This idea of training future ministers, training people who are interested in ministry, this isn’t a new one for you, right? This has been part and parcel of your whole ministry experience. I’m wondering if you both could tell us just a little bit about how you’ve sought to care for men and women who are interested in pursuing ministry together. How was that unfolded in your years together? Caroline, why don’t you tell me some about how you sought to do that at least?
Caroline Newheiser :
Jim started training people in ministry when we were living in Saudi Arabia and we had to open up many house churches which didn’t have teachers so he developed a program there which is a stepping stone to what he’s doing now. Through the years we’ve had the intern program here at Grace Bible and we’ve even had men live with us, students live with us off and on different times. God has equipped us I think for this step.
Caroline has made a lot of effort both in terms of hospitality and having some cases. I think back to having single Mike Kruger, Greg Welty, these guys are now seminary professors. Many people are now missionaries and pastors but having them or having them and their wives into our home, she’s been especially in recent years making some delivered efforts to mentor the seminary students’ wives and prepare them for what it is going to be like one day.
Good, so we can really step back and check our hearts. What are some ways that you think, instead of calling down fire on someone, what are ways that we think people need to be punished and we often carry that out?
In general, when people wrong us, our gut reaction is to respond in judgement or tempted to respond in anger. That can be saying hurtful words, expressed in that way. It could be ignoring them or doing other unkind things. We become tempted to really detach ourselves from the gospel, somewhat as these disciples did. What we need to remember is both God’s grace to us and also our calling to be messengers of mercy, which was at that time the calling for those disciples. Furthermore, as we are messengers of mercy, I often think of Romans 2:4, that it’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. If our hope is when we see evildoers and even when they do evil to us, it’s God’s grace and God’s kindness being reflected through us that, or the means by which God most likely will bring them to repentance rather than our judgmental anger.
This seems to intersect for me with something we hear a lot in marriage counselling. If a spouse is sinning, a lot of times the other spouse thinks it’s their job, almost to call down fire on that spouse, to make them pay for the wrongs that are being done to help them see the error of their ways. How do we change the heart of that spouse so that they’re not making the same sin here as the disciples?