Dr Joseph Kidder is Professor of Pastoral Theology and Discipleship at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, USA. He is the author of nine books and spoke about these books when he was in Australia recently, preaching at the South Queensland camp-meeting.
How do we avoid stagnating in their faith?
As I travel, the main problem I see and hear in our church is the need for spiritual revival. We need to get beyond our programs and reconnect with God; it is about loving Jesus. So Journey to the Heart of God invites people to have a relationship with Jesus, to pray, to read the scriptures. Last year, I decided to listen to the whole Bible. It reminded me of how God and Jesus love us and are leading us into an eternal relationship with Them. I like to know where the changes are that Jesus wants me to incorporate into my life.
What is most important for you personally in growing spiritually?
To grow spiritually, we must remember that the centre is Jesus. Ellen White says that as we grow closer to the centre, we will grow in our love, joy and closeness. Sometimes I don’t feel like reading the Bible, but I still do it, because it’s important. I challenge myself in the areas I am weak in, so I can grow. We have to be consistent and authentic; we have to be real with God, sharing with Him our sorrow and pain, so He can give us joy and grace. I didn’t grow up as a Christian, but I found Jesus and in Him I found the love of my life; it is the best thing that could’ve happened to me.
What do you mean when you refer to “the mind of Jesus”?
The apostle Paul in Philippians 2:5 says that we should “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” appealing to us to think like Jesus. Living with the Mind of Jesus is talking about core values and worldview. The biggest problem right now is that we are not reading the Bible, so we are not getting a biblical worldview. We are bombarded by all kinds of worldviews, and we need to guard our hearts and minds against them.
How can we be more intentional about shaping our worldview and that of our children?
God changes our worldview through the supernatural, which many biblical characters experienced; the Holy Spirit also works gradually in leading us closer to Christ. Regarding our children, we need to understand how they grow in understanding: modelling (indirect education), teaching (direct) and ministering (experiential.) This is not only about family worship, but the sharing of our faith which should take place all the time, not just in particular settings.
Drawing on your own story and experience, is the life of faith difficult or a blessing?
For me, the life of faith is an adventure filled with blessing, joy and excitement. There was one time when I became judgmental and critical, and that took away my joy. Jesus said, “Come to me and I will give your rest.” Paul says that God will give us peace that passes understanding. Sure, there are challenges, but He has promised to sustain us by His presence and His power, and that gives us peace.
What do you hope readers take away from your books?
For the individual, my hope is that they fall in love with Jesus, that they will be faithful and obedient to Him, to walk with Him and find His joy and peace. My hope for the church is for us to be like the church in the book of Acts: thriving, growing, exciting, filled with love and grace, where people love each other, laugh together, forgive each other, and pray for one another. The church is much more than a sermon, it’s about fellowship, giving, exalting Christ, and reaching the world.
Books by Joseph Kidder are available from Adventist bookshops in Australia and New Zealand, or online.