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The Baptist Pietist CLARION

Vol. 14, No. 1 • In essentials unity • In non-essentials liberty • In everything charity • Feb. 2017

Edited by G. William Carlson, Professor Emeritus of History and Political Science at Bethel University; and
Ron Saari, retired Senior Pastor at Central Baptist Church (
Previous issues can be found at

Tribute Edition for
• G. W. Carlson (1943–2016) •

An Introduction to this Edition of A Note from
the Baptist Pietist Clarion Cathy Carlson
Pastor Joel Lawrence, Senior Pastor, utes that were given to Bill at his memorial In 2002, G. William Carlson and Ron Saari
Central Baptist Church, St Paul, MN | Greet- service, as well as some others that have been established the Baptist Pietist Clarion (BPC)
ings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. received. It is fitting that the articles which as a means to preserve the pietistic heritage
February 12, 2017, marked the one-year were gathered by Bill for a 2016 volume of the Baptist General Conference (now
anniversary of the passing of William “G.W.” represent a range of topics dear to his heart: Converge Worldwide).  Bill wanted to give
Carlson. At the time of his passing, Bill was pietistic prayer, Baptist identity, religious voice to those leaders of the faith who, in
working on, and nearly finished with, a new liberty in America, and Bethel history. We've various ways, could effectively communicate
edition of the Baptist Pietist Clarion. Follow- also included several pieces written by Bill pietistic principles.  The motto, “In essentials
ing his death, a number of people, including that round out his varied interests: non- unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things
myself, Bill’s good friend Ron Saari, and violent peace witness, remembering radical charity”, was dear to his heart.
another close friend and collaborator, Ted Baptists, and the theme of forgiveness. As At the time of his death in February of
Lewis, decided that we wanted to conclude we remember Bill and all he stood for, we 2016, Bill was working on the next edition. 
Bill’s work on that edition of the Clarion and hope that his legacy will find new ways to He had contacted a number of individuals
have it published. However, we also felt that it continue in our world. to write on specific topics and had received
would be fitting if this some rough drafts.  My thanks to Joel Law-
edition of the Clarion rence and Ted Lewis for taking those drafts
would serve also as and completing this edition of The BPC. 
a memorial edition Thank you to all of you who have written
giving tribute to Bill’s articles for the BPC and who have supported
many years of work for and encouraged Bill in this endeavor over the
pietism through the past 15 years.  Perhaps someone out there
Baptist Pietist Clarion. would like to take on this project and con-
So, what you have tinue the publication.  He would be pleased
in your hands includes if you did!
two different sets of
writings: First, the ar-
ticles that were being
prepared for publica-
tion at the time of Bill’s
death are included
here toward the end
of this edition. Sec-
ond, we have gathered
some of the many trib-
The History of the Baptist Pietist Clarion Contents
Ron Saari | The sion about Christ. It affirms personal spiri- 1 An Introduction to this Edition of the
B a p t i s t P i e t i s t tual regeneration through an emphasis of BPC | Joel Lawrence
Clarion was an being born again. It affirms personal piety
A Note from Cathy Carlson | Cathy
outgrowth of the by the strengthening of the inner person Carlson
divine foreknowl- through prayer and study. It affirms holy
edge (or Openness living by emphasizing experiential Chris- 2 The History of the Baptist Pietist
of God) debate tianity where it is not just known, but it is Clarion | Ron Saari
within the denom- lived out daily. It is both head and heart. 3 Looking Out the Window: 2002
ination which took place in the 1990s. At Perhaps one of the greatest attributes Commencement Prayer by GW
the beginning there was an uncertain truce of Pietism is the way it engages those Carlson | G. William Carlson
between the competing factions in the of differing perspectives. Pietists affirm
4 I Was a Stranger | Chris Gehrz
debate. One side, the Concerned Pastors, when it comes to doctrine: “In essentials,
had the advantage of “Desiring God Pub- unity — in non-essentials, liberty — in The Soul of a Prophet | Joel Lawrence
lications.” The Committed Pastors needed everything, charity.” Bill understood there
6 Civility with Spice | Ted Lewis
a way to provide some balance and to keep are a breadth of theological and political
our message in front of the positions in the church and in Tribute from a Friend | Ron Saari
constituency, and hence, academic life. He often
7 G.W. | Angela Shannon
the birth of the “The In essentials said to me, “Try to find
Baptist Pietist Clar- ways for a win-win so- 8 Tribute from a Daughter | Sara Koehn
ion” which lasted UNITY lution to conflict and
9 Tribute from a Son | Ian Carlson
from 2002 to 2016 In non-essentials problems.”
with approximately Bill lived out 10 Tribute from a Grandson |
a dozen volumes. LIBERTY the perspective of Alex Koehn
The Baptist Pietist In everything win-win in the po-
11 A New Way to Pray | Terri Hansen
clarion was a journal litical arena as well.
developed by G.W. CHARITY Another saying he of- 12 Radical Baptists: It Takes One to
Carlson that exercised ten relied on was to “keep Know One | G. William Carlson
his talents as a scholar, his- your enemies as friends”
Why I Still Call Myself A…Baptist |
torian, and writer, and at the same because you will never know when you Roger Olson
time gave expression to his personal faith. will need them to build a coalition. On
As a college student, he wrestled with more than one occasion I observed him 13 Pulpits and Politics Don’t Mix | Glen
Reformed theology. In consultation with sitting down for a meal with a political Scorgie
Doc. Dalton, a Bethel History Professor, opponent. 14 Baptist Joint Committee: Just Another
he was pointed towards pietism and there Within the BGC, now Converge World- Pulpit Freedom Sunday | Don Byrd
he found the home for his faith. wide, is a trait known as an irenic spirit. It
15 The Choral History of Bethel Choirs |
Bill grew up as a BGC kid. The roots of refers to a gentleness towards others who
Dennis Port
the BGC are anchored in Pietistic theology. have differing points of view. It is some-
His family was loyal to the denomination times criticized as being too non-confron- 18 Living as Forgiven People: Ten
and hence his choice of Bethel as a place tational or non-committal. I describe it as Principles of Authentic Forgiveness |
to study and grow was natural. History a heart-felt warmth that prizes the value G. William Carlson
became his chosen field and as a young of each individual as made in the image
teacher at Bethel he became established of God. It is that trait of warmth which
as a beloved teacher. There he had the op- values the individual that I observed in
portunity to shape the lives of many young Bill Carlson every time I was with him.
adults. I believe it was part of his Pietist Baptist All 16
What made pietism so attractive to Bill? framework. I, for one, am glad I got to Baptist Pietist Clarion
It fits well within the Baptist framework. experience it first hand! volumes can be
It affirms sole competency by stressing the accessed online at:
need for every individual to make a deci-

Looking Out the Window: Afterword to Windows
A Prayer by GW Carlson at Bethel’s 2002 Commencement Prayer by Ted Lewis
G. William Carlson (Compiled by Ted Lewis) Four years after Bill Carlson wrote and spoke
this commencement prayer, he wrote a short
It is the end of the school year, Lord, and we have the opportunity to reflect on our experi- article that sheds more light on the meaning
ences as mutual learners. Over the past year I have had the opportunity to reflect on the of ‘looking out the window.’ This 2006 piece
joys of “gazing out the window…” was later printed in the Baptist Pietist Clari-
on (March 2012). The title of the article was,
As I looked out the window, this spring, I see:
“Asking Good Questions: Intentionalizing
Winter (sorta) turning into spring;
Our Spiritual and Academic Journey?” After
Children riding big wheels down the sidewalk;
highlighting Dr. Elving Anderson’s penchant
People dashing with coats flapping, trying to meet the bus;
for asking good questions, Carlson reflected
An immigrant Hmong family trying to make it in their new country.
on how Philip Hallie, author of his all-time
On this day of celebration, Lord, may we be Christians who, after we look out the window: favorite book, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed,
Celebrate the glories of the creation; was deeply moved as a non-Christian ethicist
Engage children with the love and message of Jesus Christ; to ask new and daring questions about the
Work and play using well the gifts that you have given to each of us; moral courage of Christians. The historical
Compassionately respond to people who hurt and reach out to those who suffer. example of Andre Trocme’s mobilization
of Le Chambon villagers to assist the Jews
Lord, recently I have become overwhelmed by two stories of Christians and the windows safely to Switzerland was one of Bill Carlson’s
in their lives; stories that I have shared with students in my classes this spring. A former greatest archetypal illustrations of Christian
President of the Southern Baptist Convention asked a Holocaust survivor what she re- ethics-in-action throughout church history.
membered most about her experience. She said the “empty windows.” As she walked down After listing the seven core features of
the streets on her journey to the concentration camps she looked up and saw only empty courageous Christian dissenters, (see “Radi-
windows. Where were the members of the community who she had previously known and cal Baptists: It Takes One To Know One” in
loved? No one was watching. this Clarion volume), Carlson concluded the
In a second story, a philosophy professor cried when he read the account of a lone, young article by referencing an essay by Jimmy Allen,
Jewish boy sitting in a bus to be taken away to a concentration camp from the French vil- a former President of the Southern Baptist
lage of La Chambon. The Christian children of the community passed precious pieces of Convention. Allen makes a connection be-
chocolate to him through the window. They were unwilling to let him be alone. tween the “tears of Jesus” as mentioned in the
triumphal entry passage and the lack of tears
Lord, may we, this day, be the people of God who are always willing to intentionally look for Alice Gahana, the Holocaust survivor who
out the window; walked through her town toward the concen-
tration camp trains while noticing the vivid
Lord, may we, this day, be the people of God who never let those who
absence of people looking out of their own
experience oppression pass by without being observed;
windows. No one came to see her. The tears
Lord, may we, this day, be the people of God who pass “pieces of chocolate” of God, states Allen, are often “falling today
through the window to people who hurt; because we are not even going to the windows
to see the people who are hurting today. We
Lord, may we, this day, be the people of God who use the gifts that we have don’t want to know. And God cries.”
developed over the past few years to live out the healing presence of Christ. Carlson then finished his article with this
Lord, we ask you to bless this ceremony and all who participate. Amen. profound statement: “Therefore, an eighth
characteristic of ‘courageous’ Christians is that
they intentionally look out the windows. They
(printed in the 2nd Baptist Pietist Clarion, June 2002) cry when they encounter economic and social
injustice. They live out the gospel of reconcili-
ation.” He then brought the article full-circle
by recalling Jesus’ question to Peter, “Who do
you say that I am?” Engaging this question,
for Carlson, was the “starting point for a life
of courageous Christian discipleship.” True
faith leads to following a true example.

I Was a Stranger (For GW Carlson)
Chris Gehrz | My in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When What a word: welcome. What a word, and
first conversation did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit how thoughtlessly we often say it, without
with G.W. Carlson you?’” “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, realizing the healing it describes and enacts.
took place two weeks whatever you did for one of the least of these Truly, when we welcome the stranger, we are
shy of fourteen years brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” saying, “It is well that you have come.” It is
ago: I was in town (Matt 25:37-40, NIV) well: what was sick is being made healthy;
for my brother’s wed- “When did we see you a stranger and invite persons who were broken are being made
ding, and a cousin of you in…?” Truly, I once was a stranger — to whole. For what else is the Fall but for this:
mine insisted that I meet her favorite Bethel Bethel, to Christian higher education, to created for relationship, we were made
professor. So there I was…not quite know- social justice, to Pietism — and GW invited strangers — to our Creator and to each
ing what to make of the man, the beard, the me in. other? By sin, we see God and everyone
books, or his displeasure at learning that I’d Loudly, imperfectly, joyfully, he invited in made in his image with fear and suspicion
attended a private school in the suburbs rather so many more people who might otherwise rather than awe and wonder.
than a public school in St. Paul. Half an hour have felt strangers to this place and to the joy But by grace, we replace estrangement
later we parted company, joking that maybe of learning, to his church and denomination, with reconciliation. What else is our mis-
I’d be asking him for a job someday, but pretty to his neighborhood and city and country. sion but this? Because Christ “died for
sure that we’d never see each other again. To Bethel he invited in students and faculty all, that those who live should no longer
Thousands and thousands of conversa- of color: brothers and sisters in Christ who live for themselves,” the Apostle Paul ad-
tions later….Our last one took place three too often are made to feel like strangers in monishes that we ought to “regard no one
weeks ago today in the intensive care unit this community by people like me. He in- from a worldly point of view.” We ought to
at St. Joe’s. It was the first time that I could vited in young women made to feel strange regard no one, not black or white, male or
honestly describe GW as “nonresponsive.” It by other Christians for their intellectual female, Christian or Muslim, native-born
was the first time that I would have more to curiosity, their abilities as athletes, or their or immigrant, Democrat or Republican, in-
say in a conversation than he did. The first calls to pastoral ministry. To his church he deed, no one as the strangers that the world
time and the last. I think we all had some invited in homeless from the neighborhood sees.
sense that it might be my farewell, so Cathy, and immigrants from the other side of the Friends, “the new creation has come.” God
Sara, and Gwen were kind enough to go for world. To his own spiritual formation, he has “reconciled us to himself through Christ
a walk while I held GW’s hand and prayed invited in Christians whose perspectives and and [given] us the ministry of reconciliation”
desperately for the right words to say. At last, practices most Baptists and evangelicals saw (2 Cor 5:15-18, NIV). So I pray that you hear
I pulled out my phone, opened a Bible app, as strange, if not worse. again the call — in GW’s booming, Jersey
and called up a passage I knew was meaning- “I was a stranger,” said Jesus, “and you voice may you hear the call — to invite in
ful to him from Matthew 25: invited me in” (Matt 25:35b, NIV). the stranger and say to them the words that
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, Or as the NRSV puts it, Jesus the stranger no doubt greeted our friend when he entered
when did we see you hungry and feed you, was “welcomed” whenever GW welcomed the presence of our Lord: “It is well that you
or thirsty and give you something to drink? a stranger to his mind, his classroom, his have come.”
When did we see you a stranger and invite you office, his church, his city, or his nation. Peace be to the memory of G.W. Carlson.

The Soul of a Prophet
G. William Carlson Memorial Service
Dr. Joel Lawrence and the family he loved so deeply. We have a prophet. Bill’s life embodied the passions of
| Without question, all met impactful people in our lives. But the prophets of God, and this passion has left
Bill Carlson was one as we remember Bill, we need to ask: What a deep mark, a deep impact, on our world.
of the most impactful was the secret of his impact? Why has his Bill Carlson was passionate about God.
men I have had the loss brought so many people together to This passion led him away from a simply
privilege of calling a celebrate and give thanks for his life, and to theoretical vision of God and His work into
friend. He impacted mourn his loss? a deep longing to see God’s Truth lived out in
the University he As I have reflected on Bill’s life, as I have the challenges of our world. With this, Bill’s
called home for so many years, the stu- had many conversations about Bill, I believe passion was focused on defending the weak
dents into whom he poured himself, the that his impact can be attributed to one and the vulnerable, on standing with those
churches where he ministered faithfully, thing: Bill Carlson was infused with the soul of who are on margins, with seeking to infuse
• continued on p. 5
The Soul of a Prophet, from p. 4 •
an often cruel world with the love and root of action, the spring from which
justice that God has wrought through justice and mercy flow.
His Son Jesus Christ. My final conversation with Bill took
In this passion for God, Bill echoed place at the copier machine at Central
the prophets, and so it is fitting, in this Baptist the day before his stroke, the
service of remembrance, to turn to a place where many of our conversations
prophet of Israel, the prophet Micah, took place. Bill came into the room
to a verse that Bill so deeply embodied with papers flying everywhere, books
and was at the heart of his impact dur- and clipboard in hand, working to get
ing his days on earth. The verse that the copies he needed ready in order to
exemplifies Bill is Micah 6:8: “He has teach his Sunday School class. After
showed you, O human, what is good. a brief chat and helping him get the
And what does the LORD require of copier to cooperate, as he was going
you? To act justly and to love mercy, down the hall one way and I was going
and to walk humbly with your God.” the other way, he asked me, “Joel, what
These are the words of YHWH, the do you think Amos would say about
One True God, the God of Israel, the what’s going on in Flint, Michigan?” I
Father of Jesus Christ. YHWH spoke was struck in that moment, and con-
these Words through His prophet, tinue to be impressed by the fact that
Micah, to call Israel to faithfulness in that question arises from the soul of a
loving God and loving their neighbor, worshipper whose life of worship was
the heart of what it means for Israel to He has showed you, O human, living and active, who sought to live out
be God’s covenant people. And in this what is good. And what does the the truth of God in the daily struggles
call God makes it clear what he desires.
The first thing that God requires of
LORD require of you? To act justly and triumphs of this world.
There is a deep sadness in our hearts
Israel is that they do justice. This means and to love mercy, and to at Bill’s loss. People like Bill Carlson don’t
that the community that belongs to walk humbly with your God. cross our paths each day, people with his
God is to recognize that no human passion, his wisdom, his joy. When one

being is intrinsically more valuable like this leaves us, we are left with a deep
than any other. They are to recognize Micah 6:8 sense of grief, of loss. But sadness can’t
that the ways we tend to value humans, be the final word. The Prophets of Israel,
based on wealth or earthly power or prestige truth of Micah. Throughout his life, Bill was when given words of rebuke or correction,
or position, are all false, and that there is no an advocate for justice; Bill was a defender of were also given a word of hope to deliver to
hierarchy of value. Because of this, we are to marginalized people, an advocate for women God’s people. So it was with Micah. In Micah
live our lives guided by the truth that from in ministry, women in the classroom and fac- 2:2-3 we read the following: “In the last days
the greatest in human eyes to the least, all are ulty, and for seeing Bethel grow as a place of the mountain of the LORD’S temple will be
to be valued as God’s creation and shown the justice for all who were part of the community. established as chief among the mountains; it
heart of God. And Bill was a man of mercy who had a tender will be raised above the hills, and peoples will
Secondly, God tells Micah that he requires heart for all who were left out by society; he stream to it. Many nations will come and say,
the Israelites to love mercy. In commanding sought to extend to them the mercy of God ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the
this, God is revealing what is in His own heart: by himself being a merciful presence. LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He
He is a God of love and kindness toward But Bill’s passion for justice and mercy will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in
His creation, a God who is slow to anger cannot be understood apart from the third his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the
and quick to show mercy. Throughout the thing that God requires according to Micah word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” While we
Scriptures we find God describing Himself 6:8. The requirement to walk humbly with mourn Bill’s passing, we are given this word
as a God of mercy, and in so doing declar- your God. Bill walked humbly with His God, of hope: We are reminded that he is in that
ing that any people who would call on His and deep in his heart he was a worshipper of place even now, that place where all divisions
name, any people who would live under His God. In this, he recognized the glory of God of this broken world are mended, the divisions
rule, must themselves be a people of mercy, and the praise due His name, and he gave his of race, wealth, status, power. Bill has joined
who demonstrate the compassion of God to life as an act of worshipping God. For him, the company of worshippers on God’s Holy
all they encounter, both within the people of worship is not a mere formality, something Mountain, all together united in their praise
the covenant relationship and without. that you do once a week at church or when of God.
And so it was with Bill who embodied the you attend chapel. No, for Bill worship is the Praise be to God.
A Tribute from a Friend
Civility with Spice
Ted Lewis (Feb. 2016) Ron Saari | Memorial Service for Bill Carlson,
February 28, 2016
His style of speaking never lacked spice. The Saari family expresses our condo-
lences to the Carlson family. We personally
Something zesty in the juice of justice
have lost a great friend. Bill and Cathy have
Was extracted by his agile mind ingratiated themselves with my wife and me
To flavor the way he engaged others. and with our children. Bill’s life and my life
Current issues for him were curry dishes interfaced on several levels. I was the lead
Pastor of Central Baptist where Bill was a lay leader and churchman.
Richly marinated in ethical herbs
We teamed up in a denominational dispute to defend Baptist Pietism
Which would wake the palates of the past. and civility in the theological discourse. This partnership ultimately
Had you once been his debate partner led to the annual publication of the Baptist Pietist Clarion. In addi-
In a panel on politics or war tion, we were golfing buddies who played golf together regularly for
twenty years. You have heard in our T.V. culture, “If it is Sunday, it is
You would have savored his appetizing
Meet the Press.” Among us it could be said, “If it is Friday, Ron and
Style of collegial civility Bill are on the golf course.”
That separated you from your ideas. Bill was a teacher. For many of you he was called G.W. I thought I
Due to his large irenic Baptist heart would frame my remarks around the theme of what G.W. taught me.

Your presence would have been welcomed
G.W. taught me that he would never be early for anything. Many
On the wide smorgasbord of free thinking times I was on the first tee waiting while Bill was in the parking lot
Where there are no restricted diets of truth. getting ready to play. More than once he called and asked if I would
And yet the hot sauce of his convictions purchase his green fee. I always cut him slack because I knew that it
was his social nature that often delayed his timely arrival.
Would have fired up the buds of your mind,
For all of his dishes were enlivened G.W. taught me that he was a man of integrity. He had a commitment
By the lives of faith-heroes whom he prized, to only buy American. Not many of us have worked as hard as he did
The ones who died for the love of peace-truth. to live out his convictions. On one occasion we drove to Wyoming,
MN, to buy an American made golf shirt. He prided himself in finding
It was his way to excite us into action
a pull golf cart that was made in the USA.
By animating all that we would eat.
He gave his teaching life to spread forth G.W. taught me that Pietism was more than a passion for him. It
was a life choice. As a college student, he struggled with the implica-
The grand culinary gospel of God,
tions of Reformed theology. After consulting with Doc. Dalton, he was
And having himself tasted the salt-speech pointed toward Pietism, which became a life-giving expression of his
Of the nonviolent Nazarene faith. Pietism rescued his faith. Pietism taught that faith was active in
He too styled his life accordingly, both the head and the heart. Pietism had an evangelism and a social
justice expression. Pietists believed in civility in theological discourse.
Serving up his civility with spice
Pietism emphasized prayer and discipleship as Christ followers.
And never without a frisky smile.
G.W. taught me about his commitment to keep his political op-
ponents as friends. His bumper sticker was that “God is not a
Democrat nor a Republican.” In problem solving he always looked
for win-win solutions.

G.W. taught me about his love for the arts and his love for the
city. At the time Bill and Cathy joined Central Baptist they were a
gift to the church. In addition to serving on important boards and
committees, they have helped make the Art Exhibition a meaningful
ministry of the church.

G.W. taught me about his willingness (poem by Angela Shannon given at memorial service)
to serve as editor of the Baptist Pietist
Clarion. Much of his work in this capacity
G.W. must have been God’s Will for Bethel.
can be found on-line. He usually included
one of his grandmother’s poems. Here is one First he was a student, swirling across campus
such expression by Signe Peterson: in a whirl of history. Then he joined the faculty
in 1968 — a revolutionary year etched by fire, by
No rest on this earth is to be found,
the lost of a King and a Kennedy.
Hold out then in every circumstance,
Expect naught but trouble and toil.
In such a time, G.W. brought his goodwill to Bethel.
When to our final home you go, Dressed in blazers and toting books, he recited
You to be guest and stranger are bound,
history and scripture, scripture and history —

When you shall beyond the grave advance, marking the past, rooting the present, signaling the future.
When you must reside on earth’s soil.
To those isolated on margins––to those on the chilly outskirts —
At last perfect joy you will know.
he offered a hand, walking with them to the center.

Even on our life’s sunniest heights, To those unsure of their place, he was a comforting guide.

Weeping nevermore will there be found, Through laughter and fellowship
Some shadow will always appear, G.W. turned strangers into friends.

In his gentle way, led by inner light,
For no sorrow there will we see,
To muddy and tarnish our delights, he put aside barriers, and brought home-like

Peace and joy will evermore be abound, warmth to Bethel. His greetings were more
And leave our road dark without cheer
than hollow hellos. When he asked, “how are you

And the Lord all in all will be. doing?” he waited on an answer.

Bill and Cath’s Christmas letter from this Devoted and hopeful, G.W. connected
past year quoted Alex Haley’s admonition on beyond work — beyond obligation and duty.
his stationary which said, “Find the good -
He reached for the heart, his small talk sincere,
and praise it.” Bill concluded with this, “May
we find ways like Haley to express thanks his big talk nurturing the spirit.
to those who played significant roles in our
lives.” Today, Bill, we say thanks for the way In a time of manifold distractions, he was singularly present.
you invested in all our lives.
In a time of ruckus and noise, he listened intently.
Peace be to your memory, G.W. We look
forward to seeing you again when our work In a time of loud declarations,
on earth is done!
touching all he encountered, imparting wisdom and
comfort. In a season of uncertainty, G.W. — God’s Walker —
walked out his piety.

G.W. — God’s Walker — walked out his faith.

A Tribute from a Daughter — Sara Koehn
His birth name was Gordon William supported our activities and hobbies. Dad… sporting events of theirs as he could. Papa…
Carlson. At a young age his was called set up a family jigsaw puzzle on New Year’s pitched to the kids in the yard and set up
Billy. As a student at Bethel he was G. Day while watching football. Dad…intro- mini golf courses through the house. Papa…
William. As a professor his name was G.W. duced us to family games like Pit and Rook. loved playing spoons even though he was
or more humbly, Dr. Carlson Professor Sir. Dad…hid jellybeans in the living room every often the first one out. Papa…made it his
At church, in the neighborhood, and in Easter. mission to stock the kid’s bookshelves - 2
politics he was Bill. Dad…made sure we realized that Easter paperbacks or 1 hard cover on each trip to
Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is more and Christmas were about Jesus. We had to fill Barnes and Noble…Barnes and Noble gift
desirable than great riches and to be re- in answers from the Bible to a scavenger hunt cards were only to be used on books.
spected is better than silver and gold.” While before we would look for our Easter baskets Papa…enjoyed planning trips with the
you knew him as Bill, G. William, G.W. or and we read a letter to Jesus before we would families each summer. The beginning of the
Gordon…I would like to introduce you to 3 open our Christmas presents. The running summer would be with the Georgia family
other names that I knew him as. joke at Christmas is when I was reading the and the end of the summer with the Min-
Husband. family letter to Jesus and mistakenly thanked nesota family. Yes, these trips also came with
For the past 46 years mom called him the Soviet Army rather than the Salvation an outline. Papa…took every opportunity he
her husband. This weekend we got to look Army. After that the letters were typed. Dad… could to take the grandkids golfing or mini
through a scrapbook that she made leading up sat us down at the kitchen table to go over golfing. Usually saying it was something
to their engagement. We caught a glimpse of pros and cons in our decisions. Dad…brought the kids wanted to do…sure Papa. Papa…
what it was like when they first met each other new culture to our lives by having us listen bragged nonstop about his grandkids. He is
and the beginning of their relationship. Their to things like Prairie Home Companion…It so proud of you five. I’m sure there are many
first date was January 25 to see Romeo and didn’t stick. Dad…prepared an outline of pos- people here that have heard stories about you.
Juliet. After that, there were dinners made, sible activities on each family vacation – yes And this is our family.
letters written, cards sent and dates recorded. complete with topics and sub topics. Dad… Technically I suppose that that’s a 4th
He proposed on April 5, three months later. welcomed Michelle and Matt into the family name…but Dad’s 3 points were never actu-
In a letter shortly after their engagement his as if they were his own. Dad…continued to ally 3 points either. Our family had an amaz-
mom, my grandma, wrote, “Cathy Carlson challenge us to serve, think, and grow ing opportunity to spend this past Christmas
– that sounds good.” They were married (or together in Florida. As you can see by dad’s
“hitched” as the Bethel Clarion said) on De- A good name is more date book we made lots of great memories
cember 20 of that same year, 1969. desirable than great riches there. I’m sure all our activities are very
Over the past 46 years mom has become a clear to you. Our family is grounded in our
master at interpreting his handwriting. She
and to be respected is better faith. Our family mourns our loss but finds
can often read things that no one else can than silver and gold. comfort in our memories. Our family would
decipher. One of the first letters he wrote • like to thank all of you for your prayers, kind
to her said, “If you can read my writing…”
Proverbs 22:1 words, hugs, food, flowers, offers of help
Hundreds of notes, letters and cards later, and friendship. We have felt your love and
she’s an expert. Together they celebrated an- Papa. support during this time. In a letter to my
niversaries, birthdays and holidays. Together This is Papa. You may be wondering why I mom early on he said he was going to focus
they went to plays, concerts and lectures on chose this photo to start – well, my reason is on being a “plain ordinary good teacher.”
Russian history. Together they spent week- two-fold. First, I knew that this would be the Well dad…I’m sorry to say that you missed
ends in Duluth, Grand Marais and Lanesboro. hardest part of my tribute. Hopefully starting that goal. You were anything but plain and
Together they took road trips out to Georgia it off with something that makes me laugh ordinary. You were a dynamic, exceptional,
and back. Together they modeled a commit- will help me get through it. Secondly, Papa great teacher in and out of the classroom.
ted, loving relationship. Together they started was one of the kids. He was Papa to Nathan, Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is
our family. Nora, Samuel, Shannon and Alex. To be more desirable than great riches and to be
Dad. honest, I would say that this was his favorite respected is better than silver and gold.” In
My brother Ian and I got to call him dad. name. He loved being goofy and having fun one translations it says, “choose a good repu-
Dad…coached our softball, baseball and with his grand kids. And the grandkids loved tation over great riches.” In all of his names a
soccer teams. Dad…was at our games cheer- having fun with papa. great reputation follows. As a family we will
ing us on. Dad…graciously allowed a muddy Papa…was caught dancing on the Jumbo work to honor that reputation by living out
baseball team into the house to escape the Tron at a Timberwolves game. Papa…was these 3 points…Need help?? Seek justice,
rain between games. Dad…encouraged and his grandkids biggest fan attending as many Love mercy, Walk humbly.

Tribute from a Son — Ian Carlson
Well, it’s great to see so many familiar faces didn’t really have a story behind it. And then tense – it’s still happening, even today. How
here today. In John’s gospel, Jesus was speak- the lead singer was diagnosed with cancer does He demonstrate His love for us? Even
ing to His disciples, reminding them about and had to have his kidney removed. He while we were sinners – He didn’t wait until
what He had taught them, but also warning realized then the song was written by God we were ‘good enough’ – thank God! – Christ
them about the problems they would have for him as he was going through it. These are died for us, in our place, as payment for our
after He left. He said, “These things I have the words God wrote – and I hope you always sins. Now that is awesome.
spoken to you, that in Me you may have remember this, Nora. I know this is now My dad…loved…to talk
peace. In the world you will have tribulation; one of your favorite songs. “If your eyes are When I was a kid it would drive me crazy.
but be of good cheer, I have overcome the on the storm, you’ll wonder if I love you still. After church, I’d be wanting to leave so we
world” (John 16:33). Be of good cheer: that’s But if your eyes are on the cross, you’ll know could get home usually to watch the Vikings
an important but hard thing to remember I always have and I always will. Your world’s game. We’d be standing there…we being me,
sometimes. not falling apart, it’s falling into place” (‘Just my sister and my mom…but where’s dad?
One of the first questions my kids asked Be Held’ 2014). See, we won’t always know Mom would say, sometimes with a sigh, “He’s
when I flew home after dad’s passing was, why, but we do have this promise. “And we talking to someone.” See I didn’t appreciate
“Did you cry? We’ve never seen you cry” – know that all things work together for good why sometimes we couldn’t just have some
kids are great, aren’t they? Yes, we cried and to those who love God, to those who are quiet. As I got older, I realized that that
we will probably cry some more from time called according to His purpose” (Romans was his way of bonding, of connecting with
to time. We’ll cry, because we lost a father, a 8:28). They don’t work together for good the people. We couldn’t go anywhere without
husband, a grandpa, a brother, a cousin, an way we want them to, but according to His running into someone he knew. When he
uncle, a colleague, a mentor, a professor, a purpose, for those who love God. That can be came to visit us out in San Diego, we were
friend. But here’s what we will NOT do. We a scary idea to hold on to, if you don’t know attending North Coast Calvary Chapel. This
will NOT cry for the father we’ve lost, or the God, if you’re not sure God is a loving God. was just before Bethel West opened, there
husband, or the grandpa, or the brother, My dad…loved…books. were probably 100 people there at a Saturday
or the cousin, the uncle, the colleague, the You may or may not have noticed all the night service. Service ends, we get ready to
mentor, the professor, the friend. Because we books that he collected over the years. They leave, and he says, “Oh, there’s so-and-so,
know that death no longer has its sting, the filled up his office here, and have now filled let me say hello.” Are you kidding me??
grave no longer has victory over us. But why up the basement. We tried to estimate how Happened all the time. And because I didn’t
is that true? Why do we say that at funerals? many there are and it was somewhere north appreciate it as a kid, God, in His infinite wis-
What does it mean? Why do things like this of 10,000. (Maybe he wanted to have one for dom and sense of humor, has passed along
happen? Why does God take people we love every lake.) He seemed to love any book ever that trait of loving to talk to our oldest son,
from us? Kids ask a lot of question. I know written anywhere by anyone – and chances Nathan (you get that from Papa).
my daughter was asking that question a lot. are pretty good that he owned it. There’s only
Sometimes adults ask questions, too. It’s My dad…loved…golfing
one person I’ve seen who likes to read as When I was in high school he started tak-
okay, keep asking them. I’ll try to answer much as he did – our daughter Nora (you get
them while I tell you about my dad. ing me to play at Como Golf Course. I was
that from Papa). But there is one book that a big, strong baseball player. Okay, I wasn’t
My dad…loved…music. stood above them all – the Bible. I remember really big or strong then, but I always wanted
His taste was a little different than mine, one time I was talking with mom and dad. I to hit it as far as I could, usually hoping it
or most people – very eclectic. I would often had just finished reading through the ‘Bible would land in one of the adjacent fairways.
hear the music coming up from his office in in a year’ and we asked dad how many times He would hit it short and down the middle.
the basement through the floor and into my he had read through the Bible from start Except occasionally, when he’d slice one and
room – and he worked late! He was a night to finish. He said “probably 40.” We both cry out “Oh, fiddle!” And somehow, he’d al-
owl like I am. We’ve started taking our kids shot him a look that was a combination of ways beat me. Then I went to work for a golf
to concerts, they’re starting to get into music “Really?” and “You know He can hear you.” company, and I had to put a stop to that. My
now – I’m just thrilled I know most of the Who knows, maybe he did…but it’s all been favorite single golfing memory was returning
words. One of the bands we saw in concert revealed to him now. Well, this book tells to Como Golf Course. I was driving par 4’s
last year was Casting Crowns. Probably the us about the loving God we have. “But God from the tee and then 3 putting for par – I
most gifted lyric writers I’ve ever heard – demonstrates His own love toward us, in that could not make a birdie the entire day. But
you can read their songs and know they are while we were still sinners, Christ died for on the last hole, a par 5 – I’ve parred every
inspired. They were talking about a song that us” (Romans 5:8). Not demonstrated, past single hole, and I’ve never shot under par
they’d been performing, one of the few that tense, but demonstrates – active, present before. I crushed a drive right down the
• continued on p. 10
Tribute from a Son, from p. 9 •
middle, 300 yards easy. And if you’re a golfer, My dad…loved…to debate that He gave His only Begotten Son, that
you know what I was thinking: “Don’t screw He loved to be the contrarian. He and I whoever believes in Him shall not perish,
this up, don’t screw this up.” I can still to this disagreed on a lot of things. For example, but have everlasting life.” That is why death
day remember the scene. With the clubhouse whether or not Sports Illustrated counted has lost its sting, and that is why the grave
up the hill on the right, I hit a perfect 8-iron as ‘reading.’ Or in the present day, whether no longer has victory over us. That is why
right at the flag – and it landed this far from or not you could truly ‘read’ on one of those we can be here and still be joyful through
the hole. Even I didn’t screw that up – made ‘newfangled doohickies’ (Nook, Kindle, or the tears. We will see him again, and there is
an eagle – still the only time I’ve ever shot Tablet of some kind). And politics. And hope for all of us in Christ. We will listen to
under par, and my dad was there – he was we enjoyed ‘discussing’ things. (My sister’s music together, we will read books together,
always there. Hopefully my kids will be able probably rolling her eyes.) But we agreed we will talk together, we will golf together,
to create a memory like that with me some on the most important things. “The Lord is and we will debate together again. Thank
day. not willing that any should perish but that you, Lord, for that truth, and thank you, Dad,
all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). for everything. We will keep our eyes on the
And John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, cross, and we will be of good cheer. Amen

A Tribute from a Grandson — Alex Koehn, Age 8
Hi, my name is Alex. Thank you all for com- a lot. I still have good memories of him. He And now that he’s up in heaven, God is tell-
ing here today. We were happy and sad when used to come pick me up and we would go ing him to watch over us. We get to be with
Papa died. We were happy because now he play golf. He would buy me a lot of snacks. him a lot now that he is gone. We still get to
gets to be with his mom and dad. And he I used to go over to his house for a lot of be with him because he is watching over us.
gets to be with Jesus. I was sad because we sleepovers. Shannon and I would wake him So now that he is up in heaven, it’s a better
don’t get to see him now until we join him up so we could eat Swedish pancakes. Some- place for him because God is watching over
in heaven. We were very close to each other times it’s sad that we don’t get to be with him. Papa and Papa gets to be with God.

Introducing the

in the
Agapé Peace Center
Duluth, MN
Preserving the core of Bill Carlson’s
faith-and-peace library for the post-digital age.
For more information, contact

~ 10 ~
A New Way to Pray
Terri L. Hansen compensate for our more hidden and subtle tell you the truth - that is all the reward they
Central Baptist addictions and attachments, especially our will ever get. But when you pray, go away by
Church, St. Paul, MN addiction to our way of thinking… We keep yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray
(Dec 2016) | It’s that doing the same thing over and over again, to your Father in private…” (NLT)
time of year when even if it is not working for us… We really Now, it can be very helpful to literally go
we make resolutions are our own worst enemies, and salvation somewhere private and shut the door behind
for the New Year. It is primarily from ourselves. It seems that you, but it is interesting to note that in Jesus’
is also that time of humans would sooner die than change or day, most of the Jewish homes only had a
year when we break those resolutions – it is admit that they are mistaken.” (pp. xviii-xix) single room. There was no closet or private
a statistical fact! While 45% of all individu- We have a sin problem. We don’t need place to go to be alone. Instead, this private
als make resolutions, do you have an idea of more resolutions, more will power, or more place, this inner room, is within us. This is
how many of them actually keep their New self-help books. What we need is true, prayer that takes us in to that secret place in
Year’s resolution? A whopping 8%! Why is it permanent, inner transformation. I believe all of us where we meet God, where we speak
so hard to change? Why do we fail so often at there is a way of praying, a way of relating to with him spirit to spirit, where we listen for
attempts to make permanent changes in our God, that will lead us down a path of inner his voice, our very center, our soul.
lives? Is it just an exercise in futility? transformation and permanent change. Rohr “Oh, no – don’t go there,” some of you
There is plenty of help out there from goes through all twelve steps in his book, are saying. That is a bit too weird, too new
support groups. The bookstores are full of but there is one step, Step 11, that I believe age, too mystical. Well, there is nothing new
self-help titles. We can go to a psychologist, holds the key. I want to address Step 11 here about it. It was Jesus’ idea, and he did it often.
a hypnotist, a therapist, a life coach. We can and do so in light of a familiar passage on We read in the gospels of Jesus going off to be
get a gym membership or a personal trainer. transformation, Rom. 12:1-2. by himself, to speak with his heavenly Father,
There is a wealth of help available. The Bible Step 11 reads like this: “(We) sought to spend time alone with him. He spent forty
even tells us that through Jesus Christ and through prayer and meditation to improve our days in the wilderness before embarking in
the power of the Holy Spirit, we have power conscious contact with God, as we understood public ministry. This meditative form of
to overcome the sins that so easily entangle God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will prayer, this contemplative practice of looking
and trip us up. In our weakness he is strong! for us and the power to carry that out.” deep into the core of ourselves and inviting
But still we fail again and again. God to open us up to his work in our lives,
Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and But when you pray, this is the prayer that is so often missing –
well-known author and teacher on spiritual this is the prayer that can transform us and
transformation, has written a book called
go away by yourself, bring about permanent change.
Breathing Under Water. This book takes a shut the door behind you, Romans 12:1-2 is an excellent outline for
close look at the Twelve Step Program of and pray to your Father contemplative prayer. Verse 1 says, “and so,
Alcoholics Anonymous and how it parallels dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to
the gospel message of Jesus. He sees a very in private… give your bodies to God because of all he has
obvious link between the wisdom of the • done for you. Let them be a living and holy
Twelve Steps and what St. Francis called “the Matt. 6:6 sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable.
marrow of the Gospel.” This is truly the way to worship him.” (NLT)
Now, you might be thinking, I’m not an What is different about this type of prayer In our dualistic world, we tend to separate
alcoholic or an addict – I don’t need that and what does meditation look like? How do the physical from the spiritual. They are two
kind of help or support. Rohr would sug- we use it to improve our “conscious contact very different things and they have a hard
gest that addiction is synonymous with sin. with God?” How do we know what God’s time coexisting. We see our bodies as limit-
We all suffer from an addiction to our own will is? And where do we find this power to ing us, getting in the way of our spiritual
way of thinking, our own way of doing, and carry out God’s will? selves. Your body is not your enemy. It is a
our self-centered bent to control our own First of all, there is an ineffective way to gift! It is the house, the vessel that Jesus chose
destiny: address God in prayer. In Matt. 6, Jesus is to inhabit when he came as a human baby. It
“We are all spiritually powerless…and addressing the crowds in the Sermon on is the house, the vessel that he now chooses
not just those physically addicted to a the Mount. Verses 5 and 6 say, “When you to reside in each one of us. Does that ever
substance… Alcoholics just have their pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love just blow your mind? God dwells in me – in
powerlessness visible for all to see. The rest to pray publicly on street corners and in the you – by choice! He does not just dwell in
of us disguise it in different ways, and over- synagogues where everyone can see them. I my spirit but in my body, as well!

• continued on p. 17
~ 11 ~
Radical Baptists: It Takes One to Know One
(G.W. Carlson Remembers Clarence Jordan)
(Editorial note from all writings by and about Clarence Jordon. tool for demanding change Clarence Jordan
Ted Lewis: Through Jordan founded Koinonia Farm in the mid- advocated that the Christian church model
my involvement in 1940s, an intentional Christian community a community which would look like the
publishing Roots in that experimented with racial integration Kingdom of God. Here was a person who
the Cotton Patch: The in the South long before the height of the reflected my Baptist heritage and would
Clarence Jordan Sym- civil rights movement. Here now is Bill’s mobilize its core beliefs to create a demand
posium 2012 (Cas- introduction to his chapter.) for a “radical” expression of faith.
cade Books), Bill was ___________________ This was the era of the early efforts to inte-
able to contribute a chapter on the radical grate Christian colleges, an effort that was not
Baptist tradition which he presented in In January 1963 I had my first opportunity to always successful. President Lundquist was at
Georgia at the symposium. His full chapter, interact with Clarence Jordan. I was a junior least willing to allow for diverse voices to be
“Clarence Jordan as Baptist: Celebrating at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota. His present on campus including the address by
the Radical Baptist Heritage,” can be read stories about a Jesus who ministered in Geor- Benjamin Mays at the 1957 Commencement.
on the Baptist Pietist Clarion website. One gia were interesting to me. He represented In 1960 Martin Luther King was invited to
of Bill’s special gifts was to create exhaus- a third option in the civil rights movement. speak on campus. He was eventually not able
tive bibliographies, and thus he was also Beyond securing rights within the legal to attend because of a civil rights crisis in
commissioned to write a bibliography of system and using nonviolent protests as a Atlanta. Dr. Anton Pearson, a contemporary
• continued on p. 20

Why I still call myself a…Baptist
Roger Olson, Foy hallmarks of Baptist faith and practice have lectures at a Baptist university and seminary.
Valentine Professor been sacrificed on various altars political, When he returned, at a gathering of profes-
of Christian Theology theological and practical. sors, this Anglican theologian said (com-
and Ethics at Truett Who are those who have been in the fore- menting on his trip to the South) “Baptists
Seminary (Patheos front of the church growth movement, the are uncouth.” Of course, Stan spoke up to
June 1, 2012) | Some Religious Right, neo-fundamentalism, ratio- him and said “Am I included?” The Anglican
of my theological nalistic theology and apologetics, so-called theologian said “Present company excepted.”
friends criticize me “complementarianism,” etc., etc.? Baptists. Well, I’m just stubborn enough not to give
for holding on to my “Baptist” identity in My friends challenge me to realize it is too “Baptist” over to the barbarians or give in
the current theological and political context late to rescue the label; the barbarians have to non-Baptists who vilify it; I will defend
(especially the U.S.A.) where these labels invaded and taken over and there’s no point the label and tradition, as it really was and
have largely come to mean mean-spirited, in trying to rescue what is now a hopelessly should be, until I die. Every label has its
narrow-minded, legalistic, even hypocriti- sullied label and identity. problems. I prefer to do the hard work of
cal religiosity, and where they are virtually Besides, as I said (and they keep reminding rescuing “Baptist” from all the distortions
equated with the Religious Right, of which me), there is very little that has ever or now that surround it in popular culture and even
I am not a part. holds “Baptists” together as an identifiable among those who proudly proclaim it.
Many Baptist churches have dropped the tradition. So, they tell me, stop reifying or What I find ironic is that some of my
word “Baptist” from their names because it hypostasizing “Baptist” as if it were a real friends who, though moderate, proudly
has been so tarnished by television evange- phenomenon. Stop essentializing it, they say. identify themselves as Baptist, tell me that I
lists, right-wing religious politicians and the Also, my northern friends tell me “Baptist” should give up calling myself “evangelical”
so-called “Baptist wars” of the last twenty- has become a primarily southern phenom- or identifying myself with that movement
five to thirty-five years. enon. for the same reason others tell me to give up
Besides, they say, Baptists have very little A few years ago my late friend Stan Grenz calling myself “Baptist” or identifying with
in common beyond getting people wet. (who proudly called himself both Baptist that tradition.
Many (perhaps most) no longer believe and evangelical) told me an interesting little
in separation of church and state. In fact, story of an incident at his (then) institution (Roger Olson was Associate Professor and
Baptists have become known for opposing of higher education. A well-known Anglican Professor of Theology, Department of Bibli-
it. Many no longer believe in or practice theologian, a colleague, had traveled to the cal and Theological Studies, Bethel College,
congregational autonomy. All the traditional American South (from Canada) to give some St. Paul, Minnesota, 1984-1999.)

~ 12 ~
Pulpits and Politics Don’t Mix
Glen Scorgie, Pro- (hopefully) qualified to do, and stop med- According to reports the student body at
fessor of Theology at dling in the affairs of state. Why regress to Liberty, who had initially cheered wildly for
Bethel Seminary San an activity that the clergy has historically Trump, went quiet at this point. No doubt
Diego (October 7, never performed very well, and often with they were wondering how they should rec-
2012; revised Janu- disastrous consequences? oncile this with Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount,
ary 2016) | Since America has been a shining beacon of contained in the big Bibles many of them
2008, “Pulpit Free- freedom for many years partly because it has were carrying. That Donald Trump would
dom Sunday” has embraced the principle of the separation of advocate such things, being who he is, is
been celebrated. It’s organized by (mostly church and state. Churches lose their spiri- hardly surprising. What is more surprising
conservative evangelical) Christian pastors tual independence when they get enmeshed and troubling is Liberty University’s subse-
concerned that their rights to free speech in the details of politics and political intrigue. quent defense of Trump’s speech. Liberty
from the pulpit (and, they would say, free- We have already seen too many cases in vice-president the Rev. Johnnie Moore, Jr.
dom of religion) may be at risk from an which naïve Christian leaders have been confirmed his own conviction that Jesus
intrusive government and a dubious amend- completely co-opted by smarter, manipula- would get even and did. Moreover, he ex-
ment back in 1954 to a pivotal section of the tive politicians and political parties. plained, the Bible is filled with stories of
federal tax code. To listen to some preachers, Jesus Christ God getting even with his enemies. God
The specific legislation in question, 501(c) came to earth to give us clarity about free is portrayed as giving grace, but he is also
(3) states that tax-exempt organizations enterprise. They see him as the Adam Smith portrayed as one tough character.
(like churches) are prohibited from “par- of the first century. The truth is that Jesus Christianity Today, the chief magazine for
ticipating in, or intervening in, any political did talk a lot about freedom and personal American evangelicalism, and one known
campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) responsibility, but he also talked a lot about for its somewhat right wing disposition,
any candidate for elective public office.” The watching out for those in need, living simply seemed not to be particularly aghast about
Alliance Defending Freedom, the organiza- and caring for God’s earth. It is a curious the Trump debacle. A columnist suggested
tion supporting these pastors, is trying to thing that when many ministers, around that universities are, after all, places where
goad the government into attempting to act election times, start to opine on “biblical students need to be exposed to a variety of
on this legislation. They are gunning for a principles,” their lists bear a striking resem- ideas. It failed to acknowledge that award-
showdown on freedom of religion. I confess blance to the platform of only one party. ing an honorary doctorate to a convocation
to very mixed feelings. Just this past week, for example, the Fun- speaker is about the highest act of endorse-
I am not a lawyer or a tax expert, but it damentalist Liberty University, founded ment a school can grant to any individual
strikes me that in terms of the principles by televangelist and Moral Majority leader and what they stand for. In the words of the
of the American Constitution the pastors Jerry Falwell, and now led by his son, invited late Francis Schaeffer, we just saw “nature eat
may have a point. What is deeply troubling, Donald Trump of all people to speak at its up grace” in Lynchburg, Virginia.
though, is the thought that any pastors Fall convocation, and with great hoopla and Most ministers are remarkably good and
should presume to use the pulpit to try to congratulations, awarded the thrice-wed real gifted people, but some of them are exces-
influence the voting practices of their con- estate developer and reality TV show star an sively ambitious. And those are the ones to
gregations. As the apostle Paul famously honorary doctorate. A university spokesper- whom the media pay most attention. Their
mused, in his inspired way, “All things are son described Trump as “a one of the greatest efforts to get into the limelight are ostensibly
lawful for me, but not all things are expedi- visionaries of our time” and a champion of to gain a wider influence for God and good,
ent or helpful.” That would seem to apply to free enterprise (including operating beauty but it often ends up being a lot about them.
political pulpiteering. pageants for profit). They also use techniques of power and per-
There is something profoundly demeaning In his convocation address Trump startled suasion that are virtually indistinguishable
to intelligent church members to have their even the mainstream media by advising the from those employed by their “worldly”
minister advising them on how they should Christian students to “get even.” He com- adversaries. They are better at fueling conflict
vote. There is something profoundly inap- mented: “I always say don’t let people take than facilitating reconciliation.
propriate about a minister doing so from advantage—this goes for the country, too, My father was a minister, and a good man,
the vantage point of a podium designed for by the way—don’t let people take advantage. and I’ve had the privilege of helping to train
the faithful proclamation of the Gospel and Get even. And you know, if nothing else, hundreds of them through the years. I have
revealed truth. Ministers should not over- others will see that and they’re going to say, a word for them all. If God has called you
reach themselves and their competencies, ‘You know, I’m going to let Jim Smith or to be a minister of the Gospel, remember
nor should intelligent congregations allow Sarah Malone, I’m going to let them alone what an honor and privilege it is. And don’t
it. Ministers should stick to what they are because they’re tough customers.’” stoop to playing politics. Speak to a balance
• continued on p. 14
~ 13 ~
Pulpits and Politics Don’t Mix, from p. 13 •
and breadth of moral issues, to be sure, and in French-speaking Quebec the Roman “Remember now, heaven is blue, and hell is
do so courageously, but always do it from a Catholic priests aligned themselves with red.” But then, when the people eventually
vantage point above the fray. It will preserve the ruthless conservative government of rebelled against that oppressive government,
the credibility of the pulpit, and keep you that province, and told the people from the they also turned against the church for being
from dividing the church along party lines. pulpit how to vote. The color of the govern- part of their betrayal. Today, sadly, Quebec
In the end it is worth keeping in mind that ment party was blue, and their opponents’ is the most secularized corner of North
God is not a Republican or a Democrat. red. On the Sunday before an election the America.
Let the church be the church. For years priests would say to their congregations: It is not the place for churches to dictate
or even recommend how Christians should
vote on candidates and propositions. When
Baptist Joint Committee: it comes to that final matter of how someone
Just Another Pulpit Freedom Sunday properly connects the dots between their
Christian principles and a slate of electoral
Don Byrd (September 27, 2012) options, individual Christians are on their
On October 7, a handful of pastors around the country will try to spark a lawsuit own. Anything more is an encroachment on
by challenging the IRS to investigate them for endorsing candidates for office from the spirit of separation of church and state.
the pulpit. Pulpit Freedom Sunday is the name organizers have given to this yearly Rather, the business of churches is to help
exercise. And while several dozen have endorsed candidates on that day in the past, form the thinking and character of believ-
it has yet to result in an IRS sanction. Writing for the New Republic, Amy Sullivan ers along lines of truth and goodness so that
explains why the argument put forward by those who oppose the no-endorsement they can go out and freely decide how best to
rule for tax exemption fail. respond to the issues on the ballot. Healthy
In order to believe churches form believers, and produce wise
that churches are being voters, but good churches don’t take political
censored by the gov- sides. The true church of Jesus Christ is much
ernment, you have to bigger than any single political party, and the
accept that religious or- institutions of organized Christianity, and
ganizations have not the dynamics of Christian fellowship within
only the right to engage them, need to reflect this fact.
in partisan speech and .
activities but also the (Scorgie has been Professor of Theology at
right to be exempt from Bethel Seminary San Diego since 1996. He
federal taxes and the is also involved in the Chinese Bible Church
right to accept donations of San Diego and lectures regularly in Asia.
that are tax-deductible. Glen has authored several books Dictionary
There simply is no constitutional right that covers the latter. The tax-exempt status for of Christian Spirituality (2011)(with James D.
churches is a monetary benefit given to them by the government, as is the rule allowing Smith), A Little Guide to Christian Spiritual-
individuals to deduct their contributions to religious organizations. ity (2007), The Journey Back to Eden (2009),
It’s quite simple. If a church wants to endorse a candidate and engage in campaign The Challenge of Bible Translation (2003)
activities, there are absolutely no restrictions preventing it from doing so. But it must pay (with Mark L. Strauss and Steven Voth) and
federal taxes, and its donors cannot deduct their contributions…. The churches involved A Call for Continuity: The Theological Con-
in Pulpit Sunday want to have it both ways. They want to use tax-deductible donations tributions of James Orr (2004).
to participate in campaigns, and no doubt there are plenty of political donors who would The ar ticle originally appeared on
prefer to deduct their political contributions by sending them through religious organiza- Glen Scorgie’s blog http://glenscorgie.
tions. com/2012/10/07/pulpits-and-politics-dont-
She’s exactly right. This is not a religious freedom issue, or a free speech issue. It’s a mix
tax exemption rule that is quite reasonable and fair and applies equally to all 501(c)(3)
organizations. It protects churches from becoming money-laundering arms of political
campaigns, and in the process it saves clergy from foolishly dividing its congregations
along political lines. That part is just a bonus, but a helpful one. Polls consistently show
Americans want their church leaders to refrain from involving the church in electoral
politics. My advice? Just say no.

~ 14 ~
The Choral History of Bethel Choirs
Dennis Port, Profes- But now to the purpose for this morning. I it was seen as quite an honor to make the
sor of Music, Bethel had long heard that the Male Chorus (or Glee Chapel Choir.
University (Lecture Club) was Bethel’s first singing ensemble, Big changes took place in 1954. To avoid
given at C alvar y and that was confirmed. The Male Chorus the rivalry between the Male Chorus and the
Church on April 11, tradition goes back to 1906. In the 1932 Spire Chapel Choir, a decision was made that the
2015 to The Bethel (yearbook) the description of choral singing Male Chorus, directed by Nels Sjernstrom,
Historical Society) | highlights the impact of Professor George would draw only from seminary students,
When I was asked to Hultgren, director of the Glee Club. Hultgren those pre-enrolled in seminary, and those
give a brief lecture on the history of choral had studied music in Europe. He had also “grandfathered in” from the previous year’s
music at Bethel I thought it would be a formed a loosely-structured mixed choir, group. Bethel Chapel Choir would then
simple task. I knew that C. Howard Smith the precursor of the later Bethel Choirs. To have all of the rest of the men from whom
had started the Bethel Chapel Choir in the my delight, in one of the earliest pictures to draw. That changed the choral landscape
1940s, that Bob Berglund had conducted of that group Virgil Olson was pictured as for a short time and was obviously a boost
for 36 years until 1995, when I came, and I’d a first tenor. I remember Virgil’s beautiful to the mixed choral singing tradition. That
been the conductor since. How complicated tenor voice late into his remarkable life. mandate was obviously short-lived, because
could it be? Virtually no preparation neces- But the seminal year for the Bethel Choir by the time I came to Bethel in the early 60’s
sary, I thought. tradition as we now know it was 1948. There the Male Chorus was definitely drawing col-
But when I made the ‘mistake’ of actually had been a spike in student population that lege men, and the rivalry between the groups
doing some serious research on the topic, my young professor C. Howard Smith saw as might have been considered “fierce!” Also,
discoveries were so extensive that I finally an opportunity for Bethel to join the other at mid-decade came the beginning of the
had to just stop and say: “This is enough.” I fine choral traditions already existing in presidency of Carl Lundquist, the change of
had learned far more about our wonderful Minnesota, mostly at the Lutheran colleges. the names of the Chapel Choir to The Bethel
choral heritage than I had known existed. I With Nels Sjernstrom already conducting College Choir, and the mascot change from
want to share some of that with you today. the well-established Male Chorus, Howard The Indians to The Royals!
My thanks to Diana Magnuson, who Smith launched the first official Bethel Choir. The choir also began making major tours.
steered me to the electronic sources that From the October 22 Clarion: “Another new In 1958 the choir travelled to California
made a lot of reading and interesting dis- addition to the Bethel Music Department singing every day and twice on Sunday, with
covery much easier. Before I begin on Bethel is the Chapel Choir under the direction of NO days off. And ALL of the concerts were
Choir history I want to share just a couple Professor C. Howard Smith. Each Saturday in BGC churches – most of whom seemed
of interesting non-choral facts that emerged morning at 9:00 the choir rehearses…” thrilled to be considered for a concert.
along the way: And so it began. In 1957 the choral program took another
• Did you know that until the 50’s Bethel’s True to its name, the Chapel Choir sang huge leap forward with the beginning of
mascot was the Indians! Why the Indi- mostly in chapel services that year, and made The Festival of Christmas. The innovative C.
ans, observed my wife? With virtually a plans to take its first short tour to the North- Howard Smith was also at the center of this
completely Swedish constituency, why west. There was also a first-ever joint concert initiative. Called “Festival of Christmas” from
not “the Vikings,” or “the Norsemen,” or of The Male Chorus, the Women’s Chorus, its inception, the first was held in December
something at least vaguely Scandinavian? and the Chapel Choir in the spring. That was of 1957 in the Snelling Avenue gymnasium.
• My search lead me to several prominent the launch of our great tradition. I clearly re- From the beginning it was a joint effort with
Bethel personalities who unbeknownst member my dear friend, C. Howard, remind- the art department, as Eugene Johnson cre-
to me had been part of the choral his- ing me in my second year at Bethel (1997) that ated his remarkable paint-by-the-number
tory. In the 1938 Bethel Men’s Glee Club Bethel Choir was celebrating its 50th year of thematic flats that adorned the front of the
alone I found pictured: Maurice Law- existence. It was obvious that he was rightly gym. Incidentally, in my early years at Bethel
son, John Goodman, John Valine, and proud of its beginning, and delighted that a I personally had the privilege of painting those
Bruce Fleming. All later BGC leaders. former student of his was now its conductor. flats. Those of us living a far distance from
• I discovered that in the Clarion issue The 1950s home didn’t travel home at Thanksgiving in
that featured an article on the formation The Chapel Choir became a prominent those years, so it was a great diversion and
of the Chapel Choir in 1948, there was part of Bethel’s choral ministry in the 50’s. contribution. It is something that I recall with
reference to the famous presidential cam- Auditions increased and the size of the group great satisfaction, even nostalgia.
paign that pitted Dewey, Truman, and grew from 30 to 40. The results of auditions Perhaps the most remarkable “fun fact”
Wallace, in the now-notorious “Dewey were posted in the Clarion, so apparently that I discovered in researching the Festival
wins!” debacle. What an historical time! of Christmas was to find that the Proces-
• continued on p. 16
~ 15 ~
The Choral History, from p. 15 •
sional and Recessionals for those first years The Berglund Years ending with the College Singers in 1987.
were composed by none other than Ron Robert Berglund left a remarkable legacy The Port Years
Veenker! Ron is, of course, the father of Jon for the Bethel Choir program, building as he In 1995, at the retirement of Robert Ber-
Veenker, present department chair, and the did on the seminal work of C. Howard Smith. glund, his successor was happily engaged at
composer and arranger of all 20 years of the • The choir grew from numbering 40-50 Northwestern College, and counter to the
Festivals that I led. “Apple falling not far from to being an ensemble frequently over thinking of many Bethel folks, was NOT
the tree” occurs to me! 70 singers, paralleling the remarkable “waiting in the wings” for the Bethel posi-
The 1960s growth in student population in the 70’s. tion to open up. In fact, Dennis Port did not
A major historic change in the choral • Bethel College Choir continued its apply in the first round of applications, being
program took place in the 60’s. In 1959-1960, growth in reputation outside of the happy with “his own” program” at NWC.
Howard Smith took a much-deserved sab- Bethel community. “We” moved into Finally convinced to apply,… well, the rest
batical. In his absence, a young conductor the category of one of the fine choral is history.
who was teaching at Annandale High School, ensembles in the state of Minnesota, a My goals in inheriting such a great tradi-
a graduate of Moody Bible Institute where state rich in choral traditions. tion from my own mentor were:
he was a student of the great Don Hustad, • The choir began international touring in • To maintain the excellence of the
was hired as interim Bethel College Choir 1968, and every four years since, and in program. To hold up what I had been
director. Hustad’s influence on his protégé 1969 premiered The Passion of St. Luke entrusted.
was most clearly seen in his challenge that of Krzysztof Penderecki at Carnegie • To keep the classical choir strong in
excellence should not only be a quality of Hall. Bethel College Choir was in “the what was increasingly becoming a “pop”
Christian school choirs – it should be its big time.” culture in the church – often yielding
hallmark. It was a lesson thoroughly learn • The word “College” was dropped from fewer dedicated classical choral singers.
and implemented by the young conductor. the name of the choir officially in 1973, • To continue to see Bethel Choir as a
That Bethel College Choir interim director becoming The Bethel Choir. I’m not meeting place for future couples. The
was, of course, Robert Berglund. “Bob” was sure I’ve ever had this confirmed by number over the years are legion, with
not only an outstanding conductor, but was Dr. Berglund himself, but I strongly at least thee in my final choir! There’s
deeply passionate about choral excellence, suspect that this was following the something about the “intimacy” of a
and was a fierce disciplinarian. But it WAS precedent our “rival schools,” St. Olaf choir tour.
a different time. When people asked me and Concordia, who’s choirs were The Perhaps the biggest growth in my years at
how I responded to the discipline of Robert St. Olaf Choir and The Concordia Choir. Bethel has been in the Festival of Christmas
Berglund my answer was simple: “Did you No doubt these traditions wanted to be where a fourth performance was added
know Wilbert Port!?” This was the era of seen as more than “just” a college choir! and led to a final six years of sellouts. In
Vince Lombardi, folks. Serious discipline Bethel had joined those ranks. those years the band and orchestra have as-
was considered the path to excellence, and A mention of the Berglund years wouldn’t sumed a major role, growing from a token
Berglund’s choirs soon gained that reputa- be complete without remarking on the mar- band involvement and no orchestra at all in
tion for excellence. velous legacy of hymn arrangement that he 1994. That has been extremely satisfying. A
As a result of that year, Robert Berglund left to the choral world. They are still per- highlight of the Festival years was the TPT
was hired fulltime to continue with The formed by Bethel Choir, and good church production of our 50th anniversary Festival
Bethel College Choir. The “elephant in the choirs. in 2006. It is STILL being played, and I am
room,” of course, is how the founder of the After a year off, C. Howard Smith, one of getting younger every year!
choir could go on sabbatical and upon re- the most gracious men I have ever known, In the fall of 2015 Bethel Choir will be
turning lose the choir that he had founded. began directing the Bethel Male Chorus, turned over to the extremely capable hands
I will allow that elephant to remain in the where he continued a marvelous tradition of Dr. Gene Peterson. He is hired, excited –
room because circumstances surrounding of choral excellence. In 1962 Oliver Mogck and ready to go.
it draw far too much on subjective matters began directing the Women’s Choir. In the I talked a lot about tradition in Bethel
which are painful to many to this day. Suffice 70’s Mary Fall began a remarkable run of Choir – from the first day of class. The future
to say, President Lundquist saw it in the best conducting that ensemble until the forma- is challenging, but looks bright as the tradi-
long-term interest of the choral program tion of the Bethel College Singers, a mixed tion continues. I am humbly grateful to have
to keep Robert Berglund on. The 36 years group, in 1987. When Howard retired from had a small part in this great legacy, and to
that followed perhaps affirmed at least the conducting his tradition was turned over have stood on the shoulders of such giants.
longevity part of the equation. briefly to Oliver Mogck, then to C. Edward To God alone belongs the glory.
Thomas, and finally to Jerry Sundberg, also

~ 16 ~
New Ways to Pray, from p. 11 •
So, we give it back to him. We place it on is on his heart. Pray not to change God, but is hidden with Christ in God. And when
the altar of our hearts as a living and holy to allow God to change you. Empty yourself Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the
sacrifice. Holy! Why do we need to do this? of yourself and he will fill your heart. And whole world, you will share in all his glory.”
Because, we are out to attempt this crazy then, comes the good part! (NLT) It doesn’t get any better than that. You
inner prayer stuff and our bodies have to As you engage God in this way, God begins are now personally in on the deal. It is divine
be on board or we will fail. As Rick Warren to transform you by changing the way you participation – you opting in and God always
was fond of saying, the trouble with a living think. Verse 2 of Romans 12 says it perfectly: there!
sacrifice is that it keeps crawling off the altar! “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of So, you change your approach, and God
What do I mean by our bodies have to this world, but let God transform you into a will change the way you think – your mind.
be on board? As amazing as our bodies are new person by changing the way you think. Once your mind is changed, the soul and
and as amazing as it is that this place we Then you will learn to know God’s will for body can follow suit. This is quiet, non-
are going is within us, we are also limited you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” public prayer. This is going off to a quiet
by our bodies. Our bodies get tired. We get (NLT) place and going in your mind and heart
restless, we get distracted, hungry, anxious. into the inner room of your soul. It is sur-
Placing our bodies on this altar is an act of Don’t copy the behavior and render – placing your body on the altar,
bringing our bodies into full surrender to leaving your small agenda behind. You will
God. You may need to take a nap. If you are
customs of this world, find with practice, that this prayer and only
too tired, you won’t be able to sustain this but let God transform this prayer can invade, touch, and heal the
state of prayer for long. You may need to you into a new person by unconscious. This is going into that place in
eat something, take off your shoes, put on each of us where all the garbage lies, but it
a sweater if you’re cold, walk around if you changing the way you think. is also the place where God reveals himself
are restless. Do whatever it takes until you Then you will learn to and overwhelms us with his love.
can maintain a posture of quiet and prayer
know God’s will for you, •
before God’s altar – fully submitting all that
you are – body and spirit – to him. That is which is good and pleasing I want to challenge you to take the time to
practice this soul prayer. Put aside your lists
the way to true worship. All in – 100%.
and perfect. and personal concerns for a few minutes ev-
Now, remember what we saw earlier in
• ery day to go deeper – to explore the heart of
Matt. 6? Don’t be like the hypocrites praying
on the street corner? Don’t babble and say Romans 12:2 (NLT) God in you. Let it change the way you think,
the same words over and over. Most of our let it reveal to you what God’s perfect will
prayers are very ego-centric. The customary God actually likes to be in charge. He for you is. Begin to live in the very presence
way of prayer is about taking our own private wants to help each of us know what we really of Christ now. You can be changed from the
needs and hurts as our reference point, and desire and want. We can’t know that if we are inside out. Spiritual transformation doesn’t
then inviting God to help us, when we have always telling him what we want. We have to require New Year’s resolutions or massive
already determined what we think is the listen more. If we empty our minds of our amounts of will power and self-discipline.
best solution. Don’t get me wrong – there own ideas, he will be able to fill our hearts. But it does require trying some new things.
is a place for bringing our requests, our We don’t change God when we pray – He Allow God’s spirit to do the heavy lifting - the
needs before God. He cares about what we changes us. And the best part is that when work of transformation that you seek in this
care about. But there is more to prayer then we pray this way – asking God to change us, New Year! His Kingdom is within you!
petitioning God for our own needs and the to fill us with his thoughts and desires - he
needs of others. always answers that prayer affirmatively. (Terri L. Hansen, Central Baptist Church,
This other type of prayer requires going He transforms the way we think – we begin St. Paul, MN)
from ego-centric to soul-centric. Put aside to think like he does, with the very mind of
your agenda. Look deep into God’s heart Christ! This new mind knows, understands,
and mind and ask for his perspective. Let accepts, and sees correctly, widely, and wisely.
him begin to widen your lens and give you The “who” of prayer also shifts. It is not you
a better, bigger picture of the world around who is praying, but Christ in you. Rohr says,
you. He will help you know what you really “The contemplative mind prays from a dif-
want, what you desire. How does he want you ferent sense of Who-I-am. It rests, and abides
to live? How does he show love? How does he in the Great I AM, and draws its life from the
explain pain and suffering? Quit telling him Larger Vine, the Deeper Well.” (p. 96)
what you want and ask him to show you what Col. 3:3-4 puts it this way: “Your real life

~ 17 ~
Living as Forgiven People: Ten Principles of Authentic Forgiveness
G. William Carlson | In October 2005 pastors forgive church members who have Walter Wangerin, a distinguished Chris-
Terri Hansen and I had the opportunity to intentionally undermined a significant tian writer, tells the story of Elijah, a well-
conduct a Day of Spiritual Renewal on the church ministry? loved African-American school principal
topic of Living as Forgiven and Forgiving Jesus’ ministry suggested that a“forgiving” and his wife, Mary, a bright, thoughtful and
People. The retreat was cosponsored by disposition was a characteristic of dis- determined third grade school teacher. Elijah
Central and Elim Baptist Churches. The ciple- ship. (Matthew 18) The“Living as tragically died of cancer. He had often asked
core assumption was that “forgiveness and Forgiving People” section of the retreat Wangerin to pray the Lord’s Prayer at his
reconciliation are practices that give con- focused on three stories in Christ’s life and bedside.
crete expression to our calling as disciples three illustrations of forgiveness found on When his last death rattle passed, Mary
of Jesus Christ.” It is a theme that is derived the “Journey Toward Forgiveness” video. continued to be angry with a God who
from our pietist heritage and needs to be Participants were encouraged, through “al- lowed her husband to die too soon and
emphasized in a world that too often values small group discussion, to develop a set of too quick and through too much pain.”
“revenge and triumphalism.” principles for the achievement of authentic Wangerin preached about the“merciful God
Each of us has experienced times where forgiveness. The following were the results that Elijah consistently saw as the God of
being a forgiving person has been difficult of the participants’ conversations. the whole universe and the God who held
if not impossible. A student once asked me A. Seeking authentic kindness and love and forgiveness for all the
how one could forgive a family member forgiveness: recognizing and people.”
who has been abusive, slanderous and ir- defining the issues One Sunday, just about the time of the
responsible? A faculty colleague once asked In John 8:1-12, Jesus engages in a dia- saying of the Lord’s Prayer, Mary stood up,
me how one can forgive the leaders of the logue with the religious leaders concerning without anger in her eyes, looked at the
former apartheid regime in South Africa a woman caught in adultery. After some members of the congregation and said“Our
who have killed his friends and made it discussion about the“impact of the law”on Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be they
difficult for him to gain an education? How adultery cases, Jesus queried: “If any one name. Thy Kingdom come.” The congrega-
do you minister in a Baptist church in Croa- of you is without sin, let him be the first tion raised their arms and prayed with her.
tia in a manner that allows for Serbs and to throw a stone at her.”When the elders Wangerin saw a woman who“sang us sweetly
Croats to worship and serve the Lord Jesus went away leaving Jesus with the adulterous home, past her grief to amen, to amen and
Christ together? How does a society ask for woman, he said to her, “neither do I con- to forgiveness.”
forgiveness for failing to stop the lynching demn you…Go now and leave your life of What do these two stories tell us about
of African-Americans in the 20th century? sin.” Jesus offered the woman a fresh start. the nature of forgiveness and how it can
How do you ask forgiveness from a student She was to commence a new life because of be achieved? What core principles can one
who received an irresponsible tongue lash- her encounter with Jesus Christ. reach about the “authentic forgiveness” that
ing during the classroom experience? Can God wishes us to have and to share with
“Let any one of you who is without sin 1. Forgiveness allows each party to a con-
flict the possibility of a fresh start.
be the first to throw a stone at her.” 2. Forgiveness is a choice that one must
Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. make. It is an intentional response to
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, difficult and painful issues.
3. Forgiveness allows one to understand
the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, and take responsibility for one’s part in
with the woman still standing there. the development of the conflict.

Jesus straightened up and asked her, B. Seeking authentic
forgiveness: learning to let
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” go/learning to let God work
“No one, sir,” she said. in your life.
In Luke 19:1-9 Jesus engages in a dia-
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. logue with the tax collector Zacchaeus.
“Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus broke socioreligious boundaries to
• commune with Zacchaeus at his home. The
encounter encouraged Zacchaeus to confess
John 8:7-11
• continued on p. 19
~ 18 ~
Living as Forgiven People, from p. 18 •
his misuse of power. He gave half of his pos- C. Seeking authentic tim of the Oklahoma bombing than I was,
sessions to the poor and restored fourfold forgiveness: a journey that because while I can speak in front of thou-
the taxes that he had stolen. Jesus stated that has no guarantees sands of people and say wonderful things
“salvation has come to this house.” What In John 13:31-38, 18:15-26, and 21:15-25 about Julie, if Bill McVeigh meets a stranger
a transformation! Zacchaeus’ encounter Jesus engages in a dialogue with Peter con- he probably doesn’t even say he had a son.”
with Jesus brought about a desire to seek cerning the need for faithful disciples. Peter, Welch concluded that “about a year before
restoration and restitution. the overly zealous and excitable disciple, the execution I found it in my heart to forgive
In the video, “Journey toward Forgive- eagerly pledges to be that faithful follower Tim McVeigh. It was a release for me rather
ness,” John Perkins tells the story of his who would lay down his life for Jesus. Jesus than for him.”
journey from anger to reconciliation. He predicted that Peter would deny him three What does it mean for Peter to be“restored”
tells the story of how his brother, returning times before the “rooster crowed.” to the Christian community and be given
home from military service in World War II, After Jesus’ death, three times Peter chose the assignment of “feeding Christ’s sheep?”
is shot by a white marshal at a movie theater. not be known as Christ’s follower. Peter Why did Bud Welch take the risk of meeting
John was himself beaten when serving time seemed to misunderstand the “political” Tim McVeigh’s father? How did he gain the
in prison protesting the ills of segregation. nature of the Kingdom of God and probably courage to take that step? Who most benefits
John eventually moved to California, came to sought for a more successful political trans- from the act of “forgiving” and are there any
grips with the forgiving God and returned to formation of the current political order. guarantees of a reconciliation outcome?
Mississippi to develop a Christian commu- The “good news” of Jesus Christ is that he did 7. Forgiveness needs to be a part of one’s
nity known as Voice of Calvary Ministries. not give up on Peter. After the resurrection, normal every day life in order to be able
Jesus had breakfast with the disciples and to accomplish the task in the most dif-
“I say all the time, he particularly singled out Peter. He asked ficult of times.
8. Forgiveness is a product of our experi-
the saddest people that Peter three times if Peter loved Jesus. Peter
replied“Lord, you know all things; you know ence of God’s grace. This enables us
I know are people who are that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” to act in ways that may be difficult or
not able to forgive…and so Receiving God’s gift of forgiveness, Peter to confront concerns we may wish to
was given the assignment of evangelism and avoid.
forgiveness frees me.” teaching. (Acts 2) 9. Forgiveness brings no guarantees of
• Bud Welch in the video, “Journey To- successful results. It is a journey without
John Perkins ward Forgiveness,” tells the story of how predictable outcomes.
his daughter, Julie Marie, was killed in the 10. Forgiveness is a requirement of Chris-
John now works with law enforcement to April 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal tian discipleship. It is an illustration of
provide support for young people in trouble. Building in Oklahoma City. In his anger he a theology of reconciliation and role
The Community provides educational, would have killed Timothy McVeigh himself model of what it means to be sons and
economic and leadership development, if given the chance. He turned to alcohol and daughters of God. These authentic
low-income housing options, and a tutoring became a second victim to the Oklahoma principles are useful starting points for
program. John lives as a forgiving Christian: tragedy. His hangovers lasted all day. In Janu- allowing all of us to think about what
“I say all the time, the saddest people that ary 1996 he came to the bombsite, as he had it means to be a forgiving people. As
I know are people who are not able to for- done every day, and sought to do something Christians, by God’s grace, we are a for-
give…and so forgiveness frees me.” different with his life. given people. We are constantly in need
What does it mean that “forgiveness frees He decided to visit Tim McVeigh’s parents for God’s forgiveness as we fail to meet
me?” How do reconciliation and restitution and show them that he did not blame them. God’s expectations for our lives. God
relate to one another? What does it mean to As he left their home he hugged Tim’s sister expects that we will also be a forgiving
take the initiative? Is reconciliation possible Jennifer who was about Julie’s age. In tears people. As disciples of His, we are to be
and under what circumstances? Bud said to Jennifer, “Look, honey, the three agents of reconciliation.
4. Forgiveness demands that people seek of us are in this for the rest of our lives. I Can we make this a norm in our lives?
restitution with those who have been don’t want your brother to die and I’ll do
harmed. everything I can to prevent it.”
5. Forgiveness requires people to take the As he walked away from the house Bud
initiative to break the cycles of animos- realized that until that moment he had
ity and hatred. walked alone, but now a tremendous weight
6. Forgiveness has as its ultimate goal the had lifted from his shoulders. He stated, “I
possibility of reconciliation. had found someone who was a bigger vic-

~ 19 ~
Radical Baptists, from p. 12 •
of Clarence Jordan at Southern Baptist Theo- 1. an early identification with people in his day are still relevant to an understanding
logical Seminary in Louisville and Professor need or people who are unacceptable of the gospel in today’s Christian communi-
of Old Testament at Bethel Seminary argued to mainstream societal norms; ties. Although, he is relevant to leaders of
for a Christian commitment to civil rights in 2. a serious discontent with the witness many traditions, he is significantly relevant
St. Paul and endorsed a pacifist stand on war of the established Christian church in for those who believe that the “Baptist” tra-
and peace issues. their community and a desire to recover dition must recover a radical heritage and
During my forty-four years at Bethel a more authentic faith; apply it to today’s challenges.
University I have developed and frequently 3. a desire to follow in the footsteps of ____________________
taught a class entitled Christian Nonviolence Christ and faithfully to live out the
which attempts to explore the theological, principles of the Sermon on the Mount; Final note by Ted Lewis: The article ends
historical, and practical implications of 4. a need to develop an alternative faith with the inspiration of Clarence Jordan for
peacemaking as a Biblical norm. Clarence community to provide a “counter- two leading Baptist professors of Christian
Jordan helped to raise many of the core culture” Christian witness, encourage ethics, David Gushee and Glen Stassen.
themes for this course, and I have regu- responsible discipleship, and develop “They have found Clarence Jordan a helpful
larly included his sermons on the Good Sa- collegial support networks; role model in the development of a con-
maritan, radical discipleship, and Christian 5. a faith journey that integrates Christian temporary radical Baptist witness.” Indeed,
peacemaking in the class. spirituality and social and economic Jordan’s life and witness “expresses well the
The life and witness of Clarence Jordan, justice; paradigm of conscientious Christian dis-
along with F. O. Nilsson, Isaac Backus, 6. a theological commitment to the “sa- cipleship and thus he is an encouragement
Francis Bellamy, Helen Montgomery, Nan- credness of life” and the dangers of to today’s radical Baptist community.”
nie Burroughs, Walter Rauschenbusch, hedonism and materialism; Recommended reading for further study:
and Martin Luther King Jr. has helped me 7. a belief in a “servanthood” model of Substance of Faith and Other Cotton Patch
to develop a paradigm for radical Baptist leadership. Sermons by Clarence Jordan. (For 40% off
discipleship which encourages courageous During the past two decades “progressive discount, contact tedlewis@wipfandstock.
Christian dissent. The paradigm includes Baptists” have found Clarence Jordan a valu- com)
the following: able prophet whose critique of the issues of

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