Embarrassment At Yale
They tell me that this is a true story: a professor in a seminary started out his chapel invocation, “Oh Lord, you probably noticed in the morning paper.…” Well, He probably did. In like fashion with the late Will Rogers, that’s most of all I know, too.
I saw in the papers that some boys at Yale University “got religion.” They had all kinds of a flurry about it, but no one was more flurried than chaplains, preachers, and the like, because these newcomers to the faith were coming up with such things as “speaking with tongues” and sundry other gifts listed authoritatively by Paul in the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. I am not too clear now, nor was I too clear even then, about the report that chaplains, preachers, and the like were recommending to these poor fellows who “got religion” that they had varied problems—father images, neuroses, academic pressures, international crises, and so on. Everyone was a little jumpy about these manifestations of the Spirit in spite of the fact that all would doubtless avow that “the Holy Spirits works when and where and how he pleases.”
It reminds me of what happened to George Fox. He was having religious experiences and sought out the direction of his church advisors. They helpfully suggested that he needed physic or chewing tobacco. He ended up by founding the Quaker church instead. John and Charles Wesley and some of their buddies were nicknamed “methodists,” and the only thing wrong with them was that they were acting like Navigators, Young Life, or Inter-Varsity Fellowship. The old-time religions couldn’t stand them.
M. G. Kyle said, “We all pray for the Holy Spirit and when the tongues of flame appear we all run for the fire department.” Most college campuses have all kinds of ways for dealing with sinners (they even ignore them) but are greatly confused when a saint appears. There is an interesting phrase: “those who love His appearing.” It is a good one for the testing of a church, a college, or a society.
Your articles are very informing and timely—especially the first two in the May 10 issue, “What I Don’t Understand About the Protestants!” and “What I Don’t Understand About Roman Catholics!” Dr. Geoffrey Bromiley’s article, excellent in itself, contains much that the average layman will not understand. Somehow it is hard for learned men to descend to the level of the common man.
However, aside from that fact, this year is, in my humble opinion, the time to analyze the differences between Romanism and Protestantism.…
This is what I don’t understand about Catholics. With Cuba in the Communistic camp along with other European Catholic countries and with a real vital threat of Latin American Catholic countries with certain European countries going Communistic: Why the intelligent Catholics do not recognize that their type of religious culture produces the type of mind that is conducive to Communism? And why they do not do something about it?
In spite of all these facts they attempt in America as fast as they can to produce the type of religious mind that is conducive to Communism. And in spite of all their efforts by talk to discredit Communism they do nothing in actual fact.
On the other hand with all these facts staring them in the face, I cannot understand why any responsible Protestant religious leader would even think of talking union with Catholics.
United Presbyterian Church
Campbell, N. Y.
I am distressed to read the two articles. I am an apostle of freedom of speech, but I think this implies responsibility—i.e., the “speaking the truth in love” of which St. Paul speaks. Each of these articles cries to high heaven for the gift of charity.…
For 500 years Protestants have tried to get along without the richness of Catholicism and Catholicism has tried to survive without the dynamic of Protestantism—each needs the other—we have much to give and more to share, and it is high time we talked about these things and not our apparently insuperable differences.
Church of the Nativity
What does Dr. Bromiley mean, “we don’t understand the Catholics”? We understand Catholics all too well! Anybody who has a smattering of church history should understand Catholics. Luther certainly understood Catholics … Huss understood Catholics, Wycliffe understood Catholics, our missionaries to Catholic countries in South America understand Catholics. Converts to Christ from Catholicism understand Catholics and the Roman church and want no parts of it.… It would be well if the evangelicals of our time would open their eyes to the prophetic significance of the Bible and recognize that all this breathless hunt for some kind of agreement and understanding … is not of God nor of his Christ.
Lockport, N. Y.
I was so appalled by the obvious historical ignorance of Mr. John J. Moran in his article of what he doesn’t understand about Protestants that I would simply reply—he doesn’t understand anything about Protestants or Catholics.
Any college graduate or faithful member of the Roman church who could make such a weird statement as “My church has never decreed to call itself the ‘Roman’ Catholic Church” is actually ignorant of the Council of Trent and of any official documents of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps we should be unhistorical and call the Roman church the Latin or Italian church and then he would not need to think of wearing a toga!
The reference to the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in New York City as a Protestant church is as fantastic as if I were to refer to the Pope of Rome as a Muslim.
I’m sure you will hear from many other Anglicans who do understand the Roman church quite well; we simply pray for her and forgive her for her ignorant laymen who don’t want to understand anyone!
Saint Mark’s Church
South Milwaukee, Wis.
“My Church has never decreed to call itself the ‘Roman Catholic Church,’ ” Moran writes, and further, he denies that his church teaches “that Protestants wind up in hell.” These two statements can be answered by just one quotation from The New Mission Book, imprimatur John J. Glennon, Archbishop of St. Louis. At page 390: “There can be no salvation for those, who, through their own fault, are out of the Church of Christ, the Holy Roman Catholic Church … as long as he deliberately refuses to obey God to become a child of God’s holy Church he cannot enter into heaven.”
L. H. SAUNDERS
Protestants and Catholics do not understand each other because they are never permitted to talk to each other officially about their faith. It is only by frank and open discussion—debate if you will—that problems in this realm, as in any realm of life, are to be resolved.
Union Methodist Church
Totowa Borough, N. J.
We Episcopalians do not believe that our fathers left the Catholic Church. Our forefathers severed themselves from Roman jurisdiction and Roman ecclesiasticism, and restored to the Church then existing in England, the independence which it enjoyed as the British Church before the bishops of England submitted to the Pope at the Council of Hertford in A.D. 673. We believe that the Catholic creed and the Catholic tradition in essence, without Roman innovations, continued in an unbroken manner from the “Ecclesia Anglicana” which had an organized hierarchy of bishops as early as A.D. 314 before the Pope sent his emissaries to England. It is for this reason that no member of the official Anglican communion denies the fact that he is a Catholic—Anglican Catholic—not Roman Catholic. If any member of the Anglican communion does deny this fact, he is ignorant of the official teaching of his church and the facts of history substantiating this claim, or he is identifying “Catholic” with “Roman Catholic” to which he does not wish to subscribe.
St. James Church
Batavia, N. Y.
It is absolutely necessary to identify the papacy-dominated brand of Churchianity as Roman Catholic in order to avoid confusion with the more inclusive term “Holy Catholic Church.” The Holy Catholic Church is comprised of individuals, irrespective of racial, religious, or denominational background, who have been made alive spiritually by the marvelous experience of the New Birth.
Also the Holy Catholic Church has such a wonderful Head: “God has appointed Him (Christ) universal and supreme Head of the Church” (Eph. 1:22, Weymouth Translation).
I believe, with Mr. Moran, that Cardinal Newman was one of the greater religious thinkers of the nineteenth century. But, as an Anglican, I feel obliged to question his statement that he was “one of the great minds of the Anglican church.” I do not question his intellect, but I do question Newman’s commitment to Anglican doctrines. By his tracts written while he was the vicar of St. Mary’s, Oxford, Newman showed that he had rejected the Reformation which claimed to return to Christ and the apostles for its teaching, and instead was embracing the erroneous doctrines of the Middle Ages.
Moran dismisses the whole question of image worship with the words, “We do not, of course.” The Reformers were perfectly well aware of the Roman distinction between “worship” and “veneration.” John Calvin goes into it at some length in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book I, Chapter xi. They also knew that the arguments used by Romanists to explain that their “veneration” is not intended for the statue, but for the person represented, were used by Celsus to defend paganism and were refuted by Origen in the third century. The point is that for the men of the Reformation, these subtleties were not adequate grounds on which to ignore what seemed to them plain prohibitions of the Word of God.
I think that CHRISTIANITY TODAY should be praised for its attempt to promote inter-confessional understanding. Still in all, Mr. Moran might have been more qualified to write an article entitled, “What I Don’t Understand About Roman Catholicism.”
I have [heard of a Protestant being excommunicated], A bishop in one of the larger denominations was excommunicated in Cleveland back in about 1926. And speaking of my own church, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, if any member would deny any of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian religion and would refuse to recant and repent, he would, after proper brotherly admonition, be excommunicated.
Immanuel Lutheran Church
I think the two articles … were the greatest waste of four pages I have ever seen in a Christian publication. I don’t see why a magazine of this caliber should bother with the elementary, juvenile, and beside-the-point opinions of either of these two men.
The Episcopal Church is entirely and completely Catholic—as is the Roman.
Greensboro, N. C.
There are many reasons [that keep high church Episcopalians from taking that one further step back into Roman Catholicism], such as: “allowing one’s baptism to be questioned,” or “denying valid Bishops, Priests, and Deacons”.… As long as the Roman Catholic Church denounces Anglicans it ought to be easy to understand.
We have been asked to communicate the following action which was taken at a joint meeting of the Council of State Secretaries and Council of City Secretaries, held in Detroit, Michigan, on May 12.
These groups represent the administrative areas of the American Baptist Convention. Present and voting were twenty-five of the total of thirty-three state secretaries, and seven of the total of twelve city secretaries.
Here is the excerpt from the minutes of that meeting:
“It was moved by Joseph Heartberg of New Jersey and seconded by Clifford Perron of Minnesota that the State and City Secretaries of the American Baptist Convention, meeting in joint session at Detroit, Michigan on May 12, 1963, go on record as follows:
1. We recognize Dr. Jitsuo Morikawa, Secretary of Evangelism of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies, as a responsible Christian thinker and a conscientious and dedicated American Baptist leader.
2. We hereby protest the publication of a statement in the article “Spring Thaw for Baptists” in the April 12, 1963, issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY to the effect that only two of our secretaries favor the retention of Dr. Morikawa as director of Evangelism for the American Baptist Convention; and we further protest the fact that the statement was made without any previous inquiry to the respective state and city secretaries concerning their point of view.
3. We also hereby call upon CHRISTIANITY TODAY to publicly withdraw the above-mentioned statement since that statement was based upon incorrect information.
4. We request the respective secretaries of the State and City Secretaries Councils to send copies of this resolution to
a) The Editor ofCHRISTIANITY TODAY
b) The General Secretary of the American Baptist Convention
c) The Executive Secretary of the American Baptist Home Mission Societies
d) Dr. Jitsuo Morikawa
This motion was passed unanimously.”
JOHN CRAIG, Sec.
Council of City Secretaries
NICHOLAS TITUS, Sec.
Council of State Secretaries
ANGUS HULL, President
Council of City Secretaries
CARLTON SAYWELL, President
Council of State Secretaries
American Baptist Convention
Valley Forge, Pa.
• CHRISTIANITY TODAY is glad to register this protest, though (1) the protest does not indicate the current measure of support for Dr. Morikawa among the secretaries; (2) the qualities described in section 1 of the motion were never called into question in our story; (3) the report which we recorded spoke only of state secretaries. But other evidence has been discovered which indicates the report was inaccurate as to the number of state secretaries cited.—ED.
Your correspondent correctly reported the substance of my response to a question about Nels Ferré asked at Northern Seminary’s recent Evangelism Conference. However, quite understandably, he could not give the whole context. For the sake of your readers, in deference to those who have written to me, and especially in fairness to Professor Ferré, let me make a distinction which I made on that occasion.
There is a universalism that denies the divine judgment and believes that at death all men go to heaven. There is also a universalism that believes in hell and judgment but refuses to believe that the divine judgment is eternal and believes that God’s will to salvation will not be ultimately and irrevocably frustrated. Professor Ferré belongs in the latter group. I was correctly quoted as saying that fellowship should not be broken over disagreements as to the duration of the divine judgment in the hereafter.
Andover Newton Theological School
Newton Centre, Mass.
Thank you for the articles and other pieces in CHRISTIANITY TODAY which are dealing with the present spread of universalism.
Some of us are concerned at the way it seems to be spreading like a forest fire. Though some of our leaders may sneer at your significant answers to this ungodly doctrine, be assured that there are many who are grateful.
K. AART VAN DAM
Baptist Ministers Council of Wisconsin
Of the American Baptist Convention
A Good Question
I have lingered over the article “Why I Stayed in the Ministry” by Douglas A. Dickey, of Williamsport, Indiana (Mar. 29 issue). I like this kind of talk. I always devour these articles, hoping, I suppose, to find some encouragement for my own hopes of becoming a preacher. I do find a great lesson in these backgrounds, these experiences of men of faith who labor to bring their people closer to God, closer to a realization that this life has more to offer than sticks and stones and toil every day. By strengthening their people, they must strengthen themselves, for they certainly show a great fortitude in staying with it.
Yes, I want to be a minister. It is a feeling I have never been able to shake. And I have tried. I’ve fought against it with deliberation, but I always wind up with the feeling of “someone” standing over in the corner smiling at me with patience and forgiveness. I’ve listened to all the “anti” arguments. I’ve even made up a few myself. The pay is low, often inadequate. I’m piled up to here with debts that haunt me and taunt me. I don’t have the educational background, and the idea of an almost 45-year-old attending a college while he has a growing family to look out for is not—in my present circumstance—an encouragement, or a solution to anything. No higher educational institution is in my background, true, but I’ve always felt that the various extension courses so readily available today can help a body overcome his lack of formal education.
And I haven’t exactly been standing still these years I’ve been living. I’ve made an effort to keep my learning in pace with the times. It has been as “liberal” as any I would have gotten in college. Discussion and application, review and reapplication are constant companions in my radio advertising work. And of all the “hard knock schools” few can equal the radio business for its all-around “curriculum.”
“Your witness as a layman is an effective one many times,” I have been told. There have been many encouraging words spoken about some of my broadcasting. One lady wrote me to say, “I feel as if I’ve been in church after hearing your program.” Another told me that “eleven of our young folk made their decision to join the church last night, and every one of them received their encouragement to do so from your talk to our group last night.…”
These … compliments … are a great blessing to my heart. But the truth is, my lay witness does not satisfy me. Where do I go next? I must sit back and wait for the next invitation. My preparation for the next time is haphazard, general—because I don’t know where it will come from, or what it will be for.…
I would like to pastor a small town church. And it should be one like Pastor Dickey described, where the saints are patient and understanding, encouraging and long suffering flounderings of a beginner. I’ve lived and worked in small towns before, and I have for the most part been comfortable in them. In one small town, I was a teacher in the men’s Bible class in a Methodist church, was a commissioned lay speaker for the conference. I also aided in the organization of a Baptist congregation, became its moderator, and supplied its pulpit until a regular minister was called. They rewarded me with a license when I left the town to take another job.
From these two vantage points, I could see the influence exerted by many of the young people who were going off to college, into the service, or to jobs in the cities nearby and far away. They took something of the solidity of close family and friendship ties with them, and many of these were molded in their church life.
In the small town, too, you have a greater opportunity to become an active member of the community, not just a passive voter. What you do in a small town is important, or perhaps that importance is magnified by proximity. Anyway, I feel, the ministerial influence can be more readily felt in the small town. The church is more central to the life there.
So the question comes up—where do I go from here? I’m frankly looking for some suggestions. Is the shortage of ministers we hear so much about not yet great enough for a denomination to aid and abet the furtherance of a man’s desire to answer the call to serve his God and fellowman? Must every beginning preacher be qualified for a doctorate before he is allowed in a pulpit, to administer the sacraments, baptize, marry the living and bury the dead?
I want to preach. So, where in this great land is the opportunity for a 43-year-old family man? Where is that conference or convention or church that will allow this one to answer the call—that will be patient and understanding of his shortcomings?
Have sermons—will travel!
I have become a trifle impatient with colleagues and friends who cast disparaging remarks upon the historic Christian position, while failing to realize that if it were not for this vast and powerful force much of what they now have would be nonexistent. While I do not call myself a fundamentalist—though time was when I did—I strongly suspect that evangelical Christianity is largely responsible for the vast majority of men in the clergy today. May I propose that CHRISTIANITY TODAY make a survey—and not just of its subscribers—to ascertain what per cent of men, even though now “liberal” in theology, had a conservative background. I strongly suspect that even yet it is these local congregations which are largely to be given credit for opening up vistas with conviction, presenting the professional ministry as a vital alternative to choose. I further suspect that the prevalent preaching—and I speak strictly as a layman, knowing something of what laymen really want to hear—of many of our pulpiteers, lacking clarity and force, accounts for the dearth of young men seriously considering the ministry as a life work.
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