Advice to a Young Minister

A meeting between two ministers, one the descendant of the other's spiritual ancestor.


07/26/2004 11:54:48 AM

I'm way more conservative on the Bible than Coffin is -- but gosh was I blessed by this article! Great stuff! Challenge my presuppositions! (Actually, a lot of people on this thread could stand to re-examine their presuppositions -- i.e. fundamentalists are full of hate because they think other people's decisions harm them, or that someone who interprets the Bible differently is in danger of losing the way. A person who can't change their mind, can't change anything.) Peace, DI


07/13/2004 11:56:47 AM

sagenav, But Paul's letters are some (if not the) earliest surviving "Jesus" texts. And for those of us who accept the standard critical view (as the Catholic Church even does) that the NT Gospels were NOT written by the apostles named for them, then there is a good chance that NONE of the NT was written by people who "directly knew Jesus."


07/11/2004 07:24:11 PM

Rely more on what Jesus said and did than on what Paul said and did. Remember, Paul never directly knew Jesus.


07/10/2004 04:19:17 PM

Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ;


07/10/2004 12:04:52 PM

I do not believe that Paul supported slavery, what he did support was the transforming power of God to make a slave and master brothers in the Lord. Aside from Paul's limited view of what the gospel should be used for, (e.g. bringing people into a right relationship with their Creator so that they could love one another unconditionally, sacrificially and intelligently,) other Christians became abolitionists and later helped eradicate it. Unfortunately, it still exists in certain parts of the world. Grace to all, Stever


07/09/2004 07:28:39 PM

fromoz, I'm sorry you have been treated so viciously by Christians because of your illegitimacy. Being from the U.S., I've never actually heard of Christians attacking people "born out of wedlock" like what you describe happens in Australia. Maybe that's a cultral difference? Though there are many minorities who are trampled upon here in the U.S. by Christians, the most-prominent one at the moment being gays. I suppose the negative experiences and trauma aren't that different.


07/09/2004 05:57:10 PM

costrel As a child I like many other bastards would be abused in various ways and spat on by Christians as punishment for our illegitimacy. Those were times when many felt forced into going to church out of fear of the wrath of God. However secular values of respect for others, acceptance and justice have overtaken much of that "Christianity" that is trying to catch-up with "God is love"? When "Christianity" depends on "interpretation" of the Bible it can swing and sway again in line with public opinion? I live constantly in fear that "Christianity" will revert to the Bible based torture of bastards. But more than anything I greatly fear the dishonesty of those promoting a God exclusively of love when that view clearly isn't justified by the Bible. God must be represented wholistically by his followers - otherwise he becomes no more than fiction that is based on the figment of someone's imagination?


07/09/2004 05:38:37 PM

sagenav I'm used to Christians perverting words. I didn't write that Jesus didn't teach peace. Please read my post again? We have recently seen what President Bush thought of the peaceful teachings of Jesus? It would seem President Bush found the words of Jesus fancifull and much prefered a pre-emptive eye for an eye based on lies? Matthew 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Matthew 10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.


07/09/2004 05:02:08 PM

Jesus didn't teach peace??? Hmmm...that's a new one to me. Haven't heard anyone take that angle before. Wasn't Jesus a pacifist?


07/09/2004 04:31:33 PM

fromoz, So, in your view, have people like Francis of Assisi, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., etc. "prostituted the Bible and God on the alter of puplic [public] opinion?" What then of the Protestant Reformation's personal interpretation of the Bible, biblical exegesis, and hermeneutics???


07/09/2004 03:42:34 PM

costrel As one example I'd give Mr Coffin's statement - "And so the great biblical mandates of pursuing justice and seeking peace are shortchanged." In the Bible Paul supported slavery, Jesus spoke in parables to deceive and Moses gave God's rejection of people on the grounds of race, physical impairment and their illegitimacy. There is nothing just about many teachings in the Bible and Jesus said that he didn't come to bring peace but a sword. Mr Coffin is projecting his own admiral beliefs onto "Christianity". But as he has rejected much of the hate, vengeance and injustice of the Bible, what he (like so many others) is actually doing is inventing his own religion that incorporates only socially acceptable aspects of the Bible. By creating "Christian" religions loosly based on the Bible many "Christians" have prostituted the Bible and God on the alter of puplic opinion.


07/08/2004 10:25:03 PM

Obviously fromoz has been overly impacted by the fundamentalists and the religious right. This is an excellent article and what true Christianity should and does stand for.


07/08/2004 07:17:28 PM

fromoz, Exactly which of Coffin's beliefs are you referring to?


07/08/2004 05:40:33 PM

I agree in a way with Bravo88 who wrote - "I get the impression that some of the interviewee's beliefs do not conform to the Bible. It is problematic for a Christian to diverge from the Bible because of the fact of it being GOD's word." Mr Coffin expresses some wonderful beliefs that are shared by many regardless of race, culture, religious or other beliefs. To give the impression that the beliefs were Bible based I believe is dishonest. I hope a time will come when people will have the pride in their beliefs to say this is what I believe - without feeling the need to try to back-up their beliefs with a book that is outdated and in many cases immoral and wrong. It seems to me that Mr Coffin like so many others is inventing his own religion and trying to pin it on Christianity - which as seems the case with Bravo88 is insulting to some Christians and to me is downright deceptive.


07/08/2004 05:26:02 PM

Bravo88, Read the article again and maybe you'll get it this time.


07/08/2004 04:17:13 PM

to jperkmd82: These article discussion threads are supposed to stay on-topic, but if you post your request in one of the general discussion forums you will surely get responses. To respond very briefly, there are only occasionally egregious quality issues with the articles/reporting here but this site represents a huge range of religious points of view and different pieces will appeal to different sections of the Beliefnet population. One thing you don't even mention but that is not separable from any discussion of Beliefnet is that this is a community site. I come here 50% for the articles and 50% for the conversation. the audio/video features, quizzes, and extras are usually gimmicks... cracker jack prizes. The articles and conversation are cracker jacks. The site design is the box; if it's functional it's fine.


07/08/2004 03:42:57 PM

I had a turn around in my "Christianity" a few years ago and it fills my heart to see I'm not the only one who "gets it"...thank you Rev. are truly a light and I pray more see it... Peace <


07/08/2004 02:31:54 PM

I haven't heard anything about William Sloane Coffin in years. He was one of the leading lights of liberal Christianity in the sixties and early seventies when he was at Yale University. He also was one of my inspirations when I began to become both more politically and religiously aware. Thank you B-Net for this wonderful interview with an amazing man who inspired a whole generation of Christians with a social conscience.


07/08/2004 02:23:56 PM

Bravo88, evolution is neither a non-Christian or pro-Christian position. It's simply a matter of scientific fact, having nothing to do with faith or lack of faith. As for the interview itself, it just reminds me that this country desperately needs some successors to Rev. Coffin!


07/08/2004 02:03:16 PM

One more thing: I've always admired Dr. Coffin, since I saw him on Donahue, debating with Jerry Falwell. As they were arguing/debating, Bill referred to something he had written in one of his books, which he happened to have brought with him. Jerry asked him, in a voice dripping with sarcasm and condescension, "Why didn't you bring your Bible, Bill?" To which Bill quipped, "I thought you'd bring yours, Jerry." Love that!


07/08/2004 01:59:33 PM

Good article. I found myself agreeing with Bill so much that I'm thinking that I must be more of a liberal than I thought. He brought me up short though. He's right: most pastors/ministers I know, myself included, have too much invested in being comfortable and liked (not loved, but liked) by their congregations to be truly prophetic. He said something else that I need to think on, referring to the Pharisees who used to thank God, in their prayers, that they were not like such-and-so. There are so many who, without even realizing it, do just that. Hmmm!


07/08/2004 01:26:10 PM

I found this article to be one of the better articles in recent times on Beliefnet but I don't agree with everything in it. I get the impression that some of the interviewee's beliefs do not conform to the Bible. It is problematic for a Christian to diverge from the Bible because of the fact of it being GOD's word. As soon as we start mixing in other beliefs such as evolution, reincarnation or other nonChristian beliefs then we can go astray.


07/08/2004 10:41:38 AM

Great article, more is better. indy, your cynicism suggests that you missed the point of the article, the creative, hopeful mode of thinking that changes the world. Be the light you see the world needs.


07/08/2004 10:25:15 AM

Is Mr. Coffin a light unto today's evangelical self righteousness? IMO yes. Will they listen? No. Why? Because their worship is not of Jesus, but power. Because they understand hatred more than love. Are there more Mr. Coffins out there? I would venture to say yes. Will they become the forefront of Christian leadership in our nation and the world? Not likely. Why not? Because true Christianity (love) is not in the hearts and minds of our leaders.


07/08/2004 10:23:09 AM

New to the site...I am a journalism student at the University of Maryland and fo a class assignment I am reporting on traditional online news/info sites (ie: vs. less traditional news/info sites like this one. I have been analyzing how the sites navigation is, audio/video features, packages, quizzes and lastly the reporting on the site. If anyone has any thoughts about the site that they would like to point out it would be greatly appreciated.


07/08/2004 09:33:58 AM

A truly brilliant piece. Better than Walsch, better than Tolle, better than Wilber. And even better than Swami. I think Loose Cannon could benefit by reading this..


07/08/2004 08:46:47 AM

What an enlightening piece. Thank you Bnet and how about more from Rev. Coffin. He even confirms a belief I have that doesn't fit into fundamentalist theology. His friend the Rabbi has the same access to heaven that Mr. Coffin does. Glad to know that someone else sees what Paul wrote so plainly. Justified by faith (in God).


07/08/2004 02:01:04 AM

Oh, it does me good to hear from this wise old liberal. Thank you Beliefnet!!


07/07/2004 10:18:15 PM

Coffin says, "The church is pretty much down to therapy and management." I couldn't agree more. One of the reasons I left the Christianity is because Sundays seemed to feel like 2 things: 1) weepy-eyed therapy sessions, and 2) long-winded business meetings with a CEO. What happened to Christian people with the conviction to sell everything they own for the sake of the Gospel?


07/07/2004 09:17:18 PM

It has been so many years since I heard him speak at Yale. I was an undergraduate at BC then and one of my professors offered extra credit if we went and heard him speak an wrote about it. I left there with a fire in my soul. I thank him for helping to light it.


07/07/2004 07:04:48 PM

absolutely brilliant! what an amazing testament to christianity this man is! i am very impressed with what he has to say. thanks bnet for giving me something amazing to read today.