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
Don’t Forget the South
Thank you for publishing the article, “Waldenses in America?” (Jan. 14, 2010). Since childhood I have enjoyed reading stories about God’s faithful, persecuted people of the Alps. I am glad to learn about their continued witness for truth in the New World.
However, I must draw your attention to an error in the title. It should be “Waldenses in North America?” or “Waldenses in the United States?” The author makes no mention of the Waldenses in South America.
Several years ago I spent a weekend in Torre Pellice, the Waldenses’ headquarters in Northern Italy. In their museum I read about their mission projects, one of which is in Uruguay, South America.
I know quite a bit about this little country south of Brazil, since I spent 10 years teaching Bible and English in Uruguay Adventist Academy. Several of my students were Waldensians, or children of Waldensians. I discovered that many thousands of inhabitants of the Waldensian valleys had immigrated from northern Italy to Uruguay and Argentina in the decades before and after 1900. In contrast to Waldensians who moved to North America, in Uruguay they have their own church organization, with headquarters at Colonia Valdense. With thousands of members, it is the largest Protestant church in the country. Many professional people, such as doctors and attorneys, are Waldensian.
Seventh-day Adventism became the spiritual home for a good number of the Waldenses. I wrote up the story of the Cayrus family. “Ellen White and Little Elias” was published in the Adventist Review (Feb, 26, 1981). Their father had heard Ellen White speak when she visited northern Italy in 1986.
Many teachers, pastors, and other professionals in Adventist churches claim spiritual roots that go back to the Waldensian valleys of northern Italy. For that reason I claim a place for South Americans in a study of “Waldenses in America.”
Leading the Young
Thanks for publishing Cindy Tutsch’s article, “Making Ellen White’s Writings Kid Friendly” (Adventist World, Jan. 2010). The more years that elapse between her and us, and the longer our language develops, the more inaccessible will be this wonderful gift.
I also appreciated the push for academic responsibility: “But note that Kameron didn’t stop teaching after he allowed his students ‘to give expression to their feelings.’ He led them on. . . .” Academia has often failed in this regard. Because of an overwhelming fear of indoctrination (we hope that’s all it is), professors and leaders leave too many questions unresolved. “Leading” them, as Tutsch writes, constitutes the better plan.
Syncretism and Sanctification
Eli Diez-Prida makes a number of important points in his article, “Simply Another Church?” (Dec. 17, 2009). But one of the most important is the issue of syncretism: “Syncretism in Christianity, the mixing of truth and error, is one of the great deceptions that Jesus was talking about.”
Syncretism is the opposite of sanctification. We are to be sanctified unto God and look only to Him. Babylon purports to be the church, but derives much of her teaching and practice from paganism, even the ancient mysteries of the Babylonish religion. Then Christ’s name is placed on such abominations and people come to think these practices are Christian (see Isa. 51:11; Rev. 18:1-4).
To be strengthened against these deceptions we must be “hewed by the prophets” (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 464), and be “obedient and faithful to all God’s commands” (Maranatha, p. 243. See also Early Writings, pp. 71, 250). All our religion must trace back to the commands and example of Jesus Christ (see The Desire of Ages, p. 826).
May God help us to be faithful and wise servants!
Walla Walla, Washington
Ministry Behind Bars
I am an inmate at Avenal State Prison in California, and in the three years I’ve been locked up I know how hard it is to be able to worship on the Sabbath. Of the three prisons I’ve been to, I’ve only had services in one, the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco. The one I’m in now does not have Sabbath services. There are a few Seventh-day Adventists here, and I got to read the article in their magazine.
Thanks also for the sidebar, “Tips on How to Start a Local Prison Ministry.” When I get released, if my church doesn’t have one, I’m going to see if I can start one.
Again, thank you for an informative magazine.
Terry L. Taylor