Summer vacations are a thing of the past and we are all once again hard at work. As I write this, weeks ahead of this issue date, we are just pulling out of the summer slump and gathering momentum for the oversize fall issues that will soon come crowding in.

I hope you will read Dean Kelley’s article, “The NCC Shares What Is on Its Mind.” We might well have titled it “What Evangelicals Need to Know about the National Council of Churches.” It will tell you some things you didn’t know about the NCC and enable you to see it from a perspective not often available in evangelical publications.

Every time we print something highly critical of an evangelical enterprise, we immediately receive an avalanche of letters to the editor. “Why air dirty linen in public?” they ask. In the five years I’ve been editor we have given our share of lusty whacks to the NCC and the WCC. We try to be fair—though it’s always easier to see the logic and beauty of our own viewpoint than of someone who stands on the opposite side. But I can’t recall anyone clearly identifying himself as an evangelical who has written to rebuke me for displaying the National Council’s dirty linen. In fact, many approving letters come when we decry the liberal theology, bad morals, and left-wing politics of the National and World Councils. Maybe that says more about us evangelicals than it does about the councils. In any case, you owe it to yourself to read what Dean Kelley has to say. It may surprise you.

Then, my good friend Wes Pippert tells how God restructured his job. I am reminded of the shock I received on a trip to Italy many years ago. Over the door of a large and very impressive building was the legend “Bank of the Holy Spirit.” Blasphemous! was my first reaction. But why? Are business and religion like oil and water that cannot mix? From an evangelical perspective, genuine religion must pervade every aspect of life. “Bank of the Holy Spirit” may be indelicate, but we dare not wall off our business life from the sanctifying graces of the Holy Spirit. Wes gives us biblical advice that has proved valid in his own experience. Genuine Christian faith should make a difference on the job.

Once again many evangelicals are thinking through their doctrine of the church. From his Wesleyan roots, former missionary Howard Snyder has developed a church program that fits the needs of the church today. He finds that a basic need is a “hunger for community.” And his solution is the very opposite of the current fascination with the superchurch or the spectator TV church.

Finally, Lutheran pastor Walter Wangerin has written a beautiful piece on the making of a minister. It really applies to every Christian. God takes us just as we are, and in his own wonderful and mysterious—but not always pleasant—way molds us into humble and effective servants of our Lord Christ.

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