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 Few More Words About the Sabbath
“Unrest Over a Rest Day
” by Andy Nash (Feb. 9, 2012) is very helpful in many ways. But it is not completely accurate in describing the word sabbatismos. Nash describes this unique word found in Hebrews 4:9 as meaning “Sabbath-like rest.”
The word sabbatismos is literally defined as “a keeping of the Sabbath, a Sabbath rest” (Strong’s Greek Concordance). It is not defined as “Sabbath-like rest” but as literal Sabbath keeping. True, Sabbath keeping incorporates the rest we have in Christ; and the rest we have in Christ incorporates Sabbath keeping as a vital part of that experience. It goes both ways.
I appreciate Nash’s thoughtful article, but his downplay of the word sabbatismos from literal to “like” does not do the verse or the theology of Hebrews 4 justice. We don’t have to go soft when speaking of Hebrews 4:9. It is a powerful verse for the continuity of the Sabbath in New Testament thinking, as well as the rest we have in Jesus.
Despite a number of excellent, Bible-based arguments refuting popular objections to the Sabbath, Andy Nash’s article partakes of a common, though fallacious, misconception regarding obedience and salvation.
Jesus was clear that obedience to His Father’s commandments is a condition of salvation (Matt. 19:16-17; Luke 10:25-28); though He was also clear that only through God’s power can such obedience be rendered (Matt. 19:25-26; John 15:5). . . .
Anyone who knows and understands the biblical claims of the Sabbath, yet chooses to set them aside, has forfeited salvation as surely as the racist, the adulterer, the liar, or the spouse abuser, provided these persons encounter God’s revelation of truth regarding these issues and decide to live to the contrary.
--Kevin D. Paulson
Berrien Springs, Michigan
In God’s Time
Regarding “The Note
” (Jan. 26, 2012): It is exciting to see how God can bring someone into His service. He knows who can and will work for Him and He begins making arrangements years ahead of time to bring that person into His service.
Rachel Hyman’s text is Isaiah 65:24. “I know what you need, and I am working on it long in advance so that when you ask I will give you an immediate answer” (paraphrase). How long do you suppose God was working before Rachel wrote her prayer in order to bring a girl who could answer it from Brazil to Texas?
Angry About Pain
Regarding the article by Walter Thompson, “I am Mad! Really Mad!
” (Jan 19, 2012), who was angry about the pain to two beautiful girls who were scarred for life after being burned on a camping trip:
The end of the article contained an invitation for readers to share what they are angry about. I’ve been thinking about this while recuperating from the suicide of my brother, so here goes:
I’m angry, not with the article’s author, but because there was no answer given as to why children must go through such horrendous pain when we live in such a modern, pain-relieving age. Why is preserving life and growing new skin so painful? Why does the debridement (where the damaged skin has to be removed) have to be so painful? Why can’t the person be anesthetized?
The same thing happened to my nephew about 30 years ago, and I didn’t know then why it had to be so painful. Haven’t medical techniques in that area improved in the last 30 years? If not, I’m angry!
--Ertis L. Johnson
Sports, Athletics, and Competition
Regarding “In the Arena
” (Jan. 19, 2012):
The open suggestions that God’s remnant church should begin to facilitate and encourage Adventist athletes to enter the world of commercial sports may be the most spiritually dangerous and morally objectionable concept ever printed in our church paper. Anyone who has a knowledge of the warnings in the Spirit of Prophecy against sports, games, and rivalries would never make such a diabolical proposal.
The participation in sports simply as a form of exercise may have some legitimacy (see The Adventist Home, pp. 499-506). But to engage in competition on the interscholastic and professional levels is totally incompatible with pure Christian principles. Few things could be more antithetical to the character of the humble and self-sacrificing character of Christ than the adulation and glamorization of humans for their ability to demonstrate mere physical dominance in an activity that is essentially useless and produces nothing of real value for the needs of suffering humanity. It clearly demonstrates to all that we are not only in the world, but also of the world.
The church’s young people are to be educated and inspired to devote all their God-given talents—both mental and physical—to the service of humankind and the proclamation of the three angels’ messages, not to activities that foster pride, self-exaltation, and the love of supremacy over others.