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international Journal 2000

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

Black SDA preaching: Balanced and binding Association Secretary

James A. Cress
Pastoral Assistant Editors
John C. Cress, Fredrick Russell,
or betwixt and between? Editor
Maylan Schurch, Loren Seibold
Willmore D. Eva International Advisors
Analysis of dilemmas facing Black preaching in North America A. Abduimajid, Alejandro Bullon,
Assistant Editor Jaime Castrejon, Victor P.
Calvin B. Rock Julia W. Norcott Krustienitsky, Cartos Martin,
Editorial Assistant Gabriel Maurer, Joel Musvosvi,
Sheila Draper David Osborne, Paul Ratsara,
11 Peter Roennfeldt, John Willmott,
Professional Growth and
My to-be list: What I learned from Inter-church Relations
Eric Winter, R. A. Zeeman
Pastoral Advisors
Nikolaus Satelmajer
a 50-year spiritual checkup Contributing Editors
Leslie Baumgartner, S. Peter
Campbell, Miguel A. Cerna.
Actions of being that keep the pastor's soul alive Sharon Cress Jeanne Hartwell, Mitchell
Peter Prime Henson, Greg Nelson, Norma
Philip Yancey Joel Sarli Osborn, Leslie Pollard, Dan
Kit Watts Smith, Steve Willsey

12 Consulting Editors
Matthew Bediako, Ben
Editorial Office
If I were the devil! Clausen, Raoul Dederen,
Teofilo Ferreira, Ron Flowers, Subscriptions and Circulation
Jeannette Calbi
Paper presented at the General Conference session on John M. Fowler, Michael
Hasel, Roland Hegstad, Resources
challenges facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church Kathleen Kurrtaraf, Ekteftardt Cathy Payne
Mueller, Jan Paulsen, Robert
George R. Knight Peach, George Reid, Angel
Cover Illustration
Rodriguez, Penny Shell, Kevin Chadwick
William Shea, Russell Cover Design
16 Staples, Richard Tibbits. Harry Knox
Edward Zinke
The Toronto World Ministers Council
A pictorial overview of the Toronto Subscriptions: 12 issues (double issue for June-
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World Ministers Council, June 25-29, 2000 us$31.50; airmail us$41.50; single copy us$3.00. To
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Jeannette Calbi, Ministry Subscriptions, 12501 Old
Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904 U.S.A.
18 Subscription queries and address changes:
How many really great preachers are there? E-mail:; fax: 301-680-6502;
The pastor's day telephone: 301-680-6503.
James L. Snyder To Writers: We welcome unsolicited manuscripts.
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diskette with name, address, telephone and fax
19 numbers, and Social Security number (if U.S.
Meeting the challenge of diversity citizen). Send editorial correspondence to 12501
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Richard A. Marker E-mail: or (editorial offices);
Web site:
Writer's Guidelines available on request.
Bullets or buckshot Ministry (ISSN 0026-5314), the international
An interview with Haddon Robinson on effective preaching journal of the Seventh-day Adventist Ministerial
Derek J. Morris Association 2000, is published monthly (except
for June-July, when a double issue will be
published) by the General Conference of Seventh-
26 day Adventists and printed by Pacific Press Pub.
Making expository preaching relevant and interesting Assn., 1350 N. Kings Road, Narnpa, ID 83687-3193.
Standard mail postage paid at Nampa, Idaho.
Ways of bringing biblical preaching to life Member Associated Church Press.
Graeme Bradford PRIMTED IN THE U.S.A.

IN EVERY ISSUE Vol. 73 Number 9

Bible credits: Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, Hew
3 Letters 30 Pastor's Pastor International Version. Copyright 1973,1978,1984 by the
International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan
Bible Publishers.

4 Editorial 31 Resources

2 Ministry/September 2000
January 2000 issue not think that I ever could sit down place on the front of Ministry, this
You have been sending me with a member and tell him to get piece of "art" could be used as a
Ministry for some time now. This is to along with my new program or leave poster warning children to beware of
let you know first time writing to you the church. I do not think that God, strange predatory men. Ron Taylor,
that I do read every article every who allowed both Saul and David to retired church administrator.
time you send me the journal. continue serving as King of Israel,
Many times I use some of your would tell any of us to get with His June-July 2000 issue
ideas in my teaching/preaching program or get out. I do not think Thank you for printing George
ministry (with credit given to the that Jesus, who kept Judas as treasurer Knight's "Adventist Approaches to the
source) .Your articles are down to earth even though he was a thief, would tell Second Coming." I too have had a
everyday experiences, which I can relate any of us to get with the program or difficult time reconciling the 6,000-
to my experiences, like being healthy get out. Jesus did not give that year/seventh millennium theory
and pastoral stress, balance in the ultimatum to Peter, even though he (which I encounter regularly) with the
budget, simplicity, for the better opposed Jesus when he went to Bible and Ellen White. However, as a
(better for me), scholarship and the Jerusalem to die. God calls us to serve 20-something, I have had to endure
call to ministry, seminary education our churches, not boss them. older folks (God bless their motives,
and its limits (January 2000). I had one pastor who told me and surely) quenching my youthful
I want to say thank you for your my wife the same message. He advised expectancy and fervor with "Yeah,
free subscription to me as a pastor in us to "Get on the train, or the train when I was young, I thought the Lord
India. I appreciate it because some will run over you." He initiated the was going to come in my lifetime,
body sacrifices their subscription for decline of church attendance from too." This destroys in young people
me. I have many SDA friends in my 200 to 40. His flourishing church has that "sense of immediacy" which,
city. I have an SDA medical doctor in split into three churches whose according to Knight, the Whites kept,
my own hospital in Bheemunipatnam, combined attendance after ten years even while living responsibly. Fresh,
a rural charity medical center. God was below 200. youthful anticipation there's
bless your literature ministry. I was disappointed to read this in nothing like it! Bill Krick, Clovis,
Please include us in your Call to your magazine. Richard Helzerman, California.
Prayer 2000 list. We do appreciate the pastor, Seventh-day Adventist Church,
SDA contribution in India's develop Newburgh, Indiana. May I take this opportunity to
ment. P. J. Titus, Bheemunipatnamp, thank you for James Cress's excellent
Visakhapatnam, India. March 2000 cover "Thirty Roses" column of Ministry. It
Thank you for some excellent was right on target, as my wife and I
The article entitled "Can These material on ministering to children in have also been ministry partners in
Bones Live Again?" by Stephen the March 2000 issue. The one marriage for over 30 years. We really
Grunlan started out with some distracting feature was the front cover. identified with each point made. So
valuable advice. As I read the first Was the disheveled, middle-aged man often opposites do attract but then
eight of his ten points, I could identify supposed to represent Jesus? If so, the spend their next years in competition
his points with examples from my artist must have been trying to and approval. How wonderful to realize
own experience. I began thinking that illustrate Isaiah 53:2: "There is no that God puts us together to supple
this was a truly valuable contribution beauty that we should desire him." It ment and complete the team He has
to the store of literature on turning certainly justifies the divine command chosen for their lifework for Him. That
churches from stagnation to growth. "Thou shalt not make until thee any... way everything you do works out best.
I was horrified, however, when I likeness of any thing that is in heaven Roses to you for the great job your are
read his point nine, "Move, 'church above, or that is in the earth beneath" doing. Thanks again! Douglas R.
fathers' in or out." As a pastor, I do (Exod. 20:40). Rather than finding a Rose, Grand Prairie, Texas.

Free Subscription 11 you're receiving Ministry bimonthly and haven't paid for a subscription, it's not a mistake. Since 1928 Ministry has been
1 published for Seventh-day Adventist ministers. We believe, however, thatthe time has come for clergy everywhere to experience
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 outstretched hand to you. Look over our shoulder, take what you want and find helpful, and discard what you can't use. Bimonthly gift
subscriptions are available to all licensed and/or ordained clergy. Requests should be on church letterhead and addressed to the editorial office.

Ministry/September 2000 3
I rt was a stimu
lating privilege
to sit with
colleagues in
Toronto working
burning issue
the face of such a divorce and remar
riage is a human policy. This
distinction must be drawn clearly so
that the Church can, if it is led to do
so, find other ways of caring for
through proposed divorcing members who agonize in
changes to the their sense of failure and loss.
Church Manual riage. In other words, I do not know It is true that administering
when it comes to how members of the of anyone who would gainsay Jesus' discipline is a difficult and unpleasant
Seventh-day Adventist Church should declaration that ultimately the only thing, from which we naturally tend
be cared for when they divorce and legitimate cause for divorcing your to shy away. The point here is clearly
remarry. Though many would spouse is adultery, but I do know not to avoid necessary church
disagree, I believe progress was made those who would question that it discipline, but simply to suggest that
in that the issues were clearly identi follows that the only way for the formal removal from the church
fied and discussed more candidly and church to properly treat such people community is not the only effective
completely than I have heard it done is to remove them from church action a church may take in the case
in a venue such as the floor of a membership. of its divorcing and remarrying
General Conference session. Here are members, and the church would not
a few reflections: be denying the authority of Scripture,
1. Although the theological if it took another approach.
[ o embrace
e the
foundations for the sanctity and I am grateful and proud to be part
perpetuity of marriage are admirably Lord of the church is to embrace of a church that is passionately
laid out in the necessarily brief concerned with protecting and
statement introducing the divorce- the reality that the highest defending the lives of people from
remarriage section of the Church unjust and callous behavior. Knowing
Manual, I believe the cryptic theologi expressions of true obedience are Jesus and looking carefully and
cal or biblical reflections on divorce contextually at His statements about
and remarriage that follow were not those thoughts and actions ... divorce (particularly in Matthew 19),
covered quite as well. While the issues reveals this to be His primary concern.
of grace and forgiveness, so founda- that emanate from a mature The kind of community which, for
tional to the Bible, are mentioned, such example, allows men to divorce their
and far-reaching realization of
biblical principles are not in reality wives for very little reason and thus
brought into the Manual so that they who Jesus was and is and what potentially consigns their former wives
are actually allowed to make propor to an almost intolerable existence,
tional impressions on the necessary His will ultimately is for sounds in principle at least, remarkably
disciplinary policies recommended in like much of what occurs in the wake of
the Manual for divorcing and remarry His church and His people. current divorce and remarriage, even in
ing couples. Partly because of this, the contemporary Christian societies. The
divorce and remarriage policies Church must stand against this kind of
expressed in the Manual are not as To state this concern in yet injustice as Jesus did. The awfully casual
consistent as they could be with the another way: it seems that the Church view of marriage against which Jesus
realities covered in the Bible and Manuals policy of removing illegiti made His definitive statements had
confronted in everyday life. mately divorced and remarried long since lost the essence of its divine
2. It seems to me that the members from church fellowship has source and focus: that of a true
struggles experienced in the discus tended to be placed on a par with the covenant-commitment grounded in
sion of these things on the floor in authoritative words of Jesus decrying agape love.
Toronto were due to a tendency the common divorce procedures He 3. Finally, while there is the
among us to place the prescribed observed. Thus it must be said that immense and growing need to
discipline advocated in the Manual the illegitmacy of divorce except when maintain the unity of a world Church,
almost on a par with Jesus' statements adultery is present is a divine reality, we must acknowledge that regardless
about adultery being the only just articulated by Jesus Himself, but the of what the corporate church decides
reason for divorce and thus remar- act of disfellowshipping someone in continued on p. 21

4 Ministry/September 2000
Balanced and binding
or betwixt and between?

B lack American preaching is an identifiable reality. Its energy and imagery

make it unique to gospel proclamation. It's an art form born of faith,
rooted in love, driven by hope, shaped in trial, nurtured by pain, mentored in
suffering, and authenticated by time.

Calvin B. Rock, D.Min., While Black preaching deserves our form of rhetorical style; it is a function
Ph. D., is a general in-depth investigation, we shall concen of content with its fervent embrace of
vice-president of the trate here on Black "Adventist" preach the justice aspects of Scripture. 1 Black
General Conference of ing. The critical questions that arise are: preaching values the social elements of
Seventh-day (1) Is it really possible to do truly Black salvation. It affirms the political dimen
Adventists, Silver preaching when we are structurally re sions of the gospel. It exalts the last six
Spring, Maryland. moved from all the rest of Black Chris commandments as faithfully as it does
tianity and bred almost exclusively on the first four. It leads the people not only
Anglo emphasis of Scripture? (2) If so, to the patching of wounds caused by
how has our social separation from Black injustice but also to oppose oppressive
believers in society and our cultural dis laws and systems. It is concerned more
tance from Anglo believers impacted our with the plight of the slaves than with
preaching personality? (3) Are African- the might of their masters. Therefore,
American preachers preachers with an it is possible to say not only that Black
Adventist doctrine? or are they Adventist preaching is substance as well as style,
preachers with an African-American but that its substance determines its
emphasis? Or a hybrid of sorts betwixt style. Indeed, its distinctive concerns are
and between too theologically Angli parent to its unique expression.
cized for authentic Black preaching and Proclamation that simulates the
too authentically ethnic to fit the sounds of Black preaching (that is,
Adventist prototype? preaching that utilizes its imagery and
cadence but without its substance) is
Not just style, but content not the genuine article. No matter how
Black preaching is more than a popular the preacher may be, it is a dis-


Ministry/September 2000 5
tortion of the true enterprise, a false
manifestation, and a betrayal of our
worthy predecessors in this noble en

Would you like to deavor.

Adventist preaching is even more

write for Ministry? "content-focused" than Black preach

ing. Its essence is clearly one of
reform Sabbath reform, health re
form, dress reform, education reform,
family reform, stewardship reform, etc.
Here are some areas of emphasis in which Ministry is interested:
Preaching that does not ring with the
+ Pastoral practics, such as preaching, evangelism, lay training,
certainties of Daniel and Revelation;
counseling, conflict resolution, time management, continuing
that is not flavored with the symbols of
education, congregational leadership and administration
the sanctuary; that does not uphold the
Personal needs of the minister
law of God; that does not honor the
Professional skills of the minister
prophetic gift of Ellen White; that does
Pastor-spouse team ministry
not extol justification by faith is not
Pastoral family needs
Adventist preaching.2 It may be truth,
Worship, music, and church nurture
but it is not Present Truth; it may con
Theological and biblical topics within the framework of Seventh-
stitute an engaging performance, but it
day Adventist belief and practice
does not constitute the remnant proc
Current issues in church life and mission, particularly as they affect
the Seventh-day Adventist church
On one occasion, when Napoleon's
Health and lifestyle issues as they affect the pastor
soldiers, trapped and tired, shouted
Reports on unique events of interest to pastors, such as church
with joy at the sound of French pipes
growth, empowerment of laypersons, etc.
approaching in the distance, he com
Shoptalk items: ideas on how to better the work of the local church
manded them to silence and placed his
Brief reviews on books relevant to ministry
ear to the ground. When he arose, he
Letters of comment on recent Ministry articles (no payment for
quickly ordered his troops to cover.
When his officers asked why, since help
was obviously on the way, he pointed
International flavor
in the direction of the sounds and
When writing, it is good to avoid as far as possible the use of any
tersely replied, "French music, but En
phraseology or allusion that may be mystifying or irrelevant to
glish marching!"
readers outside a given national culture.
That verdict aptly describes the
polar pitfalls of claiming Blackness but
Article submission
failing to articulate its justice concerns
It is advisable to consult with the editor before writing and submitting
and professing Adventism but preach
an article for publication.
ing without its prophetic essence. We
need to do Black preaching because it
Article length
resonates with our cultural past and
An average printed page in Ministry contains approximately 750 words.
present in ways that maximize the im
Articles with no more than 1,500 words are preferred. Seldom are pact of truth. We must do Adventist
articles with more than 2,500 words accepted.
preaching because that is our unique
commission. Anything less is a denial
of one's oath, a tragedy for the people
U.S. residents may request a complete copy of our Writer's Guidelines
and a disappointment to God.
by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:
But is it really possible to accom
Ministry Editorial Office plish this harmony of heritages, both
12501 Old Columbia Pike grounded in Scripture, one shaped very
Silver Spring, MD 20904 pervasively by centuries of trial and
trust in the God of deliverance, and the
Non-U.S. residents may request Writer's Guidelines by sending
other influenced by the Puritan ethic
the name and address to which they would like their copy sent
and the imminence of Millerism; one
known for echoing the justice sighs of

6 Ministry/September 2000
Amos and Micah, the other echoing the the only hope of overcoming societal but it is in fact Anglo conservative
antiphonal scenes of Ezekiel and evil is the conversion of the populace marching, not the call to social as well as
Zechariah; one responding to a people's and since that prospect, by orders of spiritual freedom Black preaching entails.
need to defend their dignity everyday, magnitude, is a mission impossible, all But then the greater fault for us is
the other the Church's need to defend attempts at social change are futile; it is not preaching Adventist without preach
the 2300 days? enough to hope and pray for the com ing Black, but preaching Black and not
The answer is yes, but the effort ing of the Lord and the eradication of Adventist, especially when that preach
must begin with the realization that injustice. This is what Gilbert Murray ing is given to rhetorical absurdities.
both processes have weaknesses created calls "the sad philosophy of those who, While the bane of standard Adventist
by their human proprietors. A primary knowing how short time is, do not un proclamation is social insensitivity, the
problem with traditional Adventist dertake to build that which they cannot weakness of much Black Adventist
preaching is its socially conservative finish or to employ materials fit for use preaching is doctrinal neutrality camou
interpretation of Scripture, and that of in a structure expected to stand the test flaged in verbal vehemence. What should
Black preaching is its acceptance of raw of time."5 we do to resolve this tension?
excitement as the definition of success Yet another effective determinative
and the use of arbitrary stimulation as is the penchant of religious conservatives Arouse social conscience
a means of attaining that acclaim. to interpret wrongfully the Scriptures' Doctrinal neutrality is often the
insistence upon choosing the spiritual consequence of disenchantment with the
The conservative stance above the physical as justification for pri- Church's underdeveloped social con
There are several reasons why doc- vatism in response to social evil. For science. "Hanging in there" and collect
trinally conservative churches such as them it is not a matter of valuing Jericho ing a paycheck is one thing but being an
ours spawn socially conservative by Jerusalem, or the secular by the sacred, enthusiastic apologist for a system
preachers and people. One is the it is the mandate to regard social issues viewed as weak, or at times even nega
minimalist view of New Testament so as the province of Caesar not the pur tive to one's socio-political interests, re
ciality provided by most Anglo view of the Church; to address them quires an unusual measure of optimism
theologians. They read, in Jesus' refusal individually, perhaps, but not as a part and patience. If, of course, one buys into
to strike out against Rome and Paul's of what we call "finishing of the work."6 the concept of a desocialized gospel, such
insistence that Onesimus go back and Since all of the above is denied by tensions do not exist, but if one does, in
be a good slave, a divine directive to the ethos of Black preaching, proclama fact, link righteousness with justice, the
passive acceptance of injustice. In real tion that accommodates these and loyalty struggle is very real. The tragedy
ity, however, given what Yoder terms kindred slants on Scripture is not true to for those who do not find resolution to
"the absence of alternatives," both Jesus its ideal. It may utilize Black sound ef this dilemma (who do not discover that
and Paul should be seen as pushing the fects (employ African-American music), "social" reform is also a scriptural man-
cause of justice as far as their times
would permit. 3 This included Christ's
calling Herod "that fox" (Luke 13:32)
and Paul's imploring Philemon to re
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Ministry/September 2000 7
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Dozens of Beautiful
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date) is loss of enthusiasm for remnant Commandments, the state of the dead, Refuse to be entertainers
proclamation and capitulation to nomi the Second Coming and all of the other Fourth, we are aided in this en
nal Protestant preaching. 27 Fundamentals can and should be re deavor by refusing to accede to the
Similarly, rhetorical vehemence of lated to the Black experience. It requires people's predisposition for show and
ten occurs when one concludes that since creativity and persistence, but it is most entertainment. That, of course, is not a
standard Caucasian delivery does not fit, rewarding to show Africa's descendants Black phenomenon. But since nobody
"anything goes"that shrillness is of the global diaspora as the "people" can do it better than we can, it is a pecu
Blackness, that loudness is laudable, and John saw hearing the angels of Revela liar temptation and distortion of our
that emotionalism is more important tion 14; to market the material benefits task. "Somebody ought to say Amen,"
than intellectualism. In other words, of keeping the Sabbath and returning "Let me hear you say Amen," "Come on,
while God is not dead, He is somewhat tithe; and to remind one and all that be say Amen," "Walls, lights, pewssay
deaf and the people intellectual dwarfs fore Isaiah saw a "remnant repairing the Amen!"discretely used are legitimate
who come each Sabbath for another dose pulpit devices. But dependence upon
of "feel good" religion. Such preaching these to gain attention and applause is a
is neither African-American music nor cheap, crippling substitute for eye-open
Anglo marching; it is a retreat to medi
ocrity accomplished to the beat of lesser
drummers; it is resignation in the face of

Embrace categories of freedom

But the realization that both pro
A primary
problem with traditional
ing exegesis of the Word. True Black
preaching does not have to beg for
"Amens" and is not dependent upon the
atrical devices. It utilizes imaginative
language and vocal inflection to tell the
story, but always in ways that make the
text, not the mechanics and charisma of
cesses suffer from weaknesses derived Adventist preaching is its the speaker, the center of attention. 9
from their proprietors is not the only key Black preaching is instructive, not exhi
to holding these two enterprises in dy
socially conservative bitionist; celebratory, not carnivalistic;
namic tension. Another is the recogni interpretation of Scripture, animated, not theatrical; vibrant, not
tion that African-Americans are virtually vehement. It is socially conscious, but not
"nonplayers" in the theological process and that of Black preaching is a social gospel; it is concerned with the
ing of Church doctrine. It is not disloyal proximate, but rooted in the ultimate.
for us to admit that the Scriptural em its acceptance of raw
phasis resulting from revelation that fun Interpret the remnant categories
nels through the sociological grid of the excitement as the definition of Fifth, we must produce as rapidly
advantaged is very different from that as possible, theologians who can inter
which processes through that of the dis- success and the use of arbitrary pret through the axiological grid of
advantaged.8 And we need not call that African-Americans the remnant catego
racism. It is simply the way it is. While it
stimulation as a means of ries of the Word of God. While leading
is clear that racism is largely responsible attaining that acclaim. the nation in evangelism, we have fallen
for the demographics that produce dif behind in scholarship. We need and
fering cultural grids, it is not so clear that must have content theologians, system
it is racist to know God sincerely, if in atic, New Testament, Old Testament
completely, through one's cultural appa scholarsthe Ph.D. and Th.D. kind
ratus. Understanding that reality not breach and restoring the paths to dwell people who can read the Word in its
only frees us from animosity toward in," he declared the real fast of God as original languages and tell us in our
those whose theology lacks social sensi loosening the bands of wickedness, un categories of thought and experience
tivity but also allows us to appropriate doing the heavy burdens, freeing the what "saith the Lord!" Only then will
conscientiously categories of liberation oppressed, breaking every yoke, dealing we be freed from the bondage of alien
not usually heard in Adventist preaching. our bread to the hungry, bringing the theological concerns and provided the
poor and cast out into our homes, cov most accurate insights for preaching
Apply Present Truth ering the naked, and satisfying the and praxis.
A third means of mating the two afflicted soul (Isa. 58:5-10). By such em
processes is being intentional and deter phasis we can, and must, make the case Rally around the cross
mined about applying Present Truth to that justice is not, at best, a companion Sixth, we must make the cross of
our everyday situation. In other words, element of righteousness and, at worst, Christ our rallying point. The Cross is
to establish, not just the furniture, but the an alien category but that it is in fact its the nexus where Black suffering and
freedoms of the sanctuary above. The defining core. Apocalyptic expectation meet in dy-

Ministry/September 2000 9
namic tension; where "Swing Low, Sweet shaping the ministries of C. E. Bradford der to archival status this present dia
Chariot" jibes with "Lift Up Your Heads, and E. E. Cleveland. logue and any other attempt at enhance
O Ye Gates," and "Order My Steps" An unsung achievement of these ment of our socio-religious heritage.
mates with "I Will Follow Thee My Sav two men requiring special notice is their If we are to maintain our position
ior"; where the courage of Richard Alien contribution to Church unity. They as a vibrant wheel within the larger wheel
fuses with the faith of William Miller; stand in the distinguished tradition of G. of the Church; if, given the lengthening
where the determined conviction of So- E. Peters, E L. Peterson, W. W. Fordham, of our earthly pilgrimage, we will deliver
journer Truth complements the delicate and other notables whose preaching, in to our successors Black Seventh-day "Ad-
candor of Rachel Dates; where the mis the middle third of the last century, ventism" as opposed to Black Seventh-
sion of the underground railroad proved a major deterrent to schisms like day "Congregationalism" or Black
mirrors the mandate of the orbiting an those led by L. C. Sheaf, the Manns Seventh-day "Pentecostalism," we must,
gels; where the bruised hands of those brothers (John and Charles), and J. K. with determined vigilance, address these
hanged because of their skin grasp the Humphrey in the first several decades. issues with resolve.
nailed palms of Him crucified because These celebrated defections, I challenge African-American
of our sins; where the blood of the sparked by institutional racism, might preachers to this high resolve. I urge that
"many thousands gone" cry out "How well have multiplied and eventuated in we proceed with the premise that Black
long, O Lord, how long," and the exu irreconcilable division had it not been for preaching and Adventist preaching are
berance of our four million ancestors the balanced and binding preaching of indeed complementary events and not
released from the most binding slavery our honorees and their courageous col mutually exclusive; that we can enjoy the
of modern history anticipates the shout leagues during the last decades of the best of both worlds; that we can avoid
of the finally redeemed"Free at last, twentieth century. They have, by both both the Charybdis of uninformed con
free at last, thank God Almighty we're pen and voice, been used by God as spe servatism and the Scylla of virtual capitu
free at last!" 10 cial heralds of doctrine and loyalty. lation; that we can with informed
But past is not always prologue! The awareness, stern discipline, broad char
The new millennium new and additional challenges now fac ity, and relentless devotion provide for
How does our grade card read as ing us are as rife with danger as was the our membership and the society beyond
we begin this new millennium? We have overt racism of yesteryear. Primary a product more relevant and exciting
survived and done well largely because among these challenges are the destruc than either by itself; that we can employ
of Oakwood College and the Moseley, tive forces of Pentecostalism, secularism, music that is consistent with our march
Richards, Rogers, Warren, Reaves, Alien Congregationalism, and, more recently, ingwhich is to say, preaching that is
Religion Department leadership; a de an assimilationist appeal to "color blind faithful to both the "cultural heritage" we
partment that had a major hand in ness" that, taken to fruition, would ren- did not choose and cannot escape and
the "remnant heritage" we have solemnly
chosen and must never deny.

1 Cain Felder, Stony the Road We Trod, "The

Igniting Hermeneutical Dilemma of the African American Bib
lical Student" William H. Myers (Minneapolis:
Fortress Press, 1991), 40-56.
a "passion 2 Daniells, 64.
3 John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus,

for living (Grand Rapids, Midi.: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co.,

1972), 178.
4 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol.
L, (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1944),

God's 201,202.
^ H. Richard Niebuhr, The Responsible Self (New
York: Harper and Rowe, 1963), 90.
6 E. E. Cleveland, The Middle Wall (Hagers-
love... town, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1969), 55,
' Calvin B. Rock, Institutional Loyalty vs. Ra
never losing cial Freedom: The Dilemma of Black Seventh-day
Adventist Leadership (Nashville: Vanderbilt University,
1984), 159, 160.
8 James H. Cone, God of the Oppressed (New
fOCUS E S York: The Seabury Press, 1975), 92.
9 Charles E. Bradford, Preaching to the Times
NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn.,
1975), 109-113.
'"Coretta Scott King, The Words of Martin
Luther King, Jr., "I Have A Dream," excerpts from the
12501 Old Columbia
speech given at Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963
301.680.6427 301.680.6464 fax -
(New York: Newmarket Press, 1987), 97.

10 Ministry/September 2000
\ A 7 hen I turned 50 this year, I Paul says in one place, and in another
I/I/ underwent a complete
W f physical checkup. Doctors
My to-be list: "Grieve not the holy Spirit of God."
In so many words, the God of all
poked, prodded, x-rayed, and even
cut open parts of my body to assess
and repair the damage I had done in
What I power asks us not to hurt him. Do I
show that same humble, noncoercive
attitude toward people of whom I
half a century. As the new millen
nium rolled around, I scheduled a
learned from disapprove?

spiritual checkup as well. I went on a

silent retreat led by a wise spiritual
a 50-year Don't be ashamed. "I am not
ashamed of the gospel," Paul told the
In those days of silence and soli
tude, I paid attention to what might
spiritual Romans. Why do I speak in generali
ties when strangers ask me what I do
for a living and then try to pin down
need to change in order to keep my
soul in shape. The more I listened, the
check-up what kind of books I write? Why do
I mention the secular schools I at
longer grew the list. Here is a mere PHILIP tended before the Christian ones?
sampling, a portion of a spiritual ac
tion plan for my next 50 years. Allow the goodnatural beauty, Remember, those Christians who
your health, encouraging words to peeve you so much; God chose them
Come to God with your own penetrate as deeply as the bad. Why too. For some reason, I find it much
troubles, as well as the world's. I need does it take about 17 encouraging let easier to show grace and acceptance
to find a better balance between the ters from readers to overcome the toward immoral unbelievers than to
need for personal serenity and a effect of one that is caustic and criti ward uptight, judgmental Christians.
proper concern about global hunger, cal? If I awoke every morning, and fell Which, of course, turns me into a dif
injustice, and environmental issues. asleep each night, bathed in a sense ferent kind of uptight, judgmental
I look at the example of Jesus, who of gratitude and not self-doubt, the Christian.
surely cared about similar matters in-between hours would doubtless
while on earth. As he said to the anxi take on a different cast. Forgive, daily, those who caused
ety-prone, "Therefore do not worry the wounds that keep you from whole
about tomorrow, for tomorrow will For your own sake, simplify. Elimi ness. Increasingly, I find that our
worry about itself. Each day has nate whatever distracts you from God. wounds are the very things God uses
enough trouble of its own." Among other things, that means a in his service. By harboring blame for
ruthless winnowing of mail, and giv those who caused them, I slow the act
Question your doubts as much as ing catalogs, junk mail, and book of redemption that can give the
your faith. By personality, or perhaps club notices no more time than it wounds worth and value, and that
as a reaction to a fundamentalist past, takes to toss them in the trash. If I can be ultimately healing.
I brood on doubts and experience ever get the nerve, my television set My spiritual checkup offers one
faith in occasional flashes. Isn't it should probably land there as well. clear advantage over my physical
about time for me to reverse the pat checkup. From my doctor, I learned
tern? Find what Eric Liddel found: that no matter what I do, my body
something that allows you to feel God's will continue to deteriorate. At best,
Do not attempt this journey alone. pleasure. When the sprinter's sister a good diet and exercise routine will
Find companions who see you as a pil worried that his participation in the slow that deterioration. Spiritually,
grim, even a straggler, and not as a Olympics might derail his mission however, I can look forward to
guide. Like many Protestants, I easily ary career, Eric responded, "God growth, renewed vigor, and improved
assume the posture of one person made me fast; when I run, I feel His healthas long as I listen to, and
alone with God, a stance that more pleasure." What makes me feel God's then act on, what I hear God say.
and more I see as unbiblical. The Old pleasure? I must identify it, and then
Testament tells the story of the people run.
of God; Jesus' parables unveil the Always "err," as God does, on the Reprinted with permission from the
kingdom; the epistles went primarily side of freedom, mercy, and compas author. Originally printed in the Aprils,
to communities of faith. We have sion. I continue to marvel at the hu 2000 issue o/Christianity Today. Philip
little guidance on how to live as a fol mility of a sovereign God who Yancey writes "The Back Page" for
lower alone because God never descends to live inside us, his flawed Christianity Today and is the author of
intended it. creatures. "Quench not the Spirit," numerous books.

Ministry/September 2000 11
:venth-day Adventism at the edge of the twenty-first century is somewhere
t never expected to beon earth. Beyond that, it has expanded beyond
the wildest dreams of its founders and continues to expand.

George R. Knight, When I joined the Church in 1961 had been reared in a culture that pro
Ph.D., is professor of there were somewhat over 1 million vided them with a shared value system
church history at the Adventists worldwide. That figure had and set of expectations.
Seventh-day Adventist expanded to over 2 million in 1970,3.5 In the year 2000, Adventism is far
Theological Seminary, million in 1980, nearly 7 million in from simple. We hail from over two
Andrews University, 1990, and roughly 11 million in 2000. hundred nations, speak over seven hun
Berrien Springs, At the present rate of growth we might dred languages, and vary widely in our
Michigan. expect to find 20 million Adventists in cultural backgrounds and expectations.
2013 and 40 million sometime between Adventism today has unparalleled
2025 and 2030, if time should last. finances and reservoirs of skilled work
What a change from 1848 when ers, yet it faces unprecedented chal
there were about 100 believers. To them lenges. If it has already accomplished the
Ellen White's publishing vision that Ad impossible in its past'history, it still faces
ventism would someday be like streams the challenge of again accomplishing the
of light extending clear round the earth impossible in its future. Fortunately, our
must have seemed like the wildest non God is an expert at the impossible. For
sense. If one of them had predicted 11 better or worse, however, He has cho
million Adventists, the others, like Sa sen to use fallible human instruments
This article is an abbreviated version of a rah of old, probably would have laughed to finish His work.
paper that was presented verbally to the out loud. Now, if I were the devil I would pit
General Conference session in Toronto, Those early believers were few, all of my energies against the human
Canada, on July 2, 2000. The purpose of poor, and weak. The Church today is element in God's plan as His church
the paper was to stimulate discussion by many, with the most widespread uni seeks to move from the present into the
delegates from around the world on fied worldwide presence of any future. In fact, if I were the devil I would
significant topics facing the Church. Protestant church in history, and with carefully plan my strategy for frustrat
billions of dollars of assets and means. ing the Church in its mission.
Yet growth brought about its own
complications and challenges. Things 1. Frustrate the young of the
were simple in the early days of the Church.
Church. They all spoke the same lan The first thing on my agenda would
guage, belonged to the same race, lived be the upcoming generation of Ad
in the northeastern United States, and ventists. If I were the devil I would put


12 Ministry/September 2000
my best energies into getting the Church themselves to the work... They will re can Division had some tension over what
to reject the ideas and plans of the coming ceive plans devised by the Lord Himself"1 was called "celebration worship." I don't
generation. That shouldn't be too diffi (New workers, of course, are often know that much about celebration wor
cult, since in many parts of the world they young workers.) ship, but I do know that in the average
don't dress like their elders, sing like The apostles of negativism need to Adventist service I can fall asleep during
them, or even think like them. I would learn the lesson of the bumblebee. It is the invocation, wake up at the benedic
also help the Adventist Church forget aerodynamically impossible for tion, and still confidently tell you every
that their movement was largely begun bumblebees to fly, but they don't know thing that happened in between.
by young people whose ideas were inno it, so they do it anyway. The Church needs to realize, as
vative and creative. Thinking small in Adventism Ellen White puts it, that "not all minds
Our devil knows that if he can dis means church "X" baptizing 50 in 2001 are to be reached by the same methods."
courage the best of the young from rather than 25; it means topping the 20 Worship styles, for example, are related
taking over the Church, it will end up million mark by 2004 instead of 2013. to socio-economic class. What may
dead or dying. To reach the new gen With small thinking the Church will be reach an upper-middle class commu
eration, we must learn to communicate on the planet for a long time to come. nity may not appeal to other groups.
in the language of their day, just as Jesus Adventism doesn't need one or two
used the language and idioms of His, ways of worshiping. It needs 50 or more

and James White did in his. if it is to reach all the people.
The Church needs to recognize that The same can be said for evangelism.
the upcoming generations don't think Our God has created variety everywhere.
like those of us born in the 1940s and We need to consciously develop meth
earlier. Brand loyalty is gone. The post-
he first thing ods and procedures that are quite unlike
Watergate, post-Vietnam, post-modern on my agenda would be the our traditional ones if we are going to
world tends to be post-denominational. reach those most unlike us.
The Church can no longer expect mind upcoming generation of
less or guilt-ridden loyalty just because 4. Downplay promising technology.
people were born Adventist or because Adventists. If I were the devil IfI were the devil I would downplay
they think Adventism has the truth. On the importance of new technologies in fin
the contrary, to retain their loyalty the I would put my best energies ishing the Church's work. New technol
Church will need to demonstrate that it ogy has tremendous power for both
truly is what it claims to be and that it is into getting the Church to good and evil. H. M. S. Richards once
using its funds and resources faithfully. told me that he had to fight the Church
The youth are Adventism's great
reject the ideas and plans of leaders at every step. Radio was too new
est opportunity and its most serious the coming generation. in 1930, too radical, too innovative, too
challenge. The Church must formulate untried, a waste of the Lord's money.
plans to reach their minds and enlist Today we stand at the frontier of
their support. technologies that possess immense po
tential for spreading the three angels'
2. Think negatively. The Church needs to reach the en messages that Richards couldn't even
If I were the devil I would get the tire world for Christ. While that may dream of. Today as never before we need
Church to think small. This tactic is seem like an impossibility, we must never a generation with the H. M. S. Richards
closely related to that of frustrating the forget the impossible task of the early spirit but with twenty-first century
young people, because the young have Christian church or of our Adventist imaginations.
not yet discovered that everything is im forebears. What, we need to ask, is the
possible. I know Adventists who can magnitude of latter-rain faith? How can 5. Make corporate Church
give 110 reasons why almost anything we think big and best utilize our funds leadership central.
that is suggested can't be done. And they and working force to make our God- 7/7 were the devil I would make pas
usually buttress their argument with given dreams come true? tors and administrators the center of the
Bible verses and Ellen White quotations work of the Church. It must have been
taken out of their historical context. 3. Limit the Church's vision. the devil who gave us the idea that the
Such apostles of negativism have If I were the devil I would get people pastor should do all the preaching, give
apparently never read the following: to believe that there is only one way to do all the Bible studies, be a church's pri
"New methods and new plans will spring something and that everybody has to do mary soul winner, and the one to make
from new circumstances. New thoughts it that one way. Take worship, for ex and carry out all business decisions for
will come with new workers who give ample. A few years ago the North Ameri the church.

Ministry/September 2000 13
We need to move beyond the place gation is not a group of independent Church employees as far from the scene
where we see churches as entertainment individuals but a unit of believers reach of action as possible. I would put them
centers for the saints. Adventism needs ing out to the community around them. behind desks, cover them with paper,
to get more priests into the priesthood The task of the world Church in its and inundate them with committees. If
of the believers. If we wait for the clergy General Conference organization is to that wasn't enough, I would remove
to finish the work, Adventism will be coordinate funds and personnel in or them to so-called "higher" and "higher"
on planet Earth for a little longer than der to send Christ's message to the far levels until they had little direct and
eternity. corners of the earth. Thus, Congrega sustained contact with the people who
The challenge is to create a genera tionalism as a form of organization is make up the Church.
tion of Adventist pastors and adminis not sufficient in itself. On the other Now don't get me wrong. I believe
trators who become equippers, who are hand, in the long run the denomination in church organization. But I also be
skilled at helping people use their talents will only be as healthy as its congrega lieve in food, and I know that too much
in the work of reaching the world. tions. What can be done to create of a good thing has less than healthy
healthier local congregations? results.
6. Undermine the local congregation. More and more Adventists are re
IfI were the devil I would undermine 7. Make the Church top-heavy. alizing that there are other ways to
the importance of the local congregation. /// were the devil I would create structure the Church in the post-mod
One of the great needs of Adventism is more administrative levels and generate ern world that would free up both
the creation and maintenance of vibrant more administrators. In fact, if I were the workers and money for finishing God's
local congregations. A healthy congre devil I would get as many successful work on earth. This task may be one of
the greatest challenges of our day.

8. Fear the Holy Spirit.

Conference If I were the devil I would make
Adventists afraid of the Holy Spirit. Too
many of us fear Pentecostalism when we
think of the topic of the Holy Spirit. On
the other hand, we need to remember
INFORMATION the Bible teaching about the necessity
of the Spirit in Christian work, and
Ellen White's thought that the reception
of the Holy Spirit brings all other bless
How much do we think about the
Director 301-680-6501 ,
Holy Spirit and the outpouring of the
Offer's Digest, Theological Education 301-680-65081^,'"*' 7453^532@Compuserve.cohlk latter rain? Are we so focused on goals,
structures, and human endeavor that we
Evangelism and Church Growth , 301-68fi^?'l:'* C:' have forgotten the essential power be
hind each of them? What steps can be
Ministry Editorial Office '*;'' . ;.N .. nprcottj@gc,adveritist;wi
taken to allow the Spirit His proper
place in Adventism? Or do we hope to
, "' " '..- ,:,.. ' ' ,;*"V!"*nfiil'^' finish our work without His presence?
Ministry Subscriptions & Circulation 301-610-6503 t calbij@gc.adventist(^.,^^^1
9. Promote the numbers game.
.PREACH and Professional roft{..-.
If I were the devil I would encour
r Resflurce"Center age the denomination to keep playing the
numbers game. The worst thing that ever
happened to Adventism is when it
learned to count. We count members,
churches, institutions, money, and ev
erything else. While numbers have their
proper place, they may have very little
to do with the reality of a finished work.
One result of the numbers game is
that we tend to put our money where

14 Ministry/September 2000
we can get the most baptisms for the meaner than the devil. I have even known Church one big power struggle without
least money. That means that we have vegetarians who are meaner than the regard to mission or efficiency.
not put the effort needed into those devil. The Church needs to think of its Having made that statement, I has
parts of the world that are the most dif beliefs in terms of what is central and ten to add that there are injustices that
ficult. The numbers problem takes on what is peripheral. need to be rectified and complex situa
different configurations in various parts The Bible picture is clear that all tions that can never be made completely
of the world, but we need to consistently genuine Christianity flows out of a sav straight. My plea is that even in the most
face it in our planning if we ever hope ing relationship with Jesus Christ. It is difficult and unjust situations we need
to reach all God's children. all too easy to be an Adventist without to behave as born-again sisters and
being a Christian. In our evangelism brothers who are able to discuss these
10. Downplay the apocalyptic and in Adventism's entire outreach pro things without losing sight of the mis
heritage. gram, the centrality of Christ needs to sion of the Church that makes the issues
If I were the devil I would get be made crystal clear. meaningful in the first place. Along this
Seventh-day Adventists to forget or at line, Adventism needs to develop
least downplay their apocalyptic heritage. mechanisms to enrich and enlighten its
Adventism has never seen itself as just multiculturalism and internationalism.
another denomination, but rather as a
movement of prophecy with its roots in 14. Look miserable.
Revelation 10-14. It is that belief in Ad Finally, ifI were the devil I would get
ventism as a special, called-out people Adventists to look miserable on Sabbath.
with an urgent message that has driven
i. // were the When do Adventists rejoicesundown
the Church to the ends of the earth. devil I would get as many Friday or sundown Saturday? Too many
When that vision is gone, Advent- of us act as if Sabbath was a penalty for
ism will become just another toothless Adventists as possible to being an Adventist instead of a sign of
religious group that just happens to be our salvation and the greatest blessing of
a little more peculiar in some of its be think tribally, nationally, and the week. This unfortunate attitude
liefs than some of the others. shows up in too many of our churches. I
Adventism's approach to apocalyp racially. I -would make the have been to Adventist churches where
tic in the future will determine whether no one even greeted me.
it will continue to be a movement or will Church one big power It takes more than correct doctrine
be transmuted into a monument of the to fill a church. We need not only doctri
movement and eventually into a museum
struggle without regard to nal truth but the truth as it is in Jesus
commemorating the movement. mission or efficiency. (John 13:35).
While we are on the topic of apoca * * * * *
lypse, it is important that we speak to the I'm tired of playing the role of the
people of our day. It just doesn't get devil. Where does God come into all of
people excited about the nearness of the this? If I were God I would encourage
Advent to tell them that there was a great the Seventh-day Adventist Church to
earthquake in Lisbon in 1755 and that the 12. Encourage contention. start thinking, planning, and acting in
stars fell in 1833.1 have no problem with If I were the devil I would get a manner that will defeat the devil's
those events in terms of their historicity Adventists fighting with each other. In game plan. I would encourage Advent
and their power on people in the nine this, any old topic will doworship ism to multiply the power of its bless
teenth century, but we need to help styles, theology, dress standards. After ings; treat its challenges in an open,
people see the ongoing apocalpytic all, if Adventists are busy shooting all honest, and Christian manner; and put
events in the framework of our day. their bullets at each other, they won't all its energies into maximizing its
have many left for me. The devil has missiological opportunities.
11. Major on minors. been quite successful in this strategy. Success will not come about by ac
If I were the devil I would get What can be done to help us find and cident, but will be the product of
Adventists to hold that all of their beliefs defeat the real enemy? deliberate thought, planning, and ac
are of equal importance. On the contrary, tion done under the leadership of the
the plain fact is that having a saving rela 13. Champion only the cause of Holy Spirit.
tionship with Jesus is at the very center one's own kind.
of Adventism. That relationship is not at IfI were the devil I would get as many
'Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church
the same level as eating a pork chop. I Adventists as possible to think tribally, (Nampa, Idaho-. Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), 6:476,
have known Sabbath keepers who are nationally, and racially. I would make the italics supplied.

Ministry/September 2000 15
focuses on
Way of
the Cross
T1 he Way of the Cross Leads The Council was not merely a sum Every morning and afternoon, pas
I Home. With this theme, the mit of intellectual discourses; rather, it tors and their spouses could attend one
Seventh-day Adventist World was a celebration of pastoral life. of over 150 seminars addressing a wide
ML. Ministers Council convened Preachinglively, inspiring, biblical, range of pastoral concerns. Seminar
in Toronto, Canada, on June 25-29, and Christ-centeredformed the cen topics included preaching, theology,
2000, with more than 6,000 pastors and tral thrust of the gathering. Adventist stewardship, family life, parenting, so
spouses in attendance. The interna ministers from around the world cial work, community, and handling
tional council, preceding the church's preached to the preachers and con abuse.
57th General Conference session, pro nected the Cross to vital aspects of Ministerial families received strong
vided the Adventist global pastoral pastoral lifeprofessional, personal, affirmation in Toronto. The Ministerial
family with an opportunity to assess family interests. Each day's sermons il Association sent the message that pas
their lives and ministry against the fo lustrated how an event that occurred tors and their families are very
cal point of their history and destiny: over 2,000 years ago can be relevant for important to the church. This empha
the Cross that was and the Home that pulpits and pews of the twenty-first sis was visible through the worldwide
is soon to come. century. talent search involving pastors' kids.
1.Planning with a smile. While the Ministerial
Association planned and carried out the World Council,
the individual touch of Sharon Cress in Shepherdess
Internationa] meetings and of Jim Cress in bringing
cohesion and unity to the Council as a whole was evident
in the smooth flow of the session.
2."Suffer them not."The Council cared for pastors'
children by providing special programs to challenge their
spiritual lives and care for their social needs.
3.Singspiiation during the Council gave expression to
varied talents, from both individuals and groups. Musicians
from Australia led the music throughout the council.
4.Continuing education for pastors and spouses was
provided through 150 seminars, ranging from theology to
preaching to personal and professional life. Presenters
came from every division of the world field.
5.A future Shepherdess? A pastors spouse looks
admiringly at her daughter-a future shepherdess? The
Shepherdess International plenary sessions promoted an
increasing awareness of pastor-spouse team ministry.
6.A global ministry. Recently 60 non-Adventist
pastors from Southern Asia accepted the Adventist
message. Neal C. Wilson, former General Conference
president, invited Council attendees to help fund a five-
year program of education and pastoral employment for
these ministers in their new walk of proclamation.
7.Shepherdess has truly become international.
Division Shepherdess coordinators met with General
Conference coordinator Sharon Cress in planning for the
B.The Ministerial Resource Center was a favorite
stopping and shopping point for the attendees. Over the
past five years, the Ministerial Association has published
75 books and 37 videos to help pastors increase the
efficiency of their professional lives.
9.The Oakwood College Choir held the audience
spellbound with their unique renditions of spirituals and
favorite hymns.
10.Drama and the message. Dramatic portrayals
underscored that God's Word is personal and meets
basic human needs. Here Pastor Alicia Peterson portrays
Mary Magdalene, conveying the message that Jesus is the
friend of the friendless and the Lord who ever forgives.
11.Healing the person ot the pastor. Archibold Hart's
three-part series on dealing with stress and anxiety in
pastoral life and family was a favorite of the delegates at
the plenary sessions.
12.A place for PKs.The Council, emphasizing ministry
to the entire pastoral family, invited pastors' kids from
around the world to illustrate what the "Way of the
Cross" meant to them through essays, art, cartoons, and
other communication media. Jim Cress, Don Platt, and
Gary Patterson presented awards to the winners.
13.Prayer before preaching. Kneeling and praying
with the preacher before he or she stood before the
congregation emphasized that no minister's preaching
can be effective without the power of prayer.
14.The victory finale. James A. Cress, world
Ministerial Association Secretary, ended the Council on a
dramatic note, emphasizing that the "Way of the Cross" is
the way of victory.

Among the hundreds of children in ers in pressure situations, face such situ spouses have been empowered to share
vited to participate by focusing on the ations in their own lives? Why do Jesus in their communities. Each after
Council theme through art, cartoons, pastors experience stress? How can they noon, speakers addressed the special
banners and flags, stitchery, Scripture maintain balance in their lives? Each challenges of the pastoral spouse.
recitation, and written essays. The eight morning, Dr. Archibald Hart, dean "Praise God for this Council," re
winning PKs and their parents were emeritus of Fuller Theological Sem marked one pastor from Romania. "It
brought to attend the conference. Spe inary's School of Psychology, presented sets the tone for the General Conference
cial kids' programs, using plays, games, a Christian answer to these issues. His Session and its theme: Almost Home."
and creative Bible presentations, em presentations showed how the Man It did more than set the tone. It inspired
phasized that a Christian life can also who endured the most on the Cross can and empowered hundreds of pastoral
be a fun life. help pastors on the how-to of dealing families to return to their congregations,
One aspect of the Council was the with dysfunctional factors that affect taking afresh the way of the Cross to its
focus on the pastor's personal life in the family life today. final destination of being at home with
midst of the stresses of daily ministry. The Shepherdess International ple the Father.John M. Fowler, Associate
How do pastors, who minister to oth nary sessions demonstrated how clergy Secretary, GC Education Department.

, 111 wanted at I were driving home from the worship

1 the time was
k. a simple
How many service, and I was feeling my homileti-
cal oats. The service had been
answer to a humble
question. Maybe
really great wonderful. But that was not what was
making me feel so good. If I say so
the question wasn't
exactly humble, but
preachers myself, and I guess I will, the sermon
had gone wonderfully. It was one of
I wanted a simple
answer nevertheless. The question was, are there? those times when everything flowed
just as you want it. I was impressed
How many really great preachers are with my delivery! I went from point to
there in the world? point with the greatest of ease. I was, I
After all, as preachers, preaching team that came to our church. We believe, in rare form. A preacher
is our business, so to speak; and we, gave the entire service to the young knows when things are falling into
like everyone else, are susceptible to people for a splendid concert. As I place. I felt good about that sermon
such flights of vanity that perhaps greeted the people leaving church that and I thought I would explode in the
include the thought that we might be morning, old Brother Elmer grabbed car. The problem was, my wife did not
one of the great preachers.... me and like an old friend said, just as even mention the sermon.
For example, in my first church if I had preached the sermon, "Pastor, "It was a nice service, wasn't it?" I
there was an old elder named Elmer. that was a great sermon. The best I plied.
As a young minister, I looked up to ever heard." "Yes, I guess it was a nice service,"
him. As I greeted the people after the I discovered what everyone in the she replied cooly as she looked out of
service, Elmer shook my hand warmly congregation knew, that old Brother her window.
and said, "Pastor, that was a great Elmer was full of raspberries. At any Then she was silent. She did not
sermon. The best I ever heard." rate, my stock in his compliments fell catch my cue. I could have left it there.
Imagine how that affected me. I so low I was forced to sell them. But did I? No. I had to ask a question.
thought I had arrived, preaching great Several years later, at a different "Honey," I queried, "how many really
sermons so early in my career. An church, I again stood in line greeting great preachers do you think there are
elder had complimented meme, on the people leaving the church. In line in the world?"
my preaching! I reasoned that he, of was six-year old Billy. As I reached out Let me point out right here that
all people, knew great preaching when to shake his hand, Billy looked up into wives (at least the one I married) have
he heard it. my face and said, "Preacher, when I not quite mastered the art of dodging
Then about the middle of that grow up I want to be rich so I can give difficult questions in the expert way
week, it hit me. I had preached a great lots of money to the church." some of their male counterparts have.
sermon (Brother Elmer, God bless him, "Well, Billy," I said patronizingly, If a wife asks her husband questions
had said so), so I knew I had to repeat "That is wonderful. I'll pray for you." such as, "Honey, how old do I look?"
the feat in my upcoming sermon. I can Now, I could have left it right Or, "Am I getting fat?" every husband
tell you now, I was nervous. Anyone, I there and all would have been well knows that this is the time to play
supposed, can preach one great with the world. But I had to take it expert "dodge ball."
sermon. But two in a row? one step further, which was one step But the silence in the car only
The fateful day arrived. I was too many. prompted me to put the question to
feeling the pressure. I preached the "Billy," I said with a St. Francis of her again. "How many really great
sermon and following the service, as I Assisi smile beaming down on him, preachers are there in the world?"
greeted the people, I kept an eye out "Why do you want to give money to Without even looking at me she
for Brother Elmer. Sure enough, he our church?" said, "Honey, one less than you're
came and shook my hand warmly and "Because my daddy says, you're thinking of right now."
said, "Pastor, that was a great sermon. the poorest preacher our church has I got, I guess, the simple answer
The best I ever heard." Wow! To ever had." to my question.
preach two great sermons in a row Who said honesty is the best
was next to impossible, but I had policy?
done it. You would think I might have James L. Snyder is pastor of the
This went on for some weeks. learned my lesson, but No. Christian and Missionary Alliance
Then we had a Bible college musical Just a few weeks ago, my wife and Church in Ocala, Florida.

18 Ministry/September 2000
he challenge for ministry in the twenty-first century is to think globally and
to become multicultural in the way ministers view things.
Richard A. Marker, No longer can successful ministers overwhelming. Most people have neither
J.D., Ph.D., is the live in their own restricted world and the training nor the experience for such
executive secretary of expect to be relevant. The world is be a challenge. People can spend years in a
the Southern New ing restructured. foreign mission field and still not know
England Conference. The world is growing smaller. The the rudiments of how to relate cross-
contemporary communication and culturally! After a lifetime in diverse or
transportation networks bring us to cross-cultural situations, some may con
gether as never before. Massive global tinue to make the most elementary
migration, especially to urban areas has relational mistakes as they interact with
brought almost every culture into inti persons ethnically different from them
mate contact with others in almost every selves. This is too often the case with
location on earth. This provides im those who have not been exposed to di
mense opportunity for the fulfillment of versity from their earliest childhood.
the mission of the church, which is to Diversity among people has always
preach the gospel "to every nation, tribe, existed. Differences are observable when
tongue, and people" (Rev. 14:6).* it comes to age, gender, personality, life
The corporate community is recog processing styles, or assertiveness levels.
nizing the need to understand the Yet even in close-knit families conflicts
principles of working cross-culturally. A arise due to these and other differences.
survey of college recruiters reveals that How much more does background,
graduates with advanced degrees in an memory, vocabulary, race, culture, and
thropology are in as much demand today language complicate our desire to under
as was the traditional M.B.A. some years stand each other! The confusion of
ago. Companies like Citicorp, Hallmark, tongues at the Tower of Babel seems to
and Motorola have created vice-presi have been only the beginning of the dif
dencies for anthropologists. 1 ferences that are a part of our contem
porary world.
Leading cross-cultural diversity Some people fear what they do not
Leading a complex organization understand. Others react or attempt to
such as today's church can appear to be accommodate in the context of their


Ministry/September 2000 19
own cultural understandings. Still, oth missionaries built discrete mission com crimination through habit, unconscious
ers think that they understand others' pounds partly because they felt insecure behavior, or insensitivity in cross-cul
motives while such understandings may about mixing entirely with the ones to tural relationships. Often things learned
well be based on stereotyping, ethno- whom they came to minister. as children may innocently cause pain to
centrism, or unintentional parochial Christ, on the other hand, became others of another culture.
attitudes that are the heritage of a colo one with humanity. "From the endless 5. Biased languagereferring to
nial world view. Often each of those variety of plants and flowers, we may groups of people in a limiting manner,
attempting to relate constructively to learn an important lesson. All blossoms using inappropriate labels, terms, or
one another distrust the motives of the are not the same in form or color.... names to refer to a culture or people
other. Yet each may well believe that he There are professing Christians who group. This mistake is as often one of
or she is a sincere Christian. The chal think it their duty to make every other ignorance as it is one of insensitivity.
lenge is to put the gospel and practical Christian like themselves. This is man's 6. Nonverbal communicationges
Christianity into informed action. plan, not the plan of God. In the church tures, body language, eye contact (or the
Thus, one of the greatest needs of of God there is room for characters as lack of it), or touching that makes re
the twenty-first-century church is the ducing statements about another group.

need for cross-cultural leadershipmin Resolving the cultural tensions will
isters who can build diverse relationships be the goal of every mature Christian.
founded on trust and confidence; min "Each of you should look not only to
isters who can model and train their your own interests, but also to the in
people in cross-cultural relationship and Mhebbody of terests of others. Your attitude should
leadership. Again, the ability to function be the same as that of Christ Jesus"
in a diverse cultural environment will be Christ, the church, has been (Phil. 2:4, 5 NIV).
a vital key to successful ministry in the Changes in etiquette are very im
future. designed and brought into being portant in adapting to cultural
The body of Christ, the church, has differences. Giving and receiving com
been designed and brought into being to to be a unit that thrives in or pliments, recognizing personal
be a unit that thrives in or despite diver achievements, encouraging inclusive
sity (1 Cor. 12:12,13). There is power in despite diversity (1 Cor. 12:12, styles of decision making, negotiating,
diversity when genuine unity is present. or problem solving (which may vary
13). There is power in diversity
All views and perspectives can be brought with different cultural backgrounds).
together in strategic planning for the fin when genuine unity is present. "The Saviour mingled with men as
ishing of the gospel commission. one who desired their good. He showed
"We cannot all have the same All views and perspectives can His sympathy for them, ministered to
minds or cherish the same ideas; but their needs, and won their confidence."5
one is to be a benefit and blessing to be brought together in strategic Often applied to evangelism, Christ's
the other, that where one lacks, another method is a necessary principle for
may supply what is requisite. You have planning for the finishing of the building good relationships within the
certain deficiencies of character and church. There are too many hurting and
natural biases that render it profitable gospel commission. misunderstood souls in our congrega
for you to be brought in contact with a tions. The church may not be able to
mind differently organized, in order to make a significant impact in the com
properly balance your own."2 munity until this principle is much
varied as are the flowers in a garden. In more operative within the church. Prac
Barriers to unity His spiritual garden there are many va tical Christianity must begin within the
When Adam sinned "selfishness rieties of flowers."4 church family.
took the place of love."3 The sin prob 2. Prejudicethe well-known act
lem is rooted in selfishness. In our fallen of pre-judging other people or groups Dealing with differences
nature, it is natural for one to consider based on our ill-conceived expectations Working in an increasingly diverse
oneself above others. Where self reigns of them and our dearth of meaningful climate cries out for a humble attitude
supreme, several attitudes may result. interaction with them. that includes a genuinely open and hon
1. Ethnocentrism is the outgrowth of 3. Stereotypinga generalization of est way of communicating. Others will
egocentrism. It is believing that one's habits or traits of all members of a cer never consistently see things the way we
culture or people are superior to others. tain group of people, based on scanty do. The more diverse our backgrounds
Egocentrism was near the heart of what experience. are, the more true this will prove to be.
motivated much of the colonial era. Even 4. Friendly fireunintentional dis Yet we should all feel comfortable be-

20 Ministry/September 2000
ing ourselves while at the same time functions with different frames of ref Our ministry is one of reconcilia
treating others with respect. We should erence and traditions. Different world tion. Just as Jesus' crowning act of
be able to tell one another when some views will frame reality and solve prob reconciliation was the act of dying, we
thing they have done or said has hurt lems differently. Dynamic Christian cannot be reconcilers unless we die to
us. Relationships, especially in the leadership involves open collaboration that in which we have illegitimate
church, grow stronger with discussion seeking to learn from one another. prideto that which therefore divides us
and a willingness to place ourselves in Successful missionaries recognize from other human beings. Our petty,
the other person's shoes. the principle of identificationeven in egocentric and ethnocentric attitudes
The authenticity and extent of such ordinary things as food, clothes, must die! They must be "crucified with
one's growth in Christ is seen most language, music, and lifestyle. The Christ!" This is the love of self which
graphically in how we treat others sooner a missionary truly identifies with spoon-feeds the idea that my way of
(Matt. 25:34-40). The arena of intercul- the people he or she serves, the sooner thinking, my culture, my people are su
tural relationship is the one in which, he or she will be trusted and taken seri perior to yours. Ethnocentrism must be
perhaps above all others, the "Golden ously. Identification means eating their crucified with Christ for the heart to be
Rule" applies (Matt. 7:12). Here we are food with them, talking their language, truly converted!
to treat others in the way we would like and respecting them for who they are.
to be treated. Missiologists speak of contex-
""Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture pas
As God took the initiative in Christ tualization as essential for success in min sages in this article are from the New King James
when He reconciled the world unto istry. Contextualization is simply the Version Bible.
Himself, He asks us to do the same, giv attempt to think and live within the con
1 Del Jones, "Hot asset in corporate: An
ing us the "message of reconciliation," text, language, and symbols familiar to a thropology degrees," USA Today, February 18,
making "his appeal through us" (2 Cor. given culture. It calls for discernment and 1999.
5:20). It is important to apply the pow common sense. It is this that Paul had in 2 Ellen G. White, Mind, Character, and Per
erful reality of this principle in our mind when he said that he had, "become sonality (Nashville, Tenn.: Southern Pub. Assn.,
1977), 377.
intercultural and interracial relating. We all things to all men ... for the gospel's 3 , Steps to Christ (Nampa, Idaho:
can literally learn how others want us sake"(l Cor. 9:22,23). These principles Pacific Press Pub. Assn.), 17.
to treat them. If we do not understand certainly apply, and perhaps especially 4 , Mind, Character, and Personal
ity, 54.
something, we can ask in a respectful apply in our bassic attempts to relate with 5 , The Ministry of Healing (Nampa,
manner. Such questions, awkward as each other interculturally. Idaho: Pacific Press Pub. Assn.,1942), 143.
they may feel to begin with, can become
a way of avoiding misunderstandings
and conflict. Manual to make these decisions. Local
When conflicts do come up, we can Toronto's burning congregations and their pastors need
take up the well-known though infre to be affirmed and trusted as they do
quently practiced principle of Matthew issue continued from p. 4 it. Above all they need to be granted
18:15. The process Jesus provided us here sufficient initiative and leeway to
is a redemptive process designed to re upon when it comes to the Manual's carry out this most sensitive and
store misunderstandings and mend guiding policies for managing important aspect of the Manual's
strained or broken relationships. Much divorcing and remarrying couples, policies.
suffering and hurt can be avoided by that same corporate body, as an Let us press on toward the day
communication between the parties in integral part of its policy structure, is when more than ever we will believe
volved as soon as a problem is discovered. itself asking the local congregation to unequivocally that the highest
We can let people know how we want to make the final, critical decisions about standards of Christian behavior are
be treated. Sometimes a person may of the future of those among them who those that spring from an in-depth
fend another and not realize it. A simple are divorcing and remarrying. knowledge of Him Who has called us
discussion with genuine sensitivity will The local congregation knows out of darkness into His marvelous
help the other understand without be and probably loves the couples and light. And that to embrace the Lord of
coming defensive. "You who are spiritual the children who may be involved. the church is to embrace the reality
restore such a one in a spirit of gentle Everyone knows how different the that the highest expressions of true
ness" and "bear one another's burdens" making of a decision can be when obedience are those thoughts and
(Gal. 6:1,2). those about whom the decision is actions, including policy actions, that
being made are looking us in the eyes emanate from a mature and far-
Reaching basic needs as we make it. Thank God, the local reaching realization of who Jesus was
People of all groups need to care congregation, with all its prides and and is and what His will ultimately is
for one another. Every culture group prejudices is commissioned by the for His church and His people.

Ministry/September 2000 21
An interview with
Haddon Robinson
Haddon Robinson, Derek Morris: In Biblical Preach "What is the writer talking about?"
Ph.D., is the Harold ing, you emphasize that "a sermon That's the subject, and it always answers
John Ockenga should be a bullet and not buckshot." a questionwho, what, where, when,
Distinguished In other words, a sermon should present why, how. When you've answered that
Professor of Preaching a single dominant idea rather than a question and determined the subject of
at Gordon-Conwell collection of numerous unrelated ideas. the passage, you ask, "What is the au
Theological Seminary. In my preaching workshops, many pas thor saying about the subject?" That's
tors express the desire to understand the the complement.
process of crafting a homiletical bullet.
Derek Morris, D. Min., So perhaps we could explore that pro DM: So subject plus complement
is professor of cess together. Let's start with a working equals the biblical concept, the exegeti-
preaching and pastoral definition of biblical preaching. cal idea. Let's take Psalm 117 as an
theology at Southern example and see how the process works:
Adventist University, Haddon Robinson: Biblical/ex "Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol
Collegedale, Tennessee. pository preaching is the communication him, all you peoples. For great is his love
of a biblical concept and that concept is toward us, and the faithfulness of the
derived from the historical, grammatical, Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord"
literary study of a scriptural passage in (verses 1, 2).* First, we ask what the
its context. The Spirit of God takes that psalmist is talking about. If one says the
concept and makes it alive in the experi psalmist is talking about "praise," or
ence of the preacher and through the about "the Lord," how would you re
preacher applies it to the people in the spond?
congregation. In other words, biblical
preaching is the proclamation of a con HR: Yes, the psalmist is talking
cept derived from the scripture. about praise, but the passage is not tell
ing you everything about praise. It's not
DM: With that as a definition, how telling where or when you should praise
does the preacher go about discovering the Lord. What it is talking about is why
the biblical concept in a passage? you should praise the Lord.

HR: A preacher has to understand DM: So the subject would be: why
that the Bible is a book of ideas. In or everyone should praise the Lord.
der to discover the main idea of a
passage, you need to ask two questions. HR: That's right. The psalmist says,


22 Ministry/September 2000
"Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol der brother, Jesus is obviously speaking is "How can Jesus welcome tax collec
him, all you peoples. For great is his love about the Pharisees and the teachers of tors and sinners?" And the complement
toward us, and the faithfulness of the the law. The elder brother is as lost as is "because God is concerned about lost
Lord endures forever." The comple the younger brother because you can be people." So the exegetical idea of the
ment, therefore, is because His love and lost out in a foreign country or you can passage would be a combination of sub
faithfulness endure forever. be lost in the father's house if you're out ject + complement: Jesus welcomes tax
of sympathy with the father's heart. collectors and sinners because God is
DM: Discovering the exegetical You're as lost as the boy who's gone off concerned about lost people." Once we
idea in that short passage of Scripture and wasted a fortune. But in each case, have discovered that biblical concept, a
is perhaps simple because we've basi it really isn't the story about the lost combination of the subject and comple
cally restated the text. But it becomes a sheep, the lost silver, or the lost sons. ment, does that become the bullet?
little more complicated when you move
into a larger passage of Scripture. Let's HR: Sometimes, but often it has to
consider Luke 15. That's a familiar be restated. Some ideas, when you state
preaching passage. I suppose a preacher them, are as applicable to people today
would have to determine whether to as they would have been 2,000 years
look at all three parables as a trilogy or ago. 1 Other ideas are directed at the
just focus on one. What would you say?
iblical/ people of the first century because the
biblical writer was talking about people
expository preaching is the
HR: Whether you preach the whole in that age. Then you have to work with
passage or not, that's not your question communication of a biblical the exegetical idea and ask, "What does
when you first study. The first question this mean to people today? How would
is, "What is it that Luke is trying to get concept and that concept is I state it in terms that would be mean
at?" The opening verses of the chapter ingful to the folks sitting in the pews?
give you the subject. "Now the tax col derived from the historical, And that's where your homiletical idea,
lectors and 'sinners' were all gathering or bullet, comes in.
around to hear him. But the Pharisees grammatical, literary study of
and the teachers of the law muttered, DM: Let's look at another example.
'This man welcomes sinners and eats
a scriptural passage in its In Colossians 4:1 we read, "Masters, pro
with them' " (verses 1, 2). The subject context. The Spirit of God vide your slaves with what is right and
of the passage is the complete answer fair, because you know that you also
to the question, "What is the author takes that concept and makes have a Master in heaven." Now if we're
talking about?" That is, How can Jesus working the process that you just de
welcome tax collectors and sinners? it alive in the experience of the scribed, we might suggest that the
subject of the text is, "Why masters
DM: The rest of the passage com preacher and through the should provide their slaves with what is
pletes that idea? right and fair," and the complement
preacher applies it to the would be "because they know that they
HR: Yes, the rest of the passage also have a Master in heaven." But I'm
would be the complement. Verse 3 says,
people in the congregation. not going to be able to preach that as it
"Then Jesus told them this parable." stands to a 21st-century congregation. I
That's a singular. He tells them three can't just stand up and say, "Masters
stories: one about a lost sheep, another treat your slaves fairly because you
about a lost coin, and then one about The story is about the seeking shepherd, know that you also have a Master in
two lost boys. One parable, but three the seeking woman, and the seeking and heaven." In itself that's irrelevant in a
stories. Each of those stories is getting waiting father. And in each of these sto culture in which there are no slaves!
at a similar truth: God loves people, ries, God is concerned about lost people
God seeks for people, God is merciful because He loves them, values them, HR: Right, because the difference
to people. In the last part of the par pities them. So that would be the between the first century and the 21st
able, we have the elder brother, the key complement to the passage and the an century is that we're not dealing with
to the story in a sense. There are two swer to the subject question: Because masters and servants. You could say that
audiences being addressed: the God is concerned about lost people. masters could be employers and slaves
publicans and the sinners, and the could be employees. That isn't quite
Pharisees and the teachers of the law. DM: Let me summarize what bringing it into the 21 st century, but
And in the part that deals with the el you've said. The subject of the passage what is there in this text that would ap-

Ministry/September 2000 23
ply to those who work with people un idols. I think what he's telling us or the which seems locked in the first century,
der them and what motivation do they question he's answering is, How do you as we craft it into a homiletical bullet
have to be just and right and fair with deal with the problem of whether or not that will make an impact in the 21 st cen
people? The answer is that if you're an to eat food sacrificed to idols? And he is tury?
employer, just as the people in the first saying in the passage that there are two
century were masters who had slaves, ways of coming at this: one is by knowl HR: I have to work with the ex
it's important to remember that God is edge, and knowledge would tell you that egetical idea and ask, "What is Paul
your Master and that therefore you you could eat anything that's offered to dealing with when he talks about meat
should treat your employees as God an idol, because an idol is nothing. But offered to idols?" You have to under
treats you. So you might say, "You ought secondly, I think, he says that love for stand what this meant to people in
to deal with people around you, that those who are weaker brothers and sis Corinth 2,000 years ago. It was a prob
work for you, in a way that is right and ters is an important consideration. So if lem, a social problem. At the center of
just and fair, because you don't work for the town there was the temple to the
yourself, you work for the Boss in goddess Aphrodite. People who went to

heaven and you have to serve Him." worship Aphrodite brought a sacrifice.
A part of the sacrifice was put on the
DM: So in crafting the homiletical altar, another part was given to the
idea, you are staying as close to the ex- priest as an honorarium, and another
egetical idea as you can, but still wanting Mhci,
. he homiletical part was given back to the worshipers
to make it relevant. Let's look at another so they would have a splendid meal as a
passage to illustrate the process of restat idea should be clearly in my result of the worship. So the question
ing the exegetical idea as a contemporary being asked was, "Could Christians eat
homiletical idea. 1 Corinthians 8 is a mind when I preach the the meat that had been offered to an
well-known passage about meat offered idol?" Sometimes that was the only meat
to idols. How would the exegetical idea sermon. I would try to state available in town. Or if an unbeliever
of this passage be relevant to people in invited them over to a feast on the day
that idea as succinctly as
the 21 st century? of worship, could they go and eat the
possible and I would probably food given to them? Would there be a
HR: This passage speaks to a prob social problem? There's also a psycho
lem that some people still face, because repeat it eight or ten times in logical problem, because some of these
they still have to deal with the issue of Christians were tied into idolatry, and
food offered to idols. But it's not an is the sermon. And when I come all of this was part of the worship of
sue in many countries of the world. So idols and thus it became a spiritual
at first glance it would seem that the to the conclusion of the problem for some people to eat that
passage would not have anything to do meat offered to an idol.
with us today because we don't have to message, I want to leave them But I'm also aware that when Paul
deal with food offered to idols. was dealing with this issue, he was deal
with that single focus. ing with the questionable. He was not
DM: So, I suppose we have two dealing with adultery or stealing or cov
options at this point: One would be to eting or bearing false witness. There's no
just delete the passage from our preach question about these issues. In this pas
ing calendar and choose another I were going to put it into a subject and sage, Paul was dealing with an issue that
preaching passage; or to work the pro complement, the subject is "How Chris upset people. Thus the matter had spiri
cess and ask, What is the subject? What tians should deal with food offered to tual overtones but it was not directly
is the complement? What is the biblical idols," and the complement is "with prohibited in the Scriptures. And so, in
concept here and how can I state that knowledge, limited by love." I think, that's crafting the homiletical idea, I would
exegetical idea in a contemporary way? what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 8. have to ask, "Where do my people come
Let's take the second option. Let's work up against similar questionable issues,
the process. What do you see as the sub DM: So the exegetical idea would issues that they have to wrestle with?"
ject of this passage? be "Christians should deal with food For example, a businessman said to
offered to idols with knowledge, limited me, "I work at a business and we have
HR: Paul states the subject in his by love." But let's say we're going to share conventions. Is it all right for me as a
opening comment: "Now about food sac this sermon in a setting where meat of Christian to go to a party where they
rificed to idols." Of course, he's not telling fered to idols is not an issue. What have an open bar and serve alcohol?" I
us everything about food sacrificed to might we do with that exegetical idea, can't answer that question as such from

24 Ministry/September 2000
Scripture. So I would say to him, on one
level, "Yes, there is nothing wrong in
going to that party." But if he says to me,
"I've got a fellow that's rooming with
me who's a new Christian and an alco 4- Did the gospel rest Jesus Introduced at His first
holic, and this really bothers him. Now advent make the rest of the seventh-day
is it all right for me to go?" That's a Sabbath of Eden and Sinai obsolete?
whole different question, because now
you brought in a new believer who 4- How does the "new covenant" affect the "old,"
could be affected by your going. particularly as if relates to the question of law
Paul tells us that first of all, you and Sabbath?
have to act according to knowledge. And Why the 7th Day? is a 27-page booklet adaptation
by knowledge he means having a doc and expansion of Will Eva's two well-received
trinal understanding of why you are or Ministry editorial articles on this topic. The trim
are not doing something. And most of pamphlet format makes the material more
the time, if you really understand the accessible and convenient for study and
Scriptures, you have a great deal of free
dom. But then Paul says that freedom
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must be limited by love. Because, he
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says, if a weaker brother sees you, then
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even though you know you can do it,
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and you feel perfectly free to do it, you
don't do it out of love and consideration
for that brother. Genera! Conference Ministerial Association 4- Resource Center
12501 Old Columbia Pike 4- Silver Spring, MD 20904
DM: What principles do we use to Phone: 1-888-771-0738 (toll-free) or 301-680-6508 4- Fax: 301-680-6502
shrink that fairly lengthy discussion into E-mail: *- Web site:
a single dominant thought, a concise
memorable bullet? conclude in such a way that people world he was talking about this morn
think about the homiletical idea. ing," I'd feel like I had failed. They may
HR: I would say, "Whenever you not remember the outline, but they
deal with issues that are questionable, DM: In a written document, you ought to remember the bullet. What
you need to be sure you're operating on can use a colored marker to highlight a you're really doing is trying to discover
the basis of biblical knowledge but that key idea. But colored markers don't great biblical truths and drive them
knowledge has to be limited or condi work in oral presentations. What are home into peoples' lives.
tioned by love." That's probably what I some other ways to highlight that key
would use in my sermon. idea besides making it as succinct as DM: Thank you for challenging us
possible and repeating it? to preach sermons that are bullets rather
DM: When the congregation leaves than buckshot.
at the end of the sermon, we know that HR: Well sometimes, I will actually
the listeners will not remember every flag it. I will say to people, "Now listen
thing. But we're hoping that at least they to the principle."
*Scripture passages quoted in this ar
will remember the biblical concept, the ticle are from the New International Version.
single dominant thought. What are DM: You actually give your hear
some of the ways that we can drive ers an indication that this is the key 1 Robinson notes that when the bibli
home that homiletical idea? issue. cal concept found in the text is a universal
principle, the wording of the homiletical
idea may be identical to that of the exegeti-
HR: The homiletical idea should be HR: That's right. I could say, "Get cai idea. (Robinson, Biblical Preaching: The
clearly in my mind when I preach the hold of this, because this is the way you Development and Delivery ofExpository Mes
sermon. I would try to state that idea as have to think if you're a Christian. sages [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House,
succinctly as possible and I would prob Here's the principle." And then I would 1980], 97). For example, "pray without ceas
ably repeat it eight or ten times in the give it to them. And I would come back ing"the exegetical idea of 1 Thessalonians
5:17could also be used as a homiletical
sermon. And when I come to the con to it again, so they see the principle and bullet. It is just as relevant to Christians in
clusion of the message, I want to leave see how it works. If my congregation left the 21 st century as it was to the Thessalonian
them with that single focus. I want to and they said, "I wonder what in the believers in the first century.

Ministry/September 2000 25
D reaching today is probably more difficult than during any other period in
. history. Today's preacher is under constant competition from mass media,
television, and the Internet.
Graeme Bradford, People who sit staring at the com Scripture to begin the sermon. Scripture
D.Min., is tninisterial puter screen or the television for hours is not a national anthem "sung" to start
director for the Trans- on end find it boring to listen to the an event and then quickly forgotten. Ex
Tasman Union, New preaching of the Word for a few min pository preaching is not reading a
South Wales, utes. Sermons acceptable 10 or 15 years passage and providing a running com
Australia. ago fall flat on many modern audiences. mentary verse by verse. Expository
A recent survey on preaching re preaching is not allegorizing or spiritu
vealed that one thing listeners want the alizing a passage. It is not taking a passage
most is that sermons be kept short, in like the parable of the good Samaritan,
teresting, and relevant. Because of this and claiming that the man who went
there is the danger that preachers, while down to Jericho represents Adam, the
seeking to be interesting and relevant, Levite is the law, and the Samaritan is
will abandon biblical preaching. The Christ, etc. Though some of these claims
challenge for preachers, therefore, is to may have some truth in them, the prob
be able to preach the Word in such a lem is that what is preached is not what
way that people will find it interesting was intended by the biblical writer.
and relevant. Can expository preaching True expository preaching is bibli
do the job? It should and will, if we un cal preaching. It selects a passage of
derstand what expository preaching is Scripture that is a natural thought unit.
all about and if we actually preach ex It finds out what the author is trying to
pository sermons. say to the original listeners. It makes the
main idea of the passage the main idea
What it is not and what it is of the sermon, and the sub-ideas of the
Expository preaching is not reading passage the sub-ideas of the sermon. It


26 Ministry/September 2000
allows the preacher to blend his or her timeless truth is being taught in this this? If they don't, what will I have to
ideas into the mold set by the scriptural passage. Here is what I found: explain in order to persuade them to
passage. It demands that the authority 1. God's people sometimes find accept it? How will I get them to see the
for preaching comes from the author themselves in difficult situations. connection between this passage and
ity of the Word of God. It applies the 2. Our tendency is to respond with how they lead their lives?
message of the passage to current prob fear and despair. People do not lie awake at night
lems inhabiting the lives of people in 3. But God has the power and au wondering whether it was possible to
the congregation. thority to care for us and bring us have a life-threatening episode on Lake
In other words, expository preach through our most hopeless times. Galilee or why Jesus was able to sleep
ing goes through three stages. It (1) through such a storm. Instead, they
discovers the actual intent of the bibli worry over why their children have not
cal writer; (2) finds the timeless truth yet come home for the night; how they
that is taught; and (3) applies that truth are going to make the next mortgage
to the contemporary hearers in their payment now that they have lost their
cultural context. job. They are worried about growing old
and facing death. They are wondering
Stage 1: Discover the original intent how to make their way through the
To discover the original intent of a recent survey drought or flood that has wiped out
passage, it is good to begin with its natu their crops, or the report from the doc
ral setting. Modern translations provide
on preaching revealed that one tor telling they have cancer.
paragraphs with a natural thought unit. thing listeners want the most is The expository preacher must re
Having chosen a passage, you may seek late the biblical passage to these needs
the help of a small group of three or four that sermons be kept short, in order to be relevant. Thus, the rel
people from your congregation. Read evant preacher exegetes not only the
the passage with them and ask how they interesting, and relevant. Scripture but also the congregation in
perceive its message. The exercise will order to bring the biblical message
be a blessing to you as well as to the Because of this there is the home to where the people are. The
group. They will feel a sense of owner question is Where does my congrega
ship and identify themselves with your danger that preachers, while tion meet with the original audience to
sermon, and you will benefit by their whom the passage was written? Have
insights and ideas. Above all, they will
seeking to be interesting and they experienced David's guilt? Have
help you to bring the passage to the ac relevant, will abandon biblical they been accosted by the doubts of
tual life of the congregation. Thomas? Have they denied their Lord
As an illustration, consider Mark preaching. The challenge for as Peter did? Are they being tempted to
4:35-41. Study the passage to be sure fall away as Demas did? Have they ever
you understand it correctly. Read it in preachers, therefore, is to be been betrayed by a Judas?
the translation you are going to preach People need to know that, despite
from. Read it in different translations. able to preach the Word in their failings, they are still loved by God.
Study it with a group of your helpers. They need the assurance that they have
Refer to commentaries to find the origi such a way that people will worth in God's sight because of Christ
nal context and intent. Outline the and that through His merits they can
passage and state what the Bible writer
find it interesting and relevant. be forgiven and accepted and realize
is saying to the original readers. their full potential.
Here is what I have come up with: The road to a sermon's relevancy
1. Jesus and His disciples are in a passes through peopletheir interests
storm at sea. They find themselves in a and their needs. When using illustra
life-threatening situation (verses 35-37). tions, it is good to remember that few
2. The disciples respond with fear Having done this, we are going to in a given audience will be or have been
and despair (verse 38). tell the story as it really is in the Bible. missionaries in Africa. So your story of
3. Jesus worked a miracle and dem We are going to take the story's time the missionary in Africa may not come
onstrated His power to help them in less ideas and bring them over into the close to their lives at all. Nor is it likely
difficult situations (verses 39-41). life of our congregation. To do this we that any of them will ever finish up in a
must keep some questions in mind: lions' den as did Daniel. Nor is it likely
Stage 2: Find the timeless truth Where does this timeless truth show up that they will be sold to camel drivers,
The next step is to find out what in real life? Do my people really believe as was Joseph. Biblical stories only serve

Ministry/September 2000 27
to help us learn timeless principles, inductive. In a deductive sermon we may Body
which can then be brought into the full introduce the main idea at the outset and 1. Jesus and His disciples were in a
light of the contemporary human scene. then list the supporting points. Remem boat on the sea when a storm hit them
You may, for example, create a scene ber the approach is to explain an idea or (Mark 4:35-37).
in which you say: "Here is a young prove a proposition. When the idea is We also face storms in our lives.
woman who has just found out she has a introduced to start the sermon, the au Some people find a storm comes to
lump on her breast. She awaits the diag dience is likely to react with "Is that true?" them when they...
nosis. Is God still with her? That's her or "Why should I believe that?" The 2. The disciples panicked (verse 38).
concern. It weighs on her mind. She can't Often we react as did the disciples
sleep at night. She wonders where God when we face difficult situations. I re
is in all this. Has He deserted her?" member once when I...
A relevant biblical preacher is able 3. Jesus awoke and calmed the
to include people in such a manner that, storm and rebuked them for failing to
at the end of the sermon, a variety of trust God (verses 39-41).
people will say that the sermon addressed We also find it difficult to trust God
issues that really mattered in life. in stormy situations. We have potent
. .0 be an promises in the Bible that He will never
Stage 3: Applying the truth to your forsake us. He will care for us in times
audience effective contemporary of great need. Times when ...
The final stage of a relevant exposi 4. He has not promised to always
tory sermon is developing an approach
biblical preacher, be sure to calm the storm as He did on this occa
that connects the story and the time discover: what the passage sion. Often His care for us involves
less truths into the everyday lives of the giving us strength to cope.
listeners. A good outline will help in meant to the original listeners; He promises strength to the
this. Begin the outline by stating your mother when ...
sermon idea in the most exact sentence the timeless truths in the To the young person when...
you can find. To the single person when ...
Here is how I would state the idea passage; and how those truths To the child at school when ...
of Mark 4:35-41. "God's people often
find themselves in difficult and discour can be applied today in the Conclusion
aging situations; but God is able to help Life is full of storms. They are nor
them." This sentence now becomes the
lives ofyour listeners. mal, even in the lives of believers. When
dominating idea for the listeners to re they come we must never lose heart,
ceive. Too many unrelated ideas and thinking that God has forsaken us,
scattered comments mean that the lis whatever the situation.
teners will leave with a basketful of
fragments but not one single truth to Let us now see how we would
challenge or affirm them in their every stance of the preacher resembles that of handle the passage inductively. The in
day life. Discover that single truth, and a debater; the points in the sermon be ductive approach is helpful when the
repeat it many times in different ways come reasons or proofs of the essential audience is perceived as being hostile
throughout the sermon. idea or thought of the sermon. Here is a to the idea you want to present and to
Our next task is to address the ques suggested outline: younger generations who often resist
tion, How are we to structure the sermon traditional, more deductive preaching.
so that its thrust consistently speaks to Introduction All of Christ's parables except one were
an audience or congregation? Sermons God is able to help us through the inductive. This approach basically says
have two basic structures: deductive and most difficult situations. to the listener: "Here's a problem. Let's

explore God's Word together and see if Remember we are fighting a battle only way would be if I were to become
we can find the answer." The inductive for attention. It is easy to put people to one of them." 1
approach leads the listener through the sleep. A preacher asked a lady sitting People absorb ideas not through
thrill of discovery. Here is a suggested next to a person who had just gone to abstract thought, but through concrete
inductive outline: sleep, "Would you please wake him up?" pictures. The more concrete you are, the
The lady smiled and replied, "You wake more effective you will be. Paint pictures
Introduction him up yourself. You put him to sleep." for them. Use plenty of metaphors. The
1. We often find ourselves in diffi The media-saturated audiences of Bible is rich in metaphors. When Paul
cult situations. Example ... today want to watch the preacher instead wrote "who shall deliver me from this
2. We wonder, "Why has God al of just listen, feel the message rather than body of death," his hearers would think
lowed this to happen to me?" just think about it, and remain passive in terms of the practice of chaining a
3. Mark 4:35-41 tells us of a diffi rather than respond. Recognizing this, dead body to a living prisoner. The books
cult situation. the best contemporary preachers are able of Job or Hosea, for example, amaze us
to find imaginative illustrations to help with the richness of their metaphors and
Body hold peoples' interest. Preachers who the power they possess to convey ideas
1. God sometimes allows people to know how to illustrate are like the poets. because of this.
come into difficult situations. They are great observers of life. They can
a. Jesus suggested they get in the see illustrations in the simple things that Conclusion
boat (Mark 4:35). occur each day. Others will pass over To be an effective contemporary
b. When they did, they got into these experiences without seeing the pos biblical preacher, be sure to discover:
trouble (verses 36,37). sibilities. what the passage meant to the original
c. Examples of other people who For instance, Phillip Yancy writes listeners; the timeless truths in the pas
got into trouble when they followed about looking at his fish tank: "I am as sage; and how those truths can be applied
God faithfully ... God to them. They rely on me to give today in the lives of your listeners. If this
2. The situation was so serious that them food and oxygen. I mean them no is done, you will preach the Word with
the disciples despaired thinking they harm; yet when I go near the tank they interest and relevance.
might drown (verse 38). get frightened. How can I communicate
a. Our response to trouble is de to them and let them know that they 1 Philip Yancey, I Was Just Wondering,
spair, thinking we may perish. Examples need not be afraid of me? I guess the (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 5-8.
and illustrations ...
b. But Jesus used this occasion to
show them His power to deliver them
(verses 39-41).
Attend a Sabbath Conference!
Examples of how God has used dif Come let us discover humanity's common roots
ficult situations to show His power in
the lives of many people. "The African Connection"

Conclusion Hear:
When we follow God we may find
* Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, Dean of Preachers
ourselves in difficult situations. However,
He has promised never to forsake us. He * Dr. Charles E. Bradford, author of Sabbath Roots
may not work a spectacular miracle to * Other notable presenters, historians, biblical scholars, and theologians
help us. He may choose to give us
strength to cope with the situation.
You owe yourself the joy of exploring the wealth of information that will be
shared at this conference
Making dry bones come alive
Outlines serve only as skeletons of
November 8-9, 2000
thought. The preacher needs to make
the dry bones come alive. The skeleton University of Southern California, Davidson Center
needs to be covered with flesh. That's Los Angeles, California
what supporting ideas do. Of first im
portance among supporting ideas are Register today! $100 registration fee ($75 before Sept. 1). Includes lunch and materials.
Send check to Sabbath Roots, Southern California Conference, 1535 East Chevy Chase Drive,
illustrations. Good illustrations are vi
Glendale, CA 91209. Visa/Mastercard accepted. Call 818-546-8460 or e-mail
tal if we are going to hold the attention
of our audience.

Ministry/September 2000 29

r esus generos commands His followers to follow His

ity toward
sinners out
Outrageous example. "Turn the other cheek; love
those who hate you; pray for those
raged the
establishment of
His day just as
grace who persecute you."
Forgiveness liberates. Jesus
understands why forgiveness is so
quickly as this S A. CRESS important. He knows it will liberate
column will the forgiver as much as the person
aggravate some religious practitioners First He knelt on the floor with who forgives. Jesus declares we will
today. the accused and began to write in the not be forgiven ourselves if we do not
In fact, Jesus' grace was so dust. When they continued to barrage forgive those who have wronged us. In
extravagant that He expressed full Jesus with demands for judgment, fact, from Jesus' perspective, forgive
love and forgiveness to some indi Jesus finally spoke a judgment upon ness does not even depend upon the
viduals even before they them far more serious than anything wrongdoer's apology.
repentedthe woman taken in for which they were accusing the If you have wronged me and I
adultery, for example. woman. "Moses said stone her. Go await your apology, my ongoing
Scripture declares that she was ahead. If you are without sin, cast the grudge controls me more than it
apprehended "in the very act" and first stone." reforms you. My resentment allows
hauled before Jesus as a test of His Then, as Jesus again knelt and you to occupy my mind without
orthodoxy. In their haste to accuse the continued writing on the floor, the paying rent. You may never apologize
woman, her accusers gave neither gospel says the crowd dispersed one by or you may never even know that I
time nor opportunity for her remorse, one, from the oldest to the youngest. have been offended and that you need
much less her confession and repen Perhaps they convened a committee to to apologize. But notice who pays the
tance. She was about to face the death make certain the floors were more perpetual high toll of grudge-bearing.
penalty, which her behavior de thoroughly cleaned next time. If, on the other hand, I forgive
manded. "Moses says we should stone Then Jesus queried the woman, you, even if you have not repented or
this adulterer, but what do you say?" "Who condemns you?" When she saw asked forgiveness, then I am liberated
Jesus did not verbally answer His that all her accusers have departed from the controlling load of unre
accusers. And note, these evil church and that she might face reprieve from solved wrongs. By forgiving you, I am
men were His accusers more than the death penalty, she responded, "No free to live joyfully in Christ; liberated
they were her accusers. They had one, sir." "Neither do I condemn you. to service for the Savior, liberated to
arranged to entrap her. The man with Go and sin no more." proclaim the good news of His
whom she had sinned was excused; Beautiful! Profound! outrageous grace.
the woman was accused; but Jesus was The desired outcome becomes And Jesus demonstrated this
their ultimate target. the means to accomplish the objec liberation again and again. He took the
Christ's enemies were vastly more tive. Jesus sought a forgiven sinner Samaritan woman from the well of
interested in His entrapment than freed from Satan's grasp and He used repetitious works of dipping and made
they were concerned for her need. She the most liberating method possible her an evangelist who dispensed the
was fodder for their determination to to obtain His goal. He forgave her! water of life. He turned Peter's cursing
destroy Jesus; she was a pawn to Forgiveness obligates. Now note tongue to a soul-winner's proclama
manipulate for their own purposes. that this extravagance is no cheap tion. His forgiveness made Mary
Rather than retort, Jesus chose grace which Jesus extends. Forgiveness Madgalene the first preacher of the
confrontation. Not a confrontation of obligates the recipient to live "as if" resurrection as she pronounced God's
minds to debate the fine points of law. they deserved it. victory over the very demons that had
Not a confrontation between holy God Forgiveness is not just a concept, once possessed her. And His merciful,
in the flesh and morally bankrupt it is a reality. Forgiven people live in extravagant grace turned Saul from
religiose. Not even a confrontation of the freedom of forgiveness. They murderous mercenary and chief of
legal defense aimed at freeing the guilty behave as those who have been sinners, to the privilege of ministry.
from prosecution and punishment. forgiven should behave. Now here's the real miracle of
Jesus confronted each of those accusers Furthermore, Jesus does not just Jesus' outrageous grace. He will do the
with their own sin. extend His personal forgiveness. He same for you and me!

30 Ministry/September 2000
SH.OPTALK graceful slide transitions, writing "Success Secrets" manual with full
pictorial sermons, putting text on top details about all of the videos. of pictures, software plug-ins, and It is exciting to see new people
After months of planning and making video inserts. come to church from this program.
behind-the-scenes work, a new Web Extensive digital video instruction The first year I used it the Lord
site for Seventh-day Adventist is included, as well as an audio track blessed with 22 baptisms. Another
worship is now online. Sponsored by that coaches you through learning. You year He blessed with 40.
the North American Division Minis can go at your own pace and review There are ten videos with three
terial Association, the site features anytime. This Windows software is programs per tape, making a total of
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Bulletin Board forums for network Gemmell, Mountain View Church, prophecies and the essential doc
ing. Worship Well is dedicated to 6001 West Oakey Boulevard, Las Vegas, trines. People who go through this
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specifically as it relates to Sabbath The harvester Bible study program The entire program is available
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7, Let Ministry move with you! Send address changes to Jeannette Calbi, Ministry, \ 2501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring,
Maryland 20904, or E-mail us at Please notify us eight weeks in advance.
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December 10-13, 2000
The Grand Vista Hotel
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