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

Notes on Narnia
I enjoyed the Intenet article, "A Lesson From the Chronicles of Narnia". I have a 5-year old boy. Children live in two worlds: the physical world and the world of their imagination. It’s OK to embrace our imagination in ways that strengthen our character and relationship with God. I admire my Seventh-day Adventist mother for sensing the need to foster her children’s imagination and reading to her three young boys The Chronicles of Narnia. We thoroughly enjoyed reading them aloud as a family.

My wife’s parents chose to steer her away from fiction, and C.S. Lewis. Ironically, she now has a doctorate in English Literature. She daily opens her students’ minds through the power of stories. We need to embrace all aspects of the wonderful and creative minds God has given us.

When the apostle John wrote Revelation, he used images that connected the readers of his time with the message God had shown him. Would John have been as successful in his goal of revealing Christ without the powerful imagery he used?

I look forward to reading The Chronicles of Narnia to my sons some day soon.

Robin Davis
 

In response to your article about The Chronicles of Narnia, how to you understand Ellen G. White’s statements like the following?

“The readers of fiction are indulging an evil that destroys spirituality, eclipsing the beauty of the sacred page” (The Adventist Home, p. 412).

I have not seen the movie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but I have heard reviews and comments on the radio and wonder if it would have been wise to caution parents that this movie contains scenes that may be too intense or frightening. Christian radio programs cautioned parents against letting their young children see it. If it is not good for young, sensitive minds, why is it any better for the rest of us?

The apostle Paul wrote about the Gentiles of his day: “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Eph. 4:18, 19, NIV). We need to be careful not to lose our sensitivity, because that is how the Holy Spirit speaks to us.

Joni Sears
 

Rex Edwards article, “Into the Storm” (Dec. 22, 2005), was great. Edwards’ first sentence, though, gives an inaccurate view of Jesus’ home life when he says about Jesus, “for most of His life [He] was homeless.”

Ellen White wrote that after the Passover visit when Jesus was 12 years of age, “For eighteen years after He had recognized that He was the Son of God, He acknowledged the tie that bound Him to the home at Nazareth, and performed the duties of a son, a brother, a friend, and a citizen” (The Desire of Ages, p. 82).

Jesus wasn’t homeless until He left home--at about 30 years of age.

V. Dan Miller
Dunlap, Tennessee
 

It’s a Miracle!
Thanks to Bill Knott, for his splendid and comprehensive article, “Back from the Brink” (Dec. 22, 2005); the miracle story of the turn around of Atlantic Union College (AUC). George Babcock’s leadership was endorsed by heaven. I visited AUC’s historic campus several years ago. What wonderful and impressive surroundings!

If I had a young person ready for college, I would certainly consider Atlantic Union College, because God is leading there. It alarmed me to learn that so many of our young people attend worldly institutions of higher education. Might we also turn that around with God’s help?

Dick Rentfro
Thorp, Washington
 

Bill Knott gave a wonderful, informative report on Atlantic Union College. Through God’s directing, and Dr. Babcock’s following, AUC was put back to accreditation status. Praise the Lord.

In the same issue, congratulations to Clifford Goldstein! He wrote an article using words I could understand.

Rex D. Edwards had some excellent lessons drawn from the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

Keep these good Reviews coming.
 
Art Miles
Apison, Tennessee
 

Unchangeable Law, Unchangeable Love
I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the spiritual and intellectual exercises found in Clifford Goldstein’s columns. His exposition of the Scriptures in the column, “The Irony of It All” (Dec. 22, 2005) adds brilliant facets of understanding to the gems of God’s greatest gifts to us--the sacrifice of His Son to pay our debt and His perfect, unchangeable law of love. We have the assurance that His law cannot be changed, and thus we can confidently make the loving response of willing service. Without that assurance, we could only live in fear that our King might arbitrarily change the rules and say, “Off with their heads!”

Stan Wilson
Vancouver, Washington
 
 
A Cold By Any Other Name
As a pharmacologist I agree completely with Drs. Handysides and Landless in their column, “Echinacea and the Common Cold” (Dec. 22, 2005). You will, no doubt, receive letters from readers who are sure it has worked for them. You will not receive as many from readers who say they have tried it and it didn’t work. We hate to admit--even to ourselves--that we’ve spent good money on something that doesn’t work. We will insist that, even though we are still sneezing a little, and coughing occasionally, we are really over the cold, failing to take into account the fact that our symptoms are the same as they always are while recovering from a cold.

There are other reasons why people think that ineffective treatments are effective:

The placebo effect can be quite strong. A “dummy pill” can relieve headaches, drowsiness, and even hypertension in a certain percentage of cases. If we think something will work, sometimes it does. Occasionally even for symptoms of the common cold.

Maybe the user’s “common cold” wasn’t a common cold. If it was an attack of hay fever, he might recover without treatment in a matter of hours. Just because recovery follows the use of some agent, that does not prove that the agent was responsible for the recovery. The rooster hops onto a fencepost before dawn and crows; a few minutes later the sun comes up and the rooster thinks, Look what I did!

Unfortunately, science has yet to come up with a cure for the common cold. There are several reasons for this, chief of which is that this disorder is caused by a virus (or any of several viruses), and viruses are tough to combat. So when some entrepreneur comes along with a supposed treatment, even though it doesn’t work, people flock to the store to snatch it up.

Ray Cress
Crestline, California
 
 
Disciples of the Word
Thanks for the December 15, 2005 issue of the Review, the “Study of the WordI appreciate articles that place an emphasis on this much neglected spiritual discipline--Bible study. We, the people of the Book, need to spend more time with the Book.
John A. Lockley
Huntsville, Alabama
 

I can only imagine the difficulty, stress, and tensions in the Wagoner home when a new message began to crumble their belief system (“Fitted for a New Mantle,” Dec. 22, 2005). In my family, the Adventist message was received several generations before me. I never had to face the fact that my doctrinal beliefs were lacking the full truth.

But like the author, my forebears were men and women willing to be led by the Holy Spirit. They passed from generation to generation the light as best they understood it. When the Advent message came to my paternal great-grandparents and maternal grandparents, they accepted it. Some may have faced social and economic challenges; I don’t know.

Mr. Wagoner, thank you for sharing your story. I have met persons of your former faith community and I appreciate their ethics and standards.

Natalie Dodd
Centerville, Ohio
 
 
Building Up the Body
I’m afraid I can relate quite well to the situation Brendan White spoke about in his excellent article, “Decreasing the Surplus Congregation” (Dec. 8, 2005). A teenager, I also have faced attacks from members of my church. In fact, several months ago, I had a conversation with one of my friends, who could very well be considered someone in the “surplus congregation.” Here is a summary of what she told me:

“I’m tired of being an Adventist. No one seems to care about my walk with God. All they care about is whether I don’t drink coffee, don’t wear jewelry, and don’t go to theaters. I’m so sick of being cut down for my so-called worldliness. Why doesn’t anyone care about who I am on the inside? Isn’t that what really matters?”

This friend now attends another church--a nondenominational, Sunday-keeping church--that accepts her and focuses on her walk with God instead of whether or not she wears jewelry.

Many of the values and traditions of the Adventist church are well-intended. We have a wonderful message of hope and love that needs to be carried to the world. Yet it seems as if this message is getting buried under mounds of rules and regulations. Frankly, some of us, especially young people, are getting fed up with the church. We’re fed up with being judged for our “worldliness,” with being condemned because we dare to wear a necklace into an Adventist church building. We’re angry because we’re essentially being banned from having a relationship with God, to the point that we vow never to set foot in an Adventist church again.

Something needs to change. Some people aren’t easy to reach, but many of us are struggling. We need to hear a message of hope. Sometimes we just need someone to love us, care for us, and nurture us, and help strengthen our relationship with God. We long to be accepted, to feel wanted. The moment we step into your church may be the moment when we need God the most--when He seems the farthest away. Do we really need someone telling us what we’re doing wrong? As we mature in our walk with Christ, certain things may drop away. We may choose to give up drinking coffee, or wearing jewelry, or become vegetarian. But those are minor, personal decisions that everyone needs to make on their own without having someone tell them that, essentially, Jesus can’t love them because of their choices.

The Adventist church has a message of hope. It just needs to be dug up from under all the rules and regulations that we inadvertently force upon each other. Let’s start digging!

Sara Goodwin

 
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