What Jesus Is Serious About

A letter appealing for funds has just arrived from an organization called Light of Light Ministries and Evangel Association, International (LLMEAI), of Enid, Oklahoma.

“We are confident,” says director Reverend Douglas J. Heffner, Sr., “that as Born Again Believers grasp the certainty of this ‘vision,’ qualified and dedicated Christians will gather together to plan, etc.”

What is the “vision” for which LLMEAI has come into being and for which it seeks the support of Christians?

It is the purchase, for twenty-five million dollars, of a Boeing 747 jet. “747 for Christ, Angel One” is evidently their name for the 231-foot-long, 199-foot-wide airplane, which will doubtless require another several million dollars annually for maintenance, gas, landing fees, and salaries.

Why this project? First, because “we know Jesus is serious about this.” Then, to airlift missionaries. To serve as a “vessel of honor” to glorify the name of the Lord among all nations and peoples. To provide a Christian witness. To serve as a flying classroom. To serve as the focal point for city-wide crusades (in cities with a properly stressed runway at least two miles in length).

Well, why not? Big corporations have Learjets, Playboy’s Hugh Hefner used to have his corporate jet (a big job, but not a 747). So why shouldn’t one of our own Christian non-profit corporations have a 747? After all, some of them—like their secular counterparts—already own plush facilities in resort areas for the entertainment of their executives and VIPs.

St. Paul, you missed it.

You could have collected money to buy a ship as avessel of honor” and sailed the Mediterranean in style. Instead, you chose to collect money for starving Christians and traveled by common carrier.


Knowing Who You Are

Thanks for the perceptive article by Thomas Howard (“Who Am I,” July 8). Having gone through personal counseling and a type of therapy in a D.Min. program, I have found it very helpful and therapeutic to discover more about myself. But it is helpful only as an addition to knowing my basic identity, established thirty years ago, as that of a child of God.


Calvary Baptist Church

Clifton, N.J.

Prophets, Not Politicians

W. Ward Gasque’s article “Is Man’s Purpose an Enigma?” (July 29) touched on an issue that has been and will continue to be divisive in the church. This is the issue of the purpose and role of government in the economy of God. Gasque in an uninformed manner sees God represented in man against the backdrop of the cultural mandate. He extends this viceregency not only to the material creation but also over his fellowman.… There are several deficiencies in this position. First, the cultural mandate is not the basis for social justice.… The existence of government became necessary not from creation (which was good) but from the fall of man into sin. Second, in ignoring the fall of man Gasque neglects the rule of God by the two kingdoms—a teaching which has guided both Lutheran and Reformed traditions in its understanding of God’s rule in the present world. Finally, in the tradition of enlightened humanism. Gasque relativizes government to one of “mankind’s great achievements.” He would thus have redeemed man (for who else can love the way God commands us to) and ultimately the Church. He would have us be the police and the judge in the world. He would have the Church bear the sword. Gasque needs to realize that the Church’s responsibility is to speak to and for justice, not bring it about. The Church’s role in this fallen creation is prophetic—not political.


First Presbyterian Church

Andrew, Iowa

Trouble From Initials

In your news story “Polling the Preachers” (July 8) you speak of the United Church of Christ, when in fact the church involved in the four-church clergy poll is the United Church of Canada. The initials of both churches are identical (UCC); unfortunately, someone saw the initials, jumped to a conclusion, and led off the item with a statement that makes nonsense because it refers to the wrong denomination, even though I suspect that the United Church of Christ clergy would hold similar views to the United Church of Canada.


Managing Editor

The United Church Observer

Toronto, Ont.

Leadership Vs. Management

As a Presbyterian layman and elder, I believe Edward R. Dayton’s article “Lifting Ministers From the Mud” (July 29) is most timely. I have noted that many ministers who have had no experience in secular pursuits lack a knowledge of the fundamentals of management. Most do much better in the area of leadership.

This leads me to a criticism of the article. Dayton appears to fall into a common error of today, considering management and leadership as synonymous. I submit that they are not. One definition of the difference is that “management deals with things; leadership deals with people.” Another is that “leadership and management embody entirely different traits. One seeks to inspire men. The other needs compromise and consensus to conserve resources.” Dayton also incorrectly quotes President Eisenhower in regard to management rather than leadership. I believe the correct quote is, “Leadership is the ability to get a person to do what you want him to do, when you want it done, in a way you want it done, because he wants to do it.”

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In his comments regarding equating “management” and “business” and the difficulty of “managing” a church using volunteers that must be motivated, Dayton illustrates the confusion of management and leadership. I submit that what is needed to motivate (as well as secure) volunteers is leadership, not management. On the other hand, if good management is not practiced in the organization and work of the church, the resulting confusion, conflict, and wasted time will soon discourage and drive away the formerly motivated volunteers.


Williamsburg, Va.

With Compliments

I wanted to compliment you on the excellent July 29 issue—especially Richard L. Strauss’s article on “The Family Church: Any Place for Singles?” and the article by Gerald Ford on “Lessons From the Presidency”.… I found them spiritually uplifting.… I am a new subscriber and have enjoyed [the magazine] very much and found it helpful … in my own ministry.


Campus Lutheran Church

Kearney State College

Kearney, Neb.

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