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
Fill In the Blanks
The article “One Hundred Years Later,” the story of Loma Linda University School of Medicine (Apr. 22, 2010), states that Ellen White placed the calling of a physician on par with--and sometimes higher than--the calling of a gospel minister.
The article quotes Ellen White: “Not even to a minister of the gospel are committed possibilities so great or an influence so far-reaching” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 111).
We are left with this closing thought: “That was why the School of Medicine was established in Loma Linda 100 years ago. That remains the reason for its existence today.”
Can you fill in some blanks and tell me what percentage of those currently training to become physicians at Loma Linda are even Seventh-day Adventists?
--Ben A. Trujillo
During the past 10 years approximately 75 percent of our students are members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The primary selection criteria for the other 25 percent is evidence of commitment to Christ, involvement in their own faith communities and Christian service. In their written applications and in their interviews, all potential Loma Linda School of Medicine students are asked to describe their involvement in their own faith communities and their commitment to Loma Linda’s unique mission of continuing the healing and teaching ministry of Jesus Christ. Students from other religions commonly bring an infectious energy about their love of Christ to our campus that contributes significantly to our palpable and exciting religious atmosphere.
dean of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine
Taking the Pulse of the Church
In “Meet @ the Text” (Apr. 15, 2010), Andy Nash put his finger on a basic issue for Christians at large--an issue from which Adventists are not immune. Popular Bible study in the past few years has too often been a subjective exercise, with a disregard for the objective meaning of the text. It gets even worse when people use “inspirational” interpretations as stand-alone ideas, ignoring what the rest of the Bible says on the topic. Much of the disagreement over the meaning of Scripture stems from an unwillingness to take Jesus Christ as Lord.
Rather than meeting at the text, it seems we prefer meeting at the drinking fountain (gossip) or at the remote control (pre-packaged theological fiat). We need to study the Word; if necessary, let’s look at the underlying Hebrew or Greek text rather than thinking that the translators have had no prejudices (see 1 Thessalonians 4:14, for example). Let’s study “line upon line” and “precept upon precept.” Let’s not ignore the testimonies that God has graciously given to this church.
God has given us objective instructions. Call these precepts, principles, commands, rules, or requirements--they stand as God’s moral law, the transcript of His character. They show God’s definition of what love is really all about. Jesus Christ is both the Author and the embodiment of the law. There should be no conflict between relationship and obedience, for they emanate from the same source.
Walla Walla, Washington
I thank Andy Nash for putting his finger right on the condition of the present-day Seventh-day Adventist Church. There’s something basically wrong with the spiritual direction of the church; not only at the seminary but at local churches themselves. We increasingly see Seventh-day Adventist couples divorce and re-marry on grounds of incompatibility. We see Adventist parents and students say there’s nothing wrong with going to classes or taking occasional exams on the Sabbath.
Instead of asking, “What does the Bible say?” many Adventists depend on their reasoning and experiences and believe that acceptance is the right approach.
God help the Seventh-day Adventist Church that it not go the way of the Jewish nation.
--Tan Thiam Chye
I commend Andy Nash for his writing and his openness to share his experience with working on the “liberal” and “conservative” ends of the spectrum of Adventist doctrine. He touched on two particular things that popped out at me: the printing of photographs with people who wear jewelry in the Review, and the role of Ellen White.
He stated, “Exposed to rigidities like these, it was easy to feel comparatively liberal.” I completely agree, and I have to say it bothers me that this is the reality. Our church is so different in different places. West Coast to East Coast and in between, all have different things they accept in attire and worship styles.
When my parents were married in the 70s in California, wedding rings were acceptable. But in Midwest churches they are just now starting to be used and accepted. I know a devoted member and a wonderful person who was involved in our church. She was driven out of our church by a group of women who were upset that her daughter wore a necklace to her eighth grade graduation. It makes my heart break that we’re still so caught up on these rules, instead of focusing on the love of Christ.
The second thing I wanted to touch on is Ellen White. I have read almost all of her books over the years and I can relate and agree with a lot of the things she wrote about. But she even said some people will misinterpret her writings for the time in which they are written. We have to understand that she wrote about things that were relevant both to the future and for the time she was living.
None of the things we Adventists believe--the seventh-day Sabbath, the state of the dead, not eating pork, or turning off our TVs on Friday night--have any meaning or any special uniqueness without a relationship with Christ. Christ is our North; His word is our guide; and should be our only guide.
I say amen to Nash’s second-to-last paragraph, in which he stated, “Our young people should come to our churches and schools and have their minds stuffed with Scripture—then scatter to the four winds. But for this to happen with our children, we need to be in the text ourselves, so that it’s spilling out of our minds into our lives and everyday speech.”
Des Moines, Iowa
Our Impartial God
I’m glad you published Wayne Blakely’s article, “Reaching Out” (Apr. 15, 2010). Many need to know that his experience can be theirs. And those who are not homosexual need to know that God is impartial. His desire and call is the same for us all. Sometimes in His Word He singles out homosexuality; sometimes He tosses it in with a bunch of others. That’s important for everyone to realize.
I found that the documentary film, “The Adventists,” lived up to its billing by Gary Swanson (Mar. 25, 2010). Swanson voiced a legitimate concern, cautioning the “thoughtful Adventist viewer” against becoming self-absorbed with the church’s public image.
Swanson’s concern, however, presupposes that Seventh-day Adventists would be interested enough to watch the film in the first place. Given the scant audience that attended a local screening of the film at a prominent Adventist church, I’d say Swanson has very little to worry about in terms of an unhealthy preoccupation with the public’s perception of Adventism.
It was a strange experience indeed to observe the film’s director, Martin Doblmeir (of Catholic persuasion, no less), acclaim the treasure trove of truths that has been bestowed upon the remnant, in the face of seeming indifference on the part of the faithful themselves. But then, perhaps the very aspects of the film that Swanson regards as appealing to fans of the wildly popular procedural forensics shows (i.e., the CSI franchise and its knockoffs), kept would-be filmgoers glued to their TVs watching the real thing.
--Garth D. Richmond
Honest and Practical
The Adventist Review is to be commended for printing such an open, honest, and practical article about one of our most basic human experiences--sex and marriage. Never have I seen an article so succinctly express the value of sex and marriage as an illustration of the values at the very core of our relationship to God--shared trust, loyalty, intimacy, and life mission. What a deeply spiritual and insightful discussion of a topic some conservative Christians shy away from--and miss the revelation God wishes to share with us.
Thank you for a valuable contribution to our Christian understanding.
St. Petersburg, Florida