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Letter of Reply to the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, dated July 15, 2007

The following is a copy of the letter sent by Pastor Fillmer Hevener to Mr. Robert E. Kyte, General Counsel of General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, regarding the issue of Guthrie Memorial Adventist Chapel using the word 'Adventist' in its name.


224 Mohele Road, Farmville, Virginia, 23901 (Mailing Address)
(434) 392-6255
July 15, 2007
(434) 392-6255; Fax. Same

(Certified Mail)

Mr. Robert E. Kyte, General Counsel
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600

Dear Brother Kyte:

On 7-5-07, I received your letter dated 6-28-07, concerning our using the word ADVENTIST in the name of our Chapel.

No doubt you are aware that the word ADVENTIST is used by various churches. The "New Light Index" states that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the largest of "some 200 Adventist denominations." The Encyclopedia Britannica states that an Adventist is a "member of a group (italics mine) of Protestant Christian churches...." The Wikipedia Encyclopedia also lists various churches using the word ADVENTIST. Therefore, it is our understanding that, because of the widespread use of the word ADVENTIST by multiple churches, the word is a generic term like, for example, BAPTIST. The Potomac Conference of SDA and the General Conference of SDA must know that there is at least one non-SDA denomination (reportedly with some 24,000 members) in Virginia and the Potomac Conference territory, that uses in its name the words: SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST. Considering these facts, that our Chapel, dedicated to almsgiving, would be singled out by your organization and the Potomac Conference of SDA for using the word  ADVENTIST, is curious, indeed!

We do not favor Christians going to the secular courts, but prefer to follow the instruction by the Apostle Paul, given to the Christian Church in Corinth; please see 1 Corinthians 6:1-8. He instructs Christians to mediate disputes using "wise" Christians as judges. We regret that Paul's instruction was not followed in this matter. Verses 4-8 of Chapter 6, read:

If then you have judgments concerning these things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to the law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not


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Robert Kyte, General Conference of SDA

rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! (NEW KING JAMES VERSION.)

Another respected version reads:

So if you have disagreements that must be judged, why do you take them to those who are not part of the church? I say this to shame you. Surely there is someone among you wise enough to judge a complaint between two brothers in Christ. But now one brother goes to court against another brother. And you let men who are not believers judge their case! The lawsuits that you have against each other show that you are already defeated. It would be better for you to let someone wrong you! It would be better for you to let someone cheat you! But you, yourselves, do wrong and cheat! And you do this to your own brothers in Christ. (NEW CENTURY VERSION.)

As Pastor, I receive no income from the Chapel; all donations to the Chapel go to charitable work in our community and nationally, or to our mission work in India and Africa.

Let each of us pray that the spirit and principle of agape love will prevail in this matter, and that the influence of the Holy Spirit will rest upon all decisions made by both of our Christian organizations.

Cordially, Your brother in Christ,

Dr. Fillmer Hevener, Pastor


2005 Guthrie Memorial Chapel