When the Roof Caves in, the Floor Falls Out, and the Walls Are on Fire

by Joshua Goodling

On a cold, wintry day in January 1986, I was standing behind the counter of a popular fast-food restaurant, flipping hamburgers for the many hungry customers who would soon be cramming their way up to the order line. While we were expecting our mass of hungry customers, my father walked in and came to the counter. He wasn’t there to order food. Fire“Joshua, I hope you like your Wendy’s uniform,” he said, “because right now that is all the clothing you own. Our house just burned to the ground!” Not exactly something you want to hear every day.

I am the second oldest in a large family of seven children. For the past two years, we had been living in a handmade log cabin in central Georgia. Our cabin had been built using a chainsaw, some nails, and a few hundred feet of plastic wrap to keep the wind from blowing between the stacked logs. We had no electricity or indoor plumbing. Our only “running” water was when we “ran” to the corner store to fill our five-gallon water jugs. We had been using a potbellied stove for heating and cooking and an ice chest to store our food. It wasn’t exactly the most luxurious living quarters, but it was all we could afford at the time, and it was our home.
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95 Theses for the LDS I-15 Corridor

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther initiated discussion by submitting 95 theses for the Roman Catholic Church to consider. Today, 490 years later, as one who was born and has lived in Mormon country for most of my life, I earnestly submit my 95 theses for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) to consider. The religious leaders of the intermountain West need to completely rethink the foundational undergirdings that hold up the well-oiled, seasoned superstructure.

Governor Mitt Romney, a man who intrigues me, is seeking the presidency of the United States of America. The LDS religion is a topic of discussion throughout many parts of the country. In observing some of the conversation in the corridor, I am at least aware of many undercurrents in popular LDS thought and action. As a Bible preacher who considers himself a latter-day saint living within the I-15 Corridor, the stretch of interstate from the top of southeastern Idaho to St. George, Utah, I offer frank and honest propositions for LDS in 2007. I am sure that for each earnest and regenerated Christian, as he lives in and observes his particular cultural environment in America, thoughts of conviction from time to time will arise to the surface that need to be expressed. Here are some of mine:
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Missions Agencies and Local Churches

In The Nick of Time
by Kevin T. Bauder

The pastor who wants to lead his church wisely in the area of missions will find that he is confronted with a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, the work of missions grows out of the local church, and each missionary is ultimately accountable to his sending church. On the other hand, few local churches are in the position to closely supervise the work of any particular missionary on any particular field.

The New Testament resolves this conundrum by showing that church-planting missionaries organized to work together, even when they were sent out by different churches. While their ultimate accountability was to their sending churches, their pressing, operational decisions were made together. They had little or no direct supervision from their churches. Their immediate accountability was to their field organization and its leadership.

The New Testament pattern anticipates the missionary agency and particularly the field council. The question is not whether such organizations are biblically authorized, for they clearly are. The question is how to balance the authority and function of the agency with the authority and function of the church. How should the agency and the church support one another in the work of missions?
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God Gives the Increase

by Beth Murschell

My mental images of mankind’s original garden, alas, have been shaped by Sunday school curricula—coloring pages, flannel graphs, and children’s books. Still, I can’t help thinking the garden was more similar to the tropics of today than to the formal English gardens, all stiff upper-lip ornamentation and sundials. Adam and Eve may have left the garden, but the lovemurschell_plant.jpg of growing things remains strong in our collective consciousness.

As optimistic but unskilled gardeners, my husband and I have seen quite a few plants come and go over the years here in South Florida. During the worst drought, we lost a rather nice vegetable plot and haven’t had the heart to try one again, except for the tomatoes we grew in an EarthBox. (It was a bumper crop, which was enjoyed by insects who had weapon, motive, and opportunity.)

No, our greatest success has been with epiphytes. These can grow on trees (Spanish moss, orchids, or staghorn ferns) or in the air like orchids or staghorn ferns or on the ground like pineapples. These kinds of plants require little from us—“they toil not, neither do they spin” (Matt. 6:28, KJV). The rose bush, however, rebounded only after a near-death pruning.
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How Many Points—Some Comments

By Robert Keith Fall

Dr. David Burggraff (PDF), vice president for spiritual formation and ministry development at Clearwater Christian College (Clearwater, FL), spoke at the November 2006 Northern California Regional meeting of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International. He handed out various notes and articles during his messages to the attendees. “How Many Points” by Richard A. Muller, an article from the November 1993 issue of the Calvin Theological Journal, was one of those handouts. fall_tulip.jpgDr. Muller seems to represent a stream of Reformed thought not usually found among fundamentalists in America. He comes out of Continental Calvinism rather than from Scottish Presbyterianism or English Puritanism. Dr. Muller’s definition of what constitutes Calvinist or Reformed theology stands in stark contrast to how many Anglo-American Baptists define the term.
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Book Review—Crisis in the Village

Reviewed by Beth Murschell

Franklin, Robert M. Crisis in the Village: Restoring Hope in African American Communities. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007. Paperback, 271 pages. $15.00

(Review copy courtesy of Augsburg Fortress Press)

Purchase: Augsburg Fortress | CBD | Amazon

Special Features: End Notes; Index

ISBNs: 0800638875 / 9780800638870

LCCN: E185.86.F72 2007

DCN: 305.896’073009045

Subjects: African-Americans, Religion
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