Healing for Body and Soul
The article, In a Panic (Sept. 8, 2005), was beautifully done. It presented accurate, informative, and up to date information in an attractive format.
I am a psychiatrist and am frequently dismayed by the lack of accurate information on mental illnesses circulating in our churches and communities. Physical diagnoses are more easily accepted and rationalized. Mental illnesses, such as panic disorder, major depression, and bipolar disorder, need to be accepted for what they are: illnesses, not weaknesses or lack of faith. A change to a healthier lifestyle and an improved relationship with God are helpful and important, but until proper medical treatment is instituted and administered by a qualified clinician, recovery will be illusive at best.
It wont be long before the lines between mental and physical illnesses will be blurred, as science continues to uncover physical causes of what we now call mental illnesses.
I have always rejoiced in the Reviews endorsement of solid medical science. This article is just the latest example of that.
--Joyce Smolarski, M. D.
How Much Does God Care What We Eat?
Regarding the article, Nonvegetarians Will Not Enter Heaven? (Aug. 25, 2005): Everyone probably has a favorite topic and this is mine, being a meat and poultry inspector for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 12 years (since before I was an Adventist).
When I first became an Adventist, I had no desire to give up meat and deliberately skipped over any mention of vegetarianism when reading Ellen Whites counsels. Like many Adventists, I considered them a figment of her imagination.
However, unlike most Adventists I studied the amount of material she wrote on the subject and investigated the evidence from the Bible. Now, on account of my profession, Ive had the opportunity to speak at various churches about the subject. As such, I offer my comments on the article by Limoni Manu.
First, I notice that the overstressing of the health reform message is to the author a lethal heresy. Pretty strong words for such a matter as telling people they should stick to carrots instead of hamburgers. This is no small issue; I had words with a prominent Adventist pastor who also didnt see the light of the health reform message. Satan wants this message suppressed and he is finding a lot of Adventists to proclaim its demise.
How this author seeks to interpret (should I say, re-interpret) Ellen Whites writings is unbelievable. While I agree we must have context, what difference does time and place of her writing make when the writings were made to the church as a whole? Most of her selections can be found in the book Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene. This is nothing more than higher criticism of Ellen Whites writings. Are we making her writings of none effect?
Then we are told to look at the overall counsel on a given topic. Here the author makes mince-meat out of what he purports to show in its totality. For instance, his quote from Ellen White stating, A meat diet in not the most wholesome of diets, and yet I would not take the position that meat should be discarded by every one, to mean that there are still some who might benefit from it. Whereas, Ellen White, in a letter dated June 6, 1895, quoted this very statement and stated to whom she referred, including those dying of consumption.
I do not deny the fact that some, as stated in the article, still cannot acquire vegetables over meat, but this article seems to be written more from an experiential aspect (How I overcame my desire to throw vegetarianism in the face of others) than from a theological one (Why vegetarianism is part of the Seventh-day Adventist message) while assuming the character of the latter.
This article negates the Bible view of vegetarianism. While its true that God winks at our ignorance, that is no reason to stop telling people to live in theirs. The health reform message is more than closely connected to the three angels message, as the author states; it is as important as the right arm to the body (The Review and Herald, June 20, 1899).
As far as the statement: The entire process of salvation has never, and will never be, a matter of eating or drinking, I suggest the author read what Isaiah said in chapter 66:17 about those eating swines flesh. And just look at what happened in Eden over a piece of fruit (and that was vegetarian!). Is that what Paul meant in his text?
I dont know what is worse, that this was written by a Ph. D. candidate, or that the Adventist Review published this in the name of being Adventist.
Thank you for the thoughtful and balanced article on Ellen G. White and vegetarianism. It is an issue that too often divides us, and thus we often turn what God intended as a blessing into a curse. Dealing with lifestyle issues requires great patience, tact, and especially humility. How many of us have fully attained in all things? You cant force feed health. As my father-in-law used to say: A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
I read with interest the article that flesh eaters wont get to heaven. If in Mrs. Whites day she thought meat was unsafe, what would she think today? The condition of thousands of chickens crammed into cages never to get any fresh air or any natural food says a lot about safety. And beef cattle filled with drugs, growth hormones, and all kinds of other unnatural things say beware.
If someone is going to eat meat, it would be better if it was raised on a natural, small farm, with pesticide-free grazing. The meats forbidden in the bible should be avoided by everyone; not as a condition of salvation, but because God had a reason for telling us not to eat them.
Thank you, Limoni Manu, for your article. It was very much needed. There is an attitude out there that says, If you are not vegan, you will not go to heaven. Its not up to us to set the standards by which others are to live. We need to concentrate more on our own salvation and leave the rest up to Christ; not only when it comes to diet but for other issues as well.
Hey, of course non-vegetarians can enter heaven. But what will they eat at that long table, plentiful with fruits and vegetables? They will be very hungry.
Who Is Our Neighbor?
Regarding Stephen Chavez editorial, Adventists and the N Word (Aug. 25, 2005): I agree with the basic premise of the editorial, that we must show love to our enemies, our neighbors, and anyone we come into contact with. But I believe he could have used a different experience from Jesus life to illustrate how we should relate to a homosexual, or what we might say to one in either words or actions. I came up with the thought that such a one has no responsibility for what they are.
The blind mans sins had nothing to do with his blindness; he was just blind, and blindness is neither an action nor a sin. The man the Samaritan stopped to aid was not beaten and robbed because he was a sinner; he was just robbed and beaten because he happened to be at that place at that time.
When the accused prostitute was brought to Jesus, her prostitution was the cause of her problem. He did not condemn her, He loved her, and did the best thing His love could do for her at the time: He extended His grace and said for her to go and sin no more. She was not a prostitute because of her thoughts; she became a prostitute when she acted upon those thoughts. The act was the cause of her problem.
Unfortunately, human beings are plagued at times with aberrant thoughts. One might have thoughts of stealing, or even homosexual thoughts to contend with; but that doesnt make them a thief or a homosexual, not until they act upon those thoughts.
What would I say to a thief or a homosexual? I hope I would do as Jesus did: First, not condemn. Second, extend my grace and tell of the divine grace available. Third, I would tell them to go and sin no more, as Jesus did.
--Raymond H. Hickman, Sr.
Having Dominion Over the Animals
I am writing to respond to the article by Matthew Priebe, How We Treat Animals--Does God Care? Should We? (Aug. 25, 2005). Author Priebe is comparing oranges to apples in telling us we should treat all animals as God expects a king to treat his subjects. This allows the Satan-promoted theory that animals are as important to God as we are.
In my native state of Pennsylvania, it is estimated that there are a million deer. Game biologists, who make a career of managing these animals (exercising dominion, if you please), estimate that if no deer were killed in the annual hunting season (again, dominion), in three years there would be so many deer, they would eat up all the available food, and millions would suffer a slow, lingering death because of starvation.
I have heard mind benders state that God only gave Noah and his family permission to eat clean meats because there was nothing else to eat. Come on, now! This is the same God that sent manna to feed a nation for nearly 40 years.
I freely admit to being a hunter; something God put in place as a temporary measure. I dont expect to hunt in heaven. I love animals, but God has given me the responsibility to exercise dominion over them.
In the Bible I find no suggestion that we should not kill animals. Nothing in Ellen Whites counsel forbids the hunting or killing of animals. We should not be cruel to animals; and what is more cruel, a slow, lingering death, or a merciful bullet?
Fletcher, North Carolina
I always enjoy Kimberly Luste Marans articles. I read with interest her editorial, So What Does It Mean? (Aug. 18, 2005). Here are a few comments:
I am not a womens libber, but it has bothered me for a long time that women have to fight for their professional rights. It seems even more troublesome that this is so within our church. Christians should be open to the rights and feelings of other Christians. While the roles of both wife and mother are some of the highest on this earth; other roles in our church should also be recognized.
For some reason it has always been fine to consider women as wives, mothers, teachers, nurses, and secretaries, but not for administrative roles. Christians, men or women, should be considered for any role that may be open. Then the one best qualified and suited for that position should be the one selected--regardless of gender.
My husband and I have lived in several countries where women sit on one side of the church with their heads covered and do not speak in church or any other gatherings. This is their custom, their culture, and it should not be criticized. This was the case in Pauls day; it was their culture.
Obviously, women counted with Jesus, as several were among His followers. And several women are mentioned as working within the church during Pauls time.
Having said all that, if a woman or a man is vying for a position just because he/she wants to prove something, I cannot justify that. But if the person, man or woman, is experienced and ready, let the best qualified and the best suited to that position be selected, and lets get on with sharing Jesus with the world.
We might also consider the fact that God chose a woman to be His voice in the opening of our own Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The Sabbath From the Beginning
Regarding Angel Rodriguez column, More Than One Sabbath? (Aug. 11, 2005): While Dr. Rodriguez had a nice explanation of key components of Genesis 2:1-3, I felt that his answer did not directly answer the question posed. The answer to the readers question lies within the fourth commandment itself, when it states the rationale for keeping the Sabbath: For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy (verse 11, NIV). There could hardly be a clearer statement in direct answer to the readers question about the relation between the Sabbath of Genesis 2:1-3 and the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. See also Exodus 31:17, which states very nearly the same thing.
Of course, the version of the fourth commandment in Deuteronomy, as expressed by Moses orally to the people (Deut. 5:15), gives a different rationale for Sabbath keeping, but that is not the version spoken by God from Mt. Sinai and written on tables of stone. We should see Moses rationale as supplementary to the one given by God from Sinai, not as supplanting it. The Exodus account makes explicit and unavoidable the connection with the Sabbath of Creation.
Getting Past the Past
Regarding the article, The Few, The Proud, The Chosen (June 16, 2005): Havent the Jews suffered enough? Please, no more articles pointing out their mistakes. Jesus did have something to say to them, but He was sinless. His whole existence was a sacrifice for humankind.
What the world needs now is love. Point people to Jesus (Yeshua), repeat His miracles, talk of His strength. Cease dwelling on the stubbornness or sins of the past by any nation, church, or people groups. I read so many articles where church members write, We need to do this or that, or, We need to be careful we dont repeat this history.
Lets turn our eyes away from we, to He. Lets turn our eyes upon Jesus. Then He will enlarge your territory and turn all our worries into joy; the joy that comes from winning souls to Him. Many are called, but few are the choosing ones is the original translation.
Baruch haba bashem Adoni! (Blessed is he who comes in the name of the L-rd!)