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DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Spring/Summer 2011 Vol. 35 No. 1
Generation to Generation
THIS IS THE LONGER, ONLINE VERSION
F r o m
t h e
P r e s i d e n t
Spring/Summer 2011 VOL. 35, NO. 1
Dallas Theological Seminary’s mission is to glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders for the proclamation of His Word and the building up of the body of Christ worldwide.
KINDRED SPIRIT ® Spring/Summer 2011 Vol. 35, No. 1 ISSN 1092–7492 © 2011. All rights reserved.
Published three times a year by Dallas Theological Seminary 3909 Swiss Avenue, Dallas, Texas 75204 Dr. Mark L. Bailey, President Dr. Mark M. Yarbrough, Vice President for Communication Sandra L. Glahn, Editor-in-Chief Keith D. Yates, Director of Creative Services and Publications Dr. Roy B. Zuck, Copy and Theological Editor Debbie J. Stevenson, Production Manager Kelley M. Mathews, Copy Editing Service Kelly L. Stern, Intern Front cover, Patrick Faricy Back cover, Linda Tomczak Sidebar, page 14, Camille Holland SUBSCRIBE Subscriptions are free of charge to addresses in the United States. Call 800-DTS-WORD or 214-824-3094 and ask for the Kindred Spirit subscription office, sign up online at www.dts.edu/ks, or write to the address below. EMAIL For information about DTS’s graduate degree programs: firstname.lastname@example.org To correspond by email: email@example.com To submit articles, request reprints, or make comments: firstname.lastname@example.org DONATIONS For information on how you can support the ministry of DTS call 214-841-3720. KS ONLINE/SUBMISSIONS To download writers’ guidelines or to view Kindred Spirit online visit www.dts.edu/ks. POSTMASTER Email address changes to email@example.com, or send to: DTS‑Kindred Spirit 3909 Swiss Avenue Dallas, Texas 75204 Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.
Generation to Generation Lately I’ve been hearing that sixty-five is the new forty. And there’s probably some truth to the observation, as the young-at-heart are staying healthy longer. They’re less likely than their parents to walk with canes and more inclined to keep dancing. This issue of Kindred Spirit focuses on the aged and aging. It’s not just for them, it’s about them. In “Intergenerational Ministry” a pastor in Seattle challenges the old to mentor, the young to listen, and churches to embrace intergenerational ministry. A professor surveys what the Bible has to say about being old and growing old. A grad with a background in gerontology draws on decades of experience with seniors to help all of us age well spiritually. Long-time Dallas Seminary professors share wisdom gained through decades of living well. And graphic designer Linda Tomczak once again uses her creative gifts, this time to remind us that God cares for us in our old age (back cover). Seniors are living longer, working longer, and playing longer. They’re also more racially diverse than in the past. And they’re a great untapped resource in our congregations. For more of what we know about them, see the publication Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being.
A DTS alumnus who was raised primarily by his grandparents challenges the old to train the younger, the young to receive wisdom, and churches to embrace intergenerational ministry.
will commend your works to another;
Age with Vitality
they will tell
of your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).
Some of our favorite senior saints—Drs. Hendricks, Lightner, Merrill, Toussaint, and Zuck—share wisdom from the trenches with Kindred Spirit intern Kelly Stern.
“When People Live to Be Very Old”
What does the Bible say about the aged and aging? Quite a bit actually.
Their numbers are growing. In the U.S., where most of our graduates minister, three years ago an estimated 39 million people were age 65 and over, accounting for just over 13 percent of the total population. But by 2030, the older population is expected to be twice as large as in 2000.
You Aging Well 10 Are Spiritually?
They are more educated. In 1965, 24 percent of the older population had graduated from high school, and only 5 percent had at least a bachelor’s degree. By 2008, 77 percent were high school graduates or more, and 21 percent had a bachelor’s degree or more. (If you are a senior and you haven’t been to seminary, maybe you should consider further education.)
No matter at what stage we find ourselves, we can age well spiritually. A DTS graduate with a background in gerontology tells how.
They are prosperous. Most older people (especially in the West) are
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enjoying greater prosperity than any previous generation. The proportion of older people in the high-income group has increased, and the number living in poverty has decreased. The share of income from earnings has increased partly because more older people, especially women, continue to work past age 55. Finally, on average, net worth has increased almost 80 percent for older Americans over the past 20 years.
Justice 20 Biblical Dr. Tony Evans offers his thoughts on biblical justice. to short video profiles of senior members of the DTS faculty 22 Links and administration: Chaplain Bill Bryan, Dr. Howard “Prof” Hendricks,
All of this means that within the church we have a pool of mentors and outside we have a great mission field. Those of us coming up behind the aged can learn from them, avoiding their mistakes and drawing on their wisdom. Job 12:12 states, “Wisdom is with aged men, with long life is understanding.” Though the years can help to make us wise, the true source of wisdom for Christ-followers of any age is the fear of the Lord. Paul reminded his protégé, Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). Walking in wisdom is the will of the Lord for both the older and younger followers of Christ. n
Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, and Dr. Charles R. Swindoll.
for Working with Seniors 23 Resources Rose Henness has compiled a list of links to secular organizations, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, that can help you serve seniors.
Nicodemus Question 24 The In this article about reaching seniors with the gospel, Dr. Jeffrey Watson (DMin, 1985) explores the question Nicodemus asked: “How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4).
—Dr. Mark L. Bailey
Click here to see how God’s call trumps an NFL offer for a DTS student/former Dallas Cowboy.
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s I look back over my life, I can see God’s hand preparing me to minister to seniors. I can also see how God used many seniors to minister to me in my formative years. My grandparents played a vital role in leading me to Jesus Christ. I don’t think they knew they were discipling me, but that’s exactly what God was doing through them. They were both prayer warriors, and I had prayer with them every Sunday morning before we ate breakfast and went to church. We would close family devotions by quoting Scripture. I remember my grandmother quoting Matthew 28:19–20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” My grandparents had a profound impact on my life and how I view ministry as intergenerational. Embracing age diversity is the very core of my ministry. I learned from my grandparents that discipleship is a way of life. It’s not just something we do at church; it makes up
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the fabric of who we are and what we intentionally do in relationship with each another. They have both gone to be with the Lord now, but I take the lessons they have taught me everywhere I go. I grew up in an environment where words such as “discipleship,” “mentoring,” and “spiritual formation” were foreign. But the Spirit of God was still at work. During my early years as a youth pastor I was discipled by the elderly Rev. Nathaniel Irvin, who took me under his ministerial wing and modeled what a godly pastor is like. I went everywhere with him—to visit the sick, to conventions, funerals, and weddings. I watched him minister to a whole community and not just his congregation. I sat at his feet for ten years
by Aaron Williams
before I went to seminary. And I learned from him that authentic ministry is intergenerational. He taught me that the church is at its best when the young and the old are integrated throughout the life of the congregation. Seniors must remember what it was like to be young, and the young must remember that they may one day become seniors. Therefore we must be patient with one another. If we have a contemporary service for the young and a traditional service for seniors, we teach the young and the old to be intolerant of one another. We are bordering on ageism. The young and the old must come side by side with each other and minister to the glory of God together.
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Age withVitality The Right Junior Attitude Seniors are earthlings, just like everyone else. Dr. Zuck asks that the younger among us “treat seniors as normal people, not like oddities from Mars.” Dr. Toussaint continues the theme— “seniors want young people to talk to them as they would to a friend. Seniors are not aliens from space.” As Dr. Lightner reminds us, “Remember you too are aging.” Respect rather than fear was mentioned by several of the profs. They want their suggestions taken seriously rather than written off as out of date, as if they can’t or won’t learn anything new. Dr. Lightner adds, “Do not think everything new is wrong; but do not think everything new is better. Respect people and their views even when you disagree with them.”
The Downside Those who are long-lived experience burned-out
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Dr. Robert P. Lightner, professor emeritus of Systematic Theology
Dr. Howard G. Hendricks, distinguished professor of Christian Leadership
serving the Lord with more opportunities than I imagined.” Dr. Stanley D. Toussaint, senior professor emeritus of Bible Exposition
The Surprise of Aging Aging creeps into one’s life on cats’ feet. Dr. Hendricks describes it as a “quiet, illdefined blur that steals up on one with little advance warning.” He adds, “My body refuses to cooperate with my mind, as if it were a stranger. Mysterious little aches and odd moments of forgetfulness pop up. Birthdays become irrelevant. The surprise is that I no longer seem to be quite the ‘me’ I have always known.” Dr. Toussaint also registers surprise at how soon aging happened: “Younger people begin to call you ‘older’ when you don’t expect it.” The calendar argues with Dr. Zuck about his age. It “says I’m 79, but I don’t feel it, and people say I don’t look like it.” Except for some aches and pains, Dr. Merrill doesn’t feel old either. “I feel like I have always been the same age!” he exclaims. A pleasant surprise for Dr. Lightner has been that “I have been able to keep
Like people of any age, seniors appreciate it when the young reach out to them. Dr. Merrill loves to be around younger people, especially those who initiate getting to know him. As a seminary student, Dr. Hendricks was forever changed by his relationships with Dr. Dexter McClenny, Dr. John Mitchell, and Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, all seniors. “I look back on my younger years when I spent time with an older pastor, Dr. Dexter McClenny,” Prof said. “[He] mentored me in some of the practical aspects of shepherding a church. I was privileged to be invited by Dr. John Mitchell of Oregon to go fishing up in Canada and revel in his endless reminiscences of his early days in an itinerant ministry. My time with Dr. Chafer when I was a student at Dallas Seminary is a relationship that changed my life.” Prof believes that “younger people can gain much from seasoned saints. Beyond the classroom there is a vast amount to learn from older people if one is willing to take initiative and be available.” Prof reminds us to keep a few things in mind as we cultivate relationships with our elders. “Physical limitations do not necessarily signal mental deficiencies. Because our society tends to marginalize elderly people, try to include them in appropriate activities, but be mindful of limitations. When seniors opt out of
anything, it can often be because of hearing loss, failing eyesight, arthritic pain, or something very personal. Perhaps even the noise or confusion of an event, or just plain weariness may not be an affront, but simply a fact of life.” He adds, “Ageism is a fact of modern American life— our society has for many years celebrated youth. I try to ignore it if I am relegated to the sidelines or treated inappropriately. I believe the wisdom of age allows us to understand and overlook the often pitiful immaturity that exists.” Fortunately Dr. Toussaint cannot recall a time he has ever faced age discrimination. “I have found the opposite,” he said. “Generally people have shown greater respect and deeper appreciation.” Dr. Merrill hasn’t faced discrimination, either. He postulates, “I must not be old enough yet.” But then he adds, “My wife and daughter will not allow me to work on the roof or on a high ladder. I’m thinking of suing them for age discrimination.”
Dr. Roy B. Zuck, editor of Bibliotheca Sacra and senior professor emeritus of Bible Exposition
n the West, and particularly in North America, the wisdom of the aged often falls on deaf ears; shabby sentiment fails to veil indifference. Even the church pursues the “next generation,” often to the extreme of excluding mature saints. This has not always been the way of things. The Law commanded, “Show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD” (Lev. 19:32). And that is still good advice. We have much to learn from those who have gone before us, particularly if they have lived well. And on the DTS campus we are blessed with saints who have served the Lord faithfully for decades. Recently we polled some of them. A group of distinguished DTS professors participated in a Kindred Spirit survey about aging, and below you will read about their responses.
Dr. Eugene H. Merrill, distinguished professor of Old Testament Studies
by Kelly L. Stern
by Forrest Weiland
‘When People Live to Be Very Old’ “I’ll take the senior discount,” I said half-jokingly, knowing the young girl in the ticket booth would never give it to me. She didn’t flinch.
Without hesitation she handed it over. She really thought I was at least fifty-five—and I was! I stared in disbelief; my wife chuckled. A few months later, a pastor asked me to help out in a senior’s ministry. My heart sank. “Why would he ask me? Am I really that old? Already?” Why do we have such an aversion to growing old? An old Beatles tune expresses it, “When I get older losing my hair, many years from now … will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?” Do we fear we will become insignificant, no longer useful, no longer needed, and no longer beautiful? Youth and beauty are two of the West’s coveted idols. Even evangelicals worship at these altars. This is hard to understand, because such gods are cruel and unforgiving. We all grow old. “Age is a state of mind,” we quip. But it is also a state of body. The hard truth is, regardless of the number of workouts endured, health food meals eaten, or Botox injections received, eventually things no longer work as smoothly or look as good as they once did. Adding insult to injury, we can feel disheartened as we acknowledge that we haven’t accomplished in our lifetime as much as we had dreamed we would. The Bible offers a few unflattering peeks into the lives of the aged. Naomi had become sad, cynical, and even bitter (Ruth 1:11–15, 20). Eli had become “an old man and heavy” (1 Sam. 4:18). Samuel must have felt the bite of age discrimination when his fellow Israelites complained, “You are old … now appoint a king to lead us” (8:5). The elders of Israel must have felt slighted when Rehoboam rejected their advice—probably in part because they were older and their views seemed out of sync with the times (1 Kings 12:6–15). The natural response is to feel that the “good old days” were better, though Solomon warns that such thoughts are unhelpful (Eccles. 7:10). Contrary to many television ads, Solomon warned that we cannot avoid the struggles of growing old. Rather, he said the days of trouble will come, and we will say, “I find no pleasure in
them.” Poetically he describes eyes that no longer see clearly, hands that tremble, backs that stoop, teeth that fall out, ears that don’t hear, and hair that turns white—along with insomnia, various fears, and difficulties in getting around (12:1–5). Moses was painfully honest when he wrote, “We finish our years with a moan” (Ps. 90:9). Yet this is not the sum total of what the Bible says about growing old. A few Old Testament writers refer to it as living to “a good old age” (Gen. 15:15; 25:8; Judg. 8:32; 1 Chron. 29:28). Job’s friend Elihu alluded to the honor that comes with age when he remained silent because he was in the presence of those older than himself (Job 32:4–9). Solomon even described gray hair as a “splendor” (Prov. 20:29). In the New Testament Jesus’ attitude toward the elderly dispels any notion of a loss of dignity or worth. When it came to generosity, He reserved his words of praise for a poor (and I assume old) widow (Luke 21:1–4), and He castigated those Pharisees who dishonored their elderly parents by failing to care for them (Matt. 15:4, 6). The apostle Paul viewed “long life on the earth” as a blessing (Eph. 6:2–3). His frequent reference to elders and widows in the Pastoral Epistles suggests that in some ministry situations age is even preferred over youth. Abraham and Sarah are perhaps the greatest example of God’s showing honor to the aged. They were beyond their childbearing years when God chose them to be the conduits of the promised Messiah (Rom. 4:18–20; Heb. 11:11–12). Abraham was one year short of a century when God called him to greater holiness: “Walk before me and be blameless” (Gen. 17:1). Age was not a factor in being blessed by God (17:1, 15). Neither did it hinder God from doing the miraculous (17:19, 24; 18:11–13). Nor did age dissuade Him from revealing His sovereign plans (18:17). Abraham was one hundred years old and Sarah ninety when they became the parents of Isaac, whose name means “laughter” (21:2–7). What was worth laughing about? Was it not precisely
A few Old Testament writers refer to it as living to “a good old age.”
that God chose them in their old age to be the means of blessing for all nations? The situation was so remarkable that it brought forth laughter. But Abraham was even older when his greatest test of faith came (22:1). Issac was referred to as a “boy,” a term also used to describe Abraham’s servants (22:5). This can refer to an age anywhere between early childhood (Exod. 2:6) and young manhood (1 Chron. 12:28). The boy was at least old enough to carry firewood, and some have suggested he was as old as twenty (Gen. 22:6). So if Isaac was in his mid-teens, his father was nearly one hundred fifteen! Even a few years later when Abraham was “old and advanced in years,” we see him instigating a task that would have ultimate significance in God’s plan. Perhaps physically unable to travel, he sent his servant on a mission to secure a bride for Isaac (24:1). Abraham’s last recorded deed was passing his inheritance on to Isaac (25:5–6). Thus there came the time when Abraham’s service was vicarious in nature, the Lord’s working through his son and eventually his grandchildren. God used others in their old age, too. Daniel was in his eighties when God entrusted to him some of the
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by Nancy Barton Abbott
Are You Aging Well Spiritually? It seems like yesterday I was driving around town in my blue Mazda GLC jetting from one YMCA to another. For a twentysomething who majored in gerontology and exercise physiology in college, the job was a perfect fit. I got to hang out with really cool older adults and challenge them toward wellness. We called the program Prime Time 55+. Whether backpacking in the Catskills, camping on Catalina Island, or participating in routine YMCA fitness classes, these older adults realized life did not have to plateau when they reached a certain age. Since those days, I’ve tacked on an additional twenty years in full-time ministry. And I’ve discovered that each of us, no matter how old, has options on how we age—spiritually speaking. Whether fifteen, twenty-five, fifty, or beyond, each of us is aging at this very moment. The question is, Are we aging well spiritually? Over the years I’ve observed some pitfalls that hinder us. These serve as warnings to stay fresh and age well. Fear As we age, we become aware of more things to fear: dying, losing a child, losing a parent, being single, infertility, cancer, another 9/11. Gradually we lose the freedom and simple wonder that we had as children. We see the atrocities that life brings. Over time, if not attuned to what Scripture tells us about fear, we can
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unknowingly live with a fearful heart. As we look at reality, we must cling to God’s commands in Scripture that tell us, “Do not fear for I am with you” (Isa. 41:10). If God is with us, why are we living in fear? To age well we must give our fears to the Lord and remember that He is Immanuel, God with us. Relational Wounds By the time a person reaches the mid-forties, he or she has probably experienced hurt such as betrayal, slander, or gossip by other believers. When pain occurs in relationships, our natural tendency is to pull away. God’s Word commands us to “see to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Heb. 12:15). Bitter roots can grow like uncontrollable weeds in our hearts and affect our relationships. But we musn’t let them. We must practice forgiveness and love others well, pouring ourselves into the next generation. Physical Issues The West today might define “aging gracefully” as maintaining physical beauty, staying self-sufficient, and being physically active and healthy. Is that possible? Not really. Wrinkles are inevitable, no matter how hard we try to hide them. We can’t count on perfect health. We will age. continued on page 12
ldercare has always been a biblical priority, but now we are talking more about it as people live longer and have fewer babies. When elders no longer feel they can live alone, their first choice is almost always to live with family. Most American seniors live with loved ones in private homes and apartments, with only 5 percent needing the care of a hospital, hospice, or nursing home. Families can gain a sense of priority from the commandment: “Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long” (Exod. 20:12). Paul follows up with a warning: “If anyone does not provide for his relatives...he has denied the faith” (1 Tim. 5:8). As was true in the first century (v. 16), the typical eldercare family has a female “kin-keeper” in the middle of its work; this caregiver is usually a wife, daughter, niece, or daughter-in-law to the frail elder. Her caregiving autumn typically stretches out for about five years before the loved one requires healthcare outside the home or goes on to his or her heavenly home. The Bible provides sound examples and principles for family-based eldercare. These suggest that under typical circumstances, the elder both gives and receives care. Indeed, the wisest caregivers practice good stewardship: the beautiful balance of giving care and taking care. By preventing burnout, the caregiver protects the elder from active and passive forms of abuse. In Genesis we read that Joseph and Asenath were caregivers for Joseph’s father, Jacob, who lived his last seventeen years in Egypt. One of Joseph’s most commendable traits is that he spoke openly with his father about his wishes and his impending death. Today many avoid the subject, hoping to protect the aged one, yet any conspiracy of silence diminishes trust. Almost always, the dying person— including the dying child—senses when the end is near and wants the companionship that comes from honesty. An increasing number of families are drawing on the services of counselors, such as pastors, lawyers, and social workers, who help families mediate disputes and alternatives for eldercare. (See eldercaremediators.com.) This trend highlights the need for skills in giving biblical counsel. n Dr. Jeffrey Watson (DMin, 1985) holds a PhD in Health Education with a doctoral certificate in Gerontology. He has served as a visiting professor for DTS’s DMin program in Dallas and Guatemala City. This information is excerpted from Eldercare and the Christian Family. You can read his article, “The Nicodemus Question,” on page 24 of this issue.
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continued from page 11, Aging Spiritually The body is a beautiful gift from the Lord, no matter what shape it is in. As we age, we find we are unable to do what we once did. Yet we can encourage, pray for, and support those around us who find their bodies declining. When we face our own physical issues, we must “not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).
Weariness Often as people age, they develop a “been there, done that” mentality that can lead to apathy. Their status on Facebook could read “status quo.” As we age, we can grow weary of so many things and even find our weariness acceptable. God’s Word warns us to “Consider [Jesus], who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:3). God knew we would need such an admonition to live life to completion. He knows our tendency to lose heart when troubles come. So don’t give in to weariness. Stay fully alive.
Attitude Issues When was the last time you complained or grumbled? Yet Philippians 2:14 tells us, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Is it possible not to complain or grumble? While living in Chicago, I observed that we Chicagoans had a problem with complaining about the weather. I thought it was “a Midwest thing” until I moved back to sultry Texas and once again heard the same fussing, only at a different time of year. I realized that with help from the Holy Spirit, I didn’t have to succumb to such a complaining spirit. Through the power of the Spirit, we can be free of complaining and grumbling about anything. Too many older people become so negative that their faces look like their spirits. They’re unpleasant to be around. Over time, life will hand out plenty of challenges that could lead to a complaining spirit. But how will we respond when challenges come our way? What crummy attitudes have gotten the best of us as we have grown older? We can find out by checking in with a spouse or close friend. What kind of person do you want to be when you are older? I’ll never forget Florence Travis. She celebrated her one-hundredth birthday and radiated Christ at the nursing home where I worked. One day, before I left the job, she handed me a card with these words on it, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8, NASB). That card became my marching orders for years to come. I’ll never forget Florence’s words. I’ll never forget Florence. I want to be like Florence when I’m her age: spiritually alive. It is possible! n
continued from page 5, Intergenerational
continued from page 9, When People Live
Paul the senior told Timothy the younger, “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity” (1 Tim. 5:1–2). Churches in the twenty-first century would do well to take to heart this admonition as it relates to intergenerational ministry. During a class on discipleship and mentoring I took at DTS, I heard Prof Hendricks say something one day that resonated with my spirit: “Every Timothy needs a Paul and every Ruth needs a Naomi.” Prof Hendricks’s words that day became a guiding principle for how I would carry out ministry. A young believer needs an older believer, someone seasoned in his or her spiritual walk to mentor and guide toward spiritual maturity. We need someone to show us the spiritual ropes of the Christian life. Paul told the Christians in Corinth to “follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). In other words we all need someone after whom to model our Christian walk, someone who has walked with Christ long enough to show us the way. During my years in seminary my wife, Michelle, and I were fortunate to live and work at a retirement community. God made clear to us the calling He had placed on our lives to minister to the elderly. At this community I came to believe in the importance of ministering to seniors. A woman there named Prebble was about four-foot-five in stature, but she walked tall. She was ninety-three years old, and we became close friends. I became her son and she became my mother. She would always say to me, “You’re going to make a great preacher one of these days.” She encouraged me to teach a Bible study class at the retirement community every Wednesday. She said she would be there to support me. I agreed to teach the class, and attendance averaged about twenty seniors weekly. Prebble kept her word; she was there every week until she was no longer able to come. Teaching that class was one of the best decisions I ever made in ministry because the people ministered more to me than I did to them. They shared wonderful stories and nuggets of wisdom with me and each other. God prepared my wife and me there to minister to a congregation in Seattle that is largely comprised of seniors. Older saints are the lifeline of the Mount Zion Baptist Church family. Every Wednesday morning I teach a Bible study class for seniors. We have a seniors ministry geared toward meeting them at their specific points of need. We have a seniors Sunday each year in which we celebrate their birthdays and accomplishments, both in the community and the church. And we have a retirement community of sixty apartment units called McKinney Manor. Our seniors serve the church family as a repository of wisdom, and we would be wise to listen. Almost everything I learned about ministry, I learned from seniors. n
most detailed prophecies in Scripture (Dan. 10:1–12:13). Paul wrote Scripture and aided in the reconciliation between Onesimus and Philemon when he characterized himself as “Paul the aged” (Philem. 9). According to tradition John the elder was quite old when he wrote the last book of the Bible. When Peter was younger, he failed miserably, but when he was older, Jesus purposed to use him in an ultimate way (John 21:18). The terms “elder” and “widow” found throughout the Pastoral Epistles suggest that the church benefits greatly from the service of those who have walked with Christ for decades.
Nancy Barton Abbott (MA/CE, 1990) has served in California, Illinois, and Texas churches for the past twenty years. She currently works as a speaker to single women with Intimate Issues conferences.
Those with years of experience walking with Christ possess a unique qualification Growing old does present challenges. Certain opportunities subside. But age is not a prelude to fruitlessness or insignificance. Other opportunities emerge. Without the pressures of work, when the drive for money or fame recede into the background, we have more time for devotion and undivided service. One of Solomon’s conclusions was “When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life” (Eccles. 11:8, NLT). n
Dr. Forrest Weiland (ThM, 1980; PhD, 2001) was a church planter in Germany for thirteen years. He currently serves as the North American coordinator for the Zaporozye Bible College and Seminary in Ukraine, and is an adjunct professor for Biola University and Bethel Seminary San Diego.
Rev. Aaron Williams (ThM, 2006) is senior pastor of Mount Zion Baptist Church in Seattle, Washington.
article continued from page 7, Vitality bodies, broken hearts, and the burden of time running out. For Dr. Toussaint, “physical incapacity” has been his greatest difficulty. Dr. Lightner agrees. He can’t get as much done, as he’d like. “I get tired quickly, hear less, and show age.” These physical changes are forced and unwelcome. Dr. Hendricks observes, “Many people try to live in denial, ever chasing the elusive idea of youth. A realistic view of one’s circumstances can be difficult. For me six decades on the platform was second nature, but [having] to come to terms with major changes presents a significant shift in my daily living. The inability to travel long distances and to traverse rough terrain is like entering a strange new world where I am unacquainted with the language.” The fight for Dr. Merrill is with the clock—“the frustration of having so much left to do and knowing I don’t have the time to do it.” Time weighs heavily on Dr. Zuck as well, but for different reasons. His most difficult aspect of aging is “being without my wife who went to heaven two years ago… I still miss her terribly. Being without my wonderful sweetheart is the toughest assignment the Lord has given me.” The New Perspective The old can become new in the world of perception. In the lives of these professors people are more important, possessions less so, and priorities have shifted. Dr. Merrill says, “I like younger people now more than ever. I see myself in them and relate to their struggles and disappointments.” Being more understanding with young and old alike has become a priority for Dr. Lightner. People have become more important for Dr. Toussaint, too. He evaluates his priorities differently, and says, “I think much more often of death and anticipate seeing the Lord Jesus.” Dr. Zuck has also become more aware that he won’t live forever. As for Dr. Hendricks, “to put it in the words of the hymn, ‘the things of earth grow strangely dim .…’ Material possessions are even less attractive than when I was younger. Eternity and its values loom more importantly than ever. As a believer, I think God is preparing me for my heavenly home.” The Retirement Years? The road does go ever on for servants in the kingdom of God. In Dr. Lightner’s words, “As I approached retirement age, I feared I would not have as many opportunities to serve. The
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fact is I have more than ever.” Dr. Zuck and Dr. Hendricks both believe the concept of retirement is an unbiblical one. Dr. Zuck says, “I call this time in my life being ‘refocused,’ not ‘retired.’” According to Dr. Hendricks, “When the elderly priests in Israel ‘retired’ from active duty, they were mandated to coach and mentor the young men coming up. As long as God gives us life on earth, we have a mission to perform, even if it calls for suffering under the care of others.” Retirement is not on the horizon for Dr. Merrill, who is “only 76,” but he points out “the good thing about being an academician is that I can quit the classroom without having to quit thinking.” And as long as he is mentally and physically able, Dr. Toussaint plans to continue doing the work he loves. Wisdom from the Trenches So what words of wisdom do these elders have for the aged and those who love them? Dr. Zuck recommends, “Keep busy, and keep in touch with the Lord.” Dr. Hendricks says, “I have often said that as long as we live, we must learn. When we stop learning, we stop truly living. Our archenemy, the devil, loves to trip up older people who feel they finally know it all. Undoubtedly the wisest words come from the apostle Paul. In our vernacular: Don’t ever give up. Keep standing, keep spiritually healthy, and keep your eyes on Jesus. Our final performance review before the Father is just ahead.” Dr. Lightner says, “Take one day at a time. Keep busy as long as you can. Keep involved. Do not sit, soak, and sour!” Dr. Merrill suggests, “Recognize the wisdom you have acquired just by getting older and maximize it by helping those not so far along the road.” Dr. Toussaint says, “Don’t say, ‘I am too old for that.’ Keep active mentally and physically. Think young and be sure to keep some younger friends.” Then he quotes 2 Timothy 4:7–8: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” n Kelly L. Stern is Operations Manager for the Dallas Seminary Book Center. She is also a student in the DTS Media Arts program and a Kindred Spirit intern. She loves anything relating to West Africa and to early medieval church history.
Leaving a Legacy The Howard family has a long history of receiving from and giving to DTS. Their story demonstrates that there is more than one way to leave a legacy.
or Louis and Rosemary Howard the quest for a Bible-teaching church led to a long-standing relationship with Dallas Seminary. More than four decades ago the couple found a place where they could grow spiritually along with their two children, Randy and Teresa. As it happened, their pastors were DTS graduates. The Howards’ Sunday school teacher was now-president emeritus Dr. Don Campbell. And DTS Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Bible Exposition Dr. Dwight Pentecost (“Dr. P”) often led Bible studies as a guest speaker. Years later when Randy, who today serves on the DTS board, bought a home in Colorado, it was “within walking distance of Dr. P’s place.” Whenever the elder Howards visited Colorado, they would have “long talks on the porch with Dr. P.” Rosemary said, “It was really through talking with him that we fell in love with DTS. We had this very personal connection.” The connection continued as the Howards met DTS students at donor events. One group in particular inspired them: international students training for the pastorate. Rosemary said, “Professors would tell us of young students who came to seminary with nothing, or carrying only a suitcase.” As Randy’s work as a vice president for Exxon Mobil took him overseas on business, his parents followed his travels. And in doing so they experienced a growing awareness of the spiritual needs across the world as well as the challenges for DTS’s international students. But they also focused on ministry stateside. About a decade ago Rosemary and Louis helped plant a new church where they were among the oldest founding members. Leaders encouraged everyone to join intergenerational life groups, so the Howards poured their lives into the young families in their group. This experience combined with their own children’s independence led Louis and Rosemary to formalize their long-term giving plans. Randy and his wife, Betty, had already met with Foundation staff members, and they encouraged Randy’s parents to do the same. “Betty and I didn’t need them to leave us anything beyond the time and love they had already invested. And the same was true for my sister, Teresa, and her husband, Max. So my parents thought, ‘If not to the kids, then to whom?’” While they supported DTS through the usual giving channels, the Howards wanted to do more. “Dr. P encouraged us to do something lasting for the
Lord,” Rosemary said. “And DTS was the logical choice. Our entire family talked it over and decided this was what we all wanted.” “Our parents included DTS in their wills, and it was a good incentive for us,” Teresa said, referring to herself and her husband. As each couple met with representatives from the Dallas Seminary Foundation, they found that the staff listened to their desires and helped craft estate plans designed for investment in ministries beyond each couple’s own lifetimes. “The Foundation does such a great job helping the nonfinancial person,” Teresa said. “Everything was explained so well. It gave us comfort to put plans in place.” “What we’ve done seems minor,” Rosemary said. “But our desire is mainly to help make it possible to bring to the seminary more young people, particularly those training to be pastors.” When Louis passed away suddenly last year, the family was thankful they had all expressed their wishes to each other and formalized their desires. Teresa said, “It gave us such a peace that we didn’t have to try to figure out what my father would have wanted. We knew.” Because of their foresight, documents were already in place to assure a legacy even beyond what Louis invested in his wife, his children, their families, and the many people he led to Christ and discipled. Rosemary said, “Having the expert counsel of the Dallas Seminary Foundation is a blessing I would recommend to anyone.”
In 2 Corinthians Paul talks about how the Macedonian churches generously participated in the “privilege of sharing in this service to the saints” (2 Cor. 8:4). To learn about how you too can share in “serving the saints,” contact Carrie Park, CPA and senior planned giving officer, in the Dallas Seminary Foundation office at 214-841-3546, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to dts.edu/foundation.
New Resources from the Seminary Family
DTS Profs Provide Accessible Scholarship Eight DTS professors and about a dozen alumni have been handpicked to contribute to the forthcoming Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (EEC), a forty-four-volume commentary series. The EEC will be the first major reference work ever produced digitally before print. It has also generated interest among Bible students for its academic scholarship and distinctly evangelical perspective. It fulfills a need in the current generation of biblical scholarship by uncovering the latest historical and linguistic insights not found in earlier evangelical commentaries, and its publication by Logos Bible Software (known for their integrated digital library) increases its value for students of the Word. The following faculty members are involved in the project: Deuteronomy, Dr. Eugene Merrill Ezra and Nehemiah, Dr. Israel Loken Psalms, Dr. Ronald Allen Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah, Dr. Dorian Coover-Cox Matthew, Dr. David Lowery John, Dr. W. Hall Harris Galatians, Dr. Michael Burer Hebrews, Dr. Buist Fanning In addition Dr. Harris will edit the volumes on the New Testament. To find out more about the EEC and to see a list of the contributors, visit EvangelicalExegeticalCommentary.com.
In This Generation: Looking to the Past to Reach the Present Dr. Todd Ahrend (MA[BS], 2004)
A Taste of the Classics: Mere Christianity, Pilgrim’s Progress, The Brothers Karamazov, The Imitation of Christ Summarized by Dr. Kenneth Boa (ThM, 1972)
The lounge in the Walvoord Student Center was refurbished over the winter break. The lounge features contemporary furniture and has proven to be a popular student gathering spot.
The Coming Oil Storm Dr. Ron Rhodes (ThM, 1983; ThD, 1986)
The Topical Handbook of Bible Prophecy Dr. Ron Rhodes (ThM, 1983; ThD, 1986)
The Gift of Church Dr. Jim Samra (ThM, 2001)
Jews and the Gospel at the End of History Jim Congdon (ThM, 1976)
From the Center for Christian Leadership 2011 Wives of Men in Ministry Retreat
The Nuts and Bolts of Church Planting Dr. Aubrey Malphurs (ThM, 1978; PhD, 1981)*
The Wives of Men in Ministry Retreat is designed to encourage, refresh, and equip wives of men in vocational ministry. If that’s you, we want to provide you with a chance to relax, be pampered, and connect with others. Enjoy nature, take a nap, or share coffee on the dock. Take advantage of three days just for you. Keynote Speaker: Shirley Bryan Sunday, April 10–Tuesday, April 12, 2011 Pine Cove Conference Center in Tyler, Texas For more information and to register visit www.dts.edu/wivesretreat.
Your Life in Rhythm Bruce Miller (ThM, 1986)
Putting God Back in the Holidays Dr. Bill Thrasher (ThM, 1978; ThD, 1982) and Penny Thrasher
Praying with the Kings: Prayers from 1 and 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles Dr. Elmer Towns (ThM, 1958)
Reborn to Be Wild Ed Underwood (ThM, 1985) New Wine: A Study of Transition in the Book of Acts Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost (ThM, 1941; ThD, 1956)*
Travel with DTS Journeys of Paul Aegean Sea Cruise Led by Dr. Mark Bailey and Pastor Tom Nelson Turkey and Greece Cruise: June 9–20, 2011 Pre-tour Extension “Churches of Revelation” (Turkey): June 4–9, 2011
Stumbling Souls: Is Love Enough? Chris Plekenpol (ThM, 2010)
For more information on these great trips, call Andrea Hara at 214-8413720 or visit the DTS website at www.dts.edu/travel.
Tracts: Why Does God Allow Tragedies? Does God Exist? The Empty Grave Dr. Roy Zuck (ThM, 1957; ThD, 1961)*
The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century Dr. Mark Rooker (ThM, 1978)
READ an excerpt from The Invitation by Greg Sidders
For more resources go to www.dts.edu/books. *Denotes DTS faculty member
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THIS IS THE LONGER, ONLINE VERSION
Taking the Word around the World
F r o m t h e C H A N C E L L OR Members of Dallas Theological Seminary’s full-time faculty will minister at these locations in the months ahead.
For a complete listing of faculty travel go to www.dts.edu/ks. Southwest Dr. Mark Bailey Apr 10 Grand Prairie Bible Church Missions Conference, Grand Prairie, Texas; May 29–Jun 3 Pine Cove Family Camp, Tyler, Texas Dr. John Hannah Jul 11–15 Teacher Training, Bible Study Fellowship, San Antonio, Texas Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla May 22 The Oaks Baptist Church, Grand Prairie, Texas Dr. Robert Lightner Mar 20 Hideaway Lake Community Church, Hideaway, Texas; Mar 25–27Conference, Cornerstone Bible Church, Lubbock, Texas; Apr 10 Grace Bible Church, The Woodlands, Texas; Apr 17Clifton Bible Church, Clifton, Texas Dr. Michael Pocock Jun 21–24 Impact 2011 Teen Camp, Jan-Kay Ranch Christian Camp, Detroit, Texas; Aug 14, Faith Bible Church, The Woodlands, Texas Dr. Ramesh Richard May 27 Texoma Christian School Graduation, Sherman Bible Church, Sherman, Texas; Jun 5–25, Global Proclamation Academy, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas; Jun 25 RREACH banquet, Dallas, Texas Dr. Daniel Wallace Apr 9 Banquet, Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, Renaissance Hotel, Richardson, Texas; Aug 15 Reasonable Faith Chapter, Highland Park Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas NORTHEAST Dr. Mark Bailey Aug 14 Hawthorne Gospel Church Summer Bible Conference, Hawthorne,
New Jersey Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla May 13–15 Bible Conference, Pittsford Community Church, Pittsford, New York MIDWEST Dr. Mark Bailey Apr 6 Cedarville University Chapel, Cedarville, Ohio Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla Jul 1–3 North American Conference, Church of South India, Chicago, Illinois Dr. Robert Lightner Jul 28–29 Leadership Conference Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church, Lake Zurich, Illinois Dr. Ramesh Richard Jul 15–16 IICS Vision Conference, Kansas City, Kansas Dr. Daniel Wallace Apr 15–17 Snoopy Seminar on the Text of the New Testament, Coon Rapids Evangelical Free Church, Coon Rapids, Minnesota SOUTHEAST Dr. Ronald Allen May 1, Jul 17 Bayside Community Church, Tampa, Florida Dr. Robert Lightner May 9–13 Piedmont Baptist Graduate School, WinstonSalem, North Carolina Dr. Steve Strauss Apr 3 Global Missions Sunday, New Grace Church, Jacksonville, Florida Dr. Mark Yarbrough Jun 27–Jul 1 The Cove, Asheville, North Carolina WEST Dr. Ronald Allen Apr 21 Passover Seder, Warren Community Fellowship, Warren, Oregon; Jul 9–13 Family Conference Sunday services, Cannon Beach Conference Center, Cannon Beach, Oregon; Jul 20–23 Western Seminary/ San Jose, Santa Clara,
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California Dr. Mark Bailey Jul 13–16 Cannon Beach Conference Center, Cannon Beach, Oregon; Jul 24–30 Mount Hermon Conference Center, Mount Hermon, California Dr. John Hannah June 18– July 2 Institute of Biblical Studies, Campus Crusade for Christ, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado Dr. Robert Lightner Apr 25–29 Veritas Evangelical Seminary, Murrieta, California INTERNATIONAL Dr. Ronald Allen May 20–June 10 Rolling Hills (Tualatin, Oregon) Holy Land Studies Tour Leader, JORDAN and ISRAEL Dr. Vic Anderson Jun 1–Jul 31 Summer Team Leader, Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA Dr. Mark Bailey Jun 5–20 DTS Seven Churches of Revelation Tour and Journeys of Paul Cruise, GREECE and TURKEY Dr. Darrell Bock Apr 4–8 Bonn Bibelschule, Bonn, GERMANY; Apr 14–15 Giessen Frei Akadamie, Giessen, GERMANY; Apr 30–May 1 International Community Church, Munich, GERMANY; May 21–26 European Theologians’ Theological Forum, Eger, HUNGARY; May 27–30 Beit Sar Shalom Messianic Conference, Berlin, GERMANY; Jun 26–Jul 1 Enoch Conference, Enoch Seminar, Milan, ITALY; Aug 7–12 Lasaunne Conference on Jewish Evangelism, London, England, UK Dr. Joe Fantin Jul 4–8 International Society of Biblical Literature Meeting, King’s College, London, UK Dr. Reg Grant Apr 17–24 Storm Book Tour, Beijing,
Shanghai CHINA; Jul 28–Aug 8 Teacher, Insight for Living Mediterranean Cruise, GREECE, ITALY, TURKEY Dr. John Hannah May 10–22, May 31–Jun 15 Tour leader, ISRAEL; May 22–31 Tour leader, Reformation Tour, EUROPE Dr. Scott Horrell May 16–28 Various locations, INDIA; Jun 6–12 Children’s Relief International Leaders Conference, Beira/ Dondo, MOZAMBIQUE; Jun 13–19 Center for Leadership Development and World Team, Maputo, MOZAMBIQUE; Jun 20–23 Leaders Conference, Lusaka, ZAMBIA; Jun 23–26 Leaders Conference, Kitwe, ZAMBIA; Jun 28–Jun 30 Leaders Conference, Gabarone, BOTSWANA; Jun 30–Jul 2 Leaders Conference, Maokatumo, BOTSWANA Dr. Michael Pocock May 30–Jun 3 Spiritual Warfare Course, Seminario Teológico Al-Andalus, Sevilla, SPAIN Dr. Ramesh Richard Apr 8–10 Various speaking engagements, St. Augustine, TRINIDAD; May15–22 Global Missions Convention, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA Dr. Steve Strauss Jun 24–Aug 1 Various speaking engagements, Evangelical Theological College, International Evangelical Church, and Ethiopian Kale Hewyet Church, Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA Dr. Mark Yarbrough Jun 5–20 DTS Seven Churches of Revelation Tour and Journeys of Paul Cruise, GREECE and TURKEY Greg Sidders (ThM, 1988) The Invitation: The NotSo-Simple Truth about Following Jesus
Vision Fading, Perspective Gaining
heard a comedian once say, “You know you are getting older when your dreams are reruns, you sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going, and when you sink your teeth into a juicy steak, they stay there.” I am beginning to think that is true! Time has a way of bringing poetic justice. Here’s what I mean: the generation who used to say thirty was over the hill started turning sixtyfive when the firecrackers and fireworks marked the first minute of 2011. According to the Pew Research Center, over the next two decades about 10,000 baby boomers per day will become “seniors.” That is 79 million people. Our churches are now full of them, and if we are smart, we will realize they are worth a fortune—and I am not talking about the silver in their hair, the gold in their teeth, or the cash in their pockets. While not everyone who ages becomes wiser, a person who ages with Christ has much to offer their Facebooking, iPod-playing brothers and sisters in Christ. Because with age can come wisdom. I know that because I am a step ahead of those baby boomers, and I know from experience that a clearer perspective sometimes comes as a partner to fading eyesight. When I was younger, I went to battle for all sorts of things. While they were good things, some of them were not worth the fight. Today with age and experience I evaluate such situations with greater clarity. I do not just have beliefs now; I have convictions. And I would “die” more quickly for them because I know they are things worth dying for. After five decades in ministry, I can think of things I wish I had done sooner. I would have cared less about what people thought or said and more what Scripture says. I would have focused more on my family when they were young. I would have been more understanding and less demanding and told them earlier how much they meant to me. I tell them often now, but I would have said it then more frequently and with greater passion. Age has a way of helping us see what is really important. The aging among us have seen firsthand what does not last—political administrations, job status, egos, power trips, and physical beauty. But we have also seen what endures: The faithfulness of God, the Word of God, the glory of God, faith, hope, and love. Remember, a person who ages with Christ has much to offer. All this I say for the benefit of you who are younger. But I have a word for seniors, too: Your mind is not dead, keep developing it; your humor is not over, keep enjoying it; your strength has not gone, keep using it; your opportunities have not vanished, keep pursuing them; the Ancient of Days is not dead, keep seeking Him. n
While not everyone who ages becomes wiser, a person who ages with Christ has much to offer.
—Dr. Charles R. Swindoll
Kindred Spirit Exclusive Online Section
By Dr. Tony Evans (ThM, 1976; ThD, 1982)
ocial justice has become a convoluted term meaning different things to different people. People often use it as a catchphrase for illegitimate forms of government that promote the redistribution of wealth as well as the collectivistic expansion of civil government, which wrongly infringes on the jurisdictions of God’s other covenantal institutions (family and church). Such a view of social justice both contradicts and denies biblical justice since biblical justice seeks to protect individual liberty while promoting personal responsibility. When addressing areas of justice, I prefer to use the term biblical justice rather than social justice, because biblical
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justice provides society with a divine frame of reference from which to operate. Biblical justice is the equitable and impartial application of the rule of God’s moral law in society. Whether exercised through economic, political, social, or criminal justice, the one constant within all four realms is the understanding and application of God’s moral law within the social realm. Increasingly, concerted efforts are being made to address the ethical issues of our day by the body of Christ; however, a lack of continual and holistically applied biblical justice is the underpinning for the continuation of societal and familial breakdowns as well as class and racial disparities. Biblical justice, when carried out correctly, naturally leads to the restoration of race, gender, and class divisions. The Book of Isaiah a glance into God’s heart on this issue of justice. We read in chapter 58 that the Israelites sought God’s help and assistance—what we could call His blessings. In fact it says, “Yet they seek me day by day and delight to know My ways” (v. 2). Not only did the Israelites seek God, but they also fasted (v. 3) out of a desire to experience the nearness of God (v. 2). Basically they assembled, read their Bibles, prayed, sang, humbled themselves, and attended their small group studies. Yet despite all of that, God did not respond to their pleas to bless them, nor did He respond to their requests for Him to execute “just decisions” (v. 2) on their behalf. Starting in verse 5, we read His reason why: “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? . . . Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hun-
gry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (vv. 5–7). Essentially what God told the Israelites, in my Tony Evans translation, is that seeking Him, meeting together, having regular prayer meetings and the like was not enough. Because in spite of all of that and more, their relational actions revealed a contradictory reality, which showed that they were fasting as a means of argument while pursuing their own desires (v. 4). The problem occurred in that their theology never affected their sociology. The thing they offered an “amen” to on Sunday never got carried out on Monday. They would “come to church” and sing about love, but return to the world and withhold that love. They would proclaim unity and equality in the house of God, but fail to practice that unity in the “global body of Christ.” Thus, the missing component of their ethical relational outworking within their theology nullified their religious activity. The interesting thing about this passage was that the thing the Israelites sought from God (“just decisions”) was the very thing that He said they withheld from others. Simply stated, the principle is: Whatever you want God to do for you personally, you must be willing for Him to do through you to others. God is not looking for cul-de-sac Christians. He is looking for Christians who are willing to be a conduit of His blessing and justice to those in need. We cannot say, “Lord, deliver me,” yet refuse to be the deliverance for another person in need. That is contradictory Christianity. What we have often done in the area of biblical justice is relegate it to others while at the same time complaining to God that He is not responding to our needs. We have neglected to see that the
Biblical justice, when carried out correctly, naturally leads to the restoration of race, gender, and class divisions.
two are inextricably linked. Also, while many of us do not directly carry out overtly unjust actions against others on a regular basis, the importance of biblical justice has become diminished in our minds. But the critical aspect to note concerning biblical justice is the biblical definition of sin. A sin is not only a wrong action that is done, but a sin is also a right action that remains undone (Jas. 4:17). The question of biblical justice is not simply, “Have I done anything wrong?” The question is, “Have I done anything right?” It is good that you do not hate your brother or sister in need, but what are you doing to show that you love him or her? Isaiah 58 reminds us that the foundation for biblical
continued on next page Kindred Spirit
Kindred Spirit Exclusive Online Section
Biblical justice justice exists in the principle that our horizontal relationships must accurately reflect our vertical beliefs about God, or we will limit God’s response to our needs as well. James clearly tells us that “pure” religion is to “visit orphans and widows in their distress” (1:27). Orphans and widows represent the helpless and marginalized in society, those who cannot defend or empower themselves. This prescription isn’t about what we do against the needy and the poor, it concerns what we do for them. God says that He will do for us in response to what we do for others. Biblical justice is not a passive awareness of human needs, but rather an action taken to execute God’s justice in the midst of an unjust society. The church has been uniquely positioned to defend and protect the helpless in society, and until we function according to our calling, we will continue to seek God’s intervention in our own lives only to hear His reply, “What have you done for others in My name?”
Justice—to prescribe the right way
Compiled by Rose Henness (MACE, 2009)
Click here to view short video profiles of senior members of the DTS faculty and administration: Chaplain Bill Bryan
Dr. Howard “Prof” Hendricks
Dr. Dwight Pentecost
Dr. Charles R. Swindoll.
• God’s laws and judgments are just and righteous (Psa. 19:7–9; 111:7–8). • God’s statutes are to be applied without partiality (Deut. 1:17; Leviticus 19:15; Num. 15:16). • God has a standard by which He measures human conduct (Isa. 26:7). • Government is to be God’s instrument of divine justice by impartially establishing, reflecting, and applying His divine standards of justice in society (Psa. 72:1–2, 4; 2 Sam. 8:15; Deut. 4:7–8).
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National Institute on Aging www.nia.nih.gov The National Institute on Aging (NIA), one of the National Institutes of Health, was established to provide leadership in research on aging, distribution of health education, and development of programs relevant to aging. The NIA is the primary federal agency for research on Alzheimer’s disease. National Council on Aging (NCOA) www.ncoa.org The NCOA’s mission is to improve the lives of older Americans. Located in Washington, D.C., NCOA includes over 3,000 members with a national network of more than 14,000 organizations and leaders including senior centers, area agencies on aging, adult day service centers, faith-based service organizations, employment services, consumer groups, and leaders from academia, business, and labor. Administration on Aging (AOA) www.aoa.gov The Administration on Aging (AOA), an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is one of the nation’s largest providers of home- and community-based care for older persons and their caregivers. Created with the passage of the Older Americans Act (OAA), AOA is part of a federal, state, tribal, and local partnership called the National Network on Aging which serves more than 7 million older adults and their caregivers. American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) www.aarp.org AARP “celebrates the attitude that age is just a number and life is what you make of it.” The organization is dedicated to improving the quality of life throughout the aging process by providing information, services, and advocacy for people aged 50 and over. American Society on Aging (ASA) www.asaging.org Established in 1954, the American Society on Aging focuses on a commitment to enhance the knowledge and skills of those who seek to improve the quality of life of older adults and their families. ASA offers widely respected conferences and training opportunities in the field of aging and publications such as Aging Today and Generations.
• God is just (Deut. 32:4). • God is the ultimate lawgiver (Jas. 4:12).
Resources for Working with Seniors
Want to think further about ministry to seniors? Here are the resources Dr. Hendricks recommends: Anything by Ken Dychtwald, including Age Wave: The Challenges and Opportunities of an Aging America Henri Nouwen, Aging: the Fulfillment of Life Howard Eyrich and Judy Dabler, The Art of Aging Ken Johnson, Pursuing Life with a Shepherd’s Heart Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins, The 36-Hour Day
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Healthy Aging www.cdc.gov/aging/ This site provides links to various national organizations which support seniors. Additional sites include: Aging with Dignity www.agingwithdignity.org Aging Parents and Elder Care www.aging-parents-and- elder-care.com United States Senate Special Committee on Aging
National Academy on an Aging Society
The Grandparent Foundation
Alzheimer’s Association www.alz.org National Center on Elder Abuse
Kindred Spirit Exclusive Online Section
By Dr. Jeffrey A. Watson (DMin, 1985)
The Nicodemus Question How can a man be born when he is old?” (John 3:4).
ith a curious frown, the great silver-bearded attorney let his question just float there, suspended in the damp night air.
How can anyone be born again when he or she is old? Wasn’t the whole Industrial World taught the undeniable axiom: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? But Jesus rebutted that myth! Old dogs can learn new tricks—and new truths— especially if the old dogs are hungry, especially if the trainer is playful but consistent, especially if the great kennels of the world howl against such age-old age prejudice. In terms of ministry efforts, senior adults could well be counted among the great, un-
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reached people groups of the world. But Jesus shows us a better way. He brings the fifth commandment to life, touching even the way mid-lifers spend their money (Exod. 20:12; Mark 7:6-13). He even patterns church order on sound intergenerational relationships (1 Tim. 5:1-25). As the Wonderful Counselor (Isa. 9:6), Jesus offered both sweet words and hard sayings to His nighttime visitor. Leaning to neither extreme—to a truth-only brutality or a love-only sentimentality—Jesus ministered a balanced spirituality, “...speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). A lesser man could have been unduly flattered by the curiosity of the older man, particularly that of a folk icon sitting on the Jewish Supreme Court. But in the end, Jesus drew the elder Nicodemus onto the sojourner’s path. In the two years following their providential heart-to-heart talk, Nicodemus moved from being a beloved infidel (John 3:11) to being a sincere seeker (John 7:50–51). Eventually he inched open the door of trust and became a secret believer (John 19:38–42). From the front row of the jury box, Nicodemus would have seen Jesus’ integrity sparkling like a diamond against the black velvet of human corruption (1 Pet. 2:21–23). Later in the sunrise of resurrection, a bolder faith must have dawned on Nicodemus, since his old secret became a new story in the Gospel of John. In all likelihood Nicodemus did not come to Jesus’ quarters, hoping to change religions. Successful seniors rarely wake up, hoping to replace their denominational banner by nightfall. Unlike the adolescent, older adults are not prone to think with hit-or-miss logic. While they may think more cautiously than youth, seniors also tend to think more accurately than youth. But once they are committed, most are deeply loyal: less likely to quit a job, a marriage, or a belief.
Gallop polls tell us that older adults, when compared to middle and younger adults, often exhibit a growth in spirituality. With more flexibility in their schedules, seniors often read Scripture, pray, and think about the supernatural; nonetheless these changes may baffle the simple observer who merely chronicles their diminished attendance in formal worship services. Psychologists point out that the typical older adult is on a quest for integrity versus despair. Like great puzzle-makers, attentive seniors are trying to integrate—or link—the pieces of their lives together as they reminisce. Without ever seeing the picture on the box, they keep trying to answer the question: “What has my life meant?” Gerontologists suggest that many seniors feel pressured by their limitations and their regrets. Thus they can become preoccupied with their bodies, frequently monitoring how their bodies look, feel, and function. They can also become preoccupied with their work, using their overt productivity to measure what they are worth. They may even become preoccupied with themselves, obsessing on who seems to care about them and who apparently does not. But by the grace of God, many older adults have learned to transcend their bodies, rejoicing that there is more to them than their physical lives. Many have learned to transcend their work, recognizing the intangible contributions they have made—and are making—to the people around them. And many have even learned to transcend themselves, accepting that there are many others worse off than they are, people worthy of their concern. These transcending men and women are following in the footsteps of an imprisoned apostle who overcame the temptation to be preoccupied with his body (Philippians 1:20–21), his work (Phil. 1:7, 12–13), and his ego (Phil. 1:15, 17–18). A modern Nicodemus came into my life ten years ago. Having grown up in one religion,
Wendell followed his seventh-grade sweetheart into another. But by the age of seventy-two, these life-long lovers were dumbfounded. Their denomination had gone beyond diatribes against the Viet Nam War; now the denomination had ordained a practicing lesbian. Rather than giving up on God and giving in to cynicism, Wendell and Sylvia followed a trusted friend into a Bible-centered church, a church that gently told Wendell that he wasn’t allowed to join officially. Sylvia had long ago learned to rest in the good works of God, but Wendell was resting in his own goodness. Like the rich young ruler, Wendell needed to learn that there were only two ways to heaven: perfect obedience or perfect surrender (Luke 18:18–30). Though the former is humanly impossible (Rom. 3:23; James 2:10), the latter is divinely possible (Eph. 2:8–9; Titus 3:5). Like the Nicodemus of old, this beloved infidel would require at least two more years to come to Christ after his doubts had set in. Sylvia’s stroke led him to chisel yearning words on their joint tombstone: “Together Forever.” Then on the anniversary of her death, he begged for answers: “Will God receive me? Am I good enough yet?” Listening with a thief-on-the-cross kind of simplicity, he heard the words of biblical counsel: “Wendell, the question is not whether He will receive you; the question is whether you will receive Him. The Bible says, ‘Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’ (John 1:12).” With tears of penitential relief Wendell’s prayer touched off a party in heaven. Last summer at the age of eighty-two, Wendell’s body was laid beside that of his seventhgrade sweetheart. His example taught us, as did Nicodemus of old, that old age need not be wintertime; indeed, it can be harvesttime. Dr. Jeffrey Watson (DMin, 1985) holds a PhD in Health Education with a doctoral certificate in Gerontology. He has served as a visiting professor for DTS’s DMin program in Dallas and Guatemala City.
This verse art was crafted by DTS graphic designer Linda Tomczak. You can view a short video of Ms. Tomczak telling her story at www.dts.edu/profiles.
This painting was done by DTS student Camille Holland.
Dallas Theological Seminary