Parish activity is booming this fall—the Cooperative Community Canvass (COCOCAN), the Rally Day bonfire at the Cloverleaf Chapel, Dr. Ivy’s new allegorical play to be produced by the All Souls’ Players of Deepwell Heights. I was about to describe this seasonal color for your readers when I remembered that your magazine has now been appearing for a full year.
Congratulations are therefore in order. Naturally I went to my all-occasion box of greeting cards. (The girl across the street sells them.) Unfortunately, only two cards of congratulation were left. One featured a stork, the other showed two blissful fish captioned: “You are the ideal couple …” Inside the card this sentiment was concluded: “because there are two of you.”
Neither of these seemed appropriate, and I fell to musing about greeting cards in general. They are symptoms of the mass mind and the advertising era. A few thoughtful sentences of greeting can have the personal warmth of a smile and a handclasp. But isn’t it frightening to have our most personal wishes mass produced? Rather like wearing a plastic false face with the smile of a Hollywood star built in. Of course the cards are more clever than the greeting we could devise, but who can bear the wit who only quotes jokes?
Once greeting cards were all lace, frills, flowers and sentiment. Now, matching a more sourish mood, they are turning to zany wisecracks. Laughs … but no joy, greetings as thin and insincere as the smile of a hostess calling everybody “darling.”
There is another world of greeting in the Bible. Our Lord greeted not with a wish, but with a blessing. “Be of good cheer; it is I,” was his salutation in the roar of the tempest. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” So he said goodbye.
We who are Christ’s must remember to greet each other in the joy and blessing of his name. That is how I would salute you. (P.S.—When I remember some of your editorials, I would even like to add a holy kiss.)
THE GRAHAM IMPACT
Your article is the most fair and the most comprehensive I have seen.… Thanks for your advancement of sanity in Christianity.
The Presbyterian Church
Seneca Castle, N. Y.
Thank you for your fine article on Billy Graham’s impact.…
Was it Billy Graham’s impact … or the impact of the Holy Spirit …? After all, isn’t Billy just another of God’s servants?…
Certainly many of the “liberal” persuasion have shown their willingness to accept the witness of Graham and others. But I am sure that they as well as myself would not accept the “success” of the Graham Crusade as the basis for authoritative efforts to exclude from Christian fellowship all who did not accept Graham’s theology in toto.…
Pentwater Methodist Church
What is “biblical theology”? “biblical evangelism?”
Is Graham’s doctrinal emphasis the only brand that belongs to the historic Christian churches? Is it wholly true that “semi-unitarianism … is not expressive of genuine Christianity at all”?… If you are so certain that Graham’s “five points” are fundamental, and that we who … put a different interpretation on these points are lost … you are divisive.… “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” is still the fundamental requirement.… Paul said nothing about the virgin birth, and his interpretation of the resurrection is not literal.…
First Congregational Church
In connection with the Evanston meeting of the World Council of Churches I attended the Festival of Faith, the largest religious gathering in U. S. history. I won’t say how many. In fact, as a Christian, it makes me feel uneasy even to be comparative, to say nothing of superlative.
Come to think of it, the Roman Church soon thereafter, and in the same place (Soldiers Field, Chicago), held the largest religious gathering in U. S. history.
Come to read of it, the Graham Crusade in Yankee Stadium was (according to your newsman in “The Stadium Story,” Aug. 19) the largest religious gathering in U. S. history. But as a matter of record it was smaller than the World Council meeting. Which was smaller than Cardinal Stritch’s meeting.
Who started all this comparative and superlative business? The devil (whether you spell him or it with “D” or “d”). “When they … compare themselves …, they are without understanding.” (2 Cor. 10:12) Let the world have the statistics, by its own guesses. But God withhold the Church and its agencies from “giving out” the often inaccurate and always deceptive numbers!
The Community Church
• Yankee Stadium (with many thousands outside as well) was probably the largest evangelistic meeting in U. S. history. We agree that the Church’s proper business is something superior to “this comparative and superlative business.” But we doubt that the Devil (large “D” except when he lulls theologians to sleep) was happy about the Stadium rally.—ED.
GOD AND THE ATOM
It was a “Christian” nation which actually used the bombs. It is we who have exploded the most test bombs. So we take the lead in frightfulness, in fear of the possible aiding of communism. We betray the Prince of Peace by putting our reliance on frightfulness …
St. Paul’s Evangelical and Reformed Church
It is possible for our scientists to detect within a few hours, or days at the most, when atomic weapons have been tested anywhere in the world.… Dr. Walter Selove, chairman of the Radiation Hazards Committee of the Federation of American Scientists, has predicted 50,000 cases of bone cancer or leukemia because of tests conducted so far. When you condemn the World Council of Churches for suggesting that tests be foregone for a trial period, your careful avoidance of reference to the above is obvious. Here is no unrealistic pacificism, such as most first century Christians were probably “guilty” of. The obvious implication is that we would forego tests only if other nations do the same. If we discover that they are not cooperating—and probably some sort of pledge would be made beforehand—we can simply resume the tests.…
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
Perhaps … yours is the Judeo-Christian rather than the Christian view, and has not therefore arrived at the knowledge that you cannot win for Christ those you have slaughtered.…
We must protest these tests—or find that hell has room for us all.…
Your editorial on “Christ and the Atom Bomb” … has cured me from fear and the tendency to seek physical escape.…
ANGLICANS AND ORDERS
There are a couple of misapprehensions in Mr. Hughes’ article on the English Anglican-Presbyterian negotiations (July 22) which ought to be set straight:
The fact that the “39 Articles of Religion” do not so much as mention …” episcopacy, is no test of the importance of this doctrine in the Anglican pattern. The 39 Articles are a series of pronouncements upon certain religious questions; they are not, and never have been intended to be, a comprehensive statement of Anglican faith. The “Preface to the Ordinal,” which does make clear the Anglican doctrine of episcopacy, is fully as binding on Episcopalians as the 39 Articles.
It is unfair to represent open communion as the traditional Anglican practice and closed communion as a new thing. The subject has always been a controversial one in the Anglican Church, and both sides can cite a long list of precedents from the past.
The Lord’s Table in the Anglican churches is fenced against unbelievers and notorious evil livers. The Prayer Book gives authority for this, and it is not a dead letter; I have had to use this Rubric now and then, though I don’t much enjoy doing it, naturally.
It seems to me that Protestants are usually unfair when they discuss union matters with Anglicans. I don’t think the unfairness is conscious on their part. But Mr. Hughes seems perfectly willing to say, “Let the episcopate give up its claims, and then we can have mutual recognition.” In other words, “Let the Anglicans espouse the Protestant position.” Yes, if we did that, unity would be easy enough to attain—but what concessions is Mr. Hughes prepared to make? I’m an Anglo-Catholic of at least four generations—perhaps more—and while I’m interested in church unity, I’m not willing to become a Presbyterian to get it.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
The bias Mr. Hughes holds towards Anglo-Catholics is unjustified. By and large I have found Anglo-Catholics on this side of the Atlantic more sympathetic with the approach of CHRISTIANITY TODAY than are “liberal-evangelicals” in the American Church. The statement (July 22 issue, page 39), “considerable numbers of ministers with no more than Presbyterian orders were admitted to full ministry in the Church of England without being required to submit to episcopal re-ordination” cannot be unchallenged.
Cathedral of All Saints
Albany, New York
The … statement … is just what, I believe, Winston Churchill called, a terminological inexactitude. Would Mr. Hughes be able to give further details as to when and where this extraordinary event took place?
Holy Trinity Rectory
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia
Mr. Hughes has marred what started out to be a good article by his slurs at Anglo-Catholicism.… Lest the writer think I am an Anglo-Catholic, let me remind him that I am not but I do believe in fairness and his accusation deserved to be rebuked.
St. James Episcopal Church
Mr. Hughes has done the report rather a disservice by his failure to grasp its essential message and spirit beyond his first paragraph. It is easy to use such a document as a springboard to air one’s own views, but that was not the stated purpose of his article.… For Mr. Hughes to label everything Anglican that may be unappealing to American Protestant ears as “Anglo-Catholic” is surely a shot fired very wide of the mark.
St. John’s Rectory
Cold Spring Harbor, N. Y.
As some American Episcopalian brethren have questioned the correctness of what I wrote, I very willingly now offer a brief substantiation:
In the first place, that episcopal ordination is not to be regarded as essential is shown by no less an Anglican authority than Richard Hooker, who acknowledged that “there may be sometimes very just and sufficient reason to allow ordination without a bishop (Ecclesiastical Polity, VII, xiv, 11). Referring to this in his Preface to Hooker, John Keble admits that “nearly up to the time when he (Hooker) wrote numbers had been admitted to the Church in England with no better than Presbyterian ordination.”
But this practice continued also after Hooker’s time. Thus in 1650 Bishop Cosin wrote concerning ministers who had received Presbyterian orders in the French Reformed churches: “If at any time a minister so ordained in these French churches came to incorporate himself in ours, and to receive a public charge and cure of souls among us in the Church of England (as I have known some of them to have done so of late, and can instance many other before my time), our bishops did not re-ordain him before they admitted him to his charge, as they must have done if his former ordination in France had been void. Nor did our laws require more of him than to declare his public consent to the religion received amongst us, and to subscribe the Articles established” (Letter to Mr. Cordel). This is a particularly clear statement of the situation as it existed in England up to the middle of the seventeenth century by one who was himself a bishop of the Church of England. It will be noted that he speaks of many with Presbyterian orders only having been admitted, without episcopal re-ordination, to a public charge and cure of souls in the Church of England.
In Hooker’s own day there was the noteworthy case of Whittingham, who was Dean of Durham for sixteen years, and who was offered the choice of either an archbishopric or a bishopric when the sees of York and Durham were both vacant at the same time—and yet the only orders of this man who was regarded as fit to hold such high office in the Church were Presbyterian orders received in Geneva.
Another case was that of Morison, a Scottish Presbyterian, whom Archbishop Grindal, declaring him to have been ordained according to “the laudable form and rite of the Reformed Church of Scotland,” licensed in 1582 “to celebrate the divine offices and minister the Sacraments throughout the whole Province of Canterbury (Strype: Life of Grindal).
These citations are sufficient to demonstrate that the fathers of the Church of England, though themselves strongly convinced of the value of episcopacy, did not interpret the formularies of their church along narrow and exclusive lines; nor did they regard the Presbyterian orders of other Reformed churches as invalid, realizing as they did that in their origins episcopacy and presbyterianism are not different, as St. Jerome pointed out long since.
Personally, I certainly have no fundamental objection to the proposal of the report in question for the institution of presiding “Bishops-in-presbytery”; but I cannot view with approval the declaration that apart from episcopacy full communion will be impossible, “even if otherwise agreement had been reached as to doctrine and to practice.” It seems, however, that at this point I and some of my fellow-Episcopalians must agree to differ.
Lest there should be any misunderstanding concerning the scope of my comments, perhaps I should emphasize that, since they related to a report which was the outcome of conversations between representatives of churches in the British Isles, my field of reference did not extend to churches in other parts of the world.
PRESERVING THE BALANCES
I am certainly not interested in your new magazine. It was not needed in the Christian world—there are enough compromises already.
It is so prosaically orthodox as to be dull reading. It is one of the dullest papers I have ever tried to read.…
Linden Heights Methodist
You are far too conservative and narrow for me … and do not bring any fresh helpful insights to one’s thinking.…
Some of your articles have been helpful. But I do not like your slant on the Bible.… The tendency today is for commitment to some form of external authority.… A liberal is a person with a mind open to receive truth from any source.…
Anti-intellectualism, anti-internationalism, bibilical literalism, rugged individualism, all smell the same to me.…
Fairview Baptist Church
… Splendid reading and a real tonic in days when the emphasis on things that really matter seems to have gone.
Helston, Cornwall, England
The articles are readable; editorials challenging, news timely, book reviews enlightening and the “Review of Current Religious Thought” especially true.…
Your magazine is excellent. I enjoy, and profit from, every issue.
First Methodist Church
Leaves little to be desired as far as scholarship, evangelical fervor and a Christ-centered approach to contemporary problems is concerned.…
Stanley Presbyterian Church
Stanley, N. C.
CHRISTIANITY TODAY is excellent; it is of great value to a busy pastor … The publication exalts our Risen Lord …
Central Baptist Church
Palmyra, N. J.
I have found each number most informative and inspiring in content …
United Church of Canada
We need such a magazine as yours to keep us aware of our problems and of our sure hope.
First Congregational Church
St. Petersburg, Fla.
This magazine is great. May it be used of God to help to turn the tide today. Greenville, S. C.
It was the Easter issue that finally persuaded me. Thank you for waiting so long.…
First Presbyterian Church
New Vernon, N. J.
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