February 13, 2014

April 17, 2014

Like Jesus

I was delighted to read the wonderful, inspiring article,
“Serving Like Jesus,” by Darius Jankiewicz (Mar. 13, 2014).

From my own in-depth study a
few years ago, prompted by participating on a Nominating Committee, as well as
reflecting on discipleship and all-member ministry as a result of reading
several books by Russell Burrill, I had come to the sad conclusion that our
churches have often lost sight of what Jesus has in mind. In fact, I was
challenged to change some of my own thinking.

In 2012, I was greatly encouraged
when I heard Jankiewicz speak in depth regarding his studies on the historical
aspects of organization and biblical authority. In that outstanding
presentation, just as in this article, he humbly and graciously presented biblical
truths that are so necessary in our churches, and from which we each could benefit
from personal examination.

Perhaps we will recognize
that even with good intentions, we have strayed from God’s plans and
incorporated worldly ways and traditions, including domination, power, ruling,
and lording over others, as we can easily witness. Anything outside the truth
as it is in Jesus brings variance, confusion, sin, and pain.

Amid the sincere but opposing
voices often heard today regarding aspects of ministry, whether to go down this
road or that, or get stuck in the left ditch or the right, it is so refreshing
to contemplate the way Jesus illustrated to serve, spread the gospel, and make
disciples under the leading of the Holy Spirit while uplifting and encouraging
one another.


In his article on authority in God’s church, Darius Jankiewicz was
a bit selective in the passages he cited on the subject.

True, Jesus’ mission was to
serve, and He calls upon His followers to serve. However, passages in the New
Testament clearly show that there were positions of decision-making authority
in the church.

Paul called upon members at
Thessalonica to “acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in
the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because
of their work” (1 Thess. 5:12, 13).

The author of Hebrews
similarly bid believers to “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to
you” (Heb. 13:7).

Paul’s counsel to Timothy
showed that he and Timothy had commanding authority. Concerning the widows
needing church assistance, Paul counseled, “No widow may be put on the list of
widows unless she is over sixty. . . . As for younger widows, do not put them
on such a list” (1 Tim. 5:9, 11).

Paul instructed Titus to “appoint
elders in every town, as I directed you” (Titus 1:5). Then, after giving some of
the qualifications of an elder, Paul wrote that an overseer must be “blameless”
(verse 7). From this we can see that overseers were elders.

In Paul’s description to
Timothy about the qualifications of an overseer, he mentioned that an overseer
“must manage his own family well. . . . (If anyone does not know how to manage
his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)” (1 Tim. 3:4, 5). Note
the parallel between an overseer ruling his house and taking care of the
church. This implies a certain ruling authority on the part of a church
overseer. . . .


An inevitable dimension of “authority” that
is well demonstrated in the New Testament might have at least been touched on
by Darius Jankiewicz in his article, and that of its disciplinary, even
remonstrative purpose.

In a
fallen world, and in a beloved but imperfect church, Jesus and the apostles
made provision for responding to foreseeable needs, challenges, and problems
the church would encounter. Notice the exercise of spiritual authority in the
following passages:

Jesus taught
how we as a church are to deal with fellow believers when they sin against us
in Matthew 18:15-18.

In 1 Timothy
5:1-16, Paul offered counsel to elders or pastors for preventing or remedying
people problems. Note the pastoral authority indicated. Verses 19-22 contain due
process for elders accused of sinning. Those convicted are to be rebuked
publicly because of their public position. Elders are not to act out of
partiality, and not to lay hands on [ordain] anyone too hastily.

Paul wrote: “Don’t let anyone look down on
you because you are young” (1 Tim. 4:12). Most pastors begin as young men,
initially possessing only positional authority.

In Titus
1:5-11 Paul lists specifically the qualifications of elders (see also 1 Tim.
3:1-17). They are to hold fast to the faithful word, exhort in sound doctrine,
refute those who contradict and must be silenced. “Warn a divisive person once,
and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them”
(Titus 3:10).

I fully
embrace Jankiewicz’ servant/leader paradigm, but I think he goes too far in
discounting the positional aspect of such. The above texts with their
responsibility/accountability directives for clearly defined leaders bear this
out. Reading Paul’s letters to the Corinthians—2 Corinthians 10, for example—reveals
that many cared little about the genuineness of Paul’s Christ-like character.
Spirit-led, executive authority, by virtue of Paul’s calling and position was


What a great article on Christ-like
authority in the church by Darius Jankiewicz! Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to
be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35), and “Whoever
wants to be great among you must be your servant” (Mark 10:43).

The only
thing I took issue with was the statement, “In Christian history the lowly term
‘pastor’ has become a symbol of status.”

While this
may be true for some, “shepherd” was my favorite term to be called by my
parishioners. To me, it’s a title of service. A shepherd is a pastor as a
physician is a doctor (one who heals).

After I
was ordained as a young pastor, I was chagrined by the title “elder.” I didn’t
feel like an “elder,” but rather like a “younger.” What’s wrong with titles
like “brother” and “sister?” Nothing. I think Jankiewicz would agree.

By the
way, I’ve never known a woman elder or woman pastor who desired the title
“elder.” The whole issue of titles depends on how you look at yourself. Jesus
deserved the title “Rabbi,” but many did not. Self-importance is not very important
in God’s eyes; neither does it have a valid place in Christian leadership.

L. Johnson
City, Oklahoma


I was disappointed some time ago to see some of the misdirected
and uncomprehending criticism of Eric Anderson’s Review article, “What Is a Mystic?” (Jan. 10, 2013).

That’s why I was pleased,
though not at all surprised, to see the courage of Review editors in trying again to educate the church on this
subject through Rex Edwards’ article, “Keeping the Heart in Heaven” (Mar. 13,

In a few short paragraphs,
Edwards deftly makes the biblical case, supported by the Spirit of Prophecy,
for the important role of quiet reflection in the life of a vibrant Christian.
Edwards’ citation of the works of Elton Trueblood, a profound writer who had
much to say of value, Alfred Delp, and Richard Baxter shows that Edwards has an
inclusive library. I would like to know more about Delp, of whom I confess
ignorance, and now I will be off on a search of my own.

Edwards also swiftly
distinguished effectively between Eastern meditation, “which seeks to empty the
mind and merge with cosmic consciousness,” and Christian meditation. For some
reason the subject of meditation seems to loose passionate excitement in some
circles in our church. I hope those who waste their energy in this way will
take a few moments to consider Edwards’ points.


Rex Edwards’ excellent article “Keeping the Heart in Heaven”
lists three powers for meditation. I would like to add a powerful fourth:

Ellen White wrote: “It would
be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life
of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each
scene, especially the closing ones” (The Desire
of Ages
, p. 83).

–J. David
Airy, Maryland

Fine Chocolate

Sometimes, in reading a book, I become so engrossed that I can’t
wait to find out how it ends. But as the final pages turn in my hands I feel a
sense of loss that it’s finished. That describes my experience with the March
13, 2014 issue of the Review.

Bill Knott’s editorial,
“Springtime in the Soul,” beautifully written, brought a smile to my face as I
remembered my sacred place at Lake Junaluska camp meeting many years ago. Then
came tears while reading “Fragile Daisies” by Dixil Rodríquez, one of my
favorite writers.

So I put my Review aside, hating to finish reading it
in one sitting; saving “A Twenty-First Century Faith” and “The Green-Striped
Downy Comforter” for another devotional time.

It’s kind
of like the last bite of a great chocolate bar, wonderful while it lasts, with
the assurance of more to come! The Review
never disappoints, a blessing to be savored even more than the finest

North Carolina

in Christ

Thank you for printing “Breaking Up With Church” (Feb. 20,
2014). The author couldn’t have said it any better. Whether it be over issues
where there is not a “thus saith the Lord,” or over the color of the carpet,
she is so right in saying that abandoning the church because of differences of
opinion has become the prevailing attitude among us when we disagree with one

The author’s statement,
“People can disagree on particulars and still pull together for the greater
good” is so true. It is my desire that all of us be more Christ-like in how we
act and what we say when differences of opinions arise, as they do in any

Loor, Jr.
La Center,

for the Soul

I have become a fan of the Adventist
Although I am a Christian, I am not a Seventh-day Adventist. I particularly
enjoy Dixil Rodríguez’ column, “Searching the Obvious,” and was moved by her
personal story “Cartography of Faith” (Nov. 28, 2013). She speaks to me on a
personal level, and I find my patients are great fans of her work as well.

I work with oncology patients
at the National Institutes of Health, and sometimes they need inspirational
reading, and just a little more faith to keep going through difficult times. You
would be surprised how many Christians we have in our care. Thank you for the
wonderful articles you present. Thank you for helping our patients find hope
and renewed faith.

–Matt Reynolds