I just received in the mail today the first issue of New England Pastor. Congratulations, it looks great and reads even better. I read the whole thing already and enjoyed every bit of it. Thanks for yours and your dad’s vision. I’m looking forward to future issues. I really appreciate the Christ centered message.
—Greg Carlson, South Burlington, Vermont
Your publication gives me another reason to praise God and glorify His name. Thank you for such heartwarming, uplifting and encouraging messages of God and His love.
—Scott Sassone, Lancaster, Massachusetts
Received your May/June edition and loved it, and I am not even a pastor!
—Bob MacDougall, Bradenton, Florida
Thank you for your publication New England Pastor. I have read each one with delight, thankful for the beautiful illustration of how fathers and sons can work together in the Lord’s work. The Lord will bless your work together and use your little paper to win souls among pastors, SDA and otherwise. And of course laity will love such a paper; they will praise the Lord for this beautiful illustration of family togetherness.
—Robert Wieland, Meadow Vista, California
What Farmers Tell Us About the End of the World
I continue to wrestle with the tension that Herb Douglass articulated in his piece “What Farmers Tell Us About the End of the World” in your May/June issue. That the divine Farmer waits for a harvestable crop is clear enough from the NT metaphor. But I’m not sure I’m ready to conclude, as Douglass does, that the Matthew 24 signs are therefore essentially immaterial, since they’ve gone on and on throughout history—and that rather than anticipating further external readiness (signs), we need to be concentrating on internal readiness. We all agree that people that become focused on their own state of readiness are easily trapped in legalism with the bonus of a judgmental spirit towards all others not as ready as they.
I look at the segments within our community of faith where the “harvest” focus on demonstrable behavioral change has been embraced for years (even decades)—and I wonder: Are their present behaviors the sort of fruitage and change that God is waiting for from the rest of the church? Why isn’t the work “finished” among them then? And if the work isn’t “finished” among them yet either, then shall we conclude that the only reality God is waiting for is a harvestable church? Or should we recognize that while the absence of corporate “ripened grain” is one element of the divine patience/delay, there are other significant factors (some known, and others unknown to us) that are part of God’s sovereign decision regarding “times and seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:7)? God’s passion/compassion for the lost, his commitment to let the great controversy play out to its bitter end to ensure the universe will never return to such tragedy, his love for 1.4 billion Muslims, etc.—could these be additional reasons God waits?
Is the Bridegroom delayed? Most certainly. Has the lack of readiness on my part and on the part of the church I love and serve contributed to that delay? Without a doubt. But is the harvest principle the sole or overriding explanation for both the delay and the solution to that delay? I’m not certain that it is.
—Dwight K. Nelson, Berrien Springs, Michigan
“The Lord is Coming. Are You Ready?”
Shawn Brace’s editorial, “The Lord is Coming. Are You Ready” in the July/August edition reviewed an important question. My first district in ministry I became friends with an Assembly of God minister who would once-a-week hang a sign on his office door stating, “The pastor has gone fishing.” This meant he was in the downtown area walking the sidewalks asking people the question, “If you died tonight, do you know where you would be tomorrow?” On the “uh-oh, I’m in trouble” scale, this question is much higher than the question, “Are you ready?” I guess my question is, how much further out of someone’s face or how much more politically correct should we be? Is this penetrating question really “wagging a stick?” It seems to me that “Jesus is coming, are you ready?” is the attitude that Revelation and, therefore, the Bible, ends with.
—Micheal Goetz, Hatboro, Pennsylvania
The In-Christ Motif
A comment about Clinton Baldwin’s article on in the in-Christ motif (March/April). He has some good thoughts and comes ever so close to striking the right chord. There is the statement: “Without the subjective experience of being in Christ, God would be obligated to save everyone irrespective of his or her attitude towards Him.” This leaves the impression that God’s attitude needs to be changed regarding saving everyone. He has elected everyone in Christ to be saved, but so many hinder the gift. He doesn’t force it upon them.
Another statement: “As long as we are in this sinful body, it means that God’s doing in us, is incomplete, imperfect, and mingled with our human frailties.” This leads one to believe that the author doesn’t believe the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, that Christian character perfection in sinful flesh is an impossibility. However, we know Christ disproved that. And He gives this gift to all.
—Paul Penno, Vallejo, California
New England Pastor welcomes and encourages your letters, with the reminder that the inclusion of a letter in this section does not mean that the opinions and ideas necessarily reflect the views of the editors. Letters will be edited for space and clarity. Send correspondence to New England Pastor, PO Box 185, Warner, NH 03278 or firstname.lastname@example.org.