I Stand by the Door – the case for evangelistic commitment

Here is a piece from Sam Shoemaker that I run across from time to time. Want to share it with you.

Sam Shoemaker(1893-1963) was an Episcopal priest who was instrumental in the Oxford Group and founding principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. He was the rector of the Calvary Church in New York City, which was the United States headquarters of the Oxford Group. Bill Wilson attended Oxford Group meetings at the Calvary Church and Sam was instrumental in assisting Bill Wilson with the writing of the book Alcoholics Anonymous (nickname: The Big Book). Bill acknowledged this linkage when he wrote in the book, A.A. Comes of Age: “In 1917 Sam Shoemaker had been sent to China to start a branch of the YMCA and to teach at the Princeton-in-china Program. There, in 1918, feeling discouraged , he first met Frank Buchman who told him of the four absolutes, honesty, purity and unselfishness and love. Later Shoemaker would speak of the meeting as a major influence for the start of his ministry, that being the time when he decided to let go of self and let God guide his life.” Bill Wilson, in 1955, would later give credit to Sam Shoemaker whom he referred to as a co-founder of AA. ” It was from Sam Shoemaker, that we absorbed most of the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, steps that express the heart of AA’s way of life. Sam Shoemaker had given us the concrete knowledge of what we could do about it, he passed on the spiritual keys by which we were liberated. The early AA got its ideas of self-examination, acknowledgement of character defects, restitution for harm done, and working with others straight from the Oxford Group and directly from Sam Shoemaker, their former leader in America, and from nowhere else.”


I stand by the door.

I niether go too far in, nor stay too far oout.
The door is the most important door in the word-
It is the door through which people walk when they find God.
There’s no use my going way inside, and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many every find
Is only the wall where a door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind people,
With outstretched, groping hands.
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it…
So I stand by the door.

The most tremendous thing in the world
Is for people to find that door-the door to God.
The most important thing any person can do
Is to take hold of one of those blind, groping hands,
And put it on the latch-the latch that only clicks
And opens to a person’s own touch.
People die outside that door, as starving beggars die
On cold nights in cruel cities in the dead of winter-
Die for want of what is within their grasp.
They live, on the other side of it-live becasue they have not found it.
Nothing else matters compared to helping them find it,
And open it, and walk in, and find Him…
So I stand by the door.

Go in, great saints, go all the way in-
Go way down into the cavernous cellars,
And way up into the spacious attics-
It is a vast roomy house, this house where God is.
Go into the deepest of hidden casements,
Of withdrawal, of silence, of sainthood.
Some must inhabit those inner rooms.
And know the depths of God,
And call outside to the rest of us how wonderful it is.
Sometimes I take a deeper look in,
Sometimes venture in a little further;
But my place seems closer to the opening…
So I stand by the door.

There is another reason I stand there.
Some peope get part way in and become afraid
Lest God and the zeal of His house devour them
For God is so very great, and asks all of us.
And these people feel a cosmic claustrophobia,
And want to get out. “Let me out!” they cry,
And the people way inside only terrify them more.
Somebody must be by the door to tell then that they are spoiled
For the orld life, they have seen too much:
Once taste God, and nothing but God will do any more.
Somebody must be watching for the frightened
Who seek to sneak out just where they came in,
To tell then how much better it is inside.
The people too far in do not see how near these are
To leaving-preoccupied with the wonders of it all.
Somebody must watch for those who have entered the door,
But would like to run away. So for the, too,
I stand by the door.

I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door,
Or the people who want to run away again from God,
You can go in too deeply, and stay in too long,
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enought to God to hear Him, and know He is there,
But not so far from people as not to hear them,
And remember they are there, too.
Where? Outside the door-
Thousands of them, millions of them.
But-more important for me-
One of them, two of them, ten of them,
Whose hands I am intended to put on the latch.
So I shall stand by the door and wait
For those who seek it.
“I had rather be a door-keeper…”
So I stand by the door.

How about a little humility here!!!

In a letter posted at Tony Jones site a writer submits

“I compiled a list of “views” books, you know, like those Zondervan books that have four views on blah blah blah. My argument for a hermeneutic of humility would be: If there are so many views argued so well, by godly, intelligent men, who all think they have the correct interpretation, doesn’t that imply a humility of sorts? And boy, do these guys argue well for their views! How, then, can one claim so dogmatically and with such over-arching certainty, that their view is the one!”

Here’s the list of books that present the different views on various subjects:

as of 19 Jan, 2006


Who Runs the Church? 4 Views on Church Government

How Jewish Is Christianity? 2 Views on the Messianic Movement

Remarriage after Divorce in Today’s Church. 3 Views

Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? 4 Views

Evaluating the Church Growth Movement. 5 Views

Exploring the Worship Spectrum. 6 Views

Five Views on Apologetics.

Five Views on Law and Gospel.

Five Views on Sanctification.

Four Views on Eternal Security.

Four Views on Hell.

Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World.

Four Views on the Book of Revelation.

Show Them No Mercy. 4 Views on God and Canaanite Genocide

Three Views on Creation and Evolution.

Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism.

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond.

Three Views on the Rapture.

Two Views on Women in Ministry

Sub Total: 19 topics, 77 views (Incl. extra views by different publishers on same topics, below)


Four Views: Psychology and Christianity

* (4V Zondervan) Two Views Of Hell

In Search Of The Soul: Four Views Of The Mind-Body Problem

Four Views: God and Time

Four Views: Meaning Of The Millennium, The

Four Views: Science and Christianity

* (3V Zondervan) Four Views: Divorce And Remarriage

* (2V Zondervan) Four Views: Women In Ministry

Four Views: Divine Foreknowledge

Sub Total: 25 topics, 101 views


Three Views On The Origins Of The Synoptic Gospels (Kregel)

Sub Total:  26 topics, 104 views


* (4V Zondervan) Four Views: Revelation


Four Views Of Youth Ministry And The Church

Sub Total: 27 topics, 108 views


* (See IVP above) Four Views: Divine Foreknowledge

* (See IVP above) Four Views: God and Time


* (4V Zondervan) Perspectives On Church Government: Five Views Of Church Polity

Perspectives On Spirit Baptism: Five Views

Sub Total: 28 topics, 113 views


Christianity And The Postmodern Turn: Six Views

Sub Total: 29 topics, 119 views

That’s an incredible 119 views on just 29 topics! What’s a layman like me to do? Throw some dice, choose a view, and loudly proclaim it as the only interpretation, and my detractors be damned to hell?  I think you get my gist.

“Expelled” reviewed

I finally got to the film, which was only in one cinema complex in our area.

Entertaining is not the word I would use for this film, which surprised me. The very medium of film in the theatre seems to require a certain level of entertainment. The verb “to entertain” means “to get and keep one’s attention.” This would appear to be the minimum requirement for a flick, but it’s missing. The viewer has to bring a high level of interest to the film to sustain attention the entire time.

I teach college philosophy with a focus on modern movements that have dominated the academic landscape, including Freud, Darwin, Nietzche, etc. The reality is that the 20th century was a mess, and I feel queazy about relating anyone of these directly to Nazism, Stalinism, or Maoism. I don’t think that Darwin anymore allowed for the evil of eugenic experimentation of the Nazi regime than Nietszche explains Hitler. Any demagogue in any culture will find some figure to support his reign of terror.

I am much more interested in comparing philosophies in their best expressions, not in their worst misuses. For instance, when evangelicals compare their version of Christianity to Roman Catholicism, their version of RC is almost always aberrant and anecdotal. I would like to compare the two by their best expressions, say and evangelical churchman like Chuck Colson to a Neuhaus. Both visions have spawned some mutant variations that scare us all.

I think that linking Darwinism to Nazism ultimately worked to defeat the film and make it useful to the far right but not so useful to the great middle.

Yes, the point still stands that scientists who are creationists will experience opposition and injustice. I continue to wonder how much opposition and injustice. The film did not answer this.

When $35 million isn’t enough

Jose Canseco told the syndicated TV show “Inside Edition” that he walked away from his $2.5 million, 7,300-square foot home in suburban Encino because it didn’t make sense to continue making payments.

“I do have a judgment on my home and it to me is very strange because it didn’t make financial sense for me to keep paying a mortgage on a home that was basically owned by someone else,” he said in an interview that aired Thursday.

“You know my life, this financial thing, is a very complicated issue. Obviously, when you make all that money, people think, ‘OK, let’s assume it is $35 million.’ People have to understand that $35 million, you’re paying the government 41 percent. That leaves you with about $17 or $18 million, not even. Then you’re taking care of your whole family.”

Taking care of your whole family with only $17 million? How can anyone make it!!! Actually, Jose, it doesn’t seem that complicated to me.