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
Shutting the Back Door
I became an Adventist a long time ago, while being a worldly young woman. I was really totally ignorant of what I was committing to, following a rather brief attendance of a city-wide evangelistic effort. Thank God I joined a small church of people who understood that I was “a new born babe in Christ,” who loved me through my “terrible twos” and rebellious “teenage years” in Christian growth.
They never condemned me nor criticized me, but kept me close physically and in prayer. It would take a book to tell how those saints put up with me and never gave up on me. It’s because of their effort that I’m still in the church today.
Unfortunately, some who were baptized with me were not as blessed to find such a church family. And, as your story says, they walked out the back door.
What can be done? From one who has been there, be patient, be loving, be willing to invest time and effort to keep these new babes in the church. It requires as much to nurture new members as it does to raise an infant to adulthood. Surely Jesus meant the newly baptized as well when He said, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17).
Bettigene D. Reiswig
In the article, “Church ‘Dropouts,’ How to Reclaim the Flock” (June, 18, 2009), Mark A. Kellner writes: “For those who are concerned with seeing as many people in the kingdom of God as possible, it’s clear, as in the parable, that there are ‘lost sheep’ who need to be gathered in.” In the context of the article, does this mean that those who have left the Adventist fold through the “back door” are not and clearly will not be in the kingdom of God?
If this isn’t the meaning, what have I misunderstood? If it is the meaning, isn’t that somewhat arrogant? Is that a church teaching, or personal opinion?
Altamonte Springs, Florida
An All-time Favorite
In his editorial “What Determines Where We Go” (June 18, 2009), Roy Adams refers to an article published in the Review in 1999 about 83-year-old Anne Juliussen.
This is my all-time favorite article in the Adventist Review. This dear Norwegian went to church every Sabbath, even after she was the only member left. According to the article, “When Sabbath comes, Anne goes to church by herself, reads her Bible, listens to a taped sermon, prays, and returns to her tiny apartment attached to the church.”
Over the years when I’ve been tempted to criticize or hear others complain about their church--the church service is too long or too boring, the members are unfriendly, or the music is too lively or not lively enough--I think about Anne Juliussen attending church all by herself. She didn’t go because the church met specific criteria. Apparently she went for one reason: to be with God.
I’m sorry Ms. Juliussen has died and that her church died along with her. However, her witness lives on. I know I’ll never forget her.
Battle Creek, Michigan
Thankful for Hope
It’s sad that Joan Didion’s book, The Year of Magical Thinking, didn’t have more hope of a future with Christ. These words are so hauntingly painful: “You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. I look for resolution, and I find none.”
To the non-believer, life seems so hopeless, like an empty shell. I understand how painful her experience must have been to lose all her loved ones so tragically. I just wish she would have found some inkling, some hope in Jesus. It sounds like her book gives no sense of resolution in the end; like a movie with a cliff hanger or bad ending.
We Christians have hope for a good ending of our lives, when Jesus comes to take us home.
El Cajon, California
Thank you for the article, “Of Cancer, Chemo, and Credo” (June 11, 2009). It was a blessing to me, and I’m sure it will be a blessing to my niece when I share it with her.
I was also deeply blessed by Clifford Goldstein’s column.
God bless all of you at the Review for the work you do in His service. Thanks for providing so much spiritual food for my journey.
Los Lunas, New Mexico
Roy Adams’ comments regarding Michael Novak’s book, No One Sees God is a breath of fresh air. It’s apologetics at its brilliant best, and it’s the type of work more Adventist scholars should be doing in respect to the biting issues of our times.
In fact, Adventist scholars have already been hard at work. Ariel Roth’s book, Science Discovers God: Seven Convincing Lines of Evidence for His Existence, is a provocative piece that does not make the compromise with Darwinism that Novak is willing to make. Other Adventist scholars have pointed out that the neo-Darwinistic path Novak chooses completely ameliorates biblical explanations of sin, and consequently the plan of salvation.
We can enjoy Novak, and consider him a friend, but his work falls far short of the efforts already existing within the Adventist family.
Stephen D. Mulder
Essential, but Flawed
I read the Review from cover to cover and wouldn’t do without it. But I do have some concerns:
The article, “Review Redesign Reaps Rewards, Renown” (May 28, 2009), featured quite a write-up about all the rewards that the magazine received from the Associated Church Press. While this may be good, is this what the Review is all about? Are we about receiving rewards, or sharing the gospel?
I noted in the letters section a letter from Mrs. Harry Magney concerning the fact that the Adventist Review is nothing like it was in bygone years. I have to agree with her. I like to read my Review during the Sabbath, and I find that in some issues there are articles that I don’t find consistent with good Sabbath reading. I read them later in the week. I also have a problem with some of the cartoon-like pictures, which I feel have no place in our church paper.
I think the Kidsview was a good thing to include.
The article, “Pathways to the Heart” by Richard O’Ffill, should be read by every Adventist. I realize there are many members of our church who do not take the Review, and they miss out on good articles like this.
I’m not about to discontinue my subscription, the Review is part of my life, but I want to make my concerns known.
Now I Know
Now I know why I didn’t let my friends who were helping us pack for a move several years ago throw away the old Reviews. “I think you should just throw these out,” urged a well-wisher, thinking of the practical side of not toting something already several years old.
But, no, I thought, I can’t throw them out without looking through those old magazines. I’ll be glad to pay the extra cost of having them come back with us on the moving van.
This afternoon I finished reading through a Review dated June 18, l998. The story, “Always...and Forever” by Andy Nash, about David and Marian Lewis, who were in the entertainment industry, was worth the cost of toting the whole year’s Reviews along with me when I moved to Florida and back to Tennessee. (How I got that far behind, and how they got “hidden” in a box that went unopened for years, is another story.)
Such inspiration in this story about Marian and David! When Marian was quoted: “Never once did I wonder how my Savior would feel or how I must have made men sin in their minds,” brings one down to basics.
And David’s comment: “We are not out here to be gospel icons--to be at the top of the charts and to sell the most records. We are here to bring souls into the kingdom of God,” what a heart-opener! Many more quotes were extremely impressive. I marvel that I still had the privilege of reading this article, which was published more than 10 year ago.
Thanks, Marian, and David! And of course, Andy, for getting this into print!
Now I have no question as to why I saved these old Reviews! Yes, I have several more to go. And they, too, won’t be thrown out until I take the time to read through them all!
Thanks for the Magazine, Now I Need More Time
I have a big problem with the Adventist Review: There is simply not enough time to embrace the many inspiring and thoughtful perspectives you provide!
In other words, thank you to your editorial staff and contributors for your most excellent ministry.