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International Journal for Pastors October 2000

THEOLOGIA
Ministry
Ministry is the international journal of the
Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial Association and has been
published since 1928.

Association Secretary Pastoral Assistant Editors


Ellen White, theologian? James A. Cress
Editor
John C. Cress, Fredrick Russell,
Maylan Schurch, Loren Seibold
Can Seventh-day Adventists justly say that Mrs. White Willmore D. Eva International Advisors
A. Abdulmajid, Alejandro Bullon,
was a theologian in her own right? Assistant Editor Jaime Castrejon, Victor P.
Julia W. Norcott Krushenitsky, Carlos Martin,
Walter M. Booth Editorial Assistant Gabriel Maurer, Joel Musvosvi,
Sheila Draper David Osborne, Paul Ratsara,
Peter Roennfeidt, John Willmott,
8 Professional Growth and
Inter-church Relations
Eric Winter, R. A. Zeeman

Evangelism and social involvement Nikolaus Satelmajer Pastoral Advisors


Leslie Baumgartner, S. Peter
Contributing Editors Campbell, Miguel A. Cerna,
Would a stronger social agenda strengthen our evangelistic endeavors? Sharon Cress Jeanne Hartwell, Mitchell
Peter Prime Henson, Greg Nelson, Norma
Earl P. Cameron Joel Sarli Osborn, Leslie Pollard, Dan
Kit Watts Smith, Steve Willsey
Consulting Editors
12 Ben Ciausen, Raou! Dederen,
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2 Ministry/October 2000
Children's ministry letters page (and I do enjoy the letters monthly and weekly baptisms through
I enjoyed your March 2000 page). the Small Group Ministry and of
Ministry articles on ministering to Thanks, and keep up the good course it is not possible without God's
children. However, one "gap" I noticed work. Maranatha! Dale Wolcott, grace and guidance. However, I do
is ideas and resources for computer pastor, Midland, Michigan. believe that leading souls to Jesus' feet
curriculum sources and methodology. is not an end itself but rather only a
We are in the process of equipping I thought the article "Teachable beginning. To bring them into the
our church classes with "teaching Spirit, Teamwork, and Ministry" was fellowship of the believers is one thing
computers." excellent! Ken Livesay, ASI executive and to nurture them is another.
Ideas to help enrich this process secretary and treasurer (retired), Richard Halversen's article ("Nurturing
and listings of CD-ROM Bible Paradise, California. and Preserving New Converts") is
teaching disks would be helpful. I'd indeed an added answer on how our
recommend you explore this area of I enjoyed Julia Norcott's editorial Church could keep these priceless souls
computers CD-ROMs as a potential on a teachable spirit in the April 2000 from sliding out of God's fold. When I
boon to helping children already Ministry. The point was made effec shared the author's wonderful idea
hooked into the cybernet age to learn tively. I might add that it takes a certain concerning the "obstetricians," the
about God's saving love in Jesus type of talented person who can take a "pediatricians," and the "nursery" in
Christ. Robert K. (Bob) Munro, visionary's (i.e., Jim) plans and then our church last May 6,2000, it indeed
Knob Hill United Methodist Church, make them reality (i.e., Julia). We deeply brought home the responsibility
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. appreciate working with both the of every member as a tender and loving
visionary and the one who implements care "pediatricians and nurses."
April 2000 issue the vision so effectively. You have a I do agree with the author when
What a winner! Your April issue great team at Ministrywe value you he pointed out that much of our time,
got torn apart like none since Elder all and appreciate the opportunity to be effort, and money is being spent in
Spangler's days. a part of assisting in making your the groundwork and during the
I'll share Loren Fenton's article projects a reality. Bob Kyte, president, evangelistic meetings. But the "follow
with my nominating committee at its Pacific Press Publishing Association, up side" of this blessed work is left
first meeting this Thursday. Lael Nampa, Idaho. empty-handed. As a young Adventist
Caesar's insights into the message of pastor I can proudly say that we have
Job were fresh, deep, and preachable. Thanks to Dr. Lael Caesar for mastered the art of leading lost souls
Reading Ekkehardt Mueller on "Integrity on Trial: A Case Study of to Jesus. In fact, we baptize by
revelation/inspiration encouraged me: Job." Caesar correctly sees vindication hundreds, and even by thousands.
a new face (at least to me) contending of character, for both Job and God. But Nevertheless, we seem to be handi
in 21 st-century terms for the faith to complete Caesar's picture, the article capped when it comes to nurturing.
once delivered to the saints. As if that might have included one more verse. In With this article it is now high time to
weren't enough "cream" for one issue, the end, despite Job's "intemperate" be reminded of our responsibility as
I found Wesley McDonald stimulating outbursts, God said to Eliphaz and "brother's keepers."
me with hard data to implement friends, "You have not spoken of me Ellen G. White has something to
something I've believed in for a long what is right, as my servant Job has." emphasize with regard to this matter:
time. Jim Cress affirming the blessings Robert Wresch, Guam. "To labor at considerable expense to
of the gift of prophecy; and then bring souls into the truth and then
Doug Tilstra wrapping it all up with a As a church pastor of Puting leave them ... would leave that work
true pastoral heartwarmer. Kahoy Filipino Seventh-day Adventist far worse than if the truth had never
When I was finished, all I had left Church at Silang, Cavite, Philippines it brought to them" (Spirit of Prophecy,
for the Ministry magazine stack were is my deepest burden to win souls for 1:1926). Petronio M. Genebago,
the front and back covers and the Jesus. Our church is being blessed by pastor, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.

Free Subscription If you're receiving Ministry bimonthly and haven't paid for a subscription, it's not a mistake. Since 1928 Ministry has been
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a resurgence of faith in the authority of Scripture and in the great truths that reveal the gospel of our salvation by grace, through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
We want to share our aspirations and faith in a way that will provide inspiration and help to you as clergy. We hope you will accept this journal as our
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available to all licensed and/or ordained clergy. Requests should be on church letterhead and addressed to the editorial office.

Ministry/October 2000 3
rotI tumbled
long ago end up being confined only to what is

A/! into one of


those disputes that
"What's a
Theologian
done by an elite, important as the role
of that elite is.
Along with many others I have
seem so hard for felt the significant weight and implica
some of us
ministers to avoid
(or is it resist?). In
after all? tions of all that has been said during
the last twenty-five years or so within
and without the Adventist Church
an email to my counterpart I empha WILL E V about Mrs. White and her work;
sized a couple of relevant Ellen White particularly about her use of sources
quotes that I believed would contrib "exegete" is, or anyone's definition of and secretaries and her theological
ute to our warming debate. Knowing what a "theologian" is, so that people and doctrinal authority or lack of it
him a little, I assumed that he would such as Ellen White are excluded, one when it comes to settling debated
take these quotes seriously. However, would, by the force of such definition issues. In all of this, I am constrained
his response to my citations went this have to exclude people like Simon to maintain my deep respect and
way: "Regarding Ellen White state Peter, Jeremiah, Matthew and Haggai. admiration for Mrs. White as a
ments, let me just say that I am a The point is, what has one theologian.
Biblical scholar and not a denomina gained, or what light has been shed on When, for example, I see what she
tional apologist. As you well know a given situation when one makes has to say about subjects such as "the
Ellen White was not an exegete. She nature of Christ" or the "law in

w
never comes to grips with the Galatians," I am filled with a sense of
grammatical, textual, and contextual esteem and deference for her scholar
problems of Bible texts." ship, nonacademic as it may have been.
It is important for me to say that I As I read her coverage of such themes
deeply value the emphasis of my friend and observe the level of refinement in
on being "a Biblical scholar." I must has her thought, including her recognition
also say that at first I appreciated the of theological and textual nuance, I
one gained, or what light has know that such precise and elegant
fact that he had drawn an interesting
distinction. He did not say as others been shed on a given situation writing presupposes careful, broad
have, "Yes, but Ellen White was not a reading and study, even if that study
theologian." Instead he said that she when one makes judgments omitted academic exegesis and classic
was not an "exegete." Yet when I theological discipline. It seems to me
thought again, I wondered about the that exclude persons such as that an objective observer, unburdened
objective accuracy of his assessment of by baggage from hither or yon, would
much of Mrs. White's work. It is simply Mrs. White from the ranks of be compelled to accord E.G. White the
untrue to say that Mrs. White never title, "theologian."
grappled with the textual and contex exegetes or theologians? Clearly, one could come up with
tual problems in the text of the Bible. definitions of theology or of what a
True, she did not do it using the theologian is that would exclude
academic tools of the trade, but she persons such as Ellen White. Yet
nonetheless by all means did it. undoubtedly most thoughtful,
As I thought about these things, I judgments that exclude persons such independent and even academically
ended up feeling compelled to main as Mrs. White from the ranks of oriented definitions of theology
tain that, bottom line, on the basis of exegetes or theologians? Are we not would embrace Mrs. White as a
functional definition Mrs. White was reducing or depriving exegesis and theologian, even if the far-reaching
both an exegete and a theologian in her especially theology if we restrict them question of her inspiration was
own right. to the extent implied by my friend? As excluded (as we are purposely doing
Perhaps that which is most much as I appreciate how crucial is here), along with its role and influence
persuasive to me in this was the the responsible use and application of on her as she did her work.
thought that if one applies either the academically disciplined theology, the I'd like to come back to my friend
definition of my friend of what an definitive task of theology must not continued on p. 29

4 Ministry/October 2000
ELLEN WHITE,
THEOLOGIAN?
ml is becoming increasingly common in Seventh-day Adventist circles to think
M. of Ellen White as an inspired and inspiring writer, popular lecturer, wife, and
mother, but not as a theologian.

Walter M. Booth, I would like to address this ten Second, her theology is comprehen
Ph.D., is retired and dency, expressing my conviction that sive. None of the divisions of theology
lives in Berrien Ellen White was an outstanding theo soteriology, ecclesiology, etc. that
Springs, Michigan. logian. theologians recognize escaped her atten
The character of biblical theology tion. For all of these areas, and for the
and of any formulation of it should re four central themes of the Bible, she pro
flect the nature of God. Our theology vided detailed exposition.
must reflect the transcendent meaning, Third, she perceived the transcen
which God in His transcendence inevi dent meaning of the Scriptures and gave
tably gives to His own existence and to this meaning comprehensive expo
activity, to human existence, and to all sition. Her loyalty to the Bible rendered
truth. Transcendent meaning is high- its transcendent themes accessible to
level meaning, meaning that requires her, and her theology stands on a high
for its expression the use of superlatives. conceptual level. Her understanding of
Biblical theology must be based on this meaning is illustrated below.
the Scriptures and reflect the full bibli Fourth, her theology is dynamic, as
cal message, which may be said to will be also be illustrated.
include four central themes: (a) the ex Fifth, her theology is basically posi
istence, nature, and activity of God; (b) tive. She accepted the biblical concept
the nature and destiny of human beings; that human beings are radically and
(c) the origin, nature, and consequences universally affected by sin but she did
of sin, human sinfulness; and (d) the not overemphasize it. She was more in
plan of redemption. terested in positive elements, such as the
love of God and His ideal for human
Ellen White's theology: General beings.
characteristics Sixth, because of her consistent em
An important characteristic of Ellen phasis on love God's love for human
White's theology is its purely scriptural beings and love as an ethical human ob
basis. She recognized the Bible as the only ligation her theology is humane and
rule of faith and was loyal to it without sensitive. In writing about the love and
compromise. At its heart, her theology is compassion of God, she repeatedly used
purely biblical. the language of human affection and

WALTER M. BOOTH

Ministry/October 2000 5
endearment. She understood, however, dynamic. She believed that they were of ments about human growth and activity
that the love of God was far more exten unlimited value to God, stating that, and the divine ideal for human beings.
sive and impressive than human love. She formed in the image of God, they were God, she said, "works continuously" for
believed that God is deeply sensitive to "very dear" to Him.8 human beings and requires them to
the needs of every human being and She believed human potential for "work continually" for Him. They
deeply touched with the feelings of hu growth and achievement to be virtually "should never rest from doing good," 12
man grief and helplessness. unlimited. She said, for example, that if Christians, she said, must experience
Last, she recognized the need for a youth would "take the Bible as their "constant growth," "constant progress in
balance between theoretical theology and guide, and stand like a rock for prin the divine life," and "continual striving
practical theology. She accorded detailed ciple," they could "aspire to any height and constant progress" toward "perfec
attention to both of these so that there is of attainment"; and that, beyond the tion of character." 13
no shortage of either practical or theo reach of their most expansive aspirations, 3. Ellen White's theology ofsin is dis
retical theology in her writings. In an there would "always be an infinity" of cussed here in terms of the disintegrative
important statement regarding this bal effects of sin on human beings and her
ance, she advised her fellow believers who nonpermissive attitude toward sin.
had been concentrating "mostly upon She believed in the diminishing,
the prophecies and the theoretical points demeaning effect of sin on human be
of our faith" to become acquainted ings: "Through sin, the whole human
"without delay" with "lessons of practi organism is deranged, the mind is per
cal godliness." 1 verted, the imagination corrupted," and
"the faculties of the soul" "degraded." 14
he
*Jh, recognized
Ellen White and the four themes of Mrs. White understood that, al
Scripture the need for a balance between though God was love, in His holiness,
1. Mrs. White's concept of a tran He could not tolerate sin. She herself
scendent God can be illustrated by her theoretical theology and offered no permissiveness of sin what
use of the phrase "an infinity beyond" ever: sin of any kind, sin to any degree.
and similar expressions. In writing practical theology. She accorded The Scriptures take a hard line against
about God's knowledge and wisdom, sin. So, also, did Ellen White.
she stated that "There is infinity beyond detailed attention to both of 4. Redemption was recognized by
all that we can comprehend. We have Ellen White to be the primary element
seen only the glimmering of divine these so that there is no shortage in the meaning of the Cross; redemp
glory and of the infinitude of knowl tion rescuing the human being from the
of either practical or theoretical
edge and wisdom.. ."2 No one, she said, guilt and power of sin. But there were
"can fully comprehend the existence, theology in her writings. other components of meaning in her
the power, the wisdom, or the works" view of redemption:
of God. Human beings may be "ever She believed that the death of Christ
searching, ever learning, and still there on the cross provided a powerful affir
is infinity beyond."3 mation of human beings in that it dem
An important dimension of her the onstrated incontrovertibly the love of
ology was her emphasis on God's love. God for them and their value to Him. We
She believed that theology is "valueless" achievement.9 She maintained that the can understand these issues far better
unless "saturated with the love of destiny for which human beings were with reference to the heavy risk inherent
Christ."4 She described God's love as divinely intended was indeed glorious. in the Incarnation, a risk that Ellen White
"unfathomable, indescribable, without a Included in this destiny were "the won herself recognized: "Remember that
parallel ""beyond any human computa drous glories" of immortality, imperish Christ risked all. For our redemption
tion."5 The human soul, she said, "was able honors and "glory, riches, and heaven itself was imperiled [sic]." 15
purchased at an infinite cost, and is loved honor" of "infinite value." 10 The re "Could Satan in the least particular have
with a devotion that is unalterable."6 deemed, she said, are divinely intended tempted Christ to sin... the hope of the
The dynamic element in her theol for an endless advance in knowledge and human race would have perished. Divine
ogy of God is illustrated by her belief that holiness, an "ever increasing" capacity to wrath would have come upon Christ as
God is continuously active: "constantly know, enjoy, and love, and the enduring it came upon Adam. Christ and the
at work for the good of his creatures," conviction that there is still beyond "joy church would have been without hope."16
"perpetually at work in nature."7 and love and wisdom infinite." 11 It is clear that, by taking on human
2. Her views on the nature and des The dynamic element in her theol nature, Jesus accepted this colossal risk.
tiny of human beings were positive and ogy of humanity is illustrated by state By accepting this risk He affirmed to

6 Ministry/October 2000
human beings the crucial importance realization of God's exalted ideal for 1 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Nampa,
Idaho: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), 3:214.
of their existence to God, their value to human beings would be carried forward 2 , Christ's Object Lessons (Nampa, Idaho: Pa
Him, and His love for them. In going to eternally without interruption. cific Press Pub. Assn., 1941), 113.
? , Patriarchs and Prophets (Nampa, Idaho:
the cross for them He reinforced this Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1958), 116.
affirmation. In commenting on John Conclusion ' , "Principles of Service" in Signs of the
Times, May 10,1910.
3:16, Mrs. White declared that "Thus he I am convinced that Ellen White's 5 , "Our High Calling." Review and Herald,
[God] showed to the heavenly universe theology satisfies the most essential February 28, 1888; "Christian Benevolence," no. 1, Review
and Herald, January 4, 1898.
and to the fallen world the value he characteristics of the best in a long line '' , "Pray Without Ceasing." Review and Her
placed on man." 17 of theological tradition. Again, she has ald, October 30, 1900.
7 , "A Time of Trouble." Review and Herald,
There was also, for Ellen White, a given us a theology that (1) is purely September 17, 1901; "God in Nature." General Conference
cosmic dimension in the meaning of the biblical and comprehensive, (2) recog Daily Bulletin, February 18, 1897.
K , "Go Ye Into All the World." Review and
Cross. The eternal existence of morally nizes the transcendent meaning of Herald, June 18,1895.
free beings means that, objectively con divine truth, (3) shows a balance be v , "The Fruits of Faith." Signs of the Times,
March 4, 1889.
sidered, sin is always a possibility. One tween positive and negative, between 10 , Spirit of Prophecy (Hagerstown, iMd.: Re
of the objectives in the great contro theoretical and practicalwith heavier view and Herald Pub. Assn., 1969), 2:97; Testimonies for the
Church,2:46,40.
versy, however, is to guarantee that evil, emphasis on the positive and practical, 1 ' , Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students
once eradicated from earth, will never and (4) is humane and dyhamic. (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1943), 55.
12 , "The New Year." Review and Herald, Janu
rise again anywhere in the universe. Surely, had she published a system ary 4,1881; The Desire of Ages (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press
Ellen White believed that the plan atic formulation of her theological views, Pub. Assn., 1940), 207.
13 , Selected Messages (Hagerstown, Md.: Re
of redemption would culminate in the her high standing as a theologian would view and Herald Pub. Assn., 1958-1980), 2:222; Testimonies
second coming of Jesus, the bestowal of be acknowledged. I am convinced that, for the Church, 8:64.
H , The Ministry of Healing (Nampa, Idaho:
immortality and eternal life on the either she was all that she claimed to be Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1942), 451.
saints, the elimination of sin and the or her theological thought must be re 15 , Christ's Object Lessons, 196.
16 , Selected Messages, 1:256.
impenitent, and the transformation of garded as one of the most impressive ! ' , "Sacrificed for Us." Youth's Instructor, July
this world into a Paradise, in which the achievements of the human spirit. 20, 1899.

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Ministry/October 2000
he question of how to deal with issues of social justice has divided Christians
_ . into two camps. One argues that evangelism is the basic solution for
common social dilemmas, while the other emphasizes direct social involvement
as the true expression of the gospel.
Earl P. Cameron, David Moberg, observes: "Evan first and great commandment. And the
D. Min., is pastor of gelicals are more inclined towards second is like it: You shall love your
Mississauga otherworldly perspectives, while theo neighbor as yourself. On these two com
Seventh-day Adventist logical liberals give greater attention to mandments hang all the Law and the
Church, Mississauga, conditions and needs of men in con Prophets'" (Matt. 22:36-40).*
Ontario, Canada temporary society." 1 The second mandate is evangelis
How do we reconcile these two tic, usually associated with the Great
competing positions? This article will Commission of Matthew 28:16-20. This
argue that both social justice and evan mandate is given to the new humanity
gelism are biblically mandated, are seen in Christ, the church, which is com
in both the teachings of the Old Testa manded by the risen Lord to make
ment and in Jesus, and are involved in disciples of all nations.
the final judgment of the nations. In a sense, the cultural mandate pre
cedes the evangelistic mandate and both
The biblical mandate are equally applicable to Christian living
The Bible has given to the Chris today; neither has been rescinded. The
tian church two great mandates. The Great Commission is our evangelistic
first one is cultural. Once a lawyer asked mandate, and the Great Commandment
Jesus the question," 'Which is the great is our cultural mandate, and the One who
commandment in the law?' " Jesus re gave the Great Commission is the One
sponded: " 'You shall love the Lord your who gave the Great Commandment.
God with all your heart, with all your Jesus spent much time expounding
soul, and with all your mind. This is the His theology of love. Love for neighbor

EARL P. C

8 Ministry/October 2000
is surpassed only by love for God. Nev chose Moses as His liberator as well as pride:" 'Hear now, O heads of Jacob, and
ertheless, the evidence of our love for His lawgiver. Moses went back to Egypt you rulers of the house of Israel: is it not
God is the love we show to our neighbor. to both free his people from Pharaoh's for you to know justice?'" (Micah 3:1).
There is thus an inseparable connection oppression and establish them as a com Micah did not turn a blind eye to the so
between evangelism and ethics. Delos munity where social justice would reign. cial and political conditions in his society.
Miles, says, "It is a theological mistake to Amos was both a religious and so To have done so would have been a dis
identify either the Great Commission or cial activist of his day. He cried out: "Let service to God.
the Great Commandment exclusively justice run down like water, and righ The prophetic message of the Old
with either evangelism or ethics."2 teousness like a mighty stream" (Amos Testament carries a clarion call for so
What is involved in loving God and 5:24). Amos was not quiet about the so cial justice. Ritual and religion are of no
loving one's neighbor? If we love God cial order of the day. He was not afraid value unless they result in tangible righ
completely, without reservation, we to thunder against the iniquities of the teousness. Human freedom and human
cannot but share that consuming love social system. He recognized he had an responsibility, human redemption and
with our neighbors. If we love our ethical and moral responsibility to ad human restoration are inseparable.
neighbors we will not only share with dress the evils of his day. He proclaimed Stanley G. Evans summarizes the Old
them the Bread of Life, which we have God as One who desires justice for all Testament concept of social responsi
found in Jesus Christ, but we will also people. bility in five points:
share our physical bread. We will min Micah spoke passionately about the 1. The service of God is ethical be
ister to human need with both the downtrodden and exploited people of fore it is ceremonial.
"now" and the "hereafter" in mind. Judah. He contrasted the injustice pre 2. God is concerned with corporate
One way in which the Great Com vailing in Judah with the righteousness morality.
mission instructs us to make disciples is and justice Yahweh requires of His 3. A first moral duty is the demand
by "teaching them to observe all things people. The prophet indicted Israel and of justice for the poor.
that I have commanded you" (Matt. Judah for specific sins, including oppres 4. The purpose of God is national
28:20). Observing all things would in sion; bribery among judges, prophets, perfection.
clude the Great Commandment of and priests; exploitation of the power 5. There will be no national perfec
Matthew 22:38, 39. Love is the funda less; covetousness; cheating; violence and tion, or even national survival, while the
mental principle upon which evangelism
is built. Love meets the total needs of an
individual and cannot be limited to any
one areaspiritual, physical, social, or
emotional. As John Stott notes, "Our
Origins:
neighbour is neither a bodyless soul that Linking Science and Scripture
we should love only his soul, nor a soul
less body that we should care for its Are the worlds of science and religion irreconcilable?
welfare alone; nor even a body-soul iso
If one accepts the biblical account of origins,
lated from society." Indeed, Stott does one then have to reject science? Scientist and
continues, "God created man, who is my Christian believer Ariel A. Roth argues that taken
neighbour a body-soul-in-community. together, science and religion give us a more
Therefore if we love our neighbor as God complete and sensible understanding of the
made him, we must inevitably be con world around us, our place in it, and our destiny.
cerned for his total welfare."3
"The Biblical evidence overwhelm Reviewers comments include: "easily understood," "fascinating stories
and illustrations," "refreshing... candor," "non-dogmatic," "lots ofnew information,"
ingly states that the will of God is to love
"well referenced," and "excellent hook."
him in a way that leaves no room for
idols," says John Perkins, "and to love
The author, who has been the editor of the journal Origins for 23 years has had
our neighbor in a way that liberates him worldwide experience in the ongoing discussion about science and the Bible. The book is
from poverty and oppression either well illustrated and documented with more than one thousand references. It includes a
spiritual or physical."4 glossary and comprehensive index. Review and Herald Publishing Association,
No wonder the Bible ties together Hagerstown, Maryland, 1998. ISBN 0-8280-1328-4. Hardcover, 384 pages, $24.99-
evangelism and social intervention.
Order by Phone: 800-765-6955.
The mission of the prophets E-mail: adventistbookcenter.com or any of the major online booksellers
This tie-up is evident in the mission
of the Old Testament prophets. God

Ministry/October 2000 9
need. The rich man showed no concern
as he dined sumptuously. After his death,
Igniting he found himself in a place of torment
but Lazarus, when he died, found him
a 'passion self in a comfortable, secure place.
The rich man cried out to Father

0 living Abraham to send Lazarus to relieve him


of his torment, but Abraham replied, "It

God's is too late." He then requested Abraham


to send Lazarus to his father's house to

love...
minister to his five brothers who were in
need of escaping the place of torment.
But Abraham answered: "If they do not
never losing hear Moses and the prophets, neither will
they be persuaded though one rise from
the dead" (Luke 16:31).
fOCUS of , M i N S T R I E S The rich man did not extend appro
the cross. NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION
of SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTiSTS
priate assistance to Lazarus because he
did not heed the law and the prophets.
The five brothers could not be evange
12501 Old Columbia Pike Silver Spring MD 20904
301.680.6427 301.680.6464 fax jenniferwoody@yahoo.corr lized unless they would hear and heed the
law and the prophets. Neither Christian
people forsake the ways of God.5 istry must put on its working clothes. social involvement nor evangelism will
The same responsibility confronts The "acceptable year of the Lord" occur unless people hear and heed the
us today as it did ancient Israel. Who (Isa. 61:2) is the year of jubilee. In He word of God. Delos Miles says, "Only our
will be a voice for the voiceless? Who brew life and thought, the year of jubilee obedience to the word of the Lord will
will care for the less fortunate? Who will came every fifty years. Throughout the result in balanced evangelism and sym
ensure that justice shall roll down like year, the Hebrew people sought to raise metrical Christian social involvement."6
waters? a bulwark against slavery and other so The parable of the good Samaritan
cial evils. Bells of freedom and justice takes the point one step further. In this
The mission of Jesus rang throughout the land when the year parable, Jesus shows that true love
When we turn to the mission of of jubilee dawned. knows no boundaries. The Samaritan,
Jesus the focus is clear. The inaugural Jesus came to proclaim the accept with whom no Jew would have any so
sermon in Nazareth sets the tone for able year of the Lord. He came to pro cial contact, showed what true love is.
justice and freedom." 'The Spirit of the claim the year of jubilee. His message Unlike the priest and the Levite who
Lord is upon Me, because He has was that people should be set freenot passed by the wounded person, the Sa
anointed Me to preach the gospel to the just from sin but from social injustice maritan stopped to help. It did not
poor. He has sent Me to heal the bro and oppression as well. matter that the wounded person was a
kenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the Jesus practiced what He preached. Jew; all that mattered was that he was
captives and recovery of sight to the He showed compassion for the poor one of God's creation and that he was
blind, to set at liberty those who are and hungry when He fed the five thou in desperate need. Jesus pictured the Sa
oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable sand, healed the paralytic, cared for the maritan as a man of ethical and social
year of the Lord'" (Luke 4:18,19). widow, made the leper whole, gave sight sensitivity, of mature spiritual stature.
Jesus deftly combined the evange to the blind, and life to the dead. His At the heart of Jesus' teaching is the
listic and the cultural mandates. He life was one clear testament of translat truth that if one fully loves God, one
describes His work in terms of preach ing redemption from theory into will show divine compassion and con
ing, healing, and releasing prisoners. meaningful, hands-on practice. The cern. Knowing the commandments is
Some preachers talk profusely about the Sermon on the Mount was a charter for not enough. Saying we love God is not
gospel and describe in detail its theo the kingdom peoplean outline of enough. We must love others as our
logical features, but in doing this they what to believe and also what to do. selveseven at the risk of our life as the
often offer only the priestly half of that Two familiar parables of Jesus seem parable shows.
gospel. They neglect the prophetic half, to provide a summary statement of a the Finally, Jesus' parable of the judg
which is to become involved with the ology of active Christian compassion. In ment (Matt. 25:31-36) establishes clearly
sufferings and needs of people. The the parable of the rich man and Lazarus the connection between evangelism and
church that exercises its prophetic min (Luke 16:19-31), the latter was in dire Christian social ministries. The judg-

10 Ministry/October 2000
ment takes into account not what one ciliation with man is not reconciliation church says very little to the world about
professes but what one does with that with God ... Nor is political liberation the virtue of Christianity. Most people
profession. Both those who did and did salvation, nevertheless we affirm that will be willing to listen to a church that
not do the deeds were surprised at the evangelism and socio-political involve not only preaches salvation by grace, but
judgment. The Master summarized His ment are both part of our Christian duty. is also actively identified with the out
discourse by saying: "Inasmuch as you ... When people receive Christ they are come of the gospel: ministering to all the
did it to one of the least of these My born again into His Kingdom and must needs and concerns of humanity.
brethren, you did it to Me" (Matt. seek not only to exhibit, but also to
25:40). Mark explains how Jesus de spread, righteousness in the midst of an *A11 Scripture passages in this article
scribes the less fortunate in society: "the unrighteous world. The salvation we are from the New King James Version.
least of these My brethren." If we are claim should be transforming us in the 1 David Moberg, The Great Reversal
unwilling to share with others those totality of our personal and social re (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company,
things which do not last, how shall we sponsibilities."7 1972), 47.
share that which is everlasting? To be socially concerned is not the 2 Delos Miles, Evangelism and Social
same as to embrace the tenets of the so Involvement (Nashville: Broadman Press,
1986), 28.
Evangelism: a total ministry cial gospel: Walter Rauchenbuch's social 3 John Stott, "The Great Command
For some, evangelism may be an gospel is not the same as the biblical ment . . . The Great Commission," World
attempt to escape personal social in model of evangelism. In the biblical Evangelization, Information Bulletin No.
volvement. For others, social concern model, there is no separation between 23, June 1981, 5.
and involvement may be an attempt to feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, 4 John Perkins, A Quiet Revolution
(Waco, Texas: Word Books Pub., 1976), 3.
circumvent spiritual regeneration or ministering to people's social needs, and 5 Stanley G. Evans, The Social Hope of
build God's kingdom without God. But communicating the gospel. Good deeds the Church (London: Hodder and Stough-
this kind of dichotomy need not be. must be coupled with the preaching of ton, 1965), 19.
Both evangelism and social concern go the Word if evangelism is to be complete. 6 Miles, 34.
hand in hand. Neither is a substitute for, A church that insulates itself from 7 Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden, eds.,
The Church in Response to Human Need
nor escape from, the other. social involvement will do a poor job of (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdman's Pub
One evangelical writer says, "Recon communicating the gospel. Such a lishing Company, 1987), 175.

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Ministry/October 2000 11
INDICATORS OF
MINISTERIAL
RESILIENCE:
The dropout dilemma
he August issue of Ministry carried the first part of a report on Project Seventh-
day Adventist Clergy: Stage II. Here is the final part of the Stage II study.

Jack E. Bynum Ph.D., Project Seventh-day Adventist drop out in the future. Seventy percent
is professor of Clergy: Stage II, consists of a 1997 study of Ministerial Persisters reported that
sociology at Southern of the fulfillments and frustrations, prob they have considered dropping out of
Oregon University. lems and experiences of the cohort1 of the ministry (see Table 1).
young ministers who commenced their No doubt, some will contend that
ministry in the United States and Canada these findings are not typical and that
in 1987. This concluding part of the re very few Seventh-day Adventist ministers
port focuses on those who entered question or withdraw from their "call
Douglas R. Clark, ministry in 1987 but dropped out before ing." However, in the absence of data-
'II
Iliii Ph.D., is professor of 1997. based research findings to the contrary,
*St biblical studies at we have confidence in our conclusions.
Walla Walla College. The ministerial dropout dilemma In fact, the situation may be more seri
Our study reveals a heavy attrition ous than portrayed in this report. An
from the Seventh-day Adventist Church's other independent study in Australia and
ministerial ranks. The magnitude of this New Zealand found that "as of 1990, ap
phenomenon, plus the pain and bitter proximately 44 percent of graduates who
ness manifested by those involved, enter SDA ministry do not continue in
warrants serious examination. it."3 We hypothesize, therefore, that the
Just over a third (34 percent) of attrition experience of our 1987 cohort
those 1987 cohort members who actu is replicated in other years and other
ally entered the ministry dropped out places and, taken together, ministerial
(either resigned or were dismissed) by resignations are alarmingly high. Yet few
mid-1997. A casualty rate of this size in concerned voices are raised over this loss
a military unit would usually be unac of trained human resourceseven at a
ceptable.2 Some of the "surviving" time when many churches lack full-time
ministers in this study group may also pastoral leadership.

JACK E. BYNUM AND R. CLARK

12 Ministry/October 2000
The social and psychological costs and you didn't know where you were
to dropouts going.'"4 Table 1. Reasons why persisters
In the narrative sections of the may drop out of ministry
1997 survey questionnaire, many of Predictability One item in the 1997 survey item asks
those who had resigned or were dis One of the most desirable but elu persisters the question: "Have you ever
missed from the ministry painted a sive objectives of empirical research is considered dropping out of the
picture of severe economic hardship for predictability. In the context of this professional ministry of the Church?"
their families as they struggled to find study, predictability is the ability to Yes........................................................ 70%
new jobs and meet their living expenses. project future behavior of our ministe No........................................................ 18%
However, Ministerial Dropouts de rial subjects after a systematic analysis No response........................................ 12%
clared that the social sanctions they of past and present behavior. Predict
What are the reasons given by persisters
received from the Church outweighed, ability is more difficult to achieve in the
for considering dropping out?
and even contributed to their economic social sciences than in the physical sci Church politics................................... 33%
difficulties. They often commented on ences, although they share the same Lack of conference support............... 21%
their surprise and pain as "a curtain of scientific method, because human be Theological differences...................... 12%
isolation and marginality enveloped ings are among the most complex of all Personal finances.................................. 9%
[them] as damaged goods." The follow variables. Nevertheless, in Tables 2 and Personal family problems.................... 9%
ing two quotes from ministerial 3, we have identified a set of factors aris No response........................................ 18%
dropouts are representative: ing from this longitudinal scrutiny of
"I wrote a lengthy statement about data that can be correlated with persist ates (56 percent), though the dropout
what led me [to] getting out of the paid ing in the professional ministry of the number was among the lowest. On the
ministry and sent it to my Conference Church, or conversely, with dropping other hand, Colleges F and G had no
President and to the General Confer out of that occupation. Rejects in 1987, though half of their
ence. Two years have passed and still no Data in Table 2, though based on a graduates entering the professional
response." single cohort and far from conclusive, ministry later dropped out.
"After years of work for the denomi suggest a troubling finding: The college Ministerial Persisters from the vari-
nation, when I left, they wouldn't give me attended by an aspiring minister may ous colleges and universities are
a letter of reference to even collect gar markedly increase or reduce one's tabulated in column one of Table 2. The
bage! They were through with me!" chances of entering full-time, profes highest scores are credited to Colleges C,
These comments are similar to sional ministry. D, and H that registered 80-85 percent
those from an earlier study done in For example, the production of survival rates for their graduates who
Australia and New Zealand, of which ministerial graduates is itself an obvious entered the ministry in 1987. The worst
the following quotes are representative: variable. College G produced only two Ministerial Persister records belong to
"It was not so much the fact of leaving graduating ministerial students in 1987; Colleges E, F, G, I, and K where 40-50
the ministry, but the experience of re colleges A and F graduated just four each. percent of their ministerial placements
jection, marginalization, and exclusion At the same time, Colleges D and I pro became Dropouts.
from the Adventist community that duced 12 and 14 ministerial graduates The data in Table 3 offer additional
stands out in ex-pastor narratives. The respectively in 1987. Certainly, getting explanatory and predictive insights re
majority of ex-pastors found this social through the college course of study and garding the statistical probability that
censure difficult to cope with when they approaching the job market has a lot to ministerial students will fall into future
were already faced with the prospect of do with entering the ministry. Persister, Dropout, and Reject sub-
finding alternative work and a home, The percentages of rejections for groupings.
making new friends, and establishing a ministerial graduates at the various col The search for predictive demo
new social identity." leges also differ widely. Column 3 of graphic variables has produced the nine
"According to ex-pastors, the Table 2 shows that College A had three moderate-to-strong early indicators of
Adventist community stigmatizes leavers of its four ministerial student graduates future Persisters and Dropouts listed in
as outsiders, strangers, fringe dwellers. (75 percent) passed over for employ Table 3. Moderate-strength predictive
You're always a second-class citizen or ment as ministerial interns. (This variables in our 1987 senior ministerial
backslider.... Ex-pastors... describe... unenviable institutional record for 1987 students are Racial/Ethnic background
their alienation: T felt that I had been is underscored by the fact that the one and Political Preference. The racial/eth
pushed straight down the sewer'; T was graduate from College A who received nic composition of the original 1987
dying to talk with someone about my a ministerial appointment later cohort is compared with subsequent
leaving.' One compares his experience of dropped out.) Similarly, College B also 1997 subgroupings. Notice that the
isolation to being in a 'little boat that was records a large proportion of rejections 1997 Reject and Dropout groups con
turned away from shore ... into the sea among 1987 ministerial student gradu- tain proportionately higher percentages

Ministry/October 2000 13
are useful guides, but should not be
Table 2. Colleges attended by 1987 ministerial graduates and their 1997
imputed with absolute authority. There
ministerial status
are many Ministerial Persisters and
SDA College Ministerial Ministerial Ministerial Ministerial Dropouts whose educa
or university Persisters Dropouts2 Rejects3 tional and demographic backgrounds
College A 0 (0%) 1 (25%) 3 (75%)
do not correspond with the statistical
College B 3 (32%) 1 (12%) 5 (56%)
College C 4 (57%) 1 (14%) 2 (29%) patterns of the most typical candidates.
College D 6 (50%) 1 (8%) 5 (42%) Thus, it is prudent to acknowledge that
College E 4 (50%) 3 (38%) 1 (12%) God, in His infinite wisdom and fore
College F 2 (50%) 2 (50%) 0 (0%) knowledge, can call even the most
College G 1 (50%) 1 (50%) 0 (0%) unlikely individuals to successful min
College H 4 (44%) 1 (12%) 4 (44%)
College I 6 (44%) 4 (28%) 4 (28%)
istry or other special service (see 1 Sam.
College J 2 (40%) 1 (20%) 2 (40%) 16:7; Acts 26:16; 1 Cor. 1:26,27; 2 Cor.
College K 3 (38%) 2 (24%) 3 (38%) 10:10, 12:9; 1 Tim. 1:12-13).
1 Ministerial Persisters are those individuals who entered and "persisted" in ministry.
- Ministerial Dropouts are those who entered ministry and later "dropped out" of denominational Confronting the Ministerial
employment through resignation or dismissal. Dropout issue
3 Ministerial Rejects are those 1987 ministerial student graduates who never entered the professional
ministry of the Church. While the phenomenon of ministers
leaving their profession or calling has
of Black subjects, resulting in a moder the youngest average age of 29 years at long been a focus of attention in other
ate increase in the proportion of White the time of their graduation. Birth Or denominations, it is becoming a concern
Ministerial Persisters in 1997. der data show that first-born children of many contemporary Seventh-day
Political Preference demonstrates a were much less likely to drop out of Adventists. To assume that a kind of on
similar pattern. Over time, proportion ministry than those born later in the going "weeding-out process" is normal
ately more Democratic than Republican birth order. and necessary to purify the ministerial
sympathizers became Rejects and Drop This study revealed College Grade ranks is an oversimplification, and gen
outs, resulting in an 11 percent increase Point Average (GPA) to be one of the eralizes all the responsibility on every
in Republican supporters in the 1997 strongest differentials between Ministe faltering minister. In addition, such a
Persister group. By extension, we may rial Persisters and Ministerial Dropouts. position could force us to entertain the
assume that more conservative ministers The cumulative average GPA of 1987 co premise that large numbers of sincere
are in the numerical ascendancy. hort members still serving as ministers young Adventists are mistaken in think
One of the most interesting predic in 1997 was 3.53 while Ministerial Drop ing that they have been called to minis
tive variables is Secondary School outs had an average GPA of 3.00. try and hence poorly directed for years
education, which compares the educa Ministerial Persisters are much in pursuing that goal. This line of rea
tional background of the 1987 cohort more likely to have two Seventh-day soning could also compel us to explore
with the three 1997 subgroups. In our Adventist parents than Ministerial the idea that God and the church are
1987 report5 we expressed some curios Dropouts. Ninety-three percent of the somewhat capricious in issuing and en
ity and concern over the fact that SDA parents of Ministerial Persisters were couraging "holy orders" when it comes
academies produced just a little over a married and together, while just 40 per to ministerial service, as evidenced by the
third of the prospective ministers in cent of the parents of Ministerial growing number of discarded and disil
1987. Paradoxically, the 1997 data reveal Dropouts have intact marriages. Taken lusioned ministerial dropouts and re
that ministers with a public high school together, these two variables focusing jects.
background are significantly more likely on the religious and marital solidarity After reviewing the candid com
to drop out of the ministry than those of parents may offer the most fruitful ments of the Ministerial Dropouts in our
with SDA academy education. clues to the subsequent survival of min 1997 survey (along with those of many
The strongest and most impressive isterial careers. potential Dropouts still in the ministry),
early indicators of future Ministerial Based on the predictive variables we suggest a different approach. Let us
Persister or Dropout behavior are Age presented in Tables 2 and 3, it would be realize, first, that the preparation of min
at College Graduation, Sibling Birth easy to construct statistical and demo isters is a task in which the entire church
Order, College Grade Point Average, graphic profiles for "Ministerial participatesfamilies, conferences, con
Number of SDA Parents, and Parents' Students Most Likely to Persist" and gregations, and colleges. Second, let us
Marital Status. The older members of "Ministerial Students Most Likely to not be surprised or unforgiving when we
the 1987 graduating cohort were more Ultimately Drop Out." However, we will discover that those who preach to us have
likely to be Ministerial Rejects or Drop resist the temptationeven though the "feet of clay." Like everyone else, those
outs by 1997. Ministerial Persisters had data are often convincing. Such profiles who serve the Church as clergy are hu-

14 Ministry/October 2000
man: They, too, face discouragements,
Table 3. Demographic factors associated with persisting or dropping out of ministry 1
experience temptations, make mistakes,
and can become alienated. This reality Ministerial Ministerial Ministerial
does not discount the seriousness of their Persisters Dropouts Rejects
errors or suggest that incompetence or Average age at time of college graduation 29.0 30.3 31.2
character flaws should be free from nega Birth order
tive sanctions and consequences. The First child 37% 10% 21%
lowering of ministerial standards of per Middle child 37% 56% 51%
formance and conduct is not a viable or Last child 26% 34% 21%
constructive response to the Ministerial Only child 0% 0% 7%
Dropout problem. At the same time, it is Racial/Ethnic composition
God's prerogative to determine the ulti 1987 original cohort
mate value and usefulness of an White ......................... 71%
individual, to withdraw all hope of rec Black ......................... 21%
onciliation, and to make final closure in Hispanic ........................... 3%
the case. Oriental ........................... 5%
1997 subgroupings
Seventh-day Adventistsin their
White 78% 66% 65%
concern for soulscast a very large net.
Black 11% 29% 30%
One has only to peruse Adventist publi Hispanic 3% 0% 5%
cations to see concern and compassion Oriental (Korean, Thai, etc.) 8% 5% 0%
generously extended to nearly every
College grades (average GPA) 3.53 3.0 3.45
imaginable groupboth inside and out
Political preference (an indicator of conservative/liberal orientation) X-
side the church. An amazing proliferation
1987 original cohort
of outreach programs have been devel
Republican ..................... 43%
oped to meet the spiritual and social Democrat ....................... 35%
needs of former Adventists; incarcerated Other or none ................ 22%
felons, alcoholics, drug addicts, homo 1997 subgroupings
sexuals, the physically handicapped, Republican 52% 45% 31%
military personnel, ministers of other Democratic 31% 39% 38%
denominations, Adventist students at Other or none 17% 16% 31%
tending secular universities, retired Secondary school
persons, the unmarried and lonely, the 1987 original cohort
poor, and every age, social class, and ra SDA Academy .................... 36%
cial/ethnic minority. Public high school ............ 64%
Conspicuously absent in this list of 1997 subgroupings
groups in need of our corporate atten SDA academy 44% 23% 35%
Public high school 56% 77% 65%
tion is the large and ever-growing
number of Ministerial Dropouts and SDA parents
potential dropouts still in the ministerial Both 51% 17% 45%
One 12% 44% 10%
ranks. It is conceivable that a vigorous
None 37% 39% 45%
and empathetic outreach program on
behalf of these former ministers could Parents' marital status
Married and together 93% 40% 77%
conserve, retrain, reintegrate, and reha
Separated 0% 10% 10%
bilitate many more of them.
Divorced 7% 50% 13%
As Alfred C. McClure, recently re
""Canadian subjects indicated political equivalents.
tired President of the Seventh-day
Adventist Church in North America has great leadership and strength to the example, a group born, married, or graduated in the same
year).
said: "People sometimes look at us and church. . . . God sees value in you and 1 Charles C. Moskos and Frank R. Wood, The Military:
More Than Just a Job? (Washington, D.C.: Pergamon-Brassey's,
see trash.... Yet God looks at us and sees me. He sees not what we are, but what 1988), 191.
5 Harry Ballis, "Adventist X-Files: The Truth Is Out
beauty. Jesus showed the same principle we can become.... He sees the church There" in A Time for Healing (based on "Leaving the Adventist
in His dealings with Peter. A tough fish leader locked inside Peter. He hears mu Ministry: A Study of the Social Process of Exit," Ph.D. The
sis, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, La Trobe
erman, a boisterous chameleon, a person sic in discarded people."6 University, Melbourne, Australia, 1995), 20.
Ibid., 19.
too easily swayed by the crowd, Peter was 5 Jack Bynum and Douglas Clark, "Project SDA Clergy:
still a gem to Jesus. That which could 1 A cohort, as commonly used in research, denotes any
Part I," Ministry, April 1993, 18.
t! Alfred C. McClure, "When the Worthless Become
have been discarded became a source of group sharing a common factor in chronological time (for Valuable," Adventist Review, October 1998, 6.

Ministry/October 2000 15
9 I

D astoring a large, multiple-church district is a challenging job. The difficulties


. vary, depending on the nature of the district.
Saviour Chimfwembe For example, if the church is in an 21 pastors, the same work now had to be
is a pastor in the urban area, with a membership that in covered by 13. Some pastors are now hav
Mpulunga Mission cludes highly educated professionals, the ing to handle three districts with a total
District, Zambia, difficulties will be of one kind. If the dis of more than 100 congregations.
Africa. trict is a rural one, comprising many I am presently pastoring 53 congre
churches separated by long distances and gations. This is likely to double in two
if the pastor's transportation is inad years' time because of the success rate of
equate (as in Asia or Africa), or if the our outreach and evangelism ventures.
membership is largely illiterate, there is The challenge is twofold: One, caring for
another set of difficulties. One district the congregations so that our people re
may have prosperous and educated main faithful, growing in all the practi
members, but be largely unwilling or cal aspects of their love for the Lord they
unmotivated to take on church leader have found. Two, easing the work of the
ship duties. Another district may have lay pastors so that they do not become
willing people, but lack professional skills victims of burnout and they have suffi
and financial resources. How does a pas cient time to care for their families and
tor handle such churches, especially if the tend to their professional and spiritual
district is far-flung and unwieldy? lives. The following suggestions may help
Here are some thoughts about this in meeting these challenges:
from my background as a pastor in Af
rica. Recently, for financial reasons, the Inreach and outreach
pastoral workforce in our mission was While evangelism must always re
downsized. Eight of our 21 district pas main the watchword of the church, the
tors were dropped. Whereas once we had need for inreach should not be ne-

SAVIOUR CHIMFW

16 Ministry/October 2000
glected. We often bring in hundreds of work of our belief and faith? How does up an accountability chart, setting dates
souls each year, but soon they are no this mission affect interpersonal relation for the completion of tasks, and empow
where to be found. They come in one ships within the church, leadership of the ering the people involved so that they
way, and they go out another. Unless congregation, and relationships to other may complete their work with joy and a
outreach is balanced by intentional congregations in the district? How are we sense of ownership. If the district is too
inreach, our churches cannot be strong. related to the mission of the conference vast and spread out, organize the district
Inreach should include not only or the local field? Where do we want our into zones (A, B, C, etc.), and have a plan
spiritual and doctrinal nurture, but also congregation to go during the next five ning committee for each zone.
such matters as stewardship and espe or ten yearswhat do we want it to look
cially lay leadership training so that the like then? What is our responsibility to Hindrances and opportunities
care of the church is properly main our children, teens, families, and seniors? Church districts, large or small, have
tained. It is neither necessary nor impor How will we involve them in the life of joys and concerns, opportunities and
tant that every church have a salaried the church? A church that has a vision hindrances. The most significant hin
pastor. Where members are trained and and mission map cannot remain stag drance is what may be called the
are willing to assume leadership, that nant and troublesome. It will be so busy Sanballat-Tobiah syndrome, illustrated
church will be healthy in both evange caring that it has no time for quarreling. by the life and times of Nehemiah. Every
lism and sustained growth. church manifests this syndrome. There
Planning and empowering are always some who feel constrained to
Believing and living Out of a clear statement of vision play the role of Sanballat, presiding over
Pastors need to take the time to and mission, both long-term and short- the seat of criticism and pointing the ac
study the many congregations within term planning strategies can be devised cusing finger at those who are doing
their district. What makes one strong and for a district. To help develop these something in the church. The answer to
another weak? What contributes to the strategies, a district planning commit them is the same as Nehemiah's: "T am
dynamism of one and the stagnation of tee may be organized. This committee doing a great work and I cannot come
the other? Are there unresolved conflicts should ideally include the key leaders down" (Neh. 6:3, RSV).
with sister churches? How is the tithe in of the church, representing the elders, In addition to human hindrances,
flow of each church? Which churches are deacons, deaconesses, departmental financial constraints, logistics, time man
not doing well and why? Do the churches persons, thought leaders, and experts in agement, and group procedures may not
in a district realize that believing a set of various areas. The committee should be be exactly what you desire in carrying out
doctrines is not enough, and that a com responsible to the church board. It your mission. But when the challenges
munity of faith goes beyond mere should deal with specific time-bound are great, so are the opportunities. A
doctrine and that it should embrace liv issues of planning, training, and em strong church district is being built that
ing out the faith in action so that others powering. The committee should define can be self-sustaining in human, finan
may see and follow? We must lead our the tasks, one by one, that the church cial, and spiritual resources. The process
congregations to discover the delicate family should be involved in. These will ultimately bring satisfaction and ful
balance between believing and living. A tasks should cover the areas of nurture, fillment to the congregation. It is our
congregation that lives out its belief will outreach, stewardship, finance, building privilege to emphasize the positive.
find a way to work out its problems. facilities, and human resources. The church is the Lord's family. We
The committee can break down the are only stewards. If we choose to do
Vision and mission large mission objectives into smaller His bidding in ministering and admin
A living church is a visioning church. tasks, assigning responsibilities, provid istrating the district, our leadership will
It asks itself some significant questions. ing training (which may include bringing develop into much more than just a
What is our mission within the frame in specialists from elsewhere), drawing one-person affair.

www.ZondervanChurchSource.com
FACING DEATH
IN THE
PARSONAGE
w- hen my wife, Allie, died two years ago I was poorly prepared for the
intense grieving that followed.

Steve Willsey, D. Min. As a pastor of 35 years, I had regu dicated that cancer cells were still build
is an associate pastor larly supported members who had lost ing. Despite new chemotherapies, the
of the Spencerville loved ones, and I had grieved when my results were meager. Her physician com
Seventh-day Adventist own parents died several years ago. But municated little other than concern,
Church, Spencerville, losing my wife was far more horrible than though he never indicated that we should
Maryland. anything I had ever experienced. Like prepare for the worst. He was highly re
many of my generation, I had not been garded in the medical community and
taught how to deal with such severe emo kept current with the latest studies and
tional pain. After the first few weeks, I treatments. We believed that he would
seemed to be managing quite well, but it find a successful treatment. Often, when
was only the numbness of shock. A deep we left his office, Allie would shed a few
depression soon followed, and I knew tears of disappointment, but the next day
that I was in trouble. her normal positive attitude would re
Allie was diagnosed with ovarian turn, and at times it seemed that the
cancer two years before her death. After cancer was all but forgotten.
surgery she began regular chemotherapy. Our own research suggested that
Through it all, she maintained her dig this cancer was difficult to cure, so as
nity and normal lifestyle. As a budget the disease continued to spread, we be
analyst for the Administrative Office of gan praying earnestly for divine
the Federal Courts, she had heavy re intervention. Until then, we had never
sponsibilities, including travel to courts really come to expect a miracle of heal
across the country. Although her treat ing. To be honest, too many experiences
ments did not slow down we were able from my pastorate had left me with the
to maintain our own normal family impression that God rarely responds
schedule, including vacation trips to Ari these days to the desperate cry for physi
zona and New England, where we loved cal relief. Allie had reluctantly accepted
to hike in the mountains. my skepticism until she read a book
By the end of the first year of treat loaned by a friend at work in which the
ment, the test used by her oncologist to author claimed that God can still be
determine the progress of the cancer in counted on to heal. I read the book as

WILLSEY

18 Ministry/October 2000
well, and became as convinced as Allie temporary. Even when the physician The beginning
that God would honor our request. We suggested that it was time to call in hos With my children by my side, I
simply would not accept that our lives pice care, I was not ready to accept that called family and friends, planned the
could be interrupted by death. We came we were nearing the end. During the funeral, received guests, and made it
to firmly believe that if the treatment two years of her illness, we had only ca through the week. The service was on
of the physician could not arrest the sually discussed the possibility of her Wednesday evening and the following
cancer, the Lord would. death; now she was too sick for any weekend I was at the church perform
meaningful conversation. ing my regular activities. On Monday I
The end When the hospice nurse came, I was in the church office ready to get on
It was at Christmas, near the end of was still refusing to believe that my wife with my ministry. Friends urged me to
the second year after the original diag (who had rarely been sick throughout take a few days off, perhaps go some
nosis, that Allie finally began to really her life) could be dying. But this health where, at least slow my pace, but I felt
suffer. At first we believed that her symp professional was trained to assist fami no need of changing the pattern I had
toms were from unusually strong doses lies in denial and came straight to the followed for so many years.
of chemo that another new approach point. "Your wife is only days from That is, until a few weeks later,
mandated. Feeling sick enough to stay death," he said. when depression began to reach the
home from work, Allie spent most of her From that moment, I entered a point where it could no longer be ig
day on the sofa in our living room. A foggy existence where I reacted to the nored, denied, or sublimated.
couple of weeks later, she was unable to needs of the moment, leaving until later I had been visiting the cemetery fre
leave our bedroom, and there she re the emotions that were gradually build quently and crying at the grave. Some
mained until two days before her death. ing in me. That night, Allie began strug times I wished I could be occupying the
As her condition deteriorated, I of gling to breathe (a pulmonary embolism space beside my wife. Standing there, I
course became apprehensive, but my had developed). When we were unable realized that I really had no desire to live
faith and hers remained strong that the to make contact with Hospice Care, her anymore. I began to recognize that I
Lord would, after all, heal her. I believed physician sent her to the hospital. could be in serious trouble.
that her present condition was only Thirty-six hours later, she was dead. At that time, I began seeing a coun-

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Ministry/October 2000 19
her now. I have learned the meaning of
sadness. I have also learned how to weep

Ministry
and not be ashamed of it. I know much
more about the value of life and rela
tionships. I have far greater compassion
for my members who are grieving; in
Subscriber Services ^ fact, I have begun a grief recovery group
for our members and anyone in the
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D Please send me a one-year subscription (12 issues) of Ministry.
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We had never entertained the idea
D Please update my address.
that death could invade our family as it
(Enter new address below and include old mailing label.)
had. When it did, I asked, "Why would
D Please send a gift subscription to the following address the Lord allow this to happen to me?"
Now I understand that death is a natu
My Name_________ ral part of the human cycle on this earth.
Current Mailing Address_ I wish deeply I had been better pre
pared. I have shared my experience with
City_____________
our congregation. My hope is that they
State/Province_ _Zip/Postal Code_
have learned from me and my experi
ence. I am happy to share with them,
PLEASE ENTER PREVIOUS ADDRESS OR GIFT ADDRESS HERE: too, the blessed hope of a coming Lord
Name that continues to buoy up my spirit.
Mailing Address Yet, one lesson that I have learned
from this trauma is that, as a church fam
City________
ily, we need to do more to train both
State/Province_ _Zip/Postal Code_ pastors and laity in how to help prepare
people for death, which sooner or later
strikes every home. Death is something
PLEASE ENCLOSE PAYMENT FOR ORDERS. MAIL TO: we can be sure will come. How negligent
Ministry Subscriptions can we be as churches and denomina
c/o Jeannette Calbi
tions if we don't do more to help our
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904 people cope with one of the most pain
ful costs of sin?
Allie's death showed me how unpre
QUESTIONS OR ORDERING BY CREDIT CARD?
E-mail: calbij@gc.adventist.org + Fax: 301-680-6502 + Phone: 301-680-6503 pared I, a spiritual leader and counselor,
had been. What about others? I wish pro
foundly that my church could have had
some sort of program, something, any
selor who helped me understand my re pend on my visits to the counselor as thing, that could have helped me better
actions and guided me through the signed to my case, so that I received as deal with what happened. How I wish
unfamiliar pain. When an invitation much or more than I was giving. there would be something more that we
came in the mail to participate in a study could have that could help me aid the
of grieving among "older persons" (I was My life today inevitable others that death will cast be
59) at the National Institute of Health, I Yesterday was the second anniver fore my path.
volunteered. There I met regularly with sary of Allie's death. I still cannot believe We must take some responsibility in
counselors, social workers, psychiatrists, how much pain the loss has created, and preparing our church families for the loss
and other professionals and was nur I now know that I will never have what of loved ones. At the time of a death,
tured through the most difficult is so easily called "closure." I have be there should be many opportunities to
experience of my life. come reconciled to Allie's death and am effectively minister to those left behind.
I was placed on an antidepressant learning to cope, but the pain does not Our congregations need to be involved
that gave me the extra boost I needed. go away. Of course, I have hope, and the in learning how to help one another. This
Though I was contributing to a store of promise that I will see her again gives is uniquely, I believe, our special work as
mental health knowledge, I came to de me strength for each new day, but I miss the community of the Life-Giver.

20 Ministry/October 2000
Tl
\

owever radically different their conclusions, the extreme "left" and the
.. . extreme "right" within the church show a surprising similarity: In their
approach to the Bible, both depend heavily on an unwarranted rationalism that
ultimately leads to a distortion of Scripture.
Enrique Espinosa, The 18th century, the era of the had already used a strict deductive ra
Ph.D., is director of Enlightenment (or Aufklarung), created tionalism to construct a system of what
the theology a radical shift in Western thought. There might be considered higher criticism.
department at River was a tendency to break with all the Spinoza limited truth to what is self-
Plate University in authoritarian or absolutist systems. Re evident or mathematically knowable,
Argentina, South ligious traditions and faith were which is why he had difficulty with the
America. especially weakened in this flux, giving "contradictions" in Scripture. For in
way to the authority of reason. stance, Samuel denies that God ever
The criteria of scientific and histori repents (1 Sam. 15:29), while Jeremiah
cal research, not ancient texts, ultimately states that God does repent (Jer. 18:8-
became the decisive arbiters of truth. The 10). Because these two texts are "directly
church especially, and religion in general, contradictory," Spinoza believed that
lost their standing as essential to the one cannot affirm that the Bible is the
search for truth. As these changes took Word of God. Rather, he said, "the Bible
root, the supernatural was no longer merely contains the Word of God." 1
deemed real, while "contradictions" in Later, this notion would become basic
the Bible were seen as proof of its non- to the classical liberal formula.
divine origin. God and the Bible were
rejected or, at best, relegated to the back The liberal school and Neo-orthodoxy
ground of human interest. As an answer to the rationalistic,
Earlier, during the 17th century, the naturalistic, and even atheistic views
Jewish philosopher Benedict Spinoza that began to dominate, some Protes-

Ministry/October 2000 21
tants of the 19th-century attempted to tions. Thus, they too found it difficult to saries a common element: Their submis
meet such forces on their own ground accept all the supernatural interventions sion to rationalistic presuppositions.
and began to look at the Bible through of God claimed by the biblical authors. Unconscious as this tendency may be,
similar eyes. This may be seen as the Nee-orthodoxy is also characterized by fundamentalists have not been able to es
beginning of the more liberal schools its denial or rejection of some supernatu cape the influence of rationalism. Their
of thought. ral biblical features. In neo-orthodoxy, rationalistic presuppositions cause them,
Frederick Schleiermacher has been the Bible is not God's revelation but a and all adherents on the "extreme right,"
considered the father of this theological witness of that revelation instead. to deny certain traits or features of the
current. Protestant liberalism did not at Bible that originate with the humanity
tempt to oppose rationalism; rather, it Fundamentalism of the Bible writers themselves.
directed the attention from the "errors" Simultaneously, during the 20th While the liberal cannot accept as
in the Bible and from the "unbelievable century another trend flourished within true that Christ multiplied the loaves
narratives" to the broader field of bibli Protestantism. This school has fought and fishes, for example, the extreme
cal ethics. If the miracles sounded too against both neo-orthodoxy and liberal conservative cannot accept that God
incredible for the modern mind to ac ism (to them, neo-orthodoxy is merely a tolerated divorce or slavery or that some
cept, liberalism stressed the religious inspired biblical writers may have made
experience that could be nourished by some rather serious mistakes.
the depiction of these miracles. In other The syllogistic way of reasoning on
words, what was seen to be important
ri the "extreme right" is as follows: "God

\
wasn't the miracle itself (which might not cannot make mistakes. The Bible is the
even have happened) but the spiritual Word of God. Therefore, the Bible con
lesson one can draw from it. tains no mistakes." Obviously, they
Liberals, for instance, were not will forget that the Bible presents a human
. . undamentalists
ing to accept the factual veracity of the element as well as a divine one. Further
stories of the Flood, of the Creation in have not been able to escape the more, these Christians cannot accept the
seven days, of the supernatural concep possibility that the human traits and the
tion of Jesus, of the bodily resurrection influence of rationalism. Their individual characteristics of the inspired
of Christ, and so on. They preferred, in writers appear in the Bible.
stead, to stress the moral or spiritual val rationalistic presuppositions In order to accept the Bible, these
ues taught through these "myths," while conservatives demand the infallibility of
they viewed the "errors" and contradic cause them ...to deny certain the human instrument. It is almost as
tions as proof that the Bible is as human though they say: "We are going to believe
as every other book, even if its spiritual traits or features of the Bible that the message of the Bible only if it can be
or moral value remained helpful. proved to our reason that the messen
originate with the humanity of
The liberal approach denies both gers who brought forth the truth of
the historicity of biblical miracles and the Bible writers themselves. Scripture are infallible and inerrant."
the factual reality of many of its narra This is insisted upon even when the Bible
tives, particularly those related to our gives many evidences that God's messen
origins (Gen. 1-11). In brief, the ratio gers were, in fact, neither infallible nor
nalism that stands behind the liberal inerrant. Sometimes God had to correct
approach has caused this movement to their mistakes; in other instances, the
reject the supernatural nature of the softened version of liberalism). This mistake remained, even when the basic
Bible as it is depicted in Scripture. Thus, trend has been called fundamentalism message itself was not lost.
it separates what is to be believed from because it attempts to defend the funda An Old Testament example of this
what is not to be believed, with ratio mental beliefs of Christianity as kind of mistake in a prophet is found in
nalism or human reason being the sole presented in the Bible. Fundamentalists 2 Samuel 7:1-13. The counsel of Nathan
arbiter in deciding these distinctions. are also known as "conservatives" (of the to David was to build a house for the
In the 20th century another theo "extreme right") because they are inter Lord. The prophet had evidence that the
logical trend was born within Protestant- ested in the conservation of the faith Lord was on the side of the king (7:1,3).
ism, the so-called Neo-orthodox traditionally taught by the church. Ob Nevertheless, the will of God was that
Movement. These theologians (mainly viously, the fundamentalist defends the David's son, Solomon, was to build the
Karl Barth and Emil Brunner) returned historicity of the biblical narratives and temple. In this case, God corrected the
to the Bible as the main witness to God's believes in the miracles and other super error of reasoning and the mistaken
revelation, even if they could not dispose natural features of the Bible. However, counsel of the prophet. From this we can
of the liberal's rationalistic presupposi they share with their theological adver infer that if it is important for the mis-

22 Ministry/October 2000
take of a prophet to be corrected, God given in the language of men. Every be God. This means that we should al
will step forward to correct it. thing that is human is imperfect."3 The low Him to act according to His will and
A New Testament example of a mis same author says that skeptics and infi not according to our rationalistic presup
take on the part of the apostles is found dels "talk of the contradictions of the positions. God's human instruments,
in Luke 24:1-11. When the women an Bible, and question the authority of the although finite and fallible, were en
nounced that the Lord's promise of His Scriptures."4 Putting both these state dowed by the Holy Spirit to give us His
own resurrection had been fulfilled, the ments together would suggest that both Word. In spite of the inaccuracies (very
apostles did not believe in the women's extremes, that of the "left" and that of few indeed are of any doctrinal conse
proclamation and stated that these the "right," cannot be properly held on quence) and human mistakes, there is an
women were mad. Imagine what would biblical grounds. "underlying harmony"6 in the Scripture
have happened if this statement by the The most sound position to take is that will speak to each of us if, relying on
apostles had remained without correc proposed in yet another quote from the the Holy Spirit, we avoid the extreme ra
tion? But the Lord rectified the situation; same author: "take the Bible just as it tionalism that comes from either the
He promptly appeared to two disciples is, as the Inspired Word.... I believe its "left" or the "right."
on the road to Emmaus and then to the utterances: in an entire Bible."5
others who were in the room (Luke We may indeed be confident in 1 Benedict Spinoza, The Chief Works of
24:13-48) in order to give clear witness God's leading, and also in God's way of Benedict de Spinoza, trans. R. H. M. Elwes,
vol. 1, Introduction, Tractatus Theologico-
that He had indeed resurrected. giving us His Word. We can trust the
politicus, Tractatus politicus (London:
human instruments used by God to give George Bell, 1883), 194, 165.
Avoiding the extremes us His instructions, not because of the 2 Ellen G. White, Selected Messages
It has been said with thoughtful characteristics of the human instru (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub.
defmitude that "the Bible, with its God- ments themselves, but because of the Assn., 1958), 1:25.
3 Ibid., 20.
given truths expressed in the language One who has selected them and con
4 Ibid., 19,20.
of men, presents a union of the divine tinues to use them. 5 Ibid., 17.
and the human."2 "The Bible must be In all of this we must allow God to 6 Ibid., 25.

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matters
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our Adventist Church, is changing before our eyes.
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voted in our
faculty meeting to
'""Sti-I send a proposal to
most? must find just and helpful ways of
relating to it. Because of the change, we
feel the need to "progress," and that
our school board to allow our J. NORCOTT without being unnecessarily dictated to
students to plan a supervised dance. by the rules of our ancestors and the
Perhaps this will shock many who agenda, the greater part of the approaches that were suitable to their
have been brought up to believe that concern and discussion centered societies. On the other hand, by quickly
dance is wrong. Many of us have been around the locally hot issue of deciding that the rules are the problem,
told for years that the Old Testament wearing or not wearing jewelry. and adjusting them, are we not in
dancing was only "unto the Lord" and/ To my surprise, I found this essence doing the very same thing
or cultural. Or that we are living in a particular group to be quite stimulat making the rules themselves the issue?
"different" time and there is the ing. There we sat around a square Whether we are for particular rules or
constant challenge to keep up and keep made up of four tables each the size of against them, when the rules them
balance. those used for the typical fellowship selves are made the central issue, we
Before throwing down this article, dinner. We were made up of an tend to become rigid, inflexible, and
try to imagine the incredible responsi equally divided group of pastors, adamant, regardless of which rules we
bility of being a faculty member of a teachers, parents, and students, happen to favor.
school supported by fifteen constituent evidently chosen to represent varying We need to get at the heart of the
churches all with varying opinions, an interests and opinions. I highly matter. Do we actually believe that if
institution made up of teenagers with recommend a similar experience to we give the students all their demands
equally strong viewpoints, not to anyone who feels passionately on any right now, in the next Value Genesis
mention the parents who pay good controversial issue in the Church. study there will be fewer young people
money for Christian education. If you There is nothing like sitting amidst a leaving the Church and there will be
have been in some position of leader group of sincere Christian people more satisfied members in our
ship within the Church you can relate with strong, yet differing, opinions. churches? I, for one do not believe that.
to this kind of dilemma. There were people on the commit We will never have consensus on
It is so easy and so human to jump tee who were honestly concerned, everything. It is the characteristic of the
into criticizing the decision of a based on the recent Value Genesis adolescent to question boundaries.
neighboring school or church. As survey. These people had in fact spoken We the liberals. And, we the
human beings we are constantly with a few of our students. They were conservatives. I wish we could simply
changing, desirous of progress, yet we troubled that young people are leaving throw out those terms, and say, we the
are all creatures of habit and tradition. the Church because church entities are people. The people, that is, of God.
It is astoundingly difficult to try and enforcing such "dead rules" as "no What is the Church anyway? The
make sensible decisions, while at the nonfunctional jewelry." Though you Church is the people. And who is the
same time endeavoring to genuinely may not have agreed with their view, Leader? Obviously it is Christ. He is
respect the sincere beliefs of the you would not have been able, I think, our "Head." Until we reach heaven, it is
constituency and stand for principle to doubt their sincerity. At the same essential that we remember that it is
and truth. time, of course, there were other God who judges the heart. He judges
As an academy teacher I often equally sincere committee members the heart of the sincere Christian who
have the privilege of being, as they call who wholeheartedly felt convicted that is worried that we have frustrating
it, "invited" to serve on various wearing j ewelry is simply wrong and rules that don't make any sense to
auxiliary committees. Accordingly^ a that we are doing our students a young people today; He judges the
few months ago I received an invita serious disservice by allowing them heart of the sincere Christian who is
tion to be part of what was called a such attire. I believe that if you had not willing to compromise in favor of
dress code committee. I quickly been there you would have been comfort or popularity. With that in
realized that the "school dress code" convicted that these people were just as mind, until He comes again, we've got
was a kind of euphemism. The real sincere in their views and motives. to remember that and thus respect the

26 Ministry/October 2000
VIEWPOINT

beliefs of other people. We do not want as a teacher there I would have Perhaps rather than merely
to teach our students to be special offended too many people. It is one updating the rules, we should reevalu-
interest, "cause" people, who band thing to speak openly of one's feelings, ate the methods, the means and
together with like-minded students and saying that some rule is "ridiculous," it especially the principles. Maybe we
parents and force their issues. The is quite another to let it stand in the should also be listening more to our
more of this we do the worse things are way of one's ministry. teenagers, really listening. Perhaps we
going to become in the Church. I recently heard of a pastor who could be honest and not simply invent
If jewelry and such issues are would not accept a call to a certain ways to justify what we ourselves do
really dead issues, as so many claim church because some of the leaders not in all honesty agree with in our
them to be, then why worry? If we are there would not let him wear his hearts and souls. Perhaps we should
raising a group of young people to wedding band. Perhaps it is good that simply admit that some things are
respect God first, and the hearts of he chose to go to another church, but traditions and openly explain their
others next, and such issues remain if one feels called to a certain place, backgrounds and the reasons for their
"dead" issues to them, won't relevant taking off a ring should be a small existence among us. Maybe we should
change come to pass naturally? Why enough thing to do. learn to be more communicative and
must we become all but obsessed with share openly when we also recognize
demanding our way if indeed such inconsistencies. But along with all of
things don't matter? Change takes this, one thing is certain, we need to
place through discussion, through the communicate more warmth to our
sharing of ideas, and it takes time, young people. Most of all, we should
especially if we are to do it together. teach them that values are what matter,
and that people are more important
What matters most |r Wheth
hether we than things, for all of us have been
Oh, but they do matter, many say. created by God.
Fair enough. But what matters more is
are for particular rules or It is hard not to judge by what is
that we actually love our Father in against them, when the rules tangible. It is natural to make assump
heaven, that He is the Father of all of tions. Let's be slow to judge the
us, that we have respect for each other themselves are made the decisions made by leaders in different
because we are all children of God. If areas. Judging them insinuates that one
we are honest, warm, communicative, central issue, we tend to has all the answers. We must continue
and open to one another, and if we at to create an environment where people
the same time teach teenagers to go become rigid, inflexible, and are comfortable to express themselves
about things with patience, that there without feeling shut out. And in each
is a right way of settling differences, adamant, regardless of which of our individual areas, we can
that it is better to wait rather than progress, while we are slow to make
offend hearts, then and only then will
rules we happen to favor. certain changes when they come to
the next generation remain in the matters close to the hearts of others as
Church. Then and only then can we sincere as ourselves. So what if we don't
remain together as a Church. allow jewelry at our academy for ten
I was raised not to wear jewelry, years? We will survive, and as one
and it has not been detrimental to me If such studies as Value Genesis say Church, so long as we remember to
to be without earrings for almost thirty anything it is that our focus on rules respect the hearts of others. Then,
years of life. When I was a teenager, to has caused us to lose sight of our together, we can look forward to an
wear certain forms of jewelry would goaland here I am again speaking of eternity in heaven where there will be
have suggested rebellion on my part. a focus on rules, whether we happen to no invitations to committees with
Symbols do matter and nothing should be for a certain rule, or against it. No difficult decisions to be made!
be so important to us that we come to matter how right we are, Jesus taught
the point of indignantly saying "I don't us that the rules themselves are never
care what people think.. ."After all, the the path to salvation. We know that our Yvette J. Norcott is the English teacher
world is essentially made up of people, interpersonal struggles over them are for grades 9-12 at Orange-wood Seventh-
just people. At my first teaching job I not the way to peace. "I am the way, I dayAdventist Academy, Garden Grove,
would not have worn earrings because am the truth, and the light," Jesus said. California.

Ministry/October 2000 27
PASTOR'S PASTOR

Restoring
I erhaps no Every minister is Satan's special

P evangelist
in history
target and it is our responsibility to
avoid even the appearance of evil in

evangelistic
has preached to both our public ministry as well as our
more people in private conduct. Counseling sessions
more countries should never occur behind locked

credibility
than Billy Gra doors. An open-to-view window
ham, who, during safeguards the pastor's reputation.
more than a half century of public
ministry, has avoided even a hint of Cooperation with local
scandal or impropriety. JAMES A. CRESS churches. Every itinerant evangelist
When nearly eleven thousand must remember that the harvest is
itinerant evangelists recently gathered pany the ministry of any pastor, but only conserved to the extent that the
for Amsterdam 2000, a great evange especially the ministry of itinerant local church assimilates and disciples
lism council sponsored by the Billy preachers. new converts. Evangelism and follow-
Graham Evangelistic Association, the When an evangelist ministers away up must be inseparable. In fact, Peter
attendees learned of a 55-year-old from home and family, temptations Wagner, asserts that any evangelistic
plan for maintaining high standards multiply and opportunities for scheme which separates follow-up
in public evangelism. unethical and inappropriate behavior from proclamation has already built
Billy Graham's long-time abound. In his personal autobiography, it's own defeat into the system.
associate and song leader, Cliff It is spiritual child abuse to invite


Barrows, described the Modesto people to make a spiritual decision for
Manifesto which grew out of a council Christ and then abandon the newborn
that the embryonic evangelistic believers without providing appropri
association held in order to establish ate nurture, encouragement, training,
and maintain their credibility. Dr. very and inclusion. We are held accountable
Graham and his colleagues gathered by heaven not just for the numbers that
to discuss why public evangelists were minister is Satan's special are baptized, but for the disciples who
so often criticized. They focused on are built as fruit from our labor.
four major issues that every public target and it is our If an itinerant preacher ignores
preacher should emphasize. the local church or bypasses estab
responsibility to avoid even the lished believers, apostasy of
Financial integrity. Never newly-won souls will be that
should a hint of impropriety sur appearance of evil in both our evangelist's legacy. If a preacher builds
round the way in which finances are himself up rather than strengthening
collected, reported, accounted for, or
public ministry as well as our the local church leaders, then we
dispersed. Simony, or ministering for private conduct. should not be surprised when new
money, has no place in Christian converts are unwelcomed and
evangelism. unnurtured by the church members
Wise evangelists will make certain who were given no significant role in
that others count and verify the their accession into the church.
income and that appropriate policies Just As I Am, Graham describes how
and procedures are followed for the tabloids would love to discredit the Honesty in publicity. Credible
expenses including securing appropri ministry and influence of any public evangelists will not promise more than
ate receipts and reporting audited personality. For that reason, he has can be delivered. They will not employ
statements in order to assure donors carefully avoided being alone with any sensational advertising or unsavory
that their contributions have been woman other than his own spouse. He publicity stunts to attract an audience.
properly handled. describes how he never even enters a Some things that are done in the
hotel room before someone from his name of publicity are a disgrace to the
Moral purity. The highest team has checked that no one lurks gospel. These things tend to attract
standards of conduct should accom- inside to discredit his reputation. sensation seekers who are most

28 Ministry/October 2000
PASTOR'S P

resistant to becoming responsible


disciples, if they even stick around
long enough to make a decision for
Christ or the church.
If you are tempted to attract
people by resorting to speculative and
sensational topics or by employing
inappropriate artistic portrayals,
remember that Jesus calls His ministers
to simply "Lift Him up." Of course we
need attractive advertising to attract
the masses to hear the sermon, but the
methods we use to get the crowd must
not be incongruent with the message
which we proclaim.
Likewise, honesty in evangelism
demands that the only reward offered Please begin/continue my subscription to Elder's Digest
Q One year; payment of us$9.95 enclosed
for conversion is the free gift of
Q Three years; payment of us$24.95 enclosed
eternal life. Potential converts never
should be led to believe that employ Please type or print:
ment, education, enhanced social
standing, or financial gain will result
from their baptism. Name
A simple gospel presentation
Mailing Address
made by a minister who demonstrates
the transforming power of the Holy City
Spirit in his or her own life will make
a far deeper impact than any resort to State/Province Zip/Postal Code Country
personality, programs, publicity, or
promises.
As our own General Conference To subscribe, send a check/money order or
President, Jan Paulsen, convenes a credit card number w/expiration date to:
Elder's Digest Subscriptions 4- Ministerial Association Resource Center
denomination-wide Commission on
12501 Old Columbia Pike + Silver Spring, MD 20904
Evangelism and Witness, I believe we
Phone: 888.771.0738 (toll-free) or 301.680.6508
can restore and enhance the credibil Fax: 301.680.6502 4- E-mail: paynec@gc.adventist.org
ity of evangelism and evangelists as Web: www.ministerialassociation.com
we adhere to these principles.

"What's a theologian an issue in which she has been deeply


involved. My friend has thus come to
among the first to disallow Mrs.
White's writings any ultimately
after all?" continued from p. 4 discount and essentially ignore crucial definitive or formative doctrinal role in
theological insights about important the overall scheme of things (this role,
and where it seems his view of Ellen subjects. This has, I think, impover by her own declaration is reserved for
White as a nonexegete or ished his own life and theology and the Bible and the Bible alone) I hope I
nontheologian, seems to lead him. potentially that of the Church. would be among the last to reduce,
Taking what seems to me like a rather Mrs. White was a person to whom discount, or demean the massively
extreme position, has caused him to the community of faith has consistently valuable gift that the Seventh-day
discount the essential theological looked for thoughtful, biblical, and Adventist Church has been given when
thrust of what a thoughtful, leading, most certainly theological reflection on it comes to the theological work of
divinely placed person has said about many issues. While I hope I would be Ellen G. White.

Ministry/October 2000 29
We ended the week with parents O'Ffill, "is not to get but rather to
asking us whether we were planning be"to be more like Jesus every day, to
Timing a project to continue the program after the be "imitators of God" (Eph. 5:1), "to
It's tough to concentrate when summer, as they would be interested discover the will of God and to receive
you're working on a sermon or some in coming. the grace to obey it."
other project; it's even tougher when This is an ideal program to run if True to its title, this book shows
you've an appointment coming up. you struggle with manpower in your how prayer can transform your life in
Keep checking the clock, and you'll church. It also gives you a chance to dynamic ways. Each chapter deals
lose your focus. Stop checking the befriend parents and children at the with issues of life and relationships
clock, and you risk getting so caught same time, and it meets a need as that can be solved through a Bible-
up in your work that you end up Parent-and-toddler groups tend to based prayer life. Using personal
missing your appointment! close down in the summer. Try it for experiences, the Scriptures, and the
That was my experience, anyway, yourself and see if it works for you. Spirit of Prophecy, this book gets
until I bought a digital timerthe Mary Barrett, Peterborough, straight to the issues, compelling the
same kind that cooks use to keep track Cambridgeshire, England. reader to do something.
of how long cakes and pies have been It would be surprising if such a
in the oven. Unlike its wind-up cousins, Sabbath RootsThe change-inspiring book left your soul
a digital timer is quiet. It's accurate. African Connection, a unique untouched. However, in the event that
And it's cheap (I found mine for less interfaith conference exploring our that happens, what you will find at the
than U.S.S10.00 in the kitchen gadget common African roots, is scheduled end of every chapter is sure to move
section of a local discount store). for November 8-9,2000, at the your heart. Each chapter concludes
So now whenever I start a project, Davidson Center, University of with three applications: (1) "a reality
I begin by setting the timer. While it's Southern California in Los Angeles. check" that consists of provoking
counting the time to my next ap This dynamic study event will questions to help you examine your
pointment, I'm free to concentrate. consider how the human family personal prayer life; (2) tasks to "fine-
When it rings, I'm off. relates to God, to each other, and to tune your prayer-life" that suggest
I hope someone finds this as the concept of Sabbath rest. specific ways to strengthen your
helpful as I have!Greg Brothers, Charles E. Bradford, author of prayer life; and (3) "a prayer" that
Lincoln City, Oregon. Sabbath Roots: The African Connection zeros in on the crux of the issue.
and former president of the Seventh- Pastors will find the book helpful
Outreach for mothers and day Adventist Church in North not only in their personal life, but also
children America, will be featured. in leading the congregation to a better
Instead of having a Holiday Register now! $75 until Oct. 1; understanding of the dynamics of
[Vacation] Bible School this summer, $100 after that. Call 1-800-732-7587; prayer.Fylvia Kline, assistant
we tried something different and were online, <plusline.org> Visa/ director, General Conference Steward
surprised at the response! MasterCard accepted. Or write to: ship Department.
We ran a Parent-and-Toddler Hands Up CA! 1535 East Chevy Chase
group for a week, inviting parents also Drive, Glendale, California 91209. A Plain Man's Guide to
to bring their older children up to the Daniel and the Revelation by
age of 10. We had the usual toys and Ernest W. Marter. Grantham,
play equipment for the younger Lincolnshire, England: The
children and had four different craft Transforming Prayer by Stanborough Press, 1997. In the
tables for the older ones. At the end of Richard O'Ffill. Hagerstown, Md.: United States, call any Adventist Book
the one-hour session, we sang nursery Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1999. Center, 800-765-6955) to order this
and Bible songs and then shared a Bible ISBN 0-8280-1397-7. Paperback, 134 book, or order worldwide via the
story. This was told in a different way pages. us$l 1.99. Internet at adventistbookcenter.com.
each day so as to involve the children. We all know the ABC's of prayer: In simple language Ernest Marter
We had enough helpers so that we pray every day, acknowledge blessings, presents a guide to understand and to
could make friends with the parents as admit wrong doings, remember others, link the books of Daniel and Revela
well as the children that week. ask in Jesus' name. But Richard O'Ffill tion within the overall history of the
The parents and children loved it. is here to tell you that prayer is more great controversy. The book takes the
In fact, each day our group increased than doing, saying, and even believing. reader through the major prophecies of
with the parents inviting their friends. The primary purpose of prayer, says Daniel and Revelation, dealing with

30 Ministry/October 2000
RESOURCES

peoples and kingdoms and eventually


leading to an understanding of the
Attention Preachers!
central and overarching figure of
history: Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, The Annual H.M.S. Richards Lectureship on Biblical Preaching
Intercessor, Judge, and King.
will be held at Andrews University
The great controversy and the
pressure of human kingdoms against on Sunday, Oct. 29 and Monday, Oct. 30, 2000!
Jesus Christ and His followers as
presented by Daniel is followed by a Featured Speaker: Dr. Frank Ottati
careful study of chapters 12-14 of
Revelation. The study methodically
Frank Ottati comes to us with a rich back
leads the reader to the final triumph
ground ofpastoral, administrative, and evan
of the King of kings, and the destruc
gelistic experience. He was president of the
tion of sin and death through the
capture and destruction of the beast,
Adventist University in Costa Rica and has
the false prophet and the dragon.
served as ministerial director in the Central
The author focuses on the
American and Columbia Unions. Ottati's
sanctuary whose ministry gives "first love" is evangelism as evidenced by the
assurance of salvation to worshipers. many crusades he has held in South-, Inter-,
This focus contrasts with the declared and North America, resulting in over 3,000
destiny of the worshipers of the beast baptisms. He is a popular camp meeting
and his image. and revival speaker and is in demand as a
The book captures the central presenter on the topic of making preaching
theme of Daniel and Revelation more effective the subject of his D.Min.
without inundating the reader with a research. Currently Dr. Ottati is pastor of the West Houston SDA
mass of historical data. The book that Church where his love and enthusiasm for the Lord is contagious.
lends itself as a tool for the average
person who wants SCHEDULE & TOPICS
to know what
awaits in the Sunday, Oct. 29, 2000
progression of the 1:00 P.M. Lecture #1
great controversy "Seven Steps for Effective Communication"
as it moves on
4:30 P.M. Lecture #2
toward its culmina
tion. Both pastors "How to Make Your Preaching Practical"
and lay persons will
find the book helpful in their study and Monday, Oct. 30, 2000
work.Enrique Becerra, associate 10:30 AM. Worship & Preaching Service
director, General Conference Education "The Keys ofthe Kingdom"
Department. 3:30 P.M. Lecture #3
"How to Preach for People to Remember"

$25 for your ideas


Send us your suggestions about Location: The Youth Chapel at Pioneer Memorial
how pastors can make daily ministry Church at Andrews University
more effective. If we publish it, we will
send your $25. If your idea promotes a All are welcome! No registration fees or cost of any kind!
product or service, we'll be glad to Come sharpen your preaching skills and find inspiration!
consider it for publication but won't
pay you $25. Send ideas to Ministry, CEU Credit is Available!
12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver
Spring, MD 20904. To receive payment, Contact Dr. Ken Stout or Bonnie Beres for further information at
U.S. citizens must include Social (616) 471-3408 or (616) 461-3356.
Security number.

Ministry/October 2000 31
FROM THE VOI
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