Letters to the Editor
Let’s support together
Regarding Ella Simmons’s fine article (“The Pastor and the Church School: Partnering for Success,” June 2017), I would be very interested to know what the correlation was in the survey of pastors between years in formal SDA education and support for Adventist education/schools. Were pastors with more SDA education more or less supportive of SDA schools?
—Tyson Kahler, by email
Response from the author
The answer to this question is not presented in the research report. We will need to go to the data file to run additional tests to discover this. The report did contain three questions, however, that may have a bearing on this important topic:
“Q9. What is highest academic training you have received?
“Q10. How many years of your total education were obtained in Adventist schools? . . .
“Q22e. Teacher: How would you rank the importance of these other ministries in which pastors often work to the mission of the church?”
These three questions could have correlations with the final question:
“Q24. What contribution do you believe teachers in Adventist schools generally make to the mission of the church, as you defined it above?”
Additional analyses or separate cor-relations of each of these questions may indeed be a step in the right direction!
Let’s pray together
I appreciated the recent article in your February 2018 issue by David M. Klinedinst titled “Unity and collaboration in urban ministry.” My question for Pastor Klinedinst is, “Can you share how this approach to urban ministry in St. Louis has impacted the community?”
The article celebrates that “Conversation happens. Friendships are formed . Experiences are shared. Understanding takes place. God is there.” It goes on to say, “This is unity in action. It is a picture not soon forgotten, and it is a picture your city desperately needs to see.” I applaud all these attributes and believe they have intrinsic value, however, I wish to know how this unity and collaborative ministry actually impacted the urban community?
Did the churches grow? Did local government soften? Were evangelism efforts successful? Did other Christian denominations inquire? What tangible results can you cite? What seeds were sown that give promise to future conversions or revivals? Thank you for your time.
—Davy Lounsbury, pastor, Spirit Lake and Spokane Central church, Washington, United States
Response from the author
Building collaborative relationships between churches and conferences in the urban setting takes time. It may even take two to three years before tangible results can really be seen. It begins first with an inward focus and just getting churches to start spending time together in prayer and fellowship, then slowly but surely moving it to outward focused ministry in the community.
There was an evangelistic meeting done by ministers of different confer-ences and ethnicities. We took turns preaching, and the subtheme was “The truth—in black and white.” I can’t say it caused the local churches to grow by leaps and bounds, but it started a pro-cess that I believe, if Saint Louis stays committed to, will give even greater tangible results. Seeds have been sown and a foundation of collaboration has been laid that is now ingrained in the fabric of Saint Louis.
Now the churches are working together to host a “Pathways to Health” in Saint Louis with the audacious goal of using the downtown dome to provide much needed free medical care to the community. This will be followed up with a citywide evangelistic meeting with all the churches united. Was the community knocking down the doors to see what made us different? Not yet. That will happen if they see us stay committed in the long term to this collaborative effort.
Let’s stay together
The article by Arthur Stele, December 2017, on unity and mission interested me (“Unity Aids Mission and Mission Serves Unity”). I was particularly interested in his remarks on echad, the Hebrew word for the numeral 1. Some feel that this word in Deuteronomy 6:4 really means three and not one.
While it is true that in Hebrew, as well as in English, this word represent-ing the numeral 1 is sometimes used to represent more than one, however, in its over five hundred usages in the Old Testament, it is by far used more often as a numeric equivalent rather than representing a “compound oneness.” Because the word can mean either one or a unity of persons, how do we deter-mine whether it means three or one?
A Jewish rabbi would immediately tell us that it represents one person. And, who would know better than a Jewish scholar? However, we cannot interpret the Bible by what even a scholar of our times would say it means, for the Bible must be interpreted by itself.
When the scribe came to Jesus and asked him, “Which is the first commandment of all?” Jesus immediately quoted Deuteronomy 6:4 by saying, “Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” Jesus used here the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew [echad] for the numeral 1, and then proceeded to summarize the two tables of the law showing the scribe the importance of loving God supremely and his neighbor as himself.
In this summary, the scribe agreed, saying, “Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is no other but he” (Mark 12:32). And Jesus, seeing he answered discreetly, said to him, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” The pronoun “he” used by the scribe is singular, and Jesus was pleased with his answer and in no way tried to correct it. This same idea of the Father’s headship in the Godhead is expressed in 1 Corinthians 8:6. “But to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.”
The real question to be asked is, does echad represent more than one person in this verse?
—Jerry Prouty, Newman Lake, Washington, United States
Response from the author
Moses chose to use the word echad. The Hebrew language has other options that Moses could have used that never refer to a compound unity. However, Moses used echad, which he had also used in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Adam and Eve became echad! So, one’s understanding of God—the picture of God that one has—really predetermines the under-standing of echad in Deuteronomy 6:4.
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