‘How’S That Again’?

While jetting along but not in the jet-set setting, I was racing through a paperback edition of modern memoirs, and I read the following:

“ ‘By the way, did you ever read Le Chant de Maldoror?’

“ ‘By Lautreamont?’ I said. ‘No, I haven’t read it. Wasn’t Lautreamont an early surrealist or something?’

“ ‘Oh, yes. Almost a century ago he was like the Hieronymus Bosch of the writing fraternity. He had a real nutsy streak, but was undoubtedly gifted, too.’ ”

And then, I continued on down the page until my subconscious caught up with my conscious. All those words which I had read with such satisfaction didn’t mean a single thing to me.

Coupled with the fact that I really didn’t know what the author was talking about (I can’t even translate Le Chant de Maldoror nor define surrealism) was the awareness that my mind acted as if I did understand. I had really entered into amiable conversation with these enlightened ones. “Oh, yes,” said I. “That Hieronymus Bosch had a real nutsy streak, but he was undoubtedly gifted too.” How had I been completely taken in by unreal, and for all I know untrue, but very clever talk? Worst is, I think I am surrounded by that kind of talk.

Have you heard any theological conversations recently—the existentialists and the relativists and their kin who darken counsel with words without knowledge? We can be sure of only one thing they tell us, and that is, we can be sure of no thing.

Language is a tool and an instrument, and some people will use it on us as a bludgeon or as a rapier or just frightfully for giving us a needle shot in one of our control centers.

I’m going now, and if I should return during my absence, keep me here till I get back.


The Cretan Frontier

I am convinced that Dr. Gordon is on the right track and that his work must be taken seriously. He is calling to our attention an entire new field for study, and if we neglect it, we are the losers. The Bible believer has nothing whatever to fear from new discovery and new ideas, for all truth is from God, and the truth of archaeology will agree with the truth of special revelation.

Without question Dr. Gordon is a pioneer, but I do not think that he has overstated the case for the importance of Minoan. His evaluation of the significance of the Qumran manuscripts is essentially the same as my own. I regard his work as very valuable.

Prof. of Old Testament

Westminster Seminary

Philadelphia, Pa.

Brooklyn And Broadway

I have recently run across something which seems … to be significant … re New York’s Broadway Presbyterian Church case.… It is a recent article in Look magazine (Mar. 26 issue) titled “Rebel in a Brooklyn Pulpit.” The Spencer Memorial Church of Brooklyn, pastored by the Rev. William Bell Glenesk, seems to be doing things that make Dr. Stuart H. Merriam’s actions appear as child’s play: “… Glenesk sounds his weekly battle cry against religion by rote. For help, the handsome Canadian-born minister often calls upon ballet performers to dance at vespers. He sermonizes on Picasso, plays spirituals by Odetta and has himself donned black tights to dance the Doxology.” He is pictured hailing vespers with the clash of cymbals.… Merriam (who awaits the verdict of the forthcoming General Assembly) preaches the Gospel of salvation and had a growing congregation and income, while apparently Glenesk has lost members. At any rate, since this church is now a part of the New York Presbytery, it is evident that if he is tolerated, Merriam’s only “crime” is that of being an evangelical!… If it were not for the fact that the New York Presbytery has acted very vindictively in destroying a fine congregation, it would be ludicrous, but as it is it is actually quite heartbreaking to every conservative Presbyterian.… Spencer Memorial membership, according to our statistics books, has gone from 212 in 1956 to 158 in 1961. Church school membership has gone from 37 to 21.

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The First Presbyterian Church

Spencer, N. Y.


If the Holy Spirit is guiding Pope John and Cardinal Bea, it behooves the rest of us to prepare to hear His voice, not only when He speaks to us, but when He speaks to them!

The National Conference of Christians and Jews

New York, N. Y.

The Defended

Ernest Kinoy’s script titled “The Heathen,” dramatized on the March 23 “Defenders” TV program, was a flagrant attempt to convince us that the atheist not only has the private right to deny God but that such denial should not affect his status in a society where most people believe in God.… At the risk of intolerance from the atheists, I must maintain, even after seeing the program, that I would not prefer my child being taught by one who believes that “God is not relevant to human behavior.”

Church of Christ

England, Ark.

Tale Of Two Nations

Whatever may be the situation in the Church of England, Geoffrey W. Bromiley’s article “Evangelicalism and the Anglican Articles 1563–1963” (Mar. 15 issue) does not reflect conditions in this country.… There may be a few scattered “evangelicals” as the author uses the term, but there is no real evangelical element.

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St. Columba’s Church

Inverness, Calif.

For Felicity In Funerals

The Session of our church is in the midst of a comprehensive study of ways in which we can best discover how funerals can best be determined by and proclaim Christian convictions.

If it would be possible for you to aid us in our attempt by inviting your subscribers to send materials to me, it would be greatly appreciated. We would be glad to share a résumé of the information received and conclusions reached with persons who request it.

We would be happy to receive information from members of any Christian denomination concerning resolutions, recommendations, booklets, articles, seminar results, policy statements, experiences, and actual practices of which they know or have been involved in as they relate to death, funerals, and burial in the Christian fellowship.

Calvary Presbyterian Church

Wilmington, Calif.

Open Door In Ottawa

Your article “A Ransom For the Siberians” (News, Feb. 1 issue) was very timely.… I for one am glad to do my share in helping those poor people that suffer for righteousness’ sake and if there is a chance that they could come out of Russia, I am willing to sponsor one family, i.e., pay their traveling expenses either to Europe or this continent and help them to get settled.

Ottawa, Ont.

By No Means A Hostelry

Re the heading “The Inn is Out” (Eutychus, Mar. 1 issue), all readers may be interested in observing the comment on this passage from Luke 2 by a Greek scholar now passed on and with the Lord. From notes taken on the spot by the undersigned, the late Dr. G. Campbell Morgan had this to say: … “The inn was in Greek tongue kataluma, a place for travellers to rest in, merely a rough shelter. No host, no entertainment. Your cattle could be tied up there and yourself if you like. It was by no means a caravansery or a hostelry”.…

Bloomington, Calif.


Mr. Raymond E. Weiss’ letter (Feb. 15 issue) denouncing Israel would appear to justify every effort expended by Israel and her friends to keep the record of her establishment correct so that her existence will not wantonly and violently be challenged by surrounding states.…

He apparently is not aware, or if aware doesn’t care, that in 1947 the United Nations General Assembly—after months of study and debate—established a Jewish and an Arab state in Palestine. The surrounding Arab states rejected that decision and chose war—war to destroy Israel and “to drive the Jews into the sea.” Those displaced, whether Jews or Arabs, were made refugees by that war.

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To make the Middle East crisis into one caused by “Jewish Zionist terrorists” is to bear false witness to the truth and to the very Christian Gospel Mr. Weiss is committed to uphold.…

Garden City, N. Y.

A Rabbi’S Rejoinder

Re the editorial “What About the Atheists?” (Feb. 1 issue):

I share your conviction that there seems something wrong when a Jewish state will accept as a Jew one who is a pronounced atheist and deny the Jewishness of one who thinks of himself as a “Jew fulfilled.” However, Israel is not discriminating against the Jewish Christian, Brother Daniel, by offering him citizenship as an alien rather than under the Law of Return. The Law of Return favors Jews who for centuries have been disfavored in other lands. It does not, however, discriminate against or disfavor non-Jews who would seek Israeli citizenship. In contrast to the reception Jews endured in other lands, Israel holds its door open to any and all who would wish to come and settle in that land. The citizenship process calling for a waiting period of three years is quite benevolent and liberal if contrasted with the immigration and citizenship laws of other lands. I think you have a good insight in pointing to the fact that, religiously, the Jew ought hold to a closer identification with the Christian than with the atheist. That he does not, in fact, represents the intervention of history. Only as Christians will be Christian in their relation to the Jews, will it be possible for Jews to rediscover how Hebraic are the roots of Christianity.

The National Conference of Christians and Jews

New York, N. Y.

Toothsome Undertaking

In this day of bulging waist lines, and the practice of what has been called “digging our graves with our teeth,” it is refreshing to read Jim Blackmore’s article on the Bible teaching of fasting (Jan. 18 issue). My soul feasted on this article.

I especially like what he said about an occasional fast that others might know the taste of food.…

Clinton, N. C.

“A Plea for Fasting” was quite provocative. However, the weakest part of his argument is his scriptural interpretation. There is too much argument from silence. Here are several examples. “In secret, our Lord must have fasted.” “We have no reason to doubt that Jesus and his disciples kept the Fast of the Atonement and the other regular fast days of the Jewish faith.” “There must have been fasting with their [the disciples] praying as they tarried in Jerusalem [after the crucifixion].”

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More serious is Dr. Blackmore’s use of questionable texts for the support of his argument. The science of textual criticism is ignored altogether. Matthew 17:21 is not found in the better texts. (Neither is there a reference to fasting in the synoptic parallel: Mark 9:29.) 1 Corinthians 7:5 contains no reference to fasting in the better texts. The reference to “open reward” does not specially strengthen Dr. Blackmore’s case, but it should be pointed out that Matthew 6:18 (cf. also 6:4, 6) in the better texts contains no such reference.

Prof. of New Testament and Greek

New Orleans Baptist Seminary

New Orleans, La.

Over the years it has been my privilege to fast and pray, and I have always found it an exciting experience. Two members of my family, although I was writing and witnessing to them, were unable to accept the claims of Christ. Yet through prayer and fasting, I have seen God do wonderful work in their lives, 2,000 miles away.…

Alexandria, Minn.

Scope Of A Survey

We made a survey of our church

And found its people in the lurch.

We asked about a hundred questions

And got a number of reflections.

“How long have you folks been members?”

“Oh heaven sakes, man, who remembers?”

And, “Why have you not more oft attended?”

“Because our feelings were offended.”

We surveyed all the neighborhood

And won as many as we could.

We surveyed, too, our Sunday school

And found conditions rather cool.

We tabulated the young and old;

The rich, the poor our findings told.

We found out what each soul could do.

Their hopes and aspirations, too.

Our church survey in modern style

Sports a striking, sharp profile.

This holy search we tucked away

Hoping for a better day.

But now and then we take a look

At our survey bound in book.

Alack! Alas! We found our loss!

We failed to survey the old rugged cross.

St. Louis, Mo.

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