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
Help in Choosing
I was most delighted and refreshed in reading Michael Zwaagstra’s article Choosing a Bible Translation
(Nov. 25, 2010). His clarity and organization of points, along with thoughtful descriptions of the three genres of Bibles, were enlightening and compelling.
As a speaker myself, who goes to various churches, I am often asked, “Which translation?” Now, with this article, I have an extra tool to use.
Zwaagstra is right to suggest choosing an essentially literal translation as one’s basic study Bible. The article was enhanced and strengthened by Gerald Klingbeil’s sidebar about helping people properly utilize the various translations, especially for difficult passages.
The only suggestion I have is that a second part be written that delves into the issues of manuscripts from which all Bibles are translated, and the debate in those scholarly circles that influence some toward the conviction that only the King James Version be read.
God led me to embrace Adventism through reading His book, and I long and pray for our people to become truly “people of the book” again.
Getting Them, Keeping Them
Reading Bill Knott’s editorial, Finding Their Footing
(Nov. 18, 2010), reminded me of a time long ago when someone was promoting Adventist Review
in our church. An elderly man stood up and loudly proclaimed, “The Signs
will get them in; the Review
will keep them in.”
Since I had just returned to church after a 10 year absence, I decided I had best subscribe to the Review. That was more than 50 years ago. There was lot of truth in the gentleman’s remark.
Thanks for the Memories
Thanks for the attractive, dynamic, colorful design layout of the November 18 Review. I’m a missionaries’ kid, and I enjoyed reading the Seventh-day Adventist name in 20 languages on Page 7.
The cover article [Adventist Education Leader Up to the Challanges]
brought out many aspects of Lisa Beardsley’s life, to which I would like to add that, if I’m not mistaken, her mother was Maureen Luxton, director of education for the British Union Conference, who adapted to the challenges of her time when the membership dramatically changed with influx of members from the Caribbean and Southern Asia.
--Charles R. Taylor
A Little Background
Concerning Mark Kellner’s editorial, When a Nation Forgets God
(Nov. 11, 2010): Not only had Germany in the time of National Socialism forgotten its God-centered roots and the civic rights derived from it, but so, apparently, had many Christians.
Only a few opposed Hitler and his regime; large parts of the religiously inclined nobility and middle class—even those in leadership of the great churches—welcomed Hitler’s seizure of power as a “God-sent leader.” Christian political parties paved the way for the Nazis. And Christian churches—also the Seventh-day Adventist Church, regrettably—were guilty in multiple ways by their approval, collaboration, or simply looking the other way.
Our church in Germany and Austria, as recently as 2004, issued a confession concerning this injustice in its midst.
Atheistic Russians and secular Americans were those who defeated the National Socialism government—with heavy losses. In contrast the readiness of Christians (who gave themselves the appearance of believing) to oppose the regime—even to a martyr’s death—was a rare exception.
What do we learn from it today? At least this: What looks like Christianity is often far from real Christianity! And what seems to us to be secular and distant from God may be a guarantor of our freedom, and thereby open doors for our preaching.
Adams, and Term Limits
Retired associate editor Roy Adams will be greatly missed. His incisive thinking and occasional wit made the Review a better journal. If you can talk him in to it, please ask him to keep writing. We need more thinkers like him. Not that I always agreed with everything he said, but I appreciated being pushed to think things through for myself.
I totally agree with Adams’ last article, Term Limits (Oct. 21, 2010). The setting of term limits allows for new ideas to be brought forward, new initiatives to be launched, and experience to be shared. I would go so far as to recommend that conference officers at all levels be required to serve a local congregation for a few years before going back into conference administration. If we truly believe that the action is at the local church level, it makes sense to have our best and brightest return to where the action is.
In light of our country’s recent polarizing election, and our General Conference worldwide elections, “Term Limits” was a timely and superbly written article. It isn’t often that someone can so clearly articulate both sides of an argument so convincingly. I particularly appreciated Ellen White’s comments on the topic, and the historical background from Annual Council and General Conference deliberations from the 1930s.
Roy Adams has a gift, very evident in this article, for mixing interviews with Neal C. Wilson, quotes from Tennyson, and important material from sources as diverse as the Washington Post, the 1931 General Conference Committee minutes, and Gospel Workers into an arresting narrative I couldn’t put down.
Although I often think of writing a comment, this is my first, because I want to pay tribute to a journalistic giant in our church. Adams is truly a “renaissance man,” whose intellect, literary knowledge, endless curiosity, integrity, and love for God and the church were infused throughout his editorials and articles, which never failed to inspire, intrigue, or provoke me to search further. His retirement is a great loss.
--Rebekah Wang-Cheng Scriven