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 Battle of Ideas
If evil is nonsensical, as Clifford Goldstein suggests in his column “It Makes No Sense”
(Apr. 18, 2013), then it follows that the originator of evil, Satan and his cohort of demons, are irrational beings. Nonsensical behavior is a hallmark of demented individuals and insanity is a legally valid defense in human justice.
Satan’s rebellion began by his challenge of God’s fairness, when he was not accorded privileges identical to those of Jesus. While his behavior, casting aspersions on the Lord, and bringing suffering and death to countless humans is unspeakably evil, it is completely consistent with his character. It is a rational means to undermine God’s kingdom. The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan is a battle of ideas as demonstrated by the dialogue between the antagonists during Christ’s temptation in the wilderness.
The sufferings and deaths of innocent children is one of the many indicators of how far we find ourselves from the Edenic ideal our Creator intended for us.
New Leipzig, North Dakota
Dealing With Postmodernism
I would like to have seen the article “Postmodernism in the Classroom”
(Apr. 18, 2013) published alongside a companion article taking another perspective on this issue.
While Michael Zwaagstra does well to ask us to examine ways in which constructivism may present challenges to faith and Christian education, I wish he had encouraged us with equal fervor to consider the challenges presented by positivism, the school of thought from which he writes.
Many of us grew up in a largely positivist culture, and positivist reasoning is so much a part of our thought processes that it can seem obvious to us that this way of thinking is natural, right, logical, even biblical. While we tend not to feel threatened by the familiar, we have to examine our own assumptions, as they may limit our understanding of God as much as ways of thinking that challenge the status quo.
Michael Zwaagstra’s article “Postmodernism in the Classroom” warmed my heart. In my experience, education is most efficient when there is a balance between lectures and “hands on learning.” Could we add Ephesians 6:1-4, which suggests adults should be careful to not expect learning to occur out of harmony with the child’s mental, physical, and spiritual development?
In support of this concept, a reread of the book Education by Ellen White, Better Late Than Early by Raymond and Dorothy Moore, and more recently www.youandyourchildshealth.org by Susan Johnson, a non-Adventist developmental/behavioral child specialist, is most timely.
Staying the Course
Wilona Karimabadi’s editorial “A Faith of Don’ts”
(Mar. 21, 2013) brought to my mind an experience from last summer.
I was playing golf in Maine, walking the course, when a man playing alone caught up with my playing partner and me. Golf etiquette teaches to allow the faster player to play through. My friend knew the man and introduced us as ministers, he a Baptist and I a Seventh-day Adventist. The Baptist minister turned to me and said, “Oh, you’re the people who outlive everyone because of your healthful lifestyle.” He thanked us and hurried on his way.
A Lasting Influence
Regarding “Morris Venden, Noted Adventist Preacher, Author, Dies at 80”
(Mar. 14, 2013):
I arrived in the United States on March 2 and Morris Venden’s memorial service was on March 3. One of the reasons I looked forward to visiting the U.S. was to meet Pastor Venden again.
I first saw him in Manila. He was holding a crusade with Jennifer LaMountain at the Philippine International Convention Center. When I heard him speak, it was like I heard God’s voice through him. I already knew God and was an active Christian leader in our church, but his words touched my heart. It made me realize the futility of my service. At the time, I only knew “about” God. I cried every time Venden concluded his evening sermon. Even now, as I remember the man who changed the way I view God in my life, it makes me cry.
My life was never the same after I heard Venden speak. He told a story about his mentor, a teacher in his university, few years after Venden started working as a pastor. This teacher-mentor asked him about his relationship with God. This stunned Venden. He wondered why his mentor would ask that question when he worked as a pastor. Shouldn’t it be understood that as a pastor his relationship with God would be OK?
His mentor advised Venden to reread The Desire of Ages. Reading that book again renewed his love for God. It made him realize that knowing and loving Jesus is the only reason for being a Christian.
I went home that night with a renewed mind. I purposed to know God personally and keep Him in my heart. I started reading The Desire of Ages.
It inspired me to read the Bible, looking for clues about God’s character. I fell in love with God. And that love inspires me even now. I have dedicated myself to follow God as long as I have breath.
I look forward to seeing Venden again when we all get to heaven.
What We Read
After reading the letters in the April 11 Inbox regarding Bill Knott’s editorial “Reclaiming the Library”
(Mar. 14, 2013), I feel compelled to come back to this topic.
I, too, appreciated Knott’s thoughts, but I am responding to what I perceive as a trend by many, articulated in one or two letters that put down Adventists who hold in higher regard our publications and biblical understanding of many issues above that of other writers, Christian or not.
I remember when The Purpose-Driven Life, The Prayer of Jabez, and many others were on reading lists of the day, and many “Christian” writers’ books served, and still do, as resources for Christian living, guides for child-rearing, marriage improvement, etc. My issue was, and still is, that we Adventists have so much given to us in the Spirit of Prophecy. When will I, or any of us, have time to read most of the counsels, much less all of them? Must I use valuable time to study the writings of people who either willfully or ignorantly ignore a “thus saith the Lord”; people who mock and criticize Adventists; or who in many cases will not read our books? Isn’t this why one cannot walk into any Christian bookstore and find a selection of our publications?
If advocates of reading other authors’ materials are referring to literature, art, science, music, etc., then by all means, read on! Otherwise, in spiritual matters we should be cautious to read with discernment and understanding. True, there are lessons and insights to be gained from others, but we have all the basics to make it into the kingdom.