One of the better events of our day has been the introduction in Life magazine of a series of reviews—plays, movies, and books. It is worth your while to dig out the October 30 issue and read a review by Douglas M. Davis of Donleavy’s Meet My Maker the Mad Molecule. The review is an excellent commentary on the book and on our day. I plan not to read the book, but I have read the review many times. Donleavy apparently has talent, but he has run out of content because he has nothing better to write about than the non-hero and nihilism. As the reviewer puts it, “When he has finished writing about himself—and sex—there is nothing left to engage him.” I take that to be a very succinct review of lots and lots of modern books.

I was reminded of the attempt people have made to insist that Milton makes a hero out of Satan. In one of his classics, A Preface to Paradise Lost, C. S. Lewis settled that idea for keeps. Satan is really a “non-hero.” He is always talking about himself; and after Lewis has illustrated this, he sums the matter up in this way:

He meets sin and states his position. He sees the sun; it makes him think of his own position. He spies on the human lovers and states his position. In Book IX he journeys ‘round the whole earth; it reminds him of his own position.… Satan has been in the Heaven of Heavens and in the abyss of hell and surveyed all that lies between them, and in that whole immensity has found only one thing that interests Satan.… Satan’s monomaniac concern with himself and his supposed rights and wrongs is a necessity of the Satanic predicament.

What Milton makes perfectly plain is “a hell of infinite boredom … the blank non-interestingness of being Satan.”

Adam would make better company. He can talk about God, the forbidden tree, sleep, the difference between beast and man, stars, angels, dreams, crowds, the sun, the moon, the planets, the winds, and the birds; and he “celebrates the beauty and majesty of Eve.” He lived in a little park on a little planet, but he had a different heart.


It was my privilege recently to chair a panel discussion in Kansas City on “Honest to God and a Relevant Christianity.” Since Addison Leitch was a valued member of that panel, I read with interest … his article: “Honest to God: Good Grief” (Nov. 20 issue). Many, if not all, of the weaknesses of the book to which he points have good support, but is not some positive appraisal also possible? Why is the book “ringing a bell” with many of our college young people who have at least been exposed to Christianity?…

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I shall content myself with giving one example. Professor Leitch describes Robinson’s work as “ethically naïve” because it deals with love alone as the basis for ethical conduct without taking into account the passions. The bishop’s illustration (Honest to God, pp. 118, 119) of the blending of love and law in sexual ethics certainly shows that this is not the case. I think that a reading of his chapter on “The New Morality” and his lectures in Christian Morals Today reveals that the author is trying to find some middle ground between the “old morality” and a complete ethical relativism. In between is the “new morality,” which differs from the old in that [the old] rests on legalistic commands coming at the individual from “outside” (perhaps from a god conceived of as only “out there”) while the new ethic insists on one “inner” imperative: love. And this is Christian agape, a sacrificial, unself-regarding kind of lose. The practical success of the bishop’s approach depends on whether the individuals involved sense the high view of human persons it demands and on their commitment to the redemptive quality of agape as manifest supremely in Christ (pp. 119. 128, 129). (I hope we can accept this point and still differ with the bishop’s theology. Paul Tillich’s new book, Morality and Beyond, is a philosophically astute defense of the same position.)

I suspect that perhaps the “reading of the law” in many of our evangelical services appears external and abstract to our young people. They need to be shown how an agape ethic includes law (in the sense of Christ’s “summary of the law”) in a fresh and meaningful way as an inner command. If this is what Robinson is getting at, it may serve as an example as to why he speaks to many people in a positive way in spite of the confusions to which Addison Leitch and Ilion Jones (same issue) both point.…

Dept. of Philosophy

Central College

Pella, Iowa

I do not believe that Dr. Leitch … deals with Robinson on the bishop’s own ground. [Dr. Leitch] actually retreats within the walls of the Church, the covers of the Bible, and the rigid formulations of doctrine. I believe that Bishop Robinson’s book needs and deserves a much better critique than that which is offered by a mind which seems to be so bound by historic Christianity that it fails to deal creatively with the issues and concerns of today.…

Minister of Education

North Broadway Methodist

Columbus, Ohio

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I am with the bishop all the way. Our Gospel of Jesus Christ does not need defending, it needs living, or to be lived. As for the soundness of the book on Scripture, the bishop sticks to the Scripture much more than these articles.…

Bishop Robinson teaches the Gospel, the Gospel of love, from one end of the book to the other, and pray tell me, what does the New Testament teach?…

The Church has too long believed in a mystical god, a supernatural god, whom no one has ever seen nor heard. We need something to hold on to, and the bishop gives us that reality.…

Columbus, Ohio

Ilion Jones’s charge of intellectual dishonesty on page 14 of the November 20 issue raises the question of what honesty really demands, after all. Does honesty demand that a person preach his disbeliefs? Am I required to say from the pulpit next Sunday that I think the Virgin Birth is improbable and irrelevant? I do not think so. It seems to me my call is not to tear down but build up. If I have nothing better than the Virgin Birth to offer, then I should not destroy that belief. If I do have something better, then surely my business is preaching that, and let the Virgin Birth and other superstitions fade as they are no longer necessary.

Your editorial on page 29 asks when honesty is permissible and then says, in effect, “only when it agrees with the Bible.” That is incredible. I can only reject your shibboleth about God’s written self-revelation as the only basis for honest questioning. Surely God is not so small as to limit his revelation to persons chancing to live in the first several centuries A.D.!…

Piney Plains Methodist

Little Orleans, Md.

The two articles that I have most appreciated lately were Jones’s “In the Wake of the ‘Honest to God’ Storm” (Nov. 20 issue) and “Theological Default in American Seminaries” (Sept. 11 issue). There is something seriously wrong with theological education in America, and I sincerely trust that many seminaries will heed your warnings. Old heresies never die; they just leave Europe and move to America.

Asst. Prof. of Philosophy

Western Kentucky State College

Bowling Green. Ky.

There should be many loud and long “amens” for the way in which the book Honest (?) to God and its author, Bishop Robinson, were dealt with.…

Salem, Mass.

I enjoyed very much the two articles that made reference to the book, Honest to God. These were the first articles that I have read about this book which I believe will help channel and challenge the thinking of Christians as to the fundamentals of the faith.

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Moreover, I read with interest the report on “Negroes and the Christian Campus.” This was a very good report. Ashamedly it must be admitted that Negro Christians have had some very distasteful experiences with various mission boards here in America.…

Although the [Negro] enrollment is low at evangelical colleges and Bible schools in North America, the enrollment in Bible institutes is higher. There are at least 125 students enrolled at the Manna Bible Institute of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. All of the students are Negroes except for maybe one or two. In Cleveland, Ohio, the Baptist School of the Bible with a Negro president, Walter L. Banks, has a good enrollment. Likewise, in Atlanta, Georgia, the Carver Bible Institute and College has a good enrollment of Negro students.…

Nazarene Baptist Church

Lahaska. Pa.


In … “Religious Impact of Johnson’s Sweep” (News, Nov. 20 issue) I noted the following statement …:

“The President said that men in the pulpit have a place in political leadership of our people and they have a place in our public affairs.’ ” Then follows this comment: “Presumably such encouragement will tend to stir a greater degree of political activity among American religious leaders in future election campaigns as well as in the continuing legislative process.”

And my comment is: Why not?…

The Old Testament is an encyclopedia of great reform and reformers: Moses, Abraham, Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Amos, Micah, and Jeremiah. More and more, socially minded preachers are finding the Old Testament, and particularly the prophetic literature, applicable to the pressing social, industrial, and political problems of the twentieth century! No academic dreamer or mere easy pulpit orator could have flashed out the sentences that illuminate history and glow down to our day. The prophet never had any notion of avoiding public questions.…

Port Charlotte, Fla.

Your … news section of November 20 reports that the National Council of Churches recently issued “a well-timed indictment of ‘the radical right,’ ” buttressed by a twelve-page documentary on the subject. This development is in sharp contrast to the attitude of the NCC’s … predecessor, the FCC, in the 1930s and 1940s, when the Communist Party of the U. S. A. was in its heyday, carrying on a widespread program of subversion and abetted by hundreds of front organizations. At that time, we heard no “well-timed indictments” of the radical left, nor did we read of any twelve-page documentaries seeking to demonstrate that the left-wingers’ “primary challenge [was] to the basic philosophy of democracy and to government itself as we have known it.” The council which is now so apprehensive about the right-wing threat to our national security managed to maintain a stoical silence even when left-wing federal employees were discovered, with alarming frequency, to be filching government documents from secret files for transmission to Soviet agents.

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A thoughtful observer can draw only one conclusion from this strange dichotomy of policy—and it reflects no particular credit on the National Council.

Sea Cliff, N. Y.

Regarding the editorial, “Putting God on the Ballot” (Nov. 6 issue), may I point out that this is precisely what many pro-Goldwater Christians have been doing, even to the point of preaching him, along with or instead of Christ, from the pulpit.…

Philadelphia, Pa.

Well, the nation voted for immorality and corruption, and for handing our nuclear weapons over to the United Nations. I wish there was some place to hide; but Mexico and Peru are no better; and Australia is worse. If I were not a Christian, I would commit suicide. As is, I can only hope that the great tribulation will be short (for I am not a pre-trib. man).

Los Angeles, Calif.


Re: “Presbyterians Draft New Confession” (News, Oct. 23 issue): The Westminster Confession provides barriers adequate not only to deal with anti-Reformed dispensationalism (VII, v, vi; XIX, v, vi, vii; XXV, i, ii) but also to deal with anti-Christian liberalism.… The trouble is that in the communion from which this document comes the Confession has been a dead letter since the twenties. The “latitude of interpretation” has long been a fact. When evangelicals sought to apply the bars of the Confession in the thirties they found themselves ultimately barred.… And if there really are any barriers to dispensationalism in the new creed, I’ll eat my derby!

First Evangelical Presbyterian Church

Grand Cayman Island, West Indies

Are you not seeking to superimpose your view upon Presbyterianism in general; and is this ecclesiastically ethical?

By the way, none of us is Presbyterian in this entire city.…

Guayaquil, Ecuador

If there is any need for reconsideration and revision of the Westminster Confession and the Catechisms, then surely a convocation of all Presbyterian churches—including those of Canada, Australia, and the Church of Ireland and Scotland—should be called. A unilateral study and statement by the UPUSA, of which I am a member, seems both irrelevant and impertinent.

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Polson, Mont.

The Presbyterian committee on the new confession certainly made a tactical error in airing their spadework at the open conference at Princeton. And who can blame you and your wise and faithful editor for moving in to take advantage of the opening? And how could CHRISTIANITY TODAY as an outsider “betray” anything going on inside? But don’t count on having the “final draft” in advance of the 1965 Assembly.

Worcester, N. Y.

Mr. Hawkins’s reaction to [your] “exposé” of the proposed new United Presbyterian confession reminds one of a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar. A rather upsetting experience, I should think, particularly if the child planned to take away many cookies.

It is sad to observe, however, that Mother Church has forgotten how to discipline.

North Hills, Pa.


October brought into focus the fact that two great organizations, namely the National Council of Churches and the American Bar Association, were facing opposite directions. Spread across the front of the NCC’s Interchurch News is an article entitled “Clergy Join National Civic Group.” This narrates how such leading clergymen as Bishop R. H. Mueller, president of the NCC, have united with 117 charter members of the Council for Civic Responsibility in opposition to some twelve organizations described as “ultra-right-wing” with allegedly “interlocking directorates” disseminating so-called “radical, reactionary propaganda.” This list includes several organizations with Christian names. Accordingly the CCR is attacking several professedly Christian organizations for their anti-Communist stand. And the NCC is supporting this attack.

Now the same week in which the NCC periodical arrived there was a regional conference of the American Bar Association in Atlanta. Here, Mr. T. Charles Allen, a distinguished Atlanta lawyer, introduced the president of the ABA, the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr., of Richmond, with the following notation: He has been recognized for his promotion of anti-Communist education by the Freedom Foundation. Then Attorney John C. McKay of Miami stated that the ABA was sending the educators from Dade County, Florida, to the Freedom Foundation Seminars at Valley Forge for instruction in methods of indoctrinating our youth against Communism. In this same regional conference Secretary Dean Rusk took explicit exception to Castro of Cuba as well as to the man who labored in a London attic the last century (Karl Marx). Likewise the Honorable Allen Dulles exposed the Communist methodology, while Professor R. B. Allen of Georgetown University and Dr. R. L. Walker of the University of South Carolina denounced its world program and its policy (the Dubose Clubs) of supplying Communist speakers to educational institutions.

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Thus there is developing a situation in which many clergymen who take their cue from the NCC periodical may in their antifascism easily become so anti-anti-Communist that they sound pro-Communist to their brethren in the bar association. Ought these things so to be? We are called on to exercise love toward all men whether behind the iron curtain or not. But believing in God the Father Almighty, ministers are not free in pulpit, school, or publication to make or endorse statements that may be construed as approving a God-denying Marxianism. After all, two influences which moved Lee Oswald in his assassination of President Kennedy were his reading of Marx and his sympathy for Castro.

In place of either fascism of the right or Communism of the left, it is the business of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ to proclaim the God of biblical revelation, as the Head of the Church, the Lord over the nations, the Father of whom every family is named, the Preceptor of youth, the gracious Saviour of sinners.

Columbia Seminary

Decatur, Ga.


My longer stay in the Near and Middle East gave me a chance to observe the dangerous developments from a closer distance. Archbishop Makarios’s arms deal with the Soviets just completed could be very clearly foreseen. This act opens a new phase in the Soviet expansion to the detriment of the free world. This recent development should give occasion for a frightening reflection to everyone who has not lost his conscience. This unholy spectacle, a pact between an archbishop and the murderous, monstrous, and insatiable tyrants in the Kremlin, is an abomination in the sight of God. The reasons for this grieve me deeply as a Christian minister and teacher. The Protestant leadership cannot escape responsibility for these developments. If this leadership had not flirted with Soviet agents, poisoning the spiritual atmosphere, and had remained faithful to its calling, this archbishop would never have dared to take this step, which is a betrayal of all that is Christian—a step so perilous to the free world.

If the Protestant leadership had been faithful to its calling, siding with the oppressed, the sufferers under injustice, and the enslaved, instead of fraternizing with the agents of the oppressors, the situation would have been entirely different. This president in archbishop’s garb, now busy slaughtering the Turks, could have received from his colleagues lessons that both the Christian spirit and maturity which deserves self-government demand, namely, to learn to respect the minority groups, in this case the Turks, with whom all thoughtful men must side. A Christian cannot remain silent in this situation.

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It has been a source of deep grief to me that the attitude and policy of the Protestant leadership have increased peril and the agony of the world. How immense is its service thus given to Soviet aspirations! In the most recent events it becomes so tangibly clear where this kind of leadership takes us. This should shock all who have been lulled by the soporific effects of a time without political or spiritual leadership.

Lutheran School of Theology

Chicago, Ill.


What is wrong with Billy Graham?… The question is acute because … undeserved criticisms belittle a sincere and devoted Christian with an ardent missionary spirit, and at the same time give opportunity for the skepticism of those who are eager to ridicule everything which might lead to God. This was the reason that the Laypreacher Institute, 1964, of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America put the question on its agenda in the Presbyterian Study Center at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, this summer. From a lively discussion there emerged the following sound opinion.

The evangelistic work of Billy Graham, which has attracted and continues to attract such a large audience as is rarely seen today, is basically a ground-breaking work. His presentation is based on the Scriptures; his phraseology is accommodated to the intellectual level of his audience. His famous wording, “The Bible says,” is appealing, at many times striking.… His voice reaches the mass of people which could never be reached by traditional church work. This is what I mean by his ground-breaking work. The dried-up, rock-hard ground of religious ignorance and impassiveness is what his crusade breaks up like a powerful bulldozer. In the wake of the thunderous echoes of “The Bible says,” the ignorant get a spark and the impassive catch fire. And as a result, people come forward … “to make a decision.”

This is all that Billy Graham can do as an individual. But this can be done only by his kind of mass evangelism. The process of this evangelical work, however, is not finished at all with a decision. The broken ground has to be cultivated, and the responsibility for continuation of the good wrought by mass evangelism falls upon the congregation chosen by each decision-maker. Here, I am afraid, is the point which makes the whole evangelistic movement so unpopular with many. The congregations just do not know what to do with newcomers. They do not fit into the close society of their congregation. In other words, the congregation simply is not prepared for this evangelical work.…

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First Presbyterian Church

Trenton, N. J.


You are making a tremendous contribution through this magazine to the Christian world.…


Southern Baptist Convention

Jackson, Tenn.

I congratulate you on your fairness.… Sometimes certain of your contributors make me angry, but they always do me good.

Lucknow, India

Your pig-headed addiction to fundamentalist claims which are plainly untenable any longer and your bitter and downright unjust and inaccurate charges against liberalism and the social gospel are not only unworthy of a Christian publication but false to the Scriptures.…

Ferndale, Mich.

From all the importance of the NCC editorials and articles in your magazine, I fully believe that you approve of the NCC people as a whole, and go along with their way of the one world church—and this ecumenism. Don’t you realize that there has been a great coming out of these NCC churches because of their pro-Communist leanings and political pronouncements?…

I think your magazine has gone quite liberal and embraced the big theological liberals of our day.…

Tarzana, Calif.

CHRISTIANITY TODAY is both scholarly and inspirational. I have found that your writers toe the mark like men who are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.

Dallas, Tex.

I have been a Christian for only a year and a half now so part of the time the deeper articles of CHRISTIANITY TODAY are a little advanced for me. But I plow through them anyway in order to keep abreast of current issues and theology as much as possible.… My reading schedule (personal and class work) is mountainous over and above daily devotions, and I have an active schedule and small children. But of course in my new life in Christ I wouldn’t have it any other way!…

Meza, Ariz.

Long live CHRISTIANITY TODAY and The Christian Century! We need both of you: the Century for our social and political philosophy, and you for our theology. And come to think of it, you need each other too! In this day of ecumenicity, perhaps you could merge!

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First Baptist Church

Scottdale, Pa.

Instead of opening yourselves to the truth of God as revealed in Jesus Christ, in whatever form it may be found, you have identified that truth with a very narrow band in the theological spectrum, and ignored everything else.…

Ass’t Prof. of Biblical Theology

Saint Paul School of Theology

Kansas City, Mo.

I would like to comment [on] how much CHRISTIANITY TODAY has meant to me in my first six months of seminary. In my course on contemporary American religions, which has included current trends in evangelicalism, I have had numerous opportunities to use relevant portions in our class discussions. I believe that the attempt to make Christianity relevant to the age in which we live is a fine step in the “evangelical undertow,” as Time magazine has put it. I look forward to the continuing leadership of CHRISTIANITY TODAY in this movement.

Wenham, Mass.

Today I received my first copy in my subscription to your fine magazine and wish to express my deep appreciation for your many thought-provoking articles. Reading them is like fresh water to a man dying in the desert of thirst! I was raised a Baptist, but in my teen years became associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses. While I maintain great respect for their fundamental knowledge of Bible texts and morality, my six years with them left me in spiritual dearth. Why? No Christ! How wonderful it is to read and hear about Christ again! One learns a lot about ancient Israelite history from them [Jehovah’s Witnesses], but so little about Christ. Perhaps, with the help of your magazine, I may well find my way back to a Christ-centered church.

Washington, D. C.

Please discontinue my subscription to your magazine as of now. It is about as valuable as a newspaper of 1492. Your contributors seem not to have had a really new thought in fifty years.…

Los Angeles, Calif.

Through your magazine you are doing a great work for God! Keep it up!


Eden Christian College

Niagara-on-the-lake, Ont.

I would like to compliment you on the standard of the magazine which you produce. I have been receiving it for the last eighteen months, and during that time it has come to fill a very important role in stimulating my thinking. In a comparatively remote situation, working in a young and growing church, the importance of this service cannot be overestimated, and I thank you for it.

Presbyterian Mission

Tangoa, New Hebrides

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Your magazine is named correctly, for what is called Christianity today is empty, senseless chatter.…

Blacksburg, Va.

I am not taking out a subscription for 1965 yet, for in past years one of my American cousins has had it sent to me as a Christmas gift. I hope he will do the same this year!

This seems to me to be an excellent opportunity of telling you what a great blessing is brought into our house fortnightly by your periodical. My wife and I enjoy every issue, although admittedly some issues more than others. As a doctor, I get quite a number of night calls, and on returning to bed, and finding it difficult to sleep right away, it is with heartfelt joy that I know CHRISTIANITY TODAY is on the bedside table waiting to be perused literally from cover to cover. A fine bonus for attending someone’s teething baby!…

Manchester, England

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