A is for Atom—
the problems it sets
to check the Red threats;
Churchmen Condemn this,
Convened in Commission,
our human condition.
E is for Experts
whose reports influential
Firm up with Figures
our Fears existential;
awaits our first Goof:
H-bombs and missiles
are aimed, launched, and—poof!
Indeed that debacle
with terror is stored;
Just one day more dreadful,
the Day of the Lord!
Karl Marx and Khrushchev
and Stalin and Tito,
Lenin and Trotsky
And now even Mao-
Must be exculpated
with liberal praise—
have summary ways.
propose a solution:
Peace is their object
through world revolution.
Quemoy must be quitted
in graceful surrender,
Red China admitted
as full U. N. member.
gives Russia the field—
To travel Together
we’ve only to yield;
will make us all one:
Victor and vanquished
at each end of the gun.
We surely must learn no
illusions to cherish:
Xcept we repent we
shall all doubtless perish;
Yet judgment on evil
is work for the sword;
Zeal for just rulers
is zeal for the Lord!
The past year, 1958, has been one of tension in the churches of the South as the moderate position on racial integration has disintegrated, forcing extremist choices. In evangelism, it has been a year of consolidation of gains without the fire and enthusiasm of some previous years but, nevertheless, a leveling off of efforts at personal witness on a high plane. The Episcopal pronouncement on beverage alcohol has served to relax a conscience of church people on this issue thus accelerating the accommodation of the Christian conscience to secular standards.
Along with the general public, church people have begun to take crisis on the international scene for granted. There is a note of despair about achieving real stability and peace without justice, thus the sense of urgency has been toned down while men seek normalcy in troubled times.
Yea, but Jesus Christ is Lord and the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Two causes for evangelical encouragement, as a spectator in England views the situation, are worth mentioning.
One for these is found in certain aspects of the Lambeth Conference which met in the summer of 1958. Much prayer was offered on behalf of the bishops of the Anglican Communion before and during their conference, and those who prayed for them may find much evidence of answered prayer in their Report. Our expectations of a world-impact on the part of ecclesiastical conferences are as modest as they could well be; but the deliverance of the committee which considered the nature and use of Holy Scripture in the Church, under the chairmanship of the Archbishop of York, may be singled out for special mention. It is a balanced and comprehensive statement which gives hope to all who are concerned for the maintenance of a sound and full-orbed theology of the Bible in English-speaking Christendom.
The other arises from the “Mission to Britain” currently being conducted by Mr. Tom Rees, an enterprise which envisages an evangelistic rally in every important city and town in the United Kingdom between October, 1958, and May, 1959. Writing in mid-November, Mr. Rees reported: “To say that we are encouraged by the process of the Mission to Britain is to put it mildly. God has done exceeding abundantly above all that we have asked. Not only are we having tremendous congregations, but far more important, we have the power and presence of Jesus Christ, and in every centre many are finding new life in Jesus Christ.”
In days when Christians are all too prone to be infected by contemporary secular pessimism, we should be thankful for these and other reminders that those who follow Christ are not on the losing side.
As a British Christian on tour in Asia, I think often of the continued refusal of ordinary Christians in the home countries to think in terms of one world. Now that international events, so threatening a year or two ago, seem to give us a further spell of untrammeled activity into most of the world, we must cease to think of mission field and home base—but all as one world. As a great Indian Christian of the younger generation said to me in New Delhi, “It has been too much a one way traffic, from West to East. The whole world is a mission field and we Christians must band together to confront the East and the West with God.”
Templecombe, Somerset, England
AUTONOMY AND ABYSS
When Clyde S. Kilby disagrees “with most of W. Norman Pittenger’s recent criticisms of the writings of C. S. Lewis” (Dec. 8 issue) one must, in a large measure, agree with him.
Pittenger’s basic criticisms of Lewis are based on the assumption that the modern liberal view of Christ and the Scripture is unassailable. He assumes the dogma of the autonomy of man. He is unaware of the fact that on his assumption human experience, including that of his Christ, floats in a meaningless abyss. Naturally he dislikes whatever is orthodox in Lewis.
But not all that Lewis writes in theology is orthodox. Is it orthodox to hold that man must seek to ascend in the scale of being from animal life to participation in the life of the triune God? (cf. Beyond Personality). Would that Lewis would employ his great literary brilliance for the statement and defense of a more truly biblical view of man, of sin and of salvation than is now the case.
Westminster Theological Seminary
Author Cording (Nov. 24 issue) was pleading for a spiritual type of song in which to praise God.… Since God has demanded a spiritual psalm (Col. 3:16), or psalms of the Holy Spirit, why should we think so highly of ourselves, not to use that which God has inspired in his Book.
Thank you for publishing what so many of us in church music feel so deeply and what Mr. Cording said so well (Nov. 24 issue).
First Baptist Church
The article “Anglican Settlement under Elizabeth” (Nov. 10 issue) contains … the underlying assumption, which is never stated, that Anglo-Catholics are somehow anti-evangelical, while low-churchmen are favorable to the Fundamental view. Almost exactly the reverse is true. There are, to be sure, some evangelical low-churchmen, and some non-doctrinal high-churchmen, but for the most part it is precisely the Anglo-Catholics who hold a firm view about salvation, grace, and the Scriptures: while it is low-churchmen who tend to believe simply in the class-church theory of Anglicanism—who deplore doctrine, and are, in effect, liberal humanists.
Church of the Good Shepherd
New York, N. Y.
The article … is good in so far as it reiterates historical facts. Unfortunately when the writer says at the conclusion that “one of the firmest guarantees of the continued Protestantism of the Church of England is still its rootage in the constitution,” all freedom loving people will draw swords.… The point he makes here is one of the curses of British Christianity. The constitution may perpetuate the State Church of England, but it deadens spirituality in the land. By referring to my article (Jan. 6 issue) …, it can be asserted that every revival mentioned took place outside of established religion. All revivals do because of their very nature. If Britain is ever again to be blessed by God in this way or with any other spiritual benediction, the impact will come outside of the state church.… As a Britisher I am grateful to be permitted to live in a land where no state church exists.
Liberty Baptist Church
A NEEDED WORD
Thank you very sincerely for your superb editorial “Christian Education and Culture” (Nov. 10 issue). It was a sturdy piece of thought and a much needed word to our time. Many of us are extremely grateful for your pen of truth which is etching into the thought of our time the configuration of Christ.
Los Angeles, Calif.
You are to be complimented on your outspoken editorial on repeal and the liquor question (Nov. 10 issue). I believe that it would be well to call the attention of your readers to Ernest E. Gordon’s study of repeal entitled “The Wrecking of the 18th Amendment,” published by Alcohol Information Press of Francistown, N. H. In there it is clearly shown that the American public was taught to believe a “big lie” purely for commercial gain. It was an experience from which materialist, totalitarian groups are profiting in their effort to remake America into the pattern of alien philosophies. Much of the blame must be placed on the advertising fraternity and the media of mass communication for being the means of accomplishing the end.
I congratulate you for the timely subject, i.e. about alcoholism and prohibition. I knew the author of the Eighteenth Amendment.… Prohibition was not perfect, but was 50 times … more perfect than the present anti-prohibition is. Cleveland, Ohio
Thank you for … “New Stirrings in Methodism” (Nov. 10 issue). This fair treatment of the creedal-liturgical-sacramental revival … will be greatly appreciated by all who are a part of it.… It is our conviction that John Wesley, rather than the early American frontier, most adequately represents the true Methodist standards and traditions of worship.… I see this movement as a valuable corrective both to the nebulous theology with which we have been inflicted; and to the informal, undignified “meetings” which one of my parishioners recently described as being “more like Saturday night than Sunday morning.”
The Methodist Church
De Land, Ill.
If the “High Church” or “Sacramental Revival” movement within Methodism desires to “get next to” John Wesley in doctrine and spiritual quality, let them return to the Scriptures and the emphases derived from them by Methodism’s founder. He preached and taught the doctrines and experimental realities of regeneration and entire sanctification.…
What is its approach to the liberal and how does it appear in the eyes of liberals? In modern Methodism this is a very relevant question. If it creates a counterpoise to the extreme modernism that has dominated in certain Methodist circles in recent years then the High Church group may have something to say that will mean something.
Tie Plant, Miss.
I was amazed and delighted to read it, for I have been president of the Order of St. Luke since its founding, and was one of the two founders.… This article is the first to be written by one who is not an officer of the organization explaining correctly what we stand for.… Unfortunately, due to the resurgent interest in ceremonial and aesthetic “improvements,” the Order has come to be associated in the minds of many people with a sort of High Church ritualism.… This is not the meaning of the Order.… However, we have had a tremendous effect upon the church in such a quiet way that this is the first time we have been credited with much of it, except by observers in other churches.
North Carolina Christian Advocate Ed.
Greensboro, N. C.
Concerning an editorial … in regard to the Friends “Peace Promotion” (Nov. 10 issue) …, many of the Friends, usually the evangelicals, not only refuse to go along with this promotion but abhor many of the ideas they put forth.… Many of us as Friends stress the gospel of Christ rather than the gospel of “Peace.”
Midway City Community Friends Church
Midway City, Calif.
“Whither Ecumenical Mission?” (Aug. 18 issue) is a thought-provoking contribution.… In clear, strong words it examines the program of “ecumenical mission” as being followed by certain sending churches. The conclusion reached is that “we can say ‘fraternal worker’ instead of ‘missionary,’ and ‘ecumenical mission’ instead of ‘missions’ if we like, but let us remember that we are talking about different things”.… Are “ecumenical mission” and the “business of being sent to the unevangelized” really so far apart as indicated?.… If concern for fellowship takes the place of concern for reaching the lost for Christ, woe unto us. But we have at the same time to see that there is a strong biblical warrant for the concept of the missionary in another land seeking to be “a fraternal worker” to those who are Christ’s, to those who are his new church in that land. The commission is from Christ; it is to us and to them—together. Indeed what more wonderful thing have we to do with the title “missionary” than to lose it for ourselves that we may gain it again with our brothers in the land of our adoption?
Cent. Braz. Miss., United Presb., U.S.A.
Xapeco, Santa Catarina, Brazil
A TIME FOR TRIBUTE
There is yet another view of the millennium.… It agrees with the amillennial view in that it gives a figurative interpretation of the thousand years rather than a literal, but there is a difference in the significance attached to the figure.… Verses one to ten of [Revelation 20] form a part of [the] … scene which depicts the victory celebration of the redeemed.… This … includes … the chaining of Satan for a thousand years … [and] is marked by a season of special recognition and honor bestowed upon those who had suffered martyrdom for … Christ. The actual duration of this “thousand year” period is of minor consequence in the proper understanding of the true meaning of the text. During this period not all the saints shall reign with Christ …, but only the martyrs (Rev. 20:4).… The significance is … this: Somewhere in God’s economy and plan there will be a time and place in which God will give special recognition and tribute to those who have had to pay the supreme sacrifice of their lives for their faith.…
Royal Haven Baptist Church
Every congregation would benefit if its preacher could and would read and apply “With Hearts Aflame” (“A Layman and His Faith,” Oct. 13 issue).
How greatly I appreciate this magazine. Some of the articles are very beautiful and uplifting. In particular, I must say that Nelson Bell’s “A Layman and His Faith” is the item I most look forward to every time.
Eastbourne, Sussex, England
THE SCOTTISH MIND
R. L. Stevenson, no mean judge of men, said that the English mind never understood the Scottish mind. And James I. Packer, in his article (Sept. 29 issue) …, is an excellent example. Take his dogmatic assertion about the closing decades of the nineteenth century: “Rationalistic criticism and humanistic theology flourished in the pantheizing atmosphere dominant philosophic idealism generated.” It’s a vague, obscure sentence, unworthy of an Oxford man who is generally clear, and then it’s totally untrue. Every reading minister in the last ten years of the nineteenth century, and the first 20 of this century had The Expositor’s Bible with Marcus Dods, Alexander Maclaren, G. G. Findlay, James Moffatt …, and James Denney …; [they also read] James Stalker …, and David Smith.… All were Scotchmen. And there are a host more. Were these men “rationalistic and pantheistic?” … Dr. Packer seems strangely unaware of the splendid theological writers North of the Border.
I warned my collegiate sons never to argue with a professed fundamentalist on religion or a socialist on politics. Both of them are affected with a mental astigmatism that debars them from seeing things straight, clear, and as a whole.
First Presbyterian Church
Mannington, W. Va.
I once asked a lieutenant colonel … why he did not attend chapel services.… He said, “When I was at West Point, I had enough chapel to last me the rest of my life.” I believe he expressed the common attitude of the military academy graduate.
The only type of service these men learn to worship under is the “liturgical” service. Since the majority of chaplains they will meet during the course of their military career are “non-liturgical,” I think the Army would do well to make this a one-year U. S. Army chaplain’s assignment alternating between the liturgical and non-liturgical chaplain.
U. S. Army
A SEGREGATIONIST SPEAKS
We segregationists are not unbrotherly nor unchristian. We oppose mixed marriage.
FACT OR FOLKLORE
In CHRISTIANITY TODAY (Apr. 14 issue) was a letter … reporting that a Rev. John O’Kane took Abraham Lincoln, by night, and immersed him, and then enrolled him as a member [in the Disciples of Christ Church].… Since then I have carried on a wide correspondence with folks who ought to know the truth.… Dr. Louis L. Warren, president of the Disciples Historical Society, says, “He (Mr. Lincoln) did not belong to any communion. Credence should not be given to the various stories that Lincoln was immersed.… The tales of Lincoln’s immersion and church affiliations are like other folklore legends which have grown up.”
Sons of Union Veterans of Civil War
Manchester, N. H.
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