GALBUS IN PERPETUUM

Time quotes this profound observation by a reflective British bureaucrat: “Progress depends on whether there is a red light or a green light. What is important is that the lights should not be set forever at amber.”

The remark assumes a British respect for law, and would not be intelligible to the hot-rodder to whom yellow only signals a burst of speed. Properly understood, however, this contemporary logion could provide our chief ecclesiastical motto. I have approached a church goods manufacturer about issuing a blinker lamp for committee rooms with an etched inscription, “Forever Amber.” (He suggested that for church use it might be better to Latinize the phrase; I think it was Galbus in Perpetuum.)

Committees are essential to our society as centers of indecision. The allegation that a camel is a horse put together by a committee is a manifest fabrication, since no committee could formulate anything less compromising than a swoose.

Unhappily, Christianity is often understood as the religion of committeemen. Caution, mediation, and compromise are made the Christian virtues. To the amber-minded, it is most unchristian to say that anybody or anything is wrong. No final attitude should be expressed on any question from communism to church carpeting. Everything is fluid in the ongoing conversation on all subjects. But the fluid has the highest viscosity, and nothing goes on with any speed.

Sometimes a red or green light shines from the pulpit, but usually the amber is timidly blinking. The preacher is neither modernist nor fundamentalist, but is dialectically hovering somewhere between a conservative liberal and a liberal conservative. Following the amber gleam, the church can move toward the sublime uncertainties of better adjustment.

The Gospel was not arrived at in committee, and the prophets denounce those who halt between two opinions. Christ detests lukewarm disciples. To be hot or cold is better, individually or in committee. Even a committee can seek first the Kingdom, instead of a working formula.

WASHINGTON AND ROME

Congratulations on the fine article “Protestants, Catholics and Politics” by C. Stanley Lowell (July 20 issue). The statement of facts deserves and commands serious consideration of all thoughtful Protestant Christians.…

First Church of the Nazarene

Mansfield, Ohio.

To claim as Mr. Lowell does that a high percentage of Roman Catholics might support any Catholic candidate is certainly open to serious question. Politicians are learning as the United States becomes more mature politically that they cannot appeal to racial, religious, and national prejudices as they once did.… Personally, I have faith that our Roman Catholic friends are equally committed to basic American concepts, including the separation of Church and State, so as to prevent domination by one group or oppression of minority groups.

Newport Methodist Church

Newport, Del.

In Canada there was a Roman Catholic prime minister … 1948–1957, the Rt. Hon. Louis St. Laurent. During his tenure of office, the country did not suffer as a result of his religious position—nor did Mr. St. Laurent appoint “an ambassador to their chief.”

St. Andrew’s Anglican

Scarborough, Ont.

I am astonished that so well informed a person as C. Stanley Lowell should write, “In New York City where 80 per cent of the Catholics regularly vote the Democratic ticket, no Protestant would have a chance to be mayor.” Surely Mr. Lowell has heard of Fiorello La Guardia and surely he must know, as the Roman Catholic Church certainly knew, that the Little Flower was a Protestant.

Georgetown Presbyterian Church

Washington, D. C.

Let’s correct the impression that Senator Kennedy has nothing but two qualifications for office.… I consider an article as this in as bad taste as one in a Catholic publication naming a good Protestant as having only personal charm and $$$.

Article continues below

Naperville, Ill.

I wish it were possible to place this article in the hands of every individual in the United States. For many years the Catholics have declared that their one purpose is to “Make America Catholic.” Protestants in general seem to be blind to the progress that Catholics are making in that direction.… Wherever Catholics gain control of the government Protestants have no more liberty now than they had down through the centuries when and where the Catholics were in control.…

Hendersonville, N. C.

The article is … worth the price of the paper many times over.

Spruce Pine, N. C.

The article … recalls the Jewish clamor for … proportionate rights to public office.… Their … cry worked … on Roosevelt who appointed three Jews to the Supreme Court, a matter of 33 per cent, whereas they could only have been entitled to three per cent, which would be none. “The fellow that talks the loudest often wins the debate.”

Woodbury, N. J.

Very fine and revealing article.… I feel this will do a great deal of good.

Secy.

Dept. of Religious Liberty

Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

Glendale, Calif.

French Huguenots were massacred by religionists.… And this kind of … secular … religion has not changed yet.… Socialists and communists are its children.… Its aim is to make our free republic another Spain.…

I spent 14 years in Minnesota as Congregational missionary among the Slavic immigrants and others … in the midst of German and Polish Catholics.… There are farming communities in Minnesota where a Protestant does not have a chance to do any business, or to be on a town council or school board, or to be a principal or teacher in some of the state high schools.

Cleveland, Ohio

With the 1960 elections coming up, and the Jesuit-inspired methods of Roman Catholic political-clericalism, in their efforts to “take over” in America, becoming more evident, the voting public needs to be alerted.…

As to the great world struggle between two totalitarian powers, Moscow and Rome, one author writes, “If the Vatican and the Kremlin want to keep fighting, let them fight alone. We have nothing in common with them and they have nothing to offer to civilization except tyranny and slavery.” “… The Vatican State is now angered and chagrined at the sight of millions of its former faithful deserting its ranks and joining with forces of Moscow after a lifetime of disappointment in the Church. And the Vatican State finds no logical answer when asked to explain why most Catholic countries—that is Italy, France, and Latin America—are also the most ardent supporters of Communism … and why the Protestant countries … are the least ardent supporters of the communistic doctrine.” Let Protestants awaken to the dangers of the hour, and refuse to be tools of any totalitarian political power, whatever the garb!

I noticed in the report by Billy Graham of his trip to Russia that he stressed the fact that the churches there have freedom within a prescribed area. As long as preachers stick to preaching the Bible, they are left alone! Wouldn’t that be something if such a rule could be maintained among Protestant ministers in America? No wonder Billy said that he heard six wonderful sermons!

Our Savior’s Lutheran Church

Jackson, Minn.

I have read several times the news of the approaching movie based on Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry. It seems to me the Protestant church and the Protestant pastors have suffered to the breaking point at the hands of Hollywood and the … motion picture producers. There was little the Protestant clergy and people could do, I suppose, to hinder the publication and sale of the book by Lewis, but to sit back now and let the Devil rip into our ministers through a medium which will reach millions more than the book ever did, is hardly worthy of the strength of our Protestant church. Cannot something be done?… With the presidential election on the horizon … we can expect a flood of anti-Protestant propaganda, ridicule, innuendo, and all types of material aimed at putting the Protestant church in as unfavorable a light as possible.

Article continues below

Orange, Va.

The motive and the purpose of Pope John’s … plan to convoke a so-called, ecumenical council … is not the real reunification of all Christian churches to the glory of God according to Christ’s words: “There shall be one flock, one shepherd.” The goal is to destroy every non-Roman Catholic religious group which is a hindrance to the papacy’s aspiration for absolute power in spiritual matters as well as in political all over the world. The papacy had claimed this power for many centuries before.

The Zion

Pittsburgh, Pa.

I want to express my appreciation for the editorial on current tendencies in Roman Catholic thought. I don’t believe I have ever before seen in conservative evangelical writing a discussion of Roman Catholicism that showed such a balanced good spirit of understanding, appreciation, and criticism.

Fort Bliss, Tex.

THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Dr. Gregg Singer (your June 22 issue) overlooks the fact that every one of the modern or recent dictatorships arose under a narrow, orthodox type of Christianity devoid of a social gospel or under non-Christian religious systems closely resembling them in important respects. The individualism and otherworldliness of Russian Orthodoxy and German Lutheranism have long been proverbial. Why saddle modern liberalism with responsibility for historic developments totally alien to its spirit?…

Los Angeles, Calif.

The great revivals which swept the country during the opening years of the 19th century show that the earlier influence of Deism and French Infidelity had been comparatively superficial. Alexis de Tocqueville’s estimate of the American point of view when he came here to study the foundations of our freedom about 1835, shows not only that Christian thought was then dominant, but that it has been so during the formative years. He said that Christianity and democracy were two sides of one shield, and that they were so regarded by Americans generally, and by every class in America.

New England Unitarianism was essentially a proud movement, grounded in a motive of intellectual self-sufficiency; but its influence was largely limited to New England, nor was its theological significance too generally appreciated.… My point is that the significance of negative movements is only slowly appreciated, and that the mass of men retain their earlier faith, with no clear appreciation of how deeply it has been challenged.

Brown Mills, N. J.

Most of the opponents of the Revolution were not Christians. Leading Tories were Deists. The Sovereign God is in the writings of many leaders of the Revolution and is not lacking in Jefferson.… The one letter in his old age to Adams is of a different tone from a score before that date. Jefferson also never joined the Unitarians, as did many anti-Democratic leaders. Nature is used as a synonym for God in writings of that day. Jay’s Toryism was economic, not religious. The majority of men who wrote the Constitution were Deists, even though Tories and Federalists, and not evangelical Christians. There is no Biblical tone in their discussions. Prayer was voted down because Alexander Hamilton said this would be “foreign interference.” It was Franklin who proposed prayer, and it was the reactionaries who did not want God in their constitution. Jefferson and his group had Creator and Providence in their Declaration.… And the Jacksonian movement was primarily based on evangelical frontier concepts, while its opponents were often led by Back Bay Unitarians. It was the mark of a Christian in Massachusetts to be a Democrat during the Unitarian controversy.

Article continues below

Booneville, Miss.

It is true that Thomas Jefferson is credited with having written the Declaration of Independence but it is not true that the promotion of the Revolution should be credited to him, or principally to such as him. He was a ready writer and happened to come into the Second Continental Congress to fill a vacancy at a time that made him available for that writing. The Revolution was principally promoted by Scotch-Irish Presbyterians according to George Bancroft, our principal historian of the Colonial period, and the Revolutionary army was predominantly Presbyterian. These facts (with authorities) are set forth on pp. 54, 67–68, 78–80 of [my] book … Central Themes of American Life.… Two-thirds of the population of the colonies were descendants of Calvinists (p. 54).

Presbyterians were the principal architects of the American form of government (pages 44–68). Alexander Hamilton kept the Presbyterian form of government on his study table while he was engaged as the principal formulator of the American Constitution (pp. 24–25, 56). Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, all had Presbyterian background and training, with consequent Calvinistic philosophy. The Pilgrims were Calvinists with Presbyterian form of church government and of civil government.

Newton, Iowa

DUAL EMPHASIS REQUIRED

I refer to your editorial, June 22 issue, “Beyond Christ’s Cross Stands the Resurrection.” All Christians agree that “the Cross cannot properly be divorced from the Resurrection.” The Roman Catholics agree, and so do we Episcopalians who use the Crucifix, the Christus Rex and the empty Cross.

The other side of the question which you have not stated is that there can be no Resurrection without Good Friday. It was on the Cross that our Lord won the victory. Until we have experienced the events of Holy Week, including the Crucifixion, in our individual and corporate lives, we cannot know the joy of the Resurrection.

The greatest danger in the Church today is not the lack of emphasis upon the Resurrection, which all shades of Christians are willing and anxious to accept, but rather the lack of personal commitment to God in Christ which can come only through a realization of what He has done for us on the Cross of Calvary.…

Holy Cross Chapel and St. Philip’s Chapel

Cumberland, Md.

There seems to be a general reluctance upon the part of evangelical Protestants to face up to the suffering and sacrifice of Our Lord upon the cross. Consequently, for all too many, the Easter glory is suffused with a kind of vapid sentimentality.

In my judgment the crucifix should have a place in every Christian Church. It might serve to remind us of the great price which Our Lord had to pay that we might be redeemed. Before the resurrection there was the dread and awful passion. This is exactly what all too many nominal Protestant Christians seem all too willing to forget or obscure.

No, the Cross isn’t nice. Neither are we. That is why we so dreadfully need a Saviour.

St. Andrew’s Memorial Church

Yonkers, N. Y.

I might mention what I consider a truly complete use of the Cross, as is found in many of our Anglican churches: a rood beam with crucifix at the entrance of the chancel, to symbolize the fact that all, including our Lord, must pass through the gateway of death; the triumphant empty cross carried by the crucifer in the procession, denoting the risen Christ under whose banner we fight against the world, the flesh and the devil; and behind the altar, on reredos or tapestry, the Christus Rex, our Lord arrayed in kingly robes with arms outstretched on the Cross, although his arms now enfold all men rather than suffer.

Article continues below

The Christus Rex is naturally placed in the holy of holies, the sanctuary, where the sacrifice of the Mass, uniting us with eternity, is offered up by the priest: it signifies the final triumph over sin and death and the divine lordship of Christ forever.…

Norman, Okla.

PRAYER AND HEALING

With due respect to Mr. McCrae (Eutychus, May 25 issue) … it is Scripturally right and necessary for us to pray expectantly and hopefully. I found that we must not “pray positively for physical healing with the mental reservation that the sick one may not be physically healed but alternatively taken home to ‘be with the Lord.’ ” Mental reservation means doubt—we give God a “way out” so to speak—and healing cannot be accomplished. We should rather pray fervently for healing only for God’s glory, so believing in the fact of healing that our attitude becomes one of having been already healed, as the woman with the issue of blood (Matt. 9:21). It will very soon then be revealed if it is not to his glory to heal, in which event, if we are recklessly surrendered to his will, his peace and assurance will transcend any disappointment or disillusionment which would be humanly natural.

Riverside, Calif.

The proponents of … the belief in healing by religious means claim in their readily available literature of the past and the present, that sick babies and young children too immature to understand anything that is said to them, respond to a spiritual ministry and are quickly restored to health, provided that their elders steadfastly believe that the Christ Spirit heals today as it did in Biblical times. If that claim is adequately substantiated, not only the long suspected “suggestion theory” would be ruled out but a long step would be taken in confirming the reality and the availability of spiritual healing today. Jesus mentioned the hindrance of unbelief by those closely associated with the sick several times. Moreover some medical men in our own day state that negative attitudes upon the part of relatives and others spiritually close to sick persons exert an adverse effect on the sick.

Surely that … claim is a real challenge to clear thinkers and it deserves meticulous studies by a well qualified group of impartial scientists and religionists in the interest of truth and the common good. The least such a study and inquiry could accomplish would be to stress the importance of mankind observing a highly constructive mental hygiene, that should help us to learn how to think and believe constructively; how to avoid hypertensions, nervous breakdowns and mental illnesses which are so costly to mankind in suffering, time and money.

Columbus, Ohio

THE BIBLE AND HISTORY

Dr. Albright notes … that we can treat the Bible from beginning to end as an authentic document of religious history, and yet he does not accept the early chapters of Genesis as either science, history, or religion as the ordinary man understands the matter. Underneath all his comments on the pre-Abrahamic religion is the evolutionary theory of materialism. The three great events of the early history of man and his religion are the creation of man, the Flood and the Tower of Babel with consequent dispersion. Dr. Albright never discusses these events from a scientific standpoint.… [He] always ignores geophysical data.

Bellaire, Tex.

MOSCOW AND LONDON

Two statements recently made by Billy Graham, concerning certain moral conditions in Britain and also in Moscow, may leave on some the impression that in a Communist country the moral standard is higher than in such a country as Britain. This may lead some to think that Communism has a tremendous moral uplift. It is necessary, therefore, to keep in mind several things.

Article continues below

First, Communism denies moral law and maintains that anything is right if it advances the interest of the Party. (V. I. Lenin, The Task of the Youth Leagues, Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing Co., 1953, pp. 20–22.) Second, they believe that their interests are in opposition to our interests and therefore, that their moral code is not only different from ours but in opposition to ours. (Howard Selsam: Philosophy in Revolution, New York: International Publishers, 1957, p. 136.) Third, a dictatorship always exercises greater supervision of the people than does a democracy. Thus, Billy Graham saw some things in a park in London which he did not see in Moscow. Fourth, more than one former Communist has testified that Communist leaders have their pick of the Communist girls when they want them. Fifth, Alfred Geduldig wrote of a section of Soviet youth who are for the most part apolitical. Fie wrote: “For all the officially heralded Socialist virtues, I found that illicit love affairs were common among the stilyagi. Though most Soviet girls would never consider holding hands with a boy in public, several girls told me frankly that they would have no compunction about sleeping with boys they liked.” (The New Leader, June 29, 1959, p. 13.) He also spoke of the increasing alcoholism among the entire younger generations in recent years and further, that in Leningrad several people warned him not to wander through certain sections of the city for fear of the “hoods.” Of course, there are a lot of pagans in Britain and with paganism goes the breakdown of morality. On the other hand, in spite of all the efforts of the Communists there are a lot of very religious people in Russia.

Searcy, Ark.

BEFORE THE FLOOD

In “Life, License and Pursuit of Status” (June 22 issue), your editorial ends with a very pertinent statement about fundamental importance for American destiny. The idea that our generation disregards moral codes and seeks to rationalize immorality and expediency in the interests of materialist unconcern for right or wrong is the natural result of the barring of the Bible from public schools at the nonsensical whims of neurotic, semiilliterate egomaniacs and minority groups of atheistic half-civilized, over-educated, unbalanced human beings whose ancestors were probably monkeys or jackasses. The barring of any mention or reference to Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords in the U. S. Constitution and the U. N. is also contributory to the fact that love of liberty has degenerated into license. Materialist-minded masses, literally illiterate of spiritual and moral values, are not much different from the chaotic mess they had obtained before the flood.

Monmouth, Ill.

EXCUSE OF THE IGNORANT

After reading “Fake Degrees in the Pulpit” (May 11 issue) … which is so excellently done, one wonders how any self-respecting or God-fearing person can stoop to commit such an offense. But as a Bible translator, I am wondering if I have not stumbled onto one possible excuse … of the very ignorant.… For Paul apparently in the King James Version says in 1 Timothy 3:13 …, “They that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree.…”

Pasadena, Calif.

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: