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

“The Incomplete Gospel” by Andrew W. Kerbs (Oct. 18, 2012) was outstanding. He brought out points I had not heard before. It was also heartening and encouraging to see an article of such importance to this church written by a young person. The illustration on the opening spread of the article showing only part of the word “gospel” fit right in with the message.
--Donald E.Casebolt
College Place, Washington

Family Tragedy
My thanks to Clifford Goldstein for sharing what must be a terribly personal tragedy and its aftermath of guilt in his article “Death in the Family” (Oct. 18, 2012). Many of us struggle with how to witness to those of our own families.

As we look around the church, or in old high school yearbooks, it would seem that loss, especially of our adult children, has become almost epidemic in some of our churches. Recent reports about the decline of Christianity in the United States indicate that it not only happens in our denomination. Of course, the evil one is there to dump more guilt on those of us who were not wise enough to be perfect parents.

A friend consoled me once by saying, “Look at Adam and Eve. If anyone should have been perfect parents, they should have. And look how their kids turned out.”

We find comfort in knowing God loves the wandering ones more than we ever could, that He understands our longing for forgiveness in failing to always be the kind of witnesses we should have been, and He grieves for them even as we do.
--Bettigene D. Reiswig
Port Orford, Oregon

Our condolences and prayers are with Clifford Goldstein and his family. We are always blessed by his insightful writing, and were particularly encouraged by his powerful expression of his confidence in God’s love following these tragic losses.

Thank you for the reminder that the Lord knows all the terrible suffering and challenges of all of His people. Thank you for pointing us to the cross, and reminding us that our Lord is a Righteous Judge. Thank God for our great hope of His soon return!
--Rus and Marilyn Lane

I’m thankful to Clifford Goldstein for opening his pain to those of us who bury our loved ones, not knowing the state of their souls. We hope, wondering if we could have said something that would have been conducive to them making a life-saving decision.
Last May my sister-in-law was involved in an accident and died from her injuries two weeks later. Goldstein’s words were helpful to me. I’m going to share them with my family.
--D. K. Bindernagel

Blessed by His Ministry
I am writing to thank you for the last two or three articles Lael Caesar had published in the Adventist Review.

These articles have been excellently written, and well researched. I am sure they have been a great blessing to all who have been privileged to read them.

May the Lord continue to bless him as he blesses us with the great talent and training that He has seen fit to bless him with, as he dedicates his life to spreading the gospel to all the world through the printed page of Adventist Review.
--Richard S. Norman

I find it difficult to express just how relieved and ecstatic I was when I read Sandra Blackmer’s article, “Can’t We All Just Get Along?” (Oct. 11, 2012). I recently completed my Master of Arts in International Peace and Conflict Resolution at American University’s (AU) School of International Service. Since I started at AU I have been on fire for peace studies and conflict resolution/management; but so disheartened that our church has virtually no writing on, or organizations that deal with these topics. I really couldn’t share my career field with anyone within our denomination; they would nod their head politely or look at me as if I was crazy.

Even when I tried to find out what the church said about peace and conflict management, the discourse did not address much beyond finding personal or spiritual peace. While spiritual peace is important, there is so much more to peace than just asking God for it. It’s not just theological or philosophical; it’s about correct action and strategy.

In light of all this, Blackmer’s article is important. It seems our church is realizing that we have a responsibility to actively address conflict in the church and world by: (1) helping restore broken relationships; (2) eliminating violent behaviors (i. e. emotionally, physically, verbally, spiritually, structurally, et al.); (3) working to de-escalate potential or forming conflicts; and (4) exploring and researching alternate ways to resolve conflict.

Organizations like ADRA are wonderful and vital, but they tend to focus on humanitarian aid in a current or post-conflict atmosphere. There’s so much more to be done before these stages that can help decrease suffering and destruction. Our people and our beliefs can bring so much to the table if we only had the proper training and support system to work.

I applaud La Serra University’s Center for Conflict Resolution. I hope and pray the church actively supports and encourages this field inside as well as outside the church.
--Melissa Bedford
Adelphi, Maryland

Useful Information
Thank you for the news article, “Andrews University Press Releases Book on Issues of Homosexuality” (Sept. 20, 2012), and for Andy Nash’s article, “The Missing Story in ‘Seventh-Gay Adventists’” (July 19, 2012). How I wish this information had been available 14 years ago when my son came out. I felt I had nowhere to turn, no place to get answers. What I did hear didn’t sit well with me.

If God can do all things, then He can help my son face the homosexuality issue, just as He helps us with other issues of life. Why did I have to accept the fact that maybe he was born this way, and therefore had no other option but to choose that lifestyle?

Nash’s message has to be preached loud and clear: choosing first to be faithful to God, even when we don’t understand how it will all work out. I am still praying for my son, as well as others who are in the valley of decision, to understand true righteousness by faith. God’s way is best. I pray they will choose it.

I have discovered a lot of hurting families in these last 14 years. We generally carry this load alone and feel there is no hope. Articles like Nash’s say there’s a better way.
--Name Withheld by Request

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