STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 08/19/2008

Letters to The Editor

Editor's note: The following are letters Dr. Peter Stine received in response to "The Inimitable Peter W. Stine." Bonnie Greer and Norm Jones are both Houghton College alumni. James Skillen, brother of Gordon English professor John Skillen, is an alumnus of Wheaton College, where Dr. Stine taught for a few years in the 1960s.

Dear Peter,
Keith and I recently read the article about your retirement and wanted to tell you how very much you are appreciated in this Greer household and in our church, Carlisle Congregational in Carlisle, Massachusetts. One rarely knows the effect one's life has on another, but I must tell you what has followed from your being such a blessing in our lives.

First, from your invitation to sit in on your Oral Interpretation of Poetry class, I was inspired to write, which culminated in a "book" for family and friends. Besides that, I, as a wife and mother, had a wonderful and encouraging break from household duties that returned me home refreshed and all the more inspired in my calling. You opened your classroom, and somehow that fact came up at a Houghton College area reunion in conversations between Norm Jones and me. Following your example, Norm extended the same invitation to me--I sat in on his Fundamentals of Acting class, from which came my monologue on aging, performed countless times.
Your Princemere Readers performances at church were tremendously instrumental in motivating us to begin an adult drama ministry at CCCC (Conservative Congregational Christian Conference) events.

So glory be to the Sovereign God for His placement of you in our path, and for your willingness to love and serve Him and be a blessing to the likes of us. You are remembered with much thanksgiving. God bless you with surprises of learning and joy in this next phase.
--Bonnie Greer

Dear Peter,
Congratulations on your years of service at Gordon! I saw the announcement in the latest STILLPOINT, and that, of course, reminded me of your enjoyable classes I took at Wheaton College, of baseball trips to the South, and of many occasions of laughter and camaraderie we enjoyed. You touched my life too, Peter, and I know you touched thousands of others. May God bless and strengthen you in all the years ahead.
--James Skillen,
The Center for Public Justice

I am new to Gordon. Today we sent the check to confirm my daughter's enrollment for the fall of this year. I just received STILLPOINT for the first time and want to thank the Fowlers for their generosity to Gordon. Our family will benefit from their confidence in the College. They see their contribution to Gordon as something that promotes the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is what my daughter was looking for in her college. Their gift confirms to me that she has chosen a place that will benefit her for the rest of her life.
--Juliet Applegate, parent

In "Towards a Shalom-Feminism" Dr. Lauren Barthold writes: "Jesus revealed himself first to a woman in His risen form. He didn't care that a woman's testimony or authority was inferior to that of men in the culture. If asking a woman to proclaim the good news is not a definition of preaching, I don't know what would be." Dr. Barthold's implication seems to be: Since both men and women are asked to proclaim the good news, both men and women may be called to the ordained preaching ministry. Does this necessarily follow?
A helpful analogy might be the following: Imagine a new Christian in the act of taking a shower. As the water falls upon him,
he is reminded of the powerful cleansing of Jesus Christ. Can the shower be a deeply meaningful spiritual experience? This is certain. Does he nevertheless need to be baptized? This is equally certain. The question is one of "set-apartness." Difference. A distinction between the natural and the supernatural orders of things. Does this distinction apply to things like baptism (as opposed to showering), Holy Communion, and the set worship services of the Church-and the ordained preaching ministry? This is where Christians disagree.
--Dr. John Harutunian, former faculty,
Music Department

Editor's note: We appreciate your gracious letter and agree that thoughtful evangelicals hold different--sometimes conflicting--understandings of the role of women in the church. We note, however, that A. J. Gordon, the College's founder, was himself an enthusiastic supporter of women's participation in all aspects of ministry. Mimi Haddad, executive director of Christians for Biblical Equality, notes in her article "Revival Depends on Women in Ministry" that "A. J. Gordon, a great proponent of women in ministry, observed revival in the church and the participation of women in ministry as two inseparable events. Gordon asserts, 'Pentecost brought equal privileges to women . . . female prophecy is not the exception but the rule.'"

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