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

A Necessary Subject
It was refreshing to see the article “Grace, Free Will, and Judgment” by Woodrow Whidden II (Oct. 14, 2010), seeing that our Adventist position on these subjects is being undermined outside and, unfortunately, inside our doors. Reading an article like this also helps us better understand our biblical position on other closely related topics: sin, the human nature of Christ, victory over sin, character perfection, etc.\
While I’m not sure I agree with Whidden that we have affirmed as a church the doctrine of human depravity and corruption (arguments in the church persists about whether we are born depraved and corrupt or born with a sinful nature that having once chosen to sin becomes depraved and corrupted), I still thank him for including it!
--Chris Buttery
Lewistown, Pennsylvania

It All Adds Up
Thanks to Miguel Luna for the excellent article A People Confident in the Promises of God (Sept. 23, 2010).
It would have been nice if he had explained why he chose to say the Hebrews spent 430 years in Egypt when the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, in its note on Exodus 12:40 (pp. 184, 185) and Paul in Galatians 3:16, 17 say the 430 years extended from the time of Abraham to the giving of the Law on Sinai.
Bible arithmetic showing the years of Kohath, Amram, and Moses until the Exodus support the Commentary. Although Kohath probably was a child when he went into Egypt with Jacob (Gen. 46:11), if one calls him a newborn, then allows Amram to be born eight months after Kohath’s death and Moses to be born eight months after Amram’s death, one has the longest possible time period for the Hebrews to have been in Egypt. It is as follows: Kohath (Ex. 6:18) 133 years plus 8 months; Amram (Ex 6:20) 137 years plus 8 months; and Moses (Ex. 7:7) 80 years until the Exodus, 351 years, four months. Surely Amram and Moses were both born during their fathers’ lifetimes, so the 351 years four months period was even shorter.

The 430 years had to have included both the Hebrews’ time in Canaan as well as in Egypt. What a blessing that our Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary is correct!
--Charlotte Groff
Berrien Springs, Michigan

On the Market
I’m writing regarding Gary B. Swanson’s article “Selling Ourselves Out.”

Branding, marketing, and customer perception/loyalty are critical factors in the church, especially a church like the Seventh-day Adventist movement, which declares itself to be a remnant church.
Although the products described in the article refer to keeping the image or the product “intact,” I would argue that revelation and continuous renewal of the mind through sincere research might at times warrant new labels or adjusted formulas.

Where God’s truth is the driving and common denominator, change of the status quo would, in my view, be strongly embraced.
Is the Seventh-day Adventist Church 100 percent remnant, fully scriptural, with no pagan additives or post-Constantine dilution or compromise added, sincere in consistent research, listening to God and tested prophecy, without human traditions of world churches, the true picture of Seventh-day Adventist packaging, formula, and marketing?

Alternatively, are we, Seventh-day Adventist leaders and members, custodians and living testimonies of the highest integrity before God and humanity? Are Scripture teachings at the bottom levels fully discernable in the multi-level interactions of the highest leadership? Why do members leave the Adventist Church? Why are there whole Web sites criticizing the Adventist Church?

My comment does not intend to discourage, but to analyze and encourage along the lines of the article. A good product must be unaltered without very good cause. Yet, also, if a good product can be improved in its content or presentation, or if processing errors might be discovered and corrected, we might be selling ourselves (and many others) out if we fail to act promptly.
In a confused world truth and integrity ultimately sells and saves! My prayer is that the Seventh-day Adventist Church will be a trusted brand worldwide to the very moment of the Second Advent!
--Abraham J. Meintjes
Gauteng, South Africa

Life Skills
Sandra Blackmer’s article, “Bibles for a New Life” (Aug. 26, 2010) shows that evangelism and soul winning need not be restricted to traditional means.
I have personally witnessed how adult literacy classes have opened the eyes of hundreds of men and women in India to read and find for themselves the light of truth given to humanity through the Holy Spirit. Women’s ministries and Shepherdess ministries in Southern Asia have gone beyond their call of duty and forged new ways of witnessing and winning souls for Jesus. Adult literacy is one such way. Even if such witnessing does not always lead to baptisms, it has opened the eyes of many and empowered the poor and illiterate to read and know for themselves life’s glorious privileges and challenges.

Such empowering has led to active participation in family, community, and social issues. The result is hundreds of people, particularly women, freed from the curse of illiteracy to enjoy a new freedom and appreciate the God who created them to be free.

Thank you for sharing such stories to illustrate that evangelism is setting people free from all kinds of bondage.
--John M. Fowler
Silver Spring, Maryland

Too Good to Do Without
I have subscribed to the Review for most of 60 years. I thought maybe we could go without it for a while when we were having a financial crisis, but it’s just too interesting to go without, even though some of the information is available online. It just isn’t the same as sitting back and reading the paper from cover to cover.

Many thanks to the folk who keep the Review the interesting paper that it is, even though I’m not fond of the illustrations in comic form that have been used. I had the privilege of taking an art class from T. K. Martin many years ago, and I like realism, not so called “modern art.”
--Edith Litvin

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