Be My Witnesses

Be My Witnesses: The Church's Mission, Message, and Messengers

Darrell L. Guder, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1985, 236 pages, $10.95, paper.

Reviewed by Dr. DeWitt S. Williams, associate director, Health and Temperance Department, General Conference.

The author of Be My Witnesses has served as college administrator, pastor, and professor in the United States and Europe. From this broad experience he brings us an image of the church as a blemished and disappointing movement, but one that God is not finished with yet. It can still reveal who Christ is and what He does. Scripture is the written witness, and human beings His visible witnesses.

The saints who make up the church within the grand sweep of salvation history are agents by whom the message of God's reconciling actions will be made known to the world. At Pentecost His church was empowered, and is still empowered, to carry out its assigned mission. This is in spite of the vast institutions of today, characterized by their familiar drawbacks: complexity, bureaucracy, power brokering, politics, resistance to change, commitment to status quo, etc.

Guder points out that the church should be more like the tabernacle than the temple of the old covenant. The temple is unmovable, a center for religious activity. It tends to be an end in itself, a massive, expensive, complex institution whose commitment is to its own continuation. Tabernacles, however, are unique as an expression of faith. The tent of the old covenant was not permanent, but moved with the people wherever they followed God's leading into new territory. The tabernacle constantly focused people upon God's actions, His presence in their midst, His will and direction.

Emphasizing the church's need to be in the world but not of the world, Guder looks at that strategic comma (Eph. 4:11, 12). The comma indicates that the organizational chart of the church should be an inverted pyramid, with the broader section at the top representing members, while the specialized ministers should be servants of the servants of God. The hope, too, is that members will come to understand themselves, not as consumers of religious services, but as partners in ministry.


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus
Reviewed by Dr. DeWitt S. Williams, associate director, Health and Temperance Department, General Conference.

February 1988

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

1888--issues, outcomes, lessons

Did the 1888 session yield good for the church or bad? How can we benefit from Ellen White's reaction and counsel?

The men of Minneapolis

How much of the conflict at Minneapolis in 1888 could be attributed to theological differences and how much to personality clashes?

What is the 1888 Message?

While we do not have transcripts of Jones's and Waggoner's talks at that fateful session, we have an impeccable source for the message of righteousness by faith they were to deliver.

Elder Hottel goes to General Conference

R. DeWitt Hottel's diary gives a participant's perspective on the 1888 General Conference session.

The dynamics of salvation

The text of a study document produced in 1980 provides background on the church's current understanding of righteousness by faith.

The biblical gospel of salvation

What is righteousness by faith? Is it only forgiveness, or does it demand moral rectitude?

Corporate repentance

Do church leaders today need to repent for the sins of their predecessors? Does the church as a whole need to repent for what happened in 1888?

Damnation or deliverance?

How does righteousness by faith relate to the messages of the three angels of Revelation 14-God's last warning to the world, the special commission of the Adventist Church?

Have we delayed the Advent?

While Ellen G. White wrote that we can hasten or delay the Lord's return, she also wrote that Jesus would come "at the appointed time." What did she mean?

Judgment or justification?

Many have rejected the idea of an investigative judgment. Why? Is this Adventist doctrine biblical?

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up

Recent issues

See All