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

Kudos to Clifford
I am writing to complement Clifford Goldstein’s great, if belated, column, “When Angels Won’t Do” (Dec. 15, 2011). It is the single, most unabashed and effective defense of God’s Law as contained in the first five books of the Bible that I’ve ever seen. Called by some the Pentateuch, and by others the Torah, the books of Moses, etc., they contain God’s specific set of instructions that encompass just about every facet of human existence. It is arranged into 10 major areas of life, both in terms of relationships between people, as well as our relationship with God.

The Ten Commandments are really broad descriptive headlines. Each headline covers a number of what God called “statutes” and “judgments,” along with various ordinances, some of which were temporary until physical/environmental circumstances might change. Other ordinances and laws related to the temporary animal sacrifices and Tabernacle/Temple priesthood where atoning activities took place until the Messiah came. But the statutes and judgments were God’s extended moral law. There were and are, statutes about all kinds of human relationships, each one connected to one or more of the Ten Commandments.
Through Jesus, let’s accept His entire moral Law and “observe and do” it.

--Ron Dahlke
Walla Walla, Washington

The Man in the Red Suit, Or . . .
Regarding Erica Richards’ article, “The Man in the Red Suit, or the Humble Shepherd?” (Dec. 15, 2011): Santa can be the “elephant in the room.” Santa and Christ, evolution and creationism, Christians and Muslims; our children are faced with many divergent ideas. We should always tell our children the truth, because we can’t ignore the fact that our world is filled with customs, traditions, and other points of view.

Rather than demonizing other perspectives, we should explain why others have a different perspective, and why what we believe is so special. How can our children know and understand the value of our Christian beliefs if they are never exposed to an honest appraisal of another belief system? They need a complete view of why they are blessed to have this wonderful hope embedded in their hearts.

--Nancy J. Thomas
Rock Hall, Maryland

The myth of Santa Claus has minimized the story of Jesus Christ for many generations. Santa has become the main focus of the holiday, and if we continue to encourage belief in Santa our children will become more confused and unable to tell the difference between truth and error.

I have never taught my children about Santa. From the beginning they knew that Santa was fictional and Jesus is real. Today, at the age of 8 and 10, both children have observed that there’s so much focus on Santa and very little on Jesus. They’re not too happy about that.

--Solange Sanchez

If the Creation Account Isn’t True
Regarding “If the Creation Account Isn’t True . . .” (Dec. 8, 2011): Please assure Mark Kellner that he is not alone among Adventists, even non-Adventists, when it comes to the biblical account of creation.

Unfortunately, the world will continue its relentless assault on God’s people until many of us will wonder, like Elijah, if we alone have not bowed the knee to Baal.

At least we know that the end is truly in the relatively near future.

--Bob Strube
Deer Island, Oregon

Making a List
Thanks to Bill Knott for his editorial “Ten Thanksgivings” (Nov. 24, 2011). It’s often easier to complain than to be thankful; and it is so easy to rent the words of others instead of thinking for ourselves and expressing our gratitude.

Thanks for sharing your list, and for the inspiration.

--Lewis LaClair
Walpole, New Hampshire

A Burden for Capitalization
In the recent cover story “Their Church, or My Church?” by Wilona Karimabadi, reference was made to one of our largest, most significant churches as follows: “Multicultural, large Pioneer Memorial church . . .” As the article progressed several other churches are mentioned, and they all seem to merit an uppercase “C.” And the answer is simple: the word “Church” is preceded by the words “Seventh-day Adventist.”

My concerns have nothing to do with the author of the article, but rather with the editorial policy being followed.
I have served the Seventh-day Adventist Church for more than 50 years, the bulk of that in pastoral ministries. It has always amazed me that our editorial policy with regard to the word “church” has left something to be desired. Through the years the word has appeared both ways (uppercase and lowercase), and sometimes in the same issue! Only very recently have we settled on the policy referenced above--an uppercase “C” only when preceded by the words “Seventh-day Adventist” or “Adventist.” Some, if not most, of our union conference periodicals have settled on an uppercase “C” when it is part of the formal name of the church.

While pastoring the Atlanta Belvedere Church, I strolled over to the Southern Union Conference office one day and inquired about the usage of the words “Church” and “church.” The editor, then Olsen Perry, referred me to a style book put out by the New York Times, in which the lower-case “c” was recommended, even though it is part of the formal name of the church. I can only assume that this is the reason for using a lowercase letter in reference to the Pioneer Memorial Church (sorry, but I simply cannot use the small “c”)!

I continue to be amazed, and a bit chagrined! We would never refer to the Michigan conference, St. Louis junior academy, Andrews university, in such a way. They would always merit an uppercase letter, and with many of them the words, “of Seventh-day Adventists” would follow. That is implied with these entities, even if the formal name of the entity stands alone; but not so with the local church.

I am aware that our churches are part of a sisterhood of churches, but a double standard such as this is difficult to understand, much less accept.

Surely the local church, for which Christ gave His life, should be accorded the same deference and dignity enjoyed by every other entity in the denomination. Shall we continue to place the questionable editorial policies of a secular media giant, the New York Times, above that of our members in the local church? The time is long past for us to revise our editorial policy with regard to the local church, large or small; to enact at least a modicum of fairness and consistency; and to chart a bold new course, honoring the lifeblood of our denomination, the local church.

--Albert M. Ellis
Apopka, Florida

The Adventist Review, along with the New York Times, Time magazine, and most publications in the United States, follows the copyediting style set by the Associated Press, the industry standard. While some may see this as undermining the significance of local churches, it is simply our commitment to consistency within the publishing industry.--Editors

What Can We Do?
In the article “My Church Saved Me” by Emily Carlson (Sept. 15, 2011), the theme is about how to retain young members in the church.

Then Wilona Karimabadi in “Their Church, Or My Church?” (Nov. 17, 2011) writes that according to Monte Sahlin we may be losing up to 90 percent of our young adults.

Does the parable Jesus gave about leaving the 99 sheep and going after the lost sheep until he finds it apply here? I would like to read something in the Review about how to seek and find lost young people.

--Barbara Brauer James
Rolla, Missour

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