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In HOPE - Faculty Publications

  In HOPE 7.20 

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David Timms  

Ministry Resource

For those of you who ponder the shape and the direction of the Church, John Stackhouse has edited a helpful volume of essays: Evangelical Ecclesiology: Reality or Illusion? (Baker Academic, 2003: 230 pages).

The contributors to this book explore our concept of the Church, suggesting that "it is becoming increasingly apparent that evangelicalism is in the throes of an identity crisis, and at the heart of this crisis is a lack of clarity concerning the nature and function of the church."

Hope Happenings

Have you ever considered completing your undergraduate degree or pursuing a Master's degree (or even just some coursework), perhaps as a way of developing your ministry potential?

Hope International University uses state-of-the-art online technology that makes many of our programs and courses available to you anywhere in the world.

If you'd like more information, contact Teresa Smith (

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831


The only failure that ultimately matters to those in the faith,
is the failure to have faith.

Faith & Failure

It's a little shocking: Joseph and Samson in the same chapter (Hebrews 11) touted equally as heroes. Both appear as models of faith, but their lives contrast radically.

Joseph -- a paragon of moral purity, flees the seductive advances of Potiphar's wife.
Samson -- a picture of moral laxity, resorts to prostitutes for company.
Joseph -- a man of integrity and honesty, speaks the truth at all costs.
Samson -- always ready to lie and deceive to serve himself or save his skin.
Joseph -- an example of forgiveness, even for those who have personally wounded him.
Samson -- a portrait of vengeance and violence with complete strangers.

How could these Old Testament figures share the same stage?

The shaggy Samson, wild-eyed and lonely, jilted and hunted, humiliated and abandoned, fails in every way. His wedding plans fell to pieces; his "friends" turned out to be double-crossing thieves; he battles loneliness; he falls from regional ruler to local prison inmate; and he dies under a pile of rubble in an horrific destruction.

Samson represents virtually everything we would NOT want for our children. However, he gets specifically named among the faithful in Hebrews 11. His inclusion highlights several truths for our lives.

First, faith does not protect us from failure. Samson's story defies the common teaching today that people with heroic-sized faith can routinely conquer disease, avoid disaster, and experience prosperity. Faith does not give us control of the universe; nor does it give us control of God.

Second, failure does not suggest a lack of faith. "If I only had more faith ... I could have been healed; my marriage could have been saved; I would not have been bankrupted." Our failure to succeed in every venture of life has little to do with our level of faith.

Does the Father really measure our level of love or trust and hand out rewards accordingly? What sort of love is that?

Samson deserves his place in the Hall of Faith, not because he shines so brightly but because God shines brightly at the end of his life. Blinded, humiliated, shamed, and degraded, he calls out to the Lord for the strength to perform one last mighty feat. It's the only prayer of Samson's that the Bible records. And God in His grace hears and responds. Isn't that just like Him?

The Hall of Fame describes the faith of men and women in the past, but also the great faithfulness of the Father throughout the ages. The only failure that ultimately matters to those in the faith, is the failure to have faith.




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I'm always happy to explore these issues further.

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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2007) at

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.