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

Association Secretary James A. Cress

Twenty-seven fundamentals in Editor Willmore D. Eva
search of a theology Assistant Editor Julia W. Norcott

The need for a less fragmented and more Editorial Assistant Sheila Draper

integrated expression of Seventh-day Adventist Professional Growth and Inter-church Relations

Nikolaus Satelmajer
belief Contributing Editors: Sharon Cress, Peter Prime, Joel
George R. Knight Sarli, Kit Watts
Consulting Editors:
Ben Clausen, Raoul Dederen, Teofilo Ferreira, Ron
Flowers, John M, Fowler, Michael Haset, Roland
Don't hang it up Hegstad, Kathleen Kuntaraf, Ekkehardt Mueller, Jan
Staying the course and maintaining the vision, Paulsen, Robert Peach, George Reid, Angel Rodriguez,
Penny Shell, William Shea, Russell Staples, Richard
especially in difficult times (a sermon) Tibbits, Ted Wilson, Edward Zinke

Barry Black Pastoral Assistant Editors: John C. Cress, Fredrick

Russell, Maylan Schurch, Loren Seibold
International Advisors: Alejandro Bullon, John
A tale of two preachers Duroe, Paulraj Isaiah, Anthony Kent, Ivan Manilich,
Carlos Martin, Gabriel Maurer, ]oel Musvosvi, Ivan
Embracing the varying gifts and emphases of one Omana, David Osborne, Paul Ratsara, Peter Roennfeldt,
Raymond Zeeman
another in ministry
Pastoral Advisors: Leslie Baumgartner, S. Peter
Greg Taylor Campbell, Miguel A. Cerna, (eanne Hartwell, Mitchetl
Henson, Greg Nelson, Norma Osborn, Leslie Pollard,
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MINISTRY February 2001




What Matters Most? is being used to determine what is right which such questions do not arise with

I 'm certainly confused about the pur

pose of the Viewpoint article, "What
Matters Most?" in the October 2000
and wrong in our churches and schools.
The clear Word from the Lord seems to
be used less and less. And this article is
the force they do in other locations. It
would indeed be a great editorial luxury if
the readership of Ministry consisted only
issue. I cannot for the life of me see any in a Ministry issue that starts with a lead of those serving in small-town American
reason or wholesome purpose to this article on Ellen White as theologian. Do Adventist church situations.
article. Imagine, Seventh-day Adventist we still see her as a prophet too? If Even if the editors believed that the
pastors, SDA teachers, and SDA school Jeremiah the prophet was here today floodgates should be opened to sweep
board members sitting down to discuss reading this article, we could weep away all the valuable proscriptions
the issue of allowing dancing in a together! I am aghast! against such practices as secular dance,
Seventh-day Adventist school! This is Douglas Carlson, pastor, Sault St. Marie, they would hardly be unwise enough as to
shocking enough, but to see no refer Michigan. advocate such things in the pages of a
ences to the Bible or to the writings of magazine such as Ministry.
Ellen White used in coming to this con Editorial Note: We are truly sorry for Here's a slightly modified quote from a
clusion is beyond my comprehension as any distress or confusion caused by this recent email written by the Editor in con
an SDA pastor myself. And to publish Viewpoint article. While it may be good to nection with the article under discussion:
this article as if it has some valuable remind ourselves what it actually was that "I believe that Cod guided this Church in
insight into how (if this is the suggested Jeremiah wept for, we should also say that the stand it has taken against dancing..
intention) we might also consider such we too would stand aghast if either the .. Seventh-day Adventists took this stand
issues in our church districts is certainly intent or the content of this article advo at a time when, compared with today,
no model for any SDA to follow. cated what seems to be attributed to it in most dancing was a comparatively mild
Bringing dancing into our schools to the above letter, or if it was as purposeless thing. Most dance today is . . . seriously
appease a worldly appetite for enter as is suggested. Even though Scripture foreign to the spirit of Christ.
tainment is certainly no way to respond and the Spirit of Prophecy were not quot I think it is clear that the dancing
to the changes in the world either. If ed in the article, their influence may encouraged in the Bible is something very
this is the only way we can keep our definitely be felt in its thrust and thought; different from the dancing that went on
youth in our churches, then we would that is, as it discusses the issues it actual during the time of the founding of our
be better off without them. ly addresses. Church, let alone so much of the dance
I would like to remind us all that we It must be overtly stated that the pur that is common in today's Western cul
serve a God who changes not, who is pose of the article is clearly not to consider tures.
the same yesterday, today, and tomor the matter of dancing or not dancing, (or
row. His standards haven't changed! He jewelry or no jewelry) but rather how Ellen White, Theologian?
is the One who said, "Love not the
world, neither the things that are in the
world!" And anyone with the index to
those of us ministering in challenging
areas of the Lord's vineyard may go about
handling the intense differences that arise
W alter M. Booth takes issue with
what has become a fairly com
mon affirmation among Adventist
the writings of Ellen White can quickly among significant numbers of our people students of Ellen White, that she was a
look up "dancing" and see what coun when it comes to such matters. prophet, not a theologian. He says, "I
sel is there. Yes, I could refer to many Ministry editors would be among the would like to ... express my conviction
Bible passages myself in questioning the first to admit that there is probably little that Ellen White was an outstanding
decision to dance, but we have come to purpose to this article when it comes to theologian." However, during the
a time when some new kind of thinking the pastor who ministers in a location in continued on page 29

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February 2001 MINISTRY


The value of

iewpoint articles are designed ed to come to terms with the very legit
to stimulate thought and do not imate questions being asked us by a
necessarily reflect the position of number of our pastoral readers, such as:
our editorial staff or of Ministry." This How can we go on using a sign of the
statement has appeared on the title
WILL EVA second coming that occurred, for exam
page of Viewpoint articles, which are ple, on May 19,1780, when we are now
published intermittently in Ministry. entering the twenty-first century? How
Such a declaration may appear to be a can such an approach be credible in the
mere disclaimer, when in fact it is an eyes of the thoughtful persons we seek
honest expression of the nature of cer by God's grace to persuade that Jesus is
tain opinions that appear in Ministry indeed coming soon?
and how they relate to what the maga If we cannot allow ourselves to deal
zine and the Seventh-day Adventist with such questions in the responsible
Church in fact stands for. To be specific about our Viewpoint way that a man of Dr. LaRondelle's cal
There are those among our readers column, let me cite a relatively recent iber does and in a magazine such as
who are uncomfortable with this feature Viewpoint article. This article, authored Ministry, I believe, as do other Adventist
and would like to see it discontinued. by premier Adventist professor and the leaders, that we are far off the spirit and
There are others who would be quite ologian, Hans LaRondelle, received essential content of Adventism and of
disappointed if it was discontinued. I significant negative reviews from a Ellen G. White and our pioneers.
must say that I am one who would be number of our readers. The article was Viewpoint articles are not published
disappointed and who would experi entitled "The Application of Cosmic in Ministry unless they constructively
ence a sense of loss not only for the Signs in the Adventist Tradition" address an issue that will genuinely
magazine, but for the spiritual and intel (Ministry, September 1998). In it Dr. contribute to the discussion and
lectual persona of the Seventh-day LaRondelle wrestled with the difficult hoped-for settlement of some difficult
Adventist Church and more specifically question, Can we continue to feature dilemma or controverted issue facing a
for Adventist ministry. events from the relatively distant past as significant swath of Adventist ministers.
There is a very strong element pres convincing signs of the imminent The fact that such articles are placed in
ent in both Christian and Adventist return of Christ? Largely because of the "Viewpoint" column should imme
history that has ever championed ongo Mrs. White's appeal in The Great diately alert the reader that they
ing responsible prayer and research, and Controversy, to eighteenth and nine contain some controversial elements
has expected further and yet more lucid teenth-century happenings as and therefore deserve careful thought,
expressions of thought and belief to be fulfillments of the signs of Jesus' com prayer and response.
ever coming to the surface. The way ing, some readers were disturbed by Viewpoint by no means seeks to
early Adventists grappled with whether the suggested explanations of Dr. question established Adventist belief or
or not to even have a statement of doc LaRondelle. Unfortunately none of practice, but instead seeks to clarify and
trinal belief and a Church Manual is clear these readers offered any further con improve on the way we view and pres
evidence of this admirable mentality structive explanation. ent such issues. We must by all means
that is as much a part of Adventist tradi Had Dr. LaRondelle in any way ques express disagreement with Viewpoint
tion as is any other significant aspect of tioned the validity of the Seventh-day articles, but it would be most helpful if
our history or tradition. Adventist stand on the imminent second thoughtful, pointed, yet kind responses
The path of purest faithfulness and coming of Jesus, we would not have were offered that actually contribute
discretion almost always appears to be published this article. Had he ques objectively to the issues raised in such
the one that opposes any alteration in tioned the accuracy and veracity of Ellen articles. That is what Viewpoint articles
"traditionalistic" patterns of thought G. White's work, we would not have are designed to elicit. H
and belief. But that opposition is not accepted his article for publication. The
automatically of God, any more than motivation and approach in his article
was the path of the leaders of the were in fact the opposite of these things. 1 See Ellen G White. Counsels [a Waters and Edjto/5 (Nashville. Tenn Southern
Pub. Aiiil.. I946J,33-54 (and for balance. 17-32)
2 Review Gil Valentine's two-part article, "The Stop-Start Journey on the Road
Judaism of Jesus' day. In his explanation he simply attempt to a Church Manual" in the April and June 1999 ISSUES of Mnisny

MINISTRY February 2001

Christians reason that since they have "gone
to a dance" or broken the Sabbath they have
in effect rejected Jesus. After all, they reason,
if I have broken one rule or rejected one belief
(official and even unofficial in many cases)
haven't I rejected the whole package since
every part is of equal importance? I have seen
some leave the Church in despair in the wake

Twenty-seven of that train of logic.

Such reasoning can arise when people are
taught the string-of-beads approach, the

fundamentals approach that says that each of the 27 has

equal weight and importance.
The Bible takes quite a different approach.

in search of For example, while the Bible writers are unan

imous in abhorring sins and faithless
unbelief, the Bible is quite clear that "if we

a theology confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just,

and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from
all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9, RSV). Thus,
doing wrong or even believing wrong does
not necessarily imply a rejection of Jesus. The

eventh-day Adventists need an inte plain truth is that not all the beads are the
George R. Knight
grated theology! Don't get me same size and weight. Some of the 27 funda
wrong. Adventism's 27 fundamental mentals are "more fundamental" than others.
beliefs are well defined and adequate When I floated my string-of-beads perspec
in what they attempt to do as indi tive past one of my friends he startled me by
vidual statements. It is not the 27 that I am pointing out that while he agreed on the
questioning, but the way they are presented. beads model he couldn't find the string. In
To put it bluntly, the 27 fundamentals are short, he implied that Adventism's 27 are
set forth as a list, somewhat like a string of more like a pile of beads rather than a string
beads with each bead having the same size, of them. But for my purposes in this article
shape, and weight. And beyond the official the effect is the same. While the "pile" or
27, Adventist "oral tradition" provides indi "string" approach may be helpful in present
viduals with innumerable other beads that ing and understanding Adventist beliefs, I
flow off of each end of the string. "Thou shalt believe that there are models for organizing
not go to movies in a movie house," "Thou the denomination's beliefs that are much
shalt not dance socially," and "Thou shalt not more effective in enabling people to grasp the
drink coffee," are examples of supernumerary totality of what the Bible teaches or the
beads. While the official list is a voted docu Church believes. It is to one such model that
ment adopted at a General Conference we now turn.
session, the extra doctrinal and lifestyle beads
are added by individual Church members, by A hierarchical model of beliefs
subgroups within the Church, or by the force Not every doctrine is created equal! Some
of tradition. While not official beads, the beliefs reflect theological realities more basic
supernumeraries appear to be equal in weight than other beliefs! Such are two of the basic
to the official ones in the minds and con postulates of the hierarchical model.
George Knight is a
sciences of many church members and Foundational to any understanding of the
professor of church
pastors. Christian faith is that Christianity is not a
history at the
Seventh-day The problem with the string-of-beads body of doctrine or a way of life. Individuals
Adventist approach to fundamental beliefs is that it will not be saved by what they believe intel
Theological indicates no priorities, it doesn't help people lectually or do behaviorally. A person can
Seminary, Andrews see that some beliefs are more important or believe all the right things and perform all the
University, Berrien more "fundamental" than others. As a result, right actions and still be lost.
Springs, Michigan. I have seen young people and unperceptive In its essence, Christianity is a Person Jesus

February 2001 MINISTRY

Christ who died "once for all" (Heb. she penned that "the central theme being ends in themselves. As noted
8:27), rose on the third day (1 Cor. of the Bible, the theme about which above, no one will ever be saved by
15:3, 4), and is coming back to take every other in the whole book clus doctrine. But that does not mean that
His children home (1 Thess. 4:13-18). ters, is the redemption plan, the doctrine is unimportant. On the con
Without Christ there could still be restoration in the human soul of the trary, correct doctrinal understanding
beliefs and actions but there would be image of God." 2 helps Christians understand the cross
no Christianity. The very most impor One thing is obvious. Some beliefs of Christ better. It also helps us know
tant entity in biblical faith is Jesus are more important than others. The how to relate more effectively to
Christ and what He has done for a most important of those has to do Christ as Savior and Lord. Thus, doc
lost humanity. Thus, in a hierarchical with not only "knowing" Christ as trinal understanding is important
model of Christian theology, Christ Savior but with those understandings even though it is not all important or
and the Cross are at the very apex. related to the cross of Christ as the even most important. Doctrinal
Jesus knew what He was talking about only solution to the presence of sin in understanding at its best is an instru
when He claimed that "this is eternal the human soul. That concept is ment that helps us grasp the
life, that they know thee the only reflected in the hierarchical model by seriousness of the sin problem, God's
true God, and Jesus Christ whom the Cross being placed in the topmost solution to that problem through
thou hast sent" (John 17:3, RSV); portion of the pyramid. Christ, and how to relate to Him bet
"Whoever believes in the Son has ter. The central role of doctrine is to
eternal life, but whoever rejects the Figure 1 inform a Christian's walk with God.
Son will not see life, for God's wrath The theological hierarchy Thus, the upward arrow to the right of
remains on him" (John 3:36, NIV). the theological hierarchy in Figure 1.
Every Christian needs to know Note, however, that there is also a
that the most fundamental aspect of
any list of fundamentals is knowing
Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. As a
result, the most basic belief in
Christianity is not a belief per se but
an experiential relationship.
Closely tied to that relationship is
downward arrow to the left of Figure
1. That arrow represents the fact that
a relationship with Jesus and an
understanding of the cross of Christ
and other central elements of the
plan of salvation informs a person's
understanding of doctrine. This is
a set of beliefs about human lostness nicely put when it is said that
and God's solution to that lostness "viewed in the light of" the grand
through the cross of Christ. Thus, at Lifestyle central theme of the Bible, "every
the top of the hierarchy of belief are topic has a new significance." 3
Christ, the human problem, and Christ's work in the plan of salvation
God's solution in the Cross. Without informs all other understandings.
these elements one not only has no
Adventism but no biblical Chris The role of the "doctrinal" The role of lifestyle
tianity. fundamentals Just as one can believe correct doc
Using the hub-in-a-wheel model Doctrines are not ends in them trines without being a Christian, so a
(rather than the hierarchical model), selves. They are not all-important. person can also live a "good" lifestyle
essentially the same concept is set The belief that doctrine is all-impor without knowing Christ as Savior or
forth when it is said that "the sacrifice tant led to both Protestant and without even understanding correct
of Christ as an atonement for sin is Catholic "inquisitions" in the history doctrine. Like doctrinal understand
the great truth around which all of the church. In a similar manner, it ing, living a biblical lifestyle is
other truths cluster. In order to be led some Adventists in 1888 and at instrumental rather than an end in
rightly understood and appreciated, other times to lose their Christianity itself.
every truth in the word of God, from in defense of their beliefs. For example, take healthful living,
Genesis to Revelation, must be stud Mere doctrine is not Christianity. or health reform as it is traditionally
ied in the light that streams from the On the other hand, a genuine known of among Seventh-day Ad
cross of Calvary. . . . The great, grand Christian experience will by all means ventists. Some years ago during an
monument of mercy and regenera lead to a biblical search for those evangelistic campaign, someone from
tion, salvation and redemptionXthe understandings that are important in a denomination other than my own
Son of God uplifted on the cross. This God's revelation. helped me think through why I was
is to be the foundation of every dis I would like to suggest that doc even devoting an evening to the
course given." 1 In another context trines are instrumental rather than topic. In the midst of the second week

MINISTRY February 2001

of the meetings, she told me that she the hierarchy. Thus the cross of Figure 3
wasn't going to come the next Christ, a person's relationship with The foundational model
evening because she didn't like my Him, and the gift of the Holy Spirit
topic; that I was going to tell her what provide the inspiration and power to
she shouldn't do. Personally, I live a Christian lifestyle. Beyond that,
thought my topic was right on! After doctrinal understandings inform a Lifestyle
all, with a title like "Why I Don't Eat Christian lifestyle. For example, the
Rats, Snakes, and Snails," how could I Bible teaching that a person's body is
go wrong? Humbling myself, I told the temple of the Holy Spirit certainly
her to come the next evening and she informs a person's approach to
would conclude that it was the best lifestyle. Doctrine
sermon yet. Similar understandings permeate
With a promise like that, I was the way one keeps the Sabbath, a
driven to think through what I really topic that has both doctrinal and
hoped to accomplish. In retrospect, I lifestyle aspects. Christ as Redeemer
am everlastingly grateful to that and Creator provides the motivation
woman. She forced me to think for Sabbath keeping, while cognitive
through my priorities and my goals, doctrinal insights related to the
and how my topic related to the cen Sabbath provide data that help
tral issue of Christianity. Christians keep it more adequately.
The next evening I focused on the On the upward-arrow side of Figure 1, Figure 2) and the foundational model
central theme of the BibleXthat God keeping God's Sabbath spiritually (see Figure 3).
loves us. Within that context, I noted helps individuals find time to know In the hub model the cross of
that because He loves us He wants us Him better at the cognitive level and Christ (and related issues) stands at
to be happy. And, I pointed out, we provides space for Christians to reach the center, various doctrines serve as
are happiest when we feel good, when out more fully in love to both God spokes, and lifestyle issues form the
we are healthy. Therefore, God wants and other people. rim. Likewise, there are excellent argu
us to take care of our bodies and our ments for picturing the relational/
minds; not in terms of an offensive Refining our understanding cross aspects of Christianity as foun
collection of negative restrictions but The theological hierarchy model is dational to doctrinal understandings
as a positive blessing of inestimable far from perfect. It certainly doesn't and lifestyle issues.
value. answer all the questions. Nor is it the In the long run, however, it is not
With respect to the theological only possible model. Two others that the model or specific approach taken
hierarchy of Figure 1, the instrumen in this article that is important but the
tal nature of health reform is evident Figure 2 need for Seventh-day Adventists to
when we realize that a healthy body The hub-in-a-wheel model provide perspective for their theology.
provides for clear thinking so that we This article is not challenging any of
can better understand the doctrines. the 27 fundamental beliefs of the
With that better understanding, as Church. Rather, it is arguing that
noted above, we can serve Him more Adventism (or any faith structure)
intelligently. A healthy body also is needs to move beyond the string-of-
instrumental in helping us relate to beads model to one that helps people
God and our neighbors better. After see more easily what Christianity is all
all, people are grouchy when they are about and how the various aspects of
ill. We are more effective lovers of the belief system fit together. Any
both God and other people when we reformulation, of course, must not
aren't preoccupied with our own merely be an intellectual exercise. It
aches and pains. Thus, health reform should be aimed at helping people
helps me not only relate to God bet live fuller and more consciously
ter but to be more like Him. Thus, the informed Christian lives. IK!
upward pointing arrow to the right of
Figure 1. 1 Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers (Hagerstown, Md.:
The downward arrow to the left of Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1948), 315.
2 , Education (Nampa. Idaho: Pacific Press? Pub.
Figure 1 implies, as it did in relation to readily come to mind are the hub-in- Assn., 1952), 125, cf. 190.
doctrine, a two-way directionality in a-wheel model referred to above (see 3 Ibid., 125.

February 2001 MINISTRY

The sorrow triggered by the loss of Zion
seemed overwhelming to them.
Babylonian dainties were tainted by cap
tors' taunts: "Sing us one of the songs of
Zion" (verse 3). "Celebrate for us the majesty
and the protection provided by your God."
Hence, in the midst of plenty, exiled Israel
declared the mournful lamentation and
query, "How shall we sing the Lord's song in
a strange land?" (verse 4) And they refused
to sing. And they placed their harps, silent
on willow branches by the river (verse 1).
Israel's decision to remain mute, to hang
up their harps, was a mistake. They refused
to sing of Zion's glories because their capital
city lay in ruins and their loved ones had
been destroyed by this heathen power. In

Don't hang it up refusing to take up their harps, they saw

themselves in a noble light but the truth is
that they missed a great opportunity. By
singing they could have demonstrated the
efficacy of gratitude. Does not the Scripture
challenge us to "Give thanks in every thing"
Barry Black
Editorial note: This article is the manu (1 Thes. 5:18). They could have shown that
script version of a sermon presented by Admiral God's presence is not limited by geography
Black at the Toronto Satellite Ministers' and that nothing can "separate us from [His]
Professional Growth Seminar in March 2000. love" (Rom. 8:38). Instead, they decided to
hang it up, to swallow their pain, to hold

n gaunt hills rest the ruins of a their peace.
city. It had once been the capi
tal and religious shrine of a Singing the Lord's song anyway
proud and prosperous people. The challenge of singing the Lord's song
Its walls and towers stood regal in a strange land is not new. Many are faced
against the sky. The golden dome of its mag with the dilemma of how to bring personal
nificent temple gleamed in the light of the spirituality into the work place, without
noonday sun. Long caravans meandered in appearing to be overzealous. Others find it
and out of the gates of its market places. difficult to sing, to remain optimistic in the
Everywhere the blessing of God could be face of failures, setbacks, or loss. Some seem
seen. temperamentally predisposed to pessimism.
But the people of this city turned from Others permit sins to steal their joy, refusing
God. They were selfish and unprincipled, to confess or forsake them. Instead they
and their sin brought them low. For "right hang it up, putting their harps in storage,
eousness exalts a nation" (Prov. 14:34), but refusing to sing on foreign soil.
sin is an equal-opportunity destroyer. Fire And is it not true that often we feel the
and sword ravished the city, and its citizens strangeness of our land? When one million
were carried away as captives to Babylon. men are raped in prisons each year, are we
We encounter some of these captives, sit not reminded of this land's strangeness? And
ting by Babylonian rivers in the 137 1-" does it not seem like foreign soil when we
Psalm. hear about child abuse, weapons in schools,
Barry Black, Ph.D., is
Rear Admiral and This psalm highlights a communal lament or gratuitous violence in our various forms
chief of chaplains. uttered by a people who knew the pain of of entertainment? This world is not our
United States Navy. exile. Once in the land of exile, the Israelites home.
were spared many hardships, but there was Israel should have sung. Yes, music and
one grief that seemed almost beyond bearing. mirth were far from their hearts. Yes, anger

MINISTRY February 2001

and a desire for revenge buffeted their avail himself of the opportunity to 22:3). The enemy expects us to
spirits. Yes, God seemed so far away. escape death. (Discussed in Frank respond to life's trails with complaints
But the strangeness of our circum Magills' Masterpieces of World Liter and exasperation. But praise brings
stances is no excuse for hanging up ature, New York: Harper-Collins, 1990, God's presence. Refusing to hang it up
our harps. Jesus left us an example of 43). But Socrates asserted the premise brings Divine reinforcement.
singing in the rain of suffering and that"... the really important thing is Paul and Silas were incarcerated
even approaching death. Moreover, not to live, but to live well. . . . And . . (Acts 16) unfairly. They were beaten
praise brings deliverance. Israel . to live well means the same thing as without the benefit of due process and
should have sung. to live honorably or rightly." We are jailed without being permitted to
We can refuse to hang it up by called to live with honor, to sing defend themselves. They sojourned in
making a commitment to three sim God's song even in a foreign land. the strange world of injustice. But
ple practices: instead of hanging it up, they begari
First, we must refuse to use the Follow Jesus' example of to sing and the other prisoners heard
strange circumstances as an excuse. singing through the pain them. Their joyful singing so influ
Second, we should follow Jesus' exam Jesus was a stranger in this world, enced heaven that the earth shook
ple in the way He sang through the leaving the chants of cherubims and and their chains fell off, for praise
pain. And finally, we should permit the songs of seraphims to journey to brings deliverance.
praise to bring deliverance. Practicing this planet on a salvation mission. He Our lives are beset with dangers,
these three simple things can have a was despised and rejected (Isa. 53), toils, and snares, but we must refuse to
liberating impact in our lives.
Refuse to use strange circum
stances as an excuse
Often we behave as if our trial is
unique. But 1 Corinthians 10:31
reminds us that the tests we face are
common to humanity. Others are
traveling with us in the strange coun abused and mistreated. Relatives and hang it up. Our Savior promises to be
try of failure, frustration, and fear, and even His closest friends often misunder with us, yes, even in a strange land
many of these saints have learned to stood Him. Earth for Jesus was a strange (Matt. 28). He said, " 'I will never leave
sing in spite of struggle. We are, there land, but He refused to hang it up. you nor forsake you' " (Heb. 13,
fore, without excuse. Only once in the New Testament is NKJV). He is able to keep us from
A minister friend of mine sought to it recorded that Jesus sang (Matt. falling (Jude 14). He has promised to
provide solace for a woman who had 26:30). When did He sing? He sang on supply every need of ours according to
endured the anguish of having her leg the night in which He was betrayed. His unspeakable riches (Phil. 4). He
amputated. When he entered the hos He sang after washing the disciples' has gone to prepare a place for us and
pital room, instead of having to cheer feet. He sang as the shadow of a cross promises to come again (John 14).
her, she lifted his spirits. She said, fell unmistakably across His pathway. Even in a strange land, that's some
"Pastor, thank God it's as good as it is! He sang as Judas hurried to betray thing about which we can sing.
I could have lost both legs." She had Him. He sang at the end of His Last
learned to sing the Lord's song in a Supper. He sang as He headed for the So why should I feel discouraged?
foreign country. agonies in the Garden of Gethsemane Why should the shadows come?
Later, in Babylon, the Hebrew wor and the hill called Calvary, the place Why should my heart be lonely
thies, Daniel and his compatriots, of the skull. He sang a hymn as His And long for heaven and home?
would refuse to make excuses. They outward world was falling apart. If
purposed in their hearts to maintain a Jesus could sing in the strange land of When Jesus is my portion
diet that would honor God. They were suffering, we have no excuse for hang My constant Friend is He
determined not to deviate from strict ing it up. His eye in on the sparrow,
integrity and refused to bow when the And I know He watches me.
music played. They heard another Permit praise to bring deliver
melody, a heavenly one that empow ance I sing because I'm happy.
ered them to live with honor, even on We confuse the enemy, Satan, I sing because I'm free.
foreign soil. when we sing God's song in a strange His eye in on the sparrow,
Once a friend urged Socrates to land, for our God inhabits praise (Psa. And I know He watches me. HI

February 2001 MINISTRY

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and evangelism, and the way they related to
one another.

Jesus and John: Similarities and dif

Despite the obvious differences between
these two preachers, Jesus and John did, in
fact, share some striking commonalities. Both
had miraculous beginnings. Jesus was born of

A tale of two
a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit,
John of aged, barren parents, well past child-
bearing years. Both were proclaimed by

angels to be agents of God's grace. Both were
given names chosen by the Almighty
Himself. And both were filled with the Holy
Spirit from birth. The similarities, however,
Leaving room for ended there.
John became a recluse of sorts for much of
different kinds of ministry his life. Attracted to the desert, he lived a
monastic existence. He was a religious ascetic
for most of his adult years. He wore strange
clothing a camel's hair robe, a leather belt,

or one young man, things could not and sandals. He ate a strict diet of locusts and
Greg Taylor
have been better. He was a successful wild honey. He lived separate from the world,
new preacher just coming into much like the Essenes. They lived in little self-
prominence. Thousands came to supporting communities, ate a strict diet,
hear him. No buildings could hold wore simple clothing, and adhered to the law
the massive crowds. His name was in the in extreme detail. John the Baptist seems to
headlines. His stirring stories were told and have resembled this sect of Judaism.
retold around the country. His unique way of Jesus, on the other hand, appeared more
teaching brought hope for the establishment "normal." He spent most of His years in a car
of a new society. Polls would have placed him penter shop, working with His father in the
as the most popular personage in the nation. family business. He dressed like the common
For the other young man, things could not people, attended the local synagogue, and
have been worse. Once a great and respected functioned as a basically normal member of
orator, he was now forgotten. Once a nation society.
al figure, a successful preacher, a prophetic Looking at their ministries, the contrast
voice on a national level, he was now losing between the two men became even more
respect and prominence. Aside from the enor marked. John was a hard hitting, hellfire-and-
mous crowds that had flocked to hear him, he brimstone preacher. He called sin by its name.
had once been visited by presidents, states His primary target was the religious people,
men, and even the intelligencia. Now nobody especially the establishment, whom he called
seemed to care about him; in fact, he was now to a higher standard of holiness. To some of
languishing in prison where he faced execu the religious leaders he said, "Brood of vipers!
tion. His had been a wild ride of prominence Who warned you to flee from the wrath to
and popularity, but it had abruptly been halt come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repen
Greg Taylor is senior ed. The crowds that had once followed him tance. . . ." (Matt. 3:7-9, NKJV)
pastor of the Foster were now following the new sensation. Jesus, however, was primarily interested in
Memorial Seventh-
A tale of two preachers: Jesus of Nazareth, reaching the "lost sheep of the house of
day Adventist Church
in Asheville, North
and John the Baptist. Israel" (Matt. 10:6, NKJV). He was considered
Carolina. Looking back over the contrast between unconventional, nontraditional. The fact that
their ministries, there is much to learn regard He neglected many of the traditions of the
ing different approaches to ministry, worship elders deeply offended the religious authori-

February 2001 MINISTRY 11

ties. Jesus actually associated and ate ministry of Jesus. He never seems to generally unfriendly delivery. But,
with sinners, even having a tax col have allowed himself to foster jeal instead, He gave John the greatest
lector as one of His closest ousy. When he heard of Jesus' compliment He gave to anyone.
companions. Christ's mission state success, of the crowds coming to hear "What did you go out into the
ment, "I did not come to call the Him speak, of His unique approach to wilderness to see? A reed shaken by
righteous but sinners to repentance" ministry and evangelism, John was the wind? But what did you go out to
(Matt. 9:9-13, NKJV), didn't fit the quick to say "He must increase, but I see? A man clothed in soft garments?
mold. must decrease" (John 3:30, NKJV). . . . But what did you go out to see? A
The contrast between Jesus' modus Surely he could have found reason prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more
operand! and that of John the Baptist to criticize. Jesus' methods were so dif than a prophet.... Assuredly, I say to
was so stark that the religious com ferent from his. He could have you, among those born of women
munity not only was aware of it, but insinuated that Jesus was watering there has not risen one greater than
was offended by both. They consid down the gospel or that He was telling John the Baptist ..." (Matt. 11:7-11,
ered John a fanatic who "has a people what they wanted to hear . . . NKJV).
demon," and Jesus "a gluttonous tickling itching ears. But John recog Neither John nor Jesus saw the
man and a winebibber, a friend of tax nized Jesus' unique ministry as from other as a threat or irritant. They saw
collectors and sinners" (Matt. 11:19, God. When he had questions, he the success or apparent failure of the
NKJV). brought those directly to Jesus (see other as a part of God's divine plan.
Matt. 11:2-6). He never resorted to They believed they had different mis
How the two preachers behind-the-back tactics. sions that complemented one
viewed one another At the same time, Jesus never once another in ultimate purpose. They
Yet it seems that neither John nor criticized John's ministry. He could were faithful to their own calling and
Jesus would have been comfortable have put down his old methods, fear contented themselves to leave the
with the contrasts that people tactics, extremely conservative ministry of the other in the hands of
observed between them. Never once lifestyle, offensive hellfire-and-brim- God. This is why there was never a
do we hear of John criticizing the stone approach, guilt trips, and his dispute between Jesus and John.
Though each saw the differences
between their own ministry and that
of the other, they purposely affirmed

the other's ministry, different or not.
Looking back from our vantage
point, we can see that the ministries
of Jesus and John, however different,
were also complementary and ulti
mately bound up with the same
and Obesity Naturally cause. But how easily they could have
seen one another as a threat, either
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2001 Seminar Calendar
heart disease and obesity with the faith in the One who called them,
January 2-4 Sacramento, CA area
NEWSTART Lifestyle. Hear scientific evi Weimar Institute and their willingness to allow God to
February 6-8 San Diego/LA, CA area
dence from experienced Christian physi Calvary Chapel Conf Cen lead the other, shows a marked spiri
cians. Discover simple lifestyle choices that March 20-22 Seattle, WA area
Warm Beach Methodist Conf Cen
tual maturity.
eliminate or reduce the need for medica April 10-12 Baltimore, MD area
Sandy Cove Conf Cen
tions in this intensive three-day seminar. May 22-24 Asheville, NC area
Learning from Jesus and John
Ridgecrest Baptist Conf Cen
RN&RDearn 12CEU. What can we learn, especially amid
June 19-21 Chicago, IL area
Wheaton College Conf Cen the increased polarization in our
July 17-19 Colorado Springs, CO
Call Today Glen Eyrie Conf Cen churches and personal relationships,
August 5-7 Sacramento, CA area
Weimar Instrtute
over approaches and methods of min
1-800-525-9192 September 4-6 Albany, NY area istry, worship, and evangelism?
Silver Bay YMCA Conf Cen
September 25-27 Santa Cruz, CA area
Some approach ministry from the
Mt. Hermon Conf Cen
"friend of sinners" perspective; in
October 23-25 Santa Fe, MM area
NEWSTART8 Lifestyle Program Glorieta Baptist Conf Cen fact, entire churches have broken the
PO Box 486, Weimar, CA 95736 November 6-8 Portland, OR area
WEIMAR A Non-Profit Christian Wellness Center Cannon Beach Conf Cen traditional format to go all out to
reach lost people. I, in fact, pastor a
church that has been targeting the

12 MINISTRY February 2001

unchurched for seven years now, EITHER JOHN NOR JESUS SAW THE OTHER AS
using contemporary music, drama,
multimedia, and other less traditional
approaches. The experience has been
nothing short of amazing.

God has blessed our ministry in

amazing ways. We have seen atheists
find Christ, along with agnostics, PART Of GOD'S DiyjNE
church dropouts, and other "lost
sheep." What's more, they are staying
in the church and even getting old methods of labor..."' "Means will and our ultimate purpose to reach
involved. They are growing in their be devised to reach hearts. Some of the world for Christ remains the
faith and reaching out to their the methods used in this work will be same.
friends. We praise God every time we different from the methods used in
see His Grace, extended to another the past; but let no one, because of Conclusion
precious soul. this block the way by criticism."2 In fact, in light of the biblical
We sometimes feel something like precedent set by John and Jesus, here
the fresh, young Christian congrega The Great Commission are some suggestions when we're con
tions of the first century must have We do not have time to spend wor fronted with another's success or
felt when they approached an uncon rying about whether our brothers or failure, or with a different perspective
ventional audience (Gentiles) in ways sisters are too conservative or too pro on another's practice, theological
that troubled some of their more con gressive, or whether one worship understanding, worship practice, or
servative brothers (not insisting on style is better than another. We have evangelistic method.
circumcision, eating questionable time only to put our energy together 1. Avoid destructive criticism.
foods, visiting in the homes of the and reach the lost. We must accept 2. Seek answers through personal
"unclean" and simply befriending that the same God who has designed rather than through public means.
them). each of us differently has done so for 3. Ask questions and seek explana
There is a natural tendency in a specific purpose. Some are called to tions when discussing issues (in a
some to think that because this kind a lifestyle, passion, and ministry for public or private forum). Attacks on
of ministry is reaching the people the "down and outers," others for character, orthodoxy, or personality
that we are passionate about, every "the lost sheep of the house of Israel," should always be avoided.
one should be doing it. The ministry and still others for the "up and out 4. Rejoice over kingdom growth.
of John and Jesus would not tell us ers." All are lost "coins," "sheep," and When fruit is borne let us rejoice
such a thing. It is not true that any "sons," and everything must be put together. Another's success should be
one method should be used by every aside so that they may be found (Luke seen as our success (Luke 15:2, 5, 6, 7,
one or that anyone not using a 15). It is more an issue of personal 9, 10, 20, 22, 23.)
certain form of evangelism should be calling than one of orthodoxy. We 5. Praise God for diversity of gifts,
questioned or criticized. Those cannot embroil ourselves in the pout passion, and calling. Let us be grateful
involved in contemporary worship ing of the older brother in Jesus' that our Creator is a God of variety
shouldn't be critical of churches or parable who refuses to come into the within the context of the unity of the
ministries using traditional methods, party that his father has thrown at faith.
which have in fact worked over the the return of the younger brother John the Baptist and Jesus were
years, especially in some contexts. because he (the older brother) worlds apart in personal appearance,
But this does not mean that these believed it was not right for his father style, ministry practice, and evangel
more traditional methods are ideal to do things in such a wrong and istic demographic targetting. But they
for every locale or circumstance. undignified way (Luke 15). trusted God to handle their differ
Mainstream evangelism continues to Given time, we will see how God ences and supported one another
fall far short of reaching some groups. makes no mistakes. His purpose is too with confidence.
The truth is that both approaches are great to have cut us all out of the Let us "Go, and do likewise." IX!
valid, and the practitioners of one same mold. While it may seem that
should not criticize those who advo we are going in different directions
cate the other. now, at the end, or in the end, we will 1 Ellen G. White, Evangelism (Hagerstown, Md:
"Men are needed who pray to God look back and see how God designed Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1946), 105. Emphasis
for wisdom, and who, under the guid this diversity for maximum impact. 2 Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, September 30,
ance of God, can put new life into the We are all different, but God is One 1902. Emphasis mine.

February 200 1 MINISTRY 13

every wind of doctrine ..." (Eph. 4:14). We
would also keep more from leaving through
the "back door," sometimes moving with
almost the same speed with which they came
in the front. And who better than the pastor
to teach on a regular basis the new converts,
and in what better place than the Sabbath
A balanced menu of doctrinal topics can be
studied that will serve as a follow-up to the
pre-baptismal classes. New converts must be

The pastor's protected. They must be shielded from

"strange doctrines," secured from church
members who can give a distorted view of the

Sabbath School gospel or who can be a stumbling block with

their extremism or impatience. A faithful
shepherd of the flock will especially care for

Class the newborn lambs.

"Satan is no idler; he watches his chances,
and takes advantage of every opportunity to
win souls to his side. He constantly sows his
tares in every heart that is not barricaded with

t's true! The parish pastor is called to be the truth." 1
Buford Griffith, Jr.
all things to all men . . . and women:
leader, administrator, evangelist, coun Pastor's responsibility
selor, consoler, and keeper of the There are pastors who are taking on the
household of God. Only God can equip seriously negligent habit of not attending
us to be successful in the area of our calling. Sabbath School! It is true that many pastors
Yet we are also teachers, Sabbath School are charged with the care of many churches
teachers. I have discovered in 20 years of pas and therefore find it difficult to be with their
toral ministry that the greatest joy after people for Sabbath School. That is, of course,
preaching is that of watching people grow in understandable, but the pastor should never
the Lord. That growth is aided by special be absent because of laziness or indifference.
attention given them by their pastor in regu There is no excuse for the pastor who is gen
lar classroom interaction known in Adventist uinely able to do so, not to be at Sabbath
circles as the pastor's Sabbath School class. School conducting his or her own class.
It is with much prayer and effort that we As pastors, we are teachers. Regular teach
observe the charge of God to "go into all the ing of the saints, whether in an evangelistic or
world and teach all nations, baptizing them Sabbath School setting, keeps the tools of the
in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy pastor sharp and above all keeps him in close
Spirit." Thus, after the effort to gather souls touch with the people who need him the
for the kingdom, we should exert the same, or most. It keeps him in touch with the new
even greater effort to retain them. This is dis- converts. One new in the faith needs the
cipling, and a pastor's class can play a crucial security of knowing that their pastor is there
role in this important part of our mission. for them spiritually and ready to help with
Buford Griffith Jr. is personal and doctrinal issues that arise. The
director of Sabbath Protection pastor is charged with the responsibility of
School/Family Life Let's be honest. After baptism, the number holding the reins of truth within the church.
Ministries, of those who remain is alarmingly low. That It is a responsibility that cannot not be taken
Southwestern Union trend must be reversed. I contend that if pas lightly.
Conference of tors were more diligent in "rooting and We preach the high standards of the will of
Seventh-day grounding" new converts, we would have God; these often attract men, women, and
Adventists, Burleson,
more vibrant churches and more stable mem children to the message of Christ. But when
bers who would not be in danger of being they enter the fellowship of the church, new
"tossed to and fro, and carried about with converts easily become confused as they

14 MINISTRY February 2001

begin to see the truths that attracted Stronger bonds of friendship are your own creativeness in lesson
them compromised by seasoned engendered among the members of preparation.
members or as those members treat the class. It leaves more room for It encourages attendance at mid
them unkindly or carelessly. While it members in the class to become a sup week prayer services. Series that have
takes a cooperative effort between port to one another in their new faith. started in the pastor's Sabbath School
strong, committed lay people and The warmth of class fellowship can be continued at prayer meeting.
clergy, the pastor must be a witness to encourages members of the class to It engenders better, more "live"
the fact that God's Word is tme and invite and bring members of their lesson preparation and greater
unchangeable, even if those who family to the class. In this way, the involvement in the spiritual growth
claim to follow it are neither. pastor's class becomes evangelistic of the class member. This also sets an
example for other teachers and could
T"\ EGULAR TEACHING OF THE SAINTS result in a more dynamic Sabbath
School overall.
JLVKEEPS THE TOOLS OF THE PASTOR Of course, everyone needs to do
what works best for their individual
situations. The above list serves only
S HARP AND KEEPS HIM IN CLOSE TOUCH as a simple base. Whatever approach
works best in your situation is the one
you should adopt.
If you are now conducting your
There is often an appalling lack of without being called a baptismal own class, continue with it. If you
knowledge regarding basic doctrines class, which sometimes seems intimi aren't, put away the fears and the
of the Bible and the Seventh-day dating to a non-member. false reasons you may have for not
Adventist Church by its members. You are more able to intercept doing so. Discover or rediscover the
Thus, it becomes a sheer necessity hurtful views of truth before they joy, satisfaction, reward, and produc
that there be ongoing instruction in become a problem for the new mem tiveness of teaching your own
the distinctive doctrines that identify ber, even while you are enabled to new-member Sabbath School class
the people of God. A solid pastor's more easily help each member of the and observe the growth of those who
Sabbath School class, where the class in a personalized way as they take hold of the truth as you tutor
essential teachings of the Bible are deal with the particular questions under your Lord. BD
firmly rooted and affirmed by a pas they may bring with them.
tor who takes the Word seriously, will Creating your own class challenges 1 Ellen G. White, The Home Missionary, Feb. 1, 1890.
greatly strengthen the foundation of
these new believers.

The pastor's class

Within the realm of the pastor's
Sabbath School class, the pastor has
the privilege of adopting methods
A New
that will root and ground these new
members. Here is a suggested method ' Features worship resources from Adventist and other
ology. Christian sources
f Create your own lesson series. It % Questions answered by "been there - done that" moderators
will do the following things:
f You and the class will have greater ; Provides support for Adventist Pastors and Worship Leaders
flexibility. > Offers concepts and materials to enhance worship
+ It will allow you to address those
points of greatest concern in your "Where Seventh-day Adventist worship is profiled and supported!"
particular setting.
f It encourages deeper study on the
part of both the class members and
the pastor.
4- You are enabled to move at a pace
that assures complete understand
ing of the Church's pillar doctrines.

February 200 1 MINISTRY 15

them? How were they going to handle the
extensive medical work? And what about the
more subtle yet significant issues of character
and personality? How could they as parents
honor the little person Anton was, yet neu
tralize potentially destructive factors that had
already shaped his young life? How could

How to move
they facilitate relationships with grandpar
ents, other children at church and school,
and even big sister?

into a church
It was parenting all right, but in a totally
new dimension!
The model of adoption offers some insights

plant withput
for the church planter who "adopts" an
"orphaned church" in its infancy rather than
giving birth to it. That is, for the pastor who is

killing it
called to take over a congregation that has
recently been planted or brought into being
by someone else. Four key questions capsulate
these insights for the "instant parent" of a new
church plant. Careful and honest answers to
these four questions can lay groundwork for a

teve and Karen adopted a five-year- more successful adoption.
Doug Tilstra
old boy from Russia. They spent The questions are: (1) What is my history
months preparing for the adoption. as a new parent? (2) What is this child's his
Even though they were veteran par tory? (3) How has this child learned to relate
ents, the prospect of adoption to others? and (4) Is everybody willing to
presented dozens of new challenges. allow the process of growing up?
They watched and watched again video
clips of their new son, Anton, long before he 1. What is my history as a new
ever came to live in their home. There were parent?
mountains of paperwork and miles of red Vision. One of the first questions Steve and
tape to work through. Other concerns includ Karen needed to ask themselves was, Why are
ed finances, dynamics of family integration, we doing this? Parents (biological and adop
and bedroom configuration. tive) usually have some vision for the children
At last, Steve and Karen flew to Moscow, they bring into the world. They dream of what
visited Anton's orphanage, met him for the they can become; their goals for their future
first time, and brought him to their California and desires for the direction of their lives.
home. But the work had just begun. Perhaps Most churches are planted with vision. The
adopting a child relieves the mother from the church founder and planting team typically
physical "labor" that comes with giving birth, share such a vision, even if it is not formalized
but the labor of the delivery room is certainly on paper. The problem is, a new leader com
replaced with hard work the moment adop ing to the church may have little idea what
tion occurs. that original vision is. The potential "instant
Unlike a newborn entering their family, parent" of a new church does well to ask,
Anton came with certain habits and expecta Why am I doing this? What are my dreams
tions fairly firmly set. He spoke Russian, and for this church? Why do I believe God
responded to life from a preset genetic code allowed this church to come into being at this
(largely unknown to the new parents). He time, in this place, with these people? What
Doug Tilstra is
assistant professor also had some medical needs requiring sever can it become? How can God use me to help
of religion at al surgeries and rehabilitation. Steve and it achieve those dreams?
Southern Adventist Karen quickly realized this was parenting in a Expectations. Vision is closely related to
University, totally new dimension. expectations. Both project a desired future.
Collegedale, Who was this little boy? How could they Both can motivate to excellence. Both can
Tennessee. bond to him and encourage him to bond to inspire a team with focus, unity, and coopera-

16 MINISTRY February 2001

tion. But there are differences. Vision building being open and ready to use from? Why did they give this child
is usually broader; expectations are each week) that one may take for up for adoption? Was this child loved
more specific and measurable. Vision granted in an established church or resented in the womb? As an
is more idealistic; expectations more often take major energy to accom infant was the child nurtured and
pragmatic. A parent's vision for a child plish in a newly planted one. All the loved or given only minimal care?
may be for the child to enjoy excel members of the body may be present, Adopted parents of new churches
lent health and to pursue any sport but it's an infant's body. Not every can learn from similar questions. Who
she desires. The parental expectation thing is "hooked up" yet. The body conceived this church? Why? How
may be more far-reaching and specif must mature and learn to accomplish long was the "gestation period" for
ic: for the child to win a gold medal as adult functions. this church? How was the church
an Olympic gymnast by age twelve. If a person has planted a church planting team formed? What training
Such an expectation drives the life of before, such surprises are less surpris did they receive? What process did
parent and child differently from the ing. Like children, no two churches they follow for setting a vision? Was
vision of excellent health and fitness. are alike, but they do pass through that vision ever put in writing? Has it
Expectations are not necessarily predictable patterns and stages. If a ever gone beyond paper and been
bad. But they do need to be identified person has never planted a church it internalized in members' lives? What
and evaluated. Church planters may be wise to talk with church role did the conference administra
adopting a new congregation can planters or read about church plants tion play in the project? What role did
benefit from some introspection. Am to discover some of these patterns. local churches, other church leaders,
I projecting unrealistic expectations I adopted a new church when it or a paid pastor play in the planting
onto this new little church? Am I was about four months old. It was project? Who "owns" this project?

Why did the founding pastor leave?
O CONCEIVED THIS CHURCH? WHY? As I listened to the stories of area
pastors, members, conference admin
istrators, and the founding pastor of
HOW LONG WAS :THE .'GESTATION,PE:RJ0D":: my adopted church, I began formu
lating a picture of this "child" I had
adopted. I could understand its pre
dictable life stages from previous
eager to create a church in my own separated by 1,000 miles, a cultural experience, but I could only grasp its
image? Am I trying to meet some per barrier, and totally different planting unique needs by hearing the story of
sonal need by what this church will vision and history from the church I its early life.
become? Am I using this church to had planted several years before. But Genetic code. The "genetic code"
"make a statement"? the intriguing thing was the familiar refers to the unique personality the
It is a good idea for the "instant phrases I heard coming from people's church builds in its formative stage
parent" of a newly planted church to mouths. It was almost as if people in and passes on as a heritage to all
evaluate his or her own vision and my adopted church were quoting future generations. It is amazing how
expectations and then learn as much folk from my own planted church. quickly such a "genetic code" is built
as possible about the vision and They were passing through similar and how long it lasts!
expectations of the congregation. stages of new church life. I remem Ideally, the genetic code is careful
Experience. It isn't essential, but it bered what came next, and sure ly articulated in a vision statement
can help to be a parent before adopt enough, it usually did. and implemented through equally
ing your first child. "Instant parents" My past experience allowed me to well-planned strategies and goals.
may be surprised to learn that their be a bit calmer, a bit less reactive. It More often, the genetic code, even if
child does not sleep an eight-hour was a little easier to distinguish harm there is a written vision and strategy
night or dismayed that their baby did ful trends from minor distractions. document, develops informally as the
not come equipped with teeth. In the church just "lives its life."
same way, a person who has never 2. What is the child's history? The genetic code includes such
planted a church my be dismayed that Circumstances surrounding the con things as how leaders are selected,
this new group looks like a church, ception, birth, and infancy. Parents how differences are resolved, attitudes
talks like a church, even acts like a adopting a child often ask about birth toward "outsiders," a heart for the
church much of the time, but. . . sur parents. Are they addicted to alcohol lost, how decisions are made, worship
prise! This new group really has not or drugs? What is their general style, relationship to the corporate
learned to function as a church yet. health? What sort of people are they? church and denominational adminis
Some church functions (such as the What kind of families did they come tration, expectations for the pastor,

February 2001 MINISTRY 17

.<.- '' -" ^
Only "


Fr^e Con nectors Lock

In Straight Rows

' Frame' for ;

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participation of the members, and meeting of interested people. They needs to refocus his or her vision. If
dozens of other things. may also be largely task-oriented peo the new church has a heart for the lost
As an adoptive parent, a pastor ple who bond slowly to people under and the new leader is indifferent, such
needs to know what genetic code is the best of circumstances. The a difference could kill the church.
already in place and what genetic absence of the founding pastor and Attitude toward leadership and
code still might be developing. the arrival of a new leader merely authority. Some children relate easily
Forces that have shaped the child's compounds the problem. What does to authority. Others resist it. Some
life so far. Steve and Karen discovered one do to facilitate bonding? authority is demeaning and demand
that other forces had shaped Anton's First diagnose the situation. How ing and some is selfless and serving.
early life. Life in an orphanage had many of these people knew each Do you know the leadership climate
been very different from life in their other before the church planting proj in the new church you will lead? Do
home. The transition from orphanage ect? What are the current evidences of you know how you exercise authori
to family home required lots of time group life, team spirit, and coopera ty? Does your own theology and
and patience, skill and understanding. tion? What does it feel like when the personal bias lean toward a view of
The church planter does well to group is together? Supportive? Tense? church that downplays accountability
understand the forces that have so far Warm? Cool? Awkward? Affirming? or do you tend to demand rigid con
shaped the new church. Does this Do people seem to like and enjoy each trol? Have church leaders in the new
church hold public evangelism in other? What formal organizational church been supported or resisted?
high esteem because it was birthed structures are in place? Are decisions How is conference administration
from such an event? Are most of viewed? Is there an "Us versus Them"

these members "born and bred" HE CHURCH or a "We" mentality?
Adventists who became "bored and Such questions may help you eval
tired" of their local church? Have uate the situation. If you discover
there already been power struggles in
PLANTER DOES serious conflict it may require a care
the formation of this group? What ful study of the biblical role of
support or hostility have local leadership, prayer for broken hearts,
Adventist congregations acted out in and repentance and help from spe
the formation of this new group? cialists perceived as being neutral.
What experiments have worked well
here? Which have not? 4. Is everybody willing to
These questions are merely sugges allow the growing-up process?
tive. Other appropriate ones will Neither parenting nor church
become obvious once adoptive par planting is a quick and easy process.
ents know what they are looking for. Unless parents and planters are will
made inside those structures or out ing to stick with the job for the long
3. How has this child learned side of them? Do small groups form a haul, the results will be disappointing.
to relate to others? significant part of church life? What And the children and church mem
Bonding issues: Attitudes toward each does the group do for fun? bers are part of that decision. Like
other. Families interested in raising After diagnosing, there will be adoptive homes, new church plants
secure and well-adjusted children room for both celebrating the bond are no place for those who are quick
give significant energy to bonding ing that is already happening and for to take offense or hand it out! People
issues. How emotionally close are the gradually filling in where pieces of willing to allow the process of growth
people in this family? How emotion the puzzle are missing. are people with a clear vision of the
ally available are they to each other? Attitude toward the lost. Churches desired result and almost infinite
Can they feel each other's pain and are planted to reach lost people. If the patience in the bumbling processes
pleasure? Can they support each newly planted church does not that have to go on to get there.
other? Is it draining or energizing for believe that something is wrong, the Much of the discussion here has
them to interact? Do they like each adoptive parent of the new church centered on asking probing questions
other or just tolerate each other? Are may need to help the group refocus to understand where to direct ener
they a team? their vision until they see the priority gies. Asking the right questions will
Many church plants fail for lack of of reaching the lost. They need to not produce healthy churches.
bonding. Often the core group is catch the vision of "making a place for Producing careful solutions will not
made of a "collection of strangers." them" as opposed to "making a place necessarily produce healthy churches.
They may have met for the first time for us." Only God produces healthy churches.
when the church planter called a Perhaps it is the new leader who We cooperate with Him.

February 2001 MINISTRY 19

badly need a perspective that transcends the
usual sense of fear or panic that comes over us.
We need, if you like, a kind of brainstorming.
That is, no holds barred, no ideas rejected, no
comments unwelcome, no concepts too radi
cal, nothing judged as unworthy or crazy. In
this way, the chronos can begin to appear
among the storm clouds of our chaos. If we do
this, we are not allowing the chaos to destroy

Chaos and
the chronos as it is bom in on the wings of our
chaos. When this takes place there is a syner
gy that often produces what in the end is quite

logical. That is, it is logical at the end of the
process looking back, for we would probably
never have arrived at the idea by a linear or
more logical step-by-step process. We reached
The integration of the idea through chaos. Then the idea comes
into chronos as a new "child" to be nurtured
disorder and order across time into a maturity as either a new
process, product, or system.

Chronos and chaos in the Bible
he human mind seeks to bring Think of the impact of the juxtaposition of
Richard 0.
Stenbakken order to a multitude of chaotic chaos and chronos in the Bible. In Genesis we
events in order to impart meaning begin with chaos. "Now the earth was form
and understanding and to pro less and empty. . ." That sounds like chaos to
mote survival and progress. me. But then God appears in the form of the
Perhaps I preach a sermon that is a total Spirit, and that which was chaotic now takes
flop. My mind warns me not to do that again! on form, order, and beauty. Out of chaos
It tells me that I must be a survivor in the age comes chronos: days, weeks, months, sea
of pastoral cuts and "right-sizing" in the work sons, Sabbath, worship, marriage, family,
force of the church! In the message my mind intimacy with God, and a host of riotous
gives me, there is pain and fear. The chaos cre orderliness including flora, fauna, and geo
ated by my "failure" may actually be the best physical forces. Then comes chaos again, in
thing that ever happened to me. It forces me the form of the Fall. The total creation is now
to re-evaluate my sermons, their preparation, in chaos. Weeds come where once there were
content, and delivery. This chaos may well only flowers, thorns where there were roses,
propel me toward a much better process of and back-breaking work where there had
study and preparation as well as a much bet been life-fulfilling labor. Fear of God where
ter "product" (the sermon) and thus lead me there was love. Male and female ashamed of
to be a better spokesperson for God and more being with each other: "We are naked here!
faithful to His call and my profession. Another fig leaf, please!" And the fig leaves
The message in such situations is both are humanity's way of trying feebly to bring
obscured and clear. Thus, chaos is a point of some order out of the chaos in a now frac
time that should be appreciated and valued as tured creation.
a teaching or learning opportunity in chronos But, God has a brilliant idea. Save the situ
(time). If I merely throw away chaos, or refuse ation from chaos by installing a new
to allow its lessons to penetrate my manage dimension of chronos: " 'And I will put enmi
ment of chronos and life, I will probably be ty between you and the woman, and between
Richard 0. operating on five cylinders when I could be your offspring and hers; he will crush your
Stenbakken, Ed.D, is running on eight. [Serpent's] head, and you will strike His
the director of The fact is that deliberate chaos is often the [Christ's] heel' " (Gen. 3:15). This is the first
Adventist Chaplaincy producer of fresh, new, and viable ideas. It is promise of a Savior who will come in "the full
Ministries, Genera! the invitation to a quality of growth that oth ness of time [chronos]" to ultimately and
Conference. erwise would never be. At times of chaos we finally bring order again from the chaos of

20 MINISTRY February 2001

sin's intrusion. This is in juxtaposition
to the previous state of things, which
was described by God as "very good."
This theme is as it were a chiastic
Hebraism form repeated in cycles Pre-Creation Creation
through the rest of the Bible. (See the
list at right for a summary of some of
Fall Promised Messiah (at the right time)
the Old Testament examples of it.) Pre-Flood/Flood Noah and new beginnings (note the
As if that isn't enough, look at the time references)
New Testament. God comes to a
young woman (the least of her cul
Babel's tower Table of nations
ture) to tell her of a plan in chronos Polytheism Abraham called to serve The One God
to bring forth a Child conceived of
the Holy Spirit to cure the chaos of Lot captured Lot rescued
the aeons. Think for a moment of her No heir for Abraham Isaac " ' , ,.. : , ' . ' ;';' . : ;v"C: ':-;.":''':.b:
chaos! After all, an unwed mother of
her day was a candidate for death by jps^plh th Becorties second to
stoning. And Joseph is wondering fn:
about all this. His beloved Mary, with
whom he has been a total gentleman,
is now pregnant, and he knows it was
not of his doing. Talk about chaos! It
is only through the intervention of
an angel that his chaos comes to have (and already has in God's grace) come married couples can experience
meaning in chronos (Matt. 1:20-24). into chronoseven now. severe chaos in their relationships
These events are not mere sleight Let's go back to the illustration and yet use that very chaos to devel
of hand or radical refraining of facts. above on dealing with sermon prepa op an even stronger marriage as they
They are part of a pattern of bringing ration and delivery. If there had not move through it and learn from it,
chaos and chronos into balance. In been the chaos of a poorly preached finally coming to a vibrant renewal.
due time, according to Scripture, sermon, I would probably not have Similarly, some congregations can
chronos will win over chaos. The any red-hot stimulus to be creative go through a traumatic event and
guarantee was set in motion when and innovative in developing new come out more healthy than before,
the minions of hell shouted, "Crucify and better ways to preach. That, in and other congregations will be utter
Him! Crucify Him!" And Christ turn, could well have propelled me ly destroyed by the same or a similar
slumped dead on the cross to be into the molasses of mediocrity, and event. On a personal note, this is
placed in a borrowed tomb (chaos). It could even have led to my ultimate why, in the utter carnage and chaos
was ratified when consistent with removal from ministry. of combat during my time in
chronos He burst from that tomb With the mind-set of keeping a Vietnam, I could come to a personal
establishing a whole new creation. balance between chaos and chronos, epiphany embracing both the precar-
and the ability to seriously look at iousness and preciousness of life.
Chaos and chronos and my chaos and mine new diamonds out of Making applications of this princi
ministry its rubble, I can move beyond chaos ple of life is an excitingly productive
Now the great theological ques into a new and ever-renewing way to seek controlled chaos through
tion: So what? What does this theme chronos. More than that, I have a group or individual brainstorming.
of chaos and chronos have to do with view that allows me to minister to We can mine the diamonds out of the
my ministry Monday morning? people in chaos and help them dis uninviting rockthe totally unpre
Interesting, but is it practical? Yes, I cover newness and renewal where dictable chaos that inevitably visits
think it is not only practical, but vital. there is fear, despair, and desperation. our best laid plans. Doing so will be a
Knowing that chaos can be focused The psychologically and spiritually personal, and sometimes profound,
or refocused into meaningfulness in healthy mind moves beyond being application of Isaiah 43:18, 19 "Forget
chronos is what ministry and minis stuck in present or past chaos. Those the former things; do not dwell on the
tering the gospel is all about. It keeps who are so impressed by the power of past [chaos]. See, I am doing a new
me from being frozen in chaos and chaos that they cannot or will not thing! Now it [chronos] springs up; do
invites me to examine chaos for the move on, remain in a chaotic and you not perceive it? I am making a
possibilities and newness, which can destructive state. That is why some way. ..." ISl

February 2001 MINISTRY 21

this verse and the rest of the chapter explains
the fourfold formula of church growth both
locally and globally.
The key word is devoted, which means to
persevere, to give constant attention to, to
remain firm. The KJV and NKJV use the
phrase continued steadfastly. Members of the
New Testament church would not be shaken.
They would not be divided. They stood firm
in their convictions. They devoted them
selves to four particular principles of church
life and growth.

How can the

The apostles' teaching
First, they devoted themselves to the apos
tles' teachings. This involves both knowing

church grow?
the Word of God as well as living the Word. The
apostles' teachings centered in the essentials,
such as the love of God; the plan of salvation;
the centrality of the crucified, risen, and
soon-coming Jesus; the hope of resurrection;

and the lifestyle that the gospel called for in
hurch growth has dominated the lives of the disciples. The members of the
Gnanaraj Kore
the functions of the world church met together (verse 46) to learn the
church in recent times, provid Word, and their lives became one with the
ing a giant leap in evangelism Word.
and outreach, and taking the Today many members do not know what
gospel to unentered areas around the world. they believe and why they believe. Even the
Church leadership and laity have invested central teachings of Jesus affecting our daily
enormous resources in this growth. Results life seem neglected in many circles. Often the
have been good. New outposts and new Sabbath itself seems not to celebrate its pri
churches have been established. mary emphasis in God as Creator and
But what about growth in existing church Redeemer, and is often either ignored or rele
es? Are they growing or are they largely gated to mere ritual. Lifestyle issues do not
stagnated, with only the children of the con stand out to reflect what God's grace can do
gregation constituting the major increase? to transform lives as models of citizens of the
Are the new members added in the existing coming kingdom. On the contrary, the early
churches the result of a living witness in the church believed the Word of God and stood
surrounding community? Do the church firm for it. There was oneness in their belief.
records indicate honest membership figures, We cannot do any less.
or are there names that are not even trace
able? Fellowship
Second, the early church was noted for fel
Four New Testament principles of lowship with the Lord as well as with one
church growth another. How much fellowship do we have as
The New Testament church gives us twin a church today? Do our churches provide an
pictures of church growth. While individual atmosphere where both members and visitors
church grew daily (Acts 2:47), the evangelistic eagerly await getting together? I know of
Gnanaraj Kore is the thrust of taking the gospel to unentered areas churches where worshipers would rather not
director of Sabbath
went about with vision and vigor. How was look at one another.
School and Personal
this possible? In my early ministry I pastored a small vil
Ministries of the
Southern Asia The answer is found in Acts 2:42: "They lage church. On the first Sabbath of the new
Division of Seventh- devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching year, the Sabbath School superintendent
day Adventists, and to the fellowship, to the breaking of invited me to read Isaiah 58. I went up and
Hosur, India. bread and to prayer" (NIV). A careful study of read, "Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise

22 MINISTRY February 2001

your voice like a trumpet. Declare to and for the completion of the mis church that prays grows. Fervent and
my people their rebellion and to the sion that the Lord of the table has left earnest prayer is the greatest need of
house of Jacob their sins" (verse 1, for us. the church today. We need to pray for
NIV). the power of the Holy Spirit.
I found out later that the Sabbath Prayer A geologist studying the strata of
School superintendent's family in my Fourth, the early church spent rock under St. Paul's Cathedral in
church and another family were at much time in praying together as a London reported that the church
odds with each other. My reading of body (Acts 4:31; 12:5,12; 13:3). Much building is moving down Fleet Street
Isaiah 58 was seen by each of these of the strength of the early church at the rate of one inch every 1,000
two families as a message appropriate was because of prayer and fasting. years. A reader of the report com
to the other, who should be shown Nothing works as well as time spent mented, "The church ought to move
their sins and rebellion. In all of this, in prayerin small groups, in homes, faster than that."
when one family came to the church, in schools. Intercessory prayer for The church will move fast, will be
the other wouldn't. What kind of fel others is a power that, by and large, vibrant, and will grow if it follows
lowship can exist in a church like we have not tapped. When we inter these four simple New Testament
that? cede for others, when we confess our growth steps. Let us be challenged to
Fellowship must not stop with just sins in prayer, when we meet togeth find ways of putting them into prac
singing "What a fellowship, what a er to seek God's will, there is power. A tice in our congregations, m
joy divine," but must transform the
lives of Christ's body and create such
a unity that the community will take
note that here are a people of differ
ent backgrounds and interests who
can live and worship togetherin
Christ's name.

Breaking bread together

Third, the disciples devoted them
selves to the breaking of bread "from
house to house, .. . with gladness and
singleness of heart" (Acts 2:46).
Breaking bread can mean both the
observance of the Lord's Supper and
also having a communal meal. The
New Testament church strongly
believed in the brotherhood of all ooking for ministry
believers, without any class difference.
Eating together symbolized their ideas and materials?>'.'*' Le
oneness, a family created by the sav
ing power of the risen Jesus. Potlucks Adventist PlusLine
may bring us together in a social way,
but such get-togethers must create a We specialize iri
family spirit. The observance of the
Lord's Supper must transcend mere people with
routine to actually become the occa
sion for what was meant in the
and ministry
beginning: a gathering of people who
together acknowledge their sinner-
hood and find strength as a
congregation in confessing corporate-
ly what God has done for them in
Jesus and their need for one another.
The Lord's table destroys every wall of Provided by your union tofeTence and'
partition and creates a commonality American Division of Sevelf-day
and oneness for the glory of the Cross

February 2001 MINISTRY 23

Shortly afterward a visiting speaker to their
church told how God had restored to him the
use of his legs. When the testimony was over,
there was an invitation to "come forward and
be healed." Larry and Lucky were present
with Wes and his two little sisters. When no
one made for the front, a woman in the pew
behind them leaned forward and said, "Don't
you know the Lord wants that sweet little boy
to get well? If he were my son, I'd do every
thing I could for him!"
After that, Wesley, with his parents, went
forward. The healing service was impressive.

Promised a
Wes "felt something" and was sure he had
been healed.
When they reached home, Larry said,

"We're gonna believe this all the way! We're
gonna fast! We're gonna read our Bibles!
We're gonna pray! We're gonna strengthen
our faith till there's no room for doubt!"
In the days that followed, certain practical

issues had to be addressed:
f you had half the faith in the Lord that Lucky: "What if Wes shows signs of sugar?
David N. Marshall
you place in doctors and needles, I Should we stop the insulin?"
believe that boy would get well." How Larry: "He won't."
would you react if you had a sick son Lucky: "He has to have his insulin. He'll
and someone said that to you? get sick."
Well, Larry and Lucky Parker did have a Larry: "The Scriptures promise healing.
sick son8-year-old Wesley, a diabeticand God has to stand on His Word."
those words were said to them. Each morning Wes continued to test for
As you identify with their situation, do you sugar, which continued to be high. One
feel yourself pulled two ways? morning Larry grew agitated: "You show
Larry and Lucky were members of a symptoms because Satan has put them there
"charismatic" congregation. They heard heal to test our faith. We're gonna show our grati
ing stories in church regularly. After one such tude for this healingby believing in it!"
story a well-intentioned group of women Larry and Lucky persistently affirmed the
turned to Lucky and said, "We're going to do miracle in church services. Wes, with his par
the same for Wesley." ents' permission, began to eat unwisely.
Lucky was hesitant. "Well, I do believe the Standing with the fridge door open one day,
Lord will heal Wes one day ..." But the his father said, holding the needles and
women's group was up and racing. Wesley's insulin, "I guess we don't need these any
healing was made the number-one priority in more." It all went into the garbage bin.
their prayer circle. "There's nothing He won't But Wesley continued to feel ill. Lucky
do if you just show Him you have faith," they confessed to her women's prayer group
told Larry and Lucky. "moments of doubt." The response? "Oh,
The well-intentioned women's group, with Lucky, I wouldn't throw doubt in the face of
Lucky in its midst, met in a home. They God's miracle! It's blasphemy! Let's get some
worked themselves up by an almost frenzied prayer power working."
singing of Gospel hymns. Then there was a Wesley was obviously ill, and his condition
prayer session in which all spoke (shouted?) was deteriorating. However, believing that to
David N. Marshall, at once, one voice louder than the rest. First admit symptoms would be to show a lack of
Ph.D.. is Editor-in- they demanded Wesley's healing in the name faith, he tried his best to prevent his parents
Chief, Stanborough of Jesus, and then they chanted, "Hear us, from realizing just how sick he was. There
Press, Grantham, Lamb of God," so many times that they lost came a time when Larry wanted Wes to go
England. track of time. back to the insulin. At that exact moment

24 MINISTRY February 2001

Lucky, with her entire prayer group in their local congregation, had a totally servant shall be healed," he said. Jesus
tow, entered Wesley's sickroom. "It's wrong idea about faith. responded, "I have not found so great
because of our doubts, Larry," said faith, no, not in Israel."
Lucky. "Wes, you will be healed What is faith? Do you remember the story of a
because we've got faith." So what is faith? Yes, I know you Canaanite woman when Jesus and
Leaving the house, one of the can recite Hebrews 11:1. But how His disciples were in the vicinity of
members of the women's prayer circle would you explain the meaning of Tyre and Sidon? The woman sought
said to Larry, "Wes would have been faith to a child? help for her daughter "tormented by
healed a long time ago if you'd had One word that is foundational to a devil." Jesus tested her to see how
enough faith." the Christian's experience is depend much she trusted. When she contin
A few days later Wes died. ence. The Christian life is a life of ued to press her case, He said
Amazingly, Larry and Lucky didn't dependence on God. We use three "Woman, what faith you have! Be it
lose heart. For months they had been different words to describe that as you wish!" (Matt. 15:28, NEB).
randomly selecting verses of Scripture dependent relationship: belief, faith, Jesus invariably commended peo
and claiming them as promises. and trust. ple for their faith. Remember the
Before Wes's death they had read the These days belief implies no more story of the healing of the women
story of the raising of Lazarus. Hence, than a grasp and acceptance of the with the flow of blood (Matt. 9:18-
when Wes died, they believed that facts. It is merely mental assent. 22)? Then there were the men who let
God would show His power by resur James 2:19 says that the devils have the paralytic down through the roof
recting him. They even delayed the this kind of belief, and it terrifies (Luke 5:18-26).
funeral until the 8-year-old boy had them! From the use that Jesus made of the
been dead for four days. Then they So what about faith? Remember word faith, here and elsewhere, is it
prolonged the funeral, waiting for the story of the centurion in Matthew possible to find another word closer to
God to act. 8:5-10? "Speak the word only and my the biblical meaning of dependence
A few days later Larry and Lucky
Parker were arrested and charged with
second-degree murder.
The members of the women's Honoring Evangelistic
prayer circle were conspicuous by
their absence now.
In the ensuing trial, the pastor was
evasive about the whole thing.
However, a bumbling attorney man
aged to present to the jury a picture of
R ecently the Ministerial Association joined with the Voice of Prophecy and West
Point of Evangelism to honor the life and memory of several individuals for their
personal contribution to soul-winning: George Atiga (fourth from left), for evan
a couple who, with the best inten gelism and coordination of Asian ministries and evangelism; Connie Vandeman
tions in the world, had brought about Jeffery (seventh from left), daughter of honoree George Vandeman, founder of It Is
the death of their son. Written telecast; Virginia Fagel (seventh from right), co-founder of Faith for Today
Lucky and Larry Parker were found telecast; Doug Batchelor (fifth from right), speaker for Amazing Facts, who received
guilty. But the judge, having listened the plaque honoring Amazing Facts' founder, Joe Crews; George Rainey (fourth
carefully to the defense, sentenced from right), for evangelism and metropolitan ministry. Honoree not pictured:
them to five years' probation. Kenneth Cox, for evangelism and pioneering multi-media techniques.
All this happened back in 1973.
During their five years on probation,
the Parkers wrote a book entitled We
Let Our Son Die. Recently the book
was made into a film/video entitled
Promised a Miracle.
In the book, the sense that Larry
Parker makes of the situation is that
they had put their faith before love.
But having read the story and
checked into some of its details, I
believe that the lesson to be learned
from the death of 8-year-old Wesley
Parker is that his parents, egged on by

February 2001 MINISTRY 25

upon God? Let's face it, nowadays himself, and no longer looking to tive thinking. It is this audacious pos
faith has come to mean positive himself.... He does not look at what itive thinking that makes people
thinking. This, of course, was the he hopes to be as a result of his own believe that what they want to hap
problem with Larry and Lucky Parker. efforts. He looks entirely to the Lord pen is what is going to happen, that if
They were the victims of a particular Jesus Christ and His finished work, they can find anything in Scripture
ly audacious form of religion in which and he rests on that alone." 1 that looks like a promise, they can
positive thinking is all. Does anyone Our relationship with God in all grab it and claim it for their own.
have the right to demand that God aspects of our lifeand this includes "The Lord would have you trust in His
should heal someone? The Parkers sickness as well as salvationis to be love and mercy amid clouds and dark
and their friends believed that they characterized by trust and complete ness, as well as in the sunshine."4
had that right. They believed too that dependence. "Faith includes not It is natural for us to prefer the
God's willingness, or otherwise, to only belief but trust." 2 "Faith is trust story of Daniel in the lions' den to the
accede to their demands was entirely ing God." 3 story of John the Baptist. It is equally
dependent upon their own ability to natural for us to be prepared to parrot
work up or manufacture enough Trust and surrender Hebrews 11:1 and the first half of the
faith/positive thinking. That's why Trust is being content to depend on chapter that followswhile ignoring
Larry said, "We're gonna believe this someone else. It involves surrender; the second half. Do you recall the sec
all the way." He was going to fast, read for salvation we must surrender our ond half, the part that comes after the
his Bible, and pray until he felt he had sins and our sin-tainted efforts to stories of God's deliverance? "Others
the right to force God to heal his son. achieve what is beyond our capacity were tortured and refused to be
On one occasion Larry said, "The to achieve; and in all aspects of life released, so that they might gain a
Scriptures promise healing. God has including sicknesswe must sur better resurrection. Some faced jeers
to stand on His Word." Where do the render all to God. and flogging, while still others were
Scriptures promise that in every situa The dependent Christian does not chained up and put in prison. They
tion God's people have the right to demand healing for himself or for were stoned" (verses 35-37, NIV). And
demand and receive divine healing? anyone else; he places the situation, remember the end of the chapter:
This perception of faith as auda in trust, in the hands of the One who "These were all commended for their
cious positive thinking is an aspect of knows what is best. faith, yet none of them received what
the modern Christian scene that the The phrase "Let go, let God" is had been promised. God had planned
devil is taking full advantage of. more than a corny American bumper something better" (verses 39, 40,
sticker. Genuine faith or trust lets go. NIV).
Trust and dependence And letting go takes trust. And how Roger Morneau's Incredible Answers
I would like to suggest that wher does trust come? to Prayer has just had its seventh
ever in Scripture you find the word "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, printing at the Review and Herald.
belief or faith, you can substitute the peace, longsuffering, gentleness, I'm glad. Morneau's wonderful life of
word trust and come much closer to goodness, faith [trust], meekness, prayer and intercession is a marvelous
grasping the meaning of the passage. temperance" (Gal. 5:22, 23). The example of the faith-as-trust model in
The Greek word for faith is pistis, and Bible invariably presents faith/trust as action.
the verb form is pisteuo. Neither word a fruit or gift. It is never something Praise God that having abandoned
has to do with grasping and accept we can work up or manufacture. their efforts to manipulate Him, Larry
ing the facts (belief) or how the Everyone has a measure of it (Rom. and Lucky Parker matured in their
modern charismatic uses faith (posi 12:3), but we cannot work to produce Christian experience and in their
tive thinking). These Greek words go it. You don't work on fruit. You don't understanding of faith. I pray that
much further than that. They imply work for a gift. You put your effort when I face the crises of life, I may be
the idea of trust, reliance upon, and into coming into the presence of the given the gift of trust, the capacity to
allegiance to. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Giver and accepting the gift provided. leave all things, whatever they are, in
says, "Faith ... is not merely an intel the hands of the One who knows
lectual awareness of the truth, or Using Scripture correctly what is best for me. M
even an intellectual acceptance of To pick a text out of Scripture at
the truth. You can have that and still random, wrench it out of context, and
1 Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans, 45.
be without faith. Faith means a real demand that God honor it by a mira 2 Ellen G. White, Selected Messages (Hagerstown,
trusting in Him and what He has cle in your life is not to use Scripture Md.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn.. 1958). 1:389.
3 , Education (Nampa, Idaho: Pacific Press? Pub.
done on our behalf and for our salva legitimately. This practice is an aspect
Assn., 1903), 253.
tion. . . . The man who has faith is of modern charismatic religion that 4 , Testimonies for the Church (Nampa, Idaho:
the man who is no longer looking at has replaced faith-as-trust with posi Pacific Press? Pub. Assn., 1948), 2:274.

26 MINISTRY February 2001


obert Schuller, in one of his devo tion, people who kept their faith right
tional books, recounts the up to their last agonizing breath.
heart-breaking story of his daugh Should 1 celebrate less for Rhonda
ter's motorcycle accident in which the because others, equally worthy, were
beautiful young woman lost a leg.
JUDITH A. THOMAS not healed? Of course not. If God's
Receiving the news while overseas ways are not my ways, then surely there
speaking, he immediately flew home are spiritual and mental changes that
with his wife. In anger and desperation, are needed that may be less miraculous
he unbuckled his seat belt in the middle than physical healing, even if I'm not
of the flight and walked to the lavatory. aware of all the implications involved.
As he stood in front of the mirror with Perhaps my associate who had quality
tears streaming down his face, he audi time with her mother experienced a
bly articulated his praise to Cod. "Thank seemingly, no one heard or cared about miracle in her own life no less spectacu
you, God. No head injury, no internal their fervent petitions? lar. I don't know. We just don't have all
organ involvement. She is not para Or, perhaps, are we asking the the answers.
lyzed. She lost only her leg. Hallelujah, wrong question? Donna (whose moth Robert Schuller's daughter, Donna's
anyway!" er had died of cancer) says that the last mother, Rhondaall are beloved of the
"Hallelujah, anyway"? days of caring for her mother were God who gave His one and only Son so
How many of us, facing stark among the most profound spiritual that no matter happens to us here,
tragedy, could cry out such a thing? times she, Donna, had ever experi now, we can all have the ultimate qual
Recently, the organization where I enced. She learned so much spiritually ity of an everlasting life with Him. And
work mourned the death of a key asso that she could have never learned with to that I cry, "Hallelujah!" m
ciate's motherto cancer. Despite our out going through that experience.
fervent, heartfelt prayers, the woman I agree. I have had my faith strength Judith A. Thomas is an Adventist professional
died. ened by good people who, despite pain laity leader and serves as president of
"Hallelujah, anyway"? and loss, died with courage and convic J. A. Thomas and Associates in Georgia.
Then, not long after that death,

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February 2001 M ( N I S T R Y 27

in chaos

irst the bad news. My aunt died fin lid. God's true gift of the Holy Spirit
yesterday while Sharon and I are somehow sends us comfort in the midst
traveling a third of the way around of chaos. In the firestorm of our loss, His
the globe. We have just begun our jour still, small voice communicates love and
ney and have found it is impossible to
JAMES A. CRESS concern for our need.
return for the funeral services.
As 1 have reflected and grieved over Others have suffered more.
the past few hours for the life of a While we grieve at death=s stroke
favorite relative, I'm impressed to share against our family, we grapple with the
my experience with you. comparative blessing we have experi
enced compared with someone who
Life is bad but God is good. The has lost a loved one in more tragic cir
experience of our sinful world is the "right" moment. There is no conven cumstances. What of those whose son is
reality of death and loss. Sometimes in ient date for death. And even if we a casualty of war or whose spouse is
the joy we experience with family, could schedule death's timing, few of us taken in a crushing automobile acci
friends, or transient circumstances, we would actually choose to keep the dent? What of parents whose little
forget that our lives are like grass that appointment. children suffer horrible disease or whose
withers or flowers that fade. Death's aged parents lose their memory while
crushing grasp, however, reminds us Long life is not long enough. their bodies continue to function? For
that every person is born under a When I last spoke with my aunt, she my aunt to have lived a long life,
mandatory death sentence. Although reminded me that she had already lived endured traumas, and to have also
death was not part of God's original cre beyond three-score and ten. She enjoyed her dogs and her grandchil
ation, its horrendous reality is the rejoiced in the good things that had dren, remains a blessed experience that
consequence of humanity's disobedi come her way during her life and thousands of less-fortunate would envy.
ence. Life is the promise of God's declared that she had made peace with
ultimate restoration and in the midst of the nearness of her anticipated end. Plan for the future; live today.
loss, that reality is more difficult to see Nevertheless, when the moment came, Twin challenges confront every believer.
than the grief that envelops us. her daughter, who was with her, longed How to focus on plans for the future
Assurance of His ultimate victory eases, for just one more day or even an addi while staying in touch with the tenuous
but does not eliminate the sting of pain tional hour in which to somehow cram present. Good intentions never trans
in the midst of loss. some last farewell. Perhaps one of the formed into present actions remain only
most destructive of death's results is the figments of our thoughts. Irresponsible
Death never arrives on sched lost opportunity to say anything else to anticipation of future things can stymie
ule. Although I knew that my aunt was those we love. hard work and corrective action today.
ill and even though my brothers and I Likewise, hedonistic abandonment of
had strategized how we might handle Sorrow and grief will abate in appropriate concern for ultimate things
her possible death during my travels, I time. Eventually the present pain of means a shallow, meaningless repeti
was not prepared to receive the bad loss will lessen as we who are left tion of daily life. God's challenge for his
news that she had died the very morn behind move through the various people has always been to live in keen
ing we left the United States. Even stages of grief. Such progress will be anticipation of eternity while joyfully
when death is anticipated, its apparent greatly aided by participating in a grief- embracing His blessings and benefits
finality brings a crushing load that over recovery group with others who have today.
whelms those of us who are left to recently suffered loss. At the moment,
grieve. Whether suddenly springing to however, even the assurance of Christ's Death is an enemy but rest is a
rip a family apart or dragging to con ultimate victory seems a more distant gift. My aunt's life mercifully conclud
clusion a long struggle with disease and hope than the distracting scratching of ed before the worst ravages of painful
suffering, death never comes at the shovel on earth or the thud of the cof continued on page 29

28 MINISTRY February 2001

marvelous theologya point that of those prophets are not the product
Comfort in chaos Booth makes very well. And she was a of their own work of theology.
continued from page 28
marvelous prophet, but not a theolo Regardless of the degree to which a
gian. There is nothing demeaning in prophet personally engages in theolo
deterioration or the harsh realities of saying of myself that I'm an editor, not gy, his inspired writings must be the
medical treatments destroyed all quali a theologian. I've noticed that most testimony of Jesus. For a prophet to
ty of life. Scripture describes our loving theologians aren't good editors, interject his own theological conclu
Father as giving rest to faithful followers eitherand most of us wouldn't make sions into his writings would make him
and as painful as death's separation is, very good prophets! a false prophet. "They speak a vision of
there is mercy in resting free from the Man/in Moore, Caldwell, Idaho. their own heart, and not out of the
harshest consequences of death's pro mouth of the Lord."
tracted process.

Cod's breath suffocates death.

M ay 1 express my heartfelt appreci
ation for Will Eva's editorial along
with Walter Booth's paper focusing on
It is wonderful to know that the mes
senger to the remnant church was a
thinking person who strove to properly
Our crushing enemy will ultimately be Ellen White's credentials as a theolo understand and accurately present the
crushed by our Heavenly Father's final gian. While the scope and breadth of revelations divinely given to her. Yet the
solution. As Dennis R. Bolton, pastor of her views make some academicians ability to engage in technical theology
West Columbia, South Carolina's Mt. insecure, her prodigious and effective was no more a requisite for her than for
Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church use of Scripture, in my opinion, is any other prophet . . .
says, "Just as God's breath restored life unprecedented. Ken LeBrun, pastor, Kamiah/Crangeville,
to the valley of dry bones and returned I sometimes wish I had accompanied Idaho.
to their own land (Ezek. 27), so the peo Cleopas as unaware he walked with
ple of God will resurrect into a new Jesus on the road to Emmaus when, Editorial Note: Thank you for excel
creation as the new Israel." The Creator "beginning at Moses and all the lent letters on this topic.
who first breathed life into Adam's nos prophets, He [Jesus] expounded to In writing on Mrs. White as a theolo
trils in that body which He had just them in all the scriptures the things gian, we did not feel bound by the need to
fashioned from the dust of the ground, concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27). say that Ellen White must be a theologian,
so the same Jesus will suffocate death Though unschooled, Jesus still causes but by the weight of evidence that she
and eradicate this final enemy into the men's hearts to burn within them. I sus simply was one, that it was one of her
joy of His eternal restoration. pect He would be comfortable with gifts; at least within the parameters of less
Ellen White, who was also an un academic or specialized views of what a
schooled student of the Word. theologian is. Few would deny that Paul,
Oliver Jacques, Fal/brook, California. for example, was a theologian and that
he used this theological gift and training
Letters continued from page 3

remainder of the article, Booth talks

I was pleased with the affirmative stand
taken by Eva and Booth in their respec
tive discussions of Ellen White's role as a
in writing his inspired/prophetic work.
One gift duster does not cancel out the
other. Rather, each gift enhances the
about Ellen White's theology, not her theologian. I imagine it would be con other.
qualification as a theologian. venient for someone who disagreed In connection with this line of thinking,
There's a major difference between a with Ellen White on a theological point the question may also be asked, Is some
person having a theology and being a to satisfy himself by reasoning, "After all, one in fact a theologian if there is not at
theologian. I have a definite theology she was not a theologian." least some "inspiration " or transcendency
on a variety of issues, but I do not con But while I appreciate the intent of present in the theology being done? The
sider myself a theologian. When we say both the editorial and the article, may I, subjective elements in such a question
that a person is a theologian, we mean at the risk of being simplistic, ask, "Why make it difficult to answer, but it is never
that he or she has been trained to think must she be a theologian?" Theology is theless a question that in all fairness
analytically about biblical teachings and man's attempt to understand and sys- should be tackled. A companion question
to express those conclusions very pre temize the information he gathers from would be Is Christian theology merely
cisely in order to avoid even apparent the writings of the prophets. But thinking and studying about Cod and
contradiction, insofar as possible. Ellen although the prophets themselves did "exegeting" Scripture, or does it by its
White had no such training, and her "enquire and search diligently" to nature demand something transcendent,
writing reveals clearly that she spoke understand the things that the spirit of which if absent precludes it from properly
prophetically, not with the careful preci Christ which was in them did signify being called theology and its practitioner
sion of a theologian. Ellen White has a when it testified, the published writings from being named a theologian? In other

February 2001 MINISTRY 29

words, Is theology merely an intellectual Added to this, it is difficult to deny an valuing the gift in ways never anticipated.
pursuit, as is philosophy or biochemistry? active theological or "theologian" role for Thus all its aspects need to be holistically
Most definitions or discussions of what a Ellen White when reading her Conflict of weighed in a way that we may not yet
theologian is seem to leave out this crucial the Ages series. This is especially true of have allowed or discovered. The recent dis
question. We believe that real theology or some parts of these five books, which missive tendency among some of us seems
being an authentic Christian "theologian" together make up an impressive theologi almost as simplistic and destructive as is
must include a precise, thoughtful, honest cal work, whether or not there was it's opposite: that of claiming more than
and disciplined study of Cod and the unreferenced borrowing, editing or secre was ever intended for the gift that is
Bible, as well as being true to the tran tarial assistance involved in their among us.
scendent aspects so profoundly present in composition. Another loaded yet interest
Christian truth. This combination of ing question to ask is, All things being The Dropout Dilemma
dynamics is profoundly present in the
work of Ellen G. White. This integrated or
inclusive approach to theology does
equal, would Mrs. White be more likely to
be respected as a theologian if her gender
had been male?
I was pleased to find the article
"Indicators of Ministerial Resilience:
The Dropout Dilemma" in the October
engender a considerably different product It should be said that one of our main 2000 issue.
from that which Is brought out by the intentions in addressing this issue in last For years I have had a burden for my
merely academic or intellectual approach. October's Ministry was to slow down the brothers and sisters in the Adventist
The two kinds of theology do look and feel tendency now among us of, in effect, ministry who have left our ranks due to
different from one another. But does this removing almost any definitive role for the unresolved issues in their lives. While
difference justly preclude us calling the gift given Seventh-day Adventists in the pastoral ministry has never been easy,
integrated theology "theology" or the one work of Mrs. White. the pressures and realities of the times
doing it "a theologian?" We don't think it Based upon the substantive questions in which we are living have complicated
does; not in Ellen White's case at least. that have surfaced about Mrs. White's use the role of the pastor tremendously.
As mentioned in last October's editori of sources, editors and secretaries it has Our current ministerial dropout rate
al, persuasive to the case for Mrs. White as become an expanding, politically correct is unacceptable, in my opinion. While I
theologian is an open-minded look at the inclination in broadening circles to decry realize that not everyone who enters the
precision with which she wrote on subjects any definitive role for Mrs. White's work ministry will or should stay, studies by
such as the nature of Christ. In looking among us. Even the devotional value of individuals such as Doctors Bynum and
carefully into the actual content and tone Mrs. White's work is to all intents and pur Clark indicate that we have a serious
of this aspect of her writing it is hard to poses appreciably diminished in the problem facing us.
conclude that Mrs. White was merely Church by this tendency. I thank God for ministries such as
developing or writing a theology. No, the When due weight is given to all the the Barnabas Center in North Carolina,
evidence reveals that in such cases her the rather complex dynamics surrounding the which are reaching out to ministers
ological writing contains the precision phenomenon of Ellen White, people on all and their families who are hurting. .. .
elegance, thrust and focus of a theologian. sides of the matter may find themselves We have a moral obligation to try to
save as many for continued service as
we can. . . . Aside from the human
costs, when ministers leave denomina
Common Sense Ministry tional service prematurely, the money
invested in that person's education and
training is largely lost to the Church.
Discover real-life approaches to The problem needs to be addressed
successful ministry for laity and pastoral common at every level, from college ministerial
leaders with action-packed, practical
solutions born from the crucible of
sense i training programs to the General
Conference Ministerial Department.
ministry on the edge of the new century. While we can't save everyone, I believe
we can save many more than we now
Ministerial Association Resource Center Let's put the best minds in our
12501 Old Columbia Pike Silver Spring MD 20904 Movement together and come up with
Phone: 1.888.771.0738 (toll-free) or 301.680.6508
a plan for ministering to our ministers
Fax: 301.680.6502 James A. Cr who have been wounded.... The min
istry saved may be our own! SI
Bob Burns, chaplain,
Also available at your local ABC
Celebration/Kissimmee, Florida.

30 MINISTRY February 2001


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