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
Responding to Rebelution
I was puzzled by something in Jeffrey Rosario’s feature, “Let the Rebelution Begin” (Feb. 17, 2011). Not by his main point (a good one) that society’s expectations for young people are too low these days. I was troubled by what he seemed to say. After quoting dire statistics about how many young Adventists leave the church, the problem with young people is that they exist! According to Rosario they didn’t used to. Historically and biblically there were only two phases in life: childhood and adulthood. Those “immature, lazy, irresponsible” adolescents just shouldn’t be there. Oh, and “their caliber is deteriorating.”
Rosario’s contention that adolescence is a “myth” invented by twentieth century Western civilization flies in the face of educational principles, psychology, and every parent that ever walked the earth. Perhaps earlier societies didn’t want to acknowledge a transitional, rebellious, moody, broody phase between childhood and adulthood. But it was there, and still is. The church will do better at keeping its young people if it accepts them, lets them rebel, yell, and raise hell within safe boundaries, so they can grow into the adults who can change the course of the world.
I very much enjoyed “Let the Rebelution Begin.” But three lines troubled me. After quoting Romans 12:2, Rosario wrote: “Do not be conformed is a call for nonconformists, for rebels. That’s right, the Prince of Peace wants my generation to rebel. It’s a provocative paradox.” He clarifies that he wants us to rebel against a mind-set, not authority. But the Bible warns us “For rebellion is like the sin of divination” (1 Sam 15:23). It seems logical to rebel against evil, but Jesus warned us to “resist not evil” (Matt 5:39, KJV). The “provocative paradox” is that rebelling against a satanic mindset is not the same as loving and obeying God. Rebelling against a lie does not have the same power as proclaiming the truth.
Woodsville, New Hampshire
My first reading of “Let the Rebelution Begin” left me angry. Then I looked at the picture of the young man at the end of the article and asked myself, “What does someone so young know about it?”
With continued reading I decided that he was exactly the right age to speak for our precious youth. When Christ got to me and shook me I was 20 years old. When I turned from a life that was leading me to hell, I fell into the loving and forgiving arms of a Savior who lived as a teenager and young adult. He was exposed to every possible evil. Today our weak profession of our dynamic faith should cause our heads to bow in shame.
I like the thought that human beings become “adult” and responsible at a younger age, and that teenagers want to be challenged, not pampered. This article does just that. This article should be preached in every Adventist Church in the world.
I especially liked Rosario’s application. Paul had written to Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young” (1 Tim. 4:12). In other words, “Don’t let anyone underestimate you.” Then Paul added, “but set an example.” One gets the impression that Timothy, a young man, is expected to be a great Christian. There’s nothing abnormal about that. According to God, that should be the norm!
I look forward to a great revival among our youth; those who “dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone; dare to have a purpose firm, dare to make it known.” Praise God, that day is coming.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the articles in the February 17, 2011 Adventist Review. As a new Adventist, I am surprised to find a lot of current Adventist media trying to attract young peoples’ attention with “popular” images and ideas.
For instance, the illustration for “Sabbath, Movies, and the Plains of Moab” is a startling picture of Moses holding two digital “tablets.” And the article “Let the Rebelution Begin” is illustrated with distinctly Communist propaganda imagery. These images seem at best “off-beat” and at worst irreverent. They tell me that our graphic designers are pandering to the world’s expectations, not to Jesus’ simple, honest example. If we are honest, it is clear that faithful obedience to God and His word is not the same as exciting secular notions of “rebellion” to lure Christians to the truth.
God is calling us to primitive godliness. The truth is compelling because of its simplicity and wholesomeness. Let’s be an army of youth for God that represents Him in all we do. Let our magazines and literature honor Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).
Laughter, Nor Levity
Regarding “Remembering to Laugh” (Feb. 17, 2011): I was disappointed that the author did not differentiate between levity and cheerfulness.
As the term is understood today, Jesus was never “the life of the party,” a backslapping comic jesting and joking. And His followers are not to engage in levity and frivolous mirth at any time. “He [Jesus] gave no license to dissipation, and no shadow of worldly levity marred His conduct; yet He found pleasure in scenes of innocent happiness, and by His presence sanctioned the social gathering” (The Desire of Ages, p. 151). “Our Savior was deeply serious and intensely in earnest, but never gloomy or morose. The life of those who imitate Him will be full of earnest purpose. . . . Levity will be repressed; there will be no boisterous merriment, no rude jesting” (Steps to Christ, pp. 120-121).
Sociability and cheerfulness, yes. Joking, jesting, and levity, no.
Before the Battle
I am writing regarding the editorial “In the Watch Fires of a Hundred Circling Camps” (Mar. 11, 2010). I read this article when the issue first came to our home last year, and it has stuck with me ever since. I have revisited it in the archives and posted it on Facebook. I just had to write (which is a first for me) to say how deeply this article has resonated with me. I cried when I read it the first time, and I continue to pause and ponder deeply every time I read it.
What a profound parallel to draw between the earnest contemplation of the morning hours just before a great battle, and these last moments of prayer and supplication before the midnight of this world. I am thrilled every time I read this article because I am moved to a place of seriousness, excitement, awe, and reverence when I realize afresh that our heavenly Father is almost here.
This editorial accurately portrays the mood we should all feel at this time of prayer for the precious Holy Spirit. I am encouraged to set aside all light-heartedness and things of this world. I am encouraged to visit the tents of the dear ones in my life and pray deeply, earnestly, fervently for the Holy Spirit. Thank you again for these beautiful words.
I have thought about responding to “In the Watch Fires of a Hundred Circling Camps” several times, but others have expressed my feelings, so I have delayed expressing my appreciation until now.
The exceptional way it was written, and the very serious message it brings to all believers, is of great importance at this time. I have sent out and given away many copies of it myself, but it would serve well our entire church membership if it were reprinted in Adventist World to gain maximum readership. Thanks for the crucial part you play in keeping us united and informed as a church body.