The beliefs and sentiments expressed by those whose letters appear here are not necessarily shared by the Adventist Review or its editorial staff. These letters have been edited for clarity and length. -- Editors

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 won’t 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 Review’s endorsement of solid medical science. This article is just the latest example of that.

--Joyce Smolarski, M. D.
Ocala, Florida


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 White’s 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, I’ve 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 didn’t 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 White’s 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 White’s 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 it’s 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 angel’s 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 swine’s 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 don’t 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.

--William Wennell
Augusta, Kentucky

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 can’t “force feed” health. As my father-in-law used to say: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

--Jerry Windels
Alberta, Canada

I read with interest the article that flesh eaters won’t get to heaven. If in Mrs. White’s 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.

--F.E. Vincent

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.” It’s 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.

--Joyce Andrews
Washington, Virginia

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.

--Rolf Baier
Santiago, Chile


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 man’s 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 doesn’t 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.
Midlothian, Virginia


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 don’t 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 White’s 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?

--Bill Wetmore
Fletcher, North Carolina


Women’s Place

I always enjoy Kimberly Luste Maran’s articles. I read with interest her editorial, “So What Does It Mean?” (Aug. 18, 2005). Here are a few comments:

I am not a “women’s 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 Paul’s 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 Paul’s 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 let’s 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.

--Ruth Sipkens
Yuma, Arizona


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 reader’s 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 reader’s 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.

--Edwin Reynolds
Collegedale, Tennessee


Getting Past the Past

Regarding the article, “The Few, The Proud, The Chosen” (June 16, 2005): Haven’t 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 don’t repeat this history.”

Let’s turn our eyes away from “we,” to “He.” Let’s 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!)

--Sharon McGraw


 
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