HUMPTY-DUMPTY

Since Lesson I in Ecclesian has had unspeakable success, I am encouraged to introduce your readers to other fields of learning. The original source material which follows shows the value of a scholarly interpretation of a familiar text:

Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall:

Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall.

We need not stop to discuss the critical questions which surround this classical text. It is generally understood by modern scholars to be a conflation of H and D. The Humptyist (H) may well have written. “Humpty sat on a wall.” The original Deutero-Dumptyist (D2) probably had the reading, “Dumpty had a fall.” A later redactor, acquainted with both traditions, and struck by the rhyming possibilities (Humpty/Dumpty; wall/fall) joined the conflicting accounts in a couplet. The adjective “great” is almost certainly a later gloss, which may be traced to lapsarian circles in Great Falls, Minnesota. The formgeschichtlich school traces the term to a sitz-im-kindergarten which favored exaggeration and legendary embellishment, but this has now been decisively rejected by I. E. Hohlkopfig (Z.A.G. XCMIII: 4, p. 116).

Our primary interest, however, is not in the vicissitudes of history which led to the challenging statement of the text. The fascinating speculations of Glowinkel linking our couplet with the festival of the Easter egg roll cannot be commented on here. We pass over the moralizing and allegorizing that many have found in C. Dodgson, Through the Looking-Glass (Ch. I, “Humpty-Dumpty”).

Instead we turn to the simple declaration of the text. To be sure, the literal picture of an animate egg in a sitting posture on a stone wall is absurd from the scientific standpoint, for it escapes scientific categories. This fall did not occur in calendar time, but in the egg’s act time, primal history. It gives mythological expression to the human predicament. As the Monarchist observes in those existential lines which he has had added in conclusion:

All the king’s horses

and all the king’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty-Dumpty

in his place again.

EUTYCHUS

PROTESTANT AWAKENING

I would give no more heed to what this “former Jesuit trainee” says than I would to the word of an ex-Mason who writes against Free Masonry. If you would state the Catholic position truly, why not call on such men as Msgr. Sheen, Karl Adam, Frank Sheed and many others?

Supt., The Akron District

Methodist Church

Akron, Ohio

I heartily agree … that the time has come for a Protestant Awakening.…

First Methodist Church

Belmont, N. C.

The author’s fairness, fine temper, information and urgency of deepening spiritual life is a fine presentation.… Pierce, Neb.

While we watch sputnik, a revolution is growing in the United States. And thousands of Protestant young people, whose parents manifest utter indifference to their indoctrination, take lightly the requirements demanded in marrying Roman Catholic young people. The word “tolerance” has become a fetish.…

First E.U.B. Church

New Castle, Ind.

Rome scruples not to implement its totalitarian ends by sanctimoniously waving the flag of democracy, liberty and morality. This sort of tactic assumes the dimensions of a frightening reality when laid beside the current enthusiastic publicity campaign being staged for the Roman Catholic senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy.… Could this be the harbinger of the first really serious effort of Rome to try her wings in the American political air?… We may soon witness the exempla gratia of the use of tolerance to enslave the land of the free.

Disciples of Christ Church

Holland, Mich.

Catholicism exists without the Papacy, the maze of Mariology and indulgences. He (“a former Jesuit trainee”) should have found Catholicism without Rome—it exists in the Anglican (Episcopal in U. S.), Old Catholic, Polish National Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Communions. As a priest of the Episcopal Church I should like him to know he must not leave the Church which our Lord Jesus Christ founded, but awaken to the fact that Catholicism … exists in non-Roman but Catholic communions I have mentioned.… We need not a protestant awakening, but a Catholic Revival which is now taking place in the non-Roman but Catholic world.…

Article continues below

St. George’s Church

Riviera Beach, Fla.

Have you made a note … that the National Association of Evangelicals (1405 G Street, Washington 5, D. C.) is offering newspaper mats to combat Knights of Columbus propaganda in our newspapers and magazines?

Disciples of Christ Church

Wellington, O.

I warmly welcome any former Jesuit into the Protestant fold, but I do not share the panic … about Roman Catholicism taking over America. They ought to look around a bit and observe the might and virility of Protestantism.… Within the past two years three former Catholics became members of our church … one of them an attorney, another the president of perhaps the largest trucking company in the state, another a brilliant graduate of Amherst. This Fall eight children started our Sunday School from mixed marriages.…

If what is to emerge as triumphant … is to arrive at that pinnacle through deceit, intrigue, clericalism, heresy, beer and bingo, then I wouldn’t want any part of such a church anyway, for it couldn’t possibly be Christ’s Church though it had all the statistics on its side and none of the real power and true victory.

We certainly do need a continuing Reformation, but let the power and motivation come from God.… It was God himself who wanted the Reformation … and its genius and future are not to be ultimately determined by the manipulations of man, no matter how high his steeple, how scarlet his hat, how vain his heart and greedy his ecclesiastical hands.…

Westminster Church

Grand Rapids, Mich.

I think the “former Jesuit trainee” paints too pessimistic a picture when he says “no other doors are open to these Americans,” “no evangelist is calling them,” “no organization tries to help them.” Has he never heard of Christ’s Mission in New York City which is entirely composed of ex-priests.… Has he never heard of … Jose Fernandez and his Protestant-Catholic Information Center in Philadelphia? Has he not read of the recent victory in the courts by an organization who had written into their charter that their primary purpose was to convert Catholics? And then what about many, like myself, who are converted Catholics and are active in the Protestant ministry? Much is being done.…

First Baptist Church

Jeannette, Pa.

TITLE TO THE LAND

Israel’s title to Palestine from the river Nile to the Euphrates rests not upon her obedience to God, but upon the unconditional covenant God made with Abraham. No acts of disobedience can nullify that covenant. Israel’s disobedience was the cause of her world-wide dispersion among the nations. That dispersion will end, and Israel, according to the covenant and the prophetic promises, will return and possess her land. The Arab … has no divine title to a single inch of the land … no power can exterminate Israel, as Nassar and his supporters will find out. Those who bless Israel, God will bless. Those who curse her, God will curse.

Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada

Whether the Arabs had a right to use their land as they pleased is another matter, but superior agricultural know-how is hardly an argument for removing almost an entire population from their ancestral land.

Holy Trinity Church House,

Cannes, France

It is shameful for people as responsible as clergymen to be enslaved by misguiding Zionist propaganda.… My family, and one million Arabs like me, are refugees from Palestine.

Article continues below

Beirut, Lebanon

The articles of O. T. Allis and W. M. Smith, whilst provoking … still lack completeness. Though I am not a Jew nationally, yet I think the question would be somewhat illuminated by a contribution from a Christian Jew, or for that matter one from the hand of an unconverted Jew.

Dr. G. C. Morgan once raised this issue in his book, Voices of the Minor Prophets; on page 10 he says, “the chosen people have failed, and are excommunicated from the economy of God.” That is surely a damning proposition, especially in relation to his unchangeability, his faithfulness to the promises and finally to the mild doctrine of election to place and office.

Further, this is a very pregnant question in view of the state and status of national Israelis in world affairs today. Quite incidentally we British Christians are proud of the part we have played in the restoration and preservation of Israelis in their present “foothold” to the Land of Promise. True, it may have been done selfishly, or even without any intent or purpose of aiding the plan of God. Yet it is a fact, along with many other historical interpositions, sanctified to the establishment of God’s ancient people.

So I conclude by recommending that some able and willing Christian Jew give us his interpretation of the manifold promises of both Testaments.

By the way, let me take this opportunity of thanking you for CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

Bishop of Auckland

Durham, England

ARABS AND ISRAELIS

The article by Oswald T. Allis (Dec. 24, 1956, issue) has only just now come to my hand. May I be permitted to comment on some of the “facts”, as distinct from opinions, mentioned in the article:

1. The author states that the establishment of Israel was “highly dangerous to the peace of the world.”

While of course the establishment of Israel was accompanied by bloodshed and warfare, and while such aggression was dangerous to the peace of the world, it is important to emphasize that it did not come about by Israel’s action but by Arab warfare and aggression against the people and later against the State of Israel.

The Arab warfare which threatened to destroy the Jewish community in Palestine and upset the peace of the world began on the morrow of the U.N. Partition Plan of Nov. 29, 1947. Mr. Trygve Lie, the then-Secretary General of the U.N., wrote in his memoirs: “From the first week of December, 1947, disorder in Palestine had begun to mount. The Arabs repeatedly had asserted that they would resist partition by force. They seemed to be determined to drive that point home by assaults upon the Jewish community in Palestine” (In the Cause of Peace, p. 163). In its First Special Report to the Security Council, the U.N. Palestine Commission reported: “Powerful Arab interests, both inside and outside Palestine, are defying the resolution of the General Assembly, and are engaged in a deliberate effort to alter by force the settlement envisaged therein” (A/AC.21/9 Feb. 16, 1948).

On May 15, 1948, the armies of five Arab states invaded the territory of the newly established State of Israel. Their action was condemned by the international community. The U. S. representative at the U.N. called it an “international aggression,” and the Security Council resolved that the action of the Arab states constitute “a threat to peace within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter.”

Ever since then, and for the last nine and a half years, it was Arab policies which have endangered the peace of the world. They have waged a campaign of border violence, carried on economic warfare against Israel in the form of blockades and boycott, have concluded arms deals which introduced both Soviet arms and technicians into the area, and have insisted on a state of war with Israel; they have refused to negotiate any settlement with Israel which would ease the tension and lead towards a lasting peace in the area.

Article continues below

2. The author then suggests that the establishment of Israel forced “hundreds of thousands of Arabs out of it.”

The fact is that it was not the establishment of Israel which created the Arab refugee problem; Arab aggression, warfare and invasion of Israel was responsible for the creation of the refugee problem. The Arabs launched a war of destruction against Israel in defiance of the United Nations resolution. Their responsibility for the war was clearly admitted by the Arabs (U.N. document S/743–1948) and established by the U.N. (U.N. document S/902 July 15, 1948). The refugee problem is a direct result of that war. The Arabs cannot first declare a war of destruction and then wash their hands of any responsibility for its outcome. Moreover, there is ample evidence which indicates that the mass exodus of the Arabs from Israel was carried out under the express Arab orders “encouraged by the boasting of an unrealistic Arabic press and the irresponsible utterances of some of the Arab leaders, that it could be only a matter of some weeks before the Jews were defeated by the armies of the Arab states …” (Edward Atiyah, Director of the Arab League Propaganda Office in London, in his book, The Arabs, page 183). This fact has been verified by countless statements of Arab spokesmen, the refugees themselves, British sources and accounts by eyewitnesses.

I have confined myself to a discussion of some of the facts, not the opinions, expressed by the author.…

Press Attache

Embassy of Israel

Washington, D. C.

The above letter from Mr. Orgel, being written on “Embassy of Israel” stationery, may be regarded as at least semi-official. It is to be noted therefore that his argument begins with the Partition Plan of 1947, the assumption being that the Israelis are entitled to the territory of which they have taken gradual and forcible possession, and that the resulting threats to the peace of the world are entirely due to the refusal of the Arabs to accept the Plan forced on them by the United Nations. My contention was that the wholesale immigration of Jews into Palestine which was tolerated and fostered by the British under their mandate, and which placed the Jews in a dominant position which led directly to the forming of the State of Israel, represented the seizing by the Zionists of territory which was not their own and to which they were not entided—a simple act of aggression.

Mr. Orgel, as an Israeli, and the friends of the Israeli State demand that the Arabs accept this act of aggression and its consequences at a fait accompli. They are to recognize that, whether rightly or wrongly, “Israel is there to stay.” This is of course a red rag to the Arabs; and it is all the more provocative because it is perfectly plain that the Israelis are determined to increase their hold on Palestine by every means in their power. The present partitionment of the land is a monstrosity as every intelligent person must admit. The recent explosion over Suez and the extreme reluctance of the Israeli government to evacuate the territory which it had over-run is a clear indication of what Israel proposes to do as soon as a more favorable opportunity arises. It is this which makes the State of Israel a menace to the peace of the world. And back of it all lies the question which Mr. Orgel does not even mention, whether the “State of Israel” has any moral right to exist.

Wayne, Pa.

SEGREGATION

Dr. Henlee Barnette is an eminent theologian, held in high respect by Southern Baptists. But in his article, “What Can Southern Baptists Do?” he seems to let his abstractions out-distance his practical insight.

Article continues below

When he implies that all Southern Baptist preachers believe segregation to be un-Christian, he is arguing from a generalized false assumption. Many of us do not believe it is either un-Christian or un-Democratic.

He is perfectly correct when he states that the Bible has no proof texts to support either integration or segregation. The texts and incidents which he cites in support of the principle of integration lack both clarity and completeness. Just as many, or more texts can be cited in opposition. His attempt to equate the Kingdom of God with the body politic is an amazing maneuver for a Baptist.

Having lived all my life in close proximity with Negroes; having preached often and conducted Vacation Bible Schools in their churches; having met in their Pastors’ Conferences; having served with them in the Army; and having many of them for personal friends, I am amazed to learn that I am in “consecrated ignorance” of them.

Dr. Barnette urges Southern Baptist preachers to preach their convictions. This is always good counsel. He will surely accord the right—and the duty—of the many Baptist Preachers who do not share his convictions to preach and stand for their own. Even at the cost of being called un-Christian by their mentors.

Warren Baptist Church

Martinez, Georgia

With high evaluation, I greatly appreciate CHRISTIANITY TODAY.… Now and then I am provoked to take issue with contentions of certain articles which are clearly unfair and untenable. In the issue of June 24th appears such an article written by Dr. H. H. Barnette, titled “What Can Southern Baptists Do.”

He would have all believe that those who believe in any kind of segregation are haters of all races.… I know many of both races who believe in segregation who have nothing but love in their hearts for each other.

Mt. Tabor and Beulah Baptist Churches

Branchville, South Carolina

THE GOD OF NUMBERS

We Protestants have bowed down to a new God, a God of numbers. We try to usher in the Kingdom of God by adopting catchy slogans such as “A Million More in ’54” and “Come Alive in ’55.”

Will someone please tell me the difference between the native of India who goes down to the Ganges River and dips up holy soil, moulds it into a symbol, takes it home to dry, and bows down and worships it as his God, and the typical Protestant minister, or Sunday School Superintendent who, when he enters the sanctuary, goes to the bulletin board on Sunday morning and prays to his man-made God of numbers this prayer:

O God of numbers on the wall:

Give me 1700, or none at all,

Lest I, like the Apostle Paul,

Be ‘let down’ o’er the city wall.

Instead, it would seem well for us to pray:

O God and Father of us all;

Remove from mind the record on the wall.

Forgive the love of numbers as our goals,

And change our love, from numbers into souls.

Shockoe Baptist Church

Chatham, Va.

ON THE MARCH

Your excellent periodical adequately fills a most needy gap in Christian thought and expression.… The pulse of the Church will quicken because of your admirable efforts.…

Granada Hills, Calif.

Appreciate your conservative position, without fighting about it; and I appreciate the scholarship (… not always present in conservative circles).…

First Baptist Church

Atchison, Kans.

Your type of magazine was much needed in evangelical circles. It is intellectually satisfying as well as spiritually refreshing. I believe that it will increasingly become a powerful force in the religious life of our country.…

EXEC. SECRETARY

Nebraska Baptist State Convention

Omaha, Neb.

Please find enclosed $5 for one year’s subscription of your interesting periodical.… The time is surely at hand when we have a sufficient certainty of the great Christian tenets that we should stop arguing about them and start imparting them.…

St. Andrews’ Church

Sudbury, Ontario

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: