Bert the custodian is having problems again. Not the bottle; the bottles. It all came at once. There was the Saturday picnic on the church grounds. Thunder showers disrupted the clean-up operation, and Bert returned from vacation to face an acre of no-return root beer bottles, cans, soggy paper plates, plastic spoons, and aluminum foil wrappings. A disagreeable chore—but that was not Bert’s problem. He didn’t mind picking it up, the difficulty was in storing it all. Bert was raised in the heather. He never wore a disposable diaper, doesn’t use Kleenex, and has not surrendered to the planned obsolescence of an economy of abundance.

He drives his pick-up truck with a sharp eye for valuable objects in rubbish cans. In the truck there will be a wagon with a missing wheel, a rusty wrench, and perhaps a refrigerator door.

Of course he saves paper, string, aluminum foil, plastic dinnerware, and bottles. It happens that his cubicle in the church basement couldn’t hold another bottle.

Now Bert had spent his vacation moving. Naturally his life-long collection of usable material is immense. He only moved four blocks, but he moved everything. He moved everything over the hill and over the determined opposition of his married daughter. There had been a crisis, though, about the bottles, and when Bert came to work, his truck was loaded with bottles.

Under the circumstances he didn’t appreciate the signs the young people had posted in the basement. “Every litter bit hurts” was over the door of his shop. “Rubble trouble?” “Stash that trash!”

The pastor finally calmed him down. Pastor Peterson remembers the twelve baskets of fragments saved after the feeding of the five thousand—a miracle of abundance but not of waste. But he reminded Bert that even in the Gospels old bottles are expendable.



About ten minutes ago, the mailman brought the July 3 issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY … I started with … “Evangelicals and Roman Catholics” by James W. L. Hills. Before I continue to read the other articles, I must sit down and write you that the author of the article should be commended publicly. As Luther nailed his 95 theses on the church door at Wittenberg, so should this article be nailed on the door of every Protestant church and the study of every Protestant minister to remind them and their lay members of their God-given task as heirs of the Reformation caused by the will of God. Especially the retired Church of England Archbishop Dr. Fisher and people sharing his infatuation for Rome should heed the article’s admonitions written and filled with a spirit of true Reformation faith, based upon the pure word of the Bible.

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Nativity Lutheran Church

Windsor, Ont.

Having returned from a busman’s holiday in Europe, I found on my desk the July 3rd issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY.… I must say that I am not an evangelical and that, therefore, I do not agree with much that is written in CHRISTIANITY TODAY. At the same time I admit that I find it … stimulating … simply because it ably presents doctrines I cannot accept.… Some of your articles make my Anglican hair curl—whatever there is left of it!…

I do not think that anyone would argue the fact that a reform was necessary. Even Roman theologians would assent to this. But in an effort to heal the Body of Christ, which is the Church, was it necessary to break that Body? Calvin or Luther could have gone to Antioch or to Constantinople as the second-generation Hussites did, thus preserving unbroken the continuity within the Body.… Mr. Hill states: “Roman Catholicism is cleverly portrayed as the true Church having an unbroken line from Jesus Christ to the present day.” It isn’t “clever” but it is true. It is also true of Anglicanism, of Eastern Orthodoxy, of the Swedish Lutheran church, of the Old Catholic church, to name but a few branches of the unbroken River, the streams whereof make glad the City of God.

… Protestantism in France and in Germany is, by and large, pompously irrelevant. The one great ray of light I found at Taizé, near Cluny. There, a French Protestant Monastery of some 40 monks, consisting of both Evangelical pastors and laymen of many denominations and nationalities, is working toward a real ecumenical unity through a liturgical renewal movement which endeavors to return to the bosom of Protestantism some of those common elements of Christian heritage which the Reformers in their righteous zeal often removed with legitimate abuses.…


Canon Registrar

The Diocese of Los Angeles

Los Angeles, Calif.

This article only confirms my belief that Protestantism is negative and that if “Roman Catholics” lack what you call a “radiant assurance of salvation,” this could be better attributed to their true devotion to the Holy Cross and what this really means. All of the Mysteries are not joyful; neither is the fact of sin, being my fault, my own fault, my own most grievous fault. WILLIAM H. PAUL St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Waretown, N. J.

It strikes me as the best thing I’ve ever read on the Protestant-Catholic problem.

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Dunsmuir, Calif.


Most timely at the 4th of July, when we are giving thanks to God for our freedom, is your article on “The Communist Peace Front” (July 3 issue). The account you give is an excellent brief summary and sets the names of the outstanding “stooges” and “dupes” in very clear focus.… I wish every minister … in the U. S. could and would read this summary.


Clinton, Iowa


Addison Leitch has a point (July 3 issue). The statement on alcohol from the General Assembly of our United Presbyterian Church meeting in Buffalo differs in an important basic point from the statement of the 1950 General Assembly … which met in Cincinnati. At that time we said, “Adults in our churches should recognize their responsibility to provide a good example in sobriety and godly living by practicing and advocating complete abstinence from the use of alcoholic beverages.” Today, according to the Buffalo assembly, while church members are encouraged in the practice of voluntary abstinence, the Presbyterian who abstains and the Presbyterian who drinks are to respect each other and “constructively work together in dealing with the problems of alcohol.” The change made from the Cincinnati document is disturbing. Then we placed a responsibility on our members for complete abstinence. Now we only encourage them toward that goal. Let’s face it. In the 11 years that have elapsed between the two statements issued respectively by the Cincinnati and Buffalo assemblies, either the peril of alcohol has diminished (hardly!) or more Presbyterians are drinking (rather obvious!). The only question that I had in reading Leitch’s potent article was this: does our church really know that alcohol is a loaded gun?


Plainsboro, N. J.

It requires a million new drinkers each year for the whiskey interests to maintain their level of drinkers. For that million they turn to our young people and our would-be church members. The decision of the Assembly will certainly furnish excellent publicity for whiskey-beer-wine industry.


Kearney, Neb.


Thank you so much for Roy Burkhart’s stimulating and perceptive article (July 3 issue).… I now serve on my seminary’s board of trustees and intend to see that the 10 suggestions are seriously considered.


University Baptist Church

Long Beach, Calif.

An old man, at 85, perhaps I should not be so troubled about it; but I have read Dr. Burkhart’s article with a deep sense of shock, and of tragedy.…

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My own experience of the ministry is very much at variance with the tragic incidents and cases which the article suggests. When I came to Boston in 1922 to edit The Congregationalist, it was after years in four pastorates, and two years as a probationer under two different superintendents.… I discovered that there were “career” men, whose worship of an honorary degree seemed more real than their worship of God; and men of frustrated ambition who were discontented in their lowly parishes. But I think such ministers were very much the exception.…

I thoroughly agree with … [Dr. Burkhart’s] suggestions for the seminaries, with considerable emphasis on “therapy sessions.”


Newton Center, Mass.


The sermon of Dr. Robert H. Reardon in the July 3 issue was interesting reading. So was the comment by Dr. John A. Morrison. But both Dr. Reardon in his writing and Dr. Morrison in his criticism missed the real content of every evangelical sermon: the Gospel. For all the inadequate and unworthy sampling answers to the question, “What do you think?” the sermon neither stated nor answered life’s greatest question, “What must I do to be saved?” People may have been fascinated, but if they did not know Christ when they came they did not know him when they left.

We can take nothing for granted, not even with our most consecrated laity—or preachers. Always there is the temptation to depend for eternal life on the fact that we “have been willing to put on the altar our lives and our resources.”

A good rule for the evangelical preacher: Never shall a man who comes to hear me preach be able to say when he leaves that he has not heard that (1) he is a sinner, and that (2) Jesus Christ paid the price of his sins, and that (3) “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”


Jehovah Evangelical Lutheran Church

St. Paul, Minn.


I rejoice in the report of the two-day Chicago meeting of the General Board of the NCC (News, July 3 issue). It is precisely at the point of Dr. Van Dusen’s disagreement with Dr. Blake that many earnest Christian ministers and laymen fear the “Blake-Pike” plan for organic church union. Too many actions are taken and pronouncements made by the device of “blind” voting on matters that merit careful and prayerful study. The phenomenon of “voting on what has not been seen” is all too prevalent in the United Presbyterian Church now and would only increase in a new “super-church.” Let us make haste to pray for the leadership of the Holy Spirit in all these matters and be slow in sanctions for “organization men.”

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Central Presbyterian Church

Norristown, Pa.


How can such a book as Curt Kuhl’s—if I read the review correctly (July 3 issue)—be recommended as “an excellent tool for both pastor and layman”? Why should it “receive wide reading” when Scripture tells us to avoid profane and vain babblings and oppositions of science falsely so called?


The Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer

Peekskill, N. Y.


I was struck by … the “SV Plan” on which Eutychus and Associates are presently working (Eutychus, June 19). There is already a stamp plan for churches and charities, operating today. It is called the “Community Benevolent Seal” Plan. It is a copyrighted plan developed by a group of men of which I am a member.… The Plan has now been developed to such an extent that we are in the process of moving it on a national level.… We can use all the moral help available.



Community Benevolent Seal Co.

Seattle, Wash.

• Thank you, Mr. Salter. To offer you a modicum of moral help, Eutychus Associates are withdrawing all plans for Spiritual Value stamps. Since we’re strictly a fictional group, our planning is quite flexible. Best wishes to CBS. Let us know when the first church is built with Benevolent Seals.—EUTYCHUS

No one gets trading stamps as a “gift.” The consumer pays for every one of them. If the retailer gave a discount in cash for those who do not collect TV stamps the non-user would not be paying extra prices for the things he buys. The trading stamp is a delusion and a snare.


The Order of The Holy Cross

West Park, N.Y.


I most emphatically agree with the statements in … “Current Religious Thought” (June 19 issue) in that the New Testament does teach of a new heaven and a new earth, and that true Christianity is therefore very much interested in the earth. It will be so new that there will be real geographic changes, for Revelation 21:1 states that there will be no more sea.… However, I must agree with Martin Buber that at least the majority of Christianity today teaches a kind of Platonism. This is found primarily in their teaching of the intermediate state of the dead, that either the soul or the spirit live and have a conscious existence in death.… I believe that immortal life is given at the second coming of Jesus … and that until then man is, as it were, asleep or nonexistent.…

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Defiance, Ohio

The dimensions of the present grace are not restricted to earth alone. The riches of His grace are intended to affect the heavens as well. The sovereignty of the earth belongs to Israel according to the prophets and our Lord. The sovereignty of the heavens is the realm of His body, the theater of display of the untraceable riches of the Christ. Between the two, the entire universe will be headed up in the Christ.


Ft. Pierce, Fla.


You have unjustly attacked me. Your attack has hurt my work. Your attack was untrue and false.


Tulsa, Okla.

• Mr. Hargis refers to an editorial (May 22 issue) in which CHRISTIANITY TODAY lamented the fact that churchmen today sometimes spend more energy attacking anti-Communists than attacking communism. In passing, the editorial added: “We have no sympathy with wild generalizations, whether made by the McIntires, the Hargises or others. The best way to handle those who spend half-time denouncing churchmen and half-time denouncing communism is hardly to major in denouncing anti-Communists.” Mr. Hargis seems to feel we failed to practice what we preach. If so we regret it.—ED.


Thank you for your article on the Pentecostal World Conference (News, May 22 issue). You will be interested in our explanation of some of the points raised in this article.…

Paragraph Six: “It has grown to represent a virile segment of Christianity which ecumenical leaders have described as ‘the third force.’ ”

Ecumenical leaders listed the Pentecostal denominations as a part of the “Third Force” only in terms of growth, world-wide scope, etc. It also listed other groups not Pentecostal, even in some cases, bordering on being cults. It should be noted that while we perhaps “operate outside classic Protestantism,” we are much closer to traditional Protestantism, theologically, than we are to many of the so-called “Third Force” denominations. While the socio-cultural appeals of the Pentecostal denominations “reach” below the middle class, it is by no means limited to this level of society.

Relative to the size of the Pentecostal churches, the 12-member denominations in the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America alone have 938,871 members with a Sunday school enrollment of 1,576,867. However, this is in no way an indication of the size of the worldwide Pentecostal movement. As an example, the Assemblies of God alone has a U. S. membership of 508,602 with a foreign membership of 985,241.…

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Paragraph Seven: “… many Pentecostal leaders are restudying the movement’s distinctive doctrine of ‘the gifts’ of the Spirit, and the tendency to view ‘speaking in tongues’ as the criterion of legitimate Christian experience.”

… There have always been Pentecostals who have not understood spiritual gifts. The Assemblies of God teaches that all gifts are available to each individual believer.… The Assemblies of God and other major Pentecostal churches have never taught the necessity of having one or the other (or all) of the gifts as a criterion of Pentecostal experience.

Main stream Pentecostals have never viewed “speaking in tongues” as the criterion for a “legitimate” Christian experience. We view “speaking in tongues” as the initial, physical evidence of the infilling of the Holy Ghost as recorded in Acts 2:4; Acts 10:44–46, and Acts 19:6. Pentecostals view the Baptism with the Holy Ghost and the initial, physical evidence of speaking in tongues, as an experience following and subsequent to salvation. To our knowledge, no Pentecostals are restudying this position with the thought of any revision of the belief.

Paragraph Eight: “Whoever has this initial experience (speaking in tongues) is described as ‘having received the Holy Spirit.’ Doubt is widening among Pentecostal ministers, however, that this description is to be denied others, and that it is to be rigidly attached to the ‘experience of tongues.’ ”

We know of no trend in the direction of accepting the position that “speaking in tongues” is not the initial, physical evidence of the infilling of the Holy Ghost. In fact, the Assemblies of God has re-emphasized this stand, asking its ministers each year on the credential renewal questionnaire to reaffirm their belief on this position. This would, without doubt, be the position of the leadership of all Pentecostal Fellowship of North America members and also virtually all ministers affiliated with the different denominations.

Pentecostal churches view the gift of the Holy Ghost as a crowning experience. However, this is the beginning, not the ultimate. It is our feeling that the Baptism gives power for further advancement and growth in spiritual depths.

Paragraph Nine: “Pentecostals do not insist that an interpreter be present, since they do not believe that new revelation is communicated by the Spirit.…”

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Most Pentecostals view speaking in tongues in two lights, so far as interpretation is concerned. First, we believe the Holy Ghost uses the unknown language in private and devotional supplication to God (1 Cor. 14:2). We do not feel this is for interpretation or could be since He speaks not to men but to God. However (and secondly), we believe that “tongues” are given to edify the church, 1 Corinthians 14:26, and as a sign to those who have not accepted Christ, 1 Corinthians 14:22. We do hold that public “speaking in tongues” in the church and tongues as a sign to the unbeliever should be interpreted, as indicated in 1 Corinthians 14:27–28. We do not feel that any new revelation is conveyed, but that “messages” will be in accord and agreement with God’s Word, the infallible Truth.

Relative to your quote, “Some regard them (tongues) as a mystical reassurance of salvation,” my research has not disclosed any Pentecostals who take such a position. Rather, we believe this experience follows salvation. The evidences of salvation are as given in Romans 8:5, 10, and so forth.

Closing Paragraph: The Assemblies of God has been too concerned with revivalistic evangelism to spend a great deal of time elaborating its basic theology. The 16 points of our “Statement of Fundamental Truths” have served well, without modification, for a bond of faith and practice for more than 45 years. A proposed expansion of the Statement, to be presented this August at the General Council in Portland, Oregon, will enlarge upon the 16 points without effecting any basic change in them.


General Council of The Assemblies of God

Springfield, Mo.


I wonder if those of you who call yourselves “Evangelicals,” and who are constantly depreciating the work of Barth, Brunner, etc., and who cling so tenaciously to the unbiblical dogma of the absolute infallible verbal authority of Scripture, as such, are not yourselves in danger of worshiping the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever—Amen!


Edmonds-Lynnwood Christian Church

Edmonds, Wash.

Many of us feel that CHRISTIANITY TODAY is more concerned about being courteous and scholarly than they are in being biblical and positive.


General Director

Conservative Baptist

Association of America

Chicago, Ill.

I greatly appreciate CHRISTIANITY TODAY. The magazine is making a real contribution to the cause of Christian truth and activity today. It shows that firm conviction for biblical truth is consistent with genuine scholarship. Time will show that your active concern for evangelistic effort will result in social progress, as well as spiritual advance.

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Seminari Theologia Baptis Di Indonesia

Semarang, Djawa, Indonesia

The most strategic journalistic venture in the kingdom of God in our time.



Western Theological Seminary

Holland, Mich.

I believe you are doing an excellent job. This is a magazine with a voice of certainty and the voice of the word of God. I thoroughly enjoy reading the articles and will look forward to more of the same.


Dept. of Systematic Theology

Andrews University

Berrien Springs, Mich.

It is the most useful and relished of the five Christian publications to which I subscribe in that it does more to stimulate creative and constructive thought in the area of practical Christianity.


Anaheim, Calif.

I wish to express my appreciation for the stabilizing factor that CHRISTIANITY TODAY and Revelation and the Bible have been to me in my crucial first year in Seminary, when the approach to the Bible and Christian morality has seemed so relative.


Richmond, Va.

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