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
Looking for Leaders
Regarding “Adventist Leadership” by Andy Nash (June 17, 2010):
I grew up as a missionary kid, and I knew a number of church leaders who visited the mission from time to time. You get a feeling of connectedness when you talk to them personally and share experiences together.
I was quite disappointed that someone in their thirties from somewhere other than the United States was not elected as the General Conference president. Things are happening overseas! We have to get away from gray-haired leaders and workers who protect and promote fellow gray haired workers and get young, energized leaders who can revitalize this church, particularly in theUnited States.
Want to get connected and stay connected? Anchor yourself by subscribing to theAdventist Review. I mean it!
I. Staples
Grass Valley, California

Don’t Flinch
Praise God for Pastor Ted Wilson’s position on God’s literal, six-day, recent Bible creation, which he made a presentation about at the General Conference session (“Church President Says He Won’t ‘Flinch’ on Creation Issue,” by Michael W. Campbell, Bulletin 8, July 8-22). This has been, and will continue to be, the church’s position, because it’s in the Bible.
I am appalled at how much time and effort has been spent debating an issue centuries old and settled at that time. Satan loves anything that keeps us from our main mission. Let’s not let Satan take us to hell with him by diverting us from God’s solid Bible truth and from being with God throughout eternity.
Paul S. Damazo
Riverside, California

Awkward No More
Hyveth Williams’ column, “The Awkwardness Within” (June 10, 2010), about a code of etiquette, was a real surprise. I assumed that after being a minister for several years near Loma Linda University, this wouldn’t be a problem.
The proper way to deal with her situation is pretty standard, at least in educational circles. Being new and no one knowing who you are, it’s courteous to introduce yourself and explain what you do. If Williams isn’t a PhD, she would simply give her name and assignment. If whomever she meets desires to be called by their first names, they will let her know; that as well as her saying, “Please, call me Hyveth.”
Regarding older professors who hold PhDs, it’s always correct to address them as doctor and last name, unless they likewise tell you to call them by their first name.
Being a former student doesn’t cut through this routine, unless you were on a first name basis with your professors as a student, which is rare.
It doesn’t have to be awkward if kept on a professional level. You will maintain your self-esteem and feel at ease. Most teachers on the same level refer to each other by first name, but only after becoming acquainted with each other and after being given permission to do so.
Manning E. Pierce
Minor Hill, Tennessee

Positive and Affirming
I recently returned from a “world cruise”—the 2010 General Conference session in Atlanta. It was a blessing to be among people of so many languages, cultures, and ethnicities who believe in Jesus as our Savior, and in the Sabbath and the Second Coming.
Pastor Ted Wilson and all the leaders elected at the session have my support. Wilson’s Sabbath message was so affirming. He reminded us that we are in the world to share the good news, but to avoid compromising the message to be attractive to the world.
I like this quote from Ellen G. White: “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history” (Life Sketches, p. 196). This counsel does not set back the church.
Let’s pray God’s blessing and guidance on Pastor Wilson as he and others face the responsibilities of leading the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Natalie Dodd
Centerville, Ohio

Ready for the Challenge
Thank you for fairly reporting the creation/evolution controversy that is stirring in Adventist universities. As a high school senior, I appreciate the inside look into what lies ahead for me.
We Seventh-day Adventist youth are tired of the puppet-show Christianity we have grown up with and want a real, authentic faith--one that isn’t supported by mere theories, but proven by personal experience; one that isn’t just scientific, but is rather a cause worth dying for. Most importantly, we want a personal relationship with God, Who would take the time to form us from the dust of the ground, rather than leave us to chance. If we don’t receive an education that reveals a Creator Who loves us personally, expect us to walk out of the church while looking for the best way to enjoy our existence as distant relatives of baboons.
Keep maintaining a magazine that remains relevant today by supporting our ancient faith.
Benjamin Tiffany
Kingsley, Michigan

Painful Transitions
I recently retired from nearly 60 years in active ministry, and I commend William Johnsson for his insightful words [Voices From the Dome]  on page 21 of General Conference Bulletin 7 (July 2, 2010). He addressed the sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter experience of those elected to an office; and of those leaving office at General Conference sessions.
In all the years of my ministerial journey, I’ve never known anybody to address this sensitive topic. However, with countless others I have observed these things, and at times been heartsick at the manner we are able to dismiss the finest leaders with a quick vote, and a hurried thank you as they go on down the road. I’m not sure I know of a better way to do this, but I wish there were. I wish we had a more praiseworthy way to send them away with accolades, plaudits, and genuine expressions of appreciation.
Some years ago, while serving as ministerial secretary of a large conference, the conference fell into financially hard times, and I was asked to sit with the officers and select 25 workers who had to be let go in order for the conference to survive. It was probably the most painful task in which I was asked to participate. The president was to call each of the 25 families in and give them the word that their service was over; then I was to pour on the oil and lay on the Band-Aids. We’re talking about families with children, wives with jobs, families that had to move from their present location, leave the churches they served to go out like Abraham, “not knowing where he was going.” I could not sleep for several nights.
Nothing was said publicly, and very few expressions of sincere gratitude were expressed by the conference leaders. No doubt many of the churches involved gave loving farewells to their pastors, but is that the best we can do? Some of these fine families are angry and bitter to this day. Can we not give time and thought to do a better job of saying thank you and goodbye and demonstrate a genuinely caring church, a sensitive church? We cannot justify a lack of sincere gratitude with compassion. Ellen White wrote: “We are too sparing of giving thanks” (Steps to Christ, p. 103).
C. Lloyd Wyman
Newbury Park, California

A Word from On High
I appreciated the various departmental reports of the General Conference (GC) in the General Conference Bulletin Supplement (June 24, 2010). These provided a refreshing insight into the various GC areas of activity.
I was especially interested in one of the three main headings of responsibilities of the Biblical Research Institute (BRI). “The first one is research. It identifies areas in which biblical research is needed in the church.”
One of the most controversial issues facing our church today is the ordination of women to “spiritual headship” roles, particularly that of elder or pastor. I found it interesting that nothing could be found at the BRI Web site on the subject, except for a “Symposium on the Role of Women in the Church,” copyrighted in 1984, in which opinions expressed by the participants were far from being in agreement. This disagreement persists today among Adventist scholars and leaders in many places.
Why is it that BRI, the express entity of the church to study such issues, has not presented a thorough biblical study about this? Most people in the church sincerely want to do God’s will in this matter. Should not the final conclusion come from an agreed biblical consensus from our dedicated scholars and leaders?
Lynn Baerg
Hot Springs, Arkansas

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