Do you have a pastoral problem? Most church members do. Our forthcoming book, The Problem Pastor, has the latest patterns for cutting men of the cloth down to size.

“Group Therapy for the Pastor Who Thinks” is a practical chapter outlining a tested cure for the solitary cerebrate. He becomes addicted to social thinking and soon the bar of reason loses all its attraction for him. Small groups meeting each morning in the pastor’s study continue the therapeutic process, since there is some danger of recurrence if he is left alone.

Is your pastor cordial and effusive? Continued use of our thesaurus of after-sermon comments will shrivel this expansiveness. Examples: “Have you had that sermon published, Doctor? It seemed so familiar …” “Thank you so much for that profound address. I never dreamed that text was such a puzzle!” After two months of this it will be enough to say, “I shall always remember the experience of hearing that sermon!”

Perhaps your pastor’s problem is idleness. This often develops in those long days between Sundays when he has nothing to do. One contribution you can make is to help him with his reading. Choose a book at random from your late uncle’s trunk in the attic and ask your pastor to read it carefully and give you his opinion of it. When he returns it, have two more ready. Vary the selection, using Watchtower publications, long modern novels (Is it valid, pastor?) and the Congressional Record.

If he pretends to be too busy, spend an afternoon at the parsonage in an informal check on his activities. Further spot checks may be made by phone or through friends. You may discover that his idleness is a mask; many problem pastors are frantic do-gooders, neglecting their families shamefully for parish and community activities.

Snap the tension of your strained pastoral relations by sending your problem or your pastor to the undersigned.


In your November 11 issue, Clyde W. Taylor has me seeing things I never saw. Please—I saw no “burnt walls” of the missionaries’ house at La Cumbre in Colombia.

What I did see and hear, by talking to Protestant missionaries, the Catholic pastor, the Sisters of Charity, the mayor and dozens of townspeople, was by way of overwhelming evidence that Mr. Taylor’s charges in the La Cumbre instance are simply not correct.

My conversations with the missionaries indicated that there were many loopholes in their testimony. Their oral statements to me often differed from their written statements, and their testimony in the mayor’s office is flatly contradicted by that of other witnesses.

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If the rest of Mr. Taylor’s presentation is as inaccurate as the two sentences in which he writes of my visit, readers of CHRISTIANITY TODAY would be well advised to look to other sources than the National Association of Evangelicals for less emotive and more factual statements.

Rev. John E. Kelly
Director, Bureau of Information
National Catholic Welfare Conf.
Washington, D. C.

Father Kelly, in his letter to CHRISTIANITY TODAY, disclaims having seen the “burnt walls” of the missionaries’ house at La Cumbre, Colombia. My statement was based on word from one of our regular correspondents in that country: “Father John Kelly of Washington spent a day in La Cumbre last week, investigating the attacks on the Mennonites in July, 1956. He visited the missionaries and was very friendly. He asked them to tell the story of the attacks and they showed him where the fire was.” Thus I had concluded that he had viewed the charred walls which I had seen when I visited La Cumbre just after the incident occurred. If Father Kelly did not view the building which had been damaged, I am glad to stand corrected in this minor detail, but I must also conclude that his investigation was anything but complete.

More important is the fact that Father Kelly does not deny the violence at La Cumbre, but rather makes the general assertion that my statements are “simply not correct.” Is he willing to be more specific? Does he deny that there was an attempt to burn the missionary residence while the missionaries were supposedly asleep inside the building? He states there were loop holes in missionary testimony. Will he identify the specific missionaries? Were they directly involved in the attack? And does he deny that the local priest, the mother superior of the hospital and the chief of police were implicated in the plot to carry out this violence? If so, it is certain that his denials are contrary not only to my previous statements, but also to the facts given to both United States and Canadian consular officials at the time the incident occurred and given in sworn testimony to Colombian officials.

Clyde W. Taylor
Secretary of Public Affairs
National Assn. of Evangelicals
Washington, D. C.


Commenting on the article “By A Former Jesuit Trainee,” an Akron, Ohio, contributor writes: “If you would state the Catholic position truly, why not call on such men as Msgr. Sheen?” (Nov. 25 issue, p. 25).

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One of the clearest statements of the “Catholic position” was published in Rome, Italy, in the Jesuit fortnightly publication, La Civilita Cattolica. The following excerpt from the Jesuit statement was published in Time magazine (June 28, 1948) to which the questioner may give heed:

“The Roman Catholic Church, convinced, through its divine prerogatives, of being the only true church, must demand the right to freedom for herself alone, because such a right can only be possessed by truth, never by error. As to other religions, the church certainly will never draw the sword, but she will require that by legitimate means they shall not be allowed to propagate false doctrine. Consequently, in a state where the majority of the people are Catholic, the church will require that legal existence be denied to error, and that if religious minorities actually exist, they shall have only a de facto existence without opportunity to spread their beliefs. If however, actual circumstances make the complete application of this principle impossible, then the church will require for herself all possible concessions.…

“In some countries, Catholics will be obliged to ask full religious freedom for all, resigned at being forced to cohabitate where they alone should rightfully be allowed to live. But in doing this the church does not renounce her thesis … but merely adapts herself … Hence arises the great scandal among Protestants.… We ask Protestants to understand that the Catholic church would betray her trust if she were to proclaim … that error can have the same rights as truth.… The Church cannot blush for her own want of tolerance, as she asserts it in principle and applies it in practice.”

The contents of the excerpt are confirmed in the Encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII, and by other popes also. The book The Pope’s New Order published by Macmillin (1944), after the present Pope Pius XII was crowned, states: “Whatever the popes have hitherto taught, or shall hereafter teach, must be held with a firm grip of the mind, and so often as occasion requires, must be openly professed.”

Mrs. J.G. Hanlin
Oklahoma City, Okla.


I was very much surprised that in your editorial concerning the YMCA (Nov. 11 issue) you make no mention of Sir George Williams. The fact is that Sir George was the founder of the YMCA. Undoubtedly he called in others to help him, but to him alone is credit due for the formation of this great institution.… When I was in business in London, I was personally acquainted with this truly great man, have been in his home, was a member of the Central YMCA, and when I came to America in 1905 carried a letter of introduction to the 23rd St. YMCA in New York City.

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I truly hope and pray that the Y will recover its Gospel for it was rooted in prayer. There were great men in those days: Williams of Hitchcock & Williams; Morgan of Morgan & Scott; Hodder of Hodder & Stoughton; and I was privileged to know them all.

Arthur Soundy
Greely, Colo.

I was also interested in the editorial on the YMCA, for my father was in this work for the better part of his life. We saw it decline from the highly spiritual organization it originally was, to little more than a social or commercial club (with the few exceptions you mention). With regard to your question in the tide, I fear the “Y” has gone too far to come back. God will save an individual from the very depths, but I know of no instance where he has restored an organization when it has once become thoroughly apostate. He does not value organizations as much as he does individuals.

F. R. Ackley
Denver, Colo.

As one who served for two years as General Secretary of a YMCA on a church college campus which had a strong Christ-centered program, I share your views on the importance of stressing the Christian emphasis in the Y program, and I am happy to see evidence here in Chattanooga that that emphasis is strongly made.…

Samuel S. Wiley
Presbyterian Church
Lookout Mountain, Tenn.


Mr. Douglass must have had a dictatorial parent or teacher and when the thunder of blind religious fanaticism crashed on him at the Presbytery, it would only be natural that sooner or later he would stop thinking and knuckle under the Presbytery, his parent or teacher substitute.…

I agree with the “Earl Douglass” who for a few years was a free child of God led by his Holy Spirit and not with the Douglass dominated by dogmatism who first believes and then rationalizes his belief. The believers in witches and evil spirits and hobgoblins did the same thing and so do Communists today!

The fact that Paul, the first great interpreter of the Christian faith, did not mention the virgin birth surely indicates that it was not an essential belief of the early Church, and that Church did right well.

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To believe that God would refuse to use his natural means to produce a body (“vesture of the flesh”) for his Spirit (Christ) to use on earth is to cast aspersion on normal conception and birth.…

Strange that the Bible should trace Jesus’ lineage through Joseph’s line.… I’ll bet that screaming brother in the Presbytery who embarrassed and smashed young Earl Douglass’ self-respect wouldn’t have let half the disciples in as Christians. I doubt if they (disciples) had to say “I believe in the virgin birth.” …

Vernon T. Smith
First Presbyterian Church
Holt, Mich.

• Dr. Douglass’ article suggests his greater freedom through belief in the virgin birth than in its denial. The only compulsion under which the disciples Matthew and Luke relayed their account of the virgin birth was that of reliable evidence and testimony. J. Gresham Machen’s The Virgin Birth of Christ is recommended reading. Moreover, historic Christian teaching, which through the ages has included the doctrine of the virgin birth, has always lifted and ennobled normal conception and birth. It should be noted that Dr. Douglass does not equate denial of the virgin birth with disbelief in salvation through Christ, although this dual rejection is common, while the dual affirmation is biblical and normative.—ED.

Just how inconsistent can we allow ourselves to become in putting faith before reason, and belief before understanding? In Earl L. Douglass’ article on his belief in the virgin birth of Jesus (Dec. 9 issue) he makes an amazingly naive (appearing) statement as follows: “The testimony of Scripture is that he (God) chose to put him (Jesus) into the stream of human history by the means of birth. Such being the case, the awesome question is, Who could be the father of this child? Has any human being ever lived who could, with propriety, be designated for this honor?”

Is this given as seriously providing in rhetorical question form overwhelming persuasion toward conversion to a belief in this doctrine? If this be so, I am shocked by the superficiality of intellect in the ranks of you conservatives! For either you who nod gravely in agreement with this not-so-profound syllogism, are very good proponents of the Roman Catholic system of Mariolatry, or your eagerness to grasp at any device to promote your ideology is both pathetic and humorous. Allow me to illustrate by the simple device of rephrasing Douglass’ pedantic question thusly: “Who could be the MOTHER of this child? Has any HUMAN being ever lived who could, with propriety, be designated for THIS honor?” Obviously the mere fact of Mary’s supposed virginity (at a still tender age) could never qualify her, in itself, for the role that must be too exalted for her counterpart in the opposite sex.

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John A. Hawkins
Calvary Presbyterian Church
Fort Wayne, Ind.

Earl Douglass’ reconversion to faith in our Lord’s virgin birth understandably was a comfort in the church he served. But if that is made the test of regeneration in Christ’s church … many must be denied admission.…

I believe: in our Lord’s spiritual generation by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. The generation of his flesh and blood … and its final disposition is not crucial to my faith.… Countless martyrs and prophets of old … were justified by a faith which was not that of Earl Douglass. I believe such faith still saves.…

Allen H. Gates
First Congregational Church
Chesterfield, Mass.

Before accepting the virgin birth as an historical fact one must have the courage to face the following negative arguments. I fear that Dr. Douglass is lacking.…

The virgin birth … is mentioned only by Matthew and Luke and then with rather marked differences.… The earliest Gospel, Mark, makes no reference to it.

If belief in the virgin birth were in any way necessary for salvation, or if it were factual, Jesus would have mentioned it.

Paul is silent with respect to it.

In Matthew’s account the argument that Jesus was a descendent of David, through Joseph, indicating clearly human fatherhood, cancels out the virgin birth.

People from the period from which the gospels came easily accepted the idea of divine-human parenthood for outstanding figures.…

Valton V. Morse
Congregational Church
Cumberland Center, Me.

Doctor Douglass is to be congratulated for his step toward catholic orthodoxy in … his acceptance of the virgin birth. Now if he could accept the universal Church’s teaching that St. Mary was truly Theotokos, holy bearer of God the Son, or in some sense “mother of God,” … also … about the sacraments, sacramental grace, and the Apostolic ministry including the Episcopate, he would indeed possess a faith complete in its “catholic fulness.” The Church has always maintained that the incarnation was God’s initiative, God’s act of love toward man, and that the virgin birth was a means he chose toward that end. Any other concept is private opinion.…

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Frank W. Marshall, Jr.
St. Mark’s Episcopal
Newport, Vt.

I noticed the emphasis on the virgin birth.… The textual and exegetical analyses were thorough and helpful.…

The silences of certain portions of the New Testament are indeed thundering silences because they stand with biblical, creedal, and patristic attestation to the facts of the virgin birth which are themselves highly sensitive, personal, and prone to a misunderstanding by the ignorant and an exploitation by the profane.… Since the virgin birth is a fact of Christian tradition in and beyond Scripture, its great significance lies in the assertion that this was the manner in which God chose the introduction of the incarnation. What could possibly be more important, simply and serenely as it stands in the two Gospels, than the affirmation that God acts as he does; we behold in wonder and gratitude?

Robert B. Muhl
Trinity Episcopal Church
Washington, Pa.

Are we quite sure there is no reference to it (the virgin birth) in John’s Gospel, 1:12–13.… “even to them that believe on his name, which were (or, who was?) born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man but of God”?

See Encyclopedia Brittanica, 11th Ed., Vol. 27, pp. 852–57: “But antecedent to any ancient MSS., Irenaeus (A.D. 178), Tertullian (A.D. 208), Augustine (A.D. 395), and other Fathers read, “Who was begotten” (Sing., not Pl.). The Hos—who agreeing with “autou” (His name, Gr. onoma autou, name of him). Verse 14 goes on to speak of the incarnation of him who was not begotten by human generation. The Latin Codex Veronensis (before Jerome’s Vulgate) reads “Qui … natus est.” Tertullian (De came Christi, c19) says that “believers” could not be intended in this verse, “since all who believe are born of blood, etc. He ascribes the reading of the Received Text to the artifice of the Valentinian Gnostics of the Second and Third centuries” …

This rendering is in keeping with what follows, viz., the incarnation of our Lord. It is true that believers are begotten of God, but is it true that in these two verses believers are the subjects?.… We read of the doctrine of Christ, not the doctrines. The doctrine of Christ means that all the Bible says of him is welded together, and that to deny one doctrine is to deny the lot.…

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Alexander A. Murray
Sydney, Nova Scotia


Thank you for the interesting article by Dr. Nida on revising the Bible.… Allow one observation …

The first change which Nida comments on is John 1:18 where the oldest manuscripts give not “the only begotten Son” but “God only begotten.” One might get the impression from reading Nida that this change was brought out first in the RSV.

As a matter of fact, the 1885 English Revised Version has this as its marginal reading with the notation that “Many very ancient authorities read God only-begotten.” The same is repeated in the margin of the 1901 American Standard Version. On the other hand, the RSV New Testament in 1946 entirely ignored this ancient reading and it was only added in the margin of the 1952 RSV after many of us had made public criticism of the 1946 RSV for not giving this ancient reading either in its text or its margin. Thus the reading in Bodmer II confirms the ERV of 1885 and the ASV of 1901 and those who protested against its omission in the 1946 RSV. It does not confirm the 1946 RSV nor the defenders of the 1946 RSV at this point.

Wm. Childs Robinson
Columbia Theological Seminary
Decatur, Ga.


The review of my book, Christianity and World Issues (October 14 was very inadequate, inaccurate and unfair. The review gave a very distorted picture of the nature and content of the book. One could not tell from the review that it was written primarily as a textbook in the area of applied or social ethics, and that it assumed a background in biblical and Christian ethics.

Almost every sentence of the review could be challenged. Statements are incompletely quoted or are taken out of their context and made to mean something quite different from the original. One or two rather basic concepts are missed entirely or are misinterpreted, such as the place of the cross in the Christian life and in Christian ethics.

Conclusions are drawn that cannot be justified by what is said in the book. For example, the reviewer quotes me as saying “war accomplishes nothing” (page 288), and then asks “can we not therefore conclude that it would have been better to allow Hitler to conquer the world?” Nothing is said that would justify such a conclusion. It is plainly stated on the very next page that one possible good result of war is that it might “save a nation from enslavement by some foreign power.”

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One of the most perplexing and disturbing things is the reviewer’s implication that I am friendly to communism. I do not see how he could have possibly come to that conclusion. I did attempt to be objective in my appraisal of communism, which is the only wise and sensible approach to make. If the reviewer really wanted to be fair, why did he not call attention to what is said about the basic philosophy and the ethic of communism?

There is absolutely no foundation for his statement that “one senses a strain of embarrassment that communistic brutality should receive such widespread publicity.” A similarly unfounded, unfair statement is the following: “Since communism is so close to Christianity in aim though drastically different in method, it would be wrong to engage in war to rescue the captive nations.” It seems to me that such labeling, even if merely by implication, should be beneath the dignity of any Christian scholar and should be contrary to the publication policies of any Christian journal.

T. B. Maston
Southwestern Baptist Theol. Sem.
Fort Worth, Tex.


I’d like to comment on the letter of Edwards E. Elliott (Dec. 9 issue). I gather that the drift of Mr. Elliott’s remarks is that a Christian must leave a church as soon as the Christian sees that leaders of the church are agents of Satan, and opposed to the Gospel; for, if the Christian stays in that church, his financial support is a supporting and tolerating of the agents of Satan.

It would seem that to continue in such a church is to do evil that good may come. But if Mr. Elliott’s argument be valid, our Lord was guilty of sinning when he paid the temple tax (Matt. 17:24–27). It would also seem, on the basis of Mr. Elliott’s reasoning, that our Lord was ill-advised to praise the widow for giving her mite to support his adversaries.

My present loyalty to the visible church, with all its serious failings, is the result of reading Philip Schaff’s discussion of “Calvin’s Idea of the Holy Catholic Church” in History of the Christian Church, Volume VIII, Modern Christianity: The Swiss Reformation pp. 448–457. At one point Schaff summarizes Calvin’s viewpoint in the following words, “So strong are the claims of the visible Church upon us that even the abounding corruptions cannot justify a secession.” Schaff supports this from the Institutes, IV, i, 18–19. Calvin’s argument seems so cogent that it deserves reading today.

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J. K. Mickelsen
Canoga Presbyterian Church
Seneca Falls, N. Y.


Evangelical forces look on this “time of trouble” as a day of unparalleled opportunity. The very failure of nations to find any common ground for creating peace, and the amazing scientific discoveries of the age with their potentialities for good or ill, are driving men back to God.

While there is no great revival of church-going as yet, there are two elements of great hope in the present religious situation in England. One is that leaders of thought with differing biblical presuppositions (i.e. conservative and liberal theologians) have been meeting together regularly to discuss the great fundamentals of the Gospel and to see whether they can unite in evangelism. The other is that in many parts of the country, visitation evangelism by the laity, going out two-by-two among their friends and neighbors, is already bringing in a rich harvest. These things which have happened in 1957 fill me with great hope.

F. P. Copland Simmons
St. Andrews, Fragnal
London, England


The same day that the issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY carrying my article (“Satisfactions of a Life in God’s Word,” Nov. 25 issue) came in the mail, I happened to be reading for the first time the prefatory sketch of Gerhardt Hauptmann in the second volume of John Gassner’s Treasury of the Theater, dealing with modern European drama. One statement in this sketch is but another indication that this former world figure has no message even for his own land today: “After 1933, Hauptmann allowed his reputation to serve as window dressing for the Hitler regime. No particular importance can be attached to the plays written during the last twenty-five years of his life, and today even the bulk of his work before 1921 rings hollow outside, and apparently also inside, Germany.”

Wilbur M. Smith
San Marino, Calif.


Might I suggest that you change your theology and when you have repented in sackcloth and ashes for your unbiblical, anti-Christian, modernistic editorials and articles, and have been forgiven, that you change your name to “The Everlasting Gospel” …

A. E. Wardner
The Homiletic Bias
Oklahoma City, Okla.

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CHRISTIANITY TODAY has been a source of soul-satisfying enjoyment. I think it’s tops. Nonetheless, I was disturbed when, scanning the news section of September 16, I discovered a report of remarks purported to have been said by Rev. Kaneys Oda, a leader of the Free Methodist Church in Japan. The fact is, however, that Rev. Oda’s official report to our United States’ offices was yet to have been received when your article was published. A preliminary report was published in the Free Methodist of September 10: “To clarify garbled reports, Brother Oda wrote … to the missionary secretary as follows: ‘A newspaper reporter, just for the sake of sensational news, wrote untruth of my report … Don’t believe what they write, I am not brainwashed, nor Communist, nor pink.’ ” Rev. Oda’s official report is forthcoming and from this rather than from a newspaper reporter’s words should conclusions be made of Rev. Oda’s bias.

V. Charles Spencer
Seattle Pacific College
Seattle, Washington

Before your editor starts gratuitous “sicing” he ought to learn how to sic—“but much too (sic) boring to hold the attention of any schoolboy I know.” (Eutychus and His Kin, December 9, 1957.)

For you to bore at all is to be “much too boring,” and, if two of you are doing it, you have two bores being too boring to be tolerated because much too smug about too little learning.

John D. Craig
Central Presbyterian Church
Houston, Texas

• The Editor is sicer than he dare admit! An overzealous but drowsy proofreader made a devastating change in Allan Pyatt’s letter dismissing CHRISTIANITY TODAY as of “schoolboy standard” and “much to (sic) boring to hold the attention of any schoolboy I know.…”—ED.


Well, I have finally changed my mind, and feel the great value of your positive witness in a wide field of Christian thought and action. It does seem that Christianity today must be on the march with a uniting and united idea, powerful enough to stem the tide of materialistic and atheistic Communism.…

J. S. Nickerson
United Church of Canada
Franklin Centre, Quebec

I find the major emphases … in harmony with my own viewpoint, and even when they are not I get that kind of mental jolt that is always healthy and stimulating. I am grateful for the whimsical humour of Eutychus, in the midst of more serious concerns.…

Oliver R. Davison
United Church
Cabot, Vermont

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