More than 60 of the most enlightening and beloved articles by the late Rev. Dr. Dale Turner, Seattle Times columnist and Congregational minister. Essays on love, gratitude, tolerance, acceptance, and more.
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The Reverend Dr. Dale Turner (1917-2006) began his career as a minister in Michigan in 1943. He had first stepped inside a church at age 18. Since his parents were of different faith backgrounds, Catholic and Protestant, they had chosen not to attend church. Dr. Turner attended West Virginia Wesleyan, a Methodist College, because of its athletic program. He intended to become a high school football coach. But, he was offered two graduate school scholarships, one for physical education at Columbia University and one for ministry at Yale Divinity School. The ministry won out, and his decision would affect the lives of thousands over the next six decades. Dr. Turner spent 10 years in Lawrence, Kansas, teaching at the University of Kansas and preaching at the Plymouth Congregational Church. He moved to Seattle in 1958 to lead the University Congregational Church. As a minister and activist, he spoke out against the war in Vietnam during the 1960s, vocally supported the rights of gays and lesbians, and was instrumental in forming the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He retired in 1982, then wrote a weekly column for the Religion page of the Seattle Times until autumn of 2004. His latest book, Imperfect Alternatives: Spiritual Insights for Confronting the Controversial and the Personal, was published in 2005. Dr. Turner passed away June 5, 2006. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Leone, as well as three sons, three daughters-in-law, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. One of his sons preceded him in death.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
A reader sent a letter pointing out that many Christians say there is no other way to God except through Jesus Christ. That belief troubled this reader because, to him, it seemed to limit God's love and was unfair to many sensitive, kindly people of other faiths or of no faith at all.
Sometimes an isolated text becomes a theological stumbling block.
The belief questioned by our reader is based on what Peter wrote about Jesus in Acts 4:12: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."
For me, Jesus is my savior. If I follow him, he leads me toward God and a fuller realization of the being God created me to be. But can I be so dogmatic as to say that all who don't go this route are lost?
Of course not. The reader is correct. Such a conclusion is too exclusive and unfair.
Look at someone like Anwar Sadat. He was not a Christian. He was a Moslem. Four times each day he prayed to the God of his understanding. He risked his life for peace--indeed, he lost his life in the pursuit of peace. Can we believe that he has no eternal salvation simply because he was not committed overtly to Jesus?
No human has the wisdom or the prerogative to determine the destiny of another's soul. It is a great day in our lives when we realize that we are not the general manager of the universe.
The answer to salvation depends a lot on how we interpret the Scriptures and their purpose.
I remember sitting beside a young man on a plane trip from Los Angeles. He had his Bible in hand and read it throughout the flight. Frequently he interrupted his reading to share his interpretation with me. He too believed there is no salvation outside of commitment to Jesus.
Near the end of the trip, he closed the Bible, thumped his cover with his hand and said, "I belong to a Bible-believing church. Do you?"
"Yes," I said, "I do. But I don't think we interpret the Scriptures the same way as you do. We take the Bible seriously but not literally, which is not to say we do not believe in the Bible."
The man was obviously not convinced of my wisdom, so as we were leaving the plane, I shared a story with him:
Several years ago, five men sat around a pot-bellied stove in the cotton growing area of the Deep South in mid-winter. They were arguing as to which was the "right" religion and which offered the greatest assurance of salvation. It was a fruitless discussion because no one could agree.
Finally, they turned to an old fellow who had been sitting silently in the corner of the room puffing on his pipe. His wisdom was well known in that community and they invited him to arbitrate.
"You know, gentlemen," he said, "when the cotton is picked there are several ways to get it over the mountains to the gin. We can take the northern route--it is longer, but the road is better, and it often seems the wiser choice. Or we can take the southern route. It is shorter, but the road is filled with chuck holes and narrow bridges. Or we can go directly over the mountain, even though it's more perilous.
It is interesting, however, that when we reach the gin, the response of the man in charge is always the same. He doesn't ask which way we came. He simply asks, "Brother, how good is your cotton?"
I have not seen the young man since leaving the plane, but I pray for him, for we are all children of the same Father who "has the whole world in his hands," and in whose grace and mercy we all rest our lives.
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Book Description High Tide Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0965374483
Book Description High Tide Press, 1998. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110965374483
Book Description High Tide Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0965374483 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0537004