1987 Last Word Columns

The Present Crisis (January 1987) – Last October a dear friend had open-heart surgery at a major hospital in Boston. The doctors had forewarned him he could need as much as nine pints of blood for transfusion. He was also told there was no guarantee at least one of those might not be infected with the deadly AIDS virus. Fortunately, Christian friends at the Community of Jesus on Cape Cod donated whole blood to be used during surgery…

Flaky Ideas (February 1987) – I like to consider myself an intellectual. By that I mean flaky ideas don’t appeal to me. Across the years I have dealt with hundreds of people who have approached me with kooky concepts…

Church Pecking Order (March 1987) – Michele Buckingham, my daughter-in-law, has just had her first book published. It’s called Help! I’m a Pastor’s Wife (Creation House). Although listed as “editor” Michele spent months rewriting the 30 stories submitted by wives of some of America’s best known pastors…

A Mighty Tree Falls (April 1987) – I still remember the first essay I was assigned to write in Logic 101 in college. The question: “If a mighty tree falls in the forest, does it make any noise?” It’s interesting how you remember the questions, but forget the answers…

Accusing the Brethren (May 1987) – Few things bring more terror to a small child than listening to his parents verbally abuse each other. Wise parents settle their personal disagreements behind closed doors rather than attack each other in front of their small children. When sides are drawn the child is caught in an untenable situation. Especially is this true when one or both parents draw the child into the argument, forcing him to take sides…

Victims of the Massacre (June 1987) – At the exact hour on April 28 that the new board of directors was wrestling with how to salvage the mess at PTL, I was conducting a funeral for a 67-year old grandmother who had been brutally gunned down in what is now known as the Palm Bay Massacre…

Repeat Performance (July 1987) – Well, it finally happened. I was on the platform during the early service that Sunday morning. Although I was not scheduled to preach, I was directing the service. Jimmy Smith, our soloist, was singing from the piano. It was powerful, moving. “I will pour water on him that is thirsty…”

Anatomy of a Decision (August 1987) – Although the offer to write THE book on the PTL scandal had not been nailed down, it was there just the same…

Who’s Outraged? Not Me! (September 1987) – Concerned that the government was trying to indoctrinate his son with anti-biblical beliefs, a Louisiana state senator, Bill Keith, got a law passed in 1981 requiring the state’s public school teachers to tell students both sides of creation theory…

The Making of a King (October 1987) – The other afternoon it came into focus at the local Burger King. My wife Jackie and I had offered to take our eight grandchildren (ages 1-7) out for hamburgers. Three sets of parents came along. We wound up taking over the entire north end of the fast food restaurant…

Would Jesus Drive a Mercedes? (November 1987) – Clarence Jordan was the first and probably only man I’ve ever heard speak who, had he pointed his finger at me and said, “Lay down your nets and follow me,” I would have followed…

Watch and Pray (December 1987) – When I was a kid the one thing I wanted more than anything else was a wristwatch. My dad was a pocketwatch man. As long as I can remember he carried one of those round, stainless steel watches…