Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor

On Moberg

David F. Siemens, Jr,  ASA Fellow
2703 E. Kenwood St.
Mesa, AZ 85213-2384

From: PSCF 51 (September 1999): 209.

Three items in Mobergís thoughtful paper on the Great Commission (PSCF 51 [March 1999]: 8ñ16) seem to me to need comment. First, despite the way it is universally translated, Matt. 28:19 has only one imperative, "make disciples." What is translated "Go" is an aorist participle. While a Greek participle apparently can take on imperative force when coupled to an imperative, in most contexts the idiomatic translation is a clause, "As you travel." This is not so much a command to foreign missions as one to do something specific, to make disciples, wherever one goes. "Baptizing" and "teaching" (v. 20) are both present participles, indicating ongoing actions connected to the primary command. But the aorist participle, in contrast, does not indicate continuous or repeated goings, merely the fact. So this verse applies as much to the technician, the teacher, the scientist, the farmer, the carpenter, or the banker as to the minister, the evangelist, or the missionary.

Secondly, Moberg applies Matt. 7:1 correctly (p. 14), but does not give the full Greek sentence, which includes the second verse. What is forbidden is not evaluation, but the partiality of the classic "Iím tenacious; youíre stubborn; heís pigheaded." God will not allow one to have two standards, a tough one for others and a slack one for oneself. But there must be a standard.

Finally, the point is implicit on page 16, but, I believe, should be made explicit and emphasized: every Christian should be directed of God to his or her occupation. How may this be accomplished? Paul was called by a dream (Acts 16:9f), by prophecy (13:1ñ4), by the need to deliver an offering (11:29f) and, apparently, by disagreement (15:36ñ41). Matthias, in contrast, was one of two selected by the church and chosen by lot (1:23-26).1 The deacons were chosen by the multitude (6:3ñ6). That is, the Lord uses various means.

How does this work today? Though his means are never restricted, I believe that he usually takes his children step by step, using circumstances more often than revelations. For example, his direction has been recognized (usually later) in a "chance" meeting, blacklisting by an offended professor, doors opening as others closed, a special burden, a physical problem that frustrated an expectation, a letter that was not forwarded, among many others. Such matters have shaped at least a part of a career. Many have found themselves pursuing activities that they never anticipated, but are confident that they are fulfilling Godís purpose. Indeed, they have found that Ps. 37:23 consistently holds.


1I recall being told that they had a church meeting and took a vote, in keeping with Baptist polity. However, I have found no evidence that klëros ever means "vote." There is another term for that, psëphos (Acts 26:10).