Introducing this issue

An important overview of the theme and structure of this special issue of Ministry

Willmore D. Eva is the former editor of Ministry Magazine.

Throughout the Christian world questions about the nature, inspiration, and authorship of the Bible are receiving serious consideration. A long period of sustained and escalating analytical scrutiny has threatened the soul of scripture. Brilliant minds that are more rationally adept than spiritually discerning have ushered the Christian faith into a watershed moment of truth that tests the heart of its verities. The questions that have been raised are by no means trivial. A lot is at stake, and in the fallout sincere people find themselves on opposite sides of the issues that are being pressed, particularly as those issues are honed down to include aspects of the matter that occupy minds with a more traditional bent.

At the center of the debate, as it is addressed in this edition of Ministry, is the question of the inscrutable, supernatural character of the Bible's origins versus the observable, assessable human dynamics behind its authorship and how the divine and human relate to one another in the phenomenon of the biblical text. All of this seriously impacts the question of how the Bible is to be interpreted the question of biblical hermeneutics.

It is important to note that the first three articles appearing in this issue are key to the presentation of the theme. The articles by Roy Gane and Robert Johnston have been purposely chosen to be counterparts representing differing points of view within Seventh-day Adventist scholarly circles. I hasten to say, however, that each purposely represents more moderate or centrist expressions in Adventist thinking, and this makes their differences less consequential.

The third article, by Adventist Review editor and New Testament scholar William Johnsson, represents an admirable effort to take the thinking of Gane and Johnston and along with his own reflection synthesize them into a suggested construct which contributes to a unifying hermeneutic acceptable to a significant swath of Adventist minds and hearts.

In presenting this issue there is an intentional attempt to add something helpful and hopeful to the dialogue over hermeneutics both within the Adventist community and elsewhere. We also hope that this edition of Ministry will give broader expression to some of the thinking that goes on among representative Adventist minds. There is a need for us to articulate reputable statements of our thought on this subject more widely than we have.

All of the articles in this issue are related to the same theme and arc indeed well worth reading. They have been presented to stimulate our thinking and inspire our hearts to grapple with the fabulous questions at hand. As we wrestle with these matters we must listen for the voice of God and fearlessly trust Him as He leads us forward.

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.

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Willmore D. Eva is the former editor of Ministry Magazine.

March 1999

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More Articles In This Issue

Can it happen again?

Ministry provides an opportunity to experience and learn from diversity.

An approach to the historical-critical method

A centrist but more "conservative" view of hermeneutical questions

the case for a balanced hermeneutic

A centrist but more "progressive" view of the issues

How scripture should function in theology

Doing theology while respecting the authority of the Bible

The word and the cross

Preaching in a postmodern world

The disaffected matriarch

I learned a valuable lesson about focusing on people's needs, not trying to impress or appease them.

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