Letters

Letters

Wow! 1,077 campers this last summer. That's great. I spent a good part of the 80s working at Sunset Lake, and just returned in September for a weekend visit. It was my first time up there in about a decade. I am very glad to hear the voice of God is still very loud up there. Keep up the good work! Vicky—E-mail Thank you for the article “Venden Leftovers.” My husband’s mother was a sister of Dan and Melvin. It seemed incredible that almost everywhere we attended an Adventist church in our various travels, when it became known my husband was related to the Venden brothers, people seemed to come out of the “woodwork” to tell us of their baptism by the uncles! Thank you for sharing their contribution to the growth of our church to my generation. Alta Axford—Bellevue, Wash. The design for the Gleaner is beautiful. Matthew McVane has always been a very talented young man. What a blessing that he is using his talents to bless the recipients of the GLEANER. The website is also very nice. My comment is simply that I really miss the letters to the editor section. That's sort of what keeps it an "NPUC family" magazine. It's akin to the prayer and praise time we have at church that keeps us aware of joys and needs. Roberta Buck—E-mail Throughout 2004 we will be striving to print as many of the thoughtful comments and opinions of our readers as possible. Please keep those cards, letters and e-mails coming. Editor I am confused by the article about reclaiming church members. One of the first paragraphs starts with "its all about relationships," but it only goes on to talk about what to do after they leave. Also there are plenty of people who go through trials without ever leaving the church. Though former members may say the cause was.... I believe that the underlying principle goes even further. There are people that leave for reasons which include hurt feelings within the church body and perhaps of a lack of a relationship at all. If the member or person has a support group or a person that they could go to, to help them work through their problems or trials, then I believe more people would stay than currently do. You mention several times the fact that "many would return if only asked the right way." The average person doesn't know the "right way." All you mention is the fact that we need to listen. True! But what do you intend for [the members] to do? Nina—E-mail You make some good points, and I agree with you that, in our increasingly isolated world, the need for relationships is essential both for winning former members and retaining those we already have. Mike Jones Having read “How to: Keep Former Members from Ever Coming Back,” I wanted to respond. I am one of those who apparently remain on the “books” but do not attend the Adventist church any longer. We were active in the church throughout our lives as Adventists. Our children have graduated from Adventist colleges. Surprisingly, even though “missed,” we have not been asked why we left the church in the first place. Now that we have attended a non-Adventist church for almost two years, we have been asked why we left the Adventist church. I tell them that over time I came to believe that there was difference between the “Adventist Message” and the “Gospel Message.” This may be a strange thought to many Adventists but it seemed to me that church members and leaders alike had elevated the unique Adventist doctrines beyond what the New Testament is so clear about when identifying what the Gospel message truly is. I found myself asking “is the simple Gospel Message complete unto itself?” I began to see the “Adventist Message” as a potential gospel-plus approach which lacks the power and universal appeal that is so desperately needed in a dying and profoundly diverse world. I usually conclude by telling fellow believers that I would not be a part of any denomination that did not share this common ground and believe that communicating the simple Gospel message is the true “mission” of the church, Adventist or otherwise. David Snawder—Roseburg, Ore. I agree that the Adventist message includes more than just the gospel. It was so in the early church as well. I am grateful that the Gospel is at the core of our belief system more now than ever. But why leave out the wonderful last truth such as the Sabbath and the imminent return of Jesus? Mike Jones There are two or three points in this article that every member in this church needs to look at closely. Regarding the statement: “Teaching that God raised up this remnant church as a fulfillment of prophecy and has inspired its theology—which drives its mission—made possible by its organization.” Yes, God has inspired our theology, “The Bible and the Bible only is our only rule of faith.” It should drive our mission. We should be sharing the message of salvation from sin and a new life of purity and holiness, leading every believer into a victorious walk with the Creator, laying aside every weight and the sins that so easily beset us. The message is walking in righteousness by faith. Are we living it? Are we giving it? Regarding the statment:”…Before we can impact large numbers of people with the unique understanding we have been given of God’s character and the great controversy, we must have a considerably higher profile.” Brothers and sisters, we must start giving the message everywhere, first in our churches, then in our land. “Repent, turn from your sins and turn to God.” When we do this, we will get the higher profile that so many are saying we need in order to give the message. Regarding the statement: “We must position Adventism as a mainline, visible and attractive option.” God is eternal. He is not an “option.” If we present Him this way, we will be falsely representing Him! His is the only name given among men whereby you may be saved. In the last days, God’s true people will not be seen as an attractive option. It will be the “mainline” “visible” “attractive options” that are their biggest persecutors. They will be seen as the awful blight that must be destroyed to save the world from the plagues befalling it. Ramon Moyer—Carlton, Ore. Brother Patzer upheld God's distinct banner of Adventism beautifully in his lead article, “…Not Ashamed…” Praise the Lord that God raised up our denomination to repair the enormous breach which had been ripped from His law! 'NPUC Strategic Plan' is also inspiring until we are told that "We must position Adventism as a main-line....option." How I hope that 'main-line' does not mean that we must remove any of the beautiful truths that we were raised up by God to preach to warn apostate mainline churches. Why would we ever want to 'position' our church other than firmly in God's control as the HEAD, not on a par with others or as the tail? Let us loudly proclaim the last warning message to come out of fallen Babylon! This is the specific work given us by God. I miss our three angels logo that set us apart from all other churches. I thought of it as our 'distinct banner' and was sad to see it removed. Yes, we have been told that some of the flame on the new logo represents angels, but most of our minds are too literal to see them. Gwen Howard—Glide, Ore. The use of the term “mainline” is intended to position the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a fully Christian denomination in contrast to the cultic groups with which we have sometimes been mistakenly associated. The development of BibleInfo.com was specifically designed to position us as Bible-believing Christians following the David Koresh experience in Waco, Texas, a number of years ago. This effective Web-based ministry is just one example of how we can be accessible to millions of people for the cause of Christ. Bryce Pascoe I was shocked to read about the dormitory fire. I remember that building. It was a very nice building. I lived in Witzel Hall on 2 South for the two years I spent at Auburn. I graduated from Auburn in 1989. As an alumnus of Auburn my heart goes out to the girls for the losses they have sustained. I understand what loss can be like. While attending Walla Walla College a laptop computer was stolen from my dorm room. I know that comes nowhere near the devastation these girls felt. However, I do understand loss and the emotions it can bring up. Please extend my personal sympathies to the girls and to the entire school for their loss. Anthony Nelson—E-mail Letters should be addressed to GLEANER Letters, PO Box 871150, Vancouver, WA 98687 or gleaner@nw.npuc.org. All letters for publication must bear the full name of the writer and his or her resident city and state. Preference will be given to letters originating within the NPUC territory. Letters should be limited to 150 words. Letters critical of personalities will not be used. The editors reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and/or length.

Wow! 1,077 campers this last summer. That's great. I spent a good part of the 80s working at Sunset Lake, and just returned in September for a weekend visit. It was my first time up there in about a decade. I am very glad to hear the voice of God is still very loud up there. Keep up the good work!

Vicky—E-mail

Thank you for the article “Venden Leftovers.” My husband’s mother was a sister of Dan and Melvin. It seemed incredible that almost everywhere we attended an Adventist church in our various travels, when it became known my husband was related to the Venden brothers, people seemed to come out of the “woodwork” to tell us of their baptism by the uncles! Thank you for sharing their contribution to the growth of our church to my generation.

Alta Axford—Bellevue, Wash.

The design for the Gleaner is beautiful. Matthew McVane has always been a very talented young man. What a blessing that he is using his talents to bless the recipients of the GLEANER. The website is also very nice.

My comment is simply that I really miss the letters to the editor section. That's sort of what keeps it an "NPUC family" magazine. It's akin to the prayer and praise time we have at church that keeps us aware of joys and needs.

Roberta Buck—E-mail

Throughout 2004 we will be striving to print as many of the thoughtful comments and opinions of our readers as possible. Please keep those cards, letters and e-mails coming. Editor

I am confused by the article about reclaiming church members. One of the first paragraphs starts with "its all about relationships," but it only goes on to talk about what to do after they leave.

Also there are plenty of people who go through trials without ever leaving the church. Though former members may say the cause was.... I believe that the underlying principle goes even further. There are people that leave for reasons which include hurt feelings within the church body and perhaps of a lack of a relationship at all.

If the member or person has a support group or a person that they could go to, to help them work through their problems or trials, then I believe more people would stay than currently do.

You mention several times the fact that "many would return if only asked the right way." The average person doesn't know the "right way." All you mention is the fact that we need to listen. True! But what do you intend for [the members] to do?

Nina—E-mail

You make some good points, and I agree with you that, in our increasingly isolated world, the need for relationships is essential both for winning former members and retaining those we already have. Mike Jones

Having read “How to: Keep Former Members from Ever Coming Back,” I wanted to respond. I am one of those who apparently remain on the “books” but do not attend the Adventist church any longer.

We were active in the church throughout our lives as Adventists. Our children have graduated from Adventist colleges. Surprisingly, even though “missed,” we have not been asked why we left the church in the first place. Now that we have attended a non-Adventist church for almost two years, we have been asked why we left the Adventist church.

I tell them that over time I came to believe that there was difference between the “Adventist Message” and the “Gospel Message.” This may be a strange thought to many Adventists but it seemed to me that church members and leaders alike had elevated the unique Adventist doctrines beyond what the New Testament is so clear about when identifying what the Gospel message truly is. I found myself asking “is the simple Gospel Message complete unto itself?” I began to see the “Adventist Message” as a potential gospel-plus approach which lacks the power and universal appeal that is so desperately needed in a dying and profoundly diverse world. I usually conclude by telling fellow believers that I would not be a part of any denomination that did not share this common ground and believe that communicating the simple Gospel message is the true “mission” of the church, Adventist or otherwise.

David Snawder—Roseburg, Ore.

I agree that the Adventist message includes more than just the gospel. It was so in the early church as well. I am grateful that the Gospel is at the core of our belief system more now than ever. But why leave out the wonderful last truth such as the Sabbath and the imminent return of Jesus? Mike Jones

There are two or three points in this article that every member in this church needs to look at closely.

Regarding the statement: “Teaching that God raised up this remnant church as a fulfillment of prophecy and has inspired its theology—which drives its mission—made possible by its organization.” Yes, God has inspired our theology, “The Bible and the Bible only is our only rule of faith.” It should drive our mission. We should be sharing the message of salvation from sin and a new life of purity and holiness, leading every believer into a victorious walk with the Creator, laying aside every weight and the sins that so easily beset us. The message is walking in righteousness by faith. Are we living it? Are we giving it?

Regarding the statment:”…Before we can impact large numbers of people with the unique understanding we have been given of God’s character and the great controversy, we must have a considerably higher profile.” Brothers and sisters, we must start giving the message everywhere, first in our churches, then in our land. “Repent, turn from your sins and turn to God.” When we do this, we will get the higher profile that so many are saying we need in order to give the message.

Regarding the statement: “We must position Adventism as a mainline, visible and attractive option.” God is eternal. He is not an “option.” If we present Him this way, we will be falsely representing Him! His is the only name given among men whereby you may be saved. In the last days, God’s true people will not be seen as an attractive option. It will be the “mainline” “visible” “attractive options” that are their biggest persecutors. They will be seen as the awful blight that must be destroyed to save the world from the plagues befalling it.

Ramon Moyer—Carlton, Ore.

Brother Patzer upheld God's distinct banner of Adventism beautifully in his lead article, “…Not Ashamed…” Praise the Lord that God raised up our denomination to repair the enormous breach which had been ripped from His law! 'NPUC Strategic Plan' is also inspiring until we are told that "We must position Adventism as a main-line....option." How I hope that 'main-line' does not mean that we must remove any of the beautiful truths that we were raised up by God to preach to warn apostate mainline churches. Why would we ever want to 'position' our church other than firmly in God's control as the HEAD, not on a par with others or as the tail? Let us loudly proclaim the last warning message to come out of fallen Babylon! This is the specific work given us by God.

I miss our three angels logo that set us apart from all other churches. I thought of it as our 'distinct banner' and was sad to see it removed. Yes, we have been told that some of the flame on the new logo represents angels, but most of our minds are too literal to see them.

Gwen Howard—Glide, Ore.

The use of the term “mainline” is intended to position the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a fully Christian denomination in contrast to the cultic groups with which we have sometimes been mistakenly associated.

The development of BibleInfo.com was specifically designed to position us as Bible-believing Christians following the David Koresh experience in Waco, Texas, a number of years ago. This effective Web-based ministry is just one example of how we can be accessible to millions of people for the cause of Christ. Bryce Pascoe

I was shocked to read about the dormitory fire. I remember that building. It was a very nice building. I lived in Witzel Hall on 2 South for the two years I spent at Auburn. I graduated from Auburn in 1989. As an alumnus of Auburn my heart goes out to the girls for the losses they have sustained. I understand what loss can be like. While attending Walla Walla College a laptop computer was stolen from my dorm room. I know that comes nowhere near the devastation these girls felt. However, I do understand loss and the emotions it can bring up. Please extend my personal sympathies to the girls and to the entire school for their loss.

Anthony Nelson—E-mail

Letters should be addressed to GLEANER Letters, PO Box 871150, Vancouver, WA 98687 or gleaner@nw.npuc.org. All letters for publication must bear the full name of the writer and his or her resident city and state. Preference will be given to letters originating within the NPUC territory. Letters should be limited to 150 words. Letters critical of personalities will not be used. The editors reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and/or length.

February 01, 2004 / Intersections
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