
Adventist Review features. Her writing
is inspiring, beautiful, and blessed. Please thank her for sharing such an
intimate story with her Christian family. Thank you for publishing such
wonderful articles.

–Lisa Hamilton

Totally Dependent

“The Fight of Our Lives” (Nov. 14, 2013):

I appreciated the admission that we are all
“innately selfish” and self-centered. Our natural depravity seems to be a
theological reality that we Adventists have become reluctant to proclaim, or
even acknowledge (Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:3; etc.).

But no genuine progress in the salvation or
betterment of humankind can take place until we are willing to confess our
inherent and irremediable moral corruption and allow a power outside
ourselves—God’s grace—to do for us what it is impossible to do; that is, to transform
us from selfish, rebellious sinners into obedient, submissive saints.

–Leonard Lang
Newcastle, Wyoming

Dealing Constructively With

thank Adventist Review for its excellent
focus on 1888 (Oct. 10, 2013). Every article was a blessing, including the
story “Bird 9-1-1.”

One of the points brought out in this issue
was the importance of dealing with doctrinal controversy in a proper, biblical
manner. Of special note was Lael Caesar’s reflection, “The Genius of Disunity.”

Caesar shared a few thoughts from the
writings of Ellen White where she counseled against making controversial issues
public, and the untold harm and precedent it sets. I wonder how this would
apply to other Adventist hot potatoes of our day, such as women’s ordination,
spiritual formation, etc.?

–Jonathan Peinado
Jacksonville, Florida

Thinking About Creation

appreciated “Christ, Character, and Creation” (Oct. 24, 2013), John T. Baldwin’s
treatment of the relationship between creation and the character of Christ as
Creator, and Baldwin’s conclusion that Christ can be neither the God of
theistic evolution or of progressive creation.

I also appreciate the suggested changes in
wording for some of our 28 fundamental beliefs to better articulate those beliefs
I refer specifically to the suggested changes in wording for the statement on
creation. I affirm the committee for its good scholarship.

Regarding the subject of creation, I noticed
a difference between the statements about creation as published in Seventh-day Adventists Believe and Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology,
and what is published in the curriculum for Sabbath school and regular schools.
For our schools, only light is desribed as being created on the first day. In
the above works, earth is also included in the first day of creation.

Is that a dichotomy? Are we leaving our children
and youth open to deceptive teachings about theistic evolution or progressive

By harmonizing our statements we would affirm
several foundational understandings: (1) The authority and power of God, (2)
the authority and veracity of the Scriptures, and (3) the harmony/agreement
among scriptural accounts regarding God and His creative power.

–Ralph Williams
Cedar Lake, Wisconsin