In response to the cover feature “God Is . . .?” by Joseph
Olstad (May 15, 2014): I have appreciated Graham Maxwell’s and Tim Jennings’ picture
of God for the past 14 years. The kind of God we worship and admire determines
how we perceive and treat others.
After misunderstanding God’s
law and His use of law for so many years, I can’t begin to tell of the relief
of having such a burden of a judgmental and critical spirit lifted by their
healing and life-transforming message. We are all sin-damaged; we all struggle;
and we all need each other. God is on Tim Jennings’ side, as well as on Joseph
Olstad’s, having both their eternal interests at heart.
God has stepped in,
especially during Old Testament times, to put thousands of His children to “sleep,”
taking them out of time and suspending them in time. He will resurrect each of
them in one of two resurrections with the very same characters with which they
went into their graves. All 12 gates to the New Jerusalem are open (Rev. 21:25;
20:9; Isa. 60:11) for any in that multitude to enter if they so choose.
I enjoyed reading “God Is . . . ?” There is
evidence of much thought and research in the article. The reference to thinking
that God is only our Friend and not our Judge reminds me of the current and
popular movie, “Heaven is for Real.”
course, we have to always consider the whole Bible, and balance it against
Thank you for publishing the article by Joseph Olstad. Olstad
reveals a thorough knowledge of his subject and portrays a balanced biblical
view of the atonement. The comprehensive list he provides of metaphors for sin
and salvation, with examples from the Bible, is helpful in demonstrating the
complexity of the matter, showing why no single paradigm is satisfactory to
adequately represent the nature of the atonement.
Those who don’t understand
why God would execute retributive justice on the wicked, or on His own Son in
place of those who desire to be saved in Christ’s kingdom, fail to understand
the heinousness of sin in the sight of the rest of the universe. Other beings
want sin to be fully eradicated. The nature of the covenant, in which God
claims to be our rock, defender, and avenger, makes Him the One we should trust
to bring justice and equity (Deut. 32:36-43).
God is clear about His
responsibilities, and what He will do to avenge the wrongs against His people.
The universe will hold Him accountable if He does not fulfill His promises. The
statement of the covenant ends with these words: “Rejoice, you nations, with
his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take
vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people” (Duet.
The book of Revelation
portrays in detail how this will play out. The cry of the martyrs in Revelation
6:10 is answered in Revelation 15-20, explicitly detailed in 19:1, 2, but finally
culminating in 20:12, 13. For a scholarly explanation of the relation of all
this to the covenant, see Joel N. Musvosvi, Vengeance in the Apocalypse,
Andrews University Seminary Doctoral Dissertation Series, vol. 17 (Berrien
Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 1993).
Congratulations to Ronald Rojas and Adventist Review for the outstanding article, “Mission to the
Gentiles” (May 22, 2014). The exceptionally well-written material refreshingly
reminds us that God not only communicates through the inspired Scriptures, He
also reveals divine truth through observable spiritual experiences occurring
within the body of Christ.
To its credit, the
thoughtful, well-balanced article is careful to emphasize that observable
spiritual experiences must be subject to the testing of prior revelation as
found in Scripture, and be subject to evaluation and scrutiny by those of
established experience in ministry and church leadership. This helps to
identify the deceptive and counterfeit spiritual experiences that we know Satan
has manifested in the past, and will endeavor to manifest in the future with
even greater power as we approach the last days.
I hope that Rojas will bless Review readers with additional articles
of the same caliber.
I’m writing to thank Clifford Goldstein for
his article “A Wonderful and Terrible Truth” (May 15, 2014). Free choice is
what it’s all about.
Sin is a
free choice. God will not allow one person who does not want to sin to be
“made” to sin. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Phil.
be destroyed. Those who, with their “free will” continue to sin will be
destroyed, no matter how much God loves them (Heb. 10:26). The sacrifice of
Christ cannot save one who continues in sin. Only those who truly, freely,
accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and obey His teaching to be perfect,
stop sinning, and keep the Ten Commandments will earn their reward of eternal
life. All others will earn their reward of eternal death (Rev. 22:12). Let us
freely “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12).
There have been times in my life when I have longed to be a
“robot” in my daily decision to walk with Jesus and grow in that relationship with
Him. If only so much didn’t rest on the decisions I make, or don’t make, every
day. If He would only make me do what is right and according to His will for
I read Clifford Goldstein’s
“A Wonderful and Terrible Truth” with much emotion. It spoke to my heart about
those times when having free choice seems so scary. It reminded me how much God
loves all of us by giving this wonderful gift, and how much it cost heaven.
These comments pertain to “The 11:00 Hour” by Stephen Chavez
Apr. 10, 2014):
Chavez made a number of good
points. He quotes a statement by Michael Kelly, senior pastor of the Mount
Rubidoux Adventist Church, “We’re talking about things people care about.” He
said that the sermon is about being relevant. That is interesting, and I think true.
There is, however, one problem
with this philosophy: What people want to hear is possibly not what they need
to hear. I have only heard one Seventh-day Adventist sermon in the last nine
years. The same can be said for popular Adventist pastors in our large churches
who appear on television. Almost all these sermons could have been preached in
any Protestant church. None are sermons that preach the three angels’ messages,
last day events, or doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
This is a sad commentary.
What are our pastors doing to get their congregations ready for the end of
time? It is coming soon, and our pastors have to wake their congregations to
Thanks to Kimberly Luste Maran for sharing such critical and
practical spiritual advice with us in her insightful editorial, “Missing Jesus”
(Apr. 10, 2014). We dare not navigate through these times of Satan’s deceptions
without making prayer, Bible study, and living His Word a top priority!